Isles World Championship Update

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/22/2008 01:58:00 PM | | | Comment Here
 Reported Sean Bergenheim was playing for team Finland at the Ceska Pojistovna Cup on the European Hockey tour, he had the only goal for his club against Russia a few days ago and had to go for an MRI according to a European publication here.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
I guess we'll see if Bergenheim can play or has been invited to play for team Finland at the World Championships if he is not hurt too badly. With the first round games coming to a close teams will be leaving spots for NHL players but now will be finalizing rosters with teams gathering in a few days.

Updated 5:30pm
Katie Strang again updated the Isles newsday blog with Bergenheim's agent Mark Gandler saying his client is day-to-day with a slight groin pull here with his comments on negotiations for a new contract.

Team USA here announced Paul Martin and Zach Parise were added today to the roster for the US.

I did not see Kyle Okposo on the list but perhaps playing in the WJC championship does not allow him to participate?

Bill Guerin on Espn

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/22/2008 12:38:00 PM | | Comment Here
Media Blog: Cory Witt updated his blog on what programs Bill Guerin will be on today as well as Newsday with Katie Strang also doing another update on the Isles page.

Islander News Articles 4/22

Newsday: Katie Strang reports in the Islanders blog at Newsday Tomas Marcinko has been signed by the Islanders with comments from Garth Snow, Islanders Asst GM and director of amateur scouting Ryan Jankowski and Pro Scout Toby O'Brien.

Islanders website: Has more on Tomas Marcinko's signing.

Regina Leader-Post: Greg Harder has a full update on Mike Sillinger's injury with the Islander center's comments.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
It did not seem this serious and will keep him off skates until August but apparently he will be able to continue his career.

SW Iowa News: Patrick Donohue had a few words on Islander prospect Jason Gregoire and his teams upcoming series.

Media Blog: Cory Witt reports in his blog Bill Guerin will be appearing on several Espn shows.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Interesting but how come Islanders TV did not have his looking back/looking forward recap of the season? I know Chris King could not get everyone but he did have Sillinger and Hunter, some words from the team captain are appropriate.

I do not even recall his words in Newsday either after the final game, just a few quick comments after the last game in the AP and he was gone.

Newsday: Ellen Yan reports Rupert Murdoch is close to purchasing Newsday for five hundred eighty million dollars.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
So the paper that virtually eliminated Islander coverage in the Post now will own Newsday combined with Rupert Murdoch behind the Fox-Msg merger that took Islander coverage off sportschannel which has hurt their ratings for years?

Tough running a team with no newsprint to hype the product or sell tickets. Wonder if Mr Murdoch will apply the same standard to hockey coverage he does at the Post and eliminate all Ranger coverage from Newsday. Only good news is Murdoch was so sick of Dolan's garden the merger was ended but Msg got full control of what was Fox Sports New York.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio had Howard Saffin's comments on the business end of the Sound Tigers with the problems selling tickets for weeknight games as the attendance trends and start times are discussed along with corporate support in Bridgeport.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio's blog has several features but today's includes some pictures from the Islanders-Canucks Stanley Cup Finals with one picture showing Mike Bossy with what looked like him scoring his overtime goal in game one.

Seems like only one open spot at center

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/22/2008 08:23:00 AM | | Comment Here
Funny thing looking through this roster with all the talk of UFA and prospects.

The club is locked into a lot of players.

By all reports Mike Sillinger will be back for the final year of his contract.

Mike Comrie is signed for next season.

That leaves a possible replacement for Josef Vasicek and his sixteen goals and a fourth line player which could include:

Richard Park
Andy Hilbert
Shawn Bates
Frans Nielsen
Jeremy Colliton
Ben Walter

To say nothing of bringing in an unrestricted free agent at center.

Seems to me not much room to maunever unless something unexpected happens.

Islander/Sound Tiger Notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/21/2008 06:02:00 PM | | | | | | Comment Here
islanders website: Had an article on Trent Hunter with his comments on resigning with the team, giving advice to the younger players and praises Bill Guerin.

Islanders also had another prospect update which is down to Jason Gregoire and Blake Kessel which was added to the prospect section.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio updates his blog on the AHL playoffs and Bridgeport sell-off next Sunday.

Happy Twenty First Anniversary plus two, Pat Lafontaine.

Updated 7:45pm
Newsday: Katie Strang had a blog update on the Islanders page about Rob Hennigar with his comments.

NYI Fan Central Final Review of Jon Sim

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/21/2008 07:50:00 AM | | Comment Here
Today a quick look at Jon Sim.

Jon Sim went into 2007-08 with a lot on his shoulders playing for a new club and coming off two seventeen goal seasons in Atlanta. He seemed one of the players management targeted early and gave extra years specifically to land him.

I saw a player in pre-season games/his two regular season games who had a nice ability to get in quality area's of the ice and not waste his speed and quickness with a lot of peripheral skating, a few times he went straight at the net from the corners or behind the goal. I remember one very impressive goal in preseason against Montreal he just took the puck and drove straight into the crease and started banging away. It was something lacking on this roster all season but it's fair to write on a limited offensive roster Sim would have had the same problems because it seemed contagious in 2007-08. All we know is he was supposed to play with Hunter and Sillinger and we could be back to square one come October with that line getting another chance.

Moving Forward:
All I know is every player who had this kind of injury needed an extra year before regaining their quickness and hit a wall in recovery. I know from reports Sim would have returned for the playoffs and was practicing at full speed. Maybe the summer makes a difference but we saw this with Peca, Martinek, Nokelainen and a lot of players where things are not a hundred percent for a full two years before they get their full speed back. Sim is not a young player but he has two more years on his Islander contract and we will find out come September.

Bergenheim, Comeau and Tambellini are all left wingers who should be here in September. Sim is a career left wing, he has to score and provide grit and speed.

A lot is being asked.

A little Tim Ryan Ch 9 Islander Hockey

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/20/2008 06:30:00 PM | | | | Comment Here

A little spring dancing between Bob Nystrom and Mike Milbury and one amazing fight with Mel Bridgeman. I used to love Tim Ryan's work on channel nine calling Islander hockey. If I have the time line correct, Mr Ryan was replaced by Steve Albert in 1980 before Bill Torrey contacted Jiggs McDonald for 1981.

I have to admit I do not know who is doing the play by play here unless it's George Michael of Sportsmachine fame.

I know for a short time John Potvin was in and how of the booth in his Islander career before going into the radio side after his official retirement. John Sterling also did play by play on WMCA radio in those day for the Isles.

Here is something incredible. The Channel Nine opening to Islanders Hockey back in the 1980's on WOR with Jiggs McDonald.

Islander News Articles 4/20

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/20/2008 12:42:00 PM | | | | Comment Here
Kingston Daily Freeman: Msg employee Stan Fischler does an article wondering where the hockey coverage is in New York, takes a few shots at the Daily News Bob Raissman and quotes from some of Chris Botta's recent blog on the subject

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Where was Stan Fischler when the Islanders were put on Metro channel during the playoffs in 2002 and the Dolan machine was doing all they could to regulate and control Islander and Devils coverage/content to the point the sports editors finally decided to cut coverage to all three local teams?

Where was Mr Fischler for all the years the Isles could not get a preseason game on television unless it was against the Garden's team?

Can't have it both ways. You want to be criticial start with your own networks coverage of the Islanders and Devils. Also seems clear your speaking for Dolan's suits who are offended at lack of Ranger coverage.

Too bad, your network is a big part of the probkem.

It's damaged the Isles in Manhattan to a point they have no regular coverage. Phil Mushnik at the Post told me recently hockey coverage for the Isles is a luxury and talked about the cost.

Mr Dolan himself appeared on WFAN live and when grilled on hiding the Isles-Leafs playoffs on Metro because he owned the Rangers he just laughed back in those days.

Unfortunately the other sports all got the last laugh because they forgot about hockey and that includes the Garden's team.

Turns out the Garden needed all three teams to market hockey, despite the Ranger fan reporters in the media selling the product with limited space. This year the Rangers not only played the Devils but were covered just like the Devils.

In the end Msg created this problem and by limiting two teams (now three with control of Sabre hockey) have done a lot of damage to their own product. When Msg network p.r department issues releases on improved hockey ratings, I do not believe a single word of it because it does not come from the independent people who do the ratings or did them last year telling us hockey in Manhattan drew horrible ratings.

Backpages? Regular season hockey in New York has not received a single back page in a good four-five years for a game. I don't know where Stan Fischler has been but clearly he's just a salesman for the Rangers and needs to do this to keep future employment in a stable of spin doctors and has been since the forties despite his time with the Isles and Devils on sportschannel.

Islanders have had the most backpages (Newsday) but very infrequent. New York City will not be on the Ranger bandwagon for more than a few days if they make a deep run or win the cup. The business of baseball is big ratings, advertising dollars and now a critical resource to these publications.

