Dany Markov Update

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

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

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/10/2007 10:56:00 PM | | | | | Comment Here
A few interesting Islander-related things today.

Mike Milbury working with NESN on some things today.

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

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

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

NHL.com does an excellent feature on Justin Bourne

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

New York Islanders sign Andy Sutton

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/10/2007 10:25:00 PM | | Comment Here
Friday Night the Islanders came to terms with Unrestricted Free Agent Andy Sutton on three year contract for nine million

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NYI NHL depth chart:
Johnson-61 games with Columbus last season.

Islanders Fifteen to Remember Friday 8PM

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

8pm, FSN
repeated overnight and Saturday..

Isles website has another prospect update from US Junior Camp

Fox Sports Speculates on Forsberg to Isles

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

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

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

Bye Bye Asham

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Money talks, Forsberg to Islanders?

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

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

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

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

Who can the Islanders trade to improve now ?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NHL Notables for Early Tuesday...

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/07/2007 10:38:00 AM | Comment Here
A few interesting items in the NHL news today.

Bill Daly comments about Versus today in this article.

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

A group that includes former Jackets gm, Doug McLean has an agreement with Bill Davidson to purchase the Tampa Bay Lightning, but is subject to approval by the NHL board of governors.

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

Kings Forward Mike Cammalleri lost his arbitration hearing with the Kings and will have to scrap by on only 3.1-3.6m the next two seasons after asking for a reported six million a season, gm Dean Lombardi has already accepted the award.

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

Msg spin doctor, Stan Fischler checks in with a bunch of things.

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

Catching up with Jon Sim

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

Here were his Islander-related commnents:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Correction on Trent Hunter

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

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

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

New York Islanders Training Camp should be in NY

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/06/2007 01:25:00 PM | | | Comment Here
Today's topic is an old one but a good one.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Highlights of 1980 Game Six vs Philadelphia..

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/05/2007 04:05:00 PM | | | Comment Here
Nothing like Hockey in August, enjoy a little clip courtsey of Islanders TV at youtube featuring highlights of game six of the 1980 Stanley Cup Finals.

Some Sunday Islander-NHL Notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/05/2007 10:30:00 AM | | | | | Comment Here
You go through the hockey information on a day like today and it's just really shows how political and bias so many of the hockey media are or just flat out fans of what's best for the team they cover only as they take kicks at teams and players they don't not personally like.

Of course you always get a lot of websites sites that attempt to write a paragraph about thirty teams and just don't know what they are writing about because they don't follow all the teams. This will be the first of many like this as we get closer to training camp.

With that we begin with a very incomplete and uninformed mid-summer review of the Islanders in the hockey forecaster that does not even include the signing of Ruslan Fedotenko and is the only one to claim Bergenheim is replacing Robitaille, even thought Bergenheim is not a center. This also gives the impression the Islanders went all out to retain Jason Blake which was never the case as soon as it was reported he wanted at least four years and eighteen million. Also not a word about the defense from losing Poti to constant reports of Snow looking for a replacement?

I do agree the first line looks more like a second line and the second line is more like a third line, but after Yashin for years as the only credible first line talent, what's changed other than hopefully some harder workers with more speed and skill are on the roster?

So far: It was addition through subtraction when the Isles bought out Alexei Yashin's contract back in June. However, all that money they freed up could not entice Smyth nor Blake to stay. So it was onto Plan B, in which GM Garth Snow signed veteran Bill Guerin (promptly making him the team's captain), as well as diminutive center Mike Comrie. Both are expected to garner top-line minutes. Sean Bergenheim was also brought back from Europe, effectively replacing Randy Robitaille, who signed to play there. They also added Jon Sim to replace the departed Viktor Kozlov. Finally, Wade Dubielewicz was re-upped to be DiPietro's backup.

Still left to do: Their second line looks more like a third line and their first line looks more like a second line. The Isles would love to add a quality sniper, but the free agency cupboard is pretty bare now.

Ranger politician and spin doctor Larry Brooks at the Islander beatwriter-less
NY Post for some reason needed to get in his obligatory little dig at the Islanders in his Sunday cheapshots column here claiming like Edmonton, Garth Snow needs offer sheets because no one will come play for the Islanders unless that player is paid well above market value.

Funny, but the Islanders have never done as well in unrestricted free agency as they have done the last two summers, signing established talents like Mike Sillinger, Brendan Witt, and now Bill Guerin and Mike Comrie. Nor have they ever dropped an offer sheet on any other player, unlike the Rangers.

This only begs the question did he think the Ranger UFA's signed for anything but well above market value for one player who had less goals than Jon Sim last season, with only one twenty goal season in his career in (Gomez) and another who's never broken the seventy point mark? (Drury) Shanahan took no discount when you include his very easy to attain bonus-filled contract either.

Hasn't Brooks endured enough lawsuits from Brian Burke that he write about someone else at this point too?

News was not much better out of Toronto where Leaf lobbyist Steve Simmons
here feels something does not smell right with the new potential owners of the Predators or why the current owner took less money and that the Preds have no market.

Of course we all know Simmons wants another team in Canada to give him another team to write about which helps him and his meal-ticket in Toronto. Nashville has never had more than moderate success and still come close to 14,000 on avg, this idea there is no market in Nashville seems very unfair because they have produced solid tv ratings also and their campaign's have produced solid local interest.