Let the very early summer grades begin for Isles

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/04/2007 09:03:00 PM | | | | | Comment Here
Kevin Greenstein of the very under rated NYSun checks in with the first review and grade of the Islanders summer to date here.

As always it is far better than the Post which never replaced Evan Grossman and instead gives us Devils beatwriter Mark Everson updates or the Times (rare Dave Caldwell updates) and Daily News. (rare Peter Botte updates)


NEW YORK ISLANDERS
Among the highlights:
But Snow was persistent with his pursuit of second-tier free agents, and as a result, the Isles' prospects for 2007–08 now look far better. He inked 36-year-old power forward Bill Guerin to a two-year, $9 million deal, and promptly bestowed the captaincy upon the respected veteran.

Snow also brought playmaking center Mike Comrie aboard, a move that could pay huge dividends. Comrie hasn't drawn rave reviews from teammates and management at his previous stops, but he has tremendous talent. Because he's playing on a one-year, $3.38 million contract — and for no-nonsense head coach Ted Nolan — it's probable that he'll be on his best behavior with the Isles, making this a very prudent signing.

Two gritty wingers, Ruslan Fedotenko and Jon Sim, were also added, and should fit right into Nolan's system. What the Isles lack in elite-level talent, they should make up in gumption and tenacity. Nolan's club will again be difficult to play against, and with only $35 million committed under the cap, they will have plenty of room to make a big splash via trade.

And of course, they will once again have top-notch netminder Rick DiPietro between the pipes. Last year at this time, Snow and the Isles were ridiculed for signing DiPietro to a 15-year, $67.5 million deal. But in the wake of this summer's spending spree, DiPietro's annual $4.5 million cap cost is shaping up to be one of the league's biggest bargains … just as we said it would be.

Snow has responded well to the myriad challenges he's faced since taking over as GM, and he's got the Isles in surprisingly good shape given the departures of Smyth, Blake, Poti, et al.

Off-Season Grade: B-

August very important for Garth Snow and the committee again...

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/04/2007 06:39:00 PM | | | | Comment Here
With the final arbitration hearings over and a likely decision for Los Angeles to accept whatever Mike Cammalleri is awarded Monday, it's time to see what players are left in UFA and where Islander gm Garth Snow should look to fill his needs beyond trades which are possible.

As I discussed a few days ago, the waiting game for second tier free agents is one where some teams need to free cap space by trading to sign a player they want from the second tier list, not all teams can jump in and sign a player and many of them have downside.

For those reading this as a time not that important for the Islanders, last summer Snow made his first official moves as gm and signed Kozlov, Hill, Park and Mike Dunham. All four played at times played important roles on last season's playoff team. The discovery of Hill, who struggled in Florida and Kozlov who contributed 25 goals were critical and outright steals.

That was then, this is now, Garth Snow/Nolan and the staff have some holes to fill that seem to go beyond what they seem have currently unless they feel a prospect has a better chance than a veteran.

Former Islander beat writer at the New York Post Evan Grossman did a feature on the remaining free agents here

I thought this would be a good time to preview the second half of UFA this
August-September and who's has the best chance of helping the club next season.

Teemu Selanne -- Despite the talk of him signing elsewhere, it's likely Anaheim or retirement.

Final Analysis:
He would clearly provide scoring for the Islanders but he's played his entire career in the Western Conference. Hard to see him come back to Anaheim, win a cup, then leave again despite Anaheim's cap issues.

Peter Forsberg --
Final Analysis:
Attractive to plenty of teams, including the Islanders where he would have to immediately be their franchise player with Guerin. Unlikely due to health, teams he would prefer to play for, age and salary, but of course there is a fit for him here as a first or second line center.

Michael Peca -- Sentimental pick, still doing a lot of complaining and is very old and injury prone at this point. Seems like he's using other clubs to resign in Toronto who does not have the cap space at the moment but says he would even take 1.5m to resign and has made noise about wanting to sign with Buffalo. Islanders have Mike Sillinger on the third line and he's not getting any younger. Despite talk from Peca he can still produce like a second line center is best suited as a third line center. No doubt the teams mandate regarding grit, leadership make Peca attractive to management in any role but it does not seem like the right fit for the club any longer. Peca, now can only pick his spots for hitting and his production is sporadic at best. Still is that big game player, who's intangibles you want on your team as demonstrated by his playoff in Edmonton.