Oh yes, eight million will attend games this season for both clubs, publishers and editors cover what they want first and what the public wants second.

Having written that Msg helped create this problem, give all three teams the exact among of coverage and content on both networks and you help hockey.

Limit the Garden's competition and you limit the scope of coverage for hockey.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio had a blog update on former AHL player Ben Guite, who helped Colorado advance.

NYI Fan Comments:
No criticism of Mr Fornabaio here but how come his editor did not give him some print space for a few extra articles to wrap the season? I have noticed the drop in print coverage this year.

Unchartered waters for Nolan and Islanders

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/20/2008 12:11:00 PM | Comment Here
Last August 2nd I did a blog on whether the second year trend for Islander coaches will surface and cost Ted Nolan his job.

I'm very glad the Islanders have decided to make sure that trend finally breaks, even if it's not in a contract extension but just seeing through Ted Nolan's contract.

The pattern has almost be the same, first year solid/signs of improvement, second year message team takes steps backwards, coach goes.

We saw this with Butch Goring who worked miracles his first year to reach twenty four wins and was fired in his second season.

We saw it with Peter Laviolette who did not survive his second summer.

Finally Steve Stirling after a miracle playoff berth his first season with Oleg Kvasha hitting fifty points (more than any Islander this season..ouch) did not make it through his second year after the lockout.

Ted Nolan's first two years have had a lot of the same trends as these coaches, it looks like he will be back for a third year.

I still see Ted Nolan as part of the long-term answer for this organization and think he's someone who can bring the Stanley Cup back to New York under the right circumstances.

Early World Championship Update

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/19/2008 11:43:00 AM | Comment Here

Early update on the 2008 World Championships with exhibition games starting up within the next week and a section created here at NYI Fan Central. Parts of some team rosters have been leaking through but very few official and confirmed lists. No confirmed Islanders to date.

Frans Nielsen will not participate for Denmark between his shoulder injury and his contract status.

Sean Bergenheim I have seen on and off lists for Finland but is restricted and needs a new contract.

Robert Esche was named for team USA for those wondering if DiPietro could participate.

Kyle Okposo was not on team USA early roster, could be a lot of reasons he has not been added but he already participated at WJC.

Miroslav Satan's knee injured will keep him out of the tournament.

Final Poll Results: Who's out at forward?

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/19/2008 10:48:00 AM | Comment Here
Final results for this week's poll a bit early, nice job as always on the voting.

This weeks question was who's out among the forwards?

Someone under contract for next season 10
Restricted free agent foward 1
Josef Vasicek 13
Ruslan Fedotenko 19
Miroslav Satan 24

No one voted everyone (all UFA) would be back.

Yashin vs Satan, double standard by Nolan?

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/18/2008 06:11:00 PM | | | 2 Comments
I'm not going to claim to be an insider or anything. I have no idea what goes on in the Islander lockeroom, who talks or is popular among the players.

All I see is what happens during the games and to me it begs a fair question be asked and one I have been wanting to ask for a while.

If Alexei Yashin who had an outstanding start and carried the club into December two years ago scored forty percent of the offense with Jason Blake and Chris Simon on his line can be sent home for ineffective play because he was playing hurt and ineffective how come Ted Nolan did not apply the same standard to Miroslav Satan this year and force him to sit until he could be effective?

Let me refresh you to Yashin's circumstances. He injured his knee on a ninety point pace, missed a few weeks, came back early, had a good game but was injured again and clearly could not move on his knee. Anyone watching could see him in obvious pain.

Ted Nolan let him play about eighteen games where he had maybe a goal, was clearly slowed and totally ineffective before he finally sent him home and basically ran him down in the press telling everyone he would not play until he could contribute as if he had no tolerance for a player trying to play with an injury on one leg.

This year Miroslav Satan did not look good early, aside from a few brief flashes. I do not know when he specifically got hurt but after missing a game the team announcing he has an injury that should sideline him for eight weeks kept playing and for the most part was terrible. He did not contribute on the scoresheet.

So how come Ted Nolan did not apply the same standard for Satan, who has been ineffective for most of the last two seasons?

Alexei Yashin when he finally returned produced ten critical points to help the club make the playoffs and two key goals against the Rangers, one in the third period.

Someone needs to tell me what the difference is here because I'm not seeing it. Viktor Kozlov when he signed with Washington also felt there was a double-standard against his friend.

It should be noted Yashin's fifty points in fifty eight games was greater than any one player on this years roster.

If Yashin's buyout was on Ted Nolan's opinion it gives the owner fair reason to ask questions because the loss of his offense hurt the roster whether he was popular with the media or not.

Garth Snow & Ted Nolan vs prospect development

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/18/2008 03:41:00 PM | | | Comment Here
It's fair to write general mangers & coaches are not paid to develop prospects and perhaps take growing pains, they are paid to win hockey games which means some tough choices have to be made where veterans are used first and foremost.

After a while if your not winning with these players, that general manager or coach is going to find himself out of a job. Doug McLean found that out in Columbus and Alan Cohen in Florida is not shy about making changes either as his youth movement has not seen a playoff game in close to a decade.

Prospect movements fail too.

Very sobering thoughts for a franchise that has not won a playoff series since 1993.

Mike Milbury had a choice to make, he decided he was not going to be around to see his prospects unless he started winning so he cashed them in which saved his job and got the fans coming out to the games. He made the same choice when the Milstein ownership bought the club immediately trading for Trevor Linden as he did for Michael Peca.

Sooner or later Garth Snow and Ted Nolan have the same choice, we have already seen Garth Snow make a choice with Ryan Smyth along those lines.

There is no set formula for guaranteed success. One look at Florida and Colmubus should tell Islander fans that Blake Comeau, Jeff Tambellini, Sean Bergenheim, Kyle Okposo or whoever else from the draft picks could still be waiting to participate in a playoff game six years.

The Islanders are doing a lot of talking about the plan on paper and the prospects, one the general manager did not follow when he took a good gamble on the Ryan Smyth trade but seems to be willing to go all the way with it now. How much pressure will be on him to improve if his club does not win next season and the fans do not support a prospect movement?

Ted Nolan is a man without a contract beyond next season and no one is sure of Garth Snow's tenure beyond next season. Do they want to put their future job status in the hands of prospects, which the coach did not seem willing to do this season?

It's going to be very interesting when push comes to shove what philosophy will win out here and how it will effect how the general manager and coach make their decisions with limited tenure.

Will the Isles stick with their planners?

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/17/2008 09:27:00 AM | Comment Here
Isles said a lot of good things last night, it was necessary and appreciated by this fan.

Having written that the big question is do they stick with Garth Snow and Ted Nolan knowing that they may have to take a few years of growing pains and failure in order to work in the prospects?

We know it's not going to be all prospects with Comrie, Guerin, Witt, Sillinger, Sim, Sutton and a lot of players who want to win now, it cannot be nor does any team working in prospects go that far.

I have written here several times that I think Garth Snow and Ted Nolan's contracts have to be tied together. To extend the coach's term without the gm being extended is not a good approach and if this is a committee your gm cannot have more tenure than the coach.

We do not know how long Garth Snow is signed for, we do know Ted Nolan is in the last year of his contract with pressure to produce results.

The goal should be the Stanley Cup, the right things were said.

What also now needs to be said is this is the general manager and coach who will be here for all the growing pains whether they win or lose for now. You commit to a direction you have to commit to the people making the decisions and show patience in what they are trying to do.

Whatever Garth Snow's term is as gm, that should be Ted Nolan's term as head coach.

Open House & Chalk Talk Recap:

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/17/2008 07:41:00 AM | | | Comment Here

Islanders website: Recapped last night's open house and chalk talk with the fans at the Coliseum. Charles Wang, Chris Dey, Garth Snow, Ted Nolan answered the fans questions and talked about the plan for the franchise as well as the Lighthouse. Steve Mears hosted the event, Michael Bossy was on hand.

Newsday: Katie Strang covered last night's event with Charles Wang, Ted Nolan, Garth Snow's comments who also reported he has an agreement in principle with 2006 draft pick Tomas Marcinko of Slovakia on a three-year, entry-level deal.

Newday: Katie Strang provided two blogs on the night's events.

European Confirms Marcinko's transfer.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
First class by Mr Wang to show up and be there with everyone which is something I felt was very important. A lot got answered without the usual media spin and speculation that clouds a lot of things the club says it's trying to do.

I like the direction and what was said, it's impossible to make full commitments to every single player but Garth Snow and Ted Nolan said seemed like the basis for a good plan and players like Bergenheim and Comeau did get a lot of experience last season. The gm talked about the need for an enforcer, more speed and skill and how he would sprinkle in unrestricted free agents.

