Projecting out Islanders pick Friday

New York Islander Fan Central | 6/17/2008 02:08:00 PM | | Comment Here
Hard to say what will happen, it's up to what Garth Snow, Ryan Jankowski and what his staff has targeted as the clubs biggest need.

They could move up or down and have picks to offer along with a few players.

Things could change quickly and there are clubs with more than one first round pick that could move up.

From the fan viewpoint scoring sells and they need a front line franchise scoring talent to go with Okposo but this is a club without a first round franchise defensive prospect so there is urgency to address both.

Isles do have more NHL depth on defense in terms of capable players at this time for what that is worth, but as good as Bruno Gervais, Chris Campoli, Jack Hillen, Dustin Kohn can be along with the other drafted defensive prospects, none of them at this time project out as franchise players. Eric Brewer was the last drafted Islander prospect taken by the club at that franchise player level.

So what will happen?
For one thing there sure is a lack of right wingers in terms of top ten picks or arguably top twenty picks, that's kind of unusual given the history of the draft.

You look at the draft reviews and see Filatov dropping, you see some with him going second to the Kings. This draft class is in a far different league from a year ago and I do not see the transfer agreement being a factor for any European player as it was with Russia last year because now all the countries are in the same boat.

Tampa Bay:
I think it's fair to write Tampa Bay is selecting Stamkos short of him turning into Eric Lindros/Quebec in the next few days. I cannot see the Isles offering their pick and DiPietro to select Stamkos which is what it could take.

Los Angeles:
The Kings have a lot of good young talented forwards, they could go with Filatov and just add to their stock of outstanding players with another left wing but my guess is they will add a franchise prospect on the backline to Jack Johnson in Drew Doughty/Zach Bogosian because they have Mike Cammalleri and Alexander Frolov on left wing already.

Will Rob Blake even be back after several tough seasons in Los Angeles?

Dean Lombardi has a nice problem but he may want to take more scoring and get some buzz going about his team.

Atlanta at number three is also a very tough call because what folks may not understand is Ilya Kovalchuk is a left winger and so is Filatov. Both cannot play together unless they change positions or Atlanta is already concerned about losing Kovalchuk to free agency. Atlanta (like the Islanders) for a long time has had nothing in terms of a franchise defender which Tobias Enstrom is not (solid player) and have had to hear about moving 1st rounder Braydon Coburn for close to a year now. They are still paying Alexei Zhitnik's contract and their franchise goaltender has not exactly broken through to a point Hedberg just got an extension.

For me I think Mr Waddell will take whoever is left between Drew Doughty and Zach Bogosian. Could be wrong but it seems to make the most sense.

St Louis:
The Blues selected Erik Johnson first overall in 2006, they have two former first rounders on the backline in Barret Jackman and Eric Brewer for what that is worth, they have Patrik Berglund, T.J. Oshie and Lars Eller in terms of a first round talents on their current roster at forward.

St Louis on June 15th hired Doug Armstrong as director of player personnel who will hold that title for two years before replacing current Blues GM Larry Pleau.

Anything can happen and the Blues could take another defenseman in Luke Schenn or
Alex Pietrangelo for the same reasons Dean Lombardi could draft Filatov and add to his forwards but to me I cannot see the Blues not selecting Filatov if he's available here.

New York:
Based on all this (which could be dead wrong if something changes or a club goes off the board) Stamkos, Doughty, Bogosian and Fliatov are gone.

Right or wrong, that's what I project things will look like when the Isles pick.

That leaves New York with a choice of Alex Pietrangelo or Luke Schenn if they want to go defense or taking players many project slightly lower in Mikkel Boedker, Cody Hodgson, Kyle Beach, Zac Boychuk, Colin Wilson if they feel they must add scoring.

You go best player available here I do not see a senario where the club does not select Pietrangelo or Schenn if they keep the pick. You go best forward available to pair with right wing Okposo moving forward that would be Mikkel Boedker but he's a left winger in an organization with a lot of young left wingers here already and in the prospect base so I'm highly doubtful Boddker is that player based on the depth chart unless they are ready to move a Tambellini, Bergenheim or Comeau within two years.