Final Analysis:
Peca will sign if here if he's desperate or given more money, but he's has options and for management they have options and for both sides those options could be better.

Trevor Linden -- Would he leave the team he belongs on that gets the most out of him over money? Very possible.

Final Analysis:
It's almost a decade since he's been here and likely fits the Nolan mode of player, but it's hard to see him here again at his age and expect the kind of production the club will need from him.

Darren McCarty -- McCarty had no points in 32 games last year with Calgary in addition to concerns about his durability as a 35-year-old. New York would be a new beginning for him and with Asham not signed he might be worth a one year deal, but Isles need production and McCarty seems to be on the downside.

Final Analysis:
All depends on what Snow and Nolan hear from his agent and the player if interested. This is a case like Hill and may be worth a risk for his veteran experience to go with Simon.

Jeff O'Neill- Lot's of struggles for years, but his production improved last season, is New York the right fit and can Nolan get the most out of him?

Final Analysis:
At age 31 it's an interesting choice because this is where some of these players turn into Gary Roberts.

Vladimir Orszagh -- Former Islander is 30 now, but before his injury looked like a player who can really help an offense in Nashville with a lot of speed.

Final Analysis:
Nolan may not like an offense-first player like him and Commrie on the same roster but has the potential to bring the veteran speed and skill lacking. Still for all that skill, can he put up the numbers? I would call his agent.

Alexander Mogilny--
Final Analysis:Done like dinner.

Eric Lindros --
Final Analysis: Dinner will be ready soon, talking retirement and could not produce on a team with a lot of skilled offensive players, to rely on him as a primary player anymore is a disaster waiting to happen. Sense of entitlement only allows him to play for select teams.

Jeremy Roenick -- Not sure Nolan would like the entertainment value he would bring here with his mouth that is far more effective than his game. On this team he would have to work much harder than he has in years, production wise see-Peca without the intangibles.

Final Analysis:
Needs a club to score and win for him where he can pick his spots, more would be required here.

Travis Green -- Has it really been that long Green stayed in this league until age 37 in December? Old management is out so no Milbury factor he’ll win some face offs for you and if he can stay healthy, he’ll chip in an assist here and there. but seems like a bad fit here. How did we let him score in game seven against us in 2002?

Final Analysis:
A prospect may be ready to do more

Jason Allison--Has not played since 05-06, never signed, a solid second line center but slow and has consistency and injury issues.

Final Analysis:
Someone has to report he's serious about becoming an NHL player again and working as hard as it takes before he's considered for this team, in only those circumstance would he help here.

Final Analysis:
Anson Carter-Only productive as a support player.
Erik Rasmussen-Not too sure
Arron Asham-Don't laugh but most upside of anyone I have reviewed with his speed, shot and age.
Tony Amonte-Long gone are the rumors of 2002 where he was signing here for 6m.
Jeff Friesen-Best overall player of this bunch, worth a call.
Jan Bulis-Not too sure
Josef Vasicek-Need more info
Peter Bondra-Right circumstances could help but hurt too often and slowing down, can easily be next Kozlov of healthy but that's unlikely.
Patrik Stefan-Don't know much other than his concussions in Atlanta.

Defense
Danny Markov -- Hasn’t been a minus player in nine years in the NHL and he’s one of the best pure defenders still out there. Markov may be asking for too much because he doesn’t have the offensive skills some of his peers may posses, but in terms of straight defense, there isn’t anyone better on the market. He’s 31 and could be a solid addition for any NHL squad, provided he lowers his asking price.

Final Analysis:
Make the call, pay his price and replace Hill so Witt has someone who can bang with him for a few years, Islanders need him or someone else has to step up and that kind of defender is not on this roster or in the system.

Andy Sutton -- His 6-foot-6 frame is enticing for general managers looking to land a crease-clearing defense man who has proven to be responsible in his own end the last few years. His size is right up there among the NHL’s giants, but his plus-19 rating over the last two years in Atlanta means he can move those feet, too.

Final Analysis:
To me he's marginal and his plus/minus was more reflective of Atlanta's offense, and there is a good chance Snow might have to settle for him anyway.

