Countdown to NYI Camp: The Forwards

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/11/2007 07:34:00 PM | Comment Here
Below is a rundown of the 35 forwards set to appear at Islanders Training Camp, which begins this Friday in Moncton.

35 forwards, 13 have one-way NHL contracts.

As with the review of the defenders, players signed over the summer who were not released to the public and some invites will be highlighted.

Shawn Bates
Sean Bentivoglio
Sean Bergenheim
Daryl Bootland

Justin Bourne
Son of Islanders legend Bob Bourne, Justin recently signed a minor league contract with the Islanders.

Kip Brennan

Marc Cavosie
Center/Right Wing
Born: Aug. 6 1981 -- Albany, NY
Height: 6"
Weight: 178

Cavosie comes to Camp as an invitee. A 2000 fourth round draft pick by the Minnesota Wid, Cavosie was a star at RPI from 1999-2002. In his third and final season, he led the team in scoring with 50 points in 36 games. Since then, he spent four years in the AHL with Houston and Philadelphia before spending last season in Sweden. In 2005-06 with the Phantoms, Cavosie tied his AHL career high in assists with 21.

Jeremy Colliton
Blake Comeau
Mike Comrie

Derek Damon
Left Wing
Born: Nov. 12, 1980 -- Bangor, ME
Height: 6'
Weight: 195
Shoots: Left

An undrafted Training Camp invitee, Damon didn't have to go far from his home in Bangor, Maine to attend the University of Maine in Orono. Following four productive years with the Black Bears, where he scored 15 goals and added 20 assists in his senior year, Damon played in three games with Lowell of the AHL to close out the 2005-06 season. Last year, Damon played his first full year of pro hockey, scoring 20 goals and adding 28 assists in 56 games for Florida of the ECHL. His 48 points was sixth best on the team.

Gordie Dwyer
Ruslan Fedotenko
Robin Figren

Chris Gaudet
Born: June 15, 1986 -- Memramcook, NB
Height: 6'
Weight: 191
Shoots: Left

Gaudet returns to his second Islanders Training Camp after getting an invite last year. Serving as Moncton's captain in the QMJHL captain, Gaudet played under Ted Nolan in 2005-06. Last season, Gaudet was 16-22-38 in 63 games with Moncton. He then played for Springfield of the AHL on a four-game tryout.

Max Gratchev
Bill Guerin

Tyler Haskins
Born: May 26, 1986 -- Madison, OH
Height: 6'
Weight: 185
Shoots: Right

Originally drafted by Detroit in the fifth round of the 2004 Entry Draft, Haskins has played in the OHL the past four years, splitting time between the Guelph Storm, the Toronto St. Michael's Majors and the Saginaw Spirit. During the 2006-07 season, ranked first on Saginaw with 60 assists and third in points with 71. Haskins also has a physical side, posting 90 penalty minutes, which ranked second on the team.

Andy Hilbert
Trent Hunter
Tim Jackman

Olivier Labelle
Right Wing
Born: July 15, 1985 -- St. Eustache, QC
Height: 6'
Weight: 190
Shoots: Right

Labelle is a 22-year old Camp invitee with one year of professional playing experience under his belt. Last year Labelle played in 74 games with Syracuse of the AHL and was 11-20-31, which placed him sixth in points on the team at season's end. A year prior, Labelle was second on his Acadie-Bathurst team of the QMJHL with 100 points. That same season, Labelle finished the postseason with 15 points in 17 games.

Tomas Marcinko
Masi Marjamaki
Frans Nielsen
Richard Park
Jason Pitton
Steve Regier
Miroslav Satan
Mike Sillinger
Jon Sim
Chris Simon
Trevor Smith
Jeff Tambellini
Josef Vasicek
Ben Walter

The usual shoddy Scott Burnside preview

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/11/2007 07:13:00 PM | | | Comment Here
Espn's Scott Burnside as usual is assigned to write fifteen reviews in one article and as usual does a poor job on the Islanders which is old news for those familiar with his work.

New York Islanders: The Islanders went from the butt of many hockey jokes at training camp a year ago to one of the Cinderella teams of the season. The Isles, left for dead more than a few times in the regular season, snuck into the playoffs on the last day of the regular season -- by shootout, no less. The surge to the playoffs was a testament to the coaching prowess of Ted Nolan and the work ethic displayed by a group of players not normally known for getting their collective noses dirty. Now, Nolan will have a brand-new lineup to work with this season, although the same question marks will exist.

