NHL.com Feature on Islander Prospects.

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/21/2007 08:30:00 PM | | | | | Be the first to comment!

NHL.com writer John McGourty had a good feature on the Islander prospects Tuesday that discusses the clubs depth at right wing starting with Kyle Okposo. All top the top prospects were featured with comments from Islander management including Frans Nielsen, Nokelainen, Dustin Kohn ect.

And for those needed a little laugh does NHL.com writer John McGourty look like Jason Blake or what.

Islander tryout and an apology to Michael Fornabaio

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/21/2007 07:45:00 PM | | | | | Be the first to comment!
I'm going to make some mistakes in this blog with some commentary and information from time to time.

Today I have to acknowledge a mistake by not including Sound Tigers beat writer, Michael Fornabaio of the Ct Post in my update grading and discussion of the Islander media.

Michael Fornabio:
Has been with the Sound Tigers basically since it's inception. In my opinion Fornabaio's work is not only outstanding, with tons of information and an understanding not only of the game and team but let's the fans get to know all the players and tells their story and the teams. His work is so good is it usually ahead of Newsday in reporting possible moves the Islanders make in terms of call ups and signings. He has a blog at the Ct Post and had to relocate it and he seems to have an understanding of what the die-hards want and need to know. His paper also seems to give him the space required to do an excellent job. When he got in a car accident a few years ago he told us what was going on and really seemed to rush back to make sure the fans had game coverage. Chris Elsberry's updates on the Sound Tigers seem to appear less and less frequently on the club.

Needless to say Michael Fornabaio get's a A from me for a grade and an apology for not including him in the previous update because no one does a better job. Maybe the players are more willing to talk in the AHL but he also has an ability of making you feel you were at the game when you read his game reviews that is a skill many hockey writers lack.

Fornabaio reported in his blog that the Islanders may invite Gord Dwyer to camp on a tryout basis according to this
website he links to.

Islander spokesman claimed no confirmation on Dwyer invite and not sure we'd have room.

In another update from Mr Fornabaio former Nighthawk Chris Kotsopoulos will be the Sound Tigers' color analyst this year. A radio deal appears to be coming soon.

Isles release Pre-Season Schedule

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/21/2007 07:20:00 PM | | Be the first to comment!
NYI.com released the clubs
pre-season schedule today.

2007 Preseason Schedule/Results
DATE VISITOR HOME SCORE DEC TIME
Mon Sep 17, 2007 Thrashers Islanders
Tue Sep 18, 2007 Bruins Islanders
Wed Sep 19, 2007 Canadiens Islanders
Fri Sep 21, 2007 Islanders Canadiens
Mon Sep 24, 2007 Rangers Islanders-Coliseum
Wed Sep 26, 2007 Islanders Devils
Fri Sep 28, 2007 Islanders Rangers
Sat Sep 29, 2007 Devils Islanders-Harbor Yard
Sun Sep 30, 2007 Islanders Bruins

The early home games in pre-season will be played in Moncton.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Had a thread on this with the games listed a while back and comments. Can only repeat the more pre-season games the more opportunities and only wish the club that does not need to get away from it all had their full camp at Nassau Coliseum and around the New York area to attract more interest.

Tuesday odds and ends

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/21/2007 11:25:00 AM | | | | | | Be the first to comment!
Globe and Mail checks in with an article on the league's television options.


Regular-season ratings (percentage of U.S. households tuned in) have been low: 0.9 in 2005-06 and 1.0 in 2006-07. But ABC's average of 1.1 for its final season,
2003-04, wasn't much better.

What if ESPN, which balked at a $60-million (U.S.) annual rights fee in 2005, agreed to pay the NHL $30-million? Each of the 30 clubs would pick up $1-million a year, more than what is being earned in the NBC deal.

There could be other compelling reasons for the league choosing ESPN and ESPN2 over NBC.Although the NHL would lose carriage on a main broadcasting network by opting for ESPN over NBC, it would renew its relationship with the most powerful sports channel in North America.

Exposure on ESPN's SportsCenter, which dropped 28 per cent after 2005, would increase. And the constant scrutiny of the NHL's paltry U.S. ratings would largely disappear. Cable audience figures do not receive as much attention in the U.S. media as those of broadcasters.

Everything is speculative that this point.
ESPN may have interest. NBC isn't planning an exit strategy quite yet.


NYI Fan Central Comments:
A lot of speculation, some of it political from the publications and websites producing the information that may need NBC, Espn or Versus.

Bottom line ratings will be poor no matter where games are shown.

Vancouver Sun is reporting former Islander Trevor Linden may sign an bonus incentive contract with the Canucks starting at 450k down from what he made last season.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Were a long, long way from a decade ago when his contract with the Islanders made him so unhappy he looked invisible on the ice for most of his time here, but nothing that happened under Milstein worked out. Linden belongs in Vancouver.

Daily News reports Peca's agent wants an answer today from Sather or he's likely going to sign elsewhere.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Sure tired of Peca updates, a player who has thirteen goals since the lockout ended and is injury prone is not worth this kind of fuss. Meehan's likley using the Rangers to up the price as many do and wants a lot of easily attainable bouns incentives. Just pick a team Mike and spare the constant updates, he's becoming like Lindros more and more.

Wes O'Neill and Wyatt Smith sign with Avs

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/20/2007 06:42:00 PM | | | | | Be the first to comment!
For those who recall Chris Botta mentioned earlier this summer it was unlikely the Islanders were going to sign prospect Wes O'Neill, who was drafted 115th overall in 2004 and played for Notre Dame. Today he signed with the Colorado Avalanche
who also added former Islander Wyatt Smith.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Botta alerted the fans to O'Neill not being tendered a contract earlier this summer so this is no surprise. We'll have to see what happens after he dropped all the way to the fourth round and many draft experts called his selection a steal for the club at the time, guess not.

Wyatt Smith played for the Islanders in 05-06 and was an unrestricted free agent.

Offensive Comparsion 06-07 vs 07-08 Islanders

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/20/2007 10:28:00 AM | | | | 2 Comments so far
Going into a topic like this it must be made clear players have different roles on different teams. A Ruslan Fedotenko for example will be asked to do a lot more here than he was in Tampa, Mike Comrie will be relied on for much more than he was in Ottawa and Bill Guerin will not have a strong scoring support cast like he had in Dallas or San Jose. To say nothing of what a Bergenheim or Tambellini may produce in an expanded role.

Of course games go well beyond numbers and hard statistics, but just for this topic let's look at where the numbers stand among the forwards no longer here vs who was added.

Player GP G A Pts +/- Pim PPG Shots
Blake 82 40 29 69 1 34 14 305
Kozlov 81 25 26 51 12 28 5 152
Yashin 58 18 32 50 6 44 5 203
Robitaille 50 6 17 23 -2 22 1 74
York 32 6 7 13 -9 14 2 46
Asham 80 11 12 23 3 63 0 85
Smyth 18 5 10 15 0 14 1 49
Zednik 10 1 2 3 -2 2 0 15

Totals 411 112 135 247 +9 221 28 929

Because Bergenheim is likely going to be on the club an overestimation of his stats will be provided. Same for Jeff Tambellini to balance out eight players for eight players.

GP G A Pts +/- Pim PPG Shots
Guerin 77 36 20 56 10 67 9 225
Fedotenko 80 12 20 32 -3 52 2 154
Sim 77 17 12 29 -1 60 2 141
Comrie 65 20 25 45 E 44 7 125
Vasicek 63 6 16 22 -5 51 0 77
Bergenheim 78 15 25 40 +7 46 2 150
Tambellini 79 10 20 32 +2 38 3 125

GP G A Pts +/- Pim PPG Shots
Totals 519 116 136 252 +10 358 25 997

Comparison: GP G A Pts +/- Pim PPG Shots
O6-07: 411 112 135 247 +9 221 28 929
07-08: 519 116 136 252 +10 358 25 997

I was a little generous with Bergenheim's numbers but in a top six forward role twenty five assists and fifteen goals after his solid production in the SEL last year after leaving Russia does not seem a huge stretch.

Tambellini's numbers were scaled back because I don't see him on a top two line and right now it's a stretch to see him on a third line as a left wing with Fedotenko, Bergenheim, Sim, Hilbert and even Simon all left wings as their primary left winger.

Edit 8/20: I took away two goals from Tambellini's estimate but did not subtract two points from the teams totals, that has now been corrected.

At this time the club is relying on someone from last year's squad to replace Poti's numbers and Sutton to replace Hill's offense. I'm brining this up because the defense helps contribute to the numbers the forwards produce.

Overall this will likely not be reflective of the finals numbers for this forward group vs last year's. Too many variables can change performance one way or another I substituted four players who played less than sixty games on this roster last year.

Just a little number crunching on a quiet day so far but one folks who compare last year with this year will likely make.

Comments and discussion always are welcome here or on the message board.

Snow told Asham to look for another job.

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/20/2007 10:01:00 AM | | | | Be the first to comment!
Former Islander Arron Asham was quoted today in a national post blurb why he decided to sign with the Devils for a 200k pay cut.


The Islanders believed veteran tough guy Chris Simon could replace Asham's grittiness in the lineup and general manager Garth Snow told Asham that he should look for another job. After negotiating with four teams, he and his agent chose New Jersey.

"I got a better offer from one other team, but I thought if I was ever going to play on a Stanley Cup champion, it would probably be in Jersey," Asham told Winnipeg's Grass-roots News last Thursday. "When you have a goaltender like Martin Brodeur, you have a chance to win a Cup."


