10/22/07

A few words from Deb Kaufman

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/22/2007 07:05:00 PM
Msg.com: Too bad Deb Kaufman writes so infrequently on the Islanders but in this update she says it better than anyone else has so far about the 2007-08 Islanders.

Last year the Islanders went into the season with a top line of Alexei Yashin, Jason Blake and fill in the blank. This year it's Bill Guerin, Mike Comrie and Ruslan Fedotenko. If they didn't like their chances with one group over another, they're not paying attention, or they've been reading too many national previews.

The way Rick DiPietro played last year, did they think he was going to be touched by a magic wand this summer and come back less talented? Did they think Chris Campoli and Bruno Gervais were going to be the first young defensemen in the history of the National Hockey League to get valuable playoff experience, get a year older, wiser, and stronger and come back to be worse players than they were the season before?

Did they think Brendan Witt would lose his will to win and stop blocking shots once he got paired with a healthy Radek Martinek, who was now going to be back?


NYI Fan Central Comments:
Unlike her appearance for the final preseason game in Boston where she was guessing about some things because she was not in Moncton this time she hits a home run with her comments and I agree with almost everything.

That's exactly how I looked at it this summer too regarding the first line and DiPietro. Anyone who watched Gervais and Campoli not only score but have show some impressive signs in the Sabres series and during last season when healthy could see there was a good chance they would come back and do even better with more experience combined with being a year older.

Islanders could still be a bad team in the end and a lot of things can go wrong but on paper going into this season it was clear they did not take major steps backwards.

Islanders Powerplay among the best.

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/22/2007 06:32:00 PM
Islanders website: Has a little feature on the power play today. Ted Nolan had some praise for assistant coach Gerard Gallant who credited the players on both units.

"We told the guys right from the start it's about getting pucks to the net and putting traffic in front," said Gallant. "You need to get screens in front of the goalies and crash the net. Our guys have been paying the price in front of the net and that's led to our success. Just look at the two power play goals against New Jersey. Comrie scored the first one, but we had three guys around the net. It was the same for the overtime goal. They're not trying to be cute."

"Guerin has been in this league a long time, so he knows when to move in and out from in front of the net," said Gallant. "Comrie is our set up guy, who is very skilled working the corners. But he also goes hard to the net to score on those jam plays. Fedotenko has been the guy in front screening the goalie and making it difficult for the defense."

"You can't forget about the second unit," said Gallant. "They've been just as strong working the puck down low and getting it to the net."

"Our defensemen have done a good job of moving their feet and getting involved," said Gallant. "They've been effective at getting pucks through and not having them blocked. Even if their shots don't go in, they're creating big rebounds for our forwards."


NYI Fan Central Comments:
Do not want to downplay success but this power play has been more about throwing the puck at the goal and having it go in. Kind of like Bill Guerin's first goal against Washington where with a five on three he took an outside shot because the club could generate nothing down low and it got past Kolzig. It counts and they add up over eighty two games but what you want are cross ice passes down low scored which are the kind of plays the goaltender cannot stop. So far we have seen very little of this from the Islander power play and only a lot of peripheral movement and lower percentage shots.

The good news is we have seen a power play that is generating a lot of goals from the defenders unlike last season and that's the one obvious change under Gallant.

Bad news is to stay a top power play in the long run the Islanders are going to have to create some skilled chances down low. As nice as Vasicek's goal was on the pp he was alone because Satan's shot was blocked and it went to him, it was not off a pass.

Islander odds and ends for Monday.

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/22/2007 03:27:00 PM
Cory Witt's media blog: Had some interesting updates today. (below)

USA Today: Kevin Allen ranks Garth Snow as having done the best job of diagnosing their problems and fixing them:

USA Today: A.J Perez did a Q/A with Bryan Berard prior to his injury that was released today.

On other fronts:

Espn: In the no news is great news department Scott Burnside ignores the Islanders in this article that deals with coaches who could be on the hotseat among other things.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio updated his blog this afternoon. Apparently coach Jack Capuano had a few meetings and is making some changes. Joey MacDonald returned to the club but for the moment the Sound Tigers are carrying three goaltenders.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
I find it interesting that a 5-3 record merits the same snap-judgements of praise from some in the media as the ones who were killing Snow last summer. It's a long season and we'll see what kind of club the Islanders are as we move forward. So far I see some good and very bad trends which did have me asking was the season at the crossroads in terms of it's scoring from it's forwards which is a question that will linger.

This is like those articles that claim the Islanders wanted to keep everyone but omit the part about how they were not even given offers near market value to stay to claim it was still an exodus by the players.

The article on Berard he talks about his groin problems, he did play the second peirod for a few shifts. It looked like he got hurt late in the first tumbling over a teammate in his own end for those who taped the game.

NYI/NHL notables:

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/22/2007 12:13:00 PM
Bill Guerin did not win whatever version of NHL player of the week it's called these days by the NHL. He somehow did not even finish in the top three.

NHL.com Reports Flyers goaltender Martin Biron, Calgary Flames right wing Jarome Iginla and Chicago Blackhawks forward Jason Williams have been named the NHL’s ‘Three Stars’ for the week ending October 21.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Sure liked it better when there was one award. I did not even know they changed from offensive and defensive player of the week to give you an idea of how this has become a non-event.

Hopefully the league dumped the Messier cold-x award too as another terrible idea.
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Denver Post: Teri Frei questions the firing of Bob Hartley by the Atlanta Thrashers.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Granted the gm should have taken the fall with Hartley at the very least or Hartley should have stayed and Waddell dismissed but what Frei does not point out here is the Thrashers did have an urgency to make the playoffs for the first time last season. It's a lot of people like Frei that remind us all the time about hockey's lack of impact in the Southern markets and you cannot blame Waddell for understanding it was important for his club to qualify just as Garth Snow understood it was important for his club to qualify with the Smyth trade or the Sharks with the Guerin trade.

I don't know if Hartley was too tough for the players but when he was dismissed in Colorado many wrote/said the same thing about him. Fair or not sometimes it's easier to fire the coach then fire the players, especially on a team with a franchise player like Kovalchuk who can make or break not only a coach but a franchise.

I don't know what Kovalchuk thought of Hartley but as an outsider you have to think Waddell had an idea it's a move the star player would not be devastated by.
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What's the deal with Brent Sutter, was he poisoned that badly by the media out west about the Islanders or was it something with Justin Mapletoft?

Newark Star Ledger:Rich Chere has this comment from Brent Sutter on the Islanders:

"From that aspect, absolutely I'd like to see them (come back). I think they're taking strides that way. They're bringing people back that were part of their success."


NYI Fan Central Comments:
I'm just curious where Brent Sutter thinks the Islanders are coming back from after making the playoffs four times in the last five years? Things have not been perfect, but there are a lot of NHL organizations that have been far worse during that time.

Chris Botta : In his media blog asks a very fair question here wondering if Sutter remembers the thousands of people who supported his career if he remembers them?
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Denver Post: Teri Frei also reports Ryan Smyth is having a news conference in Edmonton prior to his Tuesday game against the Oilers.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Hopefully we will get no tears this time. Would have been interesting if Edmonton for all the money they were throwing at restricted free agents decided to make Smyth an offer last summer but it's fair to say Kevin Lowe was correct not overpaying for a limited player. Islanders will visit Colorado this season.
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Sports Business Journal: Tripp Micklel and Eric Fisher report the league's response to the Rangers lawsuit with Bill Daly providing his written comments with the owners siding with the league by a count of 25-3 with Edmonton absent and Detroit in abstention.

The NHL filed more than four hundred pages of statements and exhibits from seven league officials and team executives Oct. 12 countering MSG’s claims that the league’s new media policy eliminates competition between the Rangers and other teams.

“The Rangers’ complaint amounts to an attack on the fundamental manner in which the league and every other professional sports league is organized and operates. … Granting MSG its requested relief would strip the league of its essential and fundamental structure.”


* Daly added that the Rangers popularity stems from playing other NHL teams and that it has benefited by hiring popular players who other NHL teams develop, such as Wayne Gretzky, Chris Drury and Scott Gomez.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
This is a pay subscription site that we joined on a trial basis for use on Islander Fan Central for hockey/business information.

Good job by Daly reminding us other clubs developed the Rangers current stars and this is a partnership with the league. Clearly the other owners want no part of associating with James Dolan. I'm wondering if the Devils, Islanders and Sabres were forced by the man who owns their broadcast rights to support him?