Dearly departed: Jason Blake, Alexei Yashin, Tom Poti, Sean Hill, Ryan Smyth, Richard Zednik, Viktor Kozlov. Joyously welcomed: Bill Guerin, Mike Comrie, Ruslan Fedotenko, Andy Sutton, Josef Vasicek, Jon Sim, Sean Bergenheim (again).

Burning questions - Does buying former captain Yashin out of his whopper contract qualify as addition through subtraction? - Do the Islanders get the Bill Guerin who scored 36 times in the regular season or the one who failed to score at all in the playoffs for San Jose? - Does Sutton become Nolan's next reclamation project on the back end, a la Poti? - What are the chances Comrie can coax friend Hilary Duff anywhere near Nassau Coliseum?

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Burnside is very good with the jokes, unfortunately the fans are the ones who lose out with such a poor review. This tells us nothing other than Burnside got it wrong about last year's club or that Cinderella teams are not in sixth place for most of last season. Talk about Rick DiPietro and his enormous impact on this club when you can talk about who Mike Comrie is dating or get in a final dig at Alexei Yashin?

Why would Burnside bother, this would require some actual work and when your throwing out fifteen reviews like you don't care there is no room for quality.

Chris Botta, the response to Scott Burnside is all yours.


New York Islander Fan Central | 9/11/2007 06:11:00 PM | | | | | | Comment Here

Islanders Website announced the club today traded Petteri Nokelainen to Boston for Ben Walter. Islanders also receive a conditional 2Nd round pick in 2009 from the Bruins.

The 23-year old Walter was the Most Valuable Player of the Bruins' American Hockey League affiliate in Providence last season, finishing second on the team in scoring with 24 goals and 43 assists for 67 points and a team-leading +23 in 73 games. The 21-year old Nokelainen was 6-10-16 in 60 games last season with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AHL).

"Ben Walter is a strong addition to our roster and immediately becomes one of our top prospects," said Islanders general manager Garth Snow. "Our staff loves his two-way play, work ethic and knack for scoring big goals. Ben is a young player who will battle for a position in training camp and gives us excellent depth at an important position."

The 6-2, 200-pound Walter – the son of Ryan Walter, a 15-year NHL veteran with Montreal, Washington and Vancouver – is entering his third professional season after three years at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. Ben has played 10 games for the Boston Bruins over the last two seasons.

In his last season at UMass-Lowell, Walter was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Trophy, given to the best player in college hockey. That season he was 26-13-39 in 36 games.

Nokelainen was the Islanders' first round selection in the 2004 NHL Draft. He played 15 games for the Islanders in 2005-06, scoring a goal and adding two assists.

"Petteri is a talented young player," said Snow. "We wish him the best."

NYI Fan Central Comments:
There were some odd rumors a month of so ago of the Bruins trading from their excess of centers and Walter was mentioned. A former first round pick is a heck of a return when trading from a surplus.

Walter was selected in the fifth round (160 overall) of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, while Nokelainen is a first round pick. Walter is more suited to play center than Nokelainen who is listed as a center/rw. In terms of the NHL Nokelainen looked like he could help make an NHL impact before his injury that has hindered his game until this summer when some reports claimed he was finally healthy. Meanwhile for Walter's impressive numbers he could not find a spot on a very weak Bruins club.

No doubt the conditional second rounder says it all about who the better prospect is likely to be.

A lot of things at work here. An Islander team that did not have a spot for Nokelainen on paper for a player who prefers to be a right wing with a surplus of right wings in the organization. Rumors that Nokelainen was going to play in Europe even though he had a signed contract and was obligated to be in Bridgeport. Nokelainen's NHL contract which was close to a million dollars for the club to use him on a fourth line.

Prospects like Jeremy Colliton and Blake Comeau, Frans Nielsen among others needing an opportunity. Nokelainen was also out or playing hurt as he recovered from his injury for the better part of two full seasons.

Walter was a center in an organization with too many centers.

Just do not like to see a team that did not have a first round pick this summer, that just traded two other former first rounders trade another one for a player drafted in the fourth rounder who's not an established NHL talent. Hopefully Ben Walter makes us forget this and breaks through to win a spot on the Islanders.

Updated 7:03pm
The Bruins would give up a second-round pick in 2009 to the Islanders if Nokelainen plays in 50 or more NHL games in either 2007-08 or 2008-09, or if he appears in 90 or more games total over the next two seasons according to the Boston Globe.

