New York Hockey: Dwayne Roloson

Roloson "appreciative" of trade to Tampa

October, 13, 2011
Lightning goaltender Dwayne Roloson said he's appreciative that Islanders general manager Garth Snow traded him to Tampa during the middle of last season.

Roloson, who turned 42 Wednesday, was sent to the Lightning January 1 in exchange for defenseman Ty Wishart and went on to lead the Lightning to the Eastern Conference finals.

"When I signed, Garth told me the situation and to his credit he stuck to his word, that when we were out of the playoffs, he would trade me," Roloson said.

Roloson was brought in as the starting goaltender in the 2009 offseason but ended up splitting time with Rick DiPietro and Martin Biron during his first year with the Islanders. Roloson again established himself as the clear starter the following season -- providing the only consistency throughout the team's devastating tailspin -- but was moved mid-way through the year.

The trade was a blessing in disguise for Roloson, who was itching to get back to the postseason after his sensational play led the Edmonton Oilers to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2006.

"Very appreciative of what he did," Roloson said.

Roloson is 1-0-1 in his first two starts for Tampa this season; Thursday is his first game back at Nassau Coliseum since he was sent down south over nine months ago.

"It's good to come back," Roloson said. "But at the same time it's a hockey game and we've got to focus on winning."

Isles facing shots (shots, shots, shots!)

January, 14, 2011
If the DJ out at Nassau Coliseum is looking for a fitting soundtrack to Isles games, he should consider cuing up Lil John and LMFAO.

Over their past 14 games, the Islanders have given up an average of 38.9 shots per contest, allowing over 40 in five of their last nine. Considering the league-high for shots-allowed average since the lockout has only once topped 35 for a season, that’s a pretty astounding volume the Isles’ netminders are facing.

Remarkably, Jack Capuano’s group is still 8-4-2 in those same 14 games, which is a massive testament to the team’s goaltenders. But Thursday night against the Ottawa Senators, Nathan Lawson and Kevin Poulin couldn’t withstand the barrage, yielding six goals through two periods and ultimately falling 6-4.

Though their goalies have often successfully faced those firing squads, this is a trend the Islanders need to solve. Two factors make this particularly important: 1.) The goalie that carried the Isles to four of those eight wins, Dwayne Roloson, now plays for the Tampa Bay Lightning. 2.) This is no way to build the confidence of kids the team sees anchoring the crease in years to come.

Through their first 42 games, New York has faced an average of 32.8 shots per game. That’s not good, but it’s not atrocious either. But if the Islanders continue to average 39 shots against for the remainder of the season they’d finish the year with a shots-against average of 35.8. That would be the highest season average for any NHL team since at least 1997-98 (which is earliest season I could find team stats on The next closest would be the 35.5 endured by the 2000-01 Atlanta Thrashers, the franchise’s third season in the league.

Are these statistics surprising given a young defense corps that lost its top member to injury (Mark Streit) and had its second-best traded away (James Wisniewski)? Probably not. And are these numbers just a short-term spike as the team adjusts to the absence of Wisniewski and Roloson? Possibly. Is this a small sample size? Absolutely. But it's a trend that seems to be heading in the wrong direction. In those last 14 games, all but one opponent (Edmonton) exceeded their average shots per game when they played the Islanders, so it's not just one or two fluky games.

Now, this isn’t meant to kick the Islanders when they’re down. Rather, I think it’s pretty darn notable that the team has been able to weather this kind of peppering and win eight times.

On the other hand, I sincerely doubt this is a trend the Isles are happy with and they will want to turn around forthwith. Something to keep an eye on in the days ahead.

Donnie Pucks: Islanders' 2011 resolutions

January, 3, 2011
Make DiPietro into the main man.

Dwayne Roloson is gone. Rick DiPietro has to now be the goalie to whom the new York Islanders gave a 15-year contract. That requires DiPietro to play most nights and to be solid. This is his chance to take off running and finally be the clear No. 1.

Get Bailey going.

Josh Bailey is back from the minors and scoring. Why he was sent down is beyond me. Bailey needs to continue to grow and be the player they drafted.

Spend some money.

Charles Wang has to decide what to do. When he first took over, Wang spent money and was aggressive. He put cash into the team. Now it seems like he's just waiting for the end to come. Putting a team on the ice at just a tad over the floor of the salary cap is not right.

Yes, he's losing money. But is running it like this going to turn it around? If just standing in place is the only thing left for Wang to do, then he should just sell the team. You can blame Garth Snow. But to me, this is all the owner's fault.

This is just another lost season for the Islanders.

It's just time to watch the kids grow and hope that someone can take this team in the right direction.