Newsday: Editorial section endorsed the Town of Hempstead's approval regarding the Lighthouse project taking the next step with a few words about Mr Wang and Town of Hempstead Supervisor, Kate Murray.

I will also add the full event on the side-bar here for those who would like to watch over the next few days.

Islander/NHL Notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/16/2008 02:31:00 PM | | | | | | Comment Here
USA Today: The latest prospect updates from Kyle Woodlief of Red Lind Report includes word came out of Niagara last week that defenseman Alex Pietrangelo is done for the season after being diagnosed with mononucleosis on April 6.

Note-Isles did have their in their profile of Pietrangelo a few days ago with even more information.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
The USA Today updates are infequent nor is there a feeder to link here from Mr Woodlief's section but his articles will be added to the prospect section.

A must read for all NHL fans year round and critical at draft-time.

Red Line Report's preliminary list of the top eligible prospects for the NHL's 2008 draft in Ottawa on June 21-22.


1 Steven Stamkos C 6-0/180 R 7-Feb-90 Sarnia
2 Nikita Filatov LW 6-0/172 R 25-May-90 CSKA
3 Drew Doughty D 6-0/213 R 8-Dec-89 Guelph
4 Zach Bogosian D 6-2/199 R 15-Jul-90 Peterborough
5 Alex Pietrangelo D 6-3/198 R 18-Jan-90 Niagara
6 Luke Schenn D 6-2/210 R 2-Nov-89 Kelowna
7 Mikkel Bdker RW 5-11/201 L 16-Dec-89 Kitchener
8 Colin Wilson C 6-1/203 L 20-Oct-89 Boston University
9 Kirill Petrov RW 6-3/218 L 13-Apr-90 Ak Bars Kazan
10 Cody Hodgson C 5-11/182 R 18-Feb-90 Brampton

Mississauga News : Reports Islander prospect Luciano Aquino of the Fort Wayne Komets was named IHL rookie of the year and this week was again named rookie of the week.

Aquino placed second in the league in scoring with 91 points, including 41 goals in 74 games is a seventh-round draft choice of the New York Islanders in the 2005 NHL entry draft.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Aquino used to play in Bridgeport, he is a restricted free agent this summer.

Wall Street Journal: Joe Mantone reports former Islander part owner Stephen Ross who today owns half the Miami Dolphins, said he no longer has any stake in the Islanders. He says his only interest and motivation was in the real estate and building a new arena there and that never took place. Reports Carolina Hurricanes winger Sergei Samsanov was resigned to a three year contract today worth 7.6 million. Samsonov will receive $2.3 million in 2008-09, $2.5 million in 2009-10 and $2.8 million in 2010-11.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
That cheering you hear in the background is from Miroslav Satan and his agent.

Mr Wang's Town Hall Meeting 2/14/01

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/16/2008 10:53:00 AM | Comment Here
Only seems fitting given tonight's meeting at the Coliseum that we look back at a meeting long ago Mr Wang was a part of during his first season.

No, I'm not reposting this to rehash Mike Milbury's tenure or go negative on anyone, just more of a look at how a past fan forum format went with the owners involvement and the ramifications. This meeting was held in season before a game at a time the philosophy were far different at another time in club history.
Wang: "We're Going to Turn This Around"
From the Islanders website:

Uniondale, NY (February 14 2001) Islanders co-owner Charles Wang made
himself available to a banquet room full of Islanders fans before
Wednesday night's game against Philadelphia to hear their questions,
criticisms and support regarding the current state of the team.

In a 40-minute Town Hall-style meeting, several fans fired questions
at Wang on topics including the status of GM Mike Milbury and coach
Butch Goring, potential free agent signings this summer and plans for
a new arena for Nassau County.

Last week's declaration by Wang that Milbury would return next season
was, not surprisingly, the hot-button issue of the night for the
fans. They wondered how Wang had come to that decision. "Well, he's
bigger than me," said Wang, lightening the mood. "It's a done deal.
He's coming back, guys. Milbury starts at ground zero with me. So
let's support the guy and make him feel loved. We're going to turn
this thing around. It's going to take time.

"I believe he knows hockey and I'm going to give him a shot. Whether
it works or not, I have no guarantees. He obviously worked under
different circumstances. Working with me, I told him, `Here's what
we're going to build on. Here's what it is.' He gave me a plan.
Without all these injuries and the chemistry not being right, we may
be better. But we're not, and that's a fact. Still, let's give him
his shot."

Wang also revealed that the fate of head coach Butch Goring was
strictly in Milbury's hands. "We have made no commitment to Butch,"
Wang said of Goring, who has one year remaining (after this season)
on his contract. "We are not going to make any statements other than
that. It is totally Mike's call."

In preaching patience to the fans, Wang used the Ottawa Senators as
an example of how a team can build itself up to be competitive. At
that point, one fan pointed out that Ottawa was an expansion team
while the Islanders are playing in their 28th season. "We're worse
than a new team sometimes," said the brutally-honest Wang, drawing

This Town Hall was in stark contrast to the Fan Forums of previous
ownerships, in which since-departed managements told the fans they
had all the answers, only to set themselves up when they didn't back
up the bravado. Wang didn't always tell the fans everything they
wanted to hear. He didn't sugar-coat anything and was not interested
in winning a popularity contest. Wang just gave his team's loyal
supporters the facts.

Wang was feisty, fun and frank throughout, at one point telling the
golden-haired fan more commonly known as Ziggy, "Sit down and shut
up," when the fan hogged the stage after the owner already had
addressed his topic several times. When one fan said the Milbury
issue might result in the team losing ticketholders, he said, "You
can give them up if you want. I'm sorry if we lose you as a fan, but
we have to make the tough decisions and stand by them." When fans
shouted out names of people who should be considered as coach or GM,
he said, "Yeah, guys, I know who [former Sabres coach] Ted Nolan is."
"Ziggy" proceeded to give his exclusive scoop– but false urban
legend – on why the talented Nolan hasn't received a second NHL job.
Wang and the fans groaned, and the subject was changed.

The crowd of approximately 70 die-hards touched on other topics, such
as restoring organ music in favor of taped music, signing some key
free agents as well as re-upping current Islanders whose contracts
will be up at the conclusion of this season.

Wang said he hopes a new arena for the Islanders will be built within
the next four to five years. He stressed the importance of Nassau
County developing the area around the Coliseum, possibly including a
convention center.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Wang spoke individually with some
fans and personally thanked them for their support. "I want to be
able to get together again like this," he said.

Of course on 3/7/01 after Butch Goring was fired he had a few words about that meeting and what transpired (above) in this Daily News Article from Peter Botte, a few days later Mr Wang and Butch Goring did meet and things were settled down for those who remember and he was offered a job with the organization.

Most of the blame from Butch Goring in the article (below) was on Mike Milbury for misleading him on running a prospect team that was expected to lose and many of the veteran player.

Anyone who wants the full article please e-mail or ask in the response section.
Islanders-Daily News 3-7-2001

"I really felt my days were numbered, particularly after Charles'
open forum," Goring said of a recent fan gathering in which Wang
talked repeatedly about former Buffalo coach Ted Nolan. "I don't
think there's any question my credibility with the players was hurt
with those kinds of statements."

Welcome Home Islanders-SoundTigers

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/16/2008 08:51:00 AM | Comment Here

The Isles in their exit interviews on ITV have been doing something called Looking Back-Looking Forward.

NYI Fan Central has decided to go way back, to the beginning which for me is around 1999 when I started Islanders-Sound Tigers on yahoogroups. The old logo is faded, the old mailing list sits dormant but the quality from the members and the topics are still outstanding.

I have been blogging here since last July and have had only a few words about Islanders-Sound Tigers that I stated back in 1999 and owned up through the end of the 2006 season when I decided to close the list. I kept the list active for myself and folks to view the archives and realized today I have been perhaps a little too conservative in not sharing some of the articles and postings with everyone.

That changes today.

Even if it breaks from this season self-imposed rule on copyrighted material because the links to the articles are old and out of date from those publications.

Islanders-Sound Tiger mailing list features becomes a regular item here now at NYI Fan Central as I include some great old articles, some old commentary from myself and even a few laughs at a lot of things I got wrong over the years.

I think the readers of this blog will enjoy it a lot.

I could begin anywhere but why not start with a good one at a time hockey got some attention in New York.
From Islanders-Sound Tigers 5/22/2001
NY Daily News
Friday, May 22, 1981

It's Sweeter The Second Time
By Mike Lupica

There are so few moments in sports that are clean and right, moments
burned into memory because the best players have won, and they have
brought grace to their game, and have heard the cheers of their own
at the time when victory is finally theirs. And so it was on a
Thursday night at Nassau Coliseum on Long Island, when a fine old
silver treasure called the Stanley Cup was held high by an injured
captain named Denis Potvin, while a song called "We Are The
Champions" came pounding over the sound system in a marvelous way.