Tomas Marcinko is also a left wing signed by the club.

We'll know by Friday, feel free to let me know how wrong I am in the chat.

All those left wingers here already, I wonder how many fans will be calling for Snow's head if he passes on Fliatov because he has Bergenheim, Comeau, Tambellini on his depth chart?

Cheer up gang, THN projects in their mock draft the Islanders will trade up with Los Angeles and select Bogosian here while the Kings take Filatov at five.

Islander Notables, Guerin surgery

Newsday: Greg Logan reports Islanders captain Bill Guerin had major shoulder surgery in May with new media relations VP Josh Bernstein's comments it was performed to remove loose bodies and to repair the labrum with timetable for recovery four months. Garth Snow released a statement that the club is looking forward to having him at training camp in perfect health.

Mr Logan also questioned the club's media policy with regard to injuries claiming the organization announced the surgery only in response to an inquiry from Newsday but less than two weeks ago, the club was forced to admit that goaltender Rick DiPietro was having knee surgery after he inadvertently announced it himself on a radio program. Mr Logan also claimed club policy was cited as the reason for the Islanders' failure to inform the media and fans that two prominent stars were added to the list of key players but that back in March the team immediately announced in Rick DiPietro needed hip surgery for the second straight season.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
The important thing here is Bill Guerin should be ready for camp and that he is able to produce. If not it may force management to sign a veteran.

Greg Logan playing the fan card, is he for real with that after being on vacation for Al Arbour night and being AWOL when DiPietro got hurt in the skills competition?

Seems to me Mr Logan is a bit upset the club (and perhaps Mr Botta) had a few choice words about Newsday's headline coverage so he decided today to take issue of the club's policies with regard to releasing injuries and claim they are not consistent with how they release updates and did a little firing back of his own instead of simply reporting the surgery.

Would I be playing the homer card here if I suggested Mr Logan is almost never around to give our fans updates (unless it's to stir things up) so why would they bother to call Newsday for Guerin's surgery in May and would not have commented if DiPietro did not mention it on a radio program?

I do not think so.

If Mr Logan were around all the time or this team was getting covered like Mr Zipay covers his beat, maybe the Isles would be at fault not keeping Mr Logan in the loop on the injuries but given how coverage has been with virtually everything getting a negative, controversial slant or no coverage at all beyond token updates from Katie Strang why should the Isles go out of their way to tell Newsday/Mr Logan anything?

Let's call a spade a spade here. Greg Logan did not blog during the all-star break
(1/25-1/28) for our fans, even when Rick DiPietro got injured in the skills competition and every Islander fan around the world was holding their collective breath waiting an outside update about his health so spare us the failure to inform the fans angle today after you did not do one blog that weekend on it for us.

Greg Logan all-star weekend pre-wrote an article that was released in the paper about DiPietro in the all-star game and was gone until the Ottawa game.

Botttom line here is Mr Logan had to know what releasing an update from Gandler about Yashin returning would mean for this franchise perception even without comment from the general manager. It almost seemed like he wanted to get Gandler on the record to fire up the fans/outside media because he was not consulted on the injury policy but could not be bothered about Bergenheim?

Talk about failure to inform our fans, grab a mirror and take a good look in it Mr Logan. The communication between you and your head line writers is far worse than anything you have claimed between of Garth Snow and Ted Nolan. Has an interview with IIHF president René Fasel about the transfer agreement expiring and what it means.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
The big question now is does this force general managers to draft more North American prospects and rely even more heavily on college players (because you keep rights until the graduate or leave school) or does this expiration open the floodgates where teams maintain the rights to anyone they draft from Europe and will stock up with those prospects as we saw in the past?

The Islanders and all teams changed drafting strategy the last few years because of this. When they could keep a European prospect forever or into their thirties it was like getting a prospect for free almost indefinitely where North American prospects had to be signed within two years.

