Bates expected to play Wednesday/Notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/27/2007 04:45:00 PM | | | | Comment Here
Islanders Website: Reported Ted Nolan said after practice that Shawn Bates is likely to return to the lineup Wednesday against the Ottawa Senators.

"Shawn has worked extremely hard on his conditioning and spent a few games down in Bridgeport," said head coach Ted Nolan. "So we'll probably more than likely see him tomorrow night."

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio's blog has an update on injuries to Paul Morency, Darryl Bootland, Drew Fata and Kip Brennan. Ross McKeon dropped the Islanders from fifth to tenth in his league power rankings.

Islander cheapshots in media again.

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/27/2007 12:20:00 PM | | | | | Comment Here Ken Campbell posted an article over the Espn website on the state of the Toronto Maple Leafs Monday, who could take over for general manager John Ferguson, who reportedly was not allowed to fire head coach Paul Maurice last week. He goes through the possible general managers and talks about experience and when it comes to hiring inexperience writes " Let teams like the New York Islanders do this kind of thing. The stakes in Toronto are simply too high for the Leafs to hand the reigns to these guys"........

NYI Fan Central Comments:
What it is with so many of the The Hockey News and Espn writers? Do the Islanders media relations people treat them badly at some point or are they still annoyed with the Four Straight Championships or did Mike Milbury rip Ken Campbell, Adam Proteau or Scott Burnside to Frank Brown who is NHL’s vice president of media relations?

Are they that upset Islanders beat out the Leafs the final day and took away work for playoff games and to this point have made them look foolish in their predictions?

The stakes in terms of winning are far higher for the Islanders in New York than it is for the Leafs in Toronto. Is the Teachers Pension Fund going to Boycott the club, will everyone stay home if the Leafs land in the NHL lottery?

Losing is like Christmas for these writers because they get to complain more in print and many of them are die hard fans of those teams, but that's no excuse for Ken Campbell here.

New York Islanders have to win to get attention and keep people coming in a baseball centric market.

The real stakes for Mr Campbell is the competition for coverage in the Canadian Media and all of them not being able to write the same thing. Folks like Mr Campbell are all in the business of selling themselves.

Fox Sports: Al Strachan who was at the Toronto Sun for years and is a contributing writer at Fox, goes into a mini rant regarding Neil Smith's contract when talking about Maple Leafs looking for a new gm.

Islanders Twenty Game Report: Defense, Goalies

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/27/2007 10:52:00 AM | | 2 Comments
Part Three of the Islanders twenty game report looks at the defense and goaltending.


Brendan Witt: An absolute force on defense, shutting down wingers, not taking penalties and putting his body in front of any shot he can get to. Total warrior and as many have said has adjusted his game to the new NHL and keyed a defensive unit that has helped keep the pressure off the goaltender and played outstanding in so many games with no margin for error.

Radek Martinek: A few sloppy turnovers but is in a critical role on the top defensive pairing for the first time in his career and is doing it after coming back from a major injury. Has been outstanding winning battles and quickly moving the puck out by carrying it or finding forwards with the open pass. His offensive game is not improving but on this team he is not on the power play. Has played almost exclusively with Brendan Witt.

Chris Campoli: The fast start in terms of goals stopped but his offensive instincts are only getting better as he knows when to step up. Defensive play also keeps improving and a perfect balance to his defensive partner who he has excellent chemistry with. He is displaying a nasty edge to his game in the physical department and doing it legally which is how you force the opposition to take retaliation penalties. Folks forget how young Campoli is and the more he plays, the more it looks like he is part of the long-term answer and clearly he can play in the top four of a club's defense and there is no doubt he has won over Ted Nolan.

Bruno Gervais:
A stronger and even more steady presence on defense than Campoli without the offense or the big hits. Has a lot of Kenny Morrow's quiet defensive ability about him as he gets into position and wins the puck which helps keep the pressure off. Looks more relaxed than a year ago, has earned the club's confidence and his spot in the top four and should only get better. His offensive ability was there in Bridgeport but for now the club should just let his natural progression continue because he too looks like part of the long-term answer. Given the performance, his age and the responsibility he has been given it's an excellent start.

Andy Sutton: A terrible start, some goals off of him blocking shots and a few awful decisions made this long like a bad signing early and still has some plays like the one against Montreal for the first goal. More and more he is settling into his role here and just playing steady hockey, blocking shots and moving the puck to the winger. Has a nice ability to step up and hit but takes a few penalties when he does not time in right and does upset the opposition with his play. He does not step in much on offense in this system.

Bryan Berard: It's been a wild ride in his second stint in New York between the late signing, missing games with a groin injury and a few big goals. He has more a physical edge to his game by stepping up and leveling a few Bruins and Rangers in recent games and seems to be concentrating on defense. His pp work has been spotty but it seems more a byproduct of the forwards struggles to gain the zone and set up. Clearly the talent is still there for Berard and he's been an asset. Considering how much he has been injured for so long it's a good start.

Marc-Andre Bergeron: Last year he has no pressure or expectations. Sutton's early struggles also have to be included in his grade but it seems when he is given the responsibility of being in a prime position as he was early with expectations his defensive game has problems. Offensive and power play game are excellent, he has an outstanding shot that produced a big goal against the Rangers. Unfortunately his defense and six defenders doing better overall make him a seventh defender or a scratch. It's easier to give him a lower grade here but Sutton's early struggles have to play into this. Too bad he cannot relax on the defensive end. On this defense they will have injuries and he will get his chances again.

Rick DiPietro: Fourth fewest shots against in the league is a far cry from last year when he has to be great every game and stop near the most. He still faces a lot of high quality chances against. Has been cool under pressure, is not stealing many games but is playing with virtually no margin for error on a team with two goals or less for nine games in a row that is keeping pace but there is the occasional soft goal like against Boston. What's interesting is his composure level seems much higher and his movement is down. It seems to have improved his puck handling as in several games he's been like a third defender and almost never makes a bad decision outside of one against Carolina. At Msg during one Ranger power play he took three pucks under pressure behind his goal and easily elevated down the ice.

Wade Dubielewicz: Impossible to grade on such a small workload. Has a tired Islander team in Toronto who did not play well in front of him, was outstanding against Pittsburgh when he had to be.

Islanders Twenty Game Report: The Forwards

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/27/2007 08:59:00 AM | | Comment Here
In the Islanders Twenty game report Part One I looked at the club's place in the standings and broke down where the club is in terms of overall league numbers. Here I will do a quick paragraph as a brief summary of each player and give a grade to spice it up a bit.


Bill Guerin: I'm not in the lockeroom, but clearly from every comment and article written he has been a huge positive factor in the room and it's his first time as a captain and likely a burden for him on a new team. Concentrating on defense he's not scoring which could be a factor coming from the Western Conference and it could be his age catching up with him. He's virtually invisible as an offensive factor and clearly is pressing. He's talking a great game but when the puck drops this player making almost five million dollars is not producing and takes a lot of bad angle shots and not getting into the higher percentage area's of the ice. A hat-trick because of terrible goaltender by Olaf Kolzig and a gimme in overtime against New Jersey is not enough for a player who had thirty eight goals last season. In terms of offense he's making Yashin look like a superstar at this point. Only reason this grade is not an F is because he is respected and his leadership is helping this group play team hockey.

Mike Comrie: After a great start is showing he is a one dimensional player on a club needing more defensively from him that is hurting his offensive game. Having players who are not loaded with speed and skill on right wing (Hunter-Guerin) are not helping him. Recently has had Chris Simon on his left side after getting a bit stale with Fedntenko. He works hard and has a lot of individual skills and a good shot. A few lazy penalties and a few times he has been caught but clearly is this teams most dangerous offensive player.

Ruslan Fedotenko: Overall he's been visible in most games and usually does a lot of little things to help win a game. On a respectable scoring pace but on this team is not going to get a lot of help. It's been a very solid signing but fair or not he has to score more and has that ability.

