Islanders in Europe: Tavares, Streit giving Bern a big boost
by Christian Arnold/Correspondent
Thanks to the lockout, several Islander players have packed up their sticks and headed to Europe to play – a group that includes stars like John Tavares, Michael Grabner and Mark Streit.
Of the New York-area hockey clubs, the Isles have the most players that have signed with European teams, with Andrew MacDonald and Rick DiPietro being the most recent guys to do so.
Right now, let’s take a look at how these players have been doing overseas.
Lubomir Visnovsky | HC Slovan Bratislava
Visnovsky didn’t even get to try on an Islander sweater before the lockout began and he joined Slovan Bratislava of the KHL. Slovan was Visnovsky’s first pro team.
The team has played 14 games so far this season, recording five wins, five losses, three shootout wins and one shootout loss. Visnovsky has played in five games in the 2012-13 campaign. He has scored one goal so far, which was a game winner, and has an assist for two points. Visnovsky is averaging 1.4 shots per game and has a plus-4 rating.
Mark Streit | SC Bern
Islander captain Mark Streit returned to his native Switzerland during the lockout to play for his hometown team, SC Bern.
Bern has played 12 games to date this season and they have won six of the matches. Streit has played in the last eight games for the team and has posted three goals and four assist for seven points. He scored his first goal as a member of SC Bern on Sept. 29.
Jesse Joensuu | Assat
For the second year in a row, Jesse Joensuu is over in Europe playing hockey. Last year he played 50 games in the Swedish Elite League and is now skating for Assat Pori.
So far, Joensuu has played in eight games for Assat, where he has scored six goals and five assists for 11 points. He also has a plus-2 rating. As for his club, they are ranked sixth in the standings through 12 games.
Frans Nielsen | Lukko
Frans Nielsen packed his bags and signed with the Finnish club Lukko for the duration of the lockout. Nielsen has appeared in five games for the Finnish Club and has contributed five assists. He’s plus-4 on the season.
John Tavares | SC Bern
The New York Islanders’ All-Star joined captain Mark Streit in Switzerland and signed with SC Bern.
Since joining his NHL teammate, Tavares has appeared in four games, during which he has three goals and three assists for six points. The 22-year-old recently had a two-goal night against Ambri Piotta.
Michael Grabner | VSV Villacher
Like many other NHL players, Grabner returned to his native country (Austria) to play there until the lockout ends. The former Calder Trophy finalist signed with his hometown club of VSV Villacher.
Grabs has played in two games for the Austrian club and already has two goals and an assist for three points in that span. To date, VSV is No. 1 in the Erste Bank Hockey League with 21 points through 11 games.
Andrew MacDonald | HC Energie Karlovy Vary
Andrew MacDonald is one of the more recent Islanders to take flight to Europe to play hockey during the lockout. He signed with HC Energie Karlovy Vary of the Czech Extraliga three days ago. He is the only Canadian player on the roster other than Dustin Kohn.
A-Mac played in his first game yesterday, registering an assist.
Rick DiPietro | SC Riessersee
Rick DiPietro is also one of the latest guys to head over to Europe, in his case to play in Germany’s second tier league for SC Riessersee.
The team has only won just one game this season and they are in last place in their league. DiPietro has not started yet, but his first game is expected to be on Sunday against the Landshut Cannibals.