Time to grade Snow & Nolan's Summer

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/04/2007 11:08:00 PM | | | | Be the first to comment!
With the Islanders reporting for camp next week a grade and full evaulation of Gm Garth Snow, Ted Nolan and the hockey committee can finally be made, unfortunately on
paper I cannot give management a grade higher than D for the summmer.

In the new capped league it becomes a chess match once the prime free agents receive the top dollar offers because for several reasons teams can only spend so much money or have set budgets. Some second and third tier free agents are still waiting for offers where before the cap this was usually decided by August 1st.

This summer the club's management set out to continue the template began last summer bringing in character players with talent and skill who would show up every single game who were team players. Given the reported low offers to players like Jason Blake or limited long-term interest in Tom Poti or simply letting Kozlov walk away combined with Alexei Yashin's buyout it was clear what they did not want and they had a plan long-term.

What Snow and Ted Nolan did want was Ryan Smyth to resign but not at any cost so he did not receive an Alexei Yashin like contract which would have attracted other free agents. When he got a fair market contract after 7/1 and nothing that would overwhelm him in terms of suppporting talent he elected to sign in Colorado. This seemed to effect everything and set the tone for a lot of moves in many cases where it looked like management settled for players with some of them electing only a one year commitment, hardly at a bargain price. Smyth not signing also kept other players from signing here as it was reported the Islanders wanted to sign Scott Gomez and Chris Drury. Given the club's finances a front-loaded contract does not seem possible which is what both players did receive.

Snow also looked like a rookie gm over his head bringing up the Nassau Coliseum when all things were equal when he could not land some UFA when the pressure was on and should have pushed behind the scenes for an answer from Ryan Smyth, who could have been traded for something to help the club. Nolan and Snow naming a captain as a surprise to Bill Guerin also seemed like a mistake that should have been discussed behind the scenes.

As good as a Fedotenko, Comrie, Guerin, Sutton or Josef Vaicek's best seasons were the Islanders have to have that here next season for the club to be competitive and it's unlikely Ted Nolan can push a career out of all of them. Given the durability issues with some of these players, an awful lot is being on many levels.

What also cannot be overlooked here is the Islanders could not get something done long-term with Trent Hunter while other clubs were locking up their pending UFA. Management also seemed to save a litle money going for a lesser player in Andy Sutton over Dany Markov/Tom Poti or Vasicek over an established second line center combined with offensive skills management has opened themselves up to fair criticism of their plan on paper to this point.

Would the club even be inviting a Bryan Berard to camp if they simply gave Poti the extra years for a little more? Would Sutton be a consideration if Markov got the three million Sutton received for three years?

At this point anything is possible. What seems to have been the second or lower choices on management's list this summer could be fantastic signings. No one was doing cartwheels for Kozlov, Hill, Park, Sillinger, Witt, Simon, Dunham or Poti a year ago.

But ask me to grade the club's summer on paper to this point and my grade is a D.

SoundTigers Third Jersey's Released

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/04/2007 09:36:00 PM | | Be the first to comment!

Michael Fornabaio's blog today directed us to new pictures of the SoundTigers new third jersey's here.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Good work again by Mr Fornabaio in his blog, hopefully when the club releases more pictures we get a better idea of what they look like. I'm not a fan of the new design but this is more about the NHL changing the template for all uniforms.

No NHL team will wear a third jersey this season for those wondering.

Updated 10:20pm
Michael Fornabaio released this article in the Ct Post.

The new "system" has a tighter jersey and new fabric, less like the traditional sweaters than ever before. The design meant every team, NHL and AHL, had to at least tweak their jerseys. "We're mandated," Sound Tigers president Howard Saffan said. "It isn't something we wanted to do."

Saffan said the team plans a third jersey for Saturday nights, based off the team's third jersey from last season. That one had a white base with blue and orange trim. "The fans love the white jersey," Saffan said. "We know from our merchandise counts, the white sold two-to-one over the blues."

Using orange at home, Saffan said, reflects the parent New York Islanders' three jerseys.

"We wanted to stay consistent with the Islanders," he said.

Islanders media blogs by Chris Botta, Corey Witt.

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/04/2007 12:45:00 PM | | | | 2 Comments so far
The Islanders today announced media relations coordinator Corey Witt will write a personal blog for the club called NYI media blog while Islanders VP of communications Chris Botta has started his own NYI point blank blog.