The Isles' junior achievers

January, 3, 2011
Three of the four Islander prospects participating in the World Junior Championships squared off yesterday when Canada clashed with Switzerland in the quarterfinals.

The Swiss-Can’t-Miss, Nino Niederreiter, showed some flashes of his immense talent on a few rushes up the ice, but he didn’t have much help on his line and didn’t do much on the whole. He ended the game in the sin bin after picking up a 10-minute misconduct penalty when things got chippy with the Canadians in the final two minutes.

The second Swiss line, headlined by the draft-eligible and likely first rounder Sven Bartschi, had better success.

El Nino finished the tournament with two goals and an assist in five games, firing a team-high 22 shots on goal.

The Isles-related highlight of the day came on the go-ahead goal by Canada’s Casey Cizikas. Getting a few more minutes with Jaden Schwartz injured, the Cizikas broke in on a two-on-one down the left wing and called his own number, burying the shot top shelf on the short side. He nearly converted another two-on-one attempt a few minutes later down the right side too.

On D, Calvin de Haan looked sharp though he didn’t have to handle too much pressure from the Swiss forwards. As Gare Joyce joked, the Swiss speak about eight different languages, but don’t know the word for “forecheck” in any of them.

Cizikas (two goals and an assist) and de Haan (three assists) take on the final Isles prospect in the tournament, the U.S.’s Brock Nelson in tonight’s semifinal. Nelson missed some action with an upper-body injury but is expected to be in the lineup tonight. He’s recorded an assist in three games, with seven shots on goal.

The Roloson Return

As I’m sure all fans know by now, the Isles acquired defenseman Ty Wishart from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for veteran goalie Dwayne Roloson.

Up here in Buffalo for the World Junior Championships, I asked Joyce, an NHL draft guru and chief writer for Insider’s draft blog, for his take on Wishart. Overall, Joyce likes the 6-4 defenseman, selected in the first round of the 2006 draft. He thinks Wishart has top-four potential and will contribute more in his own end than he will with the puck.

While the Isles shipped him to their AHL affiliate in Bridgeport, he should be a nice addition to a blue line that projects to include Travic Hamonic and Calvin de Haan a season or so down the line.

W2W4: Islanders vs. Red Wings

December, 31, 2010
The Islanders battle their second consecutive first-place opponent when they take on the Red Wings in Detroit on New Year’s Eve. Here are three factors to watch when the puck drops before the ball drops.

Double Dose of D?

The Islanders bottled up the Penguins last game, holding Sidney Crosby and Co. to one goal. That feat is doubly impressive considering the adjustments the team had to make in the wake of trading defenseman James Wisniewski. But the formula the Isles employed Wednesday -- have G Rick DiPietro stand on his head -- probably isn’t a good one for long-term success. You just don’t win too many games giving up 38 shots on goal.

Roloson Rebound?

Head coach Jack Capuano has an interesting choice on his hands when he selects his netminder tonight. Does he go with the hot hand and stick DiPietro back in goal? Or does he saddle up Dwayne Roloson and see if his best goalie this season can rebound from that suspect 7-2 showing against the Rangers. My logic? Go with DiPietro. If he’s streaking, he might be able to steal another win Friday night, and if the Isles are going to trade Roloson at some point this season, you want DiPietro to start getting comfortable. Besides, if the Islander D still isn’t too strong, the Red Wings aren’t an opponent that allows goalies to regain their confidence.

Penalty Problem?

The Isles took 23 minutes of penalties against Pittsburgh, 10 of those a game misconduct to Zenon Konopka. On the season, New York is averaging just shy of 17 penalty minutes per game, the second highest average in the NHL. On one hand, that’s problematic since the Islanders PK operates at a middling 81 percent. But on the other, it may not be so bad. All but one of the penalties taken against the Pens were aggression penalties. Those are the kind of whistles that show a team playing right on the edge, and frankly, that’s where the Islanders need to play to win games. They need to throw some shoulders. They need to play the body. They need to get their opponent out of their comfort zone. If the Islanders start taking whistles for hooking, interference, tripping -- that’s when it becomes a problem because those are penalties taken by lazy defensive players.

Line shuffle keys Rangers rout

December, 28, 2010
The Rangers halted the New York Islanders’ win streak in its tracks at the Garden Monday, stomping all over their rivals 7-2.

The Isles kept the game close before a fluttering shot from Matt Gilroy eluded Isles stopper Dwayne Roloson to give the Rangers the lead and break the spell Roloson had cast on NHL skaters since last week (three goals allowed in three wins). But like Frosty with out his magic lid, Roloson and the Isles began to melt down. A sharp-angled goal from Brian “Rocket Richard” Boyle upped the margin to 4-2 and seemed to crush the Islanders’ spirit as Jack Capuano’s team was outshot 34-8 over the final two periods.