NYI Fan Central Comments:
Asham is usually quoted once a year in the National Post. Last year the Islanders wanted to sign him to a longer-term contract for more than he signed for. Have to agree with his comments that a team with Martin Brodeur in goal has a chance to win a Stanley Cup. Nothing more I can add other than what was written here when his signing was reported.

Gervais to play exhibition August 25th.

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/19/2007 03:19:00 PM | Be the first to comment!
For the second year in a row, an exhibition hockey match to raise funds for cancer research will be held at Léo Crépin Arena Aug. 25 at 8 p.m. Maxime Talbot of the Pittsburgh Penguins is the game's honorary president. Bruno Gervais is expected to play according to this article.

All proceeds will be handed over to the Canadian Cancer Society.

Let's talk New York Islander print media game.

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/19/2007 01:44:00 PM | | | | | | | | Be the first to comment!
I always kind of laugh when once a year or longer a publication will mention the Long Island chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association of America awarded something to an Islander player or nominated them for a league award like the Masterson.

Where is this association of hockey writers when basically one person at Newsday covers the club on a full time basis during the season?

Can I apply after owning a mailing list for seven years, writing for websites and moderating/owning message forms regarding the club. I have problems even remembering the roster of people who have covered the club locally for the last seven years as hockey coverage in New York has decreased dramatically.

I think it goes like this:
Newsday-Valenti, Hahn, Logan
Post-Berman, Baum, Grossman, Martin, Everson-Brooks infrequent updates.
Daily News-Stephenson, Botte or Dellapina infrequent updates.
Times: Caldwell, Ron Dicker, A.P aside from features and rare Caldwell appearances.
NY Sun-Kevin Greenstein features only
Journal News-rare updates at best

No wonder the Islanders are reaching out to fans to start blogs and come report on games. I'm a little disappointed Chris Botta stopped ripping the media earlier this summer after getting into it with a few writers and promised a media-watch column every two weeks through the summer that he did not follow up on.

Just for reference when I started getting into hockey on-line a site called faceoff.com used to have weekly reports from Peter Botte from the Daily News. The Sporting News used to feature an Islander report from Alan Hahn weekly. Information was much easier to find and few sites were pay/subscription.

Those days are over and sites like that folded or scaled back hockey coverage or demand you pay for what I consider worthless content. Many teams do not have beatwriters on the road anymore to save money so you read the AP/ticker and club website for game information and check out the opposition. Once in a while a Newsday beatwriter like a Heyman, Powell or Howard will show up and the work looks like it's from someone who has only seen a handful of games because they are required, they provide nothing but filler and the die-hard fans know much more.

A major part of all this is the sports editor is the final say with regard to a teams coverage. I can only question the beatwriters content and effort here covering the club. It's kind of like fans blaming the beatwriter for the headline, papers have people to write the headline for a writers article, but we read something and blame the writer because his article is beneath someone else's headline.

Of course the major part of talking about the Islander media starts with new beatwriter Greg Logan, who was assigned to cover the club after Alan Hahn was
re-assigned the Knicks beat last summer. Let me start by writing anyone would have been an upgrade from Hahn after 05-06 who seemed to have an problem with some players and clearly the clubs PR director, Chris Botta was not happy with his work or lack of effort.

Worst of all Mr Hahn got very lazy and sloppy in his reporting of the games and information after the lockout. He never reached out to all the players on the roster. We read more on our European players in Europe and Canada in season then we ever did in Newsday. How long has Radek Martinek been here? Anyone ever read one quote from him in Newsday, even though he tries to give an interview once in a while on FSN.

Was it that tough for Mr Hahn to update his mailbag when in Pittsburgh their writers did one every week or two through the lockout? He claimed to be a life-long fan of the club and wrote two books (that badly needed editing) was it that hard for him to show some enthusiam if he grew up a fan? He ignored the clubs 25th anniversary of the 1980 cup during the lockout and only after fans contacted Newsday were some token features written with excepts from his book the following Sunday.

Mr Hahn sure had no problem constantly reminding us in his limited space that we are not a major market team so our space is limited.

Early years Hahn rated a solid C+ but his final year declined all the way to an F and not because of his negative view toward a losing team in 05-06. You want the beatwriter to tell it as it is, but from my perspective he just did not have any enthusiam for his job and the work was as sloppy as the club on the ice. In fairness Milbury was either a tough person to interview or one who fills quotebooks and makes the job easy. Later we found out his father passed away so maybe that was a problem all season his last year also.

Greg Logan: I don't want a homer covering the club and he shows signs of being one once in a while. Maybe he wants a good relationship with the club but so far I have to give him high marks. He took over the beat during some very tough times in the front office last summer.

If Logan wants to be critical that's great. A few times he seemed to take the high road during adversity where Snow and Nolan deserved some more tough questions, especially Nolan who went with Dunham too long and it practically eliminated the club from playoff contention. I like his blog updates and he does a good job but I don't think he understands this is the only newspaper blog the Isles have and the club needs all the updates it can get. Steve Zipay will put up three small updates in a day, Logan will do three big updates in a month. Meanwhile several of the other major papers have their their writers blogging because they understand the space in the paper is limited for hockey. The Islander blog at Newsday is critical to the coverage of the club.

Logan's work running down the Smyth trade was outstanding as was his getting an
interview from an airport as he flew here from Edmonton. Logan was also quick to point out blog views equals coverage. Islander fans set record numbers in Newsday
and newspaper coverage/backpages increased. That's what he mentioned in his first blog and he followed through which is what die-hards like myself look for.

All writers miss some items in reporting, Logan is no different but he had a very good first season here and I would rate his work a solid B under a lot of fan scrutiny from folks behind keyboards who have it easy like myself.

Peter Botte: I cannot blame Mr Botte for not being allowed to cover games, that goes with sports editor (Leon Carver?) at the Daily News. When he reports his work is usually very good and brings a lot of information. He knows when the club deserves credit and when they deserve to be ripped. Never saw any tendency where he played favorites.

Botte's been around for a long time on the Islander beat, he no longer is permitted to cover road games and the News will sometimes not send him to home games. I would give the editor an F and Botte a B+....

New York Post: Evan Grossman left for NHL.com in season last year and aside from an infrequnet Dan Martin home game article that read like A.P coverage we have not had a new full-time writer named to this point. What's interesting here is I was never a fan of Grossman's work at the Post but his Islander/NHL features at NHL.com are outstanding. I have doubts the Post will spend money on a full-time replacement and Larry Brooks noted the Isles ignored him in a conference call this summer so clearly Botta is not happy with the club's treatment.

Post sports editor Gallo has never given the Isles a fair shake in the Post, he get's a F while Grossman unitl the point he left rated a C. Grossman created a stir in Ottawa in the 2003 playoff when he picked the Islanders to upset the Senators.

New York Times: Again a F to the sports editor for not assigning any beatwriter to the club, Dave Caldwell game articles were so infrequent I cannot give it a fair rating, his Islander work from years ago would rate a B.

Sunday Islander/NHL Notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/19/2007 07:55:00 AM | | | | | Be the first to comment!
Interesting two part article out of Kansas City from a writer named Peter Grathoff that mentions expansion or relocation in the NHL so a club can move into the new Spirit Center here.

The usual subjects are covered. Owners want more expansion fees because the NHLPA does not profit from it, teams losing money, attendance issues, history of expansion, franchise value's increasing, what adding a team (or two) would mean for talent pool ect....

What I find interesting here is you always get these people claiming to be hockey experts on markets they don't go to or live in. What does Allan Maki, a hockey/sports columnist for the Toronto Globe and Mail (this article they wrote Toronto Globe and Mail) know about Kansas City beyond the fact the Scouts failed long ago and relocated? I have been following hockey for over thirty years and that's the best I could tell you about the Scouts aside from the fact they moved to Colorado then NJ.

Then you get someone named David Carter, executive director of the USC Sports Business Institute. Who provides us some background, history on expansion for the NHL but does he understand the history of the league at all and the Kansas City market? In this article he did his homework, he tried to contact Bill Daly from the league and has many comments from the league office regarding the CBA and future and he presents a lot of information, but it seems like this person has never seen a hockey game.

Maki is interesting here also because on one hand HE recently wrote about the NHL’s upturn in business recently. Today Maki's quoted as saying “I just don’t know about the business of the NHL,”

Then he writes:

“Some people are saying it’s very, very good and that’s why costs are going up, and others are saying it’s a reflection of there being only so many football, baseball and basketball franchises that can be had and if you want to get in, the NHL is both available and reasonably priced by comparison.”

When I looked at some recent Globe and Mail Articles Maki contributed to it's easy to understandy why he does not know Buying Frenzy defies logic The NHL suddenly a hot commodity.

Both gentleman feel it's inevitable KC will get another team because they seem to have the financial support from individuals or groups to make it happen and a modern facility is about to open.

As fans we all missed a full season of hockey, an unprecedented event.

Part of the lockout settlement was that both sides appointed someone to review all the clubs revenue in full. Instead of relying on a lot of estimates from Forbes that comes out every December and mostly deal with estimated franchise values, why not just post what each teams makes in revenue, what they claim to make or lose, what revenue sharing the receive or pay and the actual attendance for games, not announced sellouts?

What do the league, owners and NHLPA have to lose? Isn't the goal a better product for fans at an affordable cost that is strong enough it makes more money for the owners and players.

In other news:

Sunday's Newsday has a full page feature on the ice-girl tryouts
here
which seemed longer than most hockey updates this summer from Newsday aside from the new jersey release.