Bryan Berard -- A minus-57 the last three years combined, Berard won’t be confused with Ray Bourque any time soon. But he’s another one of those guys on the back end who makes up for defensive shortcomings with a gift for producing offense off the blue line. Limited to 11 games last year with Columbus, Berard could help to upgrade a lot of defensive units around the NHL looking for a power-play quarterback and a guy who can get the puck up the ice in a hurry.

Final Analysis:
Islanders have Bergeron, Campoli, Martinek, he cannot help this roster and has a ton of downside.

Final Analysis:
Brad Ference
Luke Richardson
Brent Sopel-best suited for Vancouver, struggled here most of his short season.
Jamie Heward
Janne Niinimaa
Dan McGillis
Sandis Ozolinsh.

Islanders have six NHL defenders and Johnson who played 61 games with Columbus last season, no chance on any of these players with their downside.

NY Islander Fan Central Recommends:
Contacting Markov, Orszagh, Jeff O'Neill, Jeff Friesen, Michael Peca and Andy Sutton in that order.

Islander Beatwriter Greg Logan on Hunter, Trades and UFA.

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/04/2007 02:26:00 PM | | | | | | | Comment Here
Greg Logan is the Islander beat writer and his blog updates are always a fantastic source of information. Today in his Islanders Newsday blog he gives managements and Hunter's agent take on his arbitration hearing and a general state of the team in what he thinks the Islanders are looking to do in unrestricted free agency and possible trades...

Among the highlights:
Garth Snow quickly accepted (arbitration award) today. The absence of acrimony left the door open to future negotiations for a multi-year deal for Hunter, who has been described by Snow as “the quintessential Islander.”

“It’s a fair number for Trent,” Snow said of the arbitrator’s ruling, which fell short of Hunter’s request for $1.9 million. “We made a point not to attack Trent personally or professionally. We have a lot of respect for him. It wasn’t an ugly process.”

The Isles offered a variety of multi-year deals to Hunter prior to his arbitration hearing. “Garth and I tried to get a deal done,” said Brad Devine, Hunter’s agent. “It was one of those things where we couldn’t quite get there. But it was fine for both sides.”


Logan makes a lot of good points about several directions the club could take and understands Toronto's has to pay other clubs to unload McCabe's salary as I discussed the other day..

Among those highlights:
It would be easiest for Snow to go the free-agent route on defense by choosing among the likes of Danny Markov, Andy Sutton or Ossi Vaananen. But he’s determined not to overpay in money or length of contract for a player who might be solid but not necessarily a fit worth a major commitment.

Because the Isles would be doing Toronto a favor by taking on a major salary in McCabe, the Leafs would have to add ingredients to make it worthwhile. Snow wants to continue to replenish the farm system, and an extra No. 1 pick would help. Leafs center Matt Stajan, 23, reportedly is available and could be a pot sweetener in any deal, depending on which Islanders are sent to Toronto.

It’s unlikely Snow will bring in more than one veteran defenseman. He and coach Ted Nolan understand the need to let young defensemen Chris Campoli and Bruno Gervais continue their development, and Snow already added veteran Aaron Johnson for depth at Bridgeport.

Adding firepower to a team that parted with Alexei Yashin and lost scorers Jason Blake, Ryan Smyth and Viktor Kozlov to free agency remains problematic. But there still are passable options among the leftover UFAs.

Michael Peca isn’t likely to return because injuries have diminished his ability to pile up points. The most intriguing option might be 32-year-old Jason Allison, who might provide the playmaking boost the Islanders need.

Carolina center Josef Vasicek, who showed a glimpse of his potential with 45 points in 2003-04, is a secondary option. It’s not out of the question the Islanders might even bring back Randy Robitaille,

It’s likely the Islanders still will be several million below the salary cap with as much payroll flexibility as any team in the NHL heading toward the next couple of seasons. It’s not a bad position to be in

Update on New York Islander Fan Central

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/03/2007 11:28:00 AM | Comment Here


Wanted to give everyone an update on what's happening at New York Islander Fan Central, what were about and welcome comments and suggestions.

This site has only been around for about ten days and a lot is happening.

We have already gotten a nice flow of visitors to the site and my thanks to everyone who has visited/commented or e-mailed. I plan to promote the site as much as possible on all the major search engines and hockey websites. I hope those who come here spread the word because this will be a very active site packed with updates and information.

