12/3/07

Boston 3, New York 1

New York Islander Fan Central | 12/03/2007 09:36:00 PM

















Islanders Website: Has the recap of tonight's 3-1 loss to the Boston Bruins.

"You just have to stay with it," said captain Bill Guerin. "The good thing is we're not out of it. Everyone has to get better and start producing. We all know how to play in this league and score goals, it's just a matter of fine tuning it and bearing down. With the start that we had, we're no secret anymore. We play hard, but teams are ready for us."

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Not sure what I can write that's much different than most of the recent losses.

Bill Guerin's best contribution was his comment in the post game that maybe teams have figured the Islanders out and they are no longer a surprise. I think he had a good centering pass in the first and one good chance late, aside from that the usual bad angle shots as players skated past him.

The passes and plays are too slow and predictable, the players paid to score cannot finish. Clearly the club is pressing and the more they try the tougher it becomes.

They played a Boston team that looked like they were content to lose the game that did not put much pressure on and just got in front of the Islanders chances because they were easy to read. Again the Islanders did not work to get in front of Tim Thomas often with their thirty four shots which there is no excuse for.

They came out, worked hard and you could see the frustration taking over after they got nothing early and then a bouncing puck finds Glen Murray, who makes a nice
play and finds the upper corner with a perfect shot.

Bergenheim was the best Islander in the first period and almost wrapped one in. Jeff
Tambellini had a good angle chance but that was about it other than a few hits he threw.

Having written that before Satan's chance in the second period did Tim Thomas have to make one good save until the last few minutes when Fedotenko charged the net and then he made a save on Vasicek?

The powerplay strategy was to feed the point and no one crashed the net, easy saves outside of one bad goal given up to Campoli in garbage time. Of course Guerin and Comrie got chances and did nothing with them afterward.

After the game Bill Guerin and Ted Nolan are talking about the Devils struggles, that sounds nice but New Jersey demonstrated a scoring ability when they were losing the Islanders have not shown for thirteen straight games. Isles do not have Gionta, Parise, Langenbrunner or Elias, it's not the same thing at all.

You can see the frustration building. Hunter with a terrible penalty, Comrie taking his nightly bad penalty in the offensive zone. Andy Hilbert showed his best hand-eye coordination of the season and put the puck in the stands for a delay of game and a two man disadvantage.

It was too easy for Boston and frankly the Bruins were almost as bad as the Islanders. They read the passing lanes well and skated but put almost no pressure on DiPietro.

Defense overall was not bad, they blocked a lot of shots in the first. Bergeron gave up the puck for an odd-man rush by Boston before a late offsides whistle saved him in the first peirod. Boston had it's best chances close in late in the first on another Bergeron-Campoli miscommunication. I think Gervais was banged up and got a night off.

Do you really want me to comment on Sutton's whiff and Petteri Nokelainen showing the hands of Gretzky for the 2-0 goal and his first since before his knee injury?
Thought not.

Good thing the official gave the Islanders a break on a third peirod Boston
goal where they lost sight of the puck.

Ok, now the Islanders get out on the road and face teams who will be looking to score goals early to put them out of the game until the Islanders prove otherwise, starting with an Atlanta team that ate them alive Saturday.

Either this club starts scoring or they are going to keep struggling, it's that simple. Tonight was as easy as it get's and they looked lost and frustrated.

Active day at NYI Fan Central

New York Islander Fan Central | 12/03/2007 05:46:00 PM










Busy day at NYI Fan Central today.

Usually I do not like to write that much about it as I experiment with the page and add things in on a trial basis but some things I did today I think our visitors would want to know about.

Here's a recap:

* E-mails were sent today offering NYI Fan Central to be carried by the New York Post and New York Times on their websites. If I get a response I will let everyone know what the folks at both publications told me. I offered to post the blog free or just link to their page. I'm not interested in money or even my name published. I just want to see a blog for the Islanders at these papers to increase the club's exposure.

It will cost these publications nothing and I will just add my pre and post game comments here to those sites. If they are not interested in this blog I suggested adding someone else's Islander blog.

* This blog may or may not have been added to the league's website called Kulak's corner who has a fantastic site. I contacted Paul Kukla last week and asked if he would like to have an Islander blog on his page because they do not seem to have any Islander blogs? I got a response saying he liked this blog a lot and was planning to add it to his site, however at the bottom of his response he told me there was a problem because the blog box has some site called Hockey Buzz as a sponsor that I think engages in rumors that he does not wish to associate with because of it's ownership. I just do not know anything about that site or is it my business and I'm not sure if this blog was added as of today.

* I did reply to Mr Kukla and thanked him for his kind words about this blog and made it clear NYI Fan Central has no affiliation with that website and does not engage in the breaking rumors or news. I'm not even sure what they do so I cannot even guess.

* I opened a New York Islander Center for the World Junior Championships today with links to the International Ice Hockey Federation, team USA and will be expanding on those links as the tournament date comes closer with more coverage just above the prospect center.

* I'm not too sure what a widget or gadget is but I added one for Michael Fornabaio's blog to the Sound Tigers section today as well as one for the NHL.com section. There may be a few repeats but I noticed the NHL feeder and gadget box each had some different content.

US team for WJC to be announced Tuesday

New York Islander Fan Central | 12/03/2007 05:15:00 PM


















Sports Illustrated: Adam Muir does an article on the upcoming 2008 World Junior Championships which begins in the Czech Republic on Dec. 26Th. Mr Muir's article has comments on Islander prospects Kyle Okposo and Rhett Rakhshani. Team USA's 22-man lineup will be revealed live during Tuesday night's Versus telecast of the Red Wings - Canadiens game.

Kyle Okposo (Islanders, eighth overall, 2006): Although he's struggling along with the rest of his Minnesota teammates, this power forward is expected to be the focal point of the American offense.

Rhett Rakhshani (Islanders, 100Th overall, 2006): Don't be put off by the late pick. The smallish winger led all Americans in scoring at their summer evaluation camp and is one of those rare players who seems to make something happen every time he hits the ice.

Bryan Trottier among the smartest ever

New York Islander Fan Central | 12/03/2007 01:02:00 PM
NHL.com: John McGourty gives his list of the smartest player in modern times and selects Bryan Trottier as tenth overall on his list.

Bryan Trottier -- The best skater-without-the-puck after Gretzky and a superior performer with the puck. He was a voracious student of the game and a great leader. Trottier might have had the best peripheral vision of any NHL player. He had an incredible sense of where everyone else on the ice was. He picked at every weakness. Few players could expose opponents, individual and team, as well as Trottier. He won the Calder, Hart and Conn Smythe Trophies, which means he started great, got better and dominated at the highest possible level.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Usual quality work from Mr McGourty top to bottom. Three more Stanley Cups in Pittsburgh and Colorado also speak to Bryan Trottier's contribution in a peripheral role helping players. Islanders are very fortunate to have him on the current staff.

Islanders need sprint to survive marathon

New York Islander Fan Central | 12/03/2007 12:10:00 PM
Point Blank: Chris Botta in his blog makes a some good points on an NHL season being a marathon and that after the win against Ottawa the club was 9-4-1 over fourteen games. Now they go into the Bruins game tonight 2-7 in their last nine games after losing Saturday. Mr Botta also points out Carolina and Tampa Bay proved in their Cup years, the key is how your team comes together for the home stretch.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
All fair and reasonable points, however when a team shows a weakness where they score two goals or less in twelve straight games with a captain making close to five million who has not had an assist since October 10th, there is a problem that goes beyond the record win or lose.