Of course the incident with Ranger goaltender Lundqvist was the lead part of the story from last season and why I'm bothering with it here. It's interesting Newsday writer, JOSEPH V. AMODIO who did the feature did not mention the problems with the Ranger City skaters that led to lawsuits here which ended the Ranger City Skaters and seemed to cost Times beat writer his column covering the club.

In today's version of Where's Waldo, Michael Peca rumors to the Blue Jackets are heating in with quotes from Peca's agent. Peca expressed interest in signing with Columbus and was quoted Saturday.

I hope he signs soon so these updates on him end, I do not care what team. Too many updates for thirteen goals the last two years in the regular season.

New York Islander Fan Central growing fast

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/18/2007 02:40:00 PM | Be the first to comment!

Let me start by expressing my thanks to all the folks who have contacted me or have been viewing this very new blog.

I'm not one for counters or views or things like that, but I added some just to get an idea how things were going and for the first time this month took a look at the bottom of the page to go with the increasing e-mails and was shocked.

I have added a new message board for all those wanting to talk hockey. I'm hoping for a small die-hard group of Islander fans who want to have some insightful discussion where the content and quality are first class.

All I ask of anyone posting is that the content is respectful. I'm going for quality, not quantity.

When I started this only a few weeks ago on 7/24 I was a little skeptical as to the response it would receive with so many Islander websites to say nothing of the club's new blog box. Outside of a post or two on my old Islanders-Sound Tigers yahoo forum and adding in feeders, I have done no advertising at all for this blog. I get so caught up in the hockey I forget to go do any advertising because that aspect is boring to me.

Once again all I can do is thank everyone for such great early support and promise if you visit this site on a regular basis you will get a blog you will look forward to reading packed with quality information. Those who are familiar with my work over the years know I would not have it any other way for New York Islander fans.

From time to time I will discuss some hockey cyber-space items over the years that folks may (or may not) be interested in from the sites I have owned, moderated or written for.

Please check out all the features which are always being updated and improved. With the new uniform design released I finally settled on a color scheme for the blog a little less hard on the eyes but can always go back to the seventies look at any time. Feel free to offer suggestions and I'll see what can be done.

The news sections of the page at the bottom automatically update so even if I'm not around, there is always something going on.

I feel I have picked out the best automated Islander news sources. Logan's blog is not RSS accessible nor is TSN for hockey only but there is something here for everyone and I'm always adding things and subracting others. If your a Sound Tiger fan we have several updates on them as well and links to Michael Fornabaio's outstanding blog. Ct Post does not currently have RSS for Sound Tigers.

All prospect profiles from the club are also accessible here with any Islander website updated.

When the pre-season starts I'm going to post every update from Moncton to New York and in-between I can find.

Thanks again everyone.
NYIsles1/IslesTigers

UFA Notables and Islander summer scorecard

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/18/2007 11:27:00 AM | | | Be the first to comment!
I thought today would be a good time to list the UFA name players/former Islanders and Sound Tigers still available in Free Agency and where some of our former players have signed and when.

Call it our summer scorecard for those who have not followed much Islander hockey this summer.

Sorry if I miss anyone recently signed, feel free to submit corrections and I will make changes.

Enjoy..

UFA:
Teemu Selanne, (III)
Tony Amonte, (III)
Jeff Friesen, (III)
Darren McCarty, (III)
Anson Carter, (III)
David Tanabe, (III)
Peter Bondra, (III)
Bryan Berard, (III)
Eric Lindros, (III)
Patrik Stefan, (III)
Danny Markov, (III)
Wyatt Smith, (III)
Mike Johnson, (III)
Janne Niinimaa, (III)
Peter Forsberg, (III)
Dan McGillis, (III)
Erik Rasmussen, (III)
Jason Wiemer, (III)
Sandis Ozolinsh, (III)
Dave Scatchard, (UFA)
Jeremy Roenick, (III)
John LeClair, (UFA)
Eric Cairns, (III)
Vladimir Orszagh, (III)
Glen Metropolit, (III)
Travis Green, (III)
Tyson Nash, (III)
Jeff O'Neill, (III)
Mike Peca, (III)
Trevor Linden, (III)
Brent Sopel, (III)

Islander signings:
Wade Dubielwicz, (III) May 8
Sean Bergenheim, (II) June 18
Jon Sim, (III) July 1
Tim Jackman, (VI) July 4
Ruslan Fedotenko, July 4
Kip Brennan July 4
Mike Comrie July 5
Matt Spiller July 5
Bill Guerin, (III) July 5
Darryl Bootland, (VI) July 6
Chris Campoli, (II) July 10
Aaron Johnson, (UFA) July 12
Andy Hilbert, (UFA) July 12
Drew Fata, (II) July 15
Chris Simon, (III) July 22
Trent Hunter, (II) August 6
Andy Sutton, (III) August 10
Josef Vasicek, (III) August 15
Steve Regier, (II) Resigned per NHLPA.com

Islander UFA:
Mike Dunham, (III)
Deron Quint, (III)

SoundTiger (or former Sound Tiger) UFA:
Billy Thompson, (UFA)
Rick Berry, (III)
Joel Bouchard, (III)
Peter Ferraro, (III)
Evgeny Korolev, (III)
Todd Simpson, (III)
Dimitri Upper, (III)
Daniel Tkaczuk, (III)

Former Islander/Sound Tigers:
Mattias Weinhandl, (UFA) Linkoping, SWE April 21
Tomas Malec, (VI) Trinec, CZE May 1
Randy Robitaille, (III) Yaroslavl, RUS May 18
Ben Guite, (VI) Colorado June 15
Justin Papineau, (VI) Basel, SWI June 21
Eric Boguniecki, (III) Ingolstadt, GER June 29
Ryan Smyth, (III) Colorado July 1
Richard Zednik, (III) Florida July 1
Jeff Hamilton, (III) Carolina July 1
Jason Blake, (III) Toronto July 1
Viktor Kozlov, (III) Washington July 1
Tom Poti, (III) Washington July 1
Roman Hamrlik, (III) Montreal July 2
Bryan Smolinski, (III) Montreal July 2
Johan Halvardsson, (UFA) HV-71, SWE July 3
Jamie Rivers, (III) Montreal July 5
Sean Hill, (III) Minnesota July 6
Wade Flaherty, (III) Chicago July 11
Alexei Yashin, (UFA) Yaroslavl, RUS July 20
Jamie McLennan, (III) Metallurg, RUS July 25
Josh Green, (III) Salzburg, AUS August 6
Aaron Asham, (III) New Jersey August 7
Matt Koalska, (UFA) Bolzano, ITA August 9
Justin Mapletoft Ottawa August 10

Former Islanders who are unsigned restricted free agents at present:
John Erskine, (II) Washington.

A loud rant on a quiet Saturday....

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/18/2007 08:08:00 AM | | | 6 Comments so far
For those who know me from Islanders-Sound Tigers or HF, you know I'm not the kind of fan who pulls punches on hockey issues. Some things will interest me while others will not.

On this kind of blog I don't really care who Mike Comrie is dating or even what just was reported about former Sound Tiger Brandon Nolan (Ted's oldest son) as he tried to cross the border into Canada. Of course I have thoughts on what happened with Nolan's son but to me it's not really a hockey issue and not what I want to discuss on this blog because it's not a political blog for me beyond our club getting a new or upgraded arena for it's long-term survival.

But today on this quiet Saturday I get a story that just is right up my alley in terms of the kind of hypocrisy that is all about hockey and the media.

Most folks know the story with Rick Tocchet. He received probation yesterday for his gambling related actions and was given two years probation according to this Globe and Mail article.

edited-was informed the Globe and Mail is more a Western Canadian Paper, not a Toronto publication. That said as a hockey fan it seems they focus more on Toronto than any team in Canada.

ERIC DUHATSCHEK of the Globe and Mail makes his points on Tocchet not being reinstated by the league and writes the following:


Given the current climate and the desperate need for integrity in the world of professional sport, it is hard to imagine any circumstances under which the NHL would accede to Tocchet's plea for reinstatement.

The NHL has enough trouble becoming a more important presence on the U.S. sporting scene. At a time when its reputation needs to remain as squeaky clean as possible, to be viewed as condoning gambling would do far more harm than good. The path of least resistance — imposing further sanctions beyond Tocchet's current indefinite leave — will almost certainly be the one it takes.


ERIC DUHATSCHEK makes his point and is entitled, but how come the writer does not feel the same way about new Maple Leafs Wing Mark Bell, who pleaded no contest to a hit and run accident this week while intoxicated here and is going to jail AFTER next season while be permitted to play?

If the integrity of the league will be questioned by allowing Tocchet to be reinstated is allowing a player who is going to jail for six months to play next season the right statement to make? More like the Globe and Mail writer wants the Toronto Maple Leafs to have a serviceable player and the hell with the integrity of the league?

To me this comes off as a blatant double-standard by Duhatschek. We all have our own concept of what's good for the integrity of the league, from my perspective if your going to claim Tocchet to stay out for integrity sake, how can Bell be allowed to play when he's headed to prison?

If Bell were still in San Jose or in New York they will be lobbying for his suspension for conduct detrimental to the league and asking how can he be allowed to play which is becoming the norm in other sports? But Bell now plays in Toronto and the Globe and Mail has a vested financial interest in promoting the club so they receive more exposure. Of course there already is a p.r feature for Bell in the Toronto Star.