I also included a message board for those wishing to talk as well, please be respectful on it.

New York Islander Fan Central is my blog relating to all things regarding the New York Islanders Hockey Team. At times that will expand to NHL topics as well but as you can see already this site will try to cover all bases.

As for the blog itself, I would suggest even if you do not see updates from myself on a given day to please check the links which include automated news updates from the Islanders website, Newsday, NHL/AHL.com and several hockey news sources are all at the bottom of this blog. It's all automated and set to provide the latesst Islander-related information quickly for everyone, so please check the entire page and get the most out of this site.

All prospect profiles have been included here on this page as well. This was discussed in a recent blog. All blog updates and the best of Islander Fan Central is archived, tagged and available to all readers.

Several Islander video content providers have also been included on this site and I'm always looking for more sites. Islanders TV has a You Tube page but it's not RSS capable but I will be posting some of their video's as well.

Some things cannot be linked to because those sites do not have RSS feeds, but things like Ct Post Michael Fornabio's blog are a must-read for new, updated information, links to all the major news sites for the Islanders are included.

Some sites like TSN do not have RSS for hockey-only so they were not included, but I'm always adding to what is a very new site and it will be a trial and error process as some things are added and are moved around, while others are altered.

That's it for today's update on the site. Please feel free to offer suggestions and my thanks to everyone.

Hunter awarded 1.55m from Arbitrator, Islanders accept

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/03/2007 11:11:00 AM | | | | Comment Here
The arbitration has ruled on Trent Hunter's contract for the 2006-07 season, he will make 1.55m in 2007-08, a 500,000 raise as perNewsday

Islanders gm Garth Snow had the following comments on NYI.com

"Letting Trent go was never a consideration for us," said Islanders general manager Garth Snow. "He's an important piece to our team; that was never up for debate. We're glad he'll be in an Islanders uniform in September."

Islanders have accepted the award, he cannot be traded. This does set the stage for his departure next summer unless a long-term deal can be worked out, given they could not get a deal done before this hearing, what will be different come the trade deadline or next summer?

As I wrote in another topic, this is where you spend the money you saved by not signing Jason Blake.

The Waiting Game on Trades and Free Agency

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/03/2007 10:44:00 AM | | | Comment Here
The Waiting Game on Trades and Free Agency..

As I wrote a few days ago most teams being set by August 1st and all of the
second-tier unresritcted free agents being signed are a thing of the past in the new NHL where a salary cap is not something you escape anymore. We saw how Lou Lamoriello got out of his cap problems last summer, he traded his first round pick with Vladimir Malakhov to San Jose and for a marginal player. San Jose took his cap hit which was off the Sharks books because he was injured.

Unlike other years, this one now more then ever sets the stage for teams to unload contracts to clear cap space and pay for doing so, a team at 50m simply cannot make any moves in season to improve themselves unless they dump contracts. Many teams are not at the 50m level and a most teams will have expiring contracts next summer so they will gain some room but for now a few our stuck.

That's where the waiting game comes into play because some gm's have contracts they cannot get rid of and many second tier free agents have to take the hit for all the money the primary free agents made which is why virtually no UFA for a while have been signed.

For example, we have read or seen a lot of speculation about former Islander Brian McCabe being traded back here, despite his no-trade clauses which he insists he's not waiving. I'm picking the McCabe example because it's one usually centered around the Islanders but this could apply to several NHL players.

Sounds acceptable to read about and the Islanders marginally improve their defense with a descent defender but someone who's hardly a difference maker anymore beyond his pp shot at that price would only serve to limit the Islanders and what they can spend by badly overpaying for a contract that is a terrible one for the Leafs. For any team to accept McCabe (or Pavel Kubina) in a trade means taking him at a very high price, which allows the Leafs to go take their new cap space and spend it on primary players who can really help a team which our own team should be looking to sign.

Meanwhile, you look around some Islander fan sites and they not only want to take McCabe's enormous cap hit, they want to give up our prospects to do it.

You really want Brian McCabe, here is the right offer for Garth Snow to make to Leafs GM John Ferguson.