Considering the Rangers lost the most money of any club going into the lockout and have lost money in an outdated building for decades to where they need free rent, tax exemptions and even low cost elecrricity at Msg and that Cablevision is willing to overspend out of it's own pocket to increase Ranger financial losses and even front loaded contracts to Drury and Gomez to circumvent the new CBA, why should any owner who wants to run a responsible hockey business long-term want any part of supporting Dolan and his hockey business practice?

Dolan's way over his head taking on the NHL unless his supporter speaker Sheldon Sliver controls this court like he did the PCB which killed the West Side Stadium with Silver's son a paid lobbyist for Msg.

Dolan does not have his fellow owners support, his team has no impact on national ratings and are invisible in baseball's largest market. Why is it a big deal to Dolan that his site is linked to the league website?

Logan blog update: Snow's comments

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/22/2007 11:05:00 AM
Newsday: Greg Logan updated his blog with comments from Garth Snow on how the free agents have done so far in as well as Bergenheim, DiPietro and the rest of the club.

“To me, it’s not a surprise that Mike Comrie is one of the leaders in goals and points and that Bill Guerin and Fedotenko and Vasicek are playing the way they are,” “We knew what we were getting. Maybe it’s an eye-opener to our fans and the hockey community, but we’re not surprised at the way our players are producing.”

“There was one point in the second period against the Devils when they looked like the Central Red Army team,” Snow said. “They were really dominating. Sean’s an energy-type player who can do the work along the walls, much like Fedotenko can. And like Fedotenko, he’s got the ability to put the puck in the net when he gets the chance. There’s a reason why we like him so much and made a spot for him on our team.”


On Rick DiPietro:

“He’s been our best player on a night-to-night basis for sure,” Snow said. “This league is about goaltending. It’s like pitching in baseball or quarterback in football. Goaltending is everything, and when you don’t get it, you realize how much you miss it. He’s taken it to the next level where he’s making difficult saves look easy. That’s what’s fun for me to watch. He’s done it for a couple years now. To me, he’s one of the top goalies in the league.

“The things he does, we take for granted. It’s not easy to handle the puck the way he does or to move laterally to make second and third saves. There’s only a few goalies in the league that can do what he does. Last year was more of a breakout year in terms of people recognizing him outside this market. Ricky should start getting the credit he deserves as a top goalie in the league.”


On the Atlantic Division:

“It’s one of the best divisions, if not the best and most competitive in the league, especially when you get three teams from the New York metropolitan area,” Snow said. “They’re like playoff games with the higher intensity.” At the same time, Snow emphasized his belief that the Islanders have improved enough to contend for the playoffs again, saying, “We’re faster, and we have more energy. We’re a better, more well-rounded team.”


NYI Fan Central Comments:
Of course this could not appear in the newspaper where it belongs when the gm speaks, even though no other paper is covering the Islanders.

10/20/07

Islander News Articles 10/21:

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/20/2007 11:53:00 PM
Newsday: Greg Logan has comments from Nolan, Guerin and Rick DiPietro on the win Saturday.

"That line had another strong game," Nolan said. "Joe is coming into his own, and it was great to see Miro get his first goal, especially the way he skated to the net. Sean Bergenheim played well on that line also."

"They came out hard in the third and got a couple of weird bounces," DiPietro said of the Devils' pressure. "Coming back was big. You don't like to give away a two-goal lead, but the way we kept our composure was a positive."


Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio updated his blog on the Sound Tigers 6-1 loss Saturday and had his game article for the newspaper here.

"We just never got out of the blocks," Bridgeport coach Jack Capuano said. "Guys weren't ready to skate, weren't ready to compete. We've got to learn from it."

"It's up to us as leaders to get the guys going in here, to get a better start," captain Mark Wotton said.


Updated Sunday:
Daily News: Brian Bohl was allowed space in the paper eqivalent to a postage stamp to cover the game between two local teams that read worse than an AP summary.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Not Mr Bohl's fault that Leon Carver does not hire a full time beatwriter or blogger for the club at the Post or give him the proper space to do a game report.

NY Post: Devils writer Mark Everson was the only post reported dispactched to cover an Islander home game at Nassau Coliseum.

NY Times: Dave Caldwell made a very rare appearance at the Coliseum and did an article on the game.

Newark Star Ledger: Bergen Record: Has the Devils centric coverage and reaction.

Wilkes Barr Times Leader: Citzens Voice: Has the WBS Penguins centric coverage of their win against Bridgport Saturday.

Newsday: Greg Logan had a second article about the special teams and reaction about the goal waved off against Washington from Ted Nolan.

New York 4, New Jersey 3 ot

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/20/2007 11:14:00 PM

NYI.com: Has the recap of the Islanders 4-3 overtime victory at home against New Jersey. Islanders did not win a single game at home last year against the Devils.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Like Bill Guerin said, two points is two points.

How they got them is another story because at best Islanders skated for one period and were not the better team in this game. Shot totals were very misleading.

When they did skate in that second period New Jersey looked completely lost and Kevin Weekes had no chance and the Islanders could have put them away for the night with the plays they were making because they worked the Devils into the ice. Aside from that the Islanders looked terrible and could have given up three or more in the first and third. DiPietro did not get any breaks from Sutton who fair or not bad things happen around him historically and did again tonight when he blocked shot found the net.

DiPietro saved them early and late and finally in overtime on that four on three.

Gervais had a turnover that led to a goal but made a few other plays that were fantastic, Campoli looked dominating at times.

Bergenheim's penalty should have finished the Islanders but somehow New Jersey did not finish them. Of course in the second period Bergenheim was dominating and set up Satan for his first goal on a beautiful power move to the net. Satan's assist was a shot that deflected to Vasicek who made a nice move on a goalie not mobile to tie the game.

So far, so good with Vasieck, already halfway to the six goals he scored a year ago.

Comrie had Weekes beat early in the third and missed one he looked like he should have finished, when he did not and the Islanders wasted a four minute pp in the third they looked like New Jersey was on the power play and scored the tying goal as it expired.

From there it seemed like when, not if the Devils would score the winning goal, Islanders generated very little and all credit to Madden, Gionta and Parise who is going to haunt the Islanders his entire career because he's a star with world class speed and offensive skills. His shot for the 1-0 goal was fantastic and he was the most dangerous forward on the ice.

Johnson did a nice job and had to go back on defense after Berard hurt his groin which is never good for any player much less one with his injury history. Guerin scored the winner but for the most part did not create much and again looked lost with Sillinger and Hilbert. Simon had one nice hit and Park/Bergenheim were very good killing penalties.

Fedotenko does things during a game that go beyond numbers and did the dirty work on the overtime winner.

After the Islanders killed off the overtime penalty, I was surprised the Islanders opened it up and played the Devils game, you got DiPietro vs Weekes in a shootout which should be a clear advantage for the Islanders. They drew a powerfully, they scored and won it so no complaints, but sometimes you have to play the percentage.

Asham looked good and used on their top lines. I was kind of shocked on his third period move to the net and thought he was going to score but DiPietro forced him wide.

5-3 with a week off, three third period leads lost. Could be better, but could have been worse too. The loss of Sim should not be discounted either in this because his energy was being counted on.

Sound Tigers Website: Reports Bridgeport lost 6-1 at home to WBS Penguins Saturday, Ben Walter had the Sound Tigers goal.

Adrian Aucoin talks about Islander fans.

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/20/2007 04:53:00 PM
Calgary Sun: Randy Sportak had some interesting comments from Adrian Aucoin about Islander fans going into his first game as a Calgary Flame against the Edmonton Oilers.

"New York was crazy. The fans, the atmosphere," Aucoin said. "There's fights in the stands, fights outside the building before. It's a whole different world.

"I know I haven't experienced anything like that elsewhere. I know this is a good battle on the ice, but people come to watch hockey, not to fight.

"In New York, people go to those games just to get in fights. "There are kids that when they go to Islander games, it's the only (time) they're allowed to say a bad word, 'Rangers suck,' " he said. "Their parents will say, 'You can say it at that game, and that's it.' "


NYI Fan Central Comments:
I have been going to games for over thirty years and never met anyone who went to a game who wanted to personally get into a fight or saw a fight outside before a game at Msg or the Colisum, especially at these prices.

I wonder if Aucoin said these things to the parents when he was here if he felt that way or management who in that era played the chicken dance at the Coliseum. (which returned recently)

Sure there are fights at games sometimes but it's not more pronounced then for other league wide rivalry games. New York City and Nassau County did not have riots like Vancouver did when they lost a cup final either.

Islanders went 0-6 against the Rangers in Aucoin's final year here and in one Msg game was a pathetic minus six before he signed in Chicago after the lockout and was injured for the better part of two years what was the point in saying this about today about the New York hockey fan?