This also makes Leaf management look incompetent by adding a player they had to know could be sentenced to jail time when they traded for him earlier this summer. Yes, the media in Toronto has no problem beating up Leaf management for mistakes but they are not going to lobby for a member of the club to be suspended for the league's integrity because they want the club they cover to have the best chance of winning on the ice. Even today Sundin's girlfriend/wife? is on the back or front page of a Toronto publication.

Imagine if Garth Snow traded for Mark Bell? Think the media in Toronto would have no problem with him playing this season after all the complaining about Hill from Leaf management last year?

Please don't get any impression my rant is about Bell's alcohol-related issues, that's not what this is about at all. If necessary the league can help Bell with any substance abuse program in that regard. This is of course not personal about Bell but about the double-standard of tying to keep one person out of the league for integrity issues but not another.

I'm not a fan or Rick Tocchet but where's the positive p.r for all the things Rick Tocchet has done through his career for the NHL?

I simply hate double-standards. If Tocchet were still a player and was a member of the Leafs would the Globe and Mail lobby for his re-instatement?

End of rant. Your thoughts?

Islanders Fifteen to Remember Friday 8pm

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/16/2007 09:30:00 PM | | Be the first to comment!
This weeks Islanders Fifteen to Remember is throwback night against the Buffalo Sabres from 1/27/2007.

Game is repeated after midnight and on Saturday afternoon.

More on Vasicek signing

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/16/2007 09:22:00 AM | | | Be the first to comment!
More coverage on Vasicek today from Newsday Post Neverson does a Ranger-centric article with Vasick the lead and for the second time in two weeks the Daily News and Times does not even list the AP report of the Isles signing a player but Ranger shill Dellapina is making calls at 10pm running down Peca updates for his blog while Peter Botte as usual is AWOL.

The two Carolina papers did not have an article on Vasicek's departure nor did the NY Sun.

Former Isles Post Beatwriter, Evan Grossman did an excellent feature on Sutton here.

Islanders show us new uniforms

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/16/2007 08:59:00 AM | | Be the first to comment!






Newsday/NYI.com released photo's of the new Islander uniforms today here with an article.

Several quotes from management, people behind the design, players, Nolan..ect.

Isles website has three updates ISLANDERS UNVEIL NEW RBK EDGE JERSEYS .DiP PUMPED ABOUT NEW NYI SWEATER
WITT, NOLAN, CAMPOLI, TAMBELLINI PRAISE RBK EDGE JERSEYS
NEW UNIFORM A TRUE TEAM EFFORT


NYI Fan Central Comments:
Was it that hard to just re-release the throwback jersey's they wore last season for one game because no doubt they were a hit with the fans? I'm a traditional fan who feels the origional jersey's are the only ones this team should ever wear as the championship traditional team in New York Hockey.

I'm not a fashion critic but to me this seems like a uniform made to cater to kids that looks more like pajamas than a hockey uniform. I never needed numbers on the front of the sweater. Was it necessary to keep featuring the stripes that Howard Milstein brought in with the 98 redesign?

I understand Smg takes the parking, concessions and part of the gate and releasing a new look uniform makes money for the club that they need and there is no doubt management is trying to bring in the younger fans. There is no doubt going back to an older design that many fans may own could hold down sales.

Overall, in a word. Yuck.
DiPietro at least he's healthy by the pictures.

Television Schedule released

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/15/2007 03:07:00 PM | | | | Be the first to comment!
Versus released it's television schedule today here.

Islanders are featured five times on Versus.

Wed. Oct. 10 N.Y. Rangers at N.Y. Islanders 7:00 PM
Tue. Nov. 6* N.Y. Rangers at N.Y. Islanders 7:00 PM
Tue. Jan. 15 Montreal at N.Y. Islanders 7:00 PM
Tue. Feb. 12 Philadelphia at N.Y. Islanders 7:00 PM
Mon. March 24* Pittsburgh at N.Y. Islanders 7:00 PM

NBC is doing a flex schedule for nine weeks beginning January 20th and does not include a single Islander game among the three weekly choices and has eight Ranger games despite horrible ratings in last seasons playoffs despite the fact one team can only be shown four times.

NHL.com issued a press release here involving the NHL kicking off in London and the All-Star game in Atlanta.

Anaheim is featured only once on NBC.

Hockey Night in Canada has it's schedule on cbc as well as
TSN schedule for our Islander fans from Canada or who have those stations.

Adam Proteau of the Hockey News has Isles last.

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/15/2007 02:15:00 PM | | | Be the first to comment!
Let's see, it's overtly negative about the Islanders, does not mention DiPietro at all and has the Islanders dead last in the Atlantic next season? It's either Adam Proteau of the Hockey News or Scott Burnside of Espn.

Behind door number two here is Proteau's Atlantic Division preview.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
It is a fair comment that the forward unit is comprised of other teams' castoffs and mid-tier veterans. That said players like Fedotenko and Vasicek are Stanley Cup winners at a point where we could see the best from them while Guerin and Comrie at legitimate top six players. This is also a far more balanced club in terms of speed and skill from a year ago. How Proteau does not mention DiPietro at all is beyond comical and reflects someone writing a paragraph per team which means sloppy overview at best.

As for pulling a rabbit out of the hat again, last year this team was in sixth with injuries before the Smyth trade with Yashin injured for a large part of the second half and people like Proteau picked us 30th so he has not learned his lesson.

Isles sign Vasicek, one year 750k...

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/15/2007 12:26:00 PM | | | Be the first to comment!

Islanders have come to terms with UFA Josef Vasicek according toNewsday and NYI.com


"You look at Vasicek's career so far and he's been to two Stanley Cup Finals with Carolina, winning one Cup (in 2006), so he has seen what it takes to win," said Islanders head coach Ted Nolan. "That's invaluable experience for a player this talented and who is still so young. As a staff we like his character, so we know he's a player we can work with to maximize his potential." His most productive season was 2003-04, when he was 19-26-45 in 82 games for Carolina.

“Josef is an extremely talented center who’s 6-4, strong in his own zone, been in winning situations and, at age 26, just entering his prime,” said Islanders general manager Garth Snow. “What makes this an important signing for us is that no one questions his work ethic and determination. I remember when I was playing giving him a shot because he was too close to my net. He went right back at me and let it be known that just because I was a veteran and he was a kid, he wasn’t going to take it. We’re really looking forward to giving him an opportunity to take his game to the next level.”

From his home in Havlickuv Brod, Slovakia, Vasicek shared the reasons for his excitement over signing with the Islanders.

“From the beginning, I thought the Islanders were the right team for me and I really wanted to come to Long Island,” said Vasicek. “Ted Nolan is known for being a great players’ coach and I feel I can learn a lot from him. I’m also really happy to be on the same team as my buddy Radek Martinek. There are only about 25,000 people in the town of Havlickuv Brod, and now we are going to have two players from here on the Islanders. Radek and I have been working out together in the summer for the last seven years and it’s going to be so great to be his teammate.”

Projecting the Islander forward lines at this point

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/15/2007 07:33:00 AM | | Be the first to comment!
Of course a topic like this will absolutely mean the Islanders make a big trade today to alter everything...lol

Updated 12:50pm
Edited for Vasicek signing.

A lot of this even with who they have signed is likely up in the air until training camp when we see who Nolan pairs together. With one standout first line talent it's more about making sure you have scoring depth on at least two lines with a good checking line. Not just a depth chart.

For today, I will take a few guesses. No doubt between here and opening night a lot of things can happen to change this.

1.Fedotenko-Comrie-Guerin
This seems like the best first line the club can put out on paper. No one on the roster at this time has more scoring skill at the center position than Comrie and Guerin is the only pure first line talent on the roster.

Ruslan Fedotenko has the speed and skill and the circumstances are set up here for him to produce. On paper right now he stands out as the best chance to produce as a first line left wing, even if he's not a proven first line talent. No doubt after his minutes were reduced in Tampa he will be hungry to prove the critics wrong, he will be pushed by Simon and Sim if he's not productive.

The checking line goes second on my list because it's the easiest to project out.

3.Hilbert-Sillinger-Hunter
This was 2/3's of last year's checking line and for a good twenty games they carried the club. Hilbert has a new two-year contract and could move to center for Sim or another player but until he produces more his best fit is with Hunter and Sillinger.

Hunter is in his UFA year and will be under the gun to produce more on a nightly basis. Sillinger will likely outproduce the second line center and could even outproduce Comrie.

2. Bergenheim-XXXX-Satan
I think the second line left wing spot comes down to Bergenheim or Tambellini. I also see Bergenheim's overall game more ready for the NHL because he produced in an elite league in Europe and did not look out of place at all here in 05-06. That short stretch with Yashin (and Robert Nilsson) he was all over the place and looked like a top six forward. I have no doubt he will quickly win over Ted Nolan in camp as he has done with many fans. That written what he did in Europe and in 05-06 means nothing to Ted Nolan entering 07-08, he has a one year contract and has to earn his spot.

For Tambellini this is his time to step up or you have to ask can he play in this league? Los Angeles decided to move him and even though he has offensive skills it's show time for this player. Cannot see him on a fourth line as a left wing over Simon once his suspension is up and that's where he's going if Bergenheim is the second line left wing.

Who's the center? Could be a lot of players. Put down Hilbert as my darkhorse because he played center in Pittsburgh. As per my review of Vasicek he cannot play on a club's two lines as a six goal scorer when you don't have a proven first line center in Comrie.

Maybe Bergenheim or a long-shot like Nokelainen or Nielsen come in and take the second line center's spot too but on August 15th my depth chart says it's Hilbert's spot to lose today.