The Rangers have now collected points in five of their last six games and sit sixth in the East, three points behind the Washington Capitals.

Here’s a look at the aftermath via the Rangers’ media.

Morning Links

W2W4: Islanders vs. Devils

December, 23, 2010
The Isles and Devils clash for the second time this season, with the loser taking sole possession of the NHL basement. It's hard to believe both of these teams are in the cellar at this point in the season, but one of them will have chance to stay out of it for the holidays with two points Thursday night. Here are four factors to watch for when the puck drops in Newark.

Bailey's Back

The Islanders finally recalled Josh Bailey from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers after his surprise demotion in November. Not surprisingly, the prime prospect produced in bunches during his AHL stint, racking up 17 points in 11 games. He had struggled badly, failing to record a point in 13 straight games before being sent down. In his first game back with the big club on Wednesday he put two shots on goal in just under 18 minutes of ice time. We'll see if he can get that elusive point Thursday.

You Don't Score, Until You Score

The Devils went goalless in their first meeting with the Isles, a 2-0 loss Nov. 26. In that contest Rick DiPietro turned aside all New Jersey shooters, but the Islander netminder is currently sidelined with swelling in his knee. Dwayne Roloson picked up the win Wednesday night against Tampa Bay, so it will be interesting to see if the Isles roll with Roloson two nights in a row or if they turn to Nathan Lawson, who tended the nets in Saturday's shootout loss to Phoenix.

First One to One Wins?

The Devils and the Islanders represent the two lowest scoring teams in the NHL, so expect a pitchers duel Thursday night. New Jersey has gone three straight games with just a single goal to their credit and have failed to light the lamp more than once in six of their last nine games.

No, Seriously, First One to One Might Win

As you would expect from the two lowest scoring teams in the league, neither squad particularly excels at mounting a comeback. The Devils have a winning percentage of just .105 percent when trailing after the first period. The Isles? They're even worse at .053 percent. The moral of this statistical story? Come out quickly, because the first 20 minutes will dictate a lot about this game.

W2W4: Islanders vs. Rangers

December, 3, 2010
Thursday night’s battle certainly didn’t disappoint and Round 2 Friday night promises more of the same when the New York Islanders visit the Garden to face the New York Rangers. Here’s what to watch for when the action gets going.

The Odd Couple
Sean Avery supplied exactly what John Tortorella was hoping for Thursday when he placed him on the top line with Marian Gaborik. Three assists for Avery -- and three goals for Gaborik -- and you can bet the duo will again skate with Erik Christensen between them. But can they be as productive?

Though he’s known more for his work as an agitator, Avery isn’t without playmaking skills. He pursues the puck well and has the ability to produce when he gains possession. The best example of that came when he stripped the puck from Trevor Gillies along the boards and set up Gaborik in front of the net. His physical edge also promotes a little more chaos in the offensive zone than, say, Alexander Frolov. It’s an unorthodox line combination, but it could have some lasting success. We’ll see if they can sustain it through two games tonight.

The Crease Question
After Martin Biron got yanked following several soft goals Thursday, it will be interesting to see if John Tortorella puts him back in the crease Friday or if he turns to Henrik Lundqvist as originally intended. The Rangers next skate Sunday at home against Ottawa. If The King were to start both contests, that would make two consecutive weeks of Lundqvist playing in three games in four days. My guess is we’ll see Lundqvist tonight, with Biron getting a shot to bounce back Sunday.

Meanwhile for the Islanders, you’d have to expect Dwayne Roloson to get the nod, considering the Isles’ standard goalie rotation and the fact that Rick DiPietro did nothing to suggest he deserved another go, allowing six goals Thursday.

Put Up Your Dukes, Again
No Rangers-Islanders game is complete without a fight or two. Derek Boogaard and Gillies got the dance card going Thursday with a first-period throw down. Now, I’ve seen several posts around the ol’ Interwebs saying you could argue that Gillies actually won the fight. I guess you could argue that gravity will reverse itself tomorrow, too, but I think you’d be wrong on both counts. Boogaard may not have landed a lot of his blows, but he threw about 20 punches compared to two or three left-hand jabs from Gillies. Just because the Islander landed on top at the end of the fight doesn’t mean he gets the decision, though hats off to the Isles' enforcer in the courage department.

I also enjoyed the Praying Mantis/Crouching Tiger ninja moves Gillies busted out to open the bout. Maybe he’ll unleash his Hidden Dragon tonight if they get a rematch opportunity.