Islanders Easter Pro Scout Chris Sullivan
explains why the club was interested in acquiring Walter.

“Ben is a guy we watched in the Calder Cup playoffs last year. He’s effective at both ends of the ice, has good hockey sense and seems to always be in the right place at the right time,” said Chris O’Sullivan (Dorchester, Mass.), Eastern Pro Scout for the Islanders.

Walter had 67 points in 73 games for Providence last season, and was named team MVP despite playing on a second line behind top center David Krejci.

“We feel that (Walter) took a big step in his development last year. He’s not the quickest guy, but is efficient and plays his position well. With opportunity, he can be a good two-way guy at the NHL level,” said O’Sullivan.

Updated 8:00am 9/12:
Michael Fornabaio from the Ct Post noted some scoring trends from Ben Walter last season. the Ct Post also gave Fornabaio space in the paper to do a full article here on the trade.

"He's definitely a player who thinks the game very well," Bridgeport coach Jack Capuano said. "He's got tremendous hockey sense. He's gifted offensively."

"Nokie was a great player for us," said Bridgeport president Howard Saffan, a big Nokelainen supporter. "Obviously, he was rehabilitating the majority of the season. We're giving up an excellent player to get an excellent player in Ben Walter."

Steven Harris of the Boston Globe wrote Walter
was viewed as not physically involved enough and made it up from AHL Providence for just 10 games over the last two seasons. (no points)in an article that talked about Nokelainen's potential.

The 23-year-old Walter was voted the P-Bruins' MVP last season by his teammates, but became the odd man out because of the organization's strength at center, where Marc Savard, Patrice Bergeron, Phil Kessel, Mark Mowers, and Nate Thompson top him on the depth chart. The Bruins also have center-ice prospects Zach Hamill, Brad Marchand, and Carl Soderberg.

Boston Globe Wednesday had the following from Peter Chiarelli:

"We felt with the surplus of centermen we had and the fact that Nokelainen was available," said Chiarelli, "this was a better fit for us."


New York Islander Fan Central | 9/10/2007 05:59:00 PM | | | Comment Here
Islanders Website this afternoon confirmed Cory Witt's earlier blog update that Mike Dunham has retired as a player and has been named the club's new goaltending coach.

"Mike had an outstanding NHL career and was very well-regarded for his work ethic and his leadership," said Islanders head coach Ted Nolan. "I'm very happy to have all of his experience on our coaching staff. Last season he was extremely helpful as a teammate to the development of Rick DiPietro and Wade Dubielewicz and that process will continue with Mike as our goalie coach."

"I'm very proud of my career and really enjoyed playing my final year on Long Island," said Dunham. "I'm very appreciative of Ted giving me this opportunity to be part of his coaching staff and work with all of the goaltenders in our system. I'm really looking forward to beginning my coaching career."

NYI Fan Central Commments:
Nothing I can add that was not included my earlier blog.


New York Islander Fan Central | 9/10/2007 04:23:00 PM | Comment Here
Islandes Website this afternoon announced the list of defenders who will be in camp with the club along a paragraph on each player on where they may fit in the Islanders lineup which is more the writers speculation and nothing official from Snow or Nolan.

Bryan Berard-Tryout basis.
Marc-Andre Bergeron
Chris Campoli
Drew Fata
Jamie Fraser

Martin Frechette
Born: July 11, 1986 -- Sherbrooke, QC
Height: 6'
Weight 200
Shoots: Right

Frechette earned a minor league contract with the Islanders after showing he had skills while participating at the 2007 Islanders Prospects Camp.

Bruno Gervais
Considering the number of defensemen with one-way NHL contracts already on the team and the possibility of signing Berard, Gervais' two-way contract could make the blueline scenario very interesting.

Jordan Hart
Born: Feb. 18, 1983 -- Huntington, NY
Height: 6'2
Weight: 200

The son of former Islanders defenseman Gerry Hart, Jordan recently signed a minor league contract with the Islanders after an impressive showing as a walk-on at the Islanders Prospects Camp this summer.

Aaron Johnson
Mark Katic
Dustin Kohn
Kohn signed an entry level contract this summer with the Islanders.

