Tuesday Islander Notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/28/2007 05:47:00 AM | | | | Comment Here
Quiet start to a late August Tuesday. Toronto Star late Monday afternoon has an updated quote from Bryan Berard's agent, Tom Laidlaw confirming his client will be at Islanders camp.

Article also has an update on Peter Forsberg, Teemu Selanne, Dany Markov, Brent Sopel, Curtis Joseph with quotes from their agents and an overview of the remaining UFA.

"He is going to try out with the New York Islanders," his agent Tom Laidlaw confirmed Monday.

Limited to only 11 games last season, Berard is out to re-establish himself. If he stays healthy, he's still a guy that can move the puck and spearhead a power play.

"He'll go out and prove what he can do," said Laidlaw.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
The game is on for agents to find homes for their clients and talk about what they can do for a team in the media, closer we get to camps opening, the more talking they will do to find them the best situtation.

Former Islander John Erskine resigned with the Caps for two years.

Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun goes out of his way to point out new Canuck, Brad Isbister could only stick with the " wretched " Islanders in an article that seems over the top about insulting TSN'S Pierre McGuire covering the Super Series in an article talking about many things outside of hockey.

NYI Fan Central:
What was the point of writing this about McGuire, who does a poor job in my perspective but went all the way to Russia to cover hockey games in August?

Brad Isbister came in the Robert Reichel trade so he played on some terrible Islander teams, but he also played on the 2001-2002 club that had 96 points before he was traded for Janne Niinimaa during the 2002-03 season, let's get the entire story Cam Cole.

Bridgeport Sound Tigers announced a redesign of their website.

The Sound Tigers are the first team in the AHL to have their own innovative TV station identical to Islanders TV. Sound TigerTV will make its debut in the upcoming months. Fans will have complete access to player and coaches interviews, game highlights and special shows such as this season's newest edition, "Chewing the Fata," with defenseman Drew Fata.

Will numbers game force trade on defense?

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/27/2007 05:32:00 PM | | | | Comment Here
Before I do any previews on the club's defense it's time to ask the question will Gm Garth Snow trade a defender?

Going into this Islanders have seven NHL defenders under contract and former Islander Bryan Berard will be a tryout player in camp. My guess is Berard will be signed to a contract if he shows anything and would not be attending camp unless his tryout were more than a formality.

Signed/Resigned this summer:
Chris Campoli: Three year contract
Aron Johnson: One year contract
Andy Sutton: Three year contract

Signed last year:
Brendan Witt-Two years remaining on contract
Radek Martinek-One year remaining on contract
M.A Bergeron-Two years remaining on contract
Freddy Meyer-One year remaining on contract
Bruno Gervais-One year remaining on contract

Let's not even get into Dustin Kohn or some of the veteran defenders signed last year with limited NHL experience.

You put Johnson in the AHL (he played sixty one games for Columbus last season) and that still leaves eight NHL defenders on this roster and only six can play on a nightly basis.

For those thinking Gervais-Campoli can play in the minors both must clear waivers and it's highly unlikley the club would risk exposing them to waivers. Both of them seem the most well-rounded defenders on the roster in terms of overall game.

Martinek is expected to be healthy and in camp according to the club website reports.

This leaves lot's of questions, few answers. Fair to say the players just signed are not going anywhere in trades. Snow traded for Meyer and did not have to commit long term to Campoli. He also traded for Bergeron. Witt he absolutely needs and Nolan has stated how much he likes Martinek's game and how critical it is for the club's defense.

Of course if Islander fans are going to make a depth chart Meyer would likely be at the bottom which is why other teams may not want him.

I keep looking at this and who other teams would want who could be available with all the moves to this point. If the right talent were coming here in return and I keep coming back to one player.

Bruno Gervais.

Personally, I would keep Gervais unless the return is too good to pass up and brings the same kind of potential and talent. The question is will Snow address his numbers problem on defense with a trade. It seems he has to if Berard is signed.

Thoughts and comments are appreciated.

Update on prospect Robin Figren

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/27/2007 03:18:00 PM | | | Comment Here
Edmonton Sun today briefly touches on Islander prospect Robin Figren, who will play for the Oil Kings in the WHL after playing last season for the Calgary Hitman.

Figren,is the only Oil King forward who scored at least 10 goals in the league last year.

Islander Forward Preview Pt IV

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/27/2007 01:33:00 AM | Comment Here
Monday brings the end of this years preview of the club's forwards with the players at this time likely to be on the fourth line and the players on the outside.