Josef Vasicek: So far a flat out steal for Garth Snow and Ted Nolan who usually generates a lot of chances with a shooting percentage of over thirty percent. He has done everything asked and more at both ends of the ice and is not shy about driving the net. Has better offensive instincts and speed then anyone could have asked for expected. Clearly needed time for his knee to respond and that was not possible for a few years.
Grade A

Miroslav Satan: As usual a very streaky player. A lot like last year where he started slow, then got red hot and every goal on a low-scoring team became huge. Is working hard in both ends and responds when teams push him. Should be producing more but for some reason is just inconsistent. Why can't we get more goals like the one where he dropped the shoulder against the Devils and rushed the net for a fantastic goal.
Grade C

Sean Bergenheim: Vasicek's line started producing when Bergenheim was put on that line. He's not doing enough on offense or being asked to do a lot more on defense, which offsets it somewhat but clearly the speed and skills he showed as a rookie are still there and just need more time. An injury and some wandering cost him some ice time along with Richard Park and Chris Simon getting some time on the top lines with Fedntenko moved to the second line. Less then average start but the talent is visible.
Grade C-

Andy Hilbert: He's played well on defense but he's not a great shutdown winger, he cannot score on a team that needs scoring. The hard work is there, plays that help win or change a game in the Islanders favor are not.
Grade D

Mike Sillinger: Does a lot of things beyond a score sheet to help win a game and his face off ability is a huge plus. Unlike last year has been virtually invisible on offense. Looks older and slower in the offensive end of the ice or is being asked to concentrate more on defense. His line mates have been the same outside of Guerin being moved to his wing for a while. The hard work is there from Sillinger, the production is not.
Grade C-

Trent Hunter: As always works hard at both ends of the ice and is this club's best player in the trenches and a force at hits and blocking shots. Does a ton of things to win a game but his offense is not improving on a club that badly needs him to score more often. Was placed on the top line and did not force Ted Nolan to keep him there by scoring more.
Grade C +

Richard Park: Reminds me these days of Jason Blake in 2001-02 before he started finishing his chances and broke through to play on the club's scoring lines. He's a dynamo most nights, never stops working and is creating a lot of chances and plays well at both ends of the ice. Almost all of his goals are big goals and he is forcing the coach to give him longer looks on the top lines. Outstanding work shorthanded to read plays.

Chris Simon: Sat out his suspension for the first five games, saw limited minutes and recently is getting looks with the top lines. A few very poor penalties but his offensive game meaning his hands still seem good and does play his role as club enforcer well, but he has to give this club an offensive contribution for whatever time he is given.

Tim Jackman, Darryl Bootland, Ben Walter: All had some strong shifts, Bootland set up Park for a goal against Washington and I think Jackman had a point. Did not cost the club on defense and gave some shifts with a lot of energy but no goals.

Islander News Articles 11/27:

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/27/2007 08:16:00 AM | | | Comment Here
Newsday: Greg Logan's recap is on the lack of scoring and Satan's play that led to the tying goal.

"I don't sense any frustration on the team yet," Satan said. "Our record is fine, and there's enough experience and grit on this team to go through that."

"Bergeron has a pretty hard shot," Satan said. "If it's not a goal, you get a hard bounce. That's what happened, and Mike [Comrie] came off the puck and tied up the defense and the puck was loose for me."

Newsday: Greg Logan's other article is on the Islanders rolling three lines, Marc Andre Bergeron's not being just a powerplay specialists, when Shawn Bates could play and Fedotenko being used on the second line.

"If there's a week to put him in, this would be the week," Nolan said of Bates, who hasn't played an NHL game since January. "We could play seven on defense for a while, but we can't do it for any length of time. We have to get four lines going. With our schedule right now, we need more forwards."

"We don't want him to be a one-dimensional guy to kind of come in and fix the power play," Nolan said. "That's like a DH: If you don't hit the ball, you don't get to play. So he has to be much more, and he's very capable of doing it." ..

NY Post: Dan Martin was permitted to cover the game and got reaction from Ted Nolan, Mike Comrie and Brendan Witt.

"It's real frustrating," Mike Comrie said. "We've had so many close chances. Goals that you think are in, don't cross the line . . . chances you'd like to have back."

The defense was strong again, which is enough for Brendan Witt.
"It'll come," the defenseman said of the offense. "The main thing is we're playing well defensively."

NY Times: Dave Caldwell of course did not cover the game but did do a feature about where the goal judges have been relocated in the arena and why they are no longer in the front row behind the goals.

“We know it’s a tradition, and it was not something we take lightly, but in the end, we decided it was better for the customers,” said Chris Botta, an Islanders spokesman.

Daily News: Brian Bohl covered the game for the Daily News.

"It's really important we scored on the power play and held their power play to zero," Nolan said. "That's a big difference and one of the reasons why we got the point."

Dallas Morning News & Ft Worth Star Telegram: Has the Dallas Star coverage on their win.

Dallas 3, New York 2 ot

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/27/2007 06:56:00 AM | | | Comment Here

Islanders Website: Has the recap of Monday's 2-1 overtime loss to the Dallas Stars.

"It was one of those games where maybe we shouldn't have gotten a point," said head coach Ted Nolan. "We found a way to get a point and it all equals out in the end."

"If the chances aren't there then maybe there should be frustration," said Nolan, "but as long as you have the opportunities, eventually they'll go in."

"Considering the team we're playing, it was nice to get that power play goal and keep them from scoring on the power play," said Nolan regarding the Stars' five power plays. "That was the big difference and one of the reasons why we got the point."

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Dallas came into Monday on a five game winning streak, they may have been due to lose but have plenty of confidence when the game is on the line.

No one is happy losing a game but the important thing is to get the game to overtime and make sure to get at least one point. As I wrote after the Boston game Saturday in the context of one game it was a good team effort.

Islanders did not lose from lack of hard work. Ted Nolan seemed to try everything in terms of line combinations. Islanders generated some quality chances but could not finish. Teams that score two goals or less in nine straight games simply have a problem that goes beyond coaching. As tough as it has been on offense that's how good it's been on defense.

Chris Simon's no goal is the perfect examply of shots not going in for this club, great save by Turco, perfect setup by Comrie.

To score a shorthanded goal against a powerplay this good was a very impressive play by Martinek and a great finish by Richard Park. Marty Turco made a terrible read and had another bad turnover.

Nice work by Andy Sutton on Hagman as he pushed him away from the front of the net and breaking up a home run pass by Dallas in the first period.

Powerplay did come through with a big goal by Satan when they needed it most and it was a great shot. Bergeron's hard shot got through from a bad angle and he hesitated to draw the defender down and get a lane.

You can see the Islanders pressing. Bill Guerin had three penalties and none in the defensive end of the ice. Park was given an offensive zone penalty late in the second period. Refs seemed to make a few terrible calls against the Isles in this game on Guerin too. Defender on Richard Park lost an edge, he was not pulled down.

Rick DiPietro played well and robbed Stu Barnes early in the third period. Modano made a good shot for the Dallas goal off a rush. Halpern's goal for the 2-1 lead was just a broken play where Sillinger made the block and it went right to him for an empty net. Robidas, Riberio also had great chances DiPietro stopped.

Modano beat Martinek on the game winner after DiPietro made the save crashing the net. Robidas made the play coming in from the net.

Next up an Ottawa sitting around angry aftrer losing 5-0 to Philadelphia that is likely getting back Daniel Alfredsson.

Islander News Articles 11/26

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/26/2007 09:49:00 AM | | | | | | Comment Here
If there is a Newsday article today for Islanders-Dallas it did not make it to the print edition of the paper.

Dallas Morning News: Mike Heika previews tonights game.

Dallas: RW Antti Miettinen (groin) is questionable. D Mattias Norstrom (facial laceration) and RW Jere Lehtinen (abdominal strain) are out.

Ft Worth Star Telegram: Dallas Stars coverage.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio has coverage of Bridgeport's shootout win Sunday against Albany.

Sound Tigers Website: Has recap of Bridgeport's 4-3 win against Albany Sunday.

Updated 3:30pm
Newsday: Greg Logan checks in with a blog update on Rick DiPietro and the club about to have a discussion about getting Wade Dubielewicz some work in Bridgeport if necessary.

Islanders Website: Jason Lockhart has an update on the shots against being down significantly this season with quotes from Bruno Gervais and other players.

11/26: New York vs Dallas FSN 7pm

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/25/2007 07:01:00 PM | | | Comment Here
It's green and gold and something the Islanders have not played hockey against since November of last season which was the final West Coast road game.

Islanders won 3-0 last year in Dallas.