The Start of Something?
Perhaps the cure for the Isles’ offensive woes is for them to just play the Rangers. The five goals mark the high-water mark since they hung a five spot on the Avs on Oct. 16. True to yesterday’s preview, Blake Comeau struck for a goal and an assist. Meanwhile John Tavares, P.A. Parenteau and Radek Martinek each put up two assists. It will be interesting to see if the Isles can keep it up on enemy ice Friday ... and beyond.

The 9th Best GM?

Just one link to share with you right quick: Forbes has ranked Garth Snow the ninth best GM in the NHL in terms of production for the money. Curious to hear your thoughts on that one ...

Isles gain point, lose ninth straight

November, 12, 2010
The Islanders were again oh-so-close to breaking their losing streak, but sticks and pucks aren’t horseshoes and hand grenades. Thus, the streak endures.

Game Story | Box Score

A 2-1 shootout loss to San Jose is the latest disappointing chapter in the Islanders’ skid, but they did manage to snag their first lead in about three weeks last night on a second-period goal by P.A. Parenteau. Of course it only lasted for about 10 minutes, but hey, it’s progress. (And, of course, they grabbed their first point in the standings since Oct. 21.)

Dwayne Roloson was sensational any way you cut it, halting 37 of 38 Sharks shots, while enduring five power plays to the Islanders’ one. Despite the close game however, the team’s scoring woes lingered. The Isles now have just 13 goals over the last nine games and have scored multiple goals in a game just once in the last seven contests.

Morning Links

Donnie Pucks: Isles are looking to stay hot

October, 22, 2010
Every time the Islanders play, they suprise me. On Thursday, the red-hot Lightning played host to the Isles. What happened? Just another win in OT to raise the Isles' record to 4-1-2.

The trip continues with the 2-3 Panthers in Florida.

Don't be fooled by the record. The Panthers play a tight D and have a goalie, Tomas Vokoun, who in 5 games has a 1.94 gaa and .929 saves percentage.

Players to watch for the Islanders:
  • Matt Moulson -- He leads the team with 4 goals. He also picked up the game winning goal in OT in Tampa.
  • Nino Niederreiter -- The Islanders' first round pick has a goal and an assist so for this season. How he plays in the next couple of games will determine if he stays up with the big club.
  • Rick DiPietro -- If he starts in Florida, he will look to build off a 28-save performance on Thursday in Tampa.
  • Dwayne Roloson -- Roloson has been putting on the pressure. Rick needs to fire back.

Donnie Pucks: A start to be proud of

October, 19, 2010
The Islanders are in first place!

I know it's only six games. I also get that they are tied with the Penguins. But the Islanders are in first place!

Why not get excited, you started the year as an Islander fan thinking that it would be a miserable beginning.

You lost Mark Streit and Kyle Okposo to injury in camp. Then, on opening night, saw your star, John Tavares, suffer a mild concussion that forced him to miss the next two games.

So what do the Islanders do? They go 3-1-2 to begin the season (2-0-1 at home). Their only loss in regulation came in Washington by the score of 2-1.

Now the question is -- how they have done it?

Dwayne Roloson is 2-1 with a 1.65 goals against average and a .942 save percentage. Not bad for a 41 year old. It seems unlikely that he'll surpass Rick DiPietro as the starter, but he'll get at least 30 starts.

Blake Comeau, Matt Moulson and Josh Bailey, all have 3 goals.

Four of the Islanders defensemen are a plus 2.

The Islanders have the 7th best power play in the NHL -- clicking at 30% scoring 6 times in the first 6 games.

Scott Gordon is a head coach that loves to push the puck up ice and force the issue. With two years of coaching with the Isles under his belt it seems like the players are getting his message.

I have always said the Islanders fan base is out there. It lies dorment waiting for a time to come out and believe. I saw it first hand in 2002. In the infancy of 1050 ESPN, the Islanders were on our station. I was at all 3 of the home games against the Leafs. I saw the passion and saw the numbers. So I know that given a solid team to root for, the fans will support the team.

I understand it's only six games. But if you're looking for a young hard working team that will make you proud, maybe this is it.

Isles keep Rol-ing, top Leafs in OT

October, 19, 2010
The Islanders were the first team to trip up the Toronto Maple Leafs this season, recovering from a late game-tying goal by Phil Kessel to claim the W, 2-1, in OT.

Box Score | Game Story

In his second game back from a concussion, John Tavares notched the game-winner on the power play, while Toronto’s Brett Lebda sat in the box for interfering with G Dwayne Roloson. The Islanders netminder was again sensational, stopping 29 of 30 shots, many of them in spectacular fashion.