Chris Simon:
Despite his suspension at the end of last season that will continue for the first five games of this season the Islanders re-signed Simon to a one-year contract with incentives. Last year he did not have to do much fighting but anyone who watched his game knew he kept the opposition honest on the ice. His on-ice intimidating presence was that of a leader and was missed during his suspension. He was used on the first, third and fourth lines last season, did a good job with Blake and Yashin early and saw limited pp minutes. This year it's tough to see where he fits beyond an enforcing role but Simon still at times displays the scoring touch he had earlier in his career and is a favorite of Ted Nolan because of how hard he works, he will make it tough to relegate to a fourth line role. Only problem is will the long suspension and the ramifications of what he did change his approach?

Richard Park:
Park enters the final year of his two year deal and quietly did a very solid job last season in several roles. Mostly he was relegated to a checking line but on occasion got a cameo on the first and second lines. His special teams play was solid, brought a lot of energy to the ice and on occasion was amazing with a five on three shorthanded goal against Pittsburgh. Park was never shy about working in the corners and showed strong skating ability. Down the stretch he picked up his scoring and the final weekend was critical in games against Philadelphia and New Jersey, with key goals in both games. Expect more of the same from Park this season unless he beats out someone on another line.

Shawn Bates:
Bates was reportedly almost ready to return during the Buffalo series. He has two more seasons on his Islander contract. Unless his groin problems are still hampering him or he is traded, the Islanders are paying him over a million dollars to play and that's what we have to expect. When he was healthy last season he did his usual solid skating and penalty killing job. Like Andy Hilbert he simply cannot finish his chances but is nowhere near the skilled offensive player. Is the likely fourth line center on the 2007-08 club if healthy unless he is traded off the roster or demoted for another player which is unlikely because he would have to clear waivers.

Jeff Tambellini:
Tambellini is signed for this season and is the only player on last year's roster who would not have to clear waivers. This to me is his make or break year after being traded from the Kings and showing some good signs in parts of the last two seasons with the club. He has nothing more to prove in Bridgeport and has to beat out a Bergenheim, Park or Bates to hold his roster spot. He brings offensive skills that give him an edge over those players. His game is best suited to a top six role, last season he saw some time with Satan on a second line. With Simon suspended for the first five games, he will likely start the season with the club regardless but this is his year to step up or he becomes this organizations next Justin Papineau. I expect Snow and Nolan to give him his chance, I also expect Bergenheim to be the second line left wing because the intangibles in his game look better suited to the NHL when you look at both players career's to this point.

Frans Nielsen:
Nielsen is not this young prospect who needs much more seasoning. He's been an over aged prospect for a while now, it showed on the ice in Bridgeport and with his brief call up with the Islanders. He's strong on the puck, showed the composure a player who's been in several international tournaments against NHL veterans for Denmark in shootout vs Toronto and in a big game vs Montreal he scored his first NHL goal. Tough to see a spot for him right now with the Islanders. He absolutely has the skills and talent to break through now and force management to trade someone to create a spot for him.

Petteri Nokelainen:
Nokelainen hardly looked out of place as a rookie in the NHL before his knee injury but it's been a long road back to get back to where he was but according to several reports he finally seems healthy. This kind of injury usually requires a full year to bounce back as we have seen with Radek Martinek, Michael Peca. Anything can happen but it's going to take a fantastic camp or a lot of injuries for him to take a spot from someone and hold it with so many fourth liners. Seems best suited for the third line center role.

Blake Comeau-Jeremy Colliton-Steve Regier:
All three players had brief cameo's with the club last year. Ted Nolan was very impressed with Comeau's game but given the depth chart here and in Bridgeport they would have a very tough task to beat out so many older veterans for a spot unlike two years ago when the club decided to fill the fourth line with prospects. Good news is anyone who steps up, is outstanding and shows they can help the club now will have a spot cleared for them. Better news is nine preseason games provides more opportunities.

Next up:
Part One Preview of Islander Defense

Pierre Turgeon's 50th goal in ot.

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/26/2007 02:44:00 PM | | | Comment Here
In tribute to Pierre Tuergon, who is expected to retire from the NHL.

I was at this game. Incredible play by Malakhov to gamble and keep the puck in and a fantastic celebration on Garden ice.


Islander Forward Preview Pt III

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/26/2007 01:21:00 PM | Comment Here
Today we continue with Pt III of the our Islander forward preview for the 2007-08 season and discuss Andy Hilbert, Trent Hunter and Mike Sillinger.

Part One Part Two.

Andy Hilbert:
Hilbert was given a two year extension by the club this summer after he decided to become an unrestricted free agent and could have signed anywhere for a short time. Expect Hilbert to go right back on a very effective checking line with Mike Sillinger and Trent Hunter that carried the club for a long stretch of games last season and contributed like a first line. Anyone who followed Hilbert during the 2005-06 season in Pittsburgh saw him on a line with Crosby produce nineteen points in about twenty games and was not resigned.