Like Mr Botta I enjoy the wins and the great defense this club has shown, it's a great long-term sign and without a doubt the team respects it's coach/captain and seem to like one another a lot, but the alarming lack of scoring for this long also is a terrible sign at present and moving forward.

If the Islanders defeated the Rangers and Atlanta 2-1, I would be asking the same tough questions just as I did when through most of the season because this is about a team coming together to be able to win come playoff time and show the character past teams have not shown.

I do the post games reviews here with my comments. I find myself constantly writing I'll take the two points and move on but in the end I want to see a team showing signs it's built to win long-term come playoff time. That was the idea behind making the decisions regarding the free agents the club decided not to resign.

Sometimes you have to show the ability to win a high scoring game. The Islanders have not only failed to do that but are producing at near record low numbers in terms of offense overall on the season. Right now the team defense and goaltending is keeping them in the marathon, but to stay in it, they have to start scoring and show this team is built for the long-term.

Too many night's this team needs a good thirty minutes before they start scoring.

It's time to see some sprinting from the opening minute.

12/3: New York vs Boston FSN 7pm

New York Islander Fan Central | 12/03/2007 10:52:00 AM
Islanders Website/AP: Has tonight's early preview against the Boston Bruins.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Boston lost 4-1 at Tampa Bay on Saturday. Goalie Tim Thomas allowed four goals on 28 shots, but still leads the NHL with a .936 save percentage. Marc Savard, who enters tonight with a nine-game scoring streak, leads the NHL in assists (25) . . . Aaron Ward will be unavailable. He injured his right ankle during the second period Saturday and flew back to Boston yesterday.

From the Islander side of things either they start scoring or they get back to playing the same defense that allowed them to play close to five hundred during this twelve game stretch and hope for the best. Jeff Tambellini is not going to bail out this teams scoring problems, that is something they have to do as a group. I like the line with Bergenheim, hate Guerin going near Vasieck because he's producing well above expectations.

Islanders again have to scratch a second defender to go with Meyer or sit down a forward. Bates is out with a hip injury.

Either way a real road trip starts on Wednesday with no place to hide unless this club starts scoring.

Islander News Articles 12/3:

New York Islander Fan Central | 12/03/2007 09:50:00 AM
Newsday: Erik Boland has the coverage on Jeff Tambellini's recall with comments from Ted Nolan on why he made a change and what he's planning to do with the lines.

"Right now I need to step in and show that I can play and really assert myself in this league and with this team," Tambellini said. "I need to show this coaching staff that they can rely on me for a full season. I'm thinking about nothing else but that, really making my own stamp on this team."

12/2/07

Jeff Tambellini Recalled, Gm Snow comments

New York Islander Fan Central | 12/02/2007 05:36:00 PM









Islanders Website: & Newsday: Greg Logan updated his blog late Sunday afternoon and reported Jeff Tambellini has been recalled from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and practiced on a line with Mike Comrie and Miroslav Satan Sunday.

Mr Logan speculates Tambellini has to step up and produce now or it could be his final chance. He also talked about the Islanders cap situation, possible trades, the current unsigned players, the club's monitoring of Kyle Okposo with several comments from general manager Garth Snow on a variety of subjects.

From NYI.com:
"Miro and Mike are two-world class players," Tambellini said after practice. "This is an opportunity I need to take advantage of to prove I belong in the NHL on a regular basis."

Fedotenko - Vasicek - Guerin
Bergenheim - Sillinger - Hunter
Tambellini - Comrie - Satan
Simon - Park - Hilbert


From Greg Logan's Newsday blog:
“Our goal is to get all our players playing up to their capabilities,” Snow said. “Scoring has been more of an issue for people from the outside than it is on the inside for us. If you take a club like New Jersey, they had a tremendous amount of success. They scored limited goals, but they played well in their own end and made up with defense and goals-against.”

“I love the way we’re playing defensively and with a team-oriented game. When our players who can put the puck in the net find their groove, guys will find the back of the net. We said last year that we believed in the guys in the locker room, and when you show that belief in the players that they can succeed, they will put the puck in the net.”

“I’ll be visiting Kyle in the next few weeks,” Snow said. “We’ve had Bryan Trottier, Kenny Morrow and Steve Webb from our staff see him on a regular basis and talk to him on the phone. Things aren’t going to go perfect the whole season. He’s not putting up the points, but he’s playing a well-rounded game and he looks like a man playing with boys. We think very highly of him.” Asked if he has considered including Okposo in trade discussions, Snow was emphatic. “No, I haven’t,” Snow said, “nor do I intend to.”


Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio's blog reports Kip Brennan's fight Saturday already matches the total numbers of fights Bridgeport had all of last season.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Islanders are taking a chance here not in recalling Tambellini but in breaking up the chemistry Vasicek has had with Satan. To expect an AHL player to jump start an NHL offense struggling to this degree is not realistic. We'll see if the line changes work. I really like Bergenheim with Sillinger and Trent Hunter.

So what is New York Islander Fan Central About?

New York Islander Fan Central | 12/02/2007 12:08:00 PM







I thought on this snowy Sunday in New York today would be a good time to write about what New York Islander Fan Central is about and why I am doing a blog.

It's not the first time I have written about this but today I plan to expand my answers a bit on the subject.

I'm doing a blog because I am a life-long Islander fan who has seen the club play hockey from as far back as it's inception with a passion and background on the club to where I can speak from long experience as a fan I can bring perspective that is of value.

I remember the Kate Smith game in 1975 being televised to the current day's telecasts on FSN. I have seen the best of the New York Islanders, the worst of the teams history and everything in between. I have owned my own mailing list for seven years on yahoo called Islander-Sound Tigers, was prospect editor at Hockey's Future for three years and moderated their message board for five years. I have a strong cyberspace background on what's been written about the club as well as my own perspective over the years regarding the club and the media covering it.

Unlike the media covering our games these updates will be passionate about the team and why the New York Islander games are of such importance to fans all over the
Tri-State area and across North America.

I feel I can present insights and background on the club, the games and the coverage that I feel are lacking in the cyberspace communities. It also seems few websites present daily coverage of news/website articles on the Islanders and Sound Tigers along with anything that is featured on the club on a daily basis year-round including a mix of NHL related subjects.

This is also a blog that will hold the media's coverage and perspective under the spotlight and ask questions about their work and what motivates them.

This is not a blog in the Islanders blog box that will attend games or interview players. I felt from the beginning that was not to my best skills and I should not take up a spot that should be for fans who are interested in a career in hockey journalism. The Islanders Chris Botta understood this and added my blog after the season started. This is not a blog for me to make a name for myself or to become a journalist, it's a blog to help the New York Islanders in the cyberspace community. It will be among the most active in terms of updates, pull no punches on the club whether it's positive or critical and it will be done from the fan perspective.

New York Islander Fan Central is not interested in breaking news, scoops or gossip regarding trade rumors or breaking news for our fans. My promise to the readers is to be last to confirm a news story but always correct with what's being posted here so you are provided with quality information when you visit this site.

If a rumor appears with a credible media source attached to it, it will be posted here for discussion. As a blogger I am not a credible media source nor will I pretend to be because that's not fair to you.

I'm only interested in quality, not quantity here. I feel there is enough hockey to post or discuss without that. I think it's fair to say at this point what you see here is what you will continue to get here.