Both blogs will provide inside information and many of the things the club is working on that the print media has not been covering:

Highlights on Mr Witt's blog:
* Jiggs McDonald will again be calling early season games if the Mets make playoffs.
* Wade Dubielewicz will keep his #34 and Berard will wear #4 in training camp.
* Andy Sutton will wear #25, Josef Vasicek will wear #63 and Sean Bergenheim will wear #20.

Highlights of Mr Botta's blog:
* Mostly Mr Botta's discussion of how players, Nolan or Mr Botta work or worked with media in some instances, his opinion on possible lineups.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
It's very interesting Mr Witt and Mr Botta reached out to the same service I did and started blogs as I have. No doubt they will both be a must read and very popular with Islander fans who want the inside information. Mr Botta given his past updates will pull no punches on media who goes over the line with the club.

This is all good on the surface but actually tells us how poorly the print media intends to cover New York Islander hockey (and New York Hockey in general) and what lengths the club must go to now for it's fans to follow along or get involved these days. Will Leon Carver even bother sending Peter Botte to Moncton? Seems no replacement was found for Evan Grossman at the Post unless Dan Martin will be back to do small articles of occasional home games. Not expecting anything but rare game coverage from Dave Caldwell at the Times.

Perhaps Mr Witt and Mr Botta should ask all the city sports editors why they cannot post and maintain Islander blogs which costs nothing in print space? The Post and News both have Ranger blogs (as does the Journal News) and then print Mr Carver's and Mr Gallo's responses? A little stop at the New York Sun and Kevin Greenstein's editor's office would not hurt either because his hockey coverage, infrequent as it is does a very good job and was one of the few to call it correct on the Islanders last summer.

Send Islanders television along with the camera's rolling with them so our fans can see what is said.

Sad but it seems like a million years from the days a regular season Islander game against an out of conference team could get the backpages of the Daily News or Post, while George Vecesy would do the greatest features on the club in the New York Times.

Now our organization is reduced to fan blog boxes, message forums at Isles TV and now apparently message boards this is what coverage of hockey in New York is reduced to for the Islanders these days?

Swede will get his chance

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/04/2007 12:22:00 PM | | | Be the first to comment!
Edmonton Sun has a full update on prospect Robin Figren.


My groin injury had been nagging me since Christmas and I didn't have the year I wanted," said Figren.

The 19-year-old posted solid numbers in his first WHL season. Despite the groin problems, he potted 10 goals and 17 assists in 62 games and added eight points (four goals and four assists) in 18 playoff games.

"Coming in here there will be some pressure to help lead the team offensively but I enjoy the pressure," said Figren, who hasn't seen any action during the first ever pre-season tournament at Servus Credit Place in St.Albert.

"The groin isn't quite where it needs to be yet, but it's getting better and better."

Oil Kings bench boss Steve Pleau isn't about to rush Figren into action. The Swede is off to Long Island for the New York Islanders camp on Sept. 11 and Pleau is going to wait for their team doctors to give Figren the green light. The Islanders chose Figren with their third round selection, 70th overall in the 2006 NHL entry draft.

"Once he gets healthy and is able to condition himself to play in the league we feel he can be a top-two line player for us," said Pleau.

"We need him to score goals for us."

"I gained a lot of experience going there last year-- you really have to work your ass off. When I came back (to Calgary) I just wanted to come back and have a good year, but the league was way tougher than I thought," said Figren.

Joel Bouchard conditional signing, odds & ends.

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/02/2007 10:49:00 PM | | | | | 1 Comment so far
A Montreal Sports radio station CKAC did an interview with former Islander Joel Bouchard, who confirmed he signed a conditional contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Spector's Hockey Claims from a fan rumor:
The way he spoke at CKAC radio was contract conditionnal to him making the club.

NYI Fan Central:
Islanders sure could have used the game he played in 2005-06 last season. Lost year of injuries for Bouchard. No idea what all these conditional items are with him signing or being signed, but good luck.

The complaining about the super series has gotten far more attention than the prpspects in articles here and here in some Sunday updates.

At this time Canada swept the games in Russia and lead four to nothing. The remaining games will be played in Canada, who needs one more victory to effectively win this beat of eight series.

Islanders Goaltending Preview

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/02/2007 09:36:00 PM | | | | | Be the first to comment!
Happy Labor Day..

Which bring me to the players who will have the labor the most if the New York Islanders are going to make the playoffs and have any chance for a Stanley Cup in 2007-08.