Hilbert for a smaller player brought a lot of grit and was not shy about going into the corners and working hard at both ends of the ice. His defensive play was very under rated but these are two reasons why the club brought him back. Problem last year was Hilbert simply could not finish his chances as he did in Pittsburgh and it hurt his confidence. Speed and skill are not a problem, he brought both and for a short stretch was producing well. Between playing through an injury, another scoring slump and the Islanders acquiring Ryan Smyth, he was relegated to a fourth line during the playoffs and did not produce in a limited role.

This year it's time for Hilbert to take the next step. Two year deal or not he must produce and finish his chances or he will lose his spot to another player. Other area's of his game are solid and like many he's at a point where the Islanders should see his best hockey.

Mike Sillinger:
Best free agent signing this club had made in well over a decade. Easy to see from day one why so many teams trade for a Mike Sillinger,impossible to see why few teams ever gave him a long-term deal because he looks like part of the solution if you put him in the right role. Not only did Sillinger produce at both ends of the ice in 2006-07 but was outstanding on faceoffs and special teams. Sillinger's intangibles won games for this club last season and were a major factor in the club returning to the playoffs. In the playoffs he was moved up to first line center and even though he did not score generated chances that led to goals and was solid at both ends of the ice.

Sillinger is not going to impress anyone with speed or great scoring or defensive skills. He's simply knows how to make enough plays to win a game for a team at both ends of the ice and in the faceoff circle where he stands out.

Simply put the Islanders need more of the same from Mike Sillinger next season or this club will not be in playoff contention. He managed to stay healthy all of last season and will be thirty six this season.(Guerin is thirty seven) Like last year when games become critical expect Ted Nolan to give him more responcibility because of the lack of depth and experience at center.

Trent Hunter:
Hunter and the Islanders went to arbitration this summer and they could not get together on a long-term contract. Hunter's intangibles hid a lot of streaky production in 06-07 playing with a knee brace most of the season that seemed to again limit his speed in the open ice. That said when Trent Hunter get's to the puck he made something positive happen. Like 03-04 when Hunter's scoring carried the club his hot streak that produced a twenty goal season again carried the club when it was needed most. Despite a scoring slumnp again down the stretch in scoring last year, Hunter was on Nolan's top line come playoff time with Sillinger-Ryan Smyth and responded with three goals in a losing effort.

Hunter game brings intangibles that include being one of the leaders in hits in the NHL, grit, defensive skills, special teams skill that is critical to a team concept along with an ability to block a shot. His power skating with the puck and release are good, but stopped using his slap-shot as he did in 03-04 and as he did in Bridgeport. Defensive plays like the one that took the puck in the final seconds from Sidney Crosby are part of the package.

On a team that lost the scoring it did Hunter must be more involved on the scoresheet as he was in 03-04. This may come down to his skating but the rest of his game is outstanding. Hunter is gambling on a big year and pending UFA and so will the Islanders not to let him leave. Again like many on this team the club needs a huge year from Hunter.

Next Up Part Four:
The remaining fowards. Richard Park, Chris Simon, Shawn Bates, Jeff Tambellini, Frans Nielsen.

No Islanders at Super Series

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/26/2007 12:47:00 PM | | | Comment Here
For those interested Russia and Canada are having an eight game tournament with prospects to recreate the1972 Summit Series.

are one of ten NHL teams that will not be represented, but many current and future top prospects will be. Many undrafted players will be participating for Russia as well as 2008 and 2009 draft eligible players.

Here is the tournament overview.

Clarke Gillies, nephew Colton Gillies will play for Canada.

Tournament will be not televised in the US, but will in Canada.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Disappointing the Islanders are not represented, but their prized prospect from the 2006 draft, Kyle Okposo is an American. A player from Sweden like Robin Figren 2006/3/70 or Finland's Jessu Joensuu 2006/60 would not be eligible.

Sunday Islander NHL notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/26/2007 11:33:00 AM | | | | Comment Here
Boston Globe notes Berard will be attending Islander training camp. No comment from Berard, the Islanders or Newsday at this point.

NY Fan Central Comments:
Given Newsday had three blog updates and two articles on Michael Peca only negotiating with the Rangers and this is the third or fourth paper to report on Berard's training camp invite, isn't it time Greg Logan or his editor at Newsday provide our fans an update with some comments from Berard or Garth Snow?

Some interesting NHL Notables:
Teams have been granted permission by the league to relocate the two goal judges' positions, opening up some prime seat locations in the loge.

But the displaced judges won't be out of work. Most of them will move, plungers in hand, to the press box. If that takes them too far from the action, they'll be positioned elsewhere in the building, perhaps at the Zamboni entrance. Otherwise, the job will fall to referees and replays, and sometimes the scrutiny of the Toronto-based "war room" that pipes in telecasts of the games.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
The role of the NHL goal judge has been obsolete for a long time with the introduction of video replay. Relocating them further away makes no sense at all, the position should be terminated and the area used for more prime seating.