Dallas Stars Website: Has a recap of their fifth straight win at Msg Sunday. Where they were outshot badly but won with their backup goaltender in net facing over forty shots.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Dallas is red hot since the gm change. They have two capable goalies and likely will have Marty Turco rested for the Islanders. They have a very fast, skilled team and just got Brad Winchester healthy and back in their lineup who many may recall from the Roman Hamrlik trade about eight years ago.

Should be interesting if the Islanders can finally break through with some offense or can they hang around for another two goal game and win or does Dallas score early and force the Islanders into opening up. With Ottawa and the Rangers back to back in a few days, these are points they need to take.

With Tim Jackman demoted, I expect Shawn Bates to play or Ted Nolan to go with seven defenders again. Usually when the Islanders win Ted Nolan keeps the same lineup.

Bridgeport 4, Albany 3 shootout

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/25/2007 04:28:00 PM | | | | Comment Here Has the boxscore of Bridgeport's 4-3 shootout win against Albany Sunday. Tim Jackman scored the typing goal in the third peirod.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio has a blog on the win Sunday.

Another Espn NY Islander Disaster.

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/25/2007 02:41:00 PM | | | | Comment Here Tristan H. Cockcroft, who apparently is the fantasy writer for Espn clearly is far more overworked than Rick DiPietro with this fictional analysis of the Islanders goaltender in previewing this weeks upcoming games.

New York Islanders (DAL -- Mon, OTT -- Wed, @NYR -- Thu, ATL -- Sat): Again, it's a shame to waste a four-game week for any team, but Rick DiPietro has yet to show us this season that he's consistent enough to overcome tough matchups such as these. Sure, he has beaten the Rangers in all three meetings this season, but that's a tidbit to exploit only in leagues that allow daily transactions. After all, the Rangers are the weakest of his four opponents offensively, so his success against them that comes as no shock.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
This borders on ridiculous. DiPietro faced the most shots per game on average last season and had a 9.19 save percentage. He has proven himself for years against top teams except Ottawa which many goaltenders have the same trouble against.

Rick DiPietro may or may not play well in these upcoming games, but he's allowed two goals or less in thirteen of eighteen starts this season, has two shutouts and is 3-0against the Devils. Islanders have no recent history against Dallas, have beaten Atlanta and the Rangers the last two seasons.

If he can shutout the Tampa Bay Lightning who have one of the best offensive teams in the league, maybe this writer can explain how the Islanders cannot win three of four of these games?

Did Scott Burnside help him write this?

Islanders Twenty Game Report Pt One:

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/25/2007 08:28:00 AM | | Comment Here
Part one will be on the team numbers. Part two will be about the individual players tomorrow. Has the conference standings and there is a lot of good news for a team many predicted last or next to last in the conference

Eastern Conference
Rank GP W L OT Pts GF GA
1 Ottawa Senators* 22 16 5 1 33 71 53
2 Carolina Hurricanes* 24 13 8 3 29 80 72
3 Philadelphia Flyers* 22 13 7 2 28 70 60
4 New York Rangers 23 13 8 2 28 51 44
5 Montréal Canadiens 23 12 8 3 27 69 62
6 New York Islanders 20 12 8 0 24 49 52
7 Boston Bruins 21 11 8 2 24 52 51
8 New Jersey Devils 23 11 10 2 24 56 59
9 Florida Panthers 24 11 12 1 23 63 69
10 Atlanta Thrashers 23 11 12 0 22 61 78
11 Tampa Bay Lightning 23 10 11 2 22 74 70
12 Pittsburgh Penguins 23 10 11 2 22 68 69
13 Buffalo Sabres 21 10 10 1 21 61 58
14 Toronto Maple Leafs 24 8 11 5 21 70 86
15 Washington Capitals 23 8 14 1 17 56 69

NYI Conf Rank NHL Rank
Goals 49 14 27
Goals Allowed 52 3 5
Shots per game 29.6 9 11
Shots allowed per game 26.4 1 4
Power play % 17.6 9 15
Penalty kill % 86.0 14 25

First the good news and there is a lot of it:
Currently sixth in the conference.
At a pace for ninety six point season based on eighty games.
Have given up the third least goals in the conference, and that's even with two eight goals losses against.
Have three games in hand on all eastern conference teams except Buffalo.
Have a 7-3 record in a division many said they could not compete in.
The three losses were all even games against Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
Far less penalties per game than last year.
Solid penalty kill.
Strong on face offs with Sillinger.

The not so good news:
Dead last in scoring in the NHL with forty nine goals.(part of that is lack of games played)
Two goals or less in eight straight games.
PP that has struggled for a long stretch.
Still not generating many powerplays per game.
Several one goal losses, one overtime game.
No long unbeaten streaks, it's win or lose.

Update on Prospect Rhett Rahkshani

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/25/2007 08:06:00 AM | | Comment Here
Orange County Register: Jeff Miller has an update on Islander fourth round pick in 2006 draft, forward Rhett Rahkshani.

"Everyone asks me how long I'm going to stay here and I can't see any reason to leave," Rahkshani said that night. "I can definitely see staying here four years and then going on to the NHL. There's no question I'm not ready for it yet. I have a lot more things I want to accomplish for this team and for the national team."

"Whenever we'd play in a big game, Rhett would always get the puck and do something great at the end," Jeff Turcotte said. "The 10-0 games weren't the time to watch him. He was there when we needed to win."

NYI Fan Central Comments:
For those who recall Wade Dubielewicz was signed by the Islanders out of Denver University.

Islander News Articles 11/25

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/25/2007 05:10:00 AM | | | | | | | | | Comment Here

Newsday: Mark Herrmann had tonight's coverage of the Islanders 2-1 win against the Boston Bruins with comments from Richard Park, Ted Nolan and Andy Hilbert.

"It's been frustrating, but from the coaches to the players, they have been behind me, they've been positive toward me," Hilbert said. "It sure does help a lot when guys are positive.

"Andy has been doing everything a hockey player should do," the coach added, "except put the puck in the net."

"The bottom line is, we got the two points," Park said. "It doesn't matter who got the goals, at the end of the day."

Newsday: Mr Herrmann's second article was on Shawn Bates, the sold out game on Saturday and Ted Nolan's thanksgiving.

"The travel is a little bit different than in the NHL," he said, with a grin. "You're back on the bus. But it was a good experience."

Daily News: Peter Botte's limited space article is on the scoring problems, the win with comments from Richard Park, Andy Hilbert, Rick DiPietro on the hit to the head late in the third period and Ted Nolan.

"You don't feel like that because of our situation, the nature of our game is that everyone wants to score every game," said Park, who chipped in a rebound with 12:30 remaining for his second goal this season. "The bottom line is we came out with two points. How we got there doesn't really matter at the end of the day."

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Mr Botte reported Tim Jackman was sent to Bridgeport, during the telecast it was reported he was scratched. Michael Fornabaio did not have this but the Sound Tigers were in Albany. If this is true Bates could return Monday against Dallas.

Boston Globe: Fluto Shinzawa has the Bruins centric coverage on the loss.

"I think we played against a team that wanted it more than we did," coach Claude Julien said after last night's 2-1 loss to the Islanders before 16,234 at Nassau Coliseum. "I thought we got outworked and out hustled all night. There was more determination on the other side than there was on ours. We were actually fortunate to still be in it after two periods. I think if we can understand that as a group, we'll get better. If we don't, then we didn't learn anything tonight."

Boston Herald: Rich Thompson had coverage on the game with some insights from goaltender Tim Thomas on Andy Hilbert's goal and the game winner by Richard Park.

“It was a good shot by Hilbert,” Thomas said. “He was effectively using the screen and I played with him in Providence (when Hilbert was with the B’s AHL club) so I know how he does that sometimes. I just lost it for a second and that’s when he decided to shoot.”

“The first shot got tipped and that’s why I couldn’t control the rebound,” Thomas said. “The second guy put it in my right leg and physics says the rebound is going to go to the right side.”

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Guess I was wrong in my post game comments on Hilbert's play for his goal. Have to defer to Tim Thomas.

The Republican: Fran Sypek has a full feature on Bill Guerin in Sunday's paper after his return home to Boston.

"We're working hard, but we're not executing and when it comes down to it, we've got to pay the price and get in the area we need to be to score goals," Guerin said. "In this game, if a guy's open in the slot, you've got to get him the puck."

"It's not like we can't score goals - every team in this league has the personnel to score goals," Guerin said. "It's all a matter of executing and making plays and often goals in this league are made off broken plays."