Maybe it is that old Cup that always brings such dignity and
emotion to the occasion. More likely, it was the current owners of
the Cup, a group of champions called the New York Islanders, a hockey
team the likes of which we have so rarely seen.

There is nothing at all wrong in Hempstead on Long Island, where a
truly great hockey team plays its games, and where that team won a
second consecutive Stanley Cup by defeating the Minnesota North Stars
5-1 Thursday night. You had to be in the building. You had to feel
the music and hear the cheers. You only had to see Denis Potvin's
face in that first instant when he thrust the Cup into the air, and
sent the cheers out into the spring evening, spreading in all
directions over Long Island.

Bob Nystrom skated joyfully along the boards, slapping high-fives to
any hands he could reach. Bryan Trottier found Stefan Persson, the
injured defenseman, and embraced him. The Islanders, always a team,
always together, began to move around the ice with the Cup, passing
it from one to another, quickly and effortlessly. The symbolism, of
course, was perfect.

Each man had shared in the triumph, "the big guns to the guys in the
trenches" as Nystrom would say later. They win and lose together.
This is a proud Army. Maybe they will begin to disperse someday soon.
But they will always have 1980 and they will always have 1981. No one
can take these two years away from them.

When the celebration moved onto the ice and into the lockerroom,
Trottier and Butch Goring were left on the ice. They embraced once
more. Then the ice was left to Goring, an NHL lifer who has never
cheated for a minute in his life, who has played every minute of a
tough career with splendid effort, and who now had won the Conn
Smythe Award as MVP of the finals.

They needed Goring for an interview at the other end of the ice. And
here was Butch Goring, skating down the middle of the ice, pumping
his arms up and down like some sort of hockey "Rocky," inspiring
another chorus of thunderous cheers.

A few minutes later, Bill Torrey was standing outside the Islander
lockerrom, champagne already staining his blue shirt below the bow
tie. It is Torrey who has been the architect of this team, who has
built this championship team brick by brick, who is 10 years, with a
short bankroll, has made the Islanders into perhaps the most
successful expansion team in the history of sports.

Someone asked Bill Torrey if the second championship was sweeter than
the first.

"Your're damn right it is," said Torrey.

Damn right. It was a damn right night on Long Island. The Stanley Cup
is where it belongs, again. The Islanders are champions, again. They
managed to make professional hockey into something fine. Raise a
glass for Torrey and Goring, for Bossy and Trottier and Potvin. And
for Al Arbour. Raise a glass to all of them.

NYI Fan Central Final Review of Sean Bergenheim

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/16/2008 07:04:00 AM | | Comment Here
Today's NYI Fan Central Final review is on Islanders forward Sean Bergenheim.

Sean Bergenheim came into this year a player removed from a year long holdout who had to win over a new coach who had never seen him play and once again adjust to the North American game which was asking a lot.

You could see from the early games paired with Vasicek and Satan a player who jumped into the holes, could make a play with his speed and still had the hockey sense where you watch him do a lot of things to help a club win a game that I saw in Bridgeport and his previous callups to the club.

One of the things he did not do often enough (especially early) was control his aggression which led to some penalties which Ted Nolan praised at times but also was frustrated about on occasion which saw a few demotions.

Offensively, he had a nice stretch in January with a few big goals, including one late in Minnesota and displayed a nice knack of raising his game against the Rangers with a few goals. He again showed the knock on his game since his draft which was his ability to finish but many nights was the most visible Islander among the forwards with his hard work, skating in all three zones and finished ahead of the veterans he was paired with far too many nights. He did not receive a real chance on the powerplay.

Looking ahead:
After a holdout two years ago, Bergenheim is a restricted free agent so this bears more attention than usual. He obviously won over Ted Nolan with his hard work but will that translate into a long-term contract which the Isles should be looking to do here?

Bergenheim's offensive game needs more seasoning, he needs some more speed and skill around him but it's painfully obvious Bergenheim is a very good young talent who is only getting better and part of the long-term answer for this organization.

Final Grade:
I wonder what his offensive numbers would have been if the veterans did not hold him back many nights? To me, he was the hardest working player on this roster with Blake Comeau and despite some over-aggressive penalties and better finishing skills, Bergenheim receives an A with a very bright future in front of him.

Islander News Articles 4/16

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/15/2008 09:38:00 PM | | | | Comment Here
Newsday: Katie Strang had comments from senior vice president of sales, marketing and operations for the Islanders, Chris Dey about tomorrow's event.

Newsday: Katie Strang did a blog on tomorrow's meet and greet with the fans with her questions for the coach & general manager.

Vancouver Sun: Elliott Pap has a few words about the next possible general manager in Vancover and says in listing Neil Smith fifth that you need one strong voice to call the shots, not a committee like the Isles. Former Islander Steve Tambellini was listed fourth as the writer feels he deserves some blame for the current state of the Canucks.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
I did not even know the Cauncks were going to change general managers?

You may need a strong voice to call the shots, having written that how come the writer did not include the same words about the Dallas Stars who also have a committee?

Edmonton Journal: Jim Mathewson reports on Alexander Ovechkin's response to Mike Milbury saying he was playing like a dog in an NBC game last weekend and that he did not even know he was the Islanders general manager.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Milbury better watch himself here. Dick Ebersol and Sam Flood want some controversy to sell these telecasts but if this comes down to a pecking order Mike Milbury rates far below one of the two franchise stars (Crosby-Ovechkin) they are marketing. He can get away with that on Jagr even with the Ranger media fan boys are annoyed but Crosby or Ovechkin can land him off NBC if he's not careful.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio had a blog late on Tuesday with some Sound Tiger related items.

NYI Fan Central Final Review of Shawn Bates

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/15/2008 02:26:00 PM | | Comment Here
In honor of tax deadline day a mini review of Shawn Bates.

Not much to write here, he worked his back from the previous season's injury, scored a goal at Bridgeport in a conditioning assignment before another injury struck which again forced surgery, ending his season. It was notable Ted Nolan did not commit to a full time spot for him when he was recovering but injuries/Chris Simon suspension created a spot for him.

Looking ahead:
Bates enters the last year of his three year contract. No updated reports on whether he can continue to play. If he can return my guess is with Richard Park and Andy Hilbert signed combined with many young forwards needing an opportunity it's fair to speculate Shawn Bates Islander career could be coming to an end regardless. As a left wing/center Isles seemed well stocked in that department with the same kind of player and Jon Sim with two more years on his contract and better scoring ability.

Of course I wrote this last summer so we'll see. We all know Bates is not going to help this club with his offense beyond a few games but can help a team with his hard work, skating and penalty killing. His class and character is always something you want on your team.

Bridgeport, Utah, Prospect sections

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/15/2008 11:01:00 AM | | | Comment Here

Thanks to the usual solid work from Mr Fornabaio who makes sure we have an updated player contract status for practically everyone in Bridgeport and the ECHL here at the end of each season I decided to add a Bridgeport/Utah section in terms of players in the Islanders system where every player is profiled.

The Sound Tigers website does not do profiles, the Islanders site only list some players who are usually prospects but not all of them so it was a combination of the Islanders website/ so everyone has a profile of sorts.

In addition some changes were made to the prospect section depending on where someone played. No point listing Kyle Okposo or Blake Comeau in the prospect section anymore with a new group of drafted players coming in June. Players like Dustin Kohn may be a prospect but he plays in Bridgeport and belongs in that section. Tim Jackman you could flip a coin on as to which section he belongs between the Isles and Tigers. Mark Wotton may have played in the NHL but he's in the Sound Tigers section and signed for next season.

If you see nothing written next to a player they are signed for next year.

Finally contract status for everyone was updated as best as possible, from the prospects who need to be signed by June 1st to Russian Prospects.

I just completed a full blog on this a few days ago for all prospects
here where I expanded a little more on each prospect.

For those checking the sidebar:
*-Denotes a prospect who needs to be signed by 6/1/08
**-Denotes a Russian Prospect who's status is up in the air with the transfer agreement.

Isles have a lot of college prospects who do not need to be signed.

****-Denotes Emile Axelsson who is not from Russia or signed by the Isles but is still listed as a prospect even though he was drafted in 2004.

In other words, I don't have a clue why he's listed and my favorite prospect's name Per Braxneholm is not?

Mr Wang needs to look the fans in the eyes also

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/15/2008 07:55:00 AM | Comment Here

I responded in Mr Botta's blog about pod-casting and raised an issue.

I'm not sure if it went along the lines of what Mr Botta's good intentions are in terms of pod casting but I thought I would tell you what I did write here.