Rick DiPietro:
DiPietro had a season that should have saw him receive a Vezina nomination considering how many shots (quality shots) he faced per game. His 9.19 save percentage and the impact his absence had down the stretch when he suffered two concussions say is all about what DiPietro means to this team. Without DiPietro's improved play since January 2006, last year's team is in the NHL lottery. What was impressive about last season was he was a more composed goaltender who took less risks and let his ability to stop the puck make saves as opposed to gambling on low percentage plays. Unfortunately one of those risks came in a game against Montreal with another coming soon after his return. Come playoff time he came in cold and did a solid job, winning in his return in Buffalo and giving the Isles a chance to win every game. For this year his 4.5m/15 year contract was a bargain. Overall we saw some amazing hockey from DiPietro, highlighted by a fifty five save performance at Madison Square Garden where he stole a point for his club.

DiPietro's strength is not only his stick handling abilities but his mobility and quick glove in net. He also has an ability to anticipate what's going to happen in front of him that is only getting better as he reaches his prime as he's learned the league and the players on opposing clubs. He is the leader on this team and seems to be showing more signs of maturity. His shootout skills as a goaltender put pressure on opposing forwards to change tactics and gives the Islanders an advantage.

Even though DiPietro played over sixty games last season, questions about his durability are going to be a concern as will be the team defense which did an avg job protecting him last season. Over the long haul it's highly unlikely this team will go anywhere without Rick DiPietro who is it's MVP and a franchise goaltender who's only getting better. Isles protect him better and cut down the penalties in front of him he's going to be very tough to beat.

Wade Dubielewicz:
Dubie is not just a solid AHL goaltender for those who have been following him for years in college and at Bridgeport. He's a goaltender who can dominate when he is on his game. His goal tending numbers in the AHL as a rookie and two All-Star nominations suggest this is a promotion he should have received even as he came up and played some solid hockey in 03-04 with a solid relief win in Philadelphia and steady work in an impossible situation during Steve Stirling's final month in
2005-06. When Ted Nolan turned to Dubie down the stretch after Mike Dunham struggled he put the club on his back and played outstanding in the final four games with two shootout wins. After losing game one of the playoffs where he was good, but not specular DiPietro returned but Dubie was rewarded with a one way contract for next season with the NHL team.

Dubielewicz is not a fast mobile goaltender like DiPietro. He relies more on positioning and putting himself in position and never gives up on a shot. He seems to play better with more work as evidenced by a high shot total against and save percentage numbers that for years indicated he was too good a goaltender to be in the AHL as long as he was. Dubie is as durable as a goaltender can be, playing in three games in three days which is the norm with the AHL schedule. During the Sound Tigers-WBS playoff series a few years ago which Bridgeport lost in seven, he had several forty plus shots games against and held the club in as WBS came back down three games to one and defeated Bridgeport. Dubie was one of the few players who gave the Sound Tigers a chance and kept them in several games that went to overtime.

Dubie fell out of favor with Mike Milbury during the lockout as he was platooned with several goalies on a very poor Sound Tigers team which led to Garth Snow's three year extension. On this year's Islander team he has a one year contract and is no lock to even make the club. The question everyone will have is can Dubie sit as he never did in the AHL and come in and provide solid play. He already admitted he may have to go to Bridgeport to stay sharp at times as a backup. Going into camp he has earned a chance to compete for the backups job. Unlikely the Islanders go anywhere if DiPietro is injured but that's more about the team in front of the goalie. In the right circumstances Dubie can win in the NHL, he already proved he can play under pressure. If not the Islanders signed another goaltender with some limited NHL experience.

Andrew MacDonald:
MacDonald played in a limited job for a poor Bruins club last season and did a respectable job, enough to where he will likely see some pre-season games in a competition with Dubie for the backup job. Like with Dubie this comes down to who can come in cold without playing for weeks and stop the puck? Given goalies do miss games there is little doubt MacDolald will see NHL action in 07-08. The loser of this competition will see a ton of work starting for the Sound Tigers.

Sergei Ogorodnikov won't be coming to camp

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/31/2007 04:04:00 AM | | | | 1 Comment so far
Michael Fornabaio reports in his blog at the Ct Post, that Islanders third round pick, Sergei Ogorodnikov #82/2004 draft won't be coming to camp.

One semi-new thing: Sergei Ogorodnikov won't be coming to camp. "His choice," Howard Saffan said. The Islanders will hang on to his rights. There were summertime rumors that the Islanders might buy him out. Sergei, a likeable kid, had some skills, but the team had deep concerns with his defense.


Russian Prospects has some detailed background on Ogododnikov for those interested.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Ogorodnikov signed in camp last September 15Th with the Islanders but it's interesting a buyout is mentioned here or that he decided not to report if he is under contract? Last year he played forty two games for Pensacola of the ECHL and twenty seven games with the Sound Tigers.