Providence Journal has additional coverage.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio reports on the Sound Tigers 5-2 loss Saturday to the Albany River Rats who are no longer a Devils affiliate. Former Sound Tigers Jamie Johnson and Brandon Nolan both scored in a game that was 3-0 quickly. Darryl Bootland and Gregg Johnson scored their first goals for Bridgeport.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio has a blog on Saturday's loss.

"They're in a tough spot right now, the guys in that room," Bridgeport coach Jack Capuano said. "I know what they're going through. (The coaches) have been there. They are the ones who have to pull together and get themselves out of it."

Ct Post: Mr Fornabaio also had a feature on athletic trainer John Sullo.

Albany Times Union: Has the River Rats Coverage.

NY Post decided not to send anyone to cover Saturday's sold out Islander home game with Mark Everson in Tampa providing full Devils coverage. Dan Martin was on his usual PSAL beat.

New York 2, Boston 1

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/25/2007 04:09:00 AM | | | Comment Here

Islanders Website: Has Saturday's recap of the Islanders 2-1 over the Boston Bruins.

"We had a team meeting this morning, and discussed that the only thing we can control is our effort," said Nolan. "If we play like that on a regular basis, we'll win our share of games. Tonight we can walk out of the rink feeling we gave everything we had to give. We're fortunate to get another big goal from Richard Park. He's scored some big for us since he's been here."

"I've been obviously pressing quite a bit," admitted Hilbert. "I've been getting scoring chances, but none of them have been going in. When I got to the bench it was one of those things where you don't have to worry about it anymore. It was nice to get one when it mattered. It doesn't really matter unless you win the game. Ricky played great and Richard got a huge goal for us. Right down the line everyone stepped up."

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Not sure what I want to write about this game.

I do not want to do a blog that's dwells on the negative but also I cannot break out significant praise when it's clear this team has some major offensive weeknesses that no words from the coach or line comnbination can seemingly correct. I can keep writing any win is great and I'll take it and in the context of one game it's a solid team win. That written I'm looking at the big picture which also includes a team playing some fantastic defense that apparently must continue because their most important offensive players are not producing.

Islanders go into a game they have not scored more than two goals in seven. They they did not put up a great effort in the last two games and only score a goal from Andy Hilbert that Tim Thomas did not play well and a good effort from Fedotenko, Bergenheim, Park for the second goal?

If this were written in the context of a single game I would give more credit to Tim Thomas because he's had an outstanding season. Outside of Hilbert's goal he was very good but he did not face many great chances, he did control his rebounds well.

The key players on this team simply are not scoring. Bill Guerin, Mike Comrie, Miroslav Satan, Mike Sillinger, Ruslan Fedotenko and Trent Hunter have to score on a regular basis, it's not happening and they are trying. Only bad decision all night by that group was Comrie not backchecking on the Boston goal and one of his penalties.

Islanders skated hard, they dominated faceoffs, shots and play. It should have been a much easier win but the powerplay did very little and they did not put Tim Thomas into a situtation where he had no chance like the one Boston scored on where DiPietro had no chance. That's what teams with offensive chemistry can do, it's what the Islanders did the opening weekend.

Ted Nolan made some changes and put Bergeron back in the lineup for Jackaman and dressed seven defenders. He moved Fedotenko with Satan and Vasicek and put Chris Simon on the first line and it almost produced an early goal. One of his teams powerplay's had five shots but mostly looked lost.

Defense and in the faceoff department the Islanders played very well and Boston again seemed content to play a low scoring game. Campoli had some outstanding hits and played with a lot of smart aggression (no bad penalty) where he has learned when and how to throw a hit. Sutton's dive to take the puck off a Bruin who had a step on him was an outstanding play. Witt, Martinek, Gervais, Berard also had very strong defensive games and the team defense overall was strong.

DiPietro was not tested much but he had to make a few very good saves.

Ok, it's a win, I'll take it and they worked hard to get it. I don't know how long they can even play around five hundred unless they start getting some goals to go with that defense.

This team is around sixth in the conference right now, imagine if it does start scoring?

11/24: New York vs Boston 7pm FSN

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/24/2007 05:09:00 PM | | | | | Comment Here
Islanders website/Jason Lockhart had two articles in the preview today. One on Chris Campoli talking about the powerplay here and tonight's preview against the Boston Bruins here.

"We talked to the guys this morning and reminded them that the first few weeks we had the top power play in the league," said assistant coach Gerard Gallant. "We have to work hard, get pucks to the net and just get back to basics."

"There are so many talented guys on the ice," said Campoli, who along with the rest of the team faces Boston again tonight. "I want to try and get the puck to these guys, but it's clear that we have to just start shooting. That's what we did when the power play was working. The points would throw pucks to the net and the forwards would crash the net for rebounds. We're just not getting enough shots on goal."

"Once we couldn't get anything going the first 20 seconds, we started to force passes that weren't there," said Campoli about the two-man advantage. "One thing that surprised Bryan and me was the amount of pressure the high guy was putting on us. Axelsson stayed lower in the zone, but Sturm prevented us from passing back and forth on the point. That threw us off, but we're prepared for it tonight."

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Sounds good but it sounded good before a lot of recent games. Islanders need a breakout offensive game at even strength, with the man advantage, from the first period. Any win will be acceptable but to get on track they need a big offensive night from so many players struggling. Right now it seems they have no interest in scoring in the first period of games.

Boston did not play a good game either the other day, they will be hungry for a sweep here.

Newsday: Greg Logan's articles here & here were on the loss to Boston, the offensive struggles by Guerin and Hilbert, the pp struggles and Marc Andre Bergeron not in favor of being a winger on the fourth line with the coach asked about callups from Bridgeport.

We have to do something to shake it up a wee bit," coach Ted Nolan said, stopping short of promising changes. "The vast majority of the time, we're playing strong games, but offensively, we're a little bit bitten right now."

Newsday: Mark Herrmann has a blog Saturday afternoon about a team meeting, Bates back from conditioning stint but not going to play and possible changes to the powerplay. Reports Sound Tigers after losing against Hartford Friday trail Albany
4-1 at the end of the first peirod tonight.

Boston 2, New York 1

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/23/2007 03:14:00 PM | | | Comment Here
Islanders Website/Jason Lockhart/AP: Has the recap of today's 2-1 loss to the Boston Bruins.

"Our power play wasn’t clicking and we have to go back to the drawing board,” said Ted Nolan. “We were stationary out there and the confidence isn’t there. We’re holding onto the puck too long and it’s making it easy to defend against it. When things are struggling you squeeze the stick too tight.”

NYI Fan Central Comments:

Seven games since this team scored more than two goals in a game. They looked totally lost with a two man advantage and another pp down the stretch.

This was a Boston team that looked very content and were waiting to get beat.

It's a game last year's team takes to overtime and gets at least a point out of. One goal off a rush from Sillinger is not acceptable. Thomas made a few good saves but Islander pressure did not create a chance he could not stop.

Unless they plan on playing perfect defense and goal this team cannot win unless some players start scoring. DiPietro cannot let in a goal like that to Glen Metropolit with no offensive support which is unfair but how things are when your offense does not produce.

Another two points handed away because this team cannot put the puck in the net to save themselves. They basically slept through the entire first period and Thomas did not have to make a single tough save. After looking terrible against Montreal to come out and play a first period like this is not a good sign. I wonder why Nolan was so happy before the start of the second with that effort coming off a loss?

Defense was not the problem, they made some big hits but unless they plan on setting another record for most one goal games they are going to be in trouble because some players on offense look completely lost and it's well beyond a game or two.

Bill Guerin was shooting from every bad angle he could find. The words say one thing while his offense game looks totally lost. Can Andy Hilbert take a shot without his stick breaking? When a player who had six goals last season is your best offensive player you got big trouble.

It's not one game where Tim Thomas stole two points and played great, it's more about this team as a whole looking lost on offense.

It is now three of forty on the pp?

Islanders have to start scoring some goals or this is going to snowball into a long losing streak.

NYI Fan Central Update: Polls, Q & A

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/23/2007 09:24:00 AM | | Comment Here

A few quick blog updates for everyone:

Thanks for the response to the first poll and especially the e-mails with your support for the site. I know a poll about a site is kind of boring but I wanted a little more feedback on the site itself for the first poll. A vote for the prospect center was appreciated.