I have to be honest with my readers. I wish Charles Wang was on hand to take the fans questions and talk to everyone as Mr Cohen did in Florida and feel if it's at all possible he should make himself available to take the fans questions and perhaps do a blog as Ted Leonsis did during a lot of tough years in Washington.

Mr Wang is the face of this organization and does all the press conferences announcing major events. Mr Dey can talk of the business direction and what they are trying to do as can Garth Snow and Ted Nolan about the hockey product.

I absolutely think Mr Dey has the right idea when he wants the fans to know the plan and look the people in the eyes and tell them when they are trying to do and be up front with them.

Having written that no one needs to be there more than Charles Wang to do exactly that.

More than anyone, Charles Wang has been the face of this franchise since the day he purchased it. He's done a lot of very good things and brought a franchise back to the playoffs that missed seven years in a row under ownerships that hid from the fans and did nothing but create a disconnect with it's fans.

Mr Wang's done all he can to reconnect with the alumni to make up for what other owners failed to do and most importantly he has does far more than anyone to put his resources behind this team despite it being impossible not to lose revenue in a facility this old with an impossible lease for any owner to make a profit even if every ticket were sold. His efforts got a team in Bridgeport for our prospects and saved it a few years ago.

Mr Wang's made some mistakes as an owner with regard to the hockey decisions but that example must begin with him looking the fans in the eye and telling the fans his vision whether they agree or not.

That's how you connect with your fans, that how you get them to believe in a
long-term plan and what you are trying to do.

More than any coach or general manager Mr Wang should be one looking eye to eye in the faces of the people who attend the games and face the though questions tomorrow.

That's how you get them to buy into what you are trying to do.

I hope more than anyone he can make himself available tomorrow and would be willing to do this. It's the best possible way the Islanders can make this connection with it's fan base.

Islander News Articles 4/15

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/15/2008 05:41:00 AM | | | | | | | Comment Here
One thing sure is great about playoff time, the amount of articles reminding everyone of the Islanders dynasty and how they are the last hockey team to overcome a 3-0 playoff deficit. It's everywhere along with any mention of playoff beards and the 1980 team creating the tradition.

Times & Transcript: Neil Hodge had a full updated interview with Ted Nolan, including his denial he will not be returning to Moncton to replace his former Islander assistant Dany Flynn as he talked about the Islanders season right up to tomorrow nights meeting with the fans and that he plans to return for the final season of his contract.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Great interview. I learned more here from the coach than I did in any of the Newsday exit interviews. Sad that we have to wait for a report from a Moncton paper to learn things about what our coach thinks but just another example of how poorly Newsday (and the city media) covers our team.

Total guess on my part but I have a feeling Greg Logan may not be back for a third season. From his reporting it seems only like a job and a paycheck anyway where he does what's professional and required but little more. He's entitled to all the vacation time he earns like anyone with long-tenure at a job but it does not help the coverage when the only full time beatwriter has this many vacations. I do not accept the explanation he does longer blogs so he does less. He knows the media situation around the club and should understand the urgency to provide as many blogs as possible for a team that does not have them in the other five papers as they should.

Newsday: Katie Strang reports from the ESPN announced attendance links that the Islanders finished last but more than eighty three percent of the building was filled on average which was better than some other clubs. Chris Dey reports on what the club will be doing to bring more fans in while former Ranger Daily News beatwriter Frank Brown, who today is a long-time NHL spokesman gave his comments as to what impact the Lighthouse project will have.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
First Anthony Rieber, now Katie Strang? It's coverage by committee once again for the New York Islanders. Should be interesting if they follow up on it with coverage of Wednesday's events.

Newsday linked to an independent youtube video today to supplement it's hockey coverage so perhaps Islander fans should youtube the event tomorrow.

Palm Beach Post: Brian Biggane reported Panthers owner Alan Cohen in his meet and greet with the fans was not happy with Jacques Martin. In the article itself Mr Biggane in throwing out many coaches under contract included the Isles.

Edmonton Sun: Derek Van Diest reports the Oilers signed former Islander defenseman to a one year contract with terms undisclosed but believed to be for 1.5m a year.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Kevin Lowe is really hurting the NHL salary structure with some of these contracts.

What does this mean for Bruno Gervais and how does Chris Campoli feel about his
long-term contract now? One gm overpays and it sets a precedent and as solid as Grebeshkov was at times 1.5 million seems like an overpayment.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio recaps the Sound Tigers season with comments from general manger Garth Snow, Jack Capuano, Jeremy Colliton who talked about the teams strong second half and Kyle Okposo while Mr Fornabaio examined the roster and it's needs moving forward as the roster was reviewed in terms of player contacts.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio in his blog had a lot of items on the Sound Tigers as they head into the summer. As always this time of year he gives out the list of the status of the players on the roster in terms of contract.

Islander/Sound Tiger notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/14/2008 05:04:00 PM | | 2 Comments
Newsday: Anthony Rieber reprints Michael Fornabaio's game article today from the Ct Post with the focus on prospect Jesse Joensuu in a Newsday blog.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Shocking. I have never seen Mr Fornabaio's excellent work picked up by Newsday with the Islanders almost never giving him credit for outstanding coverage for years but today a little known prospect who barely got a word written about him by Greg Logan gets a write-up from Anthony Rieber who I cannot recall covering one game all season?

It begs the question why can't Newsday do more Sound Tiger updates or at least put the link to Mr Fornabaio's page on the teams site for updates all the time?

I asked Mr Fornabaio last week in his blog how come Newsday cannot do anything for the Sound Tigers given the Wolfpack have had coverage in Newsday with a link. He replied and told me what I knew already that Newsday and the Hartford Courant share the same parent company. If anyone has looked at the Courant format it's the same as Newsday.

Islanders website: Report Rick DiPietro will be in the Versus studio's the next four nights to provide commentary with the goaltenders comments.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
I knew this earlier but doing an update I threw it in here anyway.

Nothing new for DiPietro who went into Manhattan for SNY to do playoff updates for them two years ago. Too bad SNY did not provide better Islander coverage in return all season. I kind of liked the person who said the Islanders were playing the Devils in the playoffs a few days ago.

USA Hockey: Had a release on the upcoming World Championships today and a partial roster as did team Canada on April 8th here.

The World Championships exhibition games begin on April 26th and the tournament is being held in Halifax and Quebec City from May 2 to 18.

For a little background and some updates check the IIHF website here along with the hockey Canada
here for the latest.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Like the World Junior Championships NYI Fan Central will have full coverage.

Next question is does Kyle Okposo get an invite, will Bergenheim get an invite for Finland or Tambellini/Comeau for Canada. Will any veterans be appearing like Richard Park?

My guess is Okposo has a spot if he wants it just as DiPietro did early in his career. Fair question if players like Thomas Marcinko, Robin Figren and a few others get a call.

During the lockout this tournament was huge and it's never been a small event, one look at the people running the US and Canadian teams make it clear this will be another great one.

Should be fun to see if Kenny Jonsson or Zigmund Palffy return to North American to participate. For that matter will Alexei Yashin be making the trip for the Russian team as a little showcase for his services come July.

Yahoo sports: Issued an Islander team report with a lot of old, repeat comments among their own speculation that could have been from the AP but seemed like a little more. No one's name was credited with the article.

NYI Fan Central Final Review of Bryan Berard

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/14/2008 04:41:00 PM | Comment Here
Today's NYI Fan Central Final Review puts the spotlight on defender Bryan Berard.

Bryan Berard:
The 2007-08 season for Berard was one where he had fallen so far in NHL circles he had to join a team on a tryout, prove he could stay healthy and produce at a high level. The years prior to this he had barely played and could not stay healthy.

Were a generation away from his trade to the Islanders as a young prospect, but his return was a notable one.

Berard did a credible job in camp, still showed he has good offensive intincts and even though he had to wait for an opening was signed by the club after the season began.

Offensively it was a respectable year for Berard on a low-scoring club. He had a few nice individual efforts that led to goals, including a five on three powerplay goal against the Rangers early. He also got hurt early which put him out for a few weeks, when he returned found himself benched often for poor defensive play with extra defenders waiting for an opportunity. Occasionally Berard also displayed a physical edge but did have a breakdowns in front of his goaltenders and is not a player who is going to clear the crease.

What was interesting to me is he still showed the speed to avoid penalties in the defensive zone.

Berard has to share in the blame for the Islanders powerplay problems, especially the turnovers that led to shorthanded goals against with one play in Ottawa that hurt the club.

Funny thing happened along the way, when this teams depth caught up with it, Berard looked solid and did not hurt the club on defense and proved remarkably durable for all his health problems. His play on the point did not improve the offense but it's not fair to put that on any one player.

Looking ahead:
Given the depth on the roster already and the need for a defender who can quarterback a powerplay, it's tough to see him back just based on his defensive play. I do think he extended his career with his performance which will earn a contract with another team and will not have to try out again.