Some more background information on Ogorodnikov is presented at Isles Info that links to several past articles.

Islanders Defense Preview Pt II

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/31/2007 02:30:00 AM | Be the first to comment!
Friday we continue with our preview of the Islanders defense with Pt II on Andy Sutton, Freddy Meyer, Marc Andre Bergeron and Aaron Johnson. Comments on Berard, Aaron Johnson, Drew Fata and Dustin Kohn are included.

Part one on Brendan Witt, Radek Martinek, Chris Campoli and Bruno Gervais can be referenced here.

Andy Sutton:
Not much I can give you on Andy Sutton's season last year in Atlanta other then he saw less minutes in the second half and the club decided to walk away from him on a club who's problem seems to be team defense in front of the goaltender. Islanders did take a risk here because he is a player who is injury prone with a new three year contract.

What Sutton brings to the table for the Islanders is physical play, size and some intimidation. His lateral movement, mobility are not good and he does struggle with his consistency at times which is seemingly why Bob Hartley reduced his role. The most consistent element to his game is his shot blocking which is very impressive and something the club needed in replacing Shawn Hill who also stood out in this department. At times he does a solid job controlling the puck to where he can be used for extended minutes and he has shown some past offensive ability at times.

It's going to be interesting to see how Sutton reacts to a new coach and a new situation after being in Atlanta for four and a half years. If Bob Hartley lost confidence in him will things be different under Ted Nolan? Islanders have made a big commitment here and Sutton is at a point in his career where his best game is to be expected. Can he stay durable with the game he plays after so many years with injuries? Who will he pair with given his skating ? Some may say he was brought in to replace Hill and some say he was brought in to replace Poti. Seems like from my perspective he has to do a little of both.

Marc Andre Bergeron:
This was a player who needed to get out of Edmonton as fast as Tom Poti. He had more than his struggles on defense his final season (on a terrible Oiler club) after some strong results earlier in his Edmonton career. As an Islander he seemed to play with a lot more confidence and took advantage of a new opportunity. He solved the problems the club was having on the point in terms of offense (especially on the power play) and even though he provides some scary moments in his own end at times overall for the most part he was solid and settled down here. His goal in game two of the playoffs won the Islanders their only post-season game.

Bergeron brings strong skating, an intimidating shot and as an Islander he did not seem shy to use it. For the most part his defensive lapses were few and far between but at times you could see him struggle with his confidence while at other times he looked as steady as Radek Martinek moving the puck. He also clearly is a gifted offensive defenseman with skills that no one at this time on this defense has.

Islanders need more of the same from Bergeron on offense this season. He needs to improve his defense and play with the puck in his own end but otherwise Ted Nolan should have something to work with here that can help the power play but if he's reduced to a pp specialist because he's struggles on defense it's not going to work out for Bergeron with the Islanders.

Freddy Meyer:
Last year was a tough year for Freddy Meyer. He struggled on a terrible Flyer team before his trade here for Alexei Zhitnik. He came here with lingering back problems that took him a while to get past. After playing for most of the second half he broke a finger which he played through until he had to be shut down by the club for the year.

Meyer is interesting in that he had the same rookie year statistically that Chris Campoli had here in 05-06 but on a much better Flyers team. When he was reasonably healthy as an Islander he played the kind of game that you did not notice which is to say he did not make mistakes. No doubt he has some offensive skills and a little size. His speed seems suspect and did have a few problems in his own end at times but he's also still a relatively young player and losing the time he did to injury was a huge factor.

Meyer is signed for this year at a low contract and would likely not clear waivers if they tried to demote him. Considering the Islander roster he's going to have to make an early impression on Ted Nolan or he could wind up a sixth defender, in the stands or on another club in a trade. He's also going to have to stay healthy on a roster with a lot of potential injury problems on defense to stay on the roster. One thing Meyer does have going for him is Garth Snow traded for him. This was someone the gm decided he wanted and he saw something in this player he felt could help the team. Snow likely wants to see him get a chance before any final decisions are made, but he is fighting a numbers game.

Aaron Johnson:
To do anymore on Johnson than note he played sixty one games on the Blue Jackets last year at age twenty three, has been mostly an AHL journeyman and was a player Doug McLean liked as gm but new gm Scott Howson decided to let go (but credited his talent) is really all I can contribute on this player at this time. To do more would be guessing and that's not fair to folks reading this. Comments here would be helpful from others.