10/20: New York vs New Jersey FSN 7pm

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/20/2007 01:19:00 PM
Islanders Website: Has the pregame for tonight against the New Jersey Devils and former New York Islander Stanley Cup Winner Brent Sutter who returns as a head coach.

Devils head coach Brent Sutter told the media this morning that he will go with Kevin Weekes tonight in goal, following New Jersey's 4-0 loss to Philadelphia on Thusday.

Aaron Asham also makes his return to the Coliseum tonight.

NYI Fan Central Comments:

Brent Sutter won two cups here, is a former captain and no hype at all for his return? He was not at the 25th anniversary celebration.

Devils game against Philadelphia was not like the Islanders game vs Toronto where it was too many games in too many days because New Jersey competed. Brodeur's defense deflected in a few outside shots and the play on the ice was closer than the final score. Not sure what kind of team the Devils are under Sutter yet, he's done some things to shake up how they play but they are scoring goals which means the Islanders may have problems keeping up unless some players can break out who have no goals or have not been producing.

Going to the game, will have a full recap tomorrow.

Ct Post: Sound Tigers play Saturdayt at home against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at 7pm.

Game is available on WAVZ-AM 1300; Webcast and B2 Networks Internet pay-per-view at www.soundtigers.com

10/19/07

Islander News Articles 10/20:

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/19/2007 09:42:00 PM
Newsday: Greg Logan's Saturday article is about the penalty killing going into Saturday's game against the Devils and why once again the Islanders are shorthanded so much.

"The way Andy Hilbert penalty-killed and Richard Park doing the five-on-three," coach Ted Nolan said, "these guys don't get the notice of guys who score hat tricks or the guys who stop goals, but they're just as important."

"Probably the biggest reason is that most of our killers are carryovers from last year's team," Park said Friday after practice for Saturday's game against the Devils at the Coliseum. "Being familiar with each other's tendencies is a pivotal ingredient to having a good special team."


* Asked why the Islanders draw so many penalties, Park said:

"I can't pinpoint the reason. It's not like we're hooking and going for a ride. I think the biggest thing that's real positive is we haven't focused our energy on the referees too much for calling penalties and let that frustration set into our game."


AHL.com: Reports the Bridgeport Sound Tigers won at home against Hershey Friday night 3-2. Ben Walter had two goals, Blake Comeau had the other goal. Mike Morrison stopped twenty one shots for the win.

Updated Saturday:
Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio has the recap on the Sound Tigers win.

"I felt pretty good," said Morrison, who got his first start; Joey MacDonald was home in Canada as his wife prepared to give birth. "I wanted to get those first couple of early saves in, to feel it off my body."

"Mike played really well," coach Jack Capuano said. "He gave us a chance to win the game."

CAMPOLI COMING INTO HIS OWN

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/19/2007 06:47:00 PM

NYI.com: Jason Lockhart, Website/Publications Coordinator did an article on Chris Campoli and how he's not only among the leaders on the Islanders in terms of production but among all NHL defenders. He's also up in the hitting department numbers.

"Chris was everywhere last night," said Ted Nolan after practice today. "He'd rush the puck up and then be the first one back. He had a great game."

"It's just me playing my game and recognizing the opportunities to jump into the play. I don't think I'm jumping into the play anymore often than I did last year or the year before. When opportunities come I just want to take advantage of them."

"My role has changed this year," said Campoli. "I'm playing more and with more confidence. All that matters is that we keep winning, and I do what I can to contribute."


NYI Fan Central Comments:
I'm not sure Campoli's doing anything significantly better than he did a year ago besides displaying more of a physical element to his game and maybe the natural progression of a young player in his third season. Last year he got hurt in camp and lost a spot that seemed to be his going into last season before an injury set him back and he had to win over a new coach. This year he has been healthy and just like his rookie season knows when to jump into the play and has finished his chances. I think the early goals have helped his confidence as well as the support Nolan has given him but in terms of being a much better player the jury is still out.

Also any credit to Campoli has to go to Bruno Gervais as his defensive partner. I personally felt both of them were fine as a unit and any talk of them going down was a step backwards because they have shown signs they can play as top four defenders in this league and contribute at both ends of the ice.

Arbour vs Torre ? Not even close

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/19/2007 10:41:00 AM


Good day for a comparison between the last two people in New York Sports who have won four championships for their respective franchises with Joe Torre turning down an incentive laden contract with a pay cut yesterday.

Especially with Al Arbour briefly returning to coach the Islanders for a game against Pittsburgh in a few weeks.

In terms of class and dealing with players and people it's about as even as it gets between Arbour and Torre and the only real comparison that can be made between both of them and why it's a topic here today.

Of course Torre had it much tougher daily in baseball intensive NYC but back when Arbour was coaching and winning championships there was far more media pressure for hockey in New York City then there is today and baseball had an off-season. Before Al Arbour won a Stanley Cup in New York he got his share of abuse from the hockey media (especially Ranger media) for the teams failings and even John Pickett admitted after the cup win if a coaching change had to be made a few times.

Of course that is where any comparisons end.

Torre is very important to the enormous baseball media sports business in New York.

Win or lose those sports editors and writers want him in that managers office because he helps make their jobs easier selling themselves and their newspapers and in moments like this they do overlook the playoff record for a team that mostly plays a glorified 162 game preseason most years.

Don't think for a second the media's defense of him is not partly about losing a popular interview they work well with who helps them sell newspapers.

And let's not for one second pretend Joe Torre got smarter as a baseball manager in New York. He inherited some great prospects and the highest payroll in baseball history and took the field with a four to one advantage in payroll over many teams in this league. If Arbour had these things and someone like Bill Torrey still running things upstairs he might have coached another ten years and won a few more Stanley Cups too.

Of course if Steinbrenner had a Bill Torrey like president/gm who had full control Torre would still be manager today.

I don't want to give the idea I don't like Joe Torre because I do. I used to go to Met games when three thousand people were in the park and banners hung from the upper deck demanding his dismissal. He started winning when he got a financial advantage and that's why he won at least two championships.

Last few years Joe Torre had a two hundred million dollar payroll to slaughter the Devil Ray's, Blue Jays, Orioles, Texas and Kansas City Royals, that's why he made the playoffs most seasons where Arbour had no such luxury as coach during a regular season. Arbour in his second tenure came back and coached some terrible Islander teams that had no spending advantage.

Still the way both men conducted themselves with their players and the media are comparable.

That all written it's Al Arbour and it's not even close. The balance and working relationship between Al Arbour and Bill Torrey is unique and special like none in New York sports history and neither one had any ego.

It's something money cannot buy.

Islander News Articles 10/19:

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/19/2007 01:41:00 AM
Newsday: Greg Logan has reaction from Guerin on the win against Washington and getting a hat-trick.

"Just getting the first one felt great," Guerin said, referring to his five-on-three power-play goal for a 2-0 lead at 7:38 of the second period. "It was kind of getting the monkey off my back. I could get back to being myself instead of pressing so much."

Washington Times: Cory Masisak has the Caps viewpoint.

Washington Post:
Tarik El-Bashir has the Caps centric coverage and Hanlon blames the loss on his special teams. His blog does not require subscription but he did not do a post-game report in it at this time.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio has a preview article of the Sound Tigers game at home against Hershey Friday night, Steve Regier and head coach Jack Capuano are quoted.

Sound Tigers website: Has a preview of tonight's game vs Hershey.

10/18/07

New York 5, Washington 2

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/18/2007 10:16:00 PM


Islanders are on the back cover of today's Newsday sports section after the five hundred page Yankee wrap on Joe Torre.

Islanders Website: Has the recap of tonight's 5-2 win against the Washington Capitals. Bill Guerin delivered a hat-trick, Bergenheim had his first goal of the season. Bryan Berard had a huge goal to break a game Washington came back and tied at two.

"We bent a little bit in the third period, but Ricky made some big saves when they needed to be made," said head coach Ted Nolan. "Hopefully, we'll get going now."

"The great thing about an experienced hockey club, with guys like Sillinger, Witt and Guerin is that they don't get fazed at all," said Nolan. "Then we got a big power play goal."

"It's always special to score in the NHL," said Bergenheim. "Hopefully it's one of many to come. The line has clicked and everyone got involved on that goal. We're working well together."

"It's definitely nice to get the monkey off my back," said Guerin. "I just wanted to play my game. Berard's goal was huge. Being able to come back from adversity is something we need to do to be successful."


NYI Fan Central Comments:
Hopefully this team found it's game in the third peirod tonight and they do get going now as Nolan indicated.