If Isles did not have Campoli, Gervais, Hillen and especially Meyer signed for the next two years I could see a spot for him here.

Final Grade:
It's easy to fault him for his defense at times, but given where he came from going into this year and how steady he played down the stretch combined with some flashes of offensive skill on a flawed club, Berard gets a grade of C and a welcome back to the NHL for the long-term because he earned it with his play this season.

We've only just begun

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/14/2008 07:04:00 AM | Comment Here

Nine pre-season Islander games.
Three Islander prospect scrimmage games.
Four Sound Tiger pre-seaon games.
Eighty two Islander games.
Eighty Sound Tigers games.

From Moncton to the final game in Bridgeport NYI Fan Central had updates for a hundred and seventy five total hockey games with pregame/postgame/daily articles and a boatload of commentary for the 2007-08 season while Mr Prospects did a great job updating the keeping us all up to date on the Islander prospects.

A great ride for the first season here and my pleasure, wish our teams had won more games but it's been amazing.

The games are over but New York Islander Fan Central is a year-round Islander blog so the hockey never ends around here.

In fact, we've only just begun......
Thanks again.

Islander News Articles 4/14

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/14/2008 03:52:00 AM | | | | | Comment Here
Newsday: John Jeansonne makes his point the Islanders and Devils will never be as popular as the Rangers with Chico Resch's comments.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
What was the point of this with such limited space for hockey coverage?

With all the lack of attention on hockey was this really necessary or was Mr Jeansonne annoyed his favorite team lost and just had to take a shot or two at the other teams in the area, the ones who help make the rivalries which generate what limited buzz there is?

I don't know where John Jeansonne was when the Islanders were winning Stanley Cups but they were very popular all over New York. They sure got the full back pages in all the city papers which is something Ranger playoff hockey does not get today at all and should know better than quote announced attendance reports which never tell the true story. Msg for hockey is not Montreal or Toronto, opposing fans have easy access and many seats are empty for games.

Always has been.

What is it with the Ranger fans in the media who always resented the Islanders and Devils success and will not write about them other than to make sure their favorite team is the topic?

Ron Duguay and three Rangers got a Sasson Commercial, Denis Potvin did not. That's the full extent of Madison Avenue's exposure to hockey in the thirty plus years I have been a fan. Madison Avenue is not interested in Canada's game and never will be.

Where was Mr Jeansonne when Msg sounded like home ice for the Devils in the final game in 2006 when they swept or some of the Islander games at Msg the last few years with the media reporting on the strong Islander fan turnout at the Garden for several seasons? Perhaps he would like to listen to Howie Rose on Easter Sunday when the Isles tri-state area fan base was at the Meadowlands on a day's notice in huge numbers despite not winning a playoff series since 1993?

What's next the baseball writers will cover Red-Sox/Yankees and report hockey does not matter in New York and take shots at the sport?

Mr Jeansonne, one look at your own paper is proof hockey is a niche sport in New York, have a good look at the backpage of your own paper and the lack of coverage.

Too bad you did not do an article on how great Martin Brodeur is.
Forgot. That may make some kid a Devils fan and you do not want that.

This is just bush league from Mr Jeansonne, it would be like an Islander fan in the media doing an article like this in 2002 when the Isles were playing Toronto as the Coliseum was rocking while the Garden sat quiet again.

Do some hockey stories on the players, Mr Jeansonne or don't bother at all.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio recaps Bridgeport's final game of the season with comments from Jesse Joensuu, Jack Capuano, & Trevor Smith.

Jeff Tambellini lost out to former Islander, Jason Krog for the AHL scoring title but had thirty eight goals in fewer games played.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
I think Mr Fornabaio's words say it best, a very long summer for the entire Islander organization.

No one connected with the organization should be happy with the end result of both the Islanders and Sound Tigers this season.

You look at Bridgport from a distance and wonder why they had so many problems holding leads and getting games to overtime which like the Isles was a big problem for them because you need those extra points. I know they got a lot of good individual contributions but collectively never seemed to mesh but I guess with so many constant changes and the Isles injury problems, that's asking a lot. I'm not sure about Joey MacDonald but he has a one-way contract and looked great in his second game against Philadelphia.

I watch Tambellini in the AHL and he looks like a superstar. In the NHL I would be satisfied just to see him create chances like he gets in Bridgeport because that did not happen here at all, just like it did not happen two years ago. Tim Jackman the last two years looks like a star player in the AHL near a point a game pace, here on a limited role he rarely created a quality chance when he was on the ice.

We all know Jason Krog never turned into an NHL scorer and there are tons of AHL stars who simply cannot play in the NHL.

Should be very interesting to see what Garth Snow, Howard Saffin decide with regard to Jack Capuano. Dan Marshall was out after a year, Jack Capuano is a holdover from Steve Stirling's staff. Is he the answer to developing prospects for the Isles while keeping Bridgeport competitive?

Hartford Courant: David Heuschkel recaps Hartford's win at Harbor Yard Sunday.

Hartford 3, Bridgeport 2

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/14/2008 03:35:00 AM | | | | Comment Here

 Reports Bridgeport lost it's final game of the season 3-2 against Hartford Sunday. Jeff Tambellini and Trevor Smith scored, Mike Morrison had thirty one saves. Kyle Okposo, Blake Comeau, Ben Walter & Matt Keith had assists.

Jesse Joensuu made his professional debut with two shots.

Sound Tigers website: Recapped Sunday's game.

Ct Post: Micheal Fornabaio had several blogs, including a very interesting one about Jeff Tambellini.

NYI Fan Central Final Review of Andy Hilbert

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/13/2008 02:28:00 PM | Comment Here
Sunday's final review of the Islanders puts the spotlight on forward Andy Hilbert.

Overview: Hilbert was signed at the beginning of UFA last July for two years.

Season: Andy Hilbert seemed to pick up right where he left off from a year ago after being injured down the stretch but was praised by Ryan Smyth for hanging in to help the club.

His defense game, his work in the corners, his work on the penalty kill and his speed are noticeable. Having written that he also simply cannot score as he did two years ago with Pittsburgh and that's what the Isles needed most from him.

He started this year back where he was before the Isles traded for Smyth with Mike Sillinger and Trent Hunter (after Jon Sim's injury) but unlike the year before that line did not produce or help win many games with it's offense as it did in the second half. He saw time on the second line before Bergenheim took the spot and has the stronger impact. Eventually he found himself on a fourth line as a center where he has a descent scoring stretch and finally found himself on the first line for an extended period where he played well defensively. He got his chances but again simply could not finish in a position that demands production.

Looking ahead:
Andy Hilbert is signed for 2008-09, the coach has praised his for his work on several occasions. Having written that how many players can this team carry who simply cannot score and show no signs of developing into scorers who cannot make an impact on the score sheet? How do you justify holding back a prospect who needs a real opportunity on left wing or center, do you cheat your defense which Hilbert brings for more skill and scoring and perhaps rookie mistakes from a player who is not as strong defensively?

I like Andy Hilbert, on another team with scoring he would be a good checking forward. I just do not see him as the answer on this club and I think someone who could do more deserves his spot, even if that means he is placed on waivers.

Final Grade:
I cannot give a poor grade to a player who worked hard who simply does not have scoring skills. For me it was an average year where he skated and did a solid job at what he does best. To hold it against him for not being what he is not would not be fair. Andy Hilbert receives a C.

New Poll: Who's out at forward?

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/13/2008 04:33:00 AM | Comment Here
This week's poll follows the theme from the defense and asks who is out at forward with the following options:

Someone under contract for next season
A restricted free agent: Bergenheim, Nielsen ect
Josef Vasicek
Miroslav Satan
Ruslan Fedotenko
ALL UFA will be resigned

I put in all UFA will be resigned at forward because I have read reports during the season the Isles were looking the get something down with Fedotenko, Vasicek and Miroslav Satan who reportedly was offered a two year contract recently.

No rule here the Isles cannot trade from it's signed group of players and resign their UFA.

Islander News Articles 4/13

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/13/2008 02:56:00 AM | | | | | | | | Comment Here
Islanders website: Reported defenseman Jack Hillen was named a first-team
all-American with Garth Snow's comments.

AP: Reports Boston College defeated Notre Dame 4-1 on Saturday night for the NCAA championship.

Calgary Sun: Randy Sportek profiles Robert Nystrom of the Calgary Flames, who played twelve minutes for the Flames in a recent playoff game.

Note-Robert Nilsson was signed to a three year contract by the Edmonton Oilers that will see him make almost five million dollars.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
I saw this a few days ago when it was reported and did not see it as Islander news. Robert Nystrom has the ties to his father which makes it Islander-centric. Glad Robert Nilsson has security and a good contract annd congratulations to Robert Nystrom and hope he gives the Flames what his father did for the Isles.