As soon as European prospects had to be signed within two years teams went heavy on North America prospects.

USA Today: Kyle Woodlief of Red Line Report holds his mock draft and speculates the Islanders will select Mikkel Boedker because even though it's hard to imagine they could pass on the premium huge rearguards available they're also desperate for an infusion of speed and skill up front, and Boedker's marvelous Memorial Cup run won them over.

USA Today: Mr Woodlief will be chatting at 1pm on the site and invites your questions.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
After the great job Alex and Steve from Hockey Night on LI did Saturday with Mr Ebbs of International Scouting Services answering my questions I'm out of fresh material but Mr Woodlief does a great job and usually has a lot of fire in these chats as he comes off as very passionate.

Makes for a great chat. Profiles their top ten picks with Nikita Filatov at number five.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
We'll see but the profiles are very well done and go well past the top ten picks, good reading for those interested.

Point Blank: Mr Botta in his blog had a few words about Mark Gandler and how Alexei Yashin's agent showed his lack of tact in lobbing for his returning. Mr Botta also had a few choice words for the Newsday staff headline writers for creating a headline that did not match the article.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Mr Botta, all due respect but when Greg Logan writes Ted Nolan takes issue with Snow's comments about Dubielewicz and the first quoted words written was he agreed with Garth Snow it's fair to say this kind of reporting is not limited to the headline writers for Newsday.

What's interesting here is Mr Botta blamed the headline writer (not the first time this season a headline writer got it wrong if you remember the Nolan threatens players with trades correction which Logan blogged himself about and explained the miscommunication) but gave Mr Logan a total pass on not getting our fans an update on Sean Bergenheim who is also a Gandler client and a very important signing that bears close watching.

Media Blog: Cory Witt in his blog wonders how come Newsday's retraction on their incorrect headline regarding Yashin was basically buried in the sports section but when a mistake was made it made big headlines?

NYI Fan Central Comments:
I did not know Mr Witt had it in him.

Here is the correction that's so small I needed Newsday's search engine to locate here.

Too bad the headlines have already reached Tsn plus other outlets with fans who cannot read past a headline before ripping the franchise. Even when the Isles issue a no-comment they are already getting insulted up and down which is just another example of why Newsday's perception of this club should not be the only one providing regular reports because when they make a mistake the club's perception suffers from it.

I looked at Greg Logan's phone in chat tonight with Katie Strang handling the computer part of things. How nice of him to spare the fans a half hour early this afternoon and basically not tell anyone much of anything. When you are on vacation this much and seemingly only surface to stir things up what can he tell the
die-hards that they do not already know?

Of course Mr Zipay is following everything he can for the fans on his beat at Newsday as many writers are doing their best for their teams all over North America.

Don't think for a minute players and their agents do not forum the same opinion fans do when reading something in a newspaper.

Sorry gang, just calling it as I see it. I wish it were different and that tomorrow Greg Logan or whoever writes an informative article for our fans because we sure deserve it.

You have my promise if Mr Logan does this I will be just as quick to praise the work as I have been to bury it.

Point Blank: Mr Botta also had a very good update comparing former Islander coach Terry Simpson vs new Sharks coach Todd McLellan who played briefly for Simpson when he was here as an Islander draft pick and looked at the parallels between Simpson and new Panthers coach Peter DeBoer.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Terry Simpson was a coaching legend in Prince Albert, when he was fired the word (correct or incorrect) was that NHL players did not fear him like kids did in juniors which reminds me a little more of Brent Sutter in Red Deer than Mr Botta's comparisons.

Mike Bossy in his book talked about how Simpson was furious with them for losing game seven to Philadelphia in 1987 and could never warm up to him but that was the year his back forced him into early retirement.

Of course for better or worse folks, Terry Simpson was the last Islander coach to take a team to a first place finish, even if only a few points separated the pack and the Isles lost to the Devils in 1988.

Vancouver Straight: Jeff Paterson reports the Canucks have hired Ryan Walter as an assistant coach and notes the Canucks now have two Islander player/prospects fathers on their staff in Ryan Walter and Steve Tambellini.