Leafs send McCabe to Islanders and gain 5-7m in cap space:
Isles take McCabe and lose 5-7m in cap space:

Leafs send Islanders three first rounders and their top two prospects:
Islanders send Leafs three worst cap hit contracts (Bates/Park-Snow)

Otherwise it makes no sense to help the Leafs go sign more top level players and even then it just makes sense.

How would you feel next summer if the Jason Spezza sweepstakes came down to the Islanders and Toronto and they won because we took McCabe's contract so they could make an equal or better offer?

That's why were seeing a waiting game or teams rushing to resign an Iginla and not taking any chances.

New York Islanders Fifteen to Remember Tonight 8pm on FSN..

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/03/2007 10:22:00 AM | | | | Comment Here
New York Islanders Fifteen to Remember Tonight 8pm on FSN..

1/9/2007 at Msg:
New York Islanders vs Rangers

You can't beat us chants rock the Garden as the Islanders put the game away in the third peirod..

Grizzlies Acquire Rights To Bourne From Reading

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/02/2007 06:49:00 PM | | | | | Comment Here




Islanders new (or old) affiliate considering they were partnered with Utah as an IHL franchise a decade ago, now are back as an ECHL franchise signed Justin Bourne today.

Justin Bourne was part of the Islanders prospect camp in June and was featured on the club's website here.

Justin Bourne is the son of Islander great, Bob Bourne.

Ducks do not match offer sheet to Penner

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/02/2007 03:41:00 PM | | | | Comment Here
History made today as a team finally added a significant player using an offer sheet under the new CBA. The press conference from Brian Burke should be very interesting, given his temper and his comments about Kevin Lowe a few days ago.

Tsn reports Anaheim did not match the offer sheet Edmonton signed Penner to.

As a result, Penner becomes property of the Oilers while the Ducks receive the Oilers' first, second and third round picks as compensation. Oilers general manager Kevin Lowe will hold a 4:30pm et conference call while Ducks' GM Brian Burke will conduct a conference call at 6pm et.

The Second Year trend for NYI Coaches...

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/02/2007 02:21:00 PM | | | | | | | | Comment Here
If the New York Islanders in year two of Ted Nolan's tenure take a major step backwards or if his message grows stale will he be fired?

I know on the surface that may seem a little absurd considering he took a team predicted by some to be 30th and produced a 92 point playoff team that put up a respectable fight against the President Trophy Winning Sabres. I also understand that Nolan was signed to a three year contract and that this is reportedly now a hockey board made up of Wang, Snow, Nolan, Trottier, Morrow....ect

I'm also still not sure about the 2006-07 Islanders, even if they took the ice with today's roster, they could be a good or bad team but I'm not writing this to project the club's outlook on August 2nd.

That said the trend for second year coaches here have not been good. Peter Laviolette's Islanders finished a game over five hundred, made the playoffs and was fired, despite Wang giving him an extension that season.

Steve Stirling produced a 91 point playoff team with many injuries as a rookie head coach (without shootouts) his club put up a respectable series with Stanley Cup winning Tampa Bay. The following year (after the lockout with a lot of changes) it fell apart quickly and by January he was fired and again the coach was reportedly having problems with the players.

You want to go back to the dark days? Butch Goring got a max effort out of a young team as a rookie coach and won more than he was projected to. In year two it fell apart (for reasons other than Goring) and he was fired in March of his second season and the decision received a lot of criticism.

The question has to be asked if Nolan's way of doing things grows stale with the few remaining veterans and the new core group fails on the ice does this new management react the same way and fire the coach or hold the players accountable?

Some may argue this is standard practice in a results-oriented business, you don't win it's easier to fire one coach than twenty-odd players.

Personally this is one trend I think the new staff has to break from the days Milbury was gm, win or lose next season and that the players go before Nolan.

Ted Nolan's is good coach and what he did last season with a team some projected 30th was a quality job, especially after such a long time out of the league and validates his abilities. No one's sure what kind of coach Nolan is with a championship level club because he's not done that yet or with a team that takes significant steps backwards.

Nolan's well respected and knows how to get the most out of players and will almost always be an asset for a club, even if the roster is lacking things coaching cannot make up for. It's also clear Nolan's opinion of Alexei Yashin factored in his decision to be bought out when in the past Yashin likely won out over Laviolette and Stirling if there was dissention among them.