Unlike referee's, who once they make a call on a goal/no goal have to be overturned with conclusive evidence from Toronto, when the goal judge turns on the light or keeps it off, it does not factor into any final decision on a goal one way or another. Video replay can also tell if a puck enters the goal before a peirod ends.

On Scott Niedermayer filing retirement papers:
If he files his retirement papers, he is effectively done for the season, because the 29 other NHL teams would all have to "sign off" on his return to Anaheim if he wanted back sometime during 2007-08.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
No reported situatations of player filing retirement papers, then returning the same season. This is the first time I have read there is a rule where the other clubs can determine if someone is allowed to play. Hopefully Niedermayer, Selanne or any player who retires under contract understands the ramifications. Brian Burke as usual is a little upset, would be a lot of fun if Kevin Lowe had to make a decision like this.

Islander Forward Preview Pt II

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/25/2007 01:54:00 PM | Comment Here
Saturday, we present part two of our preview on the Islander forwards. Part one was done here on Friday.

Miroslav Satan:
Satan is in the final year of the three year contract he signed with the club after being bought out by the Buffalo Sabres so he has a lot riding on this upcoming season. To this point Satan has not been the star player he was in earlier years but did get his numbers in his first season. On this team he's been more a streaky scorer and in year one was moved to the second line right wing spot. Last year Ted Nolan kept him in that role for the most part and he disappeared for long stretches and in the playoffs.

Satan will do whatever is asked of him but looked lost as a pp point man early last season and maybe that played a role in his very slow start. He did turn into a descent penalty killer, but he makes his money to be an offensive impact player and score goals. His impact goals were few and far between besides one notable goal to tie a game with NJ in the final seconds to go with the final peirod of game five in the playoffs where he scored a goal and was robbed in the last ten seconds of another goal.

Satan still has a devastating wrist shot and great hands in front of the net that will be a huge part of his success of failure on next year's team but he seems far more reluctant to use his slap shot then he did in Buffalo. The bad news is Satan is painfully slow and considering the Isles team speed in prior years this hindered him and made him far easier to contain. More bad news is he will likely not have a proven second line player on his wing with second line scoring credentials. The good news is with a Bergenheim/Tambellini left wing and healthy Josef Vasicek playing at center he should find more time and space to take his shot. Other teams a few times got physical with him and he defended himself adaquetly.

Satan has to turn back the clock a little this year on a club where his production will be a must. Nolan must have a big offensive year from him and whoever his line mates are must be able to not only get him the puck where he does his scoring.

Joseph Vasicek:
Vasicek was signed a few weeks ago to a one year contract. Because he plays center and the Islanders need Sillinger on a checking line he's the best bet at this time to center the second line. He brings championship experience from Carolina but also brings a lot of injury and production/motivation issues which have hindered him. Some
felt his trade back to Carolina where he had his best season would spark his game and it did not happen which is a major red-flag. Many claim his potential is still in front of him while others claim he's simply not that good or motivated. Garth Snow and Ted Nolan intend to find out.

In terms of skill set Vasicek is the same package former Islander Oleg Kvasha brings to the table. Size, a good shot, occasional big games where he makes scoring look easy but does not have Kvasha's outstanding skating ability. I really do not know much more at this time or how he was used by Nashville or Carolina and I'm curious as to his defensive game. What I do know is Ted Nolan is going to try and bring Vasicek's potential to the forefront and will get his opportunity. He's going to have to produce and be able to set up his wingers.

For Vasicek, six goals and limited nightly impact is not going to work on a team like this. Almost every player is being asked to do more and is being given more opportunity. Vasicek either shows up from day one of camp and makes the second line center position his or he could find himself on the fourth line or in the
press box. After a trade, one year of UFA and only a 650k offer late in August after a six goal season, Vasicek could find himself out of the NHL if he does not step up this year so no doubt he will be highly motivated.

Sean Bergenheim:
Easy for me to put Bergenheim on a left wing in August after being locked out by the club for a full season but on paper is the best choice at this time. Islander fans and especially Sound Tiger fans saw Bergenheim's grit, speed and potential with both clubs in 2005-06 which clearly are that of a first round draft pick who can play in a teams top six forwards. Bergenheim also showed this last year after returning to the SEL from Russia in-season. Problem here is the same Chris Campoli had last season when he was finally ready to return in December. He's going to have to start from scratch and win over Ted Nolan or he could find himself back in Bridgeport with his one-way contract. Nolan does not care about 2005-06, he cares about 07-08 and what this player can do for this team now and that will decide where and how he will be played.