Second poll and all subsequent polls will be hockey centric and the latest one addresses concerns about the team on the ice.

Don't be shy about e-mailing or responding on the blog or message board.

I altered some video feeders because the content it produced were not Islander Hockey related. I added in a new one that has more postgame interviews.

I also changed some news feeders because a few were simply repeating articles.

I had three questions I did not answer so a quick mailbag Q & A:

Just wondering where Nystrom & Tonelli were on Al Arbour night?
Nystrom If I recall did come out with the alumni for the banner raising. I'm not sure about John Tonelli but he has been at so many of these events it's impossible to speculate. The core of four weekend later may see Tonelli, Potvin and a few others who did not attend.

Can you get better video's for the site?
I put up a link to the ITV video's from their RSS. The google, yahoo, youtube video feeds come from fans and you get a lot of good stuff and a few things not hockey related that I do not want here so I am being cautious.

What's the deal with Kyle Okposo struggling?
He lost his linemate and the club has been struggling but for me to guess about the Golden Gophers would not be fair. What's reported in the paper by the coach about Kyle Okposo's play and his own comments tell his story far better than myself.

Finally a quick thanks to the Islanders Cory Witt for doing a media blog update and including NYI Fan Central that was very kind and unexpected. I usually like to check to see if I miss some articles they put into their occasional digest of articles.

That's how I found out this morning when I looked.

More on Neil Smith's Islander contract

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/23/2007 04:57:00 AM | | | | | Comment Here
Daily News: Peter Botte's game article on Thursday was mostly about new details on Neil Smith's contract that were first reported in the Globe and Mail here in an earlier blog posting.

Mr Botte reports:
Smith appeared reticent about working without autonomy within Wang's hierarchy and, inexplicably, never signed his agreed-upon three-year contract worth roughly $2.1 million.

Smith and Wang agreed to allow NHL commissioner Gary Bettman to serve as the mediator/arbitrator in the compensation case that has stretched over 16 months.

"I can't talk about this because it hasn't been resolved yet," Smith said last night.

One NHL official said Smith's lawyers argued that Smith "didn't know what he was getting into" in taking the "committee" job, although the Isles countered that Wang's outline of the job was well documented from the outset.

According to one source, Bettman recently informed Smith that his contract is not "enforceable," and that he likely will be entitled to a settlement estimated to be worth "between zero and 40 days' pay."

NYI Fan Central Comments:
The other day I wrote if Mr Wang introduced him as the gm he should be entitled to some compensation.

That written how come Neil Smith did not sign his contract or understand things would be done by committee. Anyone who watched that press conference saw Mr Wang say several times it would be a hockey committee and took many questions on the subject.

Neil Smith deserves compensation but only for the time he did work which clearly is not going to amount to much. I wonder if Mr Wang will simply give him more money so there are no hard feelings but this is one of those times there could be hard feelings on both sides, only the folks involved know.

To his credit Mr Smith on SNY doing hockey analysis has not used his spotlight to make his contract a public issue and has done a fair job when the Islanders come up under tough circumstances and been a class act as always.

This is another mark against Neil Smith that has kept him out of jobs in this league
in a fraternity of owners who do stick together on some things whether they are right or wrong. Not sure how much consulting Mr Smith does for Dallas but he has not been on Versus or any broadcast I know of outside of SNY.

It's too bad because as part of Wang's committee Mike Sillinger and Brendan Witt did sign here. Sillinger did make it clear Smith was a reason he agreed to a contract.

Finally, all due respect Mr Botte, you need a blog at the Daily News for the Islanders and should be asking Leon Carter to set one up for additional coverage like this.

Two paragrahps as game coverage in the newspaper is not acceptable and tells us nothing. Anyone following this story knew about it three days ago when the Globe and Mail broke it, post game article should not take a step back for it.

11/23: New York at Boston 12pm FSN

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/23/2007 01:56:00 AM | | | Comment Here

Islanders website: Jason Lockhart has the early preview of Friday's noon game against the Boston Bruins.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Even without Patrice Bergeron this is a much faster and skilled Boston team with Tim Thomas who had been one of best goaltenders in the league to this point in a very fast, skilled division full of teams that can score.

Marco Sturm, Savard and Chuck Kobasew had a great comeback and took over a game they were trailing to the Leafs on the road that was very impressive.

Same old story for the Islanders. They have to start producing some goals or play for a low scoring defensive game. Islanders met Boston twice in preseason, the notable game was the second in Boston which was the final pre season game that the Islanders won.

Bill Guerin and Mike Sillinger need a big game here badly. No word on whether Bates, who's conditioning assignment with Bridgeport is over will return to the lineup. He was a plus one with four shots in a 2-1 loss Wednesday.

Islanders have not scored more then two goals in any of the last six games.

Islander News Articles 11/23:

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/23/2007 12:37:00 AM | | | | | | | Comment Here
Newsday: Greg Logan's article was on the first line struggling and Friday's game in Boston.

"I don't think we played that well," Comrie said after practice Thursday morning. "You have to compete every night, and Ted wants our line to be competitive every time we get on the ice ... Our line struggled a little bit. We can't lose focus because it was one game where we didn't play as well as we should have. We've played pretty well as of late, and we've just got to get back to making plays and keeping things simple. We won't worry about the score. We'll worry about our work ethic."

"Yeah, we took a little break," captain Guerin said of the benching Thursday. "Our line was awful. We generated nothing, and we were on the ice for two goals. Everybody is subject to that. It's going to happen to everybody at least once during the year. Ted doesn't have to say anything. Actions speak louder than words.

Newsday: Greg Logan's Thanksgiving day blog is a full update on what's going on with Freddy Meyer.

“It was an interesting month to say the least,” Meyer said of his time away from the Islanders. “I’ve never experienced anything like that before, but I’ve come to learn it’s part of this business. I’m not the first guy to get bounced around to a few teams in a short period of time. You’ve just got to take it in stride.

“I got the phone call from my agent that I was heading back east. I spoke to Snowy while I was at the airport, and he said, ‘Welcome home.’ It’s been good.”

NYI Fan Central Comments:
About time Logan got a comment from Meyer. Not many players are placed on waivers, go to another conference, then the AHL, then are reclaimed and we do not even know where they practice.

Boston Herald: Rich Thompson previews Islanders-Boston home/home, reports Tim Thomas will be back in goal and defenseman Matt Hunwick from Providence was recalled.

Newsday: Neil Best has an article on the NHL network and how it relates to the Islanders, a local radio show on the club, and some games on Chinese radio that was posted here a while back. He also reported on Billy Jaffe becoming a father and told our fans who cannot find the games to go to Jess Myers has an update on Kyle Okposo even though the Gophers as a team are struggling.

"I'm back," Okposo said after last Saturday's 4-2 Gopher loss to Alaska Anchorage. Okposo's face displayed a shy smile that betrayed his dislike for talking about individual accomplishments after a team loss. "I think I'm starting to play well. I feel like I've got a pep in my step and I'm starting to play like the player of old."

"We've got to start bumping guys, being more physical and just getting a little jam to our game," Okposo said. "We've got to be making plays, making short passes, making the right plays at the right times. We do that a lot. We do that at many points in the game, but there are some points where we don't do those things, and it comes back to haunt us."

Washington Times: Corey Masisak on Thursday reported on the Capitals firing coach Glen Hanlon and replacing him with AHL coach Bruce Boudreau.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Considering how well they played with injuries to open the season it's surprising the Caps struggled this badly with the improvements they made last summer to a hard working roster already. Semin being out was a problem but the hard working edge that was their trade mark the last few seasons seemed to be missing for far too long and this was a change I thought was a week away at best. Atlanta is back at five hundred and playing well even though I though the wrong person was fired.

Hanlon had a very long run in Washington, his teams did not win but worked very hard for him. I wonder how much blame Poti and Kozlov share in this. Personally I would have fired George McPhee because he brought in the players. Poti had a terrible turnover recently in a one goal loss.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio's Friday article is on the Sound Tigers record when they fail to hit the three goal mark in games.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio had two blog updates, one on the Sound Tigers being in last (seventh place) but with many games in hand and only a few points out of second and how they have responded in the past when at the bottom of the standings.

It is frustrating," centerman Ben Walter said. "Everyone's working hard, playing hard, drawing penalties. We go out on the power play, and we're not putting the puck in the net. "The guys who are counted on for scoring, myself included, have to get the job done."