Bryan Berard:
A lot has been written on Berard already here. He's invited to camp, both sides talked about this now so we'll see what happens.

Drew Fata:
Fata showed a little confidence in his call ups. In his three games he provided steady play for the most part but the final game he had to take Hill's place on no notice and he did not work well with Chris Campoli and was a -2 where the communication on defense led to the goals against. He scored his first NHL goal in the final seconds of a terrible team effort at Ottawa. He's signed and booked for a show with the Sound Tigers and under the right circumstances could see another call up. With the AHL depth veterans signed this summer that will not be easy.

Dustin Kohn:
Kohn is expected to begin his pro career with the Sound Tigers next season and should get a longer look in camp then he has had in previous years where he did play some preseason games in the NHL. Considering his progression and the fact he's a talented second round pick if he shows signs in camp that he's outplaying other defenders he would leave the Islanders with a very interesting and good problem to have if they decided to create a spot for him now.

Next up:
Islander goaltending with Rick DiPietro, Wade Dubielewicz and Andrew MacDonald.

NYI Fifteen to Remember Friday 8pm

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/31/2007 02:25:00 AM | | | Be the first to comment!
This weeks Islanders Fifteen to remember is what I consider the best game of last season. The win against Pittsburgh on Mike Sillinger's goal in the closing seconds of regulation that broke their winning streak. Watch for Hunter's play on Crosby in the final seconds.

This game was played on 2/19/2007.

Game will be on FSN at 8pm Friday.
Will repeated Saturday am/pm.

Islanders on Berard tryout, Summerset on 9/22

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/30/2007 06:04:00 PM | | | | | | Be the first to comment!
Islanders today issued a release on Bryan Berard coming to camp on a tryout. Newsday also points out Berard played for new assistant coach Gerard Gallant last season before he was fired as Blue Jackets head coach.

The 30-year old Berard will battle for a spot on the Islanders’ blue line when camp opens on Sept. 14 in Moncton.


"I loved my time on Long Island and I have great memories of how everyone treated me during my first three years in the NHL," said Berard. "I’m coming off a tough season when I was injured and I know I have a lot to prove. The Islanders offered me this opportunity and I’m going to re-pay them by making the most of it. I’m healthy and I’m determined to show Ted Nolan and the team that I can help the Islanders have a great season."

Said Islanders general manager Garth Snow: "You can never have enough skill in your organization. Bryan Berard still has tremendous upside as a defenseman and a power play point man. We’re happy to give him this opportunity to try and make our club."

Berard played the last two seasons in Columbus, where he was coached by Gerard Gallant, a new member of Nolan’s staff for 2007-08. Besides his Calder Trophy season with the Islanders, Berard’s best year was in 2003-04 when he was 13-34-47 in just 58 games with the Chicago Blackhawks. In 565 career NHL games with the Islanders, Toronto, Rangers, Boston, Chicago and Columbus, Berard has 71 goals and 230 assists for 301 points.

"Bryan is definitely worthy of a long look from us," said Nolan. "You’re always looking for depth on defense, and Bryan is a defenseman with excellent skating ability and someone who can run a power play. Gerard Gallant spoke highly of him, our staff likes his competitiveness and I know our fans understand how talented Bryan is. I’m looking forward to him showing us what he can do."


Follwing up on an earlier update The Journal Pioneer today announced the Islanders will play an intra-squad Blue and White exhibition game at the city’s wellness centre Saturday, Sept. 22, at 2 p.m.

The Guardian had comments from the press conference.


“On Sept. 22, we will all be Islanders,” said a smiling Chelsey Moisan, the Summerside Boys and Girls Club member who officially announced the news at a press conference here Thursday.

“One day’s real short, but we’re going to make a lot of fun out of it,” said Islanders assistant coach Gerard Gallant.

Islanders general manager Garth Snow, who joined the press conference by phone, said fans can expect a high level of play. “Whether it’s a veteran who’s been around for many years or a rookie just coming in, everyone wants to make an impression.”

Gordie Dwyer will be attending Isles camp

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/30/2007 11:03:00 AM | | | | Be the first to comment!
Michael Fornabaio confirmed in his Ct Post blog on 8/28 that Gordie Dwyer (and Bryan Berard) will be attending Islanders training camp in Moncton from an earlier update.

Here is some background on Dwyer's career which is not to be confused with NHL referee Gord Dwyer.

NYI Fan Central:
Was cut from another teams camp on a tryout last season. Statistically speaking he has five NHL points since the 99-00 season with no goals in limited action.