Bergenheim's skill set is an impressive one. Considered the fastest player in his draft class, grit and the ability to know when to use it to draw penalties. Good passing and defensive skills. Questions on Bergenheim revolve around his hands and his finishing skills since he was drafted but no doubt the ability is there and I see his as part of the solution long-term.

This is Bergenheim's year to step up and show what he can do and my guess is he will get the best opportunity and hopefully no bad feelings linger from last year. Jeff Tambellini has experience as this club's second line left wing with Satan and did play here last season. Tambellini has superior offensive skills, but all other area's favor Bergenheim on paper. One thing Nolan will never tolerate is a player speaking out as Bergenheim did when he was sent to Bridgeport at the beginning of
05-06. He's going to have to keep quiet and produce on a team with a lot of underachievers. He has the speed and skills to open the ice for a lot or forwards. To me, the most interesting player to watch going into this years camp.

Next up Forwards Pt Three:

No Outdoor Game for Islanders

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/24/2007 06:50:00 PM | | | Comment Here
Pittsburgh Tribune Review reported today Pittsburgh will play Buffalo in an outdoor game next season on January 1st.

Several NHL officials said today that the game between the Penguins and Sabres on Jan. 1, 2008 will be played at Ralph Wilson Stadium, home of the NFL's Bills. In a made-for-television event -- the game will air nationally on NBC -- the Penguins and Sabres will skate on an outdoor rink in front of what the NHL hopes will prove the largest audience ever to watch an NHL game in the United States.

"If and when we have something to announce we will make sure the announcement gets heard," NHL vice president of media relations Frank Brown said.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
It's the right teams in the right setting and the game should go over very well. Sabres and Penguins are two of the top ratings clubs in the NHL for television locally.

I guess this puts to rest any idea of an Islander game played at Yankee or Shea Stadium. By January 2009 the race will be on for both local baseball teams to open their news ballpark's and demolish Yankee/Shea Stadium at the same time. Meadowlands may still have football and likely will also have major construction on that site.

Islander Forwards Preview Part One

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/24/2007 12:01:00 PM | | | | Comment Here
New York Islander Fan Central today begins it's preview of the club entering the 2007-08 season.

This will be updated several times and run for at least three-four parts as a grouping of players by position will be evaluated every few days.

Today we begin with what's projected to be the club's first line which are all new signings with no previous chemistry:

Bill Guerin:
Guerin will be asked to produce as he did last year and be captain of a club for the first time in his career on a team with no established first line talent.

On other clubs he has been surrounded by first line players to a point he was under less pressure to produce and still struggled with production and in some organizations he was used as a second line player. Despite his eight goals in sixteen games with San Jose after he was traded, he failed to score come playoff time.

Guerin's outside shooting is something badly lacking on the roster and no doubt he will come to play every night in a leadership role with a two-year contract. His pp ability will be a plus as will his grit and deterimation. Will not be expected to perform the miracles Yashin was expected to but will have pressure on him to be a lot of things he was not in other organizations and that could be a problem and he must stay healthy.

Good news is he will have veterans like Sillinger and Witt to lean on for support, bad news is a lot of underachievers have to step into scoring roles they have never been in and contribute more and not every player will succeed. Guerin is being asked to play the lead role and much more than he has done for a long time and even his best may not be enough so it could lead to frustration.

Mike Comrie:
Comrie was talked into signing here reportedly by Ryan Smyth and said all of the right things in the summer. Garth Snow is counting on him to be a first line center and produce as such and as a pending UFA. There is plenty or pressure on him because he's more suited to the second or third line center role given his numbers but the Islanders are looking for a career year or at least the thirty goal season he had a few years ago.

One thing for sure that will be a problem for Comrie was all the open ice and favorable match ups he had had in Ottawa will be the exact opposite in New York. On this club opposing coaches are going to be talking about how to stop Comrie because he has the most skills among the forwards. That likely never happened on other teams and the opposition will be quick to try and to get him off his game. How will Comrie respond?

Comrie does bring excellent skating, a quality shot and good offensive skills to this roster that were lacking. His health is a question mark and it's impossible to ignore how many teams he's been moved from to say nothing of him not being a great defensive player. Like Guerin, the Islanders are asking a lot here but it seems his best potential is in front of him and for this club to have any chance on the ice this signing has to work out for the club.

Ruslan Fedotenko:
Islanders paid Fedotenko a lot of money for his one twenty six goal season. He has a Stanley Cup ring from Tampa Bay where he was a huge part of that club winning with a dominating playoff. He has to be that player all season here for this to work and there are a lot of legitimate questions whether he can fill that role in his one season before he can go UFA again.