The Sault Star:
Peter Ruicci has Ted Nolan's comments about his son being traded to the Soo Greyhounds.

Newsday: Wallace Matthews at Newsday mentions Charles Wang among the worst owners in New York sports as the shock jock circus begins with the firing of Willie Randolph today.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
To be fair I think every owner was listed except the Giants and Devils.

Wallace Matthews would have impressed me here if he mentioned Jeff Vanderbeek but when was the last time he wrote a hockey article? Funny how he was almost defending Cablevision ownership as the article went on, guess it's good for the resume considering they now own his column.

Islander News Articles 6/15

New York Islander Fan Central | 6/15/2008 12:22:00 AM | | | | | | Comment Here
Islanders website: Announced more details of the draft party next week which will include prospects Jack Hillen and Robin Figren in attendance.

Islanders website: John Hill added a draft profile of Kyle Beach very early am Sunday morning.

Newsday: Greg Logan has Alexei Yashin's agent Marc Gandler comment about his client trying to find an NHL team to play with before he takes his offer with Yaroslavl and returns to Russia and that he has spoken with Garth Snow about a possible return to the Islanders.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
How come Mr Logan did not get a comment or a no comment on Sean Bergenheim from Mr Gandler who is still his agent?

To me it's lazy to not to get a comment on Bergenheim's negotiation or force a no comment from Mr Gandler or get an update on his WC injury. This is a player who left the NHL on this agents advice for a full season so his restricted free agent status is no a small footnote. For this fan Bergenheim's contract is a far bigger story than Yashin.

What do you want me to write about Alexei Yashin?

Until an actual comment comes from Garth Snow or Ted Nolan this is a non-story and one that did not need to be featured in the paper vs the blog on the draft with the general manager's comments.

No doubt it will draw a strong reaction which seems like the intended purpose.

Mr Gandler has already said recently he wants a deal done for Alexei Yashin
soon or he's heading back to Russia before 7/1. Obviously no one is running to meet Mr Gandler's price.

Islanders could use Yashin's scoring but only for a minimal price and he will not be taking Josef Vasicek's salary to return. It's not a popularity contest here but one where you buy your prospects time by adding veterans who can produce. If Yashin's the best alternative Isles should pursue it, if not they should look elsewhere.

Having written that.....

Islanders took a step back without his scoring but if he did not fit the mantra of grit, character and heart a year ago he's not going to do it now. If you set a plan to carry a certain type of player and decide Yashin does not meet that criteria
why go back and go against what you told your fanbase was the plan?

Of course the Isles were rumored to be interested in bringing back Randy Robitaille for a third time last season.

Wake me when Garth Snow & Ted Nolan comment and say they want him back, until then this has no value at all.

Newsday: Greg Logan in Newsday's blog has Garth Snow's comments about some of the players that could be available in the draft and that he could trade up or down depending on who the staff has targeted.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Stock answers with a few comments on individual players. No gm should be giving out any strategy at this point.

Newsday's administrator is promising Mr Logan will have a live chat at Newsday on Monday at 1pm to answer questions about the draft and all things Islanders.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
I don't know if anyone noticed this but myself, in the newspaper article on Gandler/Yashin, Mr Logan wrote he could not reach Garth Snow for comment, however in the blog he had the general manager's comments on everything about the draft?

Central Mark Spivey reports on defenseman John Carlson with his comments who is projected to be a late first-round draft pick at the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.

Enjoy the updated blog header which I think is a winner, maybe not a good idea before July 1st or the draft but I took a chance.

No room for Wayne Merrick, Gord Lane, Duane Sutter and yes I want as many pictures of the classic uniforms for the current players I can find. I'm sick of last year's uniform for a team with a such an incredible tradition. Mr Botta had it right and so do most of the older fans on the uniforms.

It's time to bring back the classic look and never again change it.

I put the ticker with the picks at the top of the blog as opposed to the draft center, as the Isles pick next week I will change the draft pick number to the name of the player selected.