This is one trend I suggest Wang, Snow and whatever management they have making decisions break now and for the long-term. In my estimation Ted Nolan is part of the long-term solution for this franchise.

Adam Proteau of Hockey News anti-Islander?

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/01/2007 03:39:00 PM | | | | | | 1 Comments
No suprise, as usual Adam Proteau finds something to insult the Islanders about as he does in this Espn article about free agent busts, putting Fedotenko at 2.9m at the top, even though he was a big part of Tampa's
03-04 Championship run and has had a twenty six goal season and is signed for one year at 2.9m.

Not like Islanders gave him Gomez money for one twenty goal season in seven and only thirteen last season. I can see Fedotenko being listed in a top ten for bad signings because he only had twelve goals, but first?
Come on....

I have a theory that a lot of the younger folks may not understand to explain the Adam Proteau's and Scott Burnside's of the world who live to take digs at the Islanders, along with a lot of other media that seems to enjoy finding something to rip the Islanders about in Canada and to a small degree (Larry Brooks) in baseball dominated Manhattan.

Many of these old-time Canadian writers could never accept that the Islanders came into this league and won like virtually no other team. Four Straight Stanley Cups, Five Straight Finals, Nineteen Straight Playoff Series wins, Champions, Finals,
Semi-finals, nine times out of ten from 75 thru 84...

Smitty rubbing it in their faces in 83.
Islanders knocking the Habs off in the " Drive for Five"
New record Fifteen Game Winning Streak in 81-82 (no overtimes)

So many life-long Ranger fans in the media could never accept it in the 70's-80's, which is why the club got it's fair share of coverage but not what it deserved for it's incredible accomplishments.

No doubt it was also a very bitter pill in Canada for some of these writers to see a team they predicted 30th knock the Toronto Maple Leafs (their mealticket) out of the playoffs on the final day of the regular season with a backup goalie.

That said, a lot of things the Islanders have done in the past do deserve plenty of justified hard criticism, but some items just go well over the top like it's payback for them because of the past.

Ruslan Fedotenko, biggest UFA bust for a signing at 2.9m? Not buying.

Proteau gives sort of a response in his blog:
Other readers wondered why, if I was citing Ruslan Fedotenko’s lack of goal production in putting him on the list, I wasn’t also including new Ranger Scott Gomez and the 13 lousy goals he had for New Jersey in ’06-07. That’s fair comment, but I think we all know what Gomez brings to the proverbial table and what Fedotenko’s table is missing.

Islanders, Hunter go to Arbitration

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/01/2007 03:20:00 PM | | | | Comment Here
Newsday reports Hunter and the Islanders could not work out a contract and went to arbitration Wednesday.

Expect a decision by Friday, but this could be the beginning of the end of Trent Hunter as a New York Islander. The hearing was amicable, according to a team spokesman.

It should be noted the Islanders decide not to accept his award he would become an UFA, but that seems highly unlikely. He can still be traded by the club at any time if they accept his award.

Trottier rates toughest defenders for him to play against

New York Islander Fan Central | 7/31/2007 07:30:00 PM | | | | Comment Here
Islanders website gives Trottier's toughest defenders to play against
nyi.com good thing Potvin never made that list as Denis retired after 1988 before he left for Pittsburgh.

Trots includes many of the top defenders of his era in Larry Robinson, Raymond Bourque, Rod Langway, Paul Coffey. He also includes standouts like Borje Salming, Al MacInnis, Brad Park, Serge Savard and Scott Stevens and one unknown who made an impression on him in Pittsburgh's Dave Burrows.

Also included is legendary Bobby Orr, as an honorable mention, who only played in two games vs Trots.

Newsday update on Hunter

New York Islander Fan Central | 7/31/2007 12:34:00 PM | | | Comment Here
Quick blurb from Newsday claiming Hunter could be signed before Wednesday's hearing.

Islanders right wing Trent Hunter, who earned $1 million last year, has an arbitration hearing scheduled for tomorrow, but indications are that Hunter, 27, who scored 20 goals and added 15 assists in 77 games, and the team will agree on a new pact before the hearing.

Bridgeport Sound Tigers Announce Preseason and Camp.