It goes without writing it again I am thrilled with all the e-mails and support for this blog and all the folks who have visited in such a short time and my thanks to everyone.

Was naming Bill Guerin captain a mistake?

New York Islander Fan Central | 12/02/2007 10:47:00 AM
It was mentioned during the telecast last night Bill Guerin has not had an assist since October 10th and I thought it was a mistake. Turns out it was absolutely correct here.

I have no doubt Bill Guerin does all he can behind the scenes and more to help the club but as Bill Guerin said himself this is about what players do when the puck drops. To this point he is giving this team almost nothing in games. This begs the question was it a mistake to name a player they just signed captain or is Guerin's off ice leadership more important than his production ?

I'm not sure what else Ted Nolan can do to jump start the captain's game. He's moved Guerin to the third line with Mike Sillinger, he has had him on the first like with Mike Comrie most of the season and last night we saw him on the second line with Josef Vasicek who looked far less visible against Atlanta and he has a primary role on the struggling power play. That's all three right wing spots the coach can use him at to get him going offensively and it's not working.

A few things have to be pointed out here in defense of Bill Guerin:
* He has never been a team captain in his entire career.
* He has played in the Western Conference since 2002-03.
* In Dallas, San Jose he had much stronger offense to where he was a support player.
* All the talk about how much this team likes one another and works hard is a byproduct of the team captain's efforts behind the scenes.

Neither one of those items are small details and begs the question is being captain off the ice taking a toll on the ice?

Going from what has traditionally been a more wide open conference on teams with far more primary offensive scoring where he had less lockeroom responsibility to the most qualified right wing offensive talent on the roster and being a captain is asking a lot combined with more defensive play is required on a team playing so many one goal games.

He had five assists in the opening weekend against Buffalo, one on October 10th that's almost two full months without helping set up a single goal.

Ted Nolan and Garth Snow are out of options here. They are not removing him as captain. If his offensive struggles continue interest will be low for him at the trade deadline if the club is out of contention because he is signed for next season at close to five million dollars. My guess is unless he starts contributing this club will be out of contention.

Lot's of questions, no easy answers.

Islander News Articles 12/2:

New York Islander Fan Central | 12/02/2007 08:26:00 AM
Newsday: Greg Logan's article was on the club not supporting Wade Dubielewicz and his efforts in the loss to Atlanta with comments from Dubie, Brendan Witt and Bill Guerin.

"It's tough to calm yourself down when you only get a chance to play once in a while and you want to impress the guys and the coaching staff so they can feel comfortable playing you again."

"Teddy only asks that we show up and play together," captain Bill Guerin said. "None of that happened tonight, and he got upset. They picked us apart, but we let them. It wasn't Dubie's fault."


Newsday: Greg Logan also has an article on Shawn Bates injury, Bergeheim's role, Vasicek's performance and Andy Sutton on his former team.

"It's always tough to play three, four and five minutes and being scratched," said Bergenheim, who is healthy now. "But we're playing pretty good as a team, which is the most important thing. I want to be a bigger part of the team, but sometimes, a young player has to be patient."


Atlanta Journal Constitution: Craig Constance has a feature on Andy Sutton with comments from Bryan Berard on playing with the Islanders.

NY Post: Apparently Dan Martin's PSAL beat was more important to the Post sports editor. Mike Puma is assigned to write about the Islanders lose to Atlanta with comments from Dubieiewicz, Sillinger and Guerin.

"We're getting a lot of outside chances," center Mike Sillinger said. "We're not getting a lot of second and third chances, and that's how you score in this league."


NY Post: Larry Brooks latest Islander cheap shot was to mock Radek Martinek in print for complaining about Ryan Hollweg trying to pull out his stitches, which he denied.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Funny how Mr Brooks defended Shanahan's tantrums last year over officiating to the point he was ready to go march in front of Bettman's office for him and was out shopping for a tree to hang former Ranger Chris Simon from after he hit Hollewig, but Martinek should keep quiet about someone trying to pull out his stitches?

Terrible coverage from the Post and now this from a paper that has Mark Everson writing about the Devils every day?

Daily News: Peter Botte's space was extremely limited today while John Dellapina did a second story that was two parts on Brendan Shanahan after full game coverage.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio reports Charles Wang was up in Shelton Saturday morning, told the club to have fun and has a recap of the Sound Tigers fun shootout win over Lowell Saturday. Dustin
Kohn was a healthy scratch.

"We're playing pretty desperate right now," Tambellini said. "We're trying to do everything we can to win games. We're at a breaking point in the season where we've got to turn it around or there may be changes."

"It was exciting to see 60 relentless, fun minutes," said goalie Mike Morrison, victimized by two funny bounces. "It was great to see. Once we got going, the guys were having so much fun."


NYI Fan Central Comments:
It's not unusual to read articles where Mr Wang visits Bridgeport, he attends some games and on occasion has taken the team out to dinner but I wonder if one of those changes Tambellini was referring to was Jack Capuano as head coach. That may be incorrect on my part but the way this club has performed with this level of talent it should be much better, maybe Saturday was a start.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio's second article was a feature on Matt Spiller who is looking to return to the NHL and is signed to an Islander contract.

Lowell Sun: Has the coverage of the New Jersey Devils affiliate in the loss to Bridgeport.

12/1/07

Bridgeport 4, Lowell 3 shootout

New York Islander Fan Central | 12/01/2007 10:55:00 PM









AHL.com: Reports the Bridgeport Sound Tigers took fifty seven shots and still needed a shootout to defeat the Lowell Devils 4-3 at home Saturday. Bridgeport was trailing in the third period before Jeff Tambellini tied the score. Ben Walter and Joe Rullier had the other Bridgeport goals.

Outside of Kip Brennan, every Sound Tiger forward recorded three shots. Ben Walter had nine, Tambellini six.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio already has a blog on the game.

Atlanta 4, New York 0

New York Islander Fan Central | 12/01/2007 09:52:00 PM





Islanders website: Has tonight's recap of the 4-0 loss to the Atlanta Thrashers.

"We're so spread out, we don't give ourselves a chance to play together," Islanders captain Bill Guerin said. "It's tough for a goalie to play 5-on-0."

"It's tough, Dubielewicz said. "It just feels like we got behind the 8-ball, and I got rattled out there a bit."

"I thought we would be ready to play," Islanders coach Ted Nolan said. "I was wrong. We just weren't prepared right from the beginning. We underestimated their team speed. They really took it to us the first 5-10 minutes of the game."


NYI Fan Central Comments:
No excuses for this kind of effort at all and it has to go on the head coach and the team captain.

Alexei Yashin were producing like Guerin the media would be all over him, just because Guerin fills the quote books he cannot get a pass for his lack of production or his failure to work to produce quality chances.

Outside of a few individual performances this team mailed it in top to bottom tonight and displayed the look of a club that simply cannot produce enough to remain competitive when they fall behind early. Kari Lehtonen barely had to break a sweat in this game with only a few descent individual shots by Bergenheim and a few chances late. Islanders played like a team finished before the puck even dropped tonight or took Atlanta for granted and when they fell behind simply played like it was over. Sutton tried to pick a fight or two, Atlanta fought him once but they did not have to bother.