Buyouts/qualfying rfa are all about to begin.

It's Sunday which means Larry Brooks of the Post has to take his obligatory shot at the New York Islanders for something/anything with his very limited space.

Saturday notables/quick hits

New York Islander Fan Central | 6/14/2008 01:47:00 PM | | | | | | Comment Here
Point Blank: Mr Botta had a very interesting blog about how clubs sometimes make sure to point out in team press releases that a coach/player could have signed anywhere but decided to pick x team and felt it speaks poorly of your franchise that you even had to bring it up as he singled out Jacques Martin's hiring of a new head coach in Florida and did not like when he had to do it with the Islanders but maintained that it was the truth.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
I agree with Mr Botta here to a point but a lot of times the media will bring this out themselves pointing out how many teams were interested in a player. We saw this with Jack Hillen and Rob Hennigar recently. By contrast we also see a lot of media write about how players will not play in a certain market so when a team does break through with a signing they do try and make it clear they wanted to be here over other teams so it sends a message to the fans as well as other players and their agents that this is a misconception.

If the media will not sell a team to the public and free agents that organization has to take every edge they can get.

Toronto Sun: Mike Zeisberger has the usual rumblings Bryan McCabe would waive his no trade clause to play for the Islanders as gm Cliff Fletcher comments on the trade market and the state of his team but not McCabe to the Isles.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
If I had a dollar for every time the Toronto media tried to get Bryan McCabe out of Toronto and back to the Isles to get his big contract and poor defensive play off the roster....

Bottom line he has a no-trade clause, if he's bought out he can sign anywhere.

I'm a little concerned Garth Snow after misreading the market on Bergeron and leaving his backline short a big shot after winning six games in a row traded someone early when he could have moved him after the season and gotten the same return and kept his depth.

That's a sign of inexperience or someone who at the very least misread the market for one of his own assets begging the question if he misread the market on his own player how will he do with players from other organizations?

The Sault Star: Peter Rucci reports the Soo Greyhounds acquired left-winger Jordan Nolan from the Windsor Spitfires Friday.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Good for Jordan Nolan. I saw some speeches Ted Nolan gave this week, if it's not Islander/hockey related, I'm not going to do a blog on most of them.

Ottawa Sun: Chris Stevenson has new Senators coach Craig Hartsburg's comments that playing in the 81 finals against the Islanders with the Minnesota North Stars was his career highlight.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Another coach who has not been on a bench in a long time being hired by a team, it almost seems like Bryan Murray wanted another coach he could work with and not someone who could get the most out of his players. John Paddock was considered a good players coach for a long time.

Of course I remember the 81 finals and Hartsburg. Game one and those two shorthanded goals by the Isles on one powerplay were incredible.

Quick Hits:
Every year we see articles about big trades before or at the draft, since the Mike Milbury show in 2000-2001 that has not been the practice so I'm skeptical.

Personally I think we will see what we saw at the trade deadline, first rounders are off limits in a draft with this quality unless a franchise player comes in return.

Someone wants to say a first rounder can be moved for Olli Jokinen that makes sense but of course it does not make any sense for the Islanders to do this because he demanded a trade from them in 2000 and spoke about it last season and we all know the Isles need to add franchise prospects.

A Sillinger or Guerin could go for a second rounder but if you do that you have better have a player of equal ability ready to sign on July 1st to take their spot this time.

Lets hope Greg Logan graces us with some Islander updates before the draft. Steve Zipay had three in three days begging the question how some can defend the lack of updates because he does longer updates?

Less to me is less.

Live interactive blogging here during the draft

New York Islander Fan Central | 6/13/2008 04:25:00 PM | | | Comment Here
Were about one week away from the 2008 Entry Draft for the Islanders.

Some of you have asked me about the little grey box on the side of the blog and what a live interactive blog is being that the box has been there now for well over a month?

So how does this work?