New York Islander Fan Central | 7/30/2007 06:18:00 PM | | Comment Here

Sound Tigers Announce Pre-Season And Training Camp Dates
07/30/07 - American Hockey League (AHL) Bridgeport Sound Tigers

Training camp will take place at the Sound Tigers official practice facility, The Rinks at Shelton, from Sept. 24 - Oct. 2. Fans are welcome to attend all on-ice sessions.

The Sound Tigers pre-season schedule commences on Wednesday, Sept 26 against the Hartford Wolf Pack. The second game is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 28 versus the Providence Bruins, the Sound Tigers will then travel to Cromwell, CT for a game on Sunday, Sept. 30 at 5 p.m. against the Wolf Pack at the Champions Skating Center.

Stay tuned for the announcement of a fourth and final pre-season game later this summer.

NHL & ESPN TALKING ABOUT TV RIGHTS FOR 08-09

New York Islander Fan Central | 7/30/2007 05:10:00 PM | | | | Comment Here
Interesting article, but Versus maintains the rights to the games and paid sixty millon dollars for the priviledge and have those rights until 2011.

On Espn, Hockey will always be the eighth or ninth sport but clearly Versus does not get it when they do not have studio shows or post-game press conferences for fans when finals games are on NBC.

Two finals were shown on NBC, twenty minutes after the cup was awarded they were off the air, Versus did not have the common sense to do coaches, players press conferences and a live studio show for the fans either year?

You may ask, they may not have had the rights to do any postgame following NBC coverage, but here's the kicker.

The only places to see the post game press conferences and the coverage were, you gussed it....ESPN NEWS.

Why pay for something, show it all year and then not be around for the end of the finals?

This even happened on some long ot games where Versus did the game, if a game went three overtimes, they got off almost immediately the show re-runs or repeats of programs.

I'm sure at 1am on the East Coast Bill Clement and the crew want to go home, but such great games require live coaches press conferences and player comments. They usually have people working the benches, go work the lockerooms.

I'm a die-hard fan, this is want I'm looking for.

Also what happened to all that programming Versus had on in year one for hockey with those old Islander History of Hockey segments?

Too early to grade the Islanders summer

New York Islander Fan Central | 7/30/2007 09:27:00 AM | | | | Comment Here
Usually when we hit August, media people start grading how a club did in the summer and start making their predictions for next season so those prognostications can be published in magazines or websites that have to be released by September or these writers have to do projections for thirty teams and are doing one a day and have to start now to be done by September.

IMHO, this is far too early for grades or projections. This is a different NHL where the top tier UFA are still well overpaid but soon afterward the second-tier players
find themselves shut out where they really have to scramble for the best offer because few teams are able to overpay with a salary cap or have reached their own budget limit.

In the Islanders case we don't know if Charles Wang has Garth Snow on a budget or if this is all they intend to do in UFA. We do know Snow was quoted as saying he can spend on anyone he feels will help the club. It's also possible the next move is a trade of salary/cap-hit for some other players cap-hit to fill a need.

The Islanders have a lot of options here and can go either way. Players like Tambellini and Bergenheim are at the point where they no longer belong in the AHL and the same may be said for Frans Nielsen and perhaps a Blake Comeau, Jeremy Coliton or Petteri Nokelainen.

Do you sign a Michael Peca now, who fits Sillinger's role as a third line center (with less scoring) and not that of a second line center or do you maybe wait and see who becomes available after camp when it's clear or do you limit these kids opportunities for jobs now?

Looking at the roster now with players like Bates, Park, Simon signed and with Andy Hilbert getting a two year extension, there are not many jobs available on this roster anymore.

It's been a wild ride and maybe not the best ride for this club so far. We do know the Islanders had a lot of weaknesses with Smyth, Zednik. Yashin, Blake, Robitaille, Kozlov, Poti, Hill and Asham here and were a limited club but collectively they also helped this club produce a 92 point season and a playoff spot. It's possible the players added address some of these weaknesses, but it's also possible Comrie, Guerin, Sim and Fedotenko struggle badly here and cannot replace the lost offense and defense last year's club showed.

If a game had to be played tomorrow this is where things seem to stand:
Fedotenko-Comrie-Guerin
Hilbert-Sillinger-Hunter*
Sim-Tambellini-Satan
Bergenheim-Bates-Park
Simon-Nokelainen-Comeau-Collition...ect

Martinek-Witt
Bergeron-Gervais
Campoli-Meyer
Johnson ect....