That was a club that had lost three in a row against a goaltender with zero wins on the season who had just been recalled. The Islanders drew one power play until the third period and lost most of the battles for the puck in the offensive zone against a team that is weak on the defensive side. When the Islanders were not losing the battles in the offensive end of the ice handily. Atlanta was setting up behind the defense and easily could have had another three or four goals with the breakaways they were producing.

I put none of the blame on Dubie outside of the 4-0 goal. He was hung out to dry by his team. Kovalchuk made a great move on Martinek and he had no chance. After that Sutton did not have Boulton who is no scorer on a rebound, another breakaway goal against where Hilbert could not contain his man.

Dubie was solid the final two periods, had very little help and Atlanta put it into cruise control while Comrie did nothing but take retaliation penalties.

Losing is one thing, that happens. Twelve games with two goals or less and this poor an effort is a major problem. This captain makes five million dollars and he cannot create a goal for this team and looks lost on the power play outside of poor peripheral chances like he's skating in mud and this is with virtually no travel to this point.

All they can do is look to Boston and see what happens with Satan. Islanders as close as they were to first place Thursday are much closer to last place now.

Something has to give with this offense, teams are going to follow Atlanta's plan here. First period goals for this team are so few and far between it almost demands the opposition go after them early and see if they will fold.

Would have been nice to see some player interviews after this loss.

Newsday: Greg Logan had a late blog before the game and reported Shawn Bates suffered a hip injury and could be out for a while.

Ken Campbell's second Islander cheapshot

New York Islander Fan Central | 12/01/2007 04:46:00 PM
Ken Campbell must be very upset at the New York Islanders.

First he takes an uncalled dig at them in the hockey news a few days ago here and writes let teams like the Islanders hire inexperienced general managers that's not for high-stakes Toronto, now he does an article on the Islanders win against Ottawa here while claiming the Islanders sat back in the third period and did not even try to create any offense despite former goaltender Glenn Healey crediting the Isles for their play. Campbell also blames the teams style of play for the low attendance.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
If Ken Campbell watched the third period he saw Ottawa tie the game 1-1 early in the period before the Islanders took the lead again a few minutes later. Islanders had chances after that and were shorthanded when Sutton puck the puck in the stands.

What did the Islanders do to Ken Campbell to have him cheapshot them like this within a few days or was he personally offended the Islanders beat the Senators?
Late in that game both teams were trading chances to a point I was wondering why are the defenders jumping in so the Senators could counter with an odd-man rush with a one goal lead?

Healy is usually critical of the Islanders and even he praised their efforts.

New York vs Atlanta 7pm FSN

New York Islander Fan Central | 12/01/2007 10:15:00 AM
Islanders Website/AP: Has tonight's early preview against the Atlanta Thrashers.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
A lot of speculation across the board going into this game for both clubs. Kari Lehtonen either plays tonight or tomorrow against the Devils, the Thrashers have lost three straight games and the jump from the coaching change seems to be fading so they will be a desperate team looking to score early and often to put pressure on the Isles.

From Ted Nolan's comments on ITV he is considering Dubielewicz for this game but even with a rest the upcoming schedule is very tough. Does the coach continue to use Bergeron and Berard and go with ten forwards or does Sean Bergenheim return to the lineup? Bergeron and Berard have both played well on defense in the recent games, Bergenheim seems the best long-term answer as a top six forward, despite Richard Park's hard work but will have to earn his minutes to be used in that role again.

Ilya Kovalchuk is the league's first player to reach 20 goals and has scored six of the Thrashers' 17 goals over the last seven games so he will be very tough to match up against. Bill Guerin has to finish some plays, get to the front of the net along with most of the forwards. It's time for the Islanders to finally have a break out offensive game because no club can survive much longer scoring two goals or less a game without going into a long losing streak.

No easy solutions for Ted Nolan here. These are professional players and have to produce or they need other players. I know Shawn Bates and Andy Hilbert are signed through next season but if Ben Walter, Tambellini, Blake Comeau and Bergenheim have more talent and potential it's time to take a chance and hopefully they can play defense at this level, even if it's not as good as Hilbert plays defense or how hard he works in the corners.

Jeff Tambellini seems to have hit a wall in Bridgeport on a struggling club, he is taking penalties down there and he is a minus player far too often. Maybe they need to give him minutes here now for better or worse.

Trent Hunter would always come up here after playing well in Bridgeport, struggle and go back down, but finally the organization decided to pull him out of Bridgeport where he was struggling at the time and give him a full time role and it worked.

Lot's of questions, the schedule provides no easy answers and for the Islanders to win tonight they have to generate some goals and some pressure to force mistakes by the opposition. No doubt Andy Sutton will want to make an impression against his old team tonight.

Islander News Articles 12/1:

New York Islander Fan Central | 12/01/2007 08:41:00 AM
Newsday: Greg Logan's article is about Ted Nolan considering calling up Jeff Tambellini for more offense, Hilbert's role not changing, Wade Dubielewicz possibly getting a start tonight and Sean Bergenheim returning to the lineup with the question of dressing seven defenders.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Newsday did not even put this article in the Queens edition of the newspaper today which is a disgrace. Folks do not even know there is a game unless they own a computer despite all the advertising the club does in the paper.

NY Times: Dave Caldwell's feature is on Islander hockey games now being broad casted in Mandarin and the club's continued effort to reach out to the Chinese market as well as the logistics in covering a hockey game for Alex Peng and Justin Chang, the club's television announcers.

“I care very, very deeply about China and I visit regularly,” Wang said. “With the Islanders, we have the resources, the contacts, and, most important, the passion and dedication, to make an impact.”

“While not a traditional hockey market, it’s great that someone with the relationships and expertise that Charles has is trying to create some preliminary interest,” N.H.L. Commissioner Gary Bettman said.


NYI Fan Central Comments:
Very good article and there is a large untapped demographic here that could help increase the club's exposure. Just click on your SAP feature and you will hear the Islander telecast in Mandarin against Atlanta tonight. Maybe we can get the Times to cover the game in any language which seems a much tougher task for Mr Wang and Gary Bettman.

Atlanta Journal Constitution: Carroll Rogers reports Thrashers goaltender Kari Lehtonen has returned from a groin injury and could start tonight against the Islanders. Atlanta is on a three game losing streak, have back to back games and will visit the Devils Sunday.

Sound Tigers Website: Has the recap of Friday's 4-0 loss to the Binghampton Senators.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio's game article is on Joey MacDonald getting into the first fight for a Sound Tigers goalie in six years, the powerplays the club drew and the lack of production and has a blog on the game here.

"We were just not ready to start the game," Bridgeport coach Jack Capuano said. "They came out hard, and we came out not skating, not moving our feet.... We came out in the second and third and played good hockey."

"We got chances," Jeff Tambellini said about the power play. "It's a setup that's going to work. It's up to us to get shots through and get to the net."


Press & Sun Bulletin: Michael Sharp has the Senators centric coverage on their win.

National Post: Reports the Islanders were one of four teams to vote against the schedule changes approved for next season.

11/30/07

Friday Night Greg Logan blog:

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/30/2007 07:19:00 PM
Newsday: Greg Logan updated his blog earlier tonight about the scoring problems on the powerplay and possible changes to the unit, that the club may continue to dress seven defenders, Radek Martinek wanting to play against the Rangers and some possible lineup changes beyond the Altanta game.

“We’re going to change it up a little bit, maybe use Miro a little more on the half-wall,” Nolan said. “He’s very intelligent with the puck, and he loves to attack the net.”