No doubt Fedotenko brings more speed and skill lacking from the previous roster, but how will he react in a primary role where he is being counted on. One standout item here is not his drop in production but that a tough players coach like John Tortatella reduced his role. If Tortarella cannot get the best out of him, how can Ted Nolan?

Were going to find out here whether Tampa's offensive depth helped Fedotenko or held him back. Like Comrie this player is at a point where we should see him with his best potential in front of him. All excuses have been removed and it's time for this player to step up or it could be one and done for him in New York. No doubt if Tambellini, Bergenheim or even Chris Simon show more than Fedotenko his time on the first line could be limited so he's under pressure to start well.

Next up:

Bryan Berard invited to Islander training camp

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/24/2007 09:14:00 AM | | | Comment Here
Edmonton Journal today reported in an article on remaining free agents Bryan Berard will attend Islander training camp as an invite.

The 30-year-old Berard, meanwhile, has been forced to take the training camp invite from the Islanders, mostly because he can only see well out of one eye and has had two back surgeries..

"There's some pretty decent players still out there," said Berard's agent, Tom Laidlaw, "but you phone general managers and talk about a player and they're not negative towards them, but they say,

'I think I'll just sit tight, for now.'

NYI Fan Central:
Garth Snow apparently is not satisfied with his options to replace Tom Poti's abilities and Berard needs a training camp to showcase himself. The extended nine game pre-season schedule gives both the club and the player a chance to find out what Berard can do and if he can help? After years of injuries and ineffective play Berard is now a victim of the new salary landscape on the outside looking in.

Last year Islanders invited Richard Park and Mike Dunham to camp on tryout contracts and signed both. In Berard's case anything is possible because the club has a lot of NHL defenders under contract and the former Islander could impress a gm elsewhere and sign with another club.

Will be interesting.

New York Islanders Fifteen to Remember 2-13-07

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/23/2007 04:28:00 PM | | | Comment Here
This weeks game Friday 8pm on Fox is the Toronto Maple Leafs vs Islanders from
2/13/07 in Toronto. It will be repeated late and likely Saturday afternoon.

This was the game DiPietro made a few incredible saves, especially one in the third peirod.

Frans Nielsen had a very nice shootout goal.

Is it time for Bettman to go?

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/23/2007 12:00:00 PM | 1 Comments
I suppose it's easy for folks to blame Bettman for everything in hockey that's wrong and no doubt he's made some mistakes, but he's also done a lot of good things while others are just beyond his control and part of the changing times in sports that he get's blamed for because he's the commissioner at this time. His personality is not going to win him style points with anyone but John Ziegler and Gil Stein make Bettman seem flamboyant by comparison.

Still, anything happens and the usual folks will blame Bettman and demand he be fired. Even mentioning his name for some bring that response.

Bettman's biggest mistake was settling for no cap during the first work stoppage in
1994-95 which reportedly former NHLPA Bob Goodenow was willing to give at that time, which basketball and football had to incorporate later on. Maybe the owners demanded the league start the season but it was his job to convince them what was going to happen and apparently he could not do this.

This set the stage for many corporate owners where a hockey team is just one small element to their corporation where spending and losing whatever money it took to win made sense. This practice filtered to the entire player market and led the sport into a second lockout because not all teams are run by billion dollar corporations.

Unfortunately things regressed to a point only Toronto and a few other clubs in new facilities with lower payrolls were making any money like Minnesota.

Many of those owners from the 94-95 lockout were no longer around by summer 2004.

This set the stage for a second lockout and losing an entire year of hockey because Bob Goodenow was willing to lock out the sport forever then give up his free market system. Eventually too many sources came forward and even the players came to the realization that this business was making money but so much was going to the players it was impossible for most owners to even break even. Players paid a huge price in forfeiting twenty four percent of their contracts and losing a year's pay.

Goodenow was replaced and a deal was put in place where revenue made by the league is a major factor in determining the cap. Already we are seeing payroll's heading back or above pre-lockout levels and some of the same pre-lockout problems are again surfacing. The owners in many places has been to raise ticket prices which raises revenue which raises the cap.

Hard to blame Bettman entirely for this. He's not the final say and the owners play a big part of Bettman's decisions. Again some owners are leaving while new ones are waiting to spend money and purchase teams.

Financially, teams and the league will keep finding ways to increase revenue with things like Wang's Islanders-TV and the cap will continue to grow. Senators have PPV games. Star players will receive top dollar and front-loaded contracts which is something new today and second tier players will pay for it with lower contracts.

And yes, teams idea's like forum-fitting uniforms will continue to be introduced so fans can pay for them.

Sure he can be blamed for the John Spano fiasco, because the system to check owners finances and credibility failed, but Howard Milstein is a billionaire. Neither Bettman nor the board of governors (fancy term for other owners) know what people's intentions are. In Jim Basille's case we found out quickly but he was honest enough to tell people.