For now we have to wait and see what happens with this roster. for now it could go either way.

Arbour's Day: Devils' Sutter almost had shot to match wits with Isles' legend

New York Islander Fan Central | 7/29/2007 10:42:00 AM | | | | | Comment Here
Interesting article where Al Arbour and new Devils coach Brent Sutter is quoted, apparently the Islanders first idea was to have Arbour coach a game scheduled earlier next season vs New Jersey.

Arbour's Day: Devils' Sutter almost had shot to match wits with Isles' legend

Al Arbour's one-game return to coaching the Islanders was nearly scheduled against Devils rookie coach Brent Sutter. That would have been an emotion-filled night for the Hall of Famer and his former captain and protégé.

When Arbour and members of the Islanders' front office discussed plans for his return to the bench, they seriously considered two Saturday night home games at Nassau Coliseum -- Oct. 20 against the Devils and Nov. 3 vs. the Pittsburgh Penguins.

At the time, the Devils had not yet named Sutter their new coach, so that didn't figure into the decision.

"I told (the Islanders) the Devils game was too early," Arbour revealed to The Star-Ledger. "I'm still at my summer home (in Ontario) in September. I didn't want to be rushing back. But it would've been fabulous. We would've been looking at each other not knowing what to do. Well, we both would've been trying to win, which is the way it's supposed to be, right?"

"I'd probably have worn a pair of glasses because Al wore glasses," Sutter said in a telephone interview from his home in Alberta. "It would've been great. I have the highest regard for Al as a person and coach. He's a great man. He taught me a lot, like how to be a professional and how to deal with things."

"No question, watching someone means an awful lot," Arbour said. "He was like I was as a player. I learned from a lot of coaches and learned something from them all. My last coach was Scotty Bowman, but I also learned from Punch Imlach and Joe Crozier.

"Brent was a student of the game. He had leadership qualities all over. That's why he was our captain."

Sutter said the greatest lesson he may have learned from Arbour was how to communicate with players Al was great at communication," he recalled. "You always knew where you stood. I work on the framework of honesty. Al was the same way. That's where I learned it from."

In his introductory press conference, Sutter said some of his players probably won't like him because of his tough approach. That is Arbour all over.

"I think Brent is going to command respect. He's a very no-nonsense type of guy," Arbour said. "He's not there to be liked. Some of my players liked me and some of them hated me. I think he'll be the same way."

Hate might be a strong word when it comes to Arbour.

"I'm not so sure hate is the word," Sutter said. "I'm not going to say every player respected Al the way I did, but there was a tremendous amount of respect. I've said that there doesn't have to be a tremendous amount of love between players and the coach, but there has to be a tremendous amount of respect. I demand respect."

Sutter, of course, could've had the Islanders' job at various points had he been ready to leave his junior team, the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League. Arbour doesn't hold it against him that he's a Devil.

"That was his decision. I'm happy for him," Arbour said. "I think it's great for him. I'm sure he could've gone to a lot of places a while back. He'll be successful with the Devils. I don't think it will be as tough for him making the transition from junior hockey to the NHL because he played in the NHL."

And he had a pretty good teacher.

"Al took me under his wing," Sutter said. "I always looked at Al as like a father to me."

Islanders coach Ted Nolan came up with the idea of bringing Arbour back. Nolan said he noticed a board outside the team's dressing room that showed Arbour had coached the Isles for 1,499 games and thought it would be meaningful to bring him back for No. 1,500. Nolan will join Arbour behind the bench on Nov. 3.

Arbour said he agreed to come back to show some of the organization's past stars that they need to stay in touch with the team.

"I'm sure I will be nervous," Arbour said. "You never forget, but I hope I don't forget too much. It should be very interesting."

What if he gets the itch for more than one game?

"No possibility whatsoever," Arbour insisted. "You kidding? I'm going to be 75 years old soon. I'm not in the best physical condition anyway."

One game is enough.

"I think it's great," Sutter said. "Great for the game. It's a credit to Teddy Nolan to approach Al on it. It will be great to see Al back."

Even if it's not face-to-face.