“We’ve got to get pucks to the net, get traffic and create some opportunities,” Nolan said.


NYI Fan Central Comments:
For those curious Jeff Tambellini, Ben Walter, Jeremy Colliton, Blake Comeau and Frans Nielsen are all in the Sound Tigers lineup against Binghampton with Bootland, Jackman and Steve Regier here.

At this point in the first Bridgeport trails 1-0 and is being outshot 12-1.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette & Several credible media sources: Dave Molinary talks about Forward Mark Recchi who has been a healthy scratch for several games because of lack of production and who's future status with the club seems to be up in the air.

Mr Botta, call the NYC sports editors again.

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/30/2007 03:43:00 PM
New York Observer: John Koblin has a fascinating article to me about life covering Madison Square Garden's franchise team with quotes from several of the folks who used to cover the New York Islander beat (Alan Hahn, Marc Berman) and the Garden's politics with reporters.

“I think it’s fair to say that Jim [Dolan] is aware of, and a part of, the shaping of the media policy,” said Barry Watkins, the senior vice president of communications for the Garden. >Garden policy has meant that before and after every game, there is a media relations official—a minder, really—with a BlackBerry in hand who furiously types away while listening to reporters’ conversations. The notes that the official takes are then e-mailed up the chain of command.

“It’s Madison Square Garden, it’s New York City, it should be one of the top beats in New York,” said Newsday beat reporter Alan Hahn.

Instead: “It’s maddening. What it should be and what it is—it’s a shame.”

“Some of the things they practice here are completely against what you’d expect a normal team to do,” said Mr. Hahn, a second-year reporter on the beat who said that he now misses his old job as a hockey reporter covering the provincial New York Islanders. “They come up with things all the time. There’s zero access to players. They would rather you don’t even write.”

“I guess it doesn’t matter what they do to us, the beat guys,” observed Mr. Hahn. “But you’d think they care a little more about presentation when other reporters come to town. They don’t.”


“I’m in shock now,” said Mr. Berman. “The sexual harassment trial was bad enough, and then to have a November like this, when you’re a national joke, for someone covering the team it’s depressing ’cause you want to write positive stuff. Soon the readers aren’t going to care anymore.” His voice got quiet. “In December, who’s gonna read my stories?”


NYI Fan Central Comments:
Some may ask why is this about the New York Islanders?

Msg as everyone knows owns the Islanders, Devils and Buffalo Sabres broadcast rights and FSN. If they control the print media people this much I can only imagine how tough it is on the paid employees hired to call games.

This is the same Garden controlling the hockey spin coming from the Ranger writers in the local papers. No wonder Larry Brooks had to do a public back step recently after he was critical of Brendan Shanahan and the over the top defending by John Dellapina for Sean Avery who can fight his own battles.

I get the impression from his comments over the years Mr Botta works very hard to fight the sports editors for Islander coverage and does all he can. This is an opportunity to once again ask the city sports editors and even the publisher what it will take for more Islander coverage and some blogs in the city papers as well as Westchester and New Jersey. No doubt the Islanders will allow all the access the media wants without the political climate Msg is apparently placing on it's beat writers considering it has bloggers in it's lockeroom because the club needs more coverage.

It's an opportunity for New York Islander Hockey to expand it's coverage and get more folks attending games by reading about them. As Mr Botta wrote recently we want the Daily News, we need the Daily News.

New York Islanders also want and need the Times, Post, Sun, Ganette, SI Advance, Newark Star Ledger, and the club needs to reach out to it's tri-state area fanbase and tone down the Long Island mantra placed on everything which does not help coverage in New York City where a percentage of the fan base lives.

If the Islander p.r department hase to drive into Manhattan and do a face to face sitdown with Leon Carver and the Daily News publisher if necessary to improve the coverage that's what has to be done. Then a trip the Post publisher followed by one to the New York Times, a stop over at the New York Sun, followed by a stop at the SI Advance, Newark Star Ledger before a trip to the Westchester Ganette.

Worst they can say is no, right?

Fascinating stuff from the beat writers and the garden because what I just read was unprecedented from the collective beatwriters who usually are in competiton with one another.

As for Alan Hahn, I wonder if he misses Alexei Yashin now?

Impress me Colin Campbell

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/30/2007 12:31:00 PM


If Colin Campbell is really interested in preventing injuries it's hits like this he has to give out suspensions for and set a precedent. Orr got four minutes for this, he clearly he was going for Comrie's head with his elbow and just missed his jaw.

The league should review it. If Comrie had to be carried off he would have been ejected and then we would have seen Campbell do something. And if it were Comrie doing it to Orr the same precedent has to be set. Injury or not Colin Campbell has to hold players accountable for actions like this, not just when the Flyers injure players on the Boston Bruins.

Sure seemed like Hollweg was going after Martinek's stitches. Billy Jaffe is a former player he knows when someone is trying to go after a players injury. Howie Rose has seen enough hockey to know immediately when it's intentional and said it also during the telecast.

I'm sure folks by now know Howie Rose and Billy Jaffe are paid Msg employees, they do not work for the Islanders.

NYI Fan Central Update: Poll results Q & A

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/30/2007 09:53:00 AM









Thanks to everyone who voted in a five day poll on the biggest concern regarding the Islanders:
Lack of balanced scoring 9 (90%)
Special Teams 2 (20%)
Injuries 0 (0%)
Team Defense 0 (0%)
Roster Depth 1 (10%)
Schedule 2 (20%)

New poll will be up shortly.

Blog notables:

* I took down the hand written schedule and instead went with the NHL gadget box that displays an Islander calender with the upcoming games, news and a calender with the games highlighted to add to the scoreboard posted at the top of the page.

* An NHL search engine was added to the page within the last week.

* I am officially cutting out the tags for writers and publications in most instances. Writers and their publications are credited properly in each blog entry anyway and there is just not enough space in the tag feature and the idea is to provide a reference for who the articles are about.

* The fantasy section is up on a trial basis but does a good job with current updates on Islander players. So far I like what I see from it's feeder.

* Problem with a video center is occasionally some non-hockey news will filter into it. If some luxury apartments rented by Islander players filter into it there is not much I can do there.

* As for the latest Q & A from questions hitting the mailbox: nyifancentral@yahoo.com
for those who do not want to respond on the blog or board.


Q: How about Islander fans writing to the publisher of the NY Post that we will boycott the paper because of the lack of coverage of the Islanders. I usually read that paper but I am stopping during the hockey season and reading Newsday.

A: I feel your pain and agree completely. I have suggested the same thing and have not purchased a single New York Post and all you can do is vote with your wallet and demand change which I have done.

It's insulting the Devils and Rangers get full daily coverage in that paper while Dan Martin does small articles on days his PSAL beat does not get in the way. Mr Martin works where his editor tells him to but since Evan Grossman left for the NHL a full time replacement has not been found nor does the Post seem interested in bothering to find one. Part of what I do here is hold the media under the spotlight but I cannot do it every single day. No excuse for the Post not assigning a full time daily beat writer (home and road games) and a blogger for their publication.

Q: Are there any bars where Isles fans meet up before games at the garden?
A: I'm not really sure if there is a select meeting place, but given a strong Islander fan turnout at Msg, I'm sure there are several. I do not want to mislead you here and give you a specific place because I could be wrong and that would not be fair to you. The recent Msg games I have gone to have been directly from work or home.