Basically I will start a blog that will include a chat box which will appear where everyone can type in real time about the draft or anything Islanders I can set up live polls and some some other fun things but in essence it's a chat box and a running live blog for everyone that requires no registration.

Could go boom or bust, especially with the first night being only for the first round which could mean one pick and little else Islander-related. The start time for the 6/20 live blog is 6:45pm and for day two Saturday with nine picks I have scheduled the live blog to begin at 9:45am.

I hope some of my readers will be here and be a part of this. I can promise I will do all I can to provide a good blog with a ton of updates for everyone. I will be adding in more feeds to the top of the blog so we get as many updates as possible.

Anyway my thanks to everyone and hope to talk with you next Friday and Saturday.

Side note:
I'm running into some family circumstances but unless something goes seriously wrong in that department I do plan to having the scheduled live interactive blogs here at NYI Fan Central next Friday and Saturday.

NYI Fan Central Final Review: Bruno Gervais

New York Islander Fan Central | 6/13/2008 11:00:00 AM | | Comment Here
This NYI Fan Central final review is the last one. Bruno Gervais, come on down.

Entering 2007-08:
Bruno Gervais had a lot of injury problems in the second half of 2006-07, he returned during the Buffalo series and if anyone watched game five saw a player stepping up and playing desperate hockey who led by example. His rush at Buffalo's goal in game five was as good as it gets. His goal earlier in the series was key in the Isles game two win.

Watching that I expected him to really come in and step it up in 2007-08 on offense.

Basically in 07-08 early I saw a defender who's defensive game got even better, he seemed very tough to beat one on one and was an excellent fit in the system. At the twenty game mark I compared him with a young Kenny Morrow in that he simply did not beat himself and had the ability to win the puck and move it out of high quality areas. Not flashy, but very effective.

His offensive game was virtually non-exsistant, whether it be by team system or just not enough opportunity but at this point he should be doing more and forcing the staff to give him more minutes with his play on offense. Given he led the AHL in scoring by defenders for a time and had three goals as a rookie more was expected in that regard but it seemed a by-product of a roster that was simply not very good offensively nor did he receive a lot of powerplay time or make much of it when he did.

Having written that he made an excellent partner with Chris Campoli again until his season ended in January with shoulder problems. Gervais would play with anyone and usually made the pairing effective with his solid defensive game.

The core of the four weekend ended Gervais season between a shoulder injury combined with a concussion problem that lingered.

Moving forward:
Garth Snow said he intends to qualify Bruno Gervais, he is well regarded by the organization but having written that he is also the kind of player other teams want in trades. With Hillen, Campoli, Meyer, Witt, Sutton, Martinek all under contract a tough choice will be coming sooner or later. It's likely Gervais receives a contract similar to Campoli and they are left together but anything can happen.

Final Grade:
I gave him an A at the twenty game mark, his defensive play is good and only getting better. This is a prospect who has an offensive game and the organization needs him to show it a lot more than he has. I do not see a durability issue with Gervais, the hit he took against Florida could have injured anyone.

My final grade for Gervais is a B. He can be trusted in any defensive situtation to do a solid job.

Jason Blake wins Masterson, radio notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 6/12/2008 07:12:00 PM | | | | | Comment Here

Globe & Mail: Reports former New York Islander Jason Blake won the Masterson at the NHL awards Thursday with his earlier comments about being traded.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Congratulations to Jason Blake, he may no longer wear an Islander uniform but all fans should be rooting for him in his battle with Cancer.

Mike Bossy helped present the Calder, Billy Smith the Vezina to Martin Brodeur.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Greatest money goalie of all time and Martin Brodeur on the same stage, worth watching just for that. With Steven & Pete who do an outstanding internet radio show are back with manager Tony Stabile letting me know the program will not only be on the air next week for the draft but all three will be doing the show live from the Coliseum. I will let them give you the details themselves on their site after a meeting with the Isles and congratulate them.

Tony's blog will be featured here at New York Islander Fan Central permanently where the radio show is listed and will include all his latest updates with a new one on the upcoming NHL draft that is an excellent read.