College Hockey News: Adam Wodon reports Bridgeport will be one of the hosts for the NCAA tournament with games played at Harbor Yard next year.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio recaps Bridgeport's loss and has a full features on Sound Tigers captain Mark Wotton with his comments here.

Hartford Courant: Has the Wolfpack Coverage.

Hartford 5, Bridgeport 2:

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/13/2008 02:26:00 AM | | | Comment Here Reports Bridgeport was eliminated from the playoffs Saturday with a
5-2 loss to the Hartford Wolfpack after giving up three goals in the final period.

Hershey won it's game which would have eliminated Bridgeport regardless. Has a full recap of the game.

Tim Jackman scored both Bridgeport goals, Joey MacDonald made 22 saves.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Bridgeport fell behind 2-0 before tying it, second goal against was horrible communication on defense. MacDonald made a ton of great saves, Sound Tigers got some good chances but did not finish.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio had pre and post game blogs.

Bridgeport's season concludes Sunday at 4pm when they play Hartford in Bridgeport.

Islander Prospect signing update

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/12/2008 01:58:00 PM | Comment Here
Garth Snow has some work ahead of him in the signing department when it comes to prospects.

The deadline to sign some of these players is June 1st 2008 or they can re-enter the draft.

Let me give everyone a little background so we all have some ground work as to how this works under the new cba.

Background rules:
A player not signed by his NHL team within two years of being drafted can re-enter the draft, as long as he is 20 years old or younger at the time of the subsequent draft. Players over 20 become unrestricted free agents.

NCAA players are an exception: NHL teams retain the rights to a college player until 30 days after the player has left college.

A team that does not sign a first-round draft pick is awarded a compensatory pick in a future draft upon losing the rights to that player. A player who has been drafted a second time cannot re-enter.

Recent Changes:
European Players - Prior to 2005, NHL teams retained the rights to a European player until that player turned 31. Drafted Europeans must now be signed within two years, the same as North Americans, or the team loses the rights to the player.

Note-This does not apply to Russian Prospects because there is no transfer agreement, some reports list Russian Prospects have three years to be signed but that seems incorrect.

NCAA Players - As of 2004, 18-year-old players from NCAA Division I schools can be drafted and retain their college eligibility as long as they don't play for a pro team or hire an agent.

In previous years, an 18-year-old who opted into the draft lost his NCAA eligibility.

Islander prospect who need to be signed by June 1st:
RW: Robin Figren-3/70/2006-Needs to be signed before June 1st. (Oil Kings)
LW: Kim Johansson-5/141/2006-Swedish league prospect (Malmo), June 1st deadline.
C: Tomas Marcinko-4/115/2006-Needs to be signed before June 1st. (Barrie)
G: Stefan Ridderwall-6/173/12006-Swedish prospect, four teams and WJC in 07-08.
Must be signed by June 1st.

Expiring contracts/cannot re-enter draft/Restricted free agent.
C: Luciano Aquino-7/210/2005-signed a three year entry level contract 9/25/05-RFA
LW: Masi Marjamaki-5/144/2005-Signed three year contract with Isles 8/18/05-RFA
C: Frans Nielsen-3/87/2002-Signed two year contract 5/15/06-RFA
C: Ben Walter-5/160/2004-Signed a three-year contract. August 31, 2005-RFA

Russian Prospects/players listed by Isles as prospects to date:
C:Evgeny Tunik-2/53/2003-Russian prospect/exempt or UFA, signed Bridgeport 10/7/05.
RW:Igor Volkov-8/246/2003-Russian prospect/exempt or UFA.
D:Alexei Stonkus-6/189/2002-Russian prospect, exempt or UFA.

Note-Sergei Ogorodnikov as of August 2007 was signed but decided not to report to camp with team deciding between a buyout or holding onto his rights.

Dimitri Chernykh could still be prospect depending on transfer agreement but not listed by club as such.

Dimitri Upper-Listed as UFA last summer by to say with transfer agreement but he's thirty years old and well off the radar.

D: Emile Axelsson-7/210/2004-Not signed, UFA but listed on Isles prospect page, played for Västerås IK in 07-08.

College players who do not have to be signed by June 1st:
RW: Brian Day-6/171/2006-College prospect, Boston College.
RW:Shea Guthrie-3/76/2005-College prospect, Clarkson University.
RW:Rhett Rakhshani-4/100/2006-College prospect Denver.
C: Doug Rodgers-4/119/2006-College prospect-Harvard.
D:Tyrell Mason-6/180/2005-College prospect, Clarkson University.
D:Shane Simms-5/126/2006-College prospect, 2007-08 Ohio State University NCAA.
G:Jase Weslosky-4/108/2006-College prospect-St Cloud State.

" Shave to Save Campaign "

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/12/2008 12:19:00 AM | | | | | Comment Here Michael Schuerlein who does an excellent job as a member of the Isles blog box tells us a friend's brother-in-law has an incurable blood cancer called Multiplemyeloma.

It's best you visit Mr Schuerlein's blog for the full details if you can help these folks out in any way.

“Shave to Save” campaign and is asking for donations that will go towards research for a cure for this disease here as is the network for here.

Newsday: Jim Baumbach also linked to the story on the Isles blog at Newsday which was very classy of him and the site administrator.

Bridgeport 6, Lowell 1

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/11/2008 11:28:00 PM | | | | | Comment Here Reports Bridgeport defeated Lowell 6-1 on Friday with Trevor Smith getting the hat-trick, Tim Jackman scoring two goals, Jeff Tambellini capped the scoring for Bridgeport. Mike Morrison made twenty seven saves for the win but lost his shutout late in the third. Blake Comeau had three assists, Ben Walter two.

Ct Post: Michaal Fornabaio's game coverage on Bridgeport's win has comments from Trevor Smith & Jack Capuano but also has a lot of Hershey's win and the big picture.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio had several in-game/post game blogs.

The bad news is Hershey won at Philadelphia Friday after trailing 2-0 so the number for elimination drops to one, they play again Saturday.

Only math that works from here is Bridgeport goes 2-0 and Hershey losses two games in regulation, otherwise the Sound Tigers will not be in the Calder Cup playoffs.

NYI Fan Central Final Review: Radek Martinek

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/11/2008 12:50:00 PM | Comment Here
Today we continue with another member of the Islanders defense in Radek Martinek.

The other day I looked at shots against down almost two hundred, the penalty kill better from a year ago. One thing I did not bring up was all the one goal games the Isles did win. Of course some of that was about not being able to score to open a lead but some of it was also about good defense.

Radek Martink to me had a very strong year and did an excellent job coming back from a serious injury. He reminds me very much of Kenny Jonsson at his best when he is able to move the puck out of dangerous areas and start a rush.

His year did not start great, he had some early turnovers playing with Brendan Witt and a few forced mistakes but overall just did an excellent job moving up to what was in effect a top-two role. His late season battles where he went head to head with Ovechkin and Malkin were some of the more memorable on ice moments of the season when he put both of them down and stayed with them using his speed and skill to hold his position.

Again Martinek had to put up with an injury that did not look good and again he came back and did a very solid job. Down the stretch he gave all he had and looked good with Matt Spiller and anyone Ted Nolan put with him.

Looking ahead : It's fair to write at this point Martinek is not going to win games with his offense, he stepped into some plays and took a few good shots but does not seem confident often in that situation on a team desperate for a steady powerplay presence.

On defense and in transition he's one of the top defenders in the league at getting the puck out of his own zone and that is an asset not easy to find in this league.

Between his cap friendly contract and what has been constant praise from the organization it's clear Martinek only makes your team better on defense. What he did against Ovechkin and Malkin I have no doubt he will continue to do.

Final grade:
Radek Martinek receives an A for his overall play in 2007-08, even with the injury and lack of scoring. He gave all he had and more and the Isles made an excellent signing to lock him up for a few more years.

NYI Fan Central Update

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/11/2008 10:14:00 AM | Comment Here

For those reading this blog on a regular basis you may have noticed a few subtle changes. We sure do seem a million years removed from the days of X-Ice which some may recall was the first New York Islanders official website version launched over a decade ago.

* Many items now have pictures linked to the sites. I'm not going to go overboard in that department.

* The new draft in blogger feature allows me to schedule updates as to when I want blogs released and seems to work well. A few things written have been spread out so folks have new content each day even when I am not available.

* The new NHL Network player has been added to the NHL section in the media section at the bottom of the blog, just click on the picture to launch it. Excellent free feature by the league I think everyone will enjoy.

* The Sound Tigers live radio link and live game scoreboard have been moved to the side bar. I cannot guarantee if B2 networks will provide an auto feed to each game but it's the same link on the Sound Tigers website to listen live.