Finally, I received an e-mail today asking me to be a guest Saturday on an excellent local hockey radio show called Hockey Night on Long Island here which got a write up in Newsday with Neil Best recently here hosted by Alex Silverman and Steve Grill.

Unfortunately I am not going to be around tomorrow afternoon. My thanks to Alex and Steve for their very kind invitation and keep up the great work. I do think you have touched upon something badly needed in the New York Islander Fan Community. I have listed to this show, called in once and they do an outstanding job discussing Islander Hockey.

Hockey Night on Long Island is one of the few featured feeds at New York Islander Fan Central along with an outstanding blog called Tom Liodice's Tiger Tracks and Islanders Esoteric which is an excellent stat and information blog. Our message board features game threads and Mr Prospects, who does an outstanding job providing prospect updates.

Schedule changes for next season approved

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/30/2007 07:43:00 AM
TSN.ca/several sources: Confirm the NHL has approved a scheduling format that will have each team play 24 divisional games, 40 in-conference matchups, 15 games against non-conference teams and three wild card games against out of conference teams.

"Every team will play every other team at least once," commissioner Gary Bettman told reporters after the day's Board of Governors meetings.

"And we did it notwithstanding that this is likely to be the third year in a row with record attendance and the fact that divisional games are better attended than any others we did want to be responsive to the fans."


NYI Fan Central Comments:
Right move by the league. I'm sick of seeing the same four teams in the division this much and as a fan of the entire league it's tough to notice the other conference when you do not play teams for three years in some cases. Islanders problems are their own in terms of attendance and are doing what they can to get folks into the building in a media market that has no real interest in hockey because of the over saturation of the other sports, specifically baseball because that's where the advertising revenue is for the newspapers.

Islander News Articles 11/30:

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/30/2007 06:40:00 AM
Newsday: Greg Logan's article is on the Islanders loss, Ryan Hollweg's attempt to pull at Radek Martinek's stitches with a glove in his face and the teams scoring problems on the powerplay.

"He came and said he would take my stitches out," Martinek said. "It was stupid." He said Hollweg managed to get a glove on the wounded area but did no damage.

Asked if he'd experienced anything like that with another player, Martinek said, "Never, never. He could show a little respect, but he didn't. I cannot respect him."


Newsday: Greg Logan's article was on Ted Nolan's choice of
dressing seven defenders and scratching Sean Bergenheim while moving Richard Park to the first line.

Newsday: Steve Zipay has the Ranger centric coverage.

NY Times: Lynn Zinser Ranger centric coverage has Ryan Hollweg's comments.

“There were three guys all over Orrsie, and he was going in there,” Hollweg said. “I might have face washed him, but I didn’t try to pull his stitches out.”

Daily News: John Dellapina's Ranger centric article talks about the Islanders having to play five games in eight days and how bad Henrik Lundqvist wanted to win.

"We wanted this one badly," goaltender Henrik Lundqvist said. "You don't want to go 0-4 against a division team - another New York team. We approached this game as a really big one."

Daily News: Peter Botte's limited space article is on Hollweg-Martinek with comments from Ted Nolan, Hilbert missing the open net in the third period and the schedule catching up with the Islanders.

"Give Marty a lot of credit, playing with an injury like that," Nolan said of Martinek, who had been sliced by a skate blade during an awkward collision Wednesday against Ottawa. "In this game, you have to have some respect. When a guy like Hollweg tries to scratch open a cut on somebody's face, it's not very professional and not a very classy thing to do."

"It's just one of those that have to be put in," Nolan said. "I wasn't a great goal-scorer when I played, but I'm quite sure I could put that one in."


NY Post: Dan Martin's very limited space for the Islanders today was only about Hollweg-Martinek.

NY Post: Larry Brooks Ranger article is posted on the Islander page, a lot of cheer leading for one win against a team playing it's fifth game in seven days but Straka was a factor for the Rangers.

NY Post: Instead of proper Islander coverage Jay Greenberg talks about the big name differences between both clubs and ignores the fact the Islanders were playing a fifth game in seven days and still could have won if they did not miss an open net.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
This is what you get when Jay Greenberg does not cover Islander hockey, a lot of misconceptions and of course some history about Ryan Smyth and Jason Blake to make up for any current information. If this was a statement win by the Rangers which seems to be his message, the statement is their name players barely got past a tired
team and still forced them into several early shorthanded situations.

Journal News: Sam Weinman has the Ranger centric coverage on their win against the Islanders. Paul Mara was injured on a Trent Hunter hit in the third peirod that did not look good.

Ct Post:: Michael Fornabaio's Friday is on the Johnson brothers, Gregg with the Sound Tigers and Keith with the Utah Grizzlies and tonight's game at Binghampton.

Bridgeport Sound Tigers at Binghamton Senators:
WHEN — Tonight, 7:05
WHERE — Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena, Binghamton, N.Y..
ON THE AIR — No radio; Webcast and B2 Networks Internet pay-per-view at www.soundtigers.com

Press & Sun Bulletin: Michael Sharp an update on the Binghampton Senators, with former Sound Tiger Justin Mapletoft, who face Bridgeport tonight.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
It's always fun on days like this seeing the passion and spin in the media by the life-long Ranger fans with jobs reporting hockey coverage and as I have written several times Greg Logan or anyone is not obligated to be an Islander fan because they cover the club in a newspaper. I read something recently and I agree with it completely on days like today.

Sadly what much of us New Yorkers believe is what the NY media machine wants us to believe, but somewhere in there lies the truth.


Unfortunately in my perspective there are no Islander fans covering this team in any paper, Newsday included. Cannot make writers be fans of a team just because they are assigned to write about it for a living.

Rangers 4, New York 2

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/30/2007 06:19:00 AM










Islanders Website: Has the recap of last night's 4-2 loss to the Rangers.

"When you're tired you don't make the best decisions," said head coach Ted Nolan, noting the team had played three games in four nights. "We'll get some rest and get back to it."

The Islanders took a 2-1 lead, 6:20 into the second period on Drury's power play goal, and did not relinquish the lead. The Rangers scored two power play goals – both in the second period, taking advantage of two turnovers in the Islanders' defensive zone.

"We gave them those two power play goals," said Nolan. "We didn't make them earn the goals. There were two situations where we didn't clear the puck down when we had it. Then they score. Those are a couple of mental things that hopefully can be corrected."

"The biggest thing is our power play," said a frustrated Bill Guerin. "Our power play has failed us for way too long. Things have to change. We're scoring most of our goals even strength. Two even-strength goals a game is pretty good. We put in one or two on the power play and it makes a big difference."


NYI Fan Central Comments:
I know it's five games in seven days, but the Islanders have to finish their chances and make the power play work because they cannot expect to win or get points with two goals a game for eleven games in a row. Andy Hilbert has to score the tying goal and put all the pressure on the Rangers and force them out of their trap.

Islanders did what they they could, hung in and clearly they were tired in the third and did not clear the puck a few times shorthanded in the second. Comrie played with a nice edge to his game and Martinek made a nice play to get him the puck, Guerin cannot hit the net right now. Hunter had a few chances and some hits. Simon's penalties are not helping. Park almost finished but Bergenheim's skills were perfect for tonight's game and would have been my pick over Bates.

Straka's return was a big difference for the Rangers and their team had the extra step, especially after the first period. DiPietro played well but his defense struggled in the second.

If the Islanders were scoring more than two goals a game this would be no big deal, but eleven games in a row, something has to give. The hard work is there, not the goals.