Also congratulatons to Alex and Steve from Hockey Night on LI after doing an excellent show last Saturday with Shawn P. Roarke from who will have Matt Ebbs, who is the General Manager of International Scouting Services with in depth reports on the upcoming NHL Draft this coming Saturday June 14 @ 3:30 PM EST here.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Both shows do an outstanding job. Been my pleasure to appear as a guest on both and hope they keep up the great work.

Note-Sorry folks for listing Alex at Islesnation last night.

A request that Mr Botta keep blogging

New York Islander Fan Central | 6/12/2008 04:48:00 PM | | | 1 Comments
As most who read Mr Botta's Point Blank blog already know he has decided to stop doing his blog on July 7th.

I can only speak for myself here but would like to share my experience in this department being that I shut down Islanders-Sound Tigers a few years ago after seven years where I picked a date and stuck to what I said I would do.

It was a tough decision but I was tired at the time with a very busy schedule and I felt if I could not do things to the standard I set over the years I did not want it to continue because I would not like the quality of the product I presented.

In the beginning I needed the time off, did not miss all the time it took to do updates or follow things but after a while you see something go on regarding the Isles or hockey in general and find you have no place to discuss it and there is a void and you question that decision.

You find that you miss it more than you thought and just love talking hockey with everyone which brings you back to the reasons you started a mailing list in the first place.

Mr Botta will do what he's going to do. He was part of the Isles for twenty years and did not blog until last season so everyone's circumstances are different. My impression is he enjoyed writing about hockey, connecting with the fans and will miss it as I did when I stopped sooner than he thinks.

What I discovered looking back is at the time I should have kept things going a little differently to fit my schedule better and not been so strict about it.

I guess this is my little request/story to Mr Botta and I hope it's something if he takes the time to read and will consider before he stops blogging on 7/7.

For those wondering if this is about loyality because of the blog box I can tell you I never met the man and this has nothing to do with that.

For me it just seems he enjoys talking Islanders and it's something that makes the experience of being a fan better because of his knowledge and passion for what he writes about.

I hope he reconsiders and keeps blogging past July 7th or maybe takes some time off and picks it up at a later date.

No reason for not keeping your options open. I learned from experience a few years ago about this.

Islander Notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 6/12/2008 01:30:00 PM | | | | | 2 Comments
Islanders website: Media relations coordinator Cory Witt announced the club will have a blog called NYI Voices for the teams media voices in Billy Jaffe, Chris King, Steve Mears and Howie Rose. The The NYI Voices blog will be written by the broadcasters themselves and fans can also expect to hear from special guests such as Islanders Hall of Fame broadcaster Jiggs McDonald among others.

NYI Voices: Already has an update from Jiggs McDonald after earlier updates from Steve Mears.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Fantastic idea. I brought up the Msg blogs where Mr Rose, Jaffe, and Deb Placey were blogging so infrequently with no feeder last season it was simply not worth paying attention earlier this year. I'm not sure Mr Rose did any updates beyond his WFAN appearance.

NYI Fan Central added a link for this to the professional media blogs currently listed here and in the news widget below it.

NYI Fan Central also has a separate widget feeder that links to all current thirteen members of the Islanders blog box (and is the only blog doing this) so you can get the excellent work from those folks as well.

I think by now folks understand for me it is important to separate the professional media from the amateur bloggers who are not accredited members of the professional hockey writers association. It would not be honest of me to pass my blog or views off as something professional to the readers here. I'm not an insider, have no interest in scoops or inside information nor is my blog being done in that manner.

This is kind of the old-fashion way of doing things at a point it seems websites need hockey content and many will add anything that catches attention from anywhere, but it's not my way because the question next becomes where do you draw the line?

Norther Light: Scott Haddow reports Sudbury Nickel Capital Wolves head coach Peter Michelutti Jr. won the Joe Drago Coach of the Year Award, beating out former New York Islanders coach Al Arbour who is quotes as saying he was honoured for even being mentioned in the same breath as the likes of Arbour.