Clearly in Satan's UFA year he's the second line right wing from day one, unlikely he takes Guerin's spot on the first line.

4. Simon-Bates-Vasicek-Park-Tambellini-Nielsen-prospects

Simon will be on the fourth line once his suspension is up and likely will be spotted on the other lines depending on how he does. Is Bates healthy? All I know is he has two more years on his contract and was not bought out. Park has one more year left and did a very solid job. Frans Nielsen looked very solid in his callups also. Hard to find a balance here but we do know three players (Simon-Park-Bates) all have NHL contracts so a spot has to be found for them if they are healthy.

With all the rumors and reports of other forward signings it's almost impossible not to see a trade or two because clearly the club has a surplus of players and options.

One month until camp begins...

Is ESPN Killing the National Hockey League?

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/15/2007 06:57:00 AM | | | | Be the first to comment!
Negative Press: Is ESPN Killing the National Hockey League by Influencing Public Attitudes?

I'm presenting this here and now because Espn is doing the exact opposite and trying to set the fan agenda with a sport they do own the rights to, MLS soccer here.

Good set of articles back in July on Espn and how they only serve to promote the sports they own while doing all they can to ruin hockey because the league signed with versus here.

ESPN ombudsman Le Anne Schreiber here claims during the NHL's regular season, the only time hockey came up was when there was "some egregious brawl" or it was being "dissed" by some on-air talent. "It was dissed for its invisibility — because it's no longer on ESPN."

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Good reading. The soccer article specifically mentions in 2002 New York,
Spanish-language radio broadcasts of the New York Mets were already getting better ratings than the Devils and the Islanders, what it fails to mention is Msg controls the Islanders content and exposure and that's why the ratings are low.

Islander rating in 2002 was 0.31, Devils 0.18. Last season Islander ratings were around 0.12 for anyone wanting reference.

Espn plays it's games to influence the public, Dolan and Msg are infamous for it and now that they own the Islanders television rights they will never allow our club top billing over Msg teams because they hate competition so they pay to control it.

Of course what Dolan has not figured out is by limiting hockey, he limited his own teams exposure to a point they are irrelevant even in the playoffs with television ratings similar to the Islanders in 2002.

NYI PROSPECTS CONCLUDE EXCELLENT CAMPS

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/14/2007 11:11:00 AM | | | | | | | Be the first to comment!
Isles website checks in with a final review of the clubs prospects challenging for spots on the 2008 U.S. National Junior Team that will compete at the 2008 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship Dec. 26, 2007-Jan. 5, 2008 in Pardubice and Liberec, Czech Republic here

Okposo and Rakhshani lead tournament in scoring; Rogers and Day excel at first camps

To say Islanders prospects Kyle Okposo, Rhett Rakhshani, Doug Rogers and Brian Day performed well at last week’s US National Team Evaluation Camp would be an understatement. Okposo and Rakhshani led the tournament with eight points apiece playing against Junior Finnish and Swedish teams. Rogers finished the tournament with a goal and three assists in four games, while Day chipped in with a goal and an assist, including a dramatic penalty shot goal on the final day.

“All four of our prospects had excellent camps,” said Assistant GM/Director of Amateur Scouting, Ryan Jankowski. “This experience should give them all confidence heading into the 2007-08 season.”

Final selections will be made in early December.

Viktor Kozlov talks Islanders

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/14/2007 10:32:00 AM | | | Be the first to comment!
Viktor Kozlov speaks out on how Yashin was treated by the club and the Islanders direction this summer (among other things) in an article from sovsport.com that has been translated here.


But maybe Alexei Yashin is right that he came back to Lokomotiv?

I am absolutely sure that Yashin’s career will take off in the Superleague. I remember the way he was treated by the Islanders. I was present at all those scuffles myself. I saw how they treated him when he was playing through the pain with injured knees.

Did Yashin become a hostage of his mega-contract?

If he was making not seven, but three million dollars a year, no one would expect miracles from him. Moreover, Alexei still provided miracles, when his health permitted him! And everyone was happy with him. But as soon as Yashin got injured, he came under pressure: “Go out there and play.” But how is it possible if you can’t stand on your own two feet?

Why did the coach bench him in the playoffs?

Because he expected a lot of him, but didn’t give him a lot of minutes. Nevertheless, all blame was placed on Yashin, who was considered the star of the Islanders… it is sad to see what is happening to the Islanders. I don’t understand why they strengthened the team last year if all quality players were given away this off season. Nothing has been gained! Ryan Smyth came over via trade from Edmonton, but he was allowed to leave for Colorado this summer. They couldn't’t keep Blake, bought out Yashin’s contract, Poti and Hill left… But we were in the playoffs; there was bright future ahead of us.

So what happened? The players are running away from the Islanders?

A lot of players wanted to stay. Blake, for example, didn’t even think about changing teams. But how can it be done when a good contract is not offered? I was promised a small raise over the last contract [Kozlov was making $865,000 while he scored 25+26=51 points in 81 games]. But it did not correspond to my stats at all. In the end I left for Washington, the club offered me great terms [2 years, $5M]. I like that the team is young and hungry for success. I don’t want to make predictions, but I think that Washington will have a great season.


NYI Fan Central Comments:
Too bad we never read anything from Kozlov in his only year with the club. Kozlov was in the room and around the team so he knows better than a fan with a blog like myself. I have to respect his comments and fair criticism of how his friend was treated by management and the club's direction this summer as he notes the players did not want to leave. All I can add is that no doubt years of expectations on Yashin likely played into some of the unfair treatment Yashin received and no doubt he was playing hurt.

I also tend to think that making the playoffs is not all this management wants to gain and that was behind a lot of players not being overpaid to stay.

Kumar not headed to White Castle.

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/13/2007 06:11:00 PM | | Be the first to comment!
For those who have not been following, former Islander co-owner Sanjay Kumar reports to prison Tuesday to begin serving a twelve year sentence according to Newsday.

The attachment order also included a $9 million settlement he made with former CA chairman and co-founder Charles Wang over their dissolved partnership in the New York Islanders hockey team and real estate investments.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
CA's board is still considering civil action against Charles Wang for stock money he was paid as chairman. Would be interesting to see if CA or Rechler wound up taking the hockey club if Wang had to give back his stock money but this is year's away if it were to happen and some at CA just want to move on.

Another former Islander owner in jail, he will be out before DiPietro's contract is up. Say what you want today but back in 2000 he stepped up and helped save this club from the Milstein nightmare.

Thrashers beatwriter talks about Sutton's departure

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/13/2007 05:57:00 PM | | | Be the first to comment!
Atlanta Journal Consitution today gave their thoughts on the departure of Andy Sutton from the club.

I was waiting for this because the team a player is leaving usually gives the best perspective as to why the player was not retained. He does nothing here but tell us the Islanders seemed to overpay.


By now the Andy Sutton signing in New York is old news, but you have to give Sutts and his agent credit. Three years for $9 million is good money. Especially considering he was a second-pair defenseman once the Thrashers got Alexei Zhitnik. I know some fans were frustrated with Sutton, but he’s a big body who isn’t afraid to block shots. I think for the right price, he could have stayed in Atlanta, but not for $3 million per season. From my perspective, he was great to deal with, so I wish him the best in New York.

Islanders Pre-season Schedule Released.

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/13/2007 05:39:00 PM | | Be the first to comment!
NHL.comMonday released the entire pre-season schedule for all teams.

9/17:Atlanta vs. NY Islanders, at North Bay, Ont. (Memorial Gardens), 7 p.m.
9/18:Boston vs. NY Islanders, at St. John's, Nfld. (Mile One Stadium), 5:30 p.m.
9/19:Montreal vs. NY Islanders, at Moncton, N.B. (Moncton Coliseum), 6 p.m.
9/21:NY Islanders at Montreal, 7:30 p.m.
9/24:NY Rangers at NY Islanders, 7 p.m.
9/26:NY Islanders vs. New Jersey, at Lowell, Mass. (Paul Tsongas Arena), 7 p.m.
9/28:NY Islanders at NY Rangers, 7 p.m.
9/29:New Jersey vs. NY Islanders at Bridgeport, Conn. (Arena at Harbor Yard), 7 p.m.
9/30:NY Islanders at Boston, 4 p.m.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
So much for the days of four games in five days and only five total pre-season games that really hurt any prospects chances beyond practice and scrimmage. Isles set themselves up for a lot of games and a lot more opportunity to give prospects a chance. Do not recall any Montreal or Atlanta pre-season games in the past.

Hey Garth, sign Markov and add him to Sutton..

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/13/2007 06:30:00 AM | | | Be the first to comment!
It's possible Snow signed Sutton first.

I know that's highly unlikely now that Charles Wang just handed over three years and nine million dollars of his money to Andy Sutton but if you cannot sign franchise forwards, load up in other area's.

Between Witt, Sutton and Markov on the back line no one is going to push this club around in it's own end of the ice and all three will feed off one another which also becomes contagious with Hunter, Bergenheim, Fedotenko and Sim and others feeding off that which is Ted Nolan hockey at it's best.

A player like Dany Markov will always be worth something on the trade market for the same reasons teams want Sillinger and he brings championship level experience if it does not work out. This also allows the club to move Brendan Witt at the trade deadline if it's not in contention with a year left on his contract.

Is this realistic? Perhaps not. All the reports claim the Isles were signing Markov or Sutton and that's all. But Markov seems to be looking for top salary in Russia according to reports or overplayed his hand with Snow, but nothing is etched in stone here and if the Isles step up and meet his price it's likely he will sign here and the Isles will have a player who's considered a prime UFA defender.