"We had a few of those," Capuano said. The puck just wouldn't go in, though the Sound Tigers generated chances with help from their young defensemen. Andrew MacDonald and Dustin Kohn — a late addition when Drew Fata went down with back spasms — joined the rush and protected their defensive end as well. "They did the job. They played well," Capuano said. "Their gaps were good. They played really well."

Hartford Wolf Pack at Bridgeport Sound Tigers
WHEN — Tonight, 7:30
WHERE — Arena at Harbor Yard
ON THE AIR — No radio; Webcast and B2 Networks Internet pay-per-view at

NYI Fan Central Comments:
If I'm in Howard Saffin or Garth Snow's spot here, I'm watching the Sound Tigers three games this weekened very close.

It's time for this group to step up or some pressure should be on head coach Jack Capuano's status. This team has not have major injuries, the top prospects have not been called up beyond Ben Walter and for the most part have played with a roster surplus that Greg Cronin, Dave Baseggio and Steve Stirling did not have as they played games shorthanded in the past at times. First place is basically over for the season considering the Phantom's record.

This roster on paper should be much better than what it has shown to this point and they are not responding. It's great Hershey's goalie had to be their best player on Wednesday and sometimes a goalie does steal a game but the Sound Tigers have had a few very bad trends this season that seem to indicate a problem that speaks to the coaching.

Early All Star Voting Update

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/22/2007 01:19:00 PM | | | | Comment Here Francois Gendron has the early numbers from the all star voting. It's not lookng very good for Rick DiPietro to be nominated as a starter. Bill Guerin is not even listed.

Robin Figren Update

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/22/2007 01:05:00 PM | Comment Here
Edmonton Journal: Scott Petersen has an update on Islander prospect Robin Figren who plays for the Oil Kings in the WHL.

"Figren, I thought, was outstanding, really good," said Oil Kings head coach Steve Pleau. "He challenged them. Every time he had the puck he backed off their defence and went to the net. And Vincour, he's coming around. He's got a great shot, and that was a great one-timer on his power-play goal."

Islander News Articles 11/22 Happy Thanksgiving

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/21/2007 10:24:00 PM | | | | | | | Comment Here
Newsday: Greg Logan has the early Thursday coverage of the loss against Montreal. Rick DiPietro talks about Higgins goal and how he will be in net for the upcoming games.

Ted Nolan:
"They blocked shots pretty well, and their goaltender played well. They came at us early and took the momentum away."

"This should have been another one-goal game," Mike Sillinger said. "We gave them the first goal with a giveaway. We didn't make them earn the first goal. We did a good job putting the puck to the net. We took shots. I don't call that a letdown."

Newsday: Greg Logan checked in with a blog on late Wednesday afternoon asking if the Islanders are for real and made some good points and had a lot on Andy Sutton's play.

Post, News and Times if they do game articles have feeders at the bottom of this site in the Islander news section.

Montreal Gazette: Pat Hickey will have the Canadian centric coverage on the win.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio updated his Soundin Off blog on the loss at Hershey Wednesday.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio will have a post game article up late tonight or in the morning on the loss at Hershey, he did his weekly update on the Tigers Wednesday afternoon here.

Patriot News : Will have Hershey coverage.

Happy Thanksgiving, be back Friday.

Montreal 4, New York 1

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/21/2007 09:41:00 PM | | | | | | | Comment Here

Islanders Website: Has the recap of tonight's 4-1 loss against the Montreal Canadians.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Disappointing loss but was not the Islanders night and sometimes you have to score five goals to win a game.

Islanders got shots but either did not finish or Satan hit a post or Huet played well. Islanders are not a great skilled offensive team to this point.

Cannot lose games to Steve Begin goals on sloppy play or a four minute penalty to Simon for another pp goal against. The third goal they killed the pp with little pressure but as Hunter came out of the box Montreal scored off a rush. Montreal had the extra step in this game for the first two periods and sat back in the third.

DiPietro had to be good to keep it at four goals, Montreal got a lot of strong rushes at the net. He was screened on Begin's second goal but aside from that he played well. Vasicek's line got a lot of chances and worked hard. Bill Guerin has to give this team some goals and so does Mike Sillinger.

Islanders had chances and worked hard but not a lot of great chances where Huet had to be outstanding, still he had to make forty five saves so the Islanders were getting shots. Hunter had eight shots.

Who was the guy who used to be the Roman Hamrlik who needed a calender to get his shot off and looked like he was skating with a piano on his back his last few years with the Islanders? Looks like for that contract he got in shape and played well, so did Smolinski.

All Islanders can do is move on to Boston. Another skating team that can finish. Islanders have to put up a four or five goal game, it's been a while to the point where it has to be asked is the scoring a problem on this roster? Has the summary of Bridgeport's 2-1 loss at Hershey Wednesday. Sound Tigers had thirty nine shots and only one goal by Jeff Tambellini.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio will likely have a late blog with the lines and his impressions on the game that are always worth a visit.

11/21: Bridgeport at Hershey 7pm

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/21/2007 03:23:00 PM | | | | | | Comment Here

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio's game day article is on Steve Regier tying Justin Mapletoft's record for games played as a Sound Tiger.

"He has been one of our better forwards," Capuano said. "His work ethic, his determination, his professionalism are better this year than they were last year."

"It's my fourth year. It's time to put up or shut up," Regier said. "I'm trying to bring more professionalism to my game, be a little bit mature about the job and the business of being a hockey player."

Bridgeport Sound Tigers at Hershey Bears
WHEN — Tonight, 7pm
WHERE — Giant Center, Hershey, Pa.
ON THE AIR — No radio; Webcast and B2 Networks Internet pay-per-view at

Kip Brennan is out with an injury.

Sound Has a preview of tonight's game.

11/21: Kyle Okposo Update

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/21/2007 03:12:00 PM | | Comment Here Brian Deutsch has a feature article on Islander prospect Kyle Okposo and how his played has improved recently after going eight games without a goal.

"I feel like I’ve got a pep in my step, and I’m starting to play like the player of old," Okposo said last Saturday.

"He’s just playing in a different gear, he’s much more relaxed and little more carefree," Gophers coach Don Lucia said. "That’s when most players, especially offensive players, are going to play their best."

"I’ve been getting a lot of opportunities, which has been great for my game," Okposo said. "It’s helped my confidence a lot."

Sean Hill claims Isles sold him down river

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/21/2007 02:09:00 PM | | | 2 Comments
Duluth News Tribune : Kevin Pates has a full interview with former Islander Sean Hill who makes his debut with the Minnesota Wild. Hill claims he passed a drug test and a lie detector test. He also said the the Islanders did not stand by him despite a promise they would.

“I probably won’t ever know how it happened that I tested positive. I know there’s nothing I could’ve done differently,’’ Hill said Tuesday. “I took the [independent] tests just to make sure that there was nothing in my system, and to let other teams know what kind of person I am. If they were wondering about me, about my character, they could see that I passed both of those tests.

“I assume the Islanders were shying away from the public perception of what had happened to me and they washed their hands of it. They told me the whole time that they’d stick by me, and they didn’t. They sold me down the river,’’ Hill said.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Only Sean Hill and the Islanders know what happened behind the scenes or what was promised. It's too bad he did not file suit against the folks who did the test and made a formal complaint with the NHLPA, that's where his frustration should be directed.

All the public knows is he failed a test and was given a chance to appeal and the suspension was upheld and it all became public hours before a playoff game, he promised to discuss it and never returned the Newsday call on the subject.

I tend to believe his story and that he did take something he did not know about or was given incorrect information about the substance he took but did he honestly expect the club to give a player who was suspended for twenty games a contract?

Hill did a very good job for the Islanders a year ago, no doubt about that and he's a player who's been solid for a lot of teams for well over a decade and well respected. He likely would have gotten an increase to stay if this did not happen so he has a right to be angry because this did cost him his job and it did cost him in terms of salary.

11/21: New York vs Montreal 7pm FSN-2

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/20/2007 09:18:00 PM | | | | | | | | | | Comment Here
Islanders Website/AP: Has the early preview for Wednesday's game against the Montreal Canadians.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Montreal is a good skating team that can score. Islanders are going to have to break out with a big offensive game or again work the opposition into the ice and play for a low-scoring game. Islanders saw this team in camp twice for what that is worth.