Simon Lacroix
Lacroix will return to Shawinigan this season, but should get a valuable experience up in Moncton.
Andrew MacDonald
Radek Martinek
Freddy Meyer
Matthew Spiller
Andy Sutton
Brendan Witt

NYI Fan Cenral Comments:
I highlighted a few players who were quietly signed out of prospect camp like Frechette and Jordan Hart here and it's worth noting here the Islanders do have an option to send down Bruno Gervais without exposing him to waivers.

Now or never for Free Agents with Islanders?

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/10/2007 08:01:00 AM | | | | | Comment Here
Just speculation on my part but it's impossible to ignore the trends in the organization on Charles Wang's policy of players being in camp day one or not being part of his team.

I know the policy was regarding the club's restricted free agents like with Chara and Isbister his first season and Sean Bergenheim who found out the hard way what it meant last season.

Question here is will it apply to unrestricted free agents like Jason Allison, Anson Carter or any UFA if they are not in the club's camp on a tryout?

Last two years Islanders have used this to bring Richard Park, Mike Dunham and now Bryan Berard among NHL veterans to camp and there have been odd rumors of Allison signing with the Islanders. Many teams invite prospects not signed, Isles invited Justin Bourne and several players will be invited who do not have a contract but again what's important to remember here is these players will be at camp from day one.

Fair to say Michael Strahan's football season would be over if he pulled with his did on any club owned by Charles Wang. Would be interesting to see how Wang would react to Niedermayer's situtation as well.

The question of the day is will Wang allow Snow and Nolan to sign an outside UFA looking for a job if Snow or Ted Nolan feels the alternatives to improve the club are not in the organization or in camp before the season begins?

As I have discussed in earlier blogs, this is a new NHL where the second and third tier free agents really have to scramble for a job and a contract. In some cases gm and coach want to wait to see what their clubs look like in camp and preseason before going shopping for a veteran to fill a need.

Will Charles Wang allow Garth Snow and Ted Nolan to do the same with players who will not be in any teams training camp? This is not a Chris Osgood situtation where he was in training camp with Detroit and the Islanders claimed him in the waiver draft.

For those wondering the waiver draft was dropped as part of the new CBA.

My guess is Mr Wang will see this as different and not tie his gm or coaches hands if there is a player available who can help improve the club, but a topic for a quiet day just before camp opens.

Ted Nolan's new promo for Islanders

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/10/2007 07:43:00 AM | | | Comment Here

While we wait for the release of the Islanders training camp roster after a quiet weekend before rookies and veterans report seemed like a good day to post Ted Nolan's new promo.

In terms of scrimmages for a week before the club plays an exhibition game that will not be happening in this preseason.

Islanders arrive in Moncton on September 14 and will play their first official preseason game on September 17th.

Like last year expect Ted Nolan to separate his NHL squad from his AHL/prospect squad so the Sound Tigers staff can work with players as well.

Canada sweeps superseries

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/10/2007 06:46:00 AM | Comment Here
Superseries ended with the Canadian prospects sweeping the Russian prospects eight games to none. Brent Sutter was coach for Canada who will be heading straight to New Jersey to open his first NHL camp as an NHL head coach with the Devils.

Strong turnout Saturday for Islanders

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/08/2007 04:12:00 PM | | | Comment Here
For those curious announced their largest
turnout for the release of first half tickets in five years at the Coliseum today.

Cory Witt's media blog also did a brief update.

NYI Fan Central Comments:

Hopefully a good time was had by all.

That is a very strong turnout considering the team is not considered very strong on paper. I guess a lot of folks are on board with what Snow and Nolan want for this club long-term combined with last year's moderate success.

Chris Botta's blog box a must read today.

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/08/2007 03:30:00 PM | | | | | Comment Here
Mr Botta's NYI Point Blank blog today is a must read for Islander fans on the Daily News and the coverage of our hockey team.

The Funny Papers

If you see an Islanders fan pulled over at the side of the road and they are laughing uproariously, chances are they are not listening to Howard Stern, O and A or the Best of Foreigner. They are, however, listening to the most hilarious thing to hit the airwaves in months.

The latest radio spot promoting the sports section of the New York Daily News - it's a knee-slapper!

In the radio commercial, the announcer extols the virtues of the News' sports section, twice giving star billing to sports editor Leon Carter. Here's the part that has Islanders (and Devils) fans rolling in the aisles: "Sports editor Leon Carter makes sure that all New York sports teams have the best coverage in town."