Ray Ferraro ot winners vs Caps

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/30/2007 10:03:00 AM | | | | Be the first to comment!
Ray Ferraro's overtime and double overtime goals for the Islanders vs the Caps in the 1993 playoffs.

Prospect Tomas Marcinko update

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/30/2007 09:00:00 AM | | | | Be the first to comment!
The Barrier Examiner today checks in with comments on Islander prospect Tomas Marcinko in an overview of the Barrie Colts upcoming camp.


The team is hoping Marcinko will play a leading role down the middle in his second season. While he showed flashes of offensive ability, the Colts are counting on much more consistency from him in his second year.

"Speaking with his agent, he's been working hard back home, and the New York Islanders are happy with his progress," Carrigan said of Marcinko. "He has to come in here and be an impacting hockey player if this team's going to be successful, if he's going to be successful in the future with the Islanders, as well.

"Tomas has to show he's going to compete every shift, night in and night out."


NYI Fan Central Comments:
Tomas Marcinko was selected in the fourth round, 115th overall of the 2006 draft. He was the first of four Slovakian prospects drafted that year. Marcinko was selected with the 55th overall pick in the 2005 CHL Import Draft by the Colts.

Islanders have to sign Marcinko before June 1st 2008.

Islander Defense Preview Pt One

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/30/2007 07:25:00 AM | Be the first to comment!
Today we begin our preview of the Islanders defensive with an overview of Brendan Witt, Radek Martinek, Chris Campoli and Bruno Gervais.

Brendan Witt:
As great a signing as Mike Sillinger was for the forward lines, Brendan Witt was just as valuable and set the tone for the club's defense last season. Witt is under contract for the next two seasons. He is not the kind of defender who puts up anything more than marginal offensive numbers, but in the trenches Witt absolutely won games for a club with his physical play, defensive play, shot blocking, intimidation and leadership last season. He also managed to stay healthy for the most part and at times played through injuries.

Witt's game simply put is to set the tone for games, while other players on the club feed off of it. He knows how and when to throw a hit to where the opposition gets frustrated and takes a retaliatory penalty. He knows how to get the opposition's best scoring threats to spots on the ice where it's harder for them to produce and he knows how to get a player off their game. Witt's not going to win any speed contest with anyone and will look bad on occasion in the open ice if a player gets an angle on him while driving to the net, and will take more than his share of bad penalties, but he also knows when to step up and throw a hit that changed a game as Malkin of the Pens found out early last season. He will not get much credit for his shot blocking but will get in front of anything he can and has instincts that cannot be taught,

Islanders are asking a lot of Witt this season. On defense his contribution will be critical to the club's success or failure. With the departure of Hill and Poti whatever chemistry Witt brought to the the unit will be altered. Can he help players like Chris Campoli and Bruno Gervais develop a little quicker, will he work as well with Andy Sutton?

Radek Martinek:
Many will focus on Martinek's injuries as the overall theme of his season last year but for those who watched him when healthy that should be the focus because he made major improvements in his game to where he established himself as a defender you want on the ice in the most critical parts of a game. Martinek's best skill is his ability in the transition game, or skating the puck out of the defensive end of the ice. His ability to read a play improved as did his skating and decision making with and without the puck which showed a confidence he did not display in earlier years.

Martink's offensive game did not catch up to his improved defense last season as he still showed a reluctance to shoot, but he does know how to handle a puck from the point and at the very least should provide steady play. He's not a great shot blocker and has no physical game but does know how and when to get into position which helps him win puck possession.

Ted Nolan considered him one of his best defenders last season and with the changes on defense the Islanders in 20070-08 absolutely need a repeat performance in the final year of his contract. Martinek keeps working hard and does not take the easy way out of a play which has lead to some of his injuries, he's going to have to continue to do the same thing. For those who feel he's not durable when he had his broken ankle and was expected out for a month, he came back in a week. He's been the victim of some tough luck on a few injuries where he would get caught in a rut on the ice or hit from behind in a vulnerable position that can happen to any other player.

Bruno Gervais:
Looking back at Gervais first full season, many will look at his plus/minus or his turnover against NJ that led to an ot loss as proof he's a limited player. Plus/minus is a very misleading stat and that applies here. Some will note his lack of scoring which he was able to provide to a small degree in 05-06 in a shorter period of games. Some will talk about his injuries which essentially shut him down for a large part of the second half of last season. What few will discuss is what I will discuss and that's the progress Gervais made during last season when he was healthy.