Cannot win them all against the Rangers who finished their chances and deserve high marks for their effort, but this was a winnable game for the Islanders.

11/29/07

11/29: New York at Rangers 7pm FSN/Msg

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/29/2007 09:37:00 AM
Islanders Website/AP: Has tonight's pregame against the Rangers at Msg.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Last night's game was a taxing game for the Islanders, especially in the third period/overtime. Maybe tonight the Rangers drop their trap, go after the Islanders early and try and score a few to force Ted Nolan to change his strategy on a club that may go back to Berard or stick with the same lineup that won which has been his trend.

Or the Rangers have some rust on their game after three days off and will attempt to do too much against what is clearly their biggest rivals.

Can Tom Renney come up with a way to out coach Ted Nolan with three day's rest? To this point Nolan has had the better of Renney for two seasons.

DiPietro had to work very hard and was extremely active so it may be asking a lot for him to do win another low-scoring game.

From the Rangers side he will not have to deal with Avery who is going to have wrist surgery and will be out for a while. Straka has done well against the Islanders and will be in the lineup.

Islanders for their part will have to keep working in the corners and finish and put some bodies in front of the net on the power play. They seemed to have far more high quality chances against the Senators but simply missed the net which could be a sign this offense is getting close to a big night.

Islanders will get a long break from the Rangers after tonight. Win or lose the next time they meet things will likely be different for both clubs.

Islander Notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/29/2007 08:57:00 AM
A few general observations on the Islanders and the conference.

* This stretch of two goals for ten straight games will end but it may mean surrendering more goals to make it happen. That's how the trends for things like this usually run. Of course this kind of scoring slump for the Islanders is approaching all time record lows for the franchise.

* Islanders have no real options, they break up the defense and give up on a Campoli, Gervais, Hunter or Bergenheim to improve the scoring it may hurt in another area. Islanders have to hold onto Kyle Okposo and their first round pick.

* Outside of Washington at the bottom and Ottawa at the top there is no real separation between the teams in the mix of the playoffs or out of the mix. Islanders are five points out of fourteenth and only three points out of second overall. A poor week or a winning streak can change everything quickly. New Jersey had found their game under Brent Sutter and is in right in the mix despite some poor goals from Martin Brodeur against Dallas. Atlanta will come in here with their season turned around and playing well. The word for this is parity and for the Islanders to keep their place they will have to keep finding ways to win games and add points. Last year they lost in regulation only twice in twenty games in the second half, that's what the need to do here.

* How is Boston and Montreal with such low expectations from the so-called experts finding ways to win? Bruins keep losing players and keep finding the win column. Buffalo is getting over it's changes in the summer and it's recent injuries and is starting to get it's game together. Rangers are trapping like they prefer a low scoring game and holding back Jagr who cannot find anyone to put on his line despite the ninety million they spent on centers for him. Seems like there is some bickering on that team too with Lundqvist calling out his defense for losing a shutout and Avery refusing help from Shanahan. Between Jagr losing his guaranteed contract unless he meets incentives and trading away his center in Nylander is there any reason why he's going to stay loyal to the Rangers unless it means more post-career hype and money from Msg?

* I feel terrible for Jason Blake having Leukemia, he says he feels better than he did a year ago but he simply cannot finish and is the anti-Joseph Vasicek in terms of shooting percentage. For all the Leafs problems they shutout the Senators last week so again a good week and all is forgotten, even if the political climate in Toronto seems to suggest John Ferguson is about to lose his job regardless. When a gm wants to fire a coach and is refused there is no point in keeping that gm.

* SouthEast Conference seems more scary than ever. Carolina looks dominating at times, Tampa's scoring will keep them in the race and Florida who is usually a terrible team early and relaxes once the pressure is off and does well down the stretch is off to a better start. No way Jacques Martin keeps his job if it comes down to him or Olli Jokinen after all the years and money they have invested in their franchise player. Atlanta is back to being an offensive threat every game even if Lehtonen has been injured and erased it's 0-6 start.

* No doubt Rick DiPietro will be named to the all-star team because every team has to have one player and he's earned it with his play.

* On the media end of things it's about time the press conference is shown live for the fans. Ted Nolan does enough, he should not have to do a special hallway interview with Deb Kaufman after games. I want to see and hear the media's questions from this market and outside markets.

Islander News Articles 11/29

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/29/2007 07:34:00 AM
Newsday: Greg Logan's article is on the win against Ottawa, Bill Guerin having a big shootout goal and Rick DiPietro's play.

"We have strong leaders on this team," Nolan said. "They don't lose faith in themselves, and we don't lose faith in them. The captain came through."

"Just to see the puck finally go in was nice," Guerin said. "I don't have many moves in my arsenal, but that one worked."

"People have been waiting for us to go away since the start of the season," Nolan said. "We feel we have a good hockey team."


Newsday: Greg Logan's second article is about Randy Robitaille who went to Russia and played on the same team as Alexei Yashin for a while.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Yashin's shot and offensive game on this team would be a positive. Two goals for ten straight games is not going to be enough long-term.

Newsday: Katie Strang has some comments from Henrik Lundqvist on Rick DiPietro and the rivalry.

"He's fast and he's very skilled with the stick," Lundqvist said of DiPietro. "I think I play deeper in the crease. He's more aggressive and maybe a little bit more of an acrobatic goaltender. I try to be square and stay back a bit more."

"They have three wins so far, so we definitely want to get back with a win [Thursday]," Lundqvist said. "He's been playing really well. Maybe he's a little extra fired up against us, I don't know.


Newsday: Steve Zipay previews Rangers-Islanders from his Ranger centric point of view.

NY Sun: Kevin Greenstein has a feature on the Islanders buying into Ted Nolan's system with comments from Brendan Witt. Bill Guerin talks about how hard the club is working to score more goals.

"We have a great group of guys, we hang out together and we're a tight-knit group," defenseman Brendan Witt said. "Ted makes it fun, he's a good player's coach, but there's also an understanding that you need to put the effort in."

"We're not executing," said captain Bill Guerin. "We're working hard, but when it comes down to it, we've got to get into the areas where you score goals, in front of the net. We've got to pay the price, and we've got to shoot the puck. Guys are trying like crazy, the effort's there, that's never a question. It's just the execution. If a guy's open for a shot, you've got to get the puck to him where he can shoot it."


Daily News: Peter Botte's writes a limited space article on the win that goes far more into the history than the game but does get a few comments from Ted Nolan and Rick DiPietro.

"It's a big win. Obviously we haven't had much success against (Ottawa)," said DiPietro, who made 35 saves in his 17th straight start. "But there's not much time to savor this one. Every season, every game, we treat like a fresh slate."


NY Post: Dan Martin's article is about how last year's team is different than this years, comments from Mike Sillinger, Bill Guerin, Ted Nolan.

"People have been waiting for us to go away since the start of the season," Nolan said of the low expectations that surrounded his team. "But we do simple things. Sometimes, ordinary people can do extraordinary things."

"He's a pure goal-scorer," Sillinger said. "Even though he's going through a tough time, he's very important to us, whether he's scoring goals or not."


Ottawa Citizen/Cam West News: Ken Warren has the Senator's centric coverage of their loss but credited Trent Hunter with Mike Sillinger's shootout goal in his first paragraph. A second article on Mike Comrie discussing Bill Guerin's leadership is also written here.