For a good part of this game they were outworked and outplayed again. Even with a two goal lead where Bergenheim made a nice conversion out of a play Satan lost the puck and a low percentage shot by Guerin on a five on three where the club stayed on the perimeter going into the third peirod. Fedotenko's non-goal gave the Caps some life and Ovechkin is a great player with a fantastic shot. Martinek had another poor turnover that led to a goal against but you have to credit the shot by Ovechkin.

DiPietro was very good and kept the Islanders in the game early, his save of Ovechkin with the game time tied was incredible.

Have to give the Islanders credit showing some character here and taking control of a game Washington had all the momentum after tying it. Not thrilled with Guerin's shot selection and the biggest shock to me is Kolzig struggled and let up a few soft goals because that decided the game. That written Islanders made him work and took control with the game on the line. Berard with his second game winning goal already this season.

Guerin's hat-trick goal off the pass from Comrie was an excellent play all around, that's the kind of team play that the club has to have more of. He did not do much of anything with Sillinger or Hilbert.

Campoli had a four assist game and three of them were the first assist, the other a play that set up Comrie who fed Guerin for the hat-trick. Three of the four assist were first assist, the other one was the play that set up Comrie to Guerin for the
5-2 goal.

Johnson took a third peirod penalty the club did not need but he also skated well and avoided a first peirod icing against the Islanders.

10/18: Billy Jaffe Blog

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/18/2007 04:35:00 PM
Msg.com Islanders commentator Billy Jaffe occasionally blogs for Msg on the Islanders, today was one of those days. He comments on Guerin's captaincy, Rick DiPietro and the fans.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Jaffe brings inforation and insights from the viewpoint of someone who is with the club on a daily basis and does a good job here.

The only downside is he does not blog enough with his last update before this on 9/27 from Moncton. Many consider him a homer but with the countless homers working for clubs in this league (at Msg ) he does what I consider a credible job and brings a lot of enthusiam to his job and seems to love hockey whether he's calling an Islander game or working for Versus.

What folks may forget is Billy Jaffe is employed by Msg Network, not the New York Islanders and can be as critical as he cares to be.

10/18: Logan blog: RW Aaron Johnson

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/18/2007 03:56:00 PM
Newsday: Greg Logan updated his Islanders blog and tells us Bootland is a scratch for tonight while Aaron Johnson will make his Islander debut as a right wing.

“He’s played forward in the past in Columbus on the fourth line,” Nolan said of the 24-year-old Johnson. “We can’t let him sit too long. Every practice, he works his tail off; he’s always in the gym; he’s one of the first guys at practice, and he’s enthusiastic. What we try to instill in this team is that the people that work will get an opportunity, so, tonight, he’s going to get his opportunity. We’ll have an energetic fourth line that will cause some havoc and crash the net.”

“No, I played forward a little bit when I was growing up, but not in juniors. I waited until the NHL to play forward. I played third and fourth-line in Columbus. Obviously, it’s not what I’m used to, but at least I’m going to get into a game situation.”

“It’s awesome,” Johnson said. “This is what I wanted in training camp is to make this team. It’s been tough to be patient, but it’s slowly coming together. I have to be patient and wait for my turn. I’m still young. He’s given me an opportunity to play, and I’ve got to jump on it.”


NYI Fan Central Comments:
A little surprising considering Bootland set up the only goal by a forward last time Islanders played Washington but they have to give him some minutes somewhere and if a defender does struggle or someone is injured on the backline Johnson can slid back to his natural position.

I'm not sure what the club intends to do with Bergeron.

Prudential Center and the Islanders

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/18/2007 03:25:00 PM



Devils Website: Has some great images of the Prudential Center that will host the Devils opener in nine days.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Cannot wait to go catch a game in a modern NHL facility in NY area. Article I read the other day clocked it at seven minutes from Penn Station to the station next to the Prudential Center.

Looks fantastic in the pictures and even though as an Islander fan I'm envious of the Devils for getting not only a brand new arena the Islanders should have gotten for only 150m plus profits from other events, I'm also very happy for them at the same time and should be an incetive for Nassau County to approve the Wang-Rechler plan.

This is fun for all local fans too. Last modern hockey arena to open here was the Brendan Byrne Arena (Meadowlands/CAA) in the early eighties. I did see the only All-Star game there and was disappointed Mike Bossy did not play if I recall corectly.

I read one article the other day by a die-hard Ranger writer that came off a bit on the jealous side because the Garden is old and outdtated or because it took shots at the Devils attendance. I have to admit I hope Wang turns around puts up a New Coliseum if his plan is approved and quietly scraps the renovataion. The land is there to build a new Coliseum while the current one is used while it's under construction.

The Yankees advertised scaling down Yankee Stadium when plans were announced but a few months later very quietly altered those plans and decided the current ballpark would be torn down entirely which got almost no media attention.

Either way this is the first of many stadium/arena's about to open locally and hopefully that will provide the right policitical climate for the Islanders to get what they need.

This is good for hockey in this market. Only wish the Islanders were the opposition opening night.

10/18: Update on prospect Luciano Aquino

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/18/2007 02:56:00 PM
The Journal Gazette:Justin A. Cohn gives us an update on prospect Luciano Aquino who was sent to the Fort Wayne Komets of the IHL in the final year of his contract after being part of the Sound Tigers last season.

* Aquino, from Mississauga, Ontario, was selected by the Islanders in the seventh round of the 2005 NHL entry draft in the midst of a sterling junior career that saw him tally 53 goals and 143 points in 97 games with Brampton of the Ontario Hockey League.

* Since then, he’s played 22 games for Bridgeport of the American Hockey League, scoring two goals and five points. In 36 games in the lower-level ECHL, with Trenton, Pensacola and Utah, he had eight goals and 30 points.

“This is much better, I’d say,” Aquino said, as the Fort Wayne Komets prepared to open their 56th season Saturday against the visiting Port Huron Icehawks. “Fort Wayne has got a great history. A lot of great players came out of here. You do well here, you can get places. You’ve just got to play well where you’re at.”

“Even here, everyone’s fighting for a job,” said Aquino, 5-foot-10, 200 pounds. “It doesn’t matter if it’s the NHL or over in Europe, you’ve still got to fight for a spot. The competition never stops.”


* Aquino knows a good showing this season could open some eyes with higher-level teams, especially since he’ll be a free agent next summer.

“It’s always on your mind, but you’ve got to forget about it and play the game. It’s just a game, at the end of the day,” he said. “I’m not too worried about (being scouted). I just want to have a good time here, play well and win a championship. That would look good for me, too.”

10/18 Washington vs New York 7pm FSN-2

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/18/2007 11:52:00 AM
Late day getting started so combining daily articles and game previews.

NYI.com Has the pregame and reports Marc Andre Bergeron will be a healthy scratch.

Newsday: John Jeansonne has reaction from Guerin and Hunter on the line changes.

"Oh, my god," Guerin said when asked to calculate the number of line changes he has experienced during a career of junior, international and NHL hockey. "Thousands. Thousands."

"Sometimes it's game styles that suit each other [in putting together a line]," Guerin said. "Sometimes it's personalities. And sometimes something goes well for a while, and then you have to break it up a while and come back to it later."


Washington Post:Washington Times: Semin is unlikely to play against Islanders, Jeff Schultz was recalled and will likley take former Islander John Erskine's spot tonight. Boyd Gordon is questionable for tonight. Since beating the Islanders the Capitals (3-2-0) have been outshot 94-51 in back to back losses, Oleg Kolzig is expected to start.

Joe Motzko and Tomas Fleischmann might be the first- and second-line right wings, respectively, tonight for the Capitals, who ranked 25th in the league with 2.20 goals per game through Tuesday. Motzko and Fleischmann have a combined five goals and 60 NHL games to their credit. In practice, Motzko skated alongside all-star Alex Ovechkin and center Viktor Kozlov, and Fleischmann played with rookie Nicklas Backstrom and center Michael Nylander. Brooks Laich replaced Gordon on the checking line, playing between Matt Pettinger and Chris Clark.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio's article is about Mike Morrison who was recalled while goaltender Joey MacDonald
is home in Canada for a few days as his wife gives birth.

"There's got to be an environment where success is not only wanted, but it's worked toward," Morrison said. "That's what's nice about this organization, and coach Jack (Capuano)."

"He likes to take shots before and after practice. He competes hard," Capuano said. "We know he'll battle."


NYI Fan Central Comments:
With the Devils scoring goals (and giving up goals) coming to the Coliseum Saturday, Islanders could use a breakout game here offensively from the players struggling up front. Another good game from Bergenheim would go a long way toward him being the second line left wing beyond a few games.

Kolzig always makes it a tough game and considering the Caps have lost two straight I'm not expecting another game where they take twelve shots against the Islanders and come at them on home ice.