You get so much political spin from folks friendly to Espn who need them for their sports business it's hard to say if this is failing because Versus has had the television rights for only two seasons. What we do know is Versus offered more money than Espn and Bettman was tired of our sport being 10th or lower on Espn so he took the league's television rights elsewhere to a network that he hoped would treat them like TSN OR Sportsnet treat hockey in Canada. To that degree it's been a failure to this point with limited programming, limited exposure and a lot of spin-doctors in the media ripping Versus but their motivation has to be questioned. Ratings are on par with a limited network and down from Espn levels. NBC has done the same shoddy job, Fox, ABC did over a decade and the numbers are poor regardless who plays and that's how it will stay and the talk is beginning that Espn may re-enter the picture from some media sources.

I cannot blame Bettman here. He wanted his sport to be the number one attraction somewhere and was paid more than Espn wanted to pay who was doing a terrible job with hockey. He also wanted them on a network and NBC was interested. Maybe he should have made sure Versus and another station with more access was involved like TSN has with basketball but he cannot be blamed for local carriers like Time Warner and Cablevision refusing to switch Versus to standard programming so more fans can watch games. Of course Cablevision and Versus-based Comcast are also in competition.

The game on the ice:
This is where Bettman's done his best work in my perspective under very tough circumstances.

Folks want to blame Bettman for the trap but it's not his fault coaching/training techniques, body chemistry and equipment advances outgrew the rinks teams played hockey games on. Buildings cannot be altered to expand ice surfaces and take away prime seating. These equipment advances also brought about a lot more concussion problems. New glass was brought in, changed again, tougher penalty regulations were introduced to protect players. Even a change to protect the fans was brought in putting netting around all the back of the goals after a tragedy. Bettman brought in a competition committee to examine the way the game was played and made the tough decisions to make two-line passes legal, changed icing rules, brought in four on four overtime, touch up offsides, delay of game rules and of course shootouts with the dramatic changes in obstruction rules that has most complaining. To say nothing of changes to drug testing rule and the substance abuse programs the league has put in place.

Cosmetic changes were brought in under this commissioner's watch that reflect his NBA background taking out traditional division names long ago. Going back to pre-70's dark jersey at home has not been received well.

Many fans been critical, many have praised those changes and still it's tough to score goals and more things are considered. The game is still far from perfect but this commissioner seems open to doing what it takes, but again he's not alone or be credited/criticized for everything.

Owners decided to keep an eight game divisional schedule this season. Owners
decided that some teams the fans may not see for three seasons in their buildings, any idea that Gary Bettman is the first and last word on most decisions would not be fair, even if he is the face of this league. In essence he is the owners representative while the NHLPA represents the players.

In my perspective, Gary Bettman is not the problem with hockey nor should he be replaced any time soon. He's introduced many gound breaking ideas for hockey without changing the game entirely for traditional fans. I'm not confident he's going to survive the expiring CBA in a few years but many things that happened under his watch were beyond his control.

Thursday Islander Notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/23/2007 11:32:00 AM | | | | Comment Here
Quiet start to Thursday so far, Michael Peca is feeling regret he could not win a cup for the Leafs and Jason Blake is sorry his friend will not get to re-unite with him on the ice according to the Toronto Sun.

Peca will make a base salary of 1.3m with incentives that could bring his contract to two million with Columbus this season.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Too bad Peca did not have that regret when he played here. He took a few parting shots at the Islanders despite the money he was given and Wang going out of his way to have the organization thank him when he returned as an Oiler which Peca acknowledged. He took a lot of shots at the Edmonton Oilers and the coach for the time he played there before and after the playoffs and said he would not resign there, but for a club who only gave him a one year contract he feels regret he could not win a Stanley Cup for them?

Good news is hopefully we have heard the end of Michael Peca for a while and he get's back to playing the kind of hockey people enjoy watching.

Bad news is we have to go through this again next summer because he's going to be an UFA again.

Ottawa Citizen called the new Islander jersey's horrid today in an article to talk about the new Sens jersey's.

Former Islander Colley Named Utah Assistant Coach

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/23/2007 11:14:00 AM | | | | | Comment Here
Former Islander and Sound Tiger Kevin Colley was named an assistant coach on the organization's new ECHL affiliate in Utah in a press release.

Islander Fan Central Comments:
Good to see the Islanders followed through on a job for Kevin Colley. Who came up and provided a lot of grit in his short time before the injury that ended his career in 05-06.

Rick Tocchet vs Mark Bell should both be banned?