A lot of players are due to score in this lineup. Kevin Allen has an outstanding feature on the Islanders so far this season where he writes this is the most cohesive teams the Islanders have had in years. Garth Snow said the club will address resigning Comrie halfway through the season when they are allowed to negotiate.

"The biggest plus on our team right now is chemistry," Snow says. "So many of the players have come up to (coach Ted Nolan) or myself and said this is the best group of guys they have ever played with."

"It's like we have been playing together for years," says Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro. The biggest need we had was for a guy like Bill Guerin to come in here and be a leader and hold guys accountable."

Newsday: Erik Boland as usual opens the debate for post-Ranger hangover discussion while captain Bill Guerin called it ridiculous and is not talking anymore about it. He did talk about all the close games the Islanders have been involved in, while Ted Nolan was asked if the Islanders playing 15 games in 27 nights will force Rick DiPietro to take a break?

"You're never comfortable in those situations but we know how to play in those situations," Guerin said. "We want to get away from playing in those and it would be nice to play with a little cushion now and again, but the league's so close now you rarely get that."

"If he has to stop five or six breakaways a game or five or six 3-on-1 opportunities, that's pretty taxing," Nolan said. "Right now, we're pretty solid defensively." Nolan later added: "Right now he's as fresh as I've seen him and we'll just keep riding that fresh horse while he's fresh."

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Guerin is right in Boland bringing up post-Ranger hangover and calling it ridiculous. This ended last season with the Islanders winning several games after beating the Rangers and has continued this season and he knew the numbers so why bother? It's as dead as the streak the Caps had against the Islanders.

All the good story lines around this team and no daily blog, no hype for a lot of players who deserve it and no increased coverage. Instead this is what the club gets going into a big game against a very good Canadians team?

Media is the problem, not the team. This is why a lot of good players who merit praise get an under-rated label and no coverage.

Ct Post: Will have coverage tomorrow of the game Wednesday night at Hershey.

11/20: Islander Notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/20/2007 07:24:00 PM | | | | | | | Comment Here
Montreal Gazette: The theme of Pat Hickey's article is how neither team got any respect in the prediction department going into the season and a preview of Wednesday's game. Cristobal Huet, is getting the start because he has a 3-2-1 record against the Islanders with a 2.16 goals-against average.

"They're playing really well defensively," said Carbonneau, who stressed defence and five-on-five play in the Canadiens' practice at the Bell Centre prior to flying here Tuesday.

"I know it's going to be a hard game. There are two teams nobody expected to be there so it's going to be fun."

Canadian Press: Pierre Lebrun has the usual Islanders are a quiet surprise in a division they were predicted to finish last in. Comments from GM Garth Snow and a lot of praise from Mike Comrie on Guerin, Ted Nolan and Rick DiPietro.

"It's still early in the season," cautioned Isles GM Garth Snow. "We haven't even got to the 20-game mark yet. But the encouraging part of that is that we feel we should have a better record than what we have."

"We got the players that we thought would give us the best opportunity to win," said Snow. "I know some people outside this organization were sceptical and maybe didn't know what was going on, but we had a plan and we stuck to it."

On Ted Nolan:
"He's been great," said Comrie. "He really lets the players do their thing. The thing that he demands is that everybody works hard. "You look at his track record, he seems to get the most out of the players that he has," added Comrie. "I don't think it's a secret there's a reason why he's considered a players' coach."

"Ricky DiPietro gives us a chance to win every night," said Comrie. "He's a goaltender that never gives up. He's very athletic. You can tell in practice, he doesn't want one puck to get in."

Globe and Mail : David Shoalts claims a source told the Globe and Mail NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has ruled Neil Smith is not entitled to any meaningful compensation for his brief run as the New York Islanders because he did not have an enforceable contract. The ruling is not final because not all parties have signed off on it but the commissioner did make his decision known to the parties involved. An NHL spokesman said Bettman has not rendered a decision and has not held an official hearing and a settlement could still be reached.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Hopefully this stays buried behind the scenes. If Mr Wang introduced him as the gm by committee or otherwise he should be entitled to some compensation. I guess Bettman knows something we do not know. Jonah Keri has a very good feature article on Mike Sillinger. West News: Reports The New York Islanders became the first team in NHL history to play seven straight regulation games decided by one goal. The streak includes five wins and two losses.

MLN Newswire : Reports former Islander Dave Scatchard has signed a PTO with the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Have to admire Scatchard for wanting to continue his career but at this point it's fair to ask what is wrong with his game to where he's at this point? Scott Burnside of course keeps the glass as empty as possible for the Islanders in his breakdown of teams to this point and predicts a precipitous drop in the standings.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Does Burnside understand the Islanders were a good team last year with ninety two points and anyone who has covered them on a daily basis see them as a team that's going to be very competitive who improved by not resigning players they did not want any longer? It's not like the club had seventy points last season or has not qualified for a playoff. They could start to struggle but not for the reason's Burnside claims.

Yahoo sports: Ross McKeon moves the Islanders into fifth in his power rankings league wide.

Seven straight one-goal games and winners in eight of 11 decided by a single tally for the season. And check this out, six are against rival Rangers and Devils, and Isles have won them all.

Media Blog: Cory Witt reports Time Warner Cable FSN NY HD is now available in NYC.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Ok, now let's have Time Warner Cable in New York advertise the FSN-2 games on it's cable guide, not the TV guide channel and put the games on HD there also. Just as important drop the blackout for the FSN-2 team when the Islanders-Rangers-Devils play a head to head game.

At least let's put all the New York City Stations for Islander telecasts on the teams game preview, I'm tired of on reading about stations on Long Island.

Not the time to celebrate on this one. Why not put some Islander games on channel nine being that Msg can do that for another local team this Sunday instead of FSN-2.

Point Blank: Chris Botta talks about how great the players have been behind the scenes, how that seems to translate to their game when they are on pressure in games to this point and writes there's never been a better Islander team to deal with and notes the 01-02 group.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio's blog reports
lines Tuesday remained Tambellini-Walter-Bates and Bentivoglio-Nielsen-Regier. Tomorrow will be the first time since since 2006 that Tambellini and Nielsen won't begin the game on the same line.

Thanksgiving Update

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/20/2007 10:30:00 AM | Comment Here

A quick NYI Fan Central Update:

First of all to everyone a Very Happy Thanksgiving.

* Three games in twenty four days and now this?

* I will try and do a review of the Montreal game Wednesday and some of the early Thursday articles but will be traveling and very busy Wednesday night. I will put up the links to the Montreal Gazette and whatever other local coverage provided but check the news feeders on the page for supplemental coverage. Same goes for any review or updates of Hershey-Bridgeport on Wednesday as the Sound Tigers section of the page or other Islander-related articles.

* Friday will be a very busy day for me. Islanders-Boston is a noon start so the Friday articles and game preview thread will be combined if I have time to post a blog on it at all. Again look to the page feeders for coverage which always include the game preview and ITV updates.

* Folks around here are really fantastic. I posted this early for release here tomorrow and by mistake put it on the blog now. By the time I pulled it I got two responses so I put it back even though it will get bumped down as more new blog entries go up.

* Thanks for the kind words Tom/B.D and again have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Islander News Articles 11/20:

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/20/2007 12:36:00 AM | | | | | | | | | Comment Here

Newsday: Greg Logan's game article is on how the Islanders battled and earned another one goal win on the strength of their team play. Some hype for DiPietro, Witt, Vasicek and the Islanders does not come from Logan here as most of his questions and comments were about Rozsval's shorthanded goal and Avery's antics.

"We had a two-on-one and I was trying to look for guys from the side, but I got hooked from behind and lost control of the puck," said Vasicek, who got the game-winner Friday in New Jersey. "Everybody seemed to move to the side, so I took the shot and it went in."

Trying to explain the Rangers' difficulty against the Isles, Jagr said, "I think they work together better than other teams."

Newsday: Logan's second article is on how Witt dominates Jagr again and how the Islanders ignored Avery's sideshow.

" ... Sometimes we forget the guys who do the gut work like Richard Park and Brendan Witt," Islanders coach Ted Nolan said. "Brendan does it every game for us. Shutting down Jagr is a tough chore for anybody. He did a tremendous job tonight."

"You want to eliminate his time and space," Witt said of Jagr.

"It seems like we're when it's a one-goal game," Witt said. "That's a good habit to get into. When you feel comfortable when you're one goal up in any situation, it's going to help your confidence."