Aaron Johnson played sixty one games for the Blue Jackets a year ago. Freddy Meyer has a friendly contract (pending UFA) and could turn out to be a good two-way defender as he was in Philadelphia as a rookie. The Matt Spiller's of the organization have some NHL experience as well so there are cheaper and less talented alternatives.

Markov will help the younger defenders improve quicker and provides depth if Radek Martinek again is injured in his final year before UFA. It does not replace Poti's puck moving ability but if you cannot load up on top forwards, load up on defenders who can run them over.

In my opinion Garth Snow should meet Markov's price and add him to Sutton, Witt.

Josef Vasicek vs Jason Allison

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/13/2007 05:52:00 AM | | | | Be the first to comment!
The other day I did a commentary on Forsberg signing with the Islanders based on his agents comment he's looking for one more big payday.

The rumor mill is bringing the names of Josef Vasicek and Jason Allison as the two players Garth Snow is targeting and could sign as early as today. I don't know too much about Vasicek beyond the numbers. Allison I do know a lot more about, hopefully folks will comment on both either here or on the message so I can learn a little more about both players.

Vasicek profile in the hockey forecaster.

C/LW
Josef Vasicek
Age: 26
Date of birth: Friday, September 12, 1980
Place of Birth: Havlickuv Brod, Czech. (now Czech Republic)
Country: CZE
HT: 6-5 WT: 214
Shoots/Catches: L
Salary:
NHL Seasons: 6
Drafted by Carolina in 1998 (4/91).

ASSETS: Has great size and athleticism. Is tough, intelligent and displays a strong work ethic. Plays a sound two-way game.
FLAWS: Needs to maximize his size and strength in the corners. Must continue to work on his coordination.
CAREER POTENTIAL: Third line forward.

Allison
profile in the hockey forecaster.

C
Jason Allison
Age: 32
Date of birth: Thursday, May 29, 1975
Place of Birth: North York, Ont., Canada
Country: CAN
HT: 6-3 WT: 215
Shoots/Catches: R
NHL Seasons: 11
Drafted by Washington in 1993 (1/17).

ASSETS: Has tremendous offensive instincts. Is at his best when setting up his wingers. Owns good face-off skills, and plays with an abundance of patience.
FLAWS: Has always been a below-average skater. Could stand to shoot more and play a little more selfishly. May never be the player he was pre-migraine issues.
CAREER POTENTIAL: Second line center.


NYI Fan Central Comments:
Not a great choice either way but I'm looking at this as Vasicek or Allison because that's where the club could be right now. It may not turn out this way but I'm going by the rumor mill.

Vasicek:
For a team looking at proven scoring Vasicek's best years were with his first stint in Carolina, he was traded back there last season and still did not produce even though he was injured. His career numbers do not point to any sign of a breakout season even though he has some potential to do so. I see his signing more about Bates time ending here and cannot see him on the club's top two lines. How many players who have not had produced consistently can we count on between Fedotenko, Sim, Park, Hilbert, Bates and the prospects to step up. Is Bates even able to play after his chronic groin problems because he never made it back despite rumors he was close to returning playoff time?

Logic says most of these players will post their career avg numbers and that leaves the Islanders very short in the scoring dept, even if Comrie, Guerin, Satan produce.

Allison:
We all know he missed an entire season and was a very slow player before that and he's not kid. He has to prove to Snow-Nolan that he's ready to play, produce and stay healthy and be at least a second line center. It's asking a lot but he has done that and more in the past and has the talent to improve the club if all things fall into place. He's also very good on the pp which this team has been in the middle or lower of the pack with for a long time.

Were not talking done like dinner players like Lindros, Roenick or Mogilny and no doubt Allison's going to want to get paid based on his past productions.

Conclusion: I'm going to take the easy way out and ask why not sign both? If Vasicek produces that only helps more and if Allison does not produce he can play on a lower line. You can bet Guerin, Comrie, Sillinger and Satan want another veteran.

HOTSHOT ROOKIES...ICE COLD RESEARCH.

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/13/2007 05:39:00 AM | | | Be the first to comment!
Sloppy work here by the Hockey Forecaster on this feature posted on August 10th. How can they include Bergenheim, but not Tambellini, Frans Nielsen, who saw significant stretches with the club last year?

To say nothing about, Blake Comeau, Petteri Nokelainen or Jeremy Colliton?

Anyway here is their article.

More often than not, NHL clubs introduce at least one rookie into their lineup every year. And a pretty decent crop, led by a few sure-fire freshmen, is next in line this season. We take an team-by-team look at which of these players may have cracked their respective squads' lineups by the end of September...

ISLANDERS
Sean Bergenheim has 46 NHL games under his belt so he's not Calder eligible, but by no means is he a veteran. Playing last season in Russia and Sweden because of a contract dispute, the talented winger is signed now and will have every opportunity to fill a top-six role with the club.

NYI Fan Central Off to a Great Start

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/13/2007 05:18:00 AM | Be the first to comment!


Over a thousand views in a few short weeks.

My thanks to everyone for visiting as this has been a very active blog with several topics and seems to be getting great response. Please feel free to respond in the comments sections and post your own Islander Hockey related topics on our message board which I would love to see grow into a core group of die-hard Islander fans who love quality hockey discussion.

Meanwhile, I'll do my best to post tons of undates and articles. Even on days I'm busy our new article sections have been set up to provide automatic updates from the club's website and several news sources so please view the entire site so you don't miss anything..

I have added several ways to access updates for folks visiting and will continue to keep adding things to make this one of the best Islander blogs in cyberspace.

SUTTON: "TIME TO START COMPETING FOR THE CUP"

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/13/2007 04:51:00 AM | | | Be the first to comment!
Andy Sutton's comments on joining the Islanders were posted atNYI.com

SI had an article on Sutton's value here.


“The Islanders are obviously a great organization,” said Sutton on Saturday in a phone conversation. “I’ve turned the corner and it’s time to start competing for the Stanley Cup. There have been some great acquisitions by the Islanders this summer to go along with a first-class coaching staff and management.”

“You can expect me to play my hardest every night,” said Sutton. “I always sacrifice my body for the good of the team and will do everything in my power to keep the puck out of our net.”

“It’s always good to have people that you know when you come to a new team,” said Sutton. “But all the guys in this league are very welcoming and willing to embrace the new players. When you walk into a new locker room it’s like 20 new friends, instantly. The NHL is a very tight-knit group.”

“I’ve been told Ted is a players’ coach who gets the most out of his players,” said Sutton. “I’ve heard he’s firm but fair and appreciates hard work, grit and determination. Those are all the main ingredients of a winning team.”

“Coming to Long Island is an exciting new opportunity,” said Sutton. “The Islanders are an established team. This is a great chance to be a part of a winning team.”


NYI Fan Central Comments:
Sounds nice, reads well, but this is not a very mobile player. He's injury prone and we signed him for three years at age thirty two and was swept in his only playoff series in an eight year career. His minutes were reduced to around eleven per game with Zhitnik's trade from Philadelpha to Atlanta.

That's why you pay Markov's price if it came down to money.

Ok, enough criticism, he's also been praised by a lot of NHL writers for his shot blocking, physical and improved defensive play.

Greg Logan's Newsday Blog Updated

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/12/2007 04:18:00 AM | | | Be the first to comment!
Greg Logan updated his blog with basically a state of the Islanders
here and a review of the summer that's a must read and goes into several subjects as well as who the Islanders tried to sign.

Logan also looks ahead to what the Islanders may still do in free agency. Curiously, he reports the Islanders offered Drury more money but fails to note the front-loaded contract he received and the sixth year was only four million?

Sorry folks, Logan's blog is not available in Rss Feeds from Newsday, only the team articles on the main page which we have.

With Sutton on board, Snow should move fairly quickly in the next week toward adding a center with some offensive ability. Last year, Snow took a chance on a one-year deal at a bargain price for Kozlov, and Carolina free agent Joself Vasicek, who only has shown flashes of his offensive potential, might fit that same mold. Veteran Jason Allison also has been checked out by Snow and his staff, but he has played only one of the past four seasons thanks to injuries, the lockout and a messy divorce that sidelined him last year.

Islander notables for Sunday

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/12/2007 03:50:00 AM | | Be the first to comment!
NHL.com checks in with a feature that says Justin Bourne was given an invite to Islanders camp next month in Moncton, New Brunswick.


“Just the prospect camp was cool, just looking down at the logo,” the younger Bourne said. “This summer, I’ve just committed myself to making sure I give myself the best opportunity. I don’t want to cheat myself. My work ethic has to be huge. I’m in the gym every day I can be.”


New Islander assistant coach Gerard Gallant had a comment on Doug McLean's new ownership group in Tampa.

Will look to add more to this thread as Sunday progresses unless a major Islander news event happens.

Bridgeport Sound Tiger Notables..

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/12/2007 01:21:00 AM | | | Be the first to comment!
Michael Fornabaio in his Sound Tigers blog reports Bridgeport has scheduled an extra exhibition game at Lowell the same day the Isles play at Bridgeport vs Devils.Matt Koalska has signed with Bolzano in Italy here.

I highly suggest anyone who is an Islander or Sound Tiger fan follow Mr Fornabaio's blog because he reports many things well in advance of both clubs and is very knowledgable and a good read.