Gervais made strong progression in his game last year that will not reflect in numbers but in steady, strong, smart decision making with and without the puck in the corners as well as in transition where it was tough to tell this was a player in his first full NHL season because of his composure. Ted Nolan noticed and was impressed which is why before he got hurt he played close to an average of twenty minutes a game for a solid month of last season. Gervais not going to run players over but he is going to get position and win the puck, his skating is also very strong as is his shot selection when he decides to use it.

Gervais comes into this camp under some pressure with a numbers game on the roster and perhaps a chance a being traded because he would have to clear waivers to go to the AHL and he no longer belongs in the AHL. But make no mistake about his ability. Gervais has a lot of upside and a very strong overall game which is why he would be attractive to other NHL general managers. What he did in the club's final playoff game where he scored and made a fantastic rush where he almost scored and drew a penalty is just a flash of Gervais upside. Islanders should keep him right where he is and just give him more responsibility because in my estimation he's part of the solution.

Chris Campoli:
2006-07 was a very tough year for Chris Campoli. He sustained an injury late in camp, missed the first two months and found himself with a problem. He had to earn his spot back from a coach who did not see him play over eighty games here in
2005-06 and even found himself playing for Bridgeport. More injuries, the Zhitnik trade and circumstances finally created a chance for Campoli and he did seem far more tentative early on but as he got comfortable and received more minutes he won his coaches trust. He also played through some injuries in the second half but saved his best for the playoffs where he had a strong performance and showed a lot of confidence and upside that we saw in his first year.

Campoli is a very well-rounded player who has good skating skills, solid defensive skills and excellent offensive instincts. He knows when to drive the net on offense or step in from the point to keep a play going or intercept a clearing attempt. He is not shy about stepping up and throwing the body around and can deliver a big hit. One downside to his game is at times he gets a little out of control on the ice and tries to do too much which will lead to mistakes, but this is still a young player with good potential.

Campoli was rewarded with a new three year contract this summer. He cannot be demoted without clearing waivers and no doubt there would be interest in the trade market. On a roster with eight NHL players, he will have to continue to progress and prove to Ted Nolan he can help this club. Good news is he has skills lacking on this defense which are needed and standout. Given no replacement has been found for Poti's play making ability it's fair to say Snow and Nolan are counting on progression from Campoli to off set this loss.

Next up Part II:
Sutton, Meyer, Bergeron, Johnson

Islanders to visit Summerside?

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/29/2007 07:05:00 PM | | | Be the first to comment!
The Journal Pioneer is reporting the New York Islanders may schedule a practice or intersquad game at Summerside during the clubs upcoming training camp.


Prince Edward Islanders might get to meet the New York Islanders this September.

The city is working to seal a deal that would bring the Islanders to the Summerside Wellness centre mid- to late September.

“As it stands ... it’s 75 per cent coming,” said Bill Schurman, director of recreation and public relations for the city of Summerside. The main goal is to host an intersquad game where all players on the NHL team would participate in a three-period game.

“We’re at least hoping to get a practice,” Schurman said.

It’s hoped the event will be confirmed by Thursday.
“The good news is we have a lot of friends on the Islanders,” Schurman said.

Among those friends is Gerard Gallant who recently signed on as an assistant coach with the Isles. New York’s head coach Ted Nolan took the Moncton Wildcats to the Memorial Cup final a few seasons ago.

However, at the end of the day there has to be a viable business proposal to make it work. Schurman said the New York Islanders are scheduled to go to Moncton around mid September, which creates a “golden opportunity” to have them visit Summerside.

Wednesday NHL odds and ends

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/29/2007 04:39:00 PM | | | | Be the first to comment!
Cheer up Islander fans. The Canucks just released their new uniform and logo in a huge ceremony and to me looks like a Hartford Whaler/Orca Bay merger and a disaster.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
This almost is on par with the PJ's the Canucks wore in the 80's. Is the club mandated or contracted to advertise Orca Bay as their official logo?



In something that's hardly a shock the new Superseries between Canada-Russia is not drawing much interest in Russia.


"We know in Canada it is a much bigger deal," Strizhevsky said. "They will sell out 20,000-seat arenas there. But that’s just not the case in Russia. That’s why they didn’t have the games in Moscow because the arenas would have been half-full.

"There’s just not much interest in the national junior team."

Along with the cable channel, there are just two major newspapers and one news agency covering the games.

After Game 1, Strizhevsky was hoping his story would make it on the front page of Sport Extra. It was on page 10.

"It would be a much different story if this was the national team against NHL players, now that would have been huge," Strizhevsky said.