Newsday: Mark Herrmann's Ranger article is on Avery and how he seems to love his impact on games but the big story may be an actual Radek Martinek quote from a local writer.

"I don't listen to him. Everybody told me, 'Don't listen to him. He's just talk.' I'm not complicated. One ear inside, other ear outside," said the defenseman, giving the Czech version of "in one ear, out the other."

"Really at this point, it's kind of amusing. It's the same stuff over and over again. There's nothing thought-provoking said," Islanders defenseman Andy Sutton said. "Aren't you guys getting sick of writing about it?"

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Note-Steve Zipay had a running blog during the game that gave credit to everything but the New York Islanders for the win. Greg Logan could not be bothered doing a running blog for Islander fans during the game in the only paper with the Islanders blog.

I guess DiPietro outplaying Lundqvist for his one hundredth win is just not a story Newsday wants to write about.

NY Times: Lynn Zisner, story line for the most part was how the Islanders frustrated the Rangers.

“The imperative word for us is smart,” Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro said. “When we play smart and make the right decisions, we’re a successful team.”

“I think we want to win so bad against them, sometimes I think we get a little too white-knuckled,” Rangers center Chris Drury said. “We’ve played them three times now, and in two out of the three, we haven’t played our system, our structure. Ultimately it’s cost us.”

Daily News: Peter Botte's limited space article has quotes from Rick DiPietro on his win and Ted Nolan and his players for their hard work.

We always compliment the goal-scorers, but sometimes we do not compliment the guys who do the gut work," Nolan said.

Daily News: John Dellapina writes about Rick DiPietro's success against the Rangers.

NY Post: The Post of course only sends Larry Brooks and he only does one Ranger centric article without a single Islander quoted. This begs the question why was Dan Martin assigned to an off day article before the four game road trip began if we were not going to see one Post article on the club, even at Msg?

Journal News: Ranger salesman Sam Weinman writes beating the Islanders is not setting the bar very high and writes the Islanders have been a pesky team even though Henrik Lundqvist credited the Islanders.

"We don't really get it," said Henrik Lundqvist, who made 22 saves in the loss. "They've been good. They've been smart and patient. I don't think you can take that away from them. But I think we can prove we're a much better team than we've shown them."

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Mr Weinman should check the standings and be grateful the Rangers have played four more games or the pesky Islanders would likely be in first place and the Rangers the team chasing considering a defenseman is their leading goal scorer on a club that spent close to ninety million on two centers who cannot play on the top line.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio had a blog and quick notebook here
mostly about Kip Brennan, who strained a knee in post game stretching, and he is likely to miss Wednesday's rematch with the Bears at Hershey with some team notables.

New York 2, Rangers 1: DiPietro wins #100

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/20/2007 12:13:00 AM | | Comment Here

Islanders Website: Has the recap of the Islanders 2-1 win Monday at Msg which was Rick DiPietro's one hundredth career win.

"You know coming into these games they're going to be battles," said DiPietro. "Our guys did the dirty work and sacrificed to win. We got the pucks out, blocked shots and cleared rebounds. The penalty kill also worked hard."

"We just seem to get the bounces," said head coach Ted Nolan in response to why the Islanders have the Rangers' number the past two seasons. "We got some clutch scoring from Ruslan and Jo, who has been playing very well recently. And Ricky was Ricky. You need your best players to step up and he's done it all season."

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Full marks to the Islanders for an outstanding effort from top to bottom. The Rangers wanted to win this game as much as the Islanders despite their spin doctors trying to claim anything else.

Nolan put out a game plan the Rangers could not match and as usual Tom Renney was out coached in his own building. Islanders made Lundqvist and their defense go behind their own net and worked them all night in the corners, the outstanding team defensive play did the rest and kept most of the pressure off DiPietro.

Both teams played tough hockey but clearly the Islanders played the smarter hockey and kept finding the open man.

Fedotenko's goal off a set play was an outstanding setup by Mike Comrie as Hossa fell asleep. Vasicek was dominating and besides his fantastic shot for the 2-0 goal was making big plays all over the ice, his kick pass to Satan was a great setup.

Witt, Berard leveled Avery and Drury. Martinek was dominating with and without the puck. Sutton took a few penalties and had one bad stretch but otherwise again was solid. Gervais and Campoli looked fantastic and again played a very smart defensive game with Campoli knowing when to pinch or throw a big hit.

Jagr looked like someone who again wanted no part of Brendan Witt.

The line on the telecast said it best about Avery, all his mail should be delivered to the penalty box. DiPietro should not have hit him but aside from that he was not a factor outside of the sideshow. DiPietro's stick handling had the Rangers chasing the puck all night while Lundqvist looked like a mistake waiting to happen who almost handed the Islanders a goal just before they scored the 2-0 goal.

Islanders should have had another two or three goals. Satan over handled one, Hunter missed from in close and Berard hit the Post. Sillinger line just wore down the Rangers and even if Hilbert cannot score he works very hard. Only downside which is no small story is another shorthanded goal allowed and not much pp pressure.

This Islander team is just faster than other years and do skate as a unit and they are in the box far less. The offense is a concern but you see Bergenheim's energy followed by Fedntenko and then the fourth line starts skating well and they just look like a very tough team to beat and it becomes contagious with someone like Hunter who is a bull in the corners. They don't finish a lot but they have not been outworked often and it's an Islander team defense that seems to be improving with every game.

If Guerin, Comrie, Sillinger and some of the players due to score breakout and produce with this level of defense they are going to be a very good hockey team all season. Guerin brings a lot of smart play but offensively for someone with almost forty goals last season he's been a disappointment.

On the statistical front cannot remember the last time an Islander scored in the first ten seconds of a period unless were talking about Bryan Trottier scoring five seconds into a game against Boston long ago.

Prospects at the crossroads?

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/19/2007 09:56:00 AM | | Comment Here
It's still a little early but there are signs from many of the Islanders prospects that they are simply not improving to a point where they are forcing management to give them a look and recall them and that's not good considering all the time and resouces that have been invested in them over several seasons. Steve Regier is making the best statistical impression outside of Tambellini who's play making skills seem to be improved but who will likely make the NHL for good based on his defense.

Fair or not I'm going by the numbers more than anything. If those who recall Trent Hunter finally was just called up and kept up, he seemed to do worse in the NHL when he was scoring in Bridgeport and better in the NHL when he was called up after struggling in Bridgeport.

In other words sometimes there is no logic.

Last year Ted Nolan did callup Jeremy Colliton, Blake Comeau, Frans Nielsen and Jeff Tambellini on several occasions. A year ago Ted Nolan felt Comeau would absoutely be an NHL player, now he's a negative rating player and he's not producing.

This year with the injury to Jon Sim, Bill Guerin, Bergenheim and Shawn Bates situtation we have seen one callup with any offensive ability and that's Ben Walter who briefly played on the fourth line outside of one quick cameo from Jeff Tambellini. Tim Jackman and Darryl Bootland have been given the opportunities over the prsopects the club has invested years in.

Meanwhile in terms of the numbers, Colliton, Comeau, Nielsen are not producing much in terms of goals. Tambellini has been in somewhat of a slump recently and the Islanders second round pick on defense in Dustin Kohn has been scratched on a few occasions.

When you include the slump Kyle Okposo has been in since he lost a winger on his line (he scored in a loss over the weekend) it's fair to ask the question is the club's youth movement at the crossroads?

Next season with so many pending free agents again for the Islanders these players have to step up and give management reason to think they are part of the long-term answer.

Garth Snow is going to need his first round pick next summer too.

11/19: New York at Rangers 7pm FSN-MSG

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/19/2007 06:10:00 AM | | | Comment Here
Islanders Website/AP: Has tonight's early preview for tonight's game against the Rangers at Msg.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Rangers trap is doing a great job protecting the goaltender and their defenders scored all four goals in the previous game. Islanders offense is having problems finishing, but always put on a very strong showing at Msg.

Botttom line Islanders have to make the Rangers defense work harder in their own end and get some quality shots. Their trap is set to allow low percentage shots. On the defensive end Islanders have been outstanding in the recent games outside of one Brendan Witt turnover. Islanders are also going to have to take the puck at their net and force them into some penalties and then the pp has to generate some goals.

Ted Nolan usually outcoaches Tom Renney in these games and in that department he should have a good game plan ready.