10/17/07

Islander Practice Report 9/17:

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/17/2007 04:43:00 PM
NYI.com: Confirmed line changes at practice that were reported in Newsday earlier with comments from Ted Nolan. Bates was cleared to play but will practice for another week. Nolan claims he will use six defenders against Washington.

Fedotenko-Comrie-Hunter
Bergenheim-Vasicek-Satan
Hilbert-Sillinger-Guerin

" We put Bergenheim with those guys and it seemed to instill something in that line," said Nolan."

"It's another subtle change," said Nolan. "Guerin and Sillinger are similar-type players. We're hoping by putting guys together, who are similar, it will work."

"Hilbert is more defensive and Sillinger is very defensive oriented," said Nolan, "but Guerin is that way too. They're power forwards. If you get those three guys going with Sillinger jamming the net, Guerin shooting the puck and Hilbert doing his thing, they could be a good shut-down line for us."

"Berard looked better in the last game than the one he scored the goal in, so he looks like he's coming," said Nolan. "Bergeron has to fight, be patient and wait for the opportunity to get back in the lineup. Campoli and Gervais keep looking better and better. Martinek is just starting to get his game going. Witt and Sutton are both starting to come. The one change is going to be the power play guy and that's between Berard and Bergeron."


NYI Fan Central Comments:
These things are going to change a lot over a season so I do not want to read too much into changes that could be reversed again in a matter second in a game. It is worth noting it seems Nolan is revisiting his strategy of a year ago but putting the two scoring veterans in Sillinger and Guerin together on a line except this time they are going on what appears to be a shut down line when both Sillinger and Guerin must score some goals.

A little guessing on my part but the way the club played defense against Philadelphia, Bergeron stays on the bench and the same combinations are used. Also
for now it looks like Bootland plays on the fourth line until Bates is ready to return.

Updated 6pm:
Newsday: John Jeansonne has another blog update.

Bob Hartley fired by Atlanta

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/17/2007 12:20:00 PM
Tsn.ca: Bob McKenzie reports Bob Hartley has been fired by the Atlanta Thrashers and gm Don Wadell will coach the club on an interim basis after an 0-6 start.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Seems to me the wrong man got fired and Wadell should have been the one axed.

Hartley took Atlanta to their only playoff appearance in club history and got too quick a hook here considering Marian Hossa is also injured. Wadell has to answer for a lot of mediocre years, a lot of shortsighted trades and my guess is a new gm will be brought in to replace him sooner if the club continues to struggle.

10/16/07

Islander News Articles 10/17:

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/16/2007 08:36:00 PM
Newsday: John Jeansonne reports on Bill Guerin and Trent Hunter switching lines in practice along with talking about the Stanley Cup banners now hanging at Ice Works like they have at the Coliseum, the four stripes on the uniform and what they represent.

"Yeh, it's motivation," said Sillinger. "But you can't live in the past. Why those teams were special was how they played -- a dedicated, in-your-face, pay-the-price team.

"I don't think is trying to pound into our heads, 'Stanley Cup! Stanley Cup!' ... Well, maybe they are. It's what the Islanders are all about, and making the playoffs last year was the first step."

"The thing is," said Comrie, "when you're part of a team with a lot of history, you feel that pride. I think any team feels they have a chance to win a Cup; if they didn't, they wouldn't be playing. But there are all the reminders here, the banners, the pictures ... "

Fedotenko, who won the Cup with Tampa Bay in 2004, said, "and I don't know a single player who doesn't want to do that. It's the highest reward you can get, and even those who won it want to win another. It's never enough."


John Jeansonne : Also updated Newsday's Islander blog late Tuesday afternoon.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio in his Sound Tigers blog reported some line changes at practice.

Updated Wednesday 9am:
Ottawa Citizen: Ken Warren speculates the Islanders, who traded for Robitaille last December, have an interest and are among the teams that could pluck him off waivers.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio's article in on Jeremy Colliton and how he's working his way back after shoulder surgery.

"It's just little stuff," said Colliton, who has mostly played right wing in the first two weeks and remains there now. "Recognizing the play I want to make, and doing it with authority. Knowing the right play, and acting. I know how to play. I've just got to remember."

"As I'm getting to feeling better, it's like, 'Whoa, this is how it's supposed to be,' " Colliton said.

"You can see now, he's very determined," Bridgeport coach Jack Capuano said. "He's in the weight room before, he's in the weight room after practice. He's really making an effort to be 100 percent."

A few words: NY Post and bloggers.

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/16/2007 07:14:00 PM



Yankees, Mets. Giants, Jets. Knicks, Nets. Rangers, Islanders, Devils. For all the latest and greatest about New York-area sports, check out the New York Post.


NYI Fan Central Comments:
This is like the third time I have seen this ad and could not let it pass again without comment.

I know this is Chris Botta's department and runs along the lines with an earlier commercial on the Yankees telecast that was as incorrect as the ad above but who is the NY Post and it's sports editor trying to fool here with such a blatant lie about coverage of the New York Islanders in it's paper?

Evan Grossman left in season a year ago to work for the league and all Islander road and even home coverage came to a stop outside of a few blurbs from Dan Martin after some home games. The kicker here is Devils beat writer Mark Everson is with his club on the road for most games and of course Larry Brooks covers most road Ranger games and both not only have articles but off day coverage.

Meanwhile the Post left Martin home for training camp, he did not covered Islanders vs Rangers last week while Brooks did a Ranger centric article only and Martin's article after the Caps game made an AP summary look big by comparison. Of course Martin used his small space to question the attendance which even the club took exception to.

Opening night? Brooks and Everson had full page articles, Martin wrote two and a half small paragraphs among several sports stories he had to file as his Islander season preview and was not sent to Buffalo.

Which lead me to these articles about bloggers and the club getting exposure for allowing bloggers, the guided tour and somewhat restricted media access as Chris Botta said here as part of this being about the lack of coverage in the Times, Post and Daily News and the post-lockout culture for hockey in baseball's largest market.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
As I wrote earlier my blog is for me, the folks who wish to read it and to do something for the Islanders to help. Is about the hockey first and foremost as it's been for a good eight years on several of the sites I have owned or moderated.

I would never go sit with other fans in a special section to make myself part of the hockey story.

Best I could do is exactly what I do now. Watch or go to games, write about the hockey and what interest me.

What kind of makes me laugh most of all is the main stream media being critical of the bloggers for wearing Islander jersey's and cheering for their team. Are you trying to tell me most of the hockey beatwriters are nothing more than glorified salesman/cheerleaders for the teams they cover and in many cases die-hard life long fans themselves?

I got a good idea, instead of the NY Post wasting space on telling us how great they cover the Islanders why don't they do profiles on their writers like the Islanders did with their bloggers. This way we know some one's hockey background, what teams they are fans of and their personal motivation?

They do this on political shows and a good ten second in watching you can tell if the person is a republican or democrat just by their own words. Right afterward they say who they are and what they represent so you know where they are coming from with their viewpoint. Why not do the same with sports?

IE: Larry Brooks former Islanders beatwriter, former Devils beatwriter and employee of the organization, life long Rangers fan.

I have to be honest here. If Chris Botta or Cory Witt called me tomorrow and offered me a seat in the blog box I would decline. I remember back in 2000 Chris Botta and I talked by telephone for a good half hour about the club, never tried to sell me tickets, just an upfront honest hockey person who happens to be employed by a club.

I would allow him to link my blog to his site and do what I do now but no more. For me it's about the hockey.

I would feel personally offended if I had to change my blog to talk about myself or what I did in the blog box as some kind of thank you beyond it being a footnote of a blog. I hope the folks doing this understand that folks want to read about what happens on the ice, not about the press kits Mr Witt or Mr Botta gave them. Maybe these bloggers have not figured this out yet but in the end they are there to provide what Dan Martin and his editor are not giving the public. Same with the NY Times, NY Sun, Journal News, SI Advance and Daily News.

I also hope the bloggers start telling the media attending only to watch these people and report on them to watch the games or leave them alone. If these bloggers are there to discuss themselves they are wasting the fans time and the Islanders time.

I will tell everyone this, if I were sitting in that blog box my comments to Sports Illustrated and Sports Business Jorunal is I'm here because the organization feels you failed at your job in covering our team.

Hockey Hypocrisy: Dale Hunter vs Jesse Boulerice

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/16/2007 12:34:00 PM
Maybe it's because Holmgren thanked his suspened player by exposing him to waivers he was never placed on for hitting an official, maybe it's because the Islanders are playing the Capitals or I saw something on Pierre Turgeon being hit by someone who instructs prospects for a living today as a coach but it's clear the hyopcrisy in the NHL has never been worse.