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/22/2007 02:20:00 PM | | | | | | Comment Here
Espn's Scott Burnside does not take the same stand on Leafs Forward Mark Bell as he does on Rick Tocchet in this article. Tocchet for those who do not know was given probation for associating with gamblers while Mark Bell is heading to jail for six months for a DWI accident and leaving the scene. Bell may be allowed to play for the Toronto Maple Leafs this season before serving six months for an incident that took place while he was a member of the San Jose Sharks before being traded to Toronto this summer.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
In this increasing era of sports leagues suspending players for conduct detrimental to the league (regardless of the NHL having few incidents) Gary Bettman cannot cite the lack of these incidents as an excuse not to act.

A few years ago a young girl was killed at a game by being hit with a puck. It's the only reported instance in this happening in the thirty plus years. We know what the results were and what the league did immediately in every arena whether it was popular or not. That's the reaction Gary Bettman should have here.

In my perspective Bettman has to act regarding any individual's conduct if it is against the law or detrimental to the league and make his stand now. We also know what happened with Dany Heatley and it was a mistake not to act then.

Bottom line, Tocchet, Bell should not be allowed to represent our sport this season. The Staal brothers should also be called in by the league and a decision made regarding their conduct and playing status. I'm not advocating suspending players who go to the league asking to be put in their substance abuse programs who have done nothing wrong trying to help themselves.

This goes for every player, team official and employee who represents this sport.

Gary Bettman needs to take a stand now.

Usual suspects predict NY Islanders 14th-15th

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/22/2007 10:57:00 AM | | | Comment Here
Hardly a shock and it could turn out this way but like last year some of the editors or writers at some of these publications/websites simply do not understand hockey or have their favorites, clearly they do not include the New York Islanders.

Coming out of the lockout they had Carolina at the bottom of the Eastern Conference and got it wrong on so many club's it was comical.

Islanders have been to four of the last five playoffs and have a franchise goal tender who was outstanding last year and many of those players are returning, especially on the backline.

If DiPietro did not get a concussion there is a very good chance this club finishes sixth which is where they were into late February before acquiring Ryan Smyth and with Alexei Yashin on the shelf for most of the second half, with Blake struggling at times. Poti also had some back problems for a short stretch in the second half and this was with losing Martinek and Gervais.

Losing Blake, Poti, Yashin or Kozlov may be a big deal and the players the club brought in may not be able to score. Sutton may not play as well as Hill and no one on the back line was signed to provide Poti's steady play with the puck and this group may not be able to replace that. Last season's club was hardly an offensive powerhouse that had a power play to penalty disparity of over negative ninety which was second worst in the league.

It's tough to see a faster club with more skill having the same pp to penalty disparity again that should make a big difference.

The 2007-08 New York Islanders can finish fifteenth, it's also possible in my perspective this club could finish as high as fourth of fifth. A lot has to happen right or wrong for either of those predictions to come true. Truth is you can take about ten clubs in the Eastern Conference and make the same prediction.

In my perspective a lot of these reviews just seems like poor research or other things coming into play that have nothing to do with the roster. Ted Nolan is one of the best coaches in this league in getting the most out of a team and this is a roster both Snow and Nolan put together and many of the players are facing UFA and a poor season will cost them if they do hit the market next summer.

As I have written a lot of times, if someone asked me to review the Western Conference, I would miss a ton of things and likely do a poor job. A lot of these predictions seem like they have only noticed Blake-Smyth leaving and can only recall Neil Smith last summer or Mike Milbury trades from the nineties which has nothing to do with 07-08 and even less with an organization that has been to four of the last five playoffs.

That's where this organization is right now and what's it's recent record is and that's where I think a projection has to start.

Anyway here are predictions from the Hockey Forecaster, Hockey News and McKeens.

Feel free to discuss here in the comments or on the message board.

The Sports Forecaster
Islanders Fifth in the Atlantic.

The Hockey News
NY Rangers
Tampa Bay
New Jersey
NY Islanders



NY Rangers
New Jersey
Tampa Bay
NY Islanders

NHL.com Feature on Islander Prospects.

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/21/2007 08:30:00 PM | | | | | Comment Here

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 | | | | | Comment Here
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 | | Comment Here
NYI.com released the clubs
pre-season schedule today.

2007 Preseason Schedule/Results
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 | | | | | | Comment Here
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 | | | | | Comment Here
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
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 | | | | Comment Here
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 | Comment Here
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 | | | | | | | | Comment Here
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 | | | | | Comment Here
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
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 | Comment Here

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.

UFA Notables and Islander summer scorecard

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/18/2007 11:27:00 AM | | | Comment Here
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.


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
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 | | Comment Here
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 | | | Comment Here
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 | | Comment Here

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.


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 | | | | Comment Here
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 | | | Comment Here
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 | | | Comment Here

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 | | Comment Here
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.

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.

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...