Final note-Hopefully the same Islander fans booing Jason Blake earlier this year at the Coliseum will be rooting for him to win the Masterson tonight at the NHL awards ceremony.

Does Guerin still fit Isles roster?

New York Islander Fan Central | 6/12/2008 12:59:00 PM | | | | Comment Here
Today's question of the day is where does Bill Guerin fit this roster and should Garth Snow look to move him despite what reaction that could bring from Mike Comrie, Mike Sillinger and Brendan Witt?

I know the Islanders have done a lot on his off-ice activities to help people.

Obviously this is only a hockey issue and I'm not even going to go as far to make any discussion about his leadership because I'm not in the lockeroom and he has been praised top to bottom by management for that aspect of his job.

The significant question I have regarding Bill Guerin is where does he fit on this roster?

He clearly should not be a first line right ring at this point in his career, he does not have the speed or durability for that nor can he produce to the level needed.

Kyle Okposo may not even be ready for the NHL but if he makes the club (and I guess he will) do you make him your first line right wing and is that in his best interest? I would guess no and think even the second line is pushing it if you are asking for NHL second line production but they have no choice.

Trent Hunter until he produces more cannot play first or second line, he is signed for the next five years.

You want to make the point Okposo does not make the club and Guerin plays second line right wing and drops to third line if Hunter outproduces him that makes sense and fits but this seems a long shot given Okposo's draft class is mostly in the NHL at this point.

I guess Okposo can be the fourth line right wing but I'm not sure that is in his best interest as opposed to Bridgeport, that works for Guerin and Hunter as they can play second and third line but Jackman, Rechlicz for starers seem a better fit for that role and the left side/center do not have a current slot for an enforcer.

Have I even made a case for signing an UFA at right wing who can play the first line or the chance the club revisits signing Satan and what that means?

So what option does that leave other than for Ted Nolan to play Bill Guerin as a first line right wing where he obviously does not belong.

Bill Guerin at his best right now is a descent fit on a second line, on a higher scoring club is a perfect third line right wing where others can get him the puck.

So where does that leave Garth Snow and the New York Islanders?

Constructing Isles depth chart

New York Islander Fan Central | 6/12/2008 07:00:00 AM | Comment Here
I thought today would be a good day to pull back the depth chart and take a look at the organization before the draft.

UFA will not be included, only RFA.

Of course all prospects will be included, I'm not going to rank them for a depth chart but just fill things out based by position:

Left Wing--------------Center------------------Right Wing
Sean Bergenheim--------Mike Comrie-------------Bill Guerin
Blake Comeau-----------Mike Sillinger----------Trent Hunter
Jon Sim----------------Richard Park------------Kyle Okposo
Jeff Tambellini--------Andy Hilbert------------Tim Jackman
Jesse Joensuu----------Shawn Bates-------------Joel Rechlicz
Steve Regier-----------Jeremy Colliton---------Matt Keith C/RW
Sean Bentivoglio-------Frans Nielsen-----------Robin Figren
Jason Pitton-----------Ben Walter--------------Shea Guthrie
Masi Marjamaki---------Rob Hennigar------------Brian Day
Tomas Marcinko---------Trevor Smith------------Rhett Rakhshani
Maxim Gratchev---------Luciano Aquino----------Igor Volkov
Jason Gregiore---------Doug Rogers
Kim Johansson----------Evgeni Tunik
Troy Matilla

Aaron Johnson
Bruno Gervais
Chris Campoli
Radek Martinek
Andy Sutton
Brendan Witt
Freddy Meyer
Dustin Kohn
Jack Hillen
Andrew MacDonald
Mark Wotton
Jamie Fraser
Drew Fata
Mark Katic
Blake Kessel
Simon Lacroix
Tyrell Mason
Shane Simms
Alexei Stonkus
Emile Axelsson

Rick DiPietro
Joey MacDonald
Mike Mole
Stephan Ridderwall
Jase Weslosky

NYI Fan Central Final Review: Freddy Meyer