Seems to me it does come down to being politically correct in the job you are in vs past actions in many cases.



NYI Fan Central Comments:
Funny how the same people who write and say one thing at one time say the exact opposite at others. Is there any reason folks are confused and why incidents like the one with Jesse Boulerice keep happening?

Are these going to be the same Islander fans who were furious when Chris Simon fought Dave Scathcard while he could not fight in a shoulder harness back in 03-04 going to have a different perspective if Simon fights Scatchard someday in a Ranger uniform?

What I find fascinating is how many of these people who instigate these things or praise the players for being warriors in the past teach hockey today or are involved with team management. Milbury was infamous for being in fight's like this and was a selling point when he was hired by the Bruins and Islanders.

Are we goint to be reading this from an NHL gm someday about Jesse Boulerice?

Washington Post: Jennifer Frey from 1998.

"I was really hoping that he could have carried the trophy at home the other night," McPhee said. "I don't get too wound up at games, but I wanted to win it at home and I wanted Dale Hunter to hold it.

"I am very proud and happy for Dale. They don't come any better than that guy, and the way he plays — they just don't come any better. He's been a great role model for this team."

NYI Fan Central Comment:
George McPhee is still general manager of the Washington Capitals. In 1999 as gm he was suspended for a month by the league for a fight with then BlackHawks coach
Lorne Molleken.

New York Times: Joe LaPointe 10/1/99 article.

''I have a lot of respect for Gary,'' McPhee said. ''An executive should not be involved in a physical confrontation. I'm sorry for the incident, but I will never regret standing up for the organization or for what I think is right for the league.''


This article also noted Ted Nolan and Colin Campbell almost fought when he coached the Rangers during Nolan's time as Sabres coach.

The Sporting News: Bruce Schoenfeld from 3/21/94.

"He'll come out every night and skate every single shift to the fullest," says Philadelphia center Dave Tippett, a former Washington teammate "I've seen him from both sides, and I can say that there's not a team in the league that wouldn't want him."

NYI Fan Central Comment:
Dave Tippett is currently the head coach of the Dallas Stars.

TSN.ca: Staff report.

"We're by no means condoning what happened," Flyers coach John Stevens said after the team announced the suspension. "He's going to have to stand up and pay the price."


Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren echoed the same sentiment.

"I think we're in agreement that there's no place in the game for this anymore. I do think it was an isolated incident. Jesse lost his composure, lost his cool. It's something that's not the right thing to do, at any time," he said.


NHLPA: Website profile of Paul Holmgren.

Holmgren certainly was the center of some controversial situations, including a six-game suspension for clubbing Carol Vadnais with his stick during a game against the New York Rangers. Advocates of Holmgren said he was simply an aggressive player, while those less charitable said he was nothing more than a goon. Holmgren landed himself in more trouble with the NHL when he took a swing at referee Andy Van Hellemond after a nasty on-ice incident with Pittsburgh's Paul Baxter. In Holmgren's eyes, he was angry that Van Hellemond had not called a penalty on Baxter, who had high-sticked Holmgren, leaving him unable to move his jaw for the better part of a week.

"That's the worst thing I've ever done," Holmgren said. "I hope the people believe me when I say I'm sorry for what happened."


NYI Fan Central Comments:
Funny, but you were not put on waivers for your actions?

Hockey Hypocrisy at it's finest.

Robitaille signed by Ottawa

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/16/2007 12:04:00 PM
TSN.ca: Is reporting the Ottawa Senators have signed former Islander Randy Robitaille to a one year contract. Robitaille must clear waivers by Wednesday at Noon ET before being able to see game action with the Senators.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Don't be surprised to see the Islanders or another club claim Robitaille on waivers, I think Bates return makes it less likely but anything could happen.

10/15/07

Islander News Articles 10/16:

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/15/2007 10:48:00 PM
Newsday: Greg Logan's article has quotes from Mike Sillinger on how the offense must produce and compares the five on five scoring from last year vs this year. Logan notes Bates might be a candidate to play as soon as Thursday at Washington after Nolan said last week he is at least two weeks away.

"For this team to be successful, everyone has to play to their potential or above their potential," Sillinger said. "Do we have the team in here to do what we did last year? I think we do."

"Ricky's giving us a chance to win those games, and we didn't come through offensively," Sillinger said. "I hate comparing years, but I know one thing. We played some pretty good five-on-five hockey last year and scored some pretty timely goals. We have to keep it simple and have the middle guy drive the net.

"Right now, we just seem a little hesitant. You've got to find those rebounds, really go to the net and be hungry. It just seems to be the common denominator, not only with our line but with every line. We're not scoring five-on-five ... It's like a snowball effect. I remember last year, once our line got one goal, it seemed like we scored game in and game out. What happens is contagious."


NYI Fan Central Comments:
It's kind of interesting Sillinger said this at a time when his line has been the one struggling the most over the six games. Around the start of the season he basically defended the organization's decision to let Yashin go but now he's talking about even strength scoring.

Bottom line this team must repeat what it did a year ago at even strength, it must cut down the disparity of penalties to power plays that was minus ninety and Sillinger, Guerin must get their twenty-thirty goals for this club to win.

Wonder what Bates return means for the fourth line? At this point would the club demote Bootland which may force his exposure to waivers?

Not sure what the club is going to do with Johnson because the Sound Tigers are not playing much either.

Tribune Democrat:: Islanders Pro Scout Toby O'Brien had an article supporting his local team.

Several articles: Report Kyle Okposo's left wing, Ryan Stoa sustained a season ending knee injury in Minnesota's last game where Okposo had the game winnner
here.

Where do they get these SI writers?

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/15/2007 02:17:00 PM
SI.com Daren Eliot, a long time NHL writer for SI today does an article on how the tough guys in the league now have to produce to see the ice and that the role of the fighter is changing among other NHL subjects.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
What caught me in this article was the following by Eliot:
Even Simon made the switch from puncher only to tough guy who could also take a regular shift.


Timeout. Anyone who follows hockey knows Simon has always been more than a guy who fights and has been going back to his days with the Capitals. The kicker here is in Eliot's own article after he wrote this it shows a picture and mentions in the caption Simon was +17 last season and scored 29 goals for the Capitals in 1999-00.

Basically the caption writer contradicted Eliot in his own article and knew more than the writer about someone who's been in the league over a decade.

So my question is what switch did Simon make that Eliot is referring to or was he so lazy here he simply lumped him in with other players because his record suspension just ended and wanted to include him somewhere?

Daren Eliot is not some baseball writer who does two hockey articles a year, this is someone who covers hockey on a regular basis for SI. If Simon had Eric Godard's scoring stats for his career then he would have a good point if Godard started scoring for the Calgary Flames.

Is this kind of lazy reporting that fans read and buy into.

Islander News Articles 10/15:

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/15/2007 01:04:00 PM
Newsday: Greg Logan's article is about the lack of scoring at even strength which was something the Islanders were very good at last season and Bergenheim's impact Saturday.

"Well, our offense is no secret," Nolan said. "It's not going to come tic-tac-toe and fly down and score off the rush. We're going to have to get a lot of those dirty goals. The way we played in the third period is the way we have to play."


"Bergy helped us a lot," Vasicek said. "He played a great game. He opened so much ice for us. We had a lot of chances. Bergy had one in the second period, and I hit the post."

"I'll do whatever, but playing on the second is much more fun," Bergenheim said. "If we play that way, I know we're going to score goals. My role on that line is to get Miro the puck, and if I get a chance, I've got to score, also. It's a pretty good mix, I would say. We have a little bit of everything in that line."


Ottawa Sun: Bruce Garroich reports the Senators are concerned that C Randy Robitaille may not clear waivers once a contract is completed. Robitaille has to go through waivers because he played in Russia.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
I'm following this because Garroich reported Islanders had mild interest and with Sim out for the season would have an opportunity to claim Robitaille if he did sign a contract with the Senators. That said Garrioch puts out a lot of wild rumors, but it is Ottawa centric and he is a former Islander twice.

Personally, I would rather any prospect get a spot before Robitaille III because he cannot score and we have enough forwards who cannot finish.

Cory Witt's media blog: Today confirmed Newsday's Neil Best 1.8 rating on Versus for Islanders-Rangers reported last week here.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
1.8 was as high as any Ranger playoff game last year so for a rating like that for Versus is very good. That said with Dolan hiding Islander games on FSN-2 and networks like Time Warner not even listing the game on it's cable guide it's fair to write as usual all that can be done to keep Islanders ratings intentionally low to justify lack of coverage is in place as always and many fans are shut out.