Nassau Coliseum overhaul is far off

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/12/2007 12:34:00 AM | | Be the first to comment!
Newsday did an update on the new baseball stadium's being constructed and updated the Islanders situation today.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
The Old Gulotta, D'Amato, Certilman regime still has it's hard-liners in the town of Hempstead and in Nassau County government, to say nothing of those who have a vested personal interest in Smg who manages the Coliseum will never approve anything, they see that land as money for their interest and perfer it sit empty than allow development.

These people want the Coliseum gone and the Islanders out because they see that property for what makes them money, that's why even with Wang-Rechler paying they want no part of it because they gain nothing. Many have called it the most corrupt government in the country, I don't know about that but I do know Smg takes everything from the Coliseum and even a portion of the Islanders gate receipts thanks to Nassau County who gave them this lease.

The politicians have no pride in the hockey team or any pro team in Nassau and will not do a thing for Wang-Rechler as the city has done for the baseball teams as this has been discussed since the early nineties.

Judy Jacobs will surface occasionally and provide nothing more than lip-service for the project and the Islander fan vote. Suozzi has not talked about it in a long time, except to force Wang-Rechler to put in a minor-league baseball stadium.

These are the people who should be pushing hard to get this project approved so
Wang-Rechler can begin Coliseum renovations. 2012? Coliseum and Smg lease expire in 2014.

300m for the Coliseum renovation. Why not just start from scratch?

Dany Markov Update

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/11/2007 02:13:00 AM | | | Be the first to comment!
Websites in Russia and Detroit are updating the status of UFA Dany Markov for those wondering if he could still sign with the Islanders.

“Milburyisms" Justin Mapletoft signs in Ottawa, Justin Bourne Feature

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/10/2007 10:56:00 PM | | | | | Be the first to comment!
A few interesting Islander-related things today.

Mike Milbury working with NESN on some things today.

Former Post beatwriter Evan Grossman, does the best of Milburyism's quotes over the years.here


More importantly Grossman does a little UFA update and included Andy Sutton before he was signed.

Former prospect Justin Mapletoft is back in the NHL and was signed by the Ottawa Senators to a one-year contract today today.

NHL.com does an excellent feature on Justin Bourne

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Lot's of old funny stuff on Milbury for those who cannot live without him.
Cue the complaining if Mapletoft comes back to haunt the club and play in the NHL this season, seems fitting a Milbury draft pick is signed by Ottawa next to an update on MM. Very nice feature on Justin Bourne that's worth reading.

New York Islanders sign Andy Sutton

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/10/2007 10:25:00 PM | | Be the first to comment!
Friday Night the Islanders came to terms with Unrestricted Free Agent Andy Sutton on three year contract for nine million
NYI.com

“Andy adds a little bit of everything both on offense and defense and we really like what he brings to the table,” said Islanders head coach Ted Nolan. “We talk about heart, grit and character and Andy Sutton has a ton of it all. He’s a big guy who plays big and isn’t afraid to do the dirty work. He fills a big void for us and our fans are going to love to watch him in an Islanders uniform because he’s a competitor and hard worker.”

“We’re very pleased to bring Andy Sutton to Long Island on a long-term deal,” said Islanders general manager Garth Snow. “He fits the personality of the team Ted and I are putting together.”

Greg Logan broke the story earlier in his newsway blog here and his Friday Night/Saturday Morning article that includes an update on other potential UFA signings Sutton's contract details.

Sutton received a significant raise over the $2 million he made last season with the Thrashers, but Snow said he and coach Ted Nolan agreed on the need for a player capable of providing a physical presence in front of goaltender Rick DiPietro. "We wanted a player we can commit to," Snow said.

Snow likely will focus on strengthening the center position within the next week. Carolina free agent Josef Vasicek is a prime target, but the Islanders also have investigated free agents Jason Allison and Peter Forsberg. However, Forsberg has not recovered fully from his foot problems and might not be healthy enough to sign until sometime during the season.


NYI Fan Central Comments:
I personally wanted Markov and feel the Isles settled for the second best option.

Three years is too much for an avg/improving defender in Sutton with injury issues, maybe I'm wrong or that's the market.

Markov knows how to win and would have done more things to lead a defense, apparently it could not get done so Snow turned to Sutton, who has had some good stretches, but also some poor defensive stretches.

Bottom line is Sutton was signed to replace Hill, who's physical play and solid defense was dominating at times. We'll have to see if Sutton can raise his game to an even higher level. Biggest early question is can Sutton reduce the penalty numbers Hill took last season from a club with the second highest disparity in pp's to pk last season in the negative nineties, can he stay healthy?

Good news is Sutton despite playing in only 55 games last season, ranked 19th in the NHL in blocked shots with 162. In 2005-06, he was fourth in the league with 195 blocks as mentioned in thisSI Article and is not shy about getting physical. Isles also bring in a much younger defender than Hill and helps out Simon who seemed on paper to be the club's only enforcer.

We'll see what happens, but trading their prospects or Hunter/Bergenheim was not the answer, they had to go UFA here.

From all indications expect another signing of a forward. I have no problem loading up and adding Markov anyway and putting Meyer on the block, but that's likely not going to happen as we have eight NHL defenders and a lot of Bridgeport depth signings of defenders with NHL experience. Isles may very well have to puck Poti's puck-handling abilities in a Gervais or Campoli next season.

NYI NHL depth chart:
Witt
Martinek
Bergeron
Campoli
Gervais
Meyer
Sutton
Johnson-61 games with Columbus last season.

Islanders Fifteen to Remember Friday 8PM

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/10/2007 07:51:00 AM | Be the first to comment!
Tonights's Islanders Fifteen to Remember is their shootout win vs the Boston Bruins with DiPietro's incredible save in overtime.

8pm, FSN
repeated overnight and Saturday..

Isles website has another prospect update from US Junior Camp
here

Fox Sports Speculates on Forsberg to Isles

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/10/2007 07:51:00 AM | | | Be the first to comment!
Fox Sports expands on a possible Forsberg to the Islanders scenario that includes several teams here

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Of course his injury problems and his failure last season on a bad Flyers team make this a risky signing, but the Islanders do need another center and do not have much to offer of value in the trade market other than youth they need to hold onto. If Forsberg and his agent are willing to sign for the money the Islanders can give that to him and no doubt Guerin, Sillinger and Witt would make the basis a good veteran core and players who know how to win.

In the end does it come down to his agents comments that he wants the big payday and are the Islanders willing to take that chance. He was virtually in the playoffs for Nashville and my guess is it takes three years, eighteen million to put him in an Islander uniform. Good news is if it does not work out and he's healthy there will be a trade market for him that will improve the system. Bad news news is he get's hurt and cannot play his cap hit could cripple the club.

Bye Bye Asham

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/07/2007 03:25:00 PM | | | | 2 Comments so far

Good Bye and Thank you to Arron Asham. Today he signed a contract with the New Jersey Devils, terms not disclosed according to TSN.

I will add more articles if Islanders or Asham have something to say but his
NHLPA profile will likely be first with his salary for next season, do not count on many comments from him as a member of the Devils.

NY Islander Fan Central Comments:
Arron Asham was the kind of player who outright won 2-3 games a year with his great acceleration and shot. To me he is one of the best middle weight fighters in the NHL and his hit toals reflect his grit and how hard he works. That said for years he disappeared for far too many stretches of games and forced coaches who put him on the top lines to move him down to the fourth line because he did not produce. His fifteen goals in his first season here should have only been the beginning after stealing him from Montreal in the Czerkawski trade.

Reportedly he played a good part of last year with a bad hand/wrist that may have been a factor for him but his point-less streaks for years always stood out as did the games he was a major offensive factor in winning.

Good signing for the Devils, but the right move for the Islanders to say goodbye at this time. Thanks for making Barnaby cry and the great stretch drive in 02-03.

PROSPECTS OFF TO STRONG STARTS AT US CAMP

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/07/2007 02:09:00 PM | | | | | | | Be the first to comment!
Islanders website checks in today on the progress of Kyle Okposo, Rhett Rakhshani, Doug Rogers and Brian Day at the 2007 USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp at the Olympic Center here.

The players are auditioning for a spot on the US National Junior Team that will take part in the 2008 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior
Championship, Dec. 26, 2007-Jan. 5, 2008, in Pardubice and Liberec, Czech Republic.

Money talks, Forsberg to Islanders?

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/07/2007 12:37:00 PM | | | Be the first to comment!
Denver Post columnist Adrian Dater offers an interesting take on Forsberg and his unrestricted free agent status today.

There is nothing specific in this article from player, agent or any NHL source as to the Islanders contacting Foppa and many teams are included as interested in his services.



One person with intimate knowledge of Forsberg’s situation is that his agent, Don Baizley, wants to get one last good-sized contract for him. Let’s be clear about one thing: those who think Forsberg will take a hometown discount to return to the Avs are forgetting one big thing: he’s never done that before.

But what happens if the Islanders, having lost Ryan Smyth and a few others, offer him a three-year, $25 million deal? It could happen. Money always talks.

Who can the Islanders trade to improve now ?

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/07/2007 11:58:00 AM | | | Be the first to comment!
Easy question and of course the easy answer is anyone can be traded at any time.

I have read several rumors the Islanders were interested in player trades this summer that did not happen to this point, but who would other teams be interested in from our organization that could bring the kind of help that can help this years club without blowing up prospects you put several years into?

Of course, other gm's are going to ask about Kyle Okposo, who should be completely untouchable based on the reports about him to this point unless the player is Ovechkin or Crosby.

So who's next?
If I'm an opposing gm looking at our organization, I'm not finding young franchise forwards or first rounders on defense, we have Dustin Kohn but he's a second rounder and has been improving but do the Islanders part with him now? If I were an opposing gm I would want him in a deal for a solid NHL talent.