One downer in the victory was C Josh Bailey's departure with a hip flexor injury. No news yet that I've seen on the length of his absence.



Roloson was a thief in the crease all night and the Islanders probably gave up a few more solid scoring chances than they’d have liked, but this is more of a cumulative positive. Since beating the Rangers 6-4 on Columbus Day, no team has scored more than two goals in regulation against the Islanders. And that stretch has included the Washington Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins and Colorado Avalanche, three of last season’s top-six scoring teams.


Shot Totals

Since outshooting the Stars 47-22 in the season-opener, the Islanders have posted a shot differential of minus-23 and topped 25 shots on goal just once (against the Rangers). While the Islanders have managed to claim eight standings points in six games, that’s not a formula for long-term success. The Isles need to start putting some shots on the net, or at least start finishing some of their better chances. Even tonight, New York was a pair of disallowed goals from defeat.

Morning Links

Caps' stars shoot down Isles

October, 14, 2010
The Islanders may have lost, but they certainly acquitted themselves well as their injury riddled roster made the Washington Capitals labor the entire game before falling 2-1 on a power-play goal in the final minutes of regulation.

Box Score

While the Islanders’ top players continue to sit on the shelf (including John Tavares, Mark Streit, Kyle Okposo and Rob Schremp) and were joined by the suspended James Wisniewski, the Caps got goals from their two stars, Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, to provide the winning margin. That was despite being largely outworked by the Islanders for the vast majority of the game.

The loss perfectly illustrates why a lot of pundits are sour on the Islanders’ chances to make the playoffs given their long list of injured key players. The Caps and the NHL’s other top teams are so talent rich that they can still win games even when they’re having an off night. The Islanders, on the other hand, have to put in 110-percent effort every night and even then it may not be enough for a W.

The Islanders don’t have anything to be ashamed of last night however, and if they can maintain this effort level when Tavares and his top-tier teammates return, the Isles will almost certainly outpace expectations.


+ El Nino

Nino Niederreiter tallied his first NHL goal off a sweet set up from Doug Weight in the first period. Niederreiter slipped relatively unmarked just to the right of the Caps’ crease and slapped Weight’s pass between the pads of goalie Michal Neuvirth (who probably was the only thing separating the Isles from a W last night). He finished plus-1 with two shots on goal.

+ Dwayne Roloson

He brought his “A” game to D.C. for his first start of the year. When you hold the Caps to two goals, you’re doing just fine. Yeah, he got caught flat-footed on Ovechkin’s goal, but Ovi’s made a lot of goalies look pretty silly. Roloson played well enough to get a win Wednesday.


- Converting Chances

Seriously there’s not a lot to pick on from last night, but the deciding factor was probably the Isles’ inability to convert a few pretty good scoring chances. Matt Moulson couldn’t beat Neuvirth on a breakaway in the third period and even in the first the Isles had a number of excellent point-blank shots but only deposited one past the Caps’ goalie.

Morning Links
  • Here’s a look from the Washington Post.
  • Lighthouse Hockey provides a lengthy and insightful recap, including some CORSI ratings from last night’s game. Look at those numbers and you can really see the Islanders deserved to win last night.

Isles drop pair to start preseason

September, 30, 2010
The Isles opened their preseason with a pair of losses last night, falling to the Flames in Saskatoon 3-2 and to the Flyers in Philly 3-1.

The losses aren’t entirely surprising given their opponents have had a combined 11 games to shed the summer rust, and showed that edge early in both games. The Flames and Flyers each leaped out to three-goal leads before the Islanders could answer. The win is Calgary’s fifth of its undefeated preseason.

I can’t seem to find a box score for the Isles-Flyers game, which contained most of New York’s A-team, but Calvin de Haan and Trevor Gillies accounted for the two Islander goals. In Philly, Krys Kolanos netted the lone Islander goal against a close approximation of the Flyers' varsity squad.

According to the Islanders team site, head coach Scott Gordon, who traveled with the Saskatoon squad, thought the penalty kill was solid, as was the play of de Haan.

In Philly, G Dwayne Roloson’s play was the game’s highlight for New York.

Isles-Flyers Box Score

SI Picks Isles 14th in East

The Sports Illustrated NHL Preview came out yesterday with the magazine picking the Islanders to finish ahead of the Florida Panthers and no one else in the East. SI applauded the signing of “capable” defensemen Mark Eaton and Milan Jurcina, but Pierre McGuire wrote that the only way the Islanders make the playoffs is if Rick DiPietro stays off the IR and regains his sterling form from his early career.

Morning Links