I'm telling ya, folks: it only gets funnier with each listen. I'm at the point now where I volunteer to go to Dairy Barn during my Yankees games, praying Robby Cano makes the third out so I have a chance of hearing the Daily News commercial.

If only it were a joke.

For the record, the Daily News covers most Islanders home games once baseball season is over and does not send beat writer Peter Botte on the road. We get the occasional off-day mention, usually in that box where they lump in somone breaking the pole vault record and golf tournaments Tiger doesn't play in. Sometimes, when the Islanders do something of moderate interest, like fire Neil, give Ricky a landmark contract or trade for Captain Canada, we even get a couple hundred words.

It wasn't that long ago the Islanders received regular coverage in the Daily News. Anthony McCarron, now a baseball writer there, was on us every day. So was Ralph Vacchiano, now the Giants beat writer.

Besides the obvious - losing coverage in a major NY tabloid - the dropoff is an even bigger shame because Pete Botte is one of the best sports reporters in town. Islanders fans know this because Pete used to cover the team for the Post. Back then, he had plenty of space for his wicked commentary and exclusive reports. He was so good.

No one knew how to get more out of Mike Milbury than Botte. How did he do it? Simply by listening. When it looked like Mike might be done with his rant, Pete would make eye contact with the other writers on the beat as if to say, "Don't ask another question"! There would be about ten seconds of silence and then Mike would continue on, always delivering his A material. Botte has those kind of instincts.

Pete still does that today - he has the pride in his work to get to as many practices as he can, even when he knows he probably won't have space - but it's just not the same. Garth and Ted usually put periods on their sentences and well, even when they get off a zinger, Botte usually doesn't have the room in the next day's paper to get it in.

I continue to hope the Daily News changes its position and gets Pete back on us full-time. And then when it happens, that son of a gun Botte will probably make me regret it!

I know I'll get some emails wondering if it's smart to go after the Daily News. Fact is, I wouldn't if it weren't for the absurdist comedy of the radio spot. That's just asking for it. The marketing staff at the Daily News should not insult Islanders fans. You can't NOT cover the team and then run a commercial like that.

And I certainly don't blame Leon Carter for the spot. I knew Leon briefly when I did a short stint a long time ago at Newsday, where he was a up-and-comer at the sports desk. I deal with him from time to time as I push for more coverage. Leon doesn't strike me as a guy who would walk into a board meeting and declare, "Hey, I think we should do a radio commercial where you talk about me like I'm Woodward and Bernstein!"

For now, if you're an Islanders fan who likes the Daily News but you're angry Pete Botte isn't with us at least five days a week, I guess you could do two things: don't buy the newspaper and contact Daily News editor-in-chief Martin Dunn with a polite note of disappointment.

Make no mistake: we want the Daily News back covering us. We need the Daily News covering us.

Please just change that radio spot. My stomach can't take it.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Great blog and basically why I have not and will not support the Daily News until I see an increase in coverage.

Peter Botte's work has always been very good. This does make me re-think all the blame on Leon Carver but from a fan perspective you guess the sports editor has some control of how much space a local club receives in a sports section. Fair to say Chris Botta's been complanining for a long time as he should be and as we do.

Would be a fair thing to ask why Mr Botte cannot blog for the News to make up for the lack of space as John Dellapina does on his full time Ranger beat? How much does it costs for the News to let Botte blog?

This also has me wondering why is the News being singled out when the Post never replaced Evan Grossman who left for in season?

Meanwhile our fans have been stuck with infrequent coverage from Dan Martin with our rare summer updates from Devil writer Mark Everson and no blog. This also does not even include the Times, Journal News and New York Sun?

I can understand Mr Botta's frustration on that radio ad. It's like those Cablevision ads for high definition that many Islander fans are supposed to receive but FSN-2 does not have it yet the Islanders are mentioned. No doubt Chris Botta will be brining up the problems with the other city papers.

Were a million years from the day's of Mike Lupica covering the Islanders like the Yankees.

Aaron Johnson update

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/08/2007 03:13:00 PM | | | Comment Here
Cape Brenton Post today checks with an update on new Islander Aaron Johson on a variety of subjects,

“It’s a little more nerve wracking this time around coming into a new situation and not knowing too many people,” said Johnson from New York where he will begin his first training camp with the New York Islanders Tuesday. “On the other side I definitely think it’s a good challenge and a good opportunity for me.”

“They have a couple of guys who just signed long-term contracts, but there is definitely opportunity there,” said Johnson.