Tambellini has been traded once but this is the year we likely find out if he can stay in the NHL or is on track to become our next Justin Papineau? I would think an opposing gm would be interested.

Bergenheim is back from Europe at 500k on a one-way contract after a good partial year in the SEL, if I'm an opposing gm I'm interested in him also.

Of course players like Frans Nielsen, Nokelainen, Comeau, Colliton are players on my list if I'm an opposing gm looking to deal.

At the NHL level, the pickings frankly get slim quickly and this is where the problem is. No doubt if I'm a gm Trent Hunter is the player I want most off this roster with Radek Martinek a close second. Considering their age and potential it would take something equal in terms of talent and potential for Snow to act.

No doubt a Brendan Witt, Mike Sillinger have value on the trade market, but these players forum the core of this club for now and will likely be here as long as the team is competitive for a playoff spot. They are not the players you move in August, they are the kind you add to for your veteran core.

Players like Bates, Meyer, Park you include in trades but they are not going to bring much of a return. Can't move Satan's scoring unless you get scoring or it's the trade deadline and he's going UFA as he can at the end of this season, but it's August and for now you want to add to Satan.

Campoli, Gervais are two defenders I absolutely want if I'm an opposing gm. Gervais is the most likely to be dealt if a trade were to happen (Campoli just signed a three year deal) but this leaves a hole on a unit already that needs to sign someone. I'm sure for every gm who see's Bergeron as a good offensive defender there is another who seems him as a disaster on defense. So what's his market and how do the Islanders replace his offensive skill for someone who seemed a good fit here last season?

The players just signed are not being traded, no doubt Simon and Commrie come into play come the trade deadline if the club is out of contention.

So where does a realistic trade come from that improves the roster this August from Garth Snow?

I keep looking and I keep seeing outside the prospects, Hunter-Bergenheim or Gervais.

Which to me means Garth Snow has more work to do in Unrestricted Free Agency unless a gm wants to dump salary which likely only means a marginal player who's likely not going to help anyway.

NHL Notables for Early Tuesday...

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/07/2007 10:38:00 AM | Be the first to comment!
A few interesting items in the NHL news today.

Bill Daly comments about Versus today in this article.
http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA6465600.html

NYI Fan Central Comments:
What's interesting here is Daly's comments seem to put Versus on notice that they have to meet their agreements or the league can opt out of the deal which is something I have not read before, even though Daly downplays this. Why is the league going to run away from guaranteed money for Espn/Espn2 who will feature them around tenth in their programming lineup? It's also clear some publications are friends of powerful, political Espn and need their business to survive so they will have no problem doing articles like this for their business interest and multi-channel is one of them.

A group that includes former Jackets gm, Doug McLean has an agreement with Bill Davidson to purchase the Tampa Bay Lightning, but is subject to approval by the NHL board of governors.
http://www.thesouthern.com/articles/2007/08/07/ap/sports/d8qs62mo0.txt

NYI Fan Central Comments:
If this is approved, expect John Tortarella to be on his way out of Tampa Bay. If I recall McLean had some run-in's as Panthers coach with Tortarella.

Kings Forward Mike Cammalleri lost his arbitration hearing with the Kings and will have to scrap by on only 3.1-3.6m the next two seasons after asking for a reported six million a season, gm Dean Lombardi has already accepted the award.
http://www.latimes.com/sports/hockey/nhl/kings/la-sp-kingsducksrep7aug07,1,4765015.story?coll=la-headlines-sports-nhl-kings

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Cammalleri's a very talented player, he had an 80 point year last year and a 60 point year before that, but six million a year when the Kings have won nothing at this stage for someone who is not a franchise talent? Every bad arbitration ruling or contract signing keeps driving up the player market, makes agents and their clients think they should be getting five, six, seven or more million a year. No doubt this likely keeps Camalleri in a Kings uniform for another year and a half but Dean Lombardi has the option of moving him at any time.

Msg spin doctor, Stan Fischler checks in with a bunch of things.
http://www.hockeyjournal.com/Article.php?ArtID=300967

NYI Fan Central Comments:
If Dustin Penner signed this offer sheet from Cablevision, not a prayer Fischler would write this nor would Msg allow it. Can't blindly sell anything your boss's does as positive with one face and rip other organization's for the same tactics with the other face Mr Fischler.

Catching up with Jon Sim

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/06/2007 04:09:00 PM | | | Be the first to comment!
Thrasher's blog by Craig Custance today in the 8/6 Atlanta Journal Constitution
here gives us an update on New Islander Jon Sim from the Thrashers side of things.

Here were his Islander-related commnents:

So after Monday’s Falcons practice, I caught up with Sim, who was on his way to the beach in Nova Scotia, for a quick interview. Here’s an excerpt from that interview.


Q: What are your thoughts on your deal with the Islanders?


A: I’m excited. It’s another new team but I’m used to that. I think we’re going the right way. They want to win. They want to make the playoffs, they want to be the last team standing. That’s the same way I feel.


Q: Were the Islanders a team you knew was interested in you?


A: July 1 came and I wasn’t expecting anything right away. My agent called me and said he had a 3-year deal with the Islanders and said ‘How do you feel?’ I said ‘3-year deal? I feel great.’”


Q: You signed a 3-year deal for $3 million. For a guy who has bounced around a little, what does it mean to have that security?


A: It’s just a relief, we’re looking for a house to buy now. We won’t be renting, it’s just exciting. It’s something that every hockey player wants, everybody in their life wants security, We have that now.


Q: Some criticized the Islanders for losing a couple big-time players in free agency, what are your thoughts on their off-season?


A: They lost a couple big fish, but they also signed a couple with Bill Guerin, [Rusian] Fedotenko, [Mike] Comrie, - three really good players. It’s all a circle. They lost Blake then got Comrie — I just think they want to win. The moves that they made are the right ones. Comrie made it to the Finals — Billy’s won Stanley Cups. I’ve been around winning teams too. That has a lot to do with it.

Correction on Trent Hunter

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/06/2007 03:39:00 PM | | | | Be the first to comment!
I reported in the Hunter arbitration topic that once he had his hearing he cannot be traded under any circumstances, that the Islanders can accept the award or walk away and he's unrestricted as J.P Dumont was by Buffalo but he cannot be traded.

Apparently that information was incorrect as both Kyle Calder and Vitaly Vishnevski had their arbitration accepted, then were traded shortly after.

Given that Snow said he wants to keep Hunter and his agent praised how things went with the hearing, it seems unlikely Hunter would be traded unless it really helped the club but just want to let folks know he can be traded.

New York Islanders Training Camp should be in NY

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/06/2007 01:25:00 PM | | | Be the first to comment!
Today's topic is an old one but a good one.

Why is it the New York Islanders in a market desperate for hockey attention decide to get away from it all again with this year's training camp scheduled for Ted Nolan's former team in Moncton from September 14Th thru 23rd?

I know these things are scheduled as much as a year in advance.

I understand why Yarmouth, NS and Moncton want to host Islander training camp and this is not meant as any knock against those places or Lake Placid or any other place the Islanders have picked for camp in the recent past. Having an NHL team in these places is great for hockey there and good for business in those towns and will bring attention to the club. The Islanders will play the Montreal Canadians in a
pre-season game on September 19Th in Moncton.

That said, this was a club last season that during the season invited fans to come to the Coliseum and purchase seats, meet the coach, gm, players, Bossy and staff, full access tours. Anything to get the fans to become interested after a good start did not fill the seats in a market consumed with baseball in September and October.

Mike Bossy at the time said this would have been unheard of back when he was a player to give fans this kind of access in his blog because hockey and the Islanders were so much more popular.

But that was then and this is now. Hockey cannot compete on any level with baseball, football or basketball for fans or coverage but leaving town for camp sure does not seem like a good idea.

Why not change that process beginning with camp in 2008-09?

Hold it not at Ice Works but at the Nassau Coliseum and let the public see everything. Create more local interest, sell more tickets, bring in more media. Not every paper will go to Moncton, not every paper will go to Nassau Coliseum, but the more fan exposure and local interest and more people will buy tickets and become interested.

I can understand why the organization does not schedule more than one home exhibition game. The season ticket holders have to pay for it and prices are high enough and a lot of teams pick other locations to make up for it and fans in those places who cannot see NHL hockey can watch a game. The idea to schedule a game at Harbor Yard (Isles will play Devils there this pre-season) is a good idea.

Mr Wang's idea of having the kids in for a second Nassau Coliseum Cool-School Day Game was a great idea, why not bring that back for next season?

This is another reason why hockey season always starts slowly here, the opener will likely sellout, but once you hit that first weeknight game, it's a tough sell because it's like starting up cold after virtually no buildup that should have begun in September and can if the club would only allow it.

Granted I have not considered Smg or Nassau Coliseum's schedule in this, but feel the Islanders as the primary tenant would have control over this.

In a market so dominated by other sports, mid-summer prospepct camp scrimmage games at IceWorks fill the stands, the teams meet and greet before the season begins usually brings out solid numbers and many remember the September-October 2002 rally where a reported 8,000 people went to Eisenhower Park.

The fans are there but more has to be done to get them to turn their attention to Islander Hockey earlier. The Havoc Energy Zone was a big hit but is also a big hit to the club to give up those seats at only twenty dollars after not getting fans interested from Day One.

Training Camp at Nassau Coliseum in the opinion of New York Islander Fan Central would be a good start for next season's Day One.