NYI Fan Central Comments:
Cannot market an eight game prospect series in 2007-08 as any reincarnation of the 72 Summit Series. The article is correct if this were a national team vs NHL players it would be huge, but to this point the Russian fans and media do not see it as such.

The Hockey News makes a good discussion why the cap will not keep progressing up each summer to the degree it has the last two seasons and why the teams that have been spending will not longer be able to.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
So much is kept in the dark from the fans it's impossible to know where the cap is heading next summer. One article will claim it's going down while another will make a case for it going up. What I do know is the avg player contract is back near
pre-lockout levels as are many clubs payolls. For many the cap does seem to act as a magnate as some predicted. As for individual clubs, as long as some corporate owners can front-load contacts they will have an edge but some seem to have spent their money this summer and cannot do this again for a while until other contracts expire.

Islander prospect Nick Tuzzolino who was selected in the Seventh Round 196 overall in the 2005 NHL Draft signed today in the IHL with the Flint Generals.

What's next on NYI Fan Central?

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/29/2007 04:06:00 PM | Be the first to comment!
A little behind the scenes work going on at NYI Fan Central lately.

This is still a very new blog/message board and I thank everyone again for the kind words and your suggestions/comments are always welcome.

The work to improve things will always be on-going as some things are added and some subtracted depending on how they look and function.

As for what's ahead first off some good news. NYI Fan Central will be going
wire-less and will be switching to a new computer so I can provide even more updates.

Starting Thursday I will begin our preview of the Islanders defense, then the focus will turn to the goal tending. Of course any/all Islander and NHL items I find interesting will be posted here as the day's progress until training camp.

When camp starts I intend to link up with the local Moncton Papers for their perspective and all updates from both Islander-Sound Tiger camp. Hopefully the local coverage will pick up.

I also will be working very hard behind the scenes to provide daily prospect scoring updates for every North America Prospect in the Islander organization and will try to include Europe.

I also have some other things I'm working on that I think our members will enjoy.

Once again my thanks to everyone for visiting and for their comments.

Islanders new commercial on NBC

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/29/2007 03:59:00 PM | | Be the first to comment!
The Islanders commercial starring Christie Brinkley and some exclusive behind-the-scenes footage will be featured on the television show "Extra" Wednesday Night. Check your local listings for airtimes in your area. In the New York area "Extra" airs at 7:00 pm on NBC-4.

NYI Fan Central Comment:
Should be another opportunity for fans to see the new uniform and perhaps another marketing campaign. Not thrilled with the organization needing blog boxes or unconventional marketing tools but in this kind of sports market it's impossible for hockey to compete with the other sports for media coverage. I have to give the club credit for Islanders TV, the league even decided to go with it for it's coverage.

Tuesday Islander Notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/28/2007 05:47:00 AM | | | | Be the first to comment!
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 | | | | Be the first to comment!
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 | | | Be the first to comment!
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 | Be the first to comment!
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 | | | Be the first to comment!
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.

Enjoy.

Islander Forward Preview Pt III

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/26/2007 01:21:00 PM | Be the first to comment!
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 | | | Be the first to comment!
For those interested Russia and Canada are having an eight game tournament with prospects to recreate the1972 Summit Series.

Islanders
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 | | | | Be the first to comment!
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 | Be the first to comment!
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:
Hilbert-Sillinger-Hunter

No Outdoor Game for Islanders

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/24/2007 06:50:00 PM | | | Be the first to comment!
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 | | | | Be the first to comment!
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:
Satan-Bergenheim-Vasicek

Bryan Berard invited to Islander training camp

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/24/2007 09:14:00 AM | | | Be the first to comment!
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 | | | Be the first to comment!
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 Comment so far
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.

Financial:
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.

Television:
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 | | | | Be the first to comment!
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 | | | | | Be the first to comment!
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 | | | | | | Be the first to comment!
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 | | | Be the first to comment!
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
Ottawa
NY Rangers
Pittsburgh
Buffalo
Carolina
Tampa Bay
New Jersey
Atlanta
Philadelphia
Washington
Toronto
Florida
Montreal
NY Islanders
Boston

McKeen's

EASTERN

Pittsburgh
Ottawa
NY Rangers
Buffalo
New Jersey
Toronto
Carolina
Montreal
Tampa Bay
Philadelphia
Florida
Washington
Boston
Atlanta
NY Islanders

NHL.com Feature on Islander Prospects.

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

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

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

Islander tryout and an apology to Michael Fornabaio

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Isles release Pre-Season Schedule

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

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

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

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

Tuesday odds and ends

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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