Ottawa Sun: Chris Stevenson has more on the Senators loss to the Islanders.

Associated Press: Ira Podell seems to have the most complete article of all on the game with comments from Bill Guerin and Mike Sillinger.

"It's a big two points," Islanders captain Bill Guerin said. "They're the top team in the league right now. If we play our game we can play with everybody. And not just play with everybody, we can win."


Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio has an article on the upcoming games and some team notes.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
It's not in the update but a nice job by the club having the prospect sits at the Coliseum for a game.

11/28/07

New York 3, Ottawa 2 shootout

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/28/2007 09:58:00 PM






















Islanders Website: Has the recap of tonight's 3-2 shootout win against the Ottawa Senators.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Despite the Senators struggles coming into this game that's a huge win for the Islanders. DiPietro in the shootout is money. Something has to get Bill Guerin going, maybe this is it.

Sillinger, the team defense did a fantastic job. This team ever breaks out scoring they are going to be very tough to beat. Ottawa has an excellent offensive team, they have the edge in skill and speed, but the Islanders have the edge in net. DiPietro's dive at the puck was a little scary as was another baseball swing at the puck in his own end. The first goal he let up was a poor goal and a long shot beat him for the second Ottawa goal, still he made up for it with a lot of quality saves and robbed Heatley a few times.

Time for Chris Simon to go back on the fourth line after that penalty led to the 1-1 goal. Martinek hung in there and came back. Bergeron made some great plays on defense in this game. Vasicek and Fedotenko made a solid play and great hand-eye coordination by Vasicek for his goal. Powerplay looked completely lost and did not go near Emery for some reason. Sillinger's first period slapshot to an unscreened Emery may have gone in with some traffic.

Why John Paddock for the better part of two periods put Randy Robitaille on the powerplay and broke up his big line was a gift.

Islanders offense got some very good chances by Comrie and Guerin who was given the puck alone in front of Emery and missed. Richard Park needed to shoot in overtime on that odd man rush. Hilbert was outstanding on defense in this game and kept winning the puck and clearing the zone, Hunter too.

Good thing Robitaille's goal did not count because it looked like Sutton did push him into the crease. Too many Senators were driving the net and making contact in the third peirod.

Ten games with two goals or less but finding a way to get points the majority of the games. It's ugly hockey but you take the points against a team that has had the Islanders number.

Bates in, Berard out?

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/28/2007 05:36:00 PM
Newsday: Greg Logan confirmed Shawn Bates will be in the lineup at wing on the fourth line with Richard Park and Sean Bergenheim. Mr Logan also speculates because Bryan Berard met with the Ted Nolan after the pre-game skate, he would be the healthy scratch on defense.

“I’m definitely hungry,” Bates said. “There’s no question about it. I’m going to come in and do what I do, skate, hit and chip in if I can and try to bring in some energy to the game.

“It’s been a long time. My last game was almost 10 months ago to the day. It’s been a battle. Mentally, it’s been frustrating, but it’s nice to be back with the guys and get into a game.”

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio has a quick blog on Darryl Bootland getting through practice.

Feature on Sound Tigers Gregg Johnson

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/28/2007 03:23:00 PM
Journal Inquirer: Ken House had a feature article on Gregg Johnson of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

"The organization is run well," Johnson said. "The team lets guys have a chance to move up. We've seen a number of guys move up and play for the Islanders. That's good."

"I'm trying to help them any way I can, whether it's to score and put up points or be responsible defensively," he said. "I need to be able to be used in every situation in order to help. I think I've done that. They seem to like me. It's definitely a good fit."

11/28: New York vs Ottawa 7pm FSN

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/28/2007 07:22:00 AM
Islanders Website/AP: Has the early pregame for tonight's game against the Ottawa Senators.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Ottawa comes in not having played since Saturday where they lost badly and have taken a beating in the media for their recent mini slump. This club will come in looking to blow out the the Islanders quickly tonight, but they are giving up goals so this could be the Islanders chance to finally have a breakout offensive game and get some confidence.

One team likely gets back Daniel Alfredsson, the other Shawn Bates. Just about tells the story of both teams offensively. Ray Emery is expected to start for the Senators. Former Islander Randy Robitaille X2 returns to the Coliseum, Nick Foligno was called up from the AHL, Joe Corvo missed practice but is expected to play tonight and has had good numbers against the Isles recently. Mike Comrie plays for the first time against the club he went to the finals with last season and will not be facing Darren Quint this time.

This is a great test for the team defense, Rick DiPietro who has been in so many low scoring one goal games and the pp, who should have some confidence after the big goal by Satan late against Dallas.

It's also the first game in the post-Yashin era for what that is worth even though the Islanders have struggled badly with Ottawa since it's inception.

Hard work usually beats skill without hard work. Islanders have to win the battles get their shots and be the hardest working club. Emery could have some rust here from being out for so long and clearly is in competition with Gerber for his job. The extended layoff for the Senators could be a factor.

I keep writing the aame group of players who are not scoring need to finish and every game it's a low-scoring game. We'll see.

Islander News Articles 11/28

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/28/2007 06:41:00 AM
Newsday: Greg Logan's article in on Mike Comrie playing his former team, the Islanders record against Ottawa, the club's scoring problems and Bates likely return to the lineup.

"The frustrating thing is that we're not getting a lot of goals," Comrie said of the Isles' recent drought. "It's not from lack of effort or the chances ... You just have to keep your focus and get pucks to the net."


NY Post: Dan Martin did a pregame article with comments from Shawn Bates on the upcoming games.

"Now, maybe we have a more difficult stretch."

"But we have enough experience, enough grit on this team to go through that, and hopefully we will."

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio has an Sound Tigers notebook that has comments from a few former Sound Tigers in Jamie Johnson and Brandon Nolan. Pascal Morency is expected to miss two-four weeks after cutting his hand in a fight.

Ottawa Citizen & Ottawa Sun: Have Senators coverage with some interesting comments from former Islander Randy Robiaille who was signed by Ottawa.

"Everything starts from the goal on out and they've got a good one in Rick DiPietro," he said, also crediting the work of coach Ted Nolan. "Teddy got in there last year and did a great job of turning things around. A lot of people said they overachieved last year and that was pretty thrilling making the playoffs in the shootout against the Devils. I'm not as surprised by their start like a lot of people would be."


Edmonton Sun: Jason Hills reports Islander prospect Robin Figren missed his last game with a wrist injury, is expected to be out for an extended amount of time and there is concern he could be left off team Sweden's roster for the World Junior Championships. Figren has twenty two points in twenty three games for the Oil Kings after he returned from a hernia injury that kept in shut down in Moncton during Islander training camp.

"I haven't had good timing with my injuries at all this season. In a couple of days I will go for another x-ray and hopefully it's just sprained and not broken and I'll be back in 10 days."

11/27/07

Bates expected to play Wednesday/Notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/27/2007 04:45:00 PM
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.

YahooSports.com: 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
THN.com 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
Part Three of the Islanders twenty game report looks at the defense and goaltending.

DEFENDERS:

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.
GRADE A+

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.
GRADE A

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.
GRADE A

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.
GRADE A

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.
GRADE C

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.
GRADE B

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.
GRADE C-

GOALTENDING:
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.
GRADE A

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
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.

FORWARDS

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.
GRADE D

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.
GRADE B

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.
GRADE B+

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.
GRADE A

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.
GRADE C-

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.
GRADE None

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