Unless your a die-hard fan with a computer you just are not going to go looking for FSN-2 which here is the TV guide channel that again does does not even list the game so no casual fans can find it.

Hockey News:
Mike Brophy in an NHL centric article ask were the Islanders signings of Guerin, Fedotenko and Comrie more important than the Rangers signings and are the Islanders the team to watch?

10/14/07

A little late Sunday hockey ranting

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/14/2007 07:53:00 PM
A day later I'm still wondering how the Philadelphia Flyers played a sixty minute games where Jiggs McDonald and Billy Jaffe pointed out some holds and interference calls on the Flyers and yet all the Islanders got was one brief powerplay?

The rosters for most of the teams have changed significantly, the Islanders and Flyers have a lot of new players. I want to know do the Islanders have to overcome a reputation with the officials for the powerplays and penalties to even out this season or are we in for another minus ninety disparity which likely means no playoffs this time around? I found it interesting at the end of the game in Toronto a marginal call was made and Howie Rose pointed out it was a rookie official and the pressure to call everything is there for them at all times.

At this point things evening out for the Islanders would represent a plus ninety turnover from a year ago.

Every time I see Colin Campbell I see the player in that Canuck jersey who got abused by the Islanders in the finals or the former coach of the Rangers or the person who had selective amnesia during the 2002 playoffs who's war room never gives this team a call or a replay in critical games. I do not understand how he is qualified to do this job in any way.

I'm still trying to figure out how Shayne Corson got only one game for intentionally trying to kick Eric Cairns, but that's me. Isn't the standard about intention to injure where one player kicks another he should sit for a long, long time injury or not?

I also think Campbell's over his head trying to change the standard to these hit to head suspensions and his call on Downie for a body check to me is just a terrible call.

And yes Jiggs and Jaffe got it right on the broadcast. They start suspending coaches for these hits and like bench clearing brawls they will go away forever. Goring had great points on the helmets changing (being required) and playgers being so well protected hits to the head increased.
**********************************************
Who decided on this schedule for the Islanders?

Is there a problem where the Coliseum is booked so the club plays an absurd amount of games early and then winds up with the least games played of any NHL club in the month of October (even the Devils displaced from it's home arena) the first month?

This makes no sense to me, why did this club have to open with six games in eight days, then play three games in about eighteen days?

What's next Islanders finish with sixteen games in twenty days?
***********************************************
Early impressions on the Division:

I have not seen all the teams but in this division much but all of the clubs seem to have some flaws.

I have discussed the Islanders scoring and defense enough.

New Jersey as much as the experts want to bury them as usual still have some young talent and are a little inconsistent but are worse on defense. I think Brent Sutter is going to alienate the players and is already making waves by benching Brodeur and has a lot of former Islander coach Terry Simpson in him.

For our younger fans, Simpson was a coaching legend in Juniors who came to the NHL with the Islanders and his scare tactics on NHL players did not work for
long. Islanders were not a good team by the time he left but it was clear he wanted to treat NHL players like he did prospects in the Western Hockey League and that does not work with veterans. I see a lot of the same tendencies from Brent Sutter who owns the Red Deer Rebels and won in that league. I'm not sure this is the template Lamoriello wants for his coaches but there is something about Sutter so serious and demanding that already I have read things about grumbling by the players. Sutter was on those Terry Simpson Islander teams and was named captain for those who want a connection.
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I have not seen many Flyer games but they hardly looked dominating against the Islanders and their goaltending and defense speaks for itself. Rangers have offense in terms of names but not chemistry. They trap a lot but their individual defense is not impressive and I'm not sure this coach has full control of the players. Jagr looks like a player who could care less with Nylander gone.

Pittsburgh can and will score, but for them the questions go to goaltending and defense and the early returns are they have not really improved.

Bottom line what I'm writing here is I do not see how the Islanders cannot compete in this division if Guerin, Sillinger and the players expected to score do.
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I could be dead wrong on this but it seemed to me outside of one Newsday report no one knew Jiggs McDonald was going to call last night's game and that this was a very ackward situtation behind the scenes. The club's website did not hype his return to long time fans or mention it in the preview. A reason for Howie not being around was not given during the game and the teams media people did not touch it like there was something behInd this no one wanted any part of.

Anyone who read Jiggs article when he was in Moncton sounded like a man who feels like he may have stopped announcing a few years too early.

Again, could be dead wrong, just my impression. Should be interesting if Howie is left home for other games for Jiggs. I remember last year Howie did not even thank Jiggs for doing all those games until his second game back as if he was reminded to.

Just to clarily Msg owns all the announcers and the Islander television broadcast top to bottom. Islanders only contracted announcers are Steve Mears and Chris King.
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I have to admit I hated the Islanders pregame show but I'm also not used to having nothing before the game starts. My only complaint is I do not want to hear Deb Kaufman pull Nolan aside after the game for a special interview, I want his live press conference to the print media.

After the Leaf game we got no Nolan interview. I know by league rules he has to meet the press. I wanted to see him on live television afterward getting grilled by the Islanders and Leafs media for the club's effort and his response. I want that for every game regardless of result.
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Finally I got a call from a friend who was at the new NHL store Friday after Bettman, Goring, the Cup had left and told me the place was terrible. No team jackets, only four kinds of skates. He went to go buy an Islander jacket and they had no jackets for any team, just the NHL jacket.

Kyle Okposo Update:

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/14/2007 07:25:00 PM

Pioneer Press:
Bruce Brothers has an update on Kyle Okposo centering the Gophers's top line and how his club is off to a 2-0 start.

Islander News Articles 10/14:

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/14/2007 10:07:00 AM
Newsday: Greg Logan has the recap and reaction to the Islanders 3-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.

"We didn't go to the net hard enough," Islanders coach Ted Nolan said. "We had some chances, but we didn't go through the seam to get to the rebounds. In the third period, we skated much better, and a lot of that had to do with young [Sean] Bergenheim. He skated hard and created a lot of chances for us. I thought Vasicek was our best player tonight. If he plays like that, we've got ourselves a player."

"Overall, we played a smarter team game," DiPietro said. "That's the big key. In Toronto, we tried to do too much with the puck at both blue lines. As we know, those are dangerous areas. We've shown we can score goals, but the big thing for us to continue to improve on is team defense, especially on the road."

Newsday: Logan confirms Jon Sim blew out the anterior cruciate ligament and the medial collateral ligaments in his left knee in the home opener against Buffalo, will undergo complete knee reconstruction surgery sometime within the next two to four weeks and miss the rest of the season.
Comments from Bergeron on being scratched and Ted Nolan are also part of the article.

"I had a bad game last game, and I could have played a lot better," Bergeron said. "So I'll be sitting out. My game is not where it needs to be right now, obviously, but it's early in the year."

Sutton and Bergeron haven't quite clicked, for whatever reason," Nolan said. "If you don't work, there's always somebody going to take your job. [Bergeron] let his game slip a little bit and Berard started to get his game going. We want to have competitiveness within our own team. That's no slap against someone. It's the nature of life."


For the Philadelphia Centric Coverage:

Philadelphia Inquirer:
Philadelphia Daily News:
Phillyburbs:Delco Times:

Sound Tigers Website: Has the recap of the 3-2 loss to the Lowell Devils.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio's aricle was about six penalties in 14 minutes, killing Bridgeport's momentum, and two goals.

"When you take that many penalties, when you give up that many five-on-threes, you get out of synch, certainly," Bridgeport coach Jack Capuano said. "When you give them that many chances, it's a shooting gallery on the five-on-three."

"The loss tonight (Saturday) doesn't sit well with us," said Bridgeport captain Mark Wotton, a top penalty killer. "We'll take tonight and learn from it. We talked after the game. We know what we're doing wrong, and we're going to correct it."


Ct Post: Also has an outstanding feature article on Kevin Colley. His career, what happened the night he suffered his injury and why he's now a coach in the ECHL. Steve Stirling and others contribute quotes.

Lowell Sun: Has coverage of the Devils new affiliate.

10/13/07

Philadelphia 3, New York 1

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/13/2007 10:08:00 PM
Islanders Website: Has the recap of tonight's 3-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Do not want to beat up the Islanders too bad because it is going to take time. It was also an opponent that was home opening night that just scored eight goals in Vancouver and it was an Islander team just lost 8-1.

Another mediocre goaltender in Biron and defense again had a very easy night for more than half a game and you do not win in this league unless your club can put on pressure all three periods and not shooting early when they did get chances may have also been a factor.

Islanders only earned one abbreviated power play the entire game which tells me they did not force the Flyers to take a few.

