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.