* Sound Tiger game highlights will be placed on the sidebar when available.

* Islander TV features will still be posted on the sidebar.

* I created a new widget for Islanders, Sound Tigers, Newsday, feeds along with blogs carried. Islander/Sound Tiger TV is also included so you can get the latest in one place with the last ten updates.

* Islander widget for the blog box was updated and enhanced a little, for those who copied the first version, just cut and paste the new HTML. Seems this one blog called New York Islander Fan Central changed feeds.

* Isles schedule, standings, fantasy news, NHL scoreboard has been put in mothballs for the summer but will return unless I can find an upgrade to them. I took them down so the page would load faster for those with older computers and just to streamline things a little.

* The widget for the Isles I did not like, some may remember it was here for a while but the website feeder is quicker and better.

* The Islanders all-time roster link was added to the page for anyone wishing to check on someone who was an Islander at some point in the teams history.

* No set date on a new message board release but I'm considering June 1st before the draft when it's still a little quiet and at a point after the World Championships.

* I'm looking at some fun new things for the blog moving forward, always a work in progress.

* Too many feeders or search engines had updates with Welcome to New York Islander Fan Central on it, so I edited down the welcome part to the correct name intended for the blog wherever I could.

Thanks as always and of course welcome.

Update on latest poll:

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/11/2008 05:42:00 AM | Comment Here
The latest poll asks the question who's out among the current group of Islander defenders?

As this poll hits the homestretch here is the latest:
One of the signed defenders 3
Bruno Gervais-Restricted FA 0
Aaron Johnson-Restricted if qualified 7
Bryan Berard-UFA 21
Rob Davison-UFA 17

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Good job as usual from the folks voting. Fair to write with so many players signed and players like Hillen, Kohn only getting closer it's tough to see Berard or Davison returning unless one of the signed players is traded.

Considering the high regard the staff talks about Gervais unless his concussion problems are even worse than reported I expect him resigned. No one is expecting a trade nor am I.

Among the other signed defenders there is a market but the voters (and myself) do not see a trade among that group but it's possible.

Berard for most of the second half shocked me with his durability in circumstances he had to play and did a solid job in his own end of the ice.

Davison for someone sitting in the stands for months also looked like more than a servicable defender, cannot remember too many mistakes, just steady play.

Johnson looked good and the staff constantly praised his work ethic and attitude, at his age I want to see a little more but it could come down to competition. I'm not sure he receives a qualifying offer.

Islander News Articles 4/11

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/10/2008 11:06:00 PM | | | | | | | | Comment Here
Newsday: Greg Logan updated the Newsday Islander blog Thursday with a wide range of subjects discussed. From Dubie not being in shape at camp, to how well he played, his UFA status, Joey MacDonald and a set goaltending rotation. The veterans were discussed in detail as the gm praised Guerin and Comrie, in Guerin's case for his leadership beyond the numbers and apparently gutting out injury as well.

Jack Hillen playing those two games used up one year of his two year contract according to Mr Logan and would be restricted next summer but was praised by the gm for how he performed. Hillen wanted this arrangement in his contract to sign for two years and lose a year by playing for an NHL team going into signing with any club.

Garth Snow also talked about the direction in building with prospects means they have to improve or it will not work, that expectations are to win next season while they could add UFA also. The draft and who the gm is looking at was also discussed in detail.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
This was a very good update, without Mr Logan stirring something up. I guess he saved that for the print edition most of the fans read already. I'm somewhat confused why Kyle Okposo can play nine games in the NHL and not lose a year off his contract while Jack Hillen does?

If there was competition to sign Hillen and this had to be in the deal, Isles decided to accept it.

Reading from the general managers comments it's simply hard to guess at what direction he wants to go in. On one hand he talks about veterans underachieving, on the other we have read Satan was offered a contract extension. I have seen offers to Fedotenko and Vasicek along the way also. And of course the gm talks about the prospects playing and it being a younger team.

I have no problem with the guessing, I think a gm should always keep any opportunity open to improve his club and not tell the media what he's absolutely going to do.

If Dubie came into camp not in the best shape, I cannot answer to it. What I can write is he played four poor periods against Toronto/Atlanta and in all of them the team in front of him was terrible. I do not remember much of the 8-3 loss against Carolina. Aside from that I saw a goaltender who gave his team a good chance to win every time he played who in my estimation stole some games.

College Hockey: Notre Dame advanced to the NCAA Championship game Saturday with a 5-4 overtime win against Michigan.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Congratulations to former Islander assistant coach Jeff Jackson.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio's preview for Friday night's game at Harbor Yard vs Lowell Devils has Blake Comeau's comments on playing in the NHL with Jack Capuano's comments as to how much he has improved. Mr Fornabaio also reports it appears unlikely Tomas Marcinko, or Rob Hennigar, will join Bridgeport at the end of the year.

Lowell Devils 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

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio blog reported Frans Nielsen skated on Thursday among several items.

Lowell Sun: Covers the Devils affiliate which is out of playoff contention is coming off a 3-0 loss to close out it's home schedule.

The Patriot News: Tim Leone has Hershey coach Bob Woods comments about the Sound Tigers and his own team entering the final weekend.

Islander News Articles 4/10

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/09/2008 11:39:00 PM | | | | | | | | Comment Here
Newsday: Greg Logan has a full interview with Garth Snow where he says he does not see any reason why the coach will not be returning next season and described their relationship as good/great. The gm blamed the Islanders failure to make the playoffs on a handful of players who didn't play to their capabilities and the man-games lost to injuries.

The gm also said the team will be younger next season and developing players at the NHL level, he also said he had healthy conversations that any manager has with their coaches in describing Ted Nolan that all organizations do with the gm talking about Jeff Tambellini as a player Mr Logan felt Ted Nolan and Garth Snow disagree about.

The gm also touches briefly on the draft and that nothing is etched in stone in terms of the unrestricted free agent veterans not returning for the young players to play now in the NHL.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Tnis all seems like Mr Logan's pet project back to March 23rd when he decided to create an issue here.

You read through this stuff and it all comes from the beatwriter's personal speculation. Ted Nolan did not bring up his contract to Greg Logan earlier when this first began on March 23rd. Mr Logan went to the coach and asked him about his contract, he made no demands for an extension.

His exact quotes words were there has been no discussion and nothing has been offered and that he intended to be back but did not know what the plans are.

Mr Logan was the one who went to Mr Wang about it for his comments based upon that and then did his speculating for the owner.

Also if Ted Nolan and Garth Snow did disagree on prospects vs veterans that's fine but they lost so many man game to injuries was there ever a situtation where a prospect did play when a veteran was healthy? I cannot think of any veterans benched by the coach. Did the general manager want a veteran benched because he had many to choose from?

With all the callups here late that does not seem likely as prospects were shuttled in just to fill out a roster.

All this seems to me like Greg Logan stirring something up. Ted Nolan did not go to Newsday to talk about his contract, he did not go to Newsday to talk about his bosses or if he would be back.

If Ted Nolan came out and talked of his job security and felt he needed a contract extension that would make this necessary. That's not what happened here at all.

For that matter the gm has not talked of his contract status, how come Mr Logan did not ask Garth Snow or Charles Wang about this also?

Islander prospects honored: Jason Gregoire of the Lincoln Stars was named B2 Networks Player of the Year & CCM Forward of the Year with coach Jimmy McGroarty's comments. Blake Kessel of the Waterloo Blackhawks was named ProGuard Defenseman of the Year with praise from coach P.K. O'Handley. Kessel is committed to play for New Hampshire next season.

Updated 1pm:
Islanders website: Assistant GM & Director of Amateur Scouting Ryan Jankowski praises both prospects who will be at prospect camp in July.

Updated 1:30pm:
Islanders website: Had an update and pictures of receiving their share of the Hummer challenge which was a check for $ 25,000. Mr Botta updated his blog on it as well.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Isles actually had a ceremony for this and brought in Chris Campoli?

How nice of Msg media to award the team that won half of what it deserved after what seemed like a huge fight to even get that? NHL rules say tie-breakers are wins/head to head, Isles won both. If the Rangers won the head to head or the wins they deserve the full check if the overall points in the competition were tied. Kids in Isles charity did not get a fair deal here, it's that simple.

Ct Post : Michael Fornabaio recaps Bridgeport's overtime win with Trevor Smith's comments about returning after a loss in his family. Jack Capuano praised his players for their hard work as he felt they sent opposing players flying and dove to block shots.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio's Sound Tigers weekly previews the upcoming games, has a bunch of league-wide items and reports former Islander-Sound Tiger again cleared waivers to play in the AHL after the Hurricanes season ended.

Citizens Voice
: Has the WBS coverage of their loss to Bridgeport Wednesday.