Having written that it's impossible to ignore the bottom line. This team only had one shorthanded goal to show for the game and did not have a quality chance (unless shorthanded) until Satan found Bergenheim with five minutes left in the second period. Your not going to win a lot of games when this happens.

After the second line got going they played very well and generated plays but did not finish beyond Vasicek's goal shorthanded on an individual play. Bergenheim looked great and little things like his touch pass for a shot and his work in the corners were outstanding. His speed seemed to get that line going too.

Fedotenko moved well. Comrie looked lost and Guerin looked every bit his age and did not move well at all. All you need to know is Philadelphia put their best defensive combo on the Vasicek line as the game progressed.

On the other end of things, the team defense was very solid, had a nice recovery game and Sutton settled down. Berard saved a goal when DiPietro thought he had the puck and was not covering the net by going down and blocking a shot. Overall they got in the passing lanes and did a solid job.

DiPietro played well enough to win but looked like he overplayed the shooter on both goals. Martinek played well but that puck that bounced over his stick led to the game winner. He crushed Ben Eager early and made his usual outlet passes that should have led to a quality chance early but Hunter did not shoot.

That's about it, the 3-1 start is now 3-3. Islanders are going to basically have another training camp the next few weeks with a few games sprinkled in.

Finally great to hear Jiggs McDonald call a hockey game, that in itself made it a good hockey night.

AHL.com: Has game report of Sound Tigers 3-2 loss at Lowell.
Ben Walter and Colliton had the Sound Tigers goals.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio has a blog on the game with some other notables. Jeff Tambellini between the Islanders and Sound Tigers played Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday for those keeping score at home.

Have a good night.

10/13: Philadelphia vs New York FSN-2 7pm

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/13/2007 10:37:00 AM
Islanders Website: Has the pregame for tonight's game against the Flyers which is their home opener after a long trip to the West Coast. Jesse Boulerice begins serving his twenty five game suspension.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Hard to say what's going to happen here. Season opener for Flyers after a long trip west usually means a sluggish team but they bombed Luongo and the Canucks 8-2, was that who the Flyers are or the club that lost some games on the coast? Same questions for the Islanders, are they the club that beat Buffalo or the one who self destructed against a very fragile Leaf team.

Islanders have the edge in goal, that I do know. Now it's up to them to work hard and generate some chances while getting back to some defense. I don't think Raycroft who's one of the worst goalies in the NHL had to make one good save Thursday.

Newsday: If this Neil Best blog update recently on Jiggs McDonald is correct he will be calling tonight's game.

Updated 4:30pm
Islanders Chris Botta's blog: Reports (with a disclaimer) Bergeron will likely be tonight's scratch on defense with Johnson and that Bergenheim will move up to the second line with Vasicek and Satan.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
As anyone who has read this blog going back to it's beginning/previews know I think Bergenheim had the best NHL game for right now to this point comparing him with Tambellini and some of the other prospects. I'm happy he's getting a look on the second line but please let's not spin this like he earned it by great play recently.

Bergenheim threw a hit that led to the Islanders only setup for a goal by a forward combo this week against Washington but he barely played against the Rangers and was benched by Nolan for a lazy penalty against Toronto.

In other words he is getting a look now because Tambellini did not do enough and went down for Bootland to play on a fourth line with Simon and Park. Nolan can praise his work through camp and how he pays attention but it is what it is.

I just hope it works out and sticks for the long-term like it worked for a higher first round pick in Raffi Torres when he went to Edmonton and got a chance.

Sound Tiger Website: Has a game preview for tonight's game at Lowell. Check site for radio and internet webcast of game.

Islander News Articles 10/13:

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/13/2007 09:32:00 AM
Newsday: Greg Logan has a very good article with Chris Simon who returns from suspension tonight against Philadelphia where he goes into detail of his suspension and what happened on the night he chopped Hollewig. This against the backdrop of the Jesse Boulerice twenty five game suspension.

"I didn't swing my stick at him," Simon said. "I chopped him. I know it's wrong, but it wasn't a golf swing or a baseball swing like everybody else says. I don't want to do that again. But I'm still going to play the same way I always have. It was a reaction thing, not an action.

"Getting hit the way I did, I was injured on the play. I wasn't myself. I was half-knocked out. It wasn't like I was looking for anybody. I didn't even know who hit me. He came back towards me, I was hurt, and that's all I could do. I didn't want to get hit again."

"When I'm fighting, if I hit somebody hard and hurt him, I know what's coming. Because the guy is trying anything he can to not get knocked out. That's what happened to me. I think if I had been hit again on that play, I would have been out. That's the only logic I can put to it."

"I go out thinking about what I have to do to stay in the league, to play my game," Simon said. "I've always been the type of player who's stuck up for myself and, more importantly, for my teammates. All I've been thinking about is my first game against the Flyers. I'm really excited to get back out and help the boys."


Greg Logan: Updated his blog late Friday and reported Nolan put the team through a very hard practice Friday. Jeff Tambellini was sent back to Bridgeport because Simon was activated, Bootland will dress for the Flyers, Bergenheim is being moved up to the second line and only six defenders will dress and drew praise from Nolan. Bates is at least two weeks away from returning.

“I thought Jeff got much better,” Nolan said. “The game against the Rangers, he played a great game for us. The other game [against Toronto], it wasn’t just him. It was everybody.”

“We have to pull a ‘D’ out,” Nolan said. “I talked to the team. We’re not going to take anything for granted. You have to play hard if you want to play. It’s just that simple. If life were that easy, we’d just show up and play and not worry about anything. There’s only a few chosen people in this world that can do that. We can’t. We have to work or you don’t play.”


Ottawa Sun: Bruce Garrioch is reporting former Islander Randy Robitaille may be signing with the Senators and there has been mild interest from the Islanders in bringing him back as well. A source said the Senators' deal for Robitaille, who would be joining his ninth NHL team, was still being worked out late yesterday.

Espn: Reports former Islander John Vanbiesbrouck will be inducted into the US Hockey Hall of Fame Friday.

Sound Tigers Website: Has coverage of the 2-0 win against Norfolk and Joey MacDonald's shutout.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio had three blog updates. Tambellini's return for the Sound Tigers in home opener, and a quick ECHL update, centered around a win in the home opener.

Ct Post: Also has an article on the game. Tambellini had a goal and an assist.

"In the third, I thought we dominated," said MacDonald, a free-agent acquisition this summer who earned his 17th AHL shutout and first for Bridgeport.

"Our goal is six penalties or less in a game, and we gave up seven. (MacDonald) kept us in the game," coach Jack Capuano said. "We were a little sluggish early, not moving our feet, which is not what we want."


Virginian Pilot: Paul White has the Admirals coverage of the game along with Steve Stirling's comments.

Sound Tigers play at Lowell Saturday night.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Busy off day top to bottom. A little surprised Tambellini got demoted for Bootland but this could be temporary. Good sign he went right back to the AHL and help the Tigers win by scoring. Interesting Bergenheim got promoted for taking a penalty against Toronto and was benched while Tambellini was demoted. A little surprised Nolan worked the club hard after five games in seven days, but apparently he wanted to send a message.

I'm not sure what Nolan's going to do with the defense after only five games where things have been unsettled. I do not think Bergeron has any special dispensation nor will Berard who was minus three and for that matter the same applies to Andy Sutton.

If Johnson outplays all three, Johnson should dress, I'm not sure what it means when Berard practices with Johnson but I can see Sutton and Bergeron both benched.

I don't put much stock in Garroich rumors and normally would not waste blog space here with them but this one is Ottawa centric and specific, let's just hope the Sens win this one and sign Randy Robitaille.

10/12/07

NHL Team Store opens in Manhattan

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/12/2007 02:29:00 PM



NHL.com: Announced the opening of it's new team store today in Manhattan.



Goring, Carins are among the Islanders on hand to sign autographs along with the Stanley Cup.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
I knew about this for a while, just forgot about it until Goring and Cairns were there for autographs today and then decided to post it.

Pictures look nice on the league website of the store but to place a store like this inside the baseball capital of the World just makes no sense. On top of that you can bet Gerry Cosby with his store inside Msg is very unhappy about this and I'm sure it's not going to help the Islanders team store sales either.

Starbucks alone should do enough business to keep the place running for a few years.

I would have put the store in the NHL markets that do the most business in terms of fan support and that would be Buffalo or Pittsburgh who combined to sell out an 80,000 seat football stadium for a hockey game in a day. People in New York City purchase Yankee and Met items, not Ovechkin, DiPietro, Jagr or Crosby jersey's for hundreds of dollars.

If I can get a Cairns or Goring picture, I will post it.

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