“Like any other team, you’re going to have to beat guys out, but that’s the point of the game and that’s why you go out there and play it.

“I have to come in to camp and earn a job. Nothing is going to be given to me in my situation.”

“You want to be an outstanding defenceman and you want to play every game and do all that as fast as possible, but there are always some development things and a bit of a road to travel before you can accomplish those goals.”

One of those goals is to parlay this opportunity into a longer deal for the future.

“I tend to compete better with pressure so I’m putting some pressure on myself heading into camp,” he said.

“I had an OK year last year, but I want to be better and I have to keep learning and developing.

“Obviously, my goal this year is to have a strong season and to work my way on to more than a one-year contract.

Cory Witt blog updated 9/7:

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/07/2007 08:42:00 PM | | | Comment Here

Cory Witt updated his NYI media blog early Friday night to let us know the club will wear it's new uniforms in preseason.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
First picture of the back of the " road " whites from behind with the numbers and letters. Also you see some prospects with their camp numbers on the uniforms.

As for the joke Mr Witt, our jersey's are a notch above Vancouver and most have pointed out the orange in the sleeves is too much and the design looks terrible.

Sound Tigers Bringing Back Colley Opening Night

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/07/2007 08:32:00 PM | | | | | | Comment Here
Sound Tigers announced Kevin Colley will be back in Bridgeport opening night in this article.

"Kevin exemplified what it means to be a Sound Tiger through his tireless effort and dedication to the Islanders organization," Sound Tigers president, Howard Saffan, said.

"I am excited to return to Bridgeport and see some of the greatest fans in the American Hockey League again," Colley said. "It is a true honor that I've been chosen to drop the puck on opening night."

Ample access to 'Team Ted' during 10-day camp

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/07/2007 04:35:00 PM | | | Comment Here
The local paper in New Burnswick called the Times and Transcript provides it's first article here
on the club's upcoming training camp.

Ted Nolan, former head coach of the Quebec Major Hockey League's Moncton Wildcats, brings his NHL New York Islanders to town next Thursday to launch a full 10-day training camp set for the city's Tim Hortons 4-Ice Centre.

This year, all team practices and scrimmages -- set for 9 a.m. to noon every day from Friday, Sept. 14 to 21 inclusive -- are free, said 4-Ice manager Warren Frizzell at a morning news conference yesterday.

The Islanders touch down at Greater Moncton International Airport Thursday night and officially launch the camp at 8 a.m. at the Moncton Coliseum at a breakfast hosted by retired Islanders superstar Michel (Mike) Bossy, now the team's director of corporate relations.

According to Ian Fowler, the City of Moncton's manager of recreation, parks, tourism and culture, Bossy will be joined by an entire crew of Islanders alumni including Benoit Hogue, Bob Bourne, fellow superstar Bryan Trottier and others.

The Islanders are also putting together a 'rookie squad' that will play two games at the Moncton Coliseum with Atlantic Canada's two best university teams.

The Times & Transcript, a sponsor of this event, will publish a schedule of events in a two-page insert in the Sept. 13 edition of the newspaper, which naturally will be waiting for the Islanders at their rooms at the Beausejour Hotel.

The entire team is coming to the camp including 60 players, coaching and support staff -- 100 people in all.

Fowler said 15 news media organizations from New York are along for the ride, including New York's major papers, the Fox television network and other New York regional radio and television.

First Half Tickets go on sale Saturday

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/07/2007 05:16:00 AM | | Comment Here
Newsday printed an article today following up on the club's update of first half tickets being available at the Coliseum MEET BRUNO, DUBIE, RICHARD ON SATURDAY.

"It's going to be an exciting season," said Gervais. "We have some great leadership on this team and some talented new players as well. I look forward to kicking off the season with this event on Saturday, which is going to be a lot of fun."

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Expect this to be the first and last topic that will come close to advertisements on ticket sales. NYI Fan Central is about talking Islander related hockey topics and has no interest in ticket sales beyond business related topics regarding the club nor is it affilated with the orgaization.

In this singular instance were only telling folks interested tickets are going on sale Saturday just in case they do not know and wish to meet the players. Would never suggest fans purchase or not purchase tickets, that's not NYI Fan Central's place.

If player comments or how many tickets are sold are announced that's something else and fair game for our blog.

Logan blog update: Chemistry is key for Isles

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/07/2007 04:22:00 AM | | | | | | Comment Here
Greg Logan from Newsday updated his Islander blog early Friday morning and provided some insights on Guerin, Yashin and the club with some quotes from Richard Park and Andy Hilbert on the changes.

Among the highlights:

“It will have an all-around influence on everybody from top to bottom in terms of chemistry,” veteran forward Richard Park said after a conditioning skate Thursday with several teammates and a few players from other NHL teams. “That’s a word you’ll hear a lot. We added really quality players. Every one of them brings something to the table to help us get to where we want to be.

“I’m sure a lot of fans and media were hard-pressed, wondering who was going to come in. It’s a new opportunity for the guys that have come in. Even though they’ve been around for awhile, they could play a different role, possibly a more expanded role. The bottom line is that the backbone of the organization is as strong as it’s ever been. When you have that, you’re going to have success no matter who you bring in and who leaves.”

“It’s hard to tell because we haven’t started camp, but I’ve heard great things about Billy Guerin, our newly appointed captain,” Park said. “In terms of Alexei, he was in the shadows, so to speak, that had been cast above his head for a number of years. I don’t think there’s a guy in the locker room last year that would have anything bad to say about Alexei. Things just didn’t work out; he had an injury.

“It’s not about bad-mouthing leadership in this locker room last year. The onus isn’t on one guy, and it never has been. It doesn’t matter if you have a letter on your jersey or you don’t. Everybody is a leader in their own way. If you say we’re going to have a better locker room this year, does that mean we had a bad one last year? I’m not going to say that because I was part of that locker room last year. But the guys we’ve added are very good character guys and have a lot of dignity, and we should be better off for it.”

Although Smyth was the first choice as Yashin’s replacement, Guerin’s credentials fit neatly with the Isles’ approach under Nolan. Forward Andy Hilbert said the character shown by the Isles when Yashin and DiPietro went down last season, should be enhanced by the new additions.

“When you bring a guy like Billy Guerin in, his reputation and what he’s done in the league speaks for itself,” Hilbert said. “Witter and Silly were big leaders last year. We have a great locker room. I’m just looking forward to getting to meet all the new faces. I’m a believer that chemistry in the locker room translates to the ice, and the players we brought in this year have great personalities.”

As the Isles demonstrated a year ago, preseason predictions don’t matter. It’s the chemistry in the locker room, be it combustible or coherent, that decides whether a team has the right stuff to succeed.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Seems like Alexei Yashin get's a bad wrap from everyone but the players and the organization's media. It it was it is, he received the kind of money where he was expected to do things that were not possible given the talent around him and his own overall game. His great start and solid finish in the last ten games were critical to the club making the playoffs and it says a lot he tried to play through his knee problems where he came back early and reinjured it.

In the end Yashin was bought out because of fan and media opinion combined with another Islander coach clearly not on the same page with him. I absolutely think if this were a non-playoff team and another unproven coach were in charge who did not improve the club the coach might have taken the hit. In Nolan's case the organization has a coach who get's more out of less and got a respectable season out of Yashin, but was not part of the long-term solution for the coach and what management's new template is for the kind of player they want.

Plus long-term Mr Wang will pay less for his contract then he would have if he were here playing.

Big question already is will Islander management and the fans put the same impossible expectations on Bill Guerin at this point in his career?

Islanders Fifteen to Remember Friday 8pm

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/06/2007 06:15:00 PM | Comment Here
Islanders Fifteen to remember starts to wind down to the final weeks with Islanders vs Rangers from 4/3/2007 Friday 8pm on FSN.

Will be repeated early Saturday.

Not so fast with that elimination Mr Rosen.

CP's team-by-team look as training camps open

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/06/2007 06:00:00 PM | | | Comment Here
Canadian Press checks in here with a thirty team preview that did a solid job in it's paragraph on the Islanders.

New York Islanders: Losing scoring wingers Ryan Smyth and Jason Blake early in free agency was a huge blow but young GM Garth Snow got to work instead of sulking - signing forwards Mike Comrie, Bill Guerin, Jon Sim, Ruslan Fedotenko, Josef Vasicek and defenceman Andy Sutton. Defenceman Bryan Berard was also invited to camp on a tryout. Major, major changes on the Island. Most importantly, overpaid captain Alexei Yashin was bought out after last season - a move welcomed inside the dressing room and by head coach Ted Nolan. So what do the Isles have here? A lot of it depends on how all the new faces come together. The Isles should be among big group of playoff bubble teams fighting for the last two spots.

Cory Witt blog updated

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/06/2007 05:28:00 PM | | | | | Comment Here
Cory Witt updated his NYI media blog and wrote the Islanders will have a new goal tending coach this season and that it likely is going to be Mike Dunham, who Witt claims is retired and currently on Long Island.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Good update informing us Dunham is retired and could be named goal tending coach.

That said with a franchise goaltender, you want a top goaltending coach. Dunham at this time is not that person, regardless of whether he has a good relationship with the goaltenders. Gilles Lefebvre who was goal tending coach last season seemed to do a very good job with DiPietro and Dubielewicz, why did the Isles let him or go or why did he leave? Dunham despite his great early games was clearly not ready when DiPietro went down and they needed him to step up. He also had the same problem in Atlanta. For Mr Witt to ignore this is not telling us the entire story nor did he mention Dunham's long-time friendship with Garth Snow.

In the end it's time to ask how much inexperience can a team add behind the scenes combined with trying to get career years out of a lot of players? Last year it was a staff from Moncton and a backup goalie as gm. Now a goalie coach with no experience in the role as teacher?

Mike Palmateer, Billy Smith among some have been Islander goaltending coaches for those wondering but both did not go from the ice directly into that role.

Dipietro is a franchise goalie who is signed for the next fourteen years. Hire a top flight goaltending coach who's going to push him and bring out his best game, not someone who gets along well with DiPietro. Granted a goalie coach like a Gilles Lefebvre is not around the club daily, but there was solid improvement in DiPietro's game last season.

Botta blog updated

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/06/2007 12:14:00 AM | | | Comment Here
Chris Botta's blog is off to a good start with an update
here where he talks about some of the predictions made by THN, Espn the last two summers, specifically Adam Proteau and John Buccigross and asks a lot of the questions folks like myself ask here.

He also tells us what Bill Guerin did recently when he visited the teams offices.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Solid blog by Botta. Addresses the artcle on Fedotenko being the biggest free agent bust by Adam Proteau. A little bit of selling here on Guerin because many players have purchased tickets for kids. Fair criticism of Hamrlik's contract and what seemed like a mild tweak of Ryan Smyth.

Wednesday Media Spin Game...

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/05/2007 11:14:00 AM | | | | Comment Here
Nothing like living in Baseball's largest market, surfing the articles and seeing absolutely nothing on hockey here while the excitement for the training camp has begun and even damage control in some cases regarding Saku Koivu's comments regarding the Canadians Cup chances here and suspended Leafs forward Mark Bell's possible reinstatement here.

What's interesting here for me is the same publications in Canada spin-doctoring for players on the local teams have no problem ripping Jeremy Roenick who signed with the San Jose Sharks yesterday.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Impossible to disagree with the downside and off ice commentary from Roenick and more than a fair discussion to bring it up given several poor seasons. Having said that Koivu speaks out on the Habs realistic chances of winning the cup and immediatetly the spin is on from Gainey and the Habs, while Howard Berger in Toronto is already telling us Mark Bell could be back before the season starts with quotes from select Leafs?

Fair question to ask here if Roenick signed in Toronto and Bell was traded to San Jose from would the spin be the opposite? Imagine if Alexei Yashin made the same statement Koivu did about the Islanders in previous seasons?

As brought up in earlier blogs, former Islander Pierre Turgeon is expected to announce his retirement today.

Time to grade Snow & Nolan's Summer

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/04/2007 11:08:00 PM | | | | Comment Here
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 | | Comment Here

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
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 | | | Comment Here
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 Comments
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 | | | | | Comment Here
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 Comments
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 | Comment Here
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 | | | Comment Here
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 | | | | | | Comment Here
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 | | | | Comment Here
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 | | | | Comment Here
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 | | | | Comment Here
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 | Comment Here
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 | | | Comment Here
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 | | | | Comment Here
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 | Comment Here
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 | | Comment Here
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 | | | | Comment Here
Quiet start to a late August Tuesday. Toronto Star late Monday afternoon has an updated quote from Bryan Berard's agent, Tom Laidlaw confirming his client will be at Islanders camp.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bridgeport Sound Tigers announced a redesign of their website.

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

Will numbers game force trade on defense?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bruno Gervais.

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

Thoughts and comments are appreciated.

Update on prospect Robin Figren

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

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

Islander Forward Preview Pt IV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next up:
Part One Preview of Islander Defense