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Bluelines: Isles' Future, Sabres Trade Rumors, and Stars of the Week

By Stan Fischler
February 6, 2012

• The Islanders will play an exhibition game in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center next fall and that has a logical explanation: 1. It’s a signal to foot-dragging Nassau politicians that they had better get serious about working out a new Coliseum deal.

• Meanwhile, the Islanders continue to build hope for the present and future. John Tavares was named First NHL star for the Month of January. Tavares led the NHL in assists (13) and points (22) and shared the league lead in plus-eleven last month. Add to that the fact that Bridgeport Sound Tigers center Casey Cizikas was named Reebok/AHL Player of the Month for January. Cizikas tallied eight goals and 10 assists for 18 points.  Sound Tigers’ goalie Kevin Poulin was named Reebok/AHL Goaltender of the Month for January. Poulin made seven appearances during the month and allowed 11 goals on 216 shots, going 6-0-1 with a 1.52 goals-against average. A .949 save percentage and three shutouts

• Here’s what one opposing goaltender coach says about Henrik Lundqvist: “His focus around the net is as good as I’ve ever seen. He puts his weight forward, arms wide and you can’t see anything to shoot at.”

• My main man in Buffalo, Dave Ricci, tosses another log on the flaming Ryan Miller rumor inferno: “Trade rumors involving Miller keep swirling, but Ryan maintains that he wants to stay with the Sabres. After last Wednesday’s shootout loss to the Rangers, the Sabres ace allowed that he’s feeling in a better place mentally. The players believe that as a team they still have what it takes to make a strong run to make the playoffs. Lindy Ruff pointed to the team going 16-4-4 down the stretch last year to make the post-season as proof that it can be done.” Miller was sensational in beating the Islanders in a Shootout on Saturday.

• Ricci also makes a good point when he points out that the bulk of Buffalo’s roster “was built under financial constraints of the Tom Golisano ownership. It will take a while for things to come together as new owner Terry Pegula had promised.”

• Edmonton’s Sam Gagner, New Jersey’s Ilya Kovalchuk and Toronto’s James Reimer were named the NHL’s Three Stars for the week ending February 5. The first star was Gagner, who tallied a league-leading 12 points. The second star was Kovalchuk, who notched ten points, leading the Devils to four consecutive victories. Third star was Reimer, who posted shutouts in consecutive games against Pittsburgh on Feb.1 and Ottawa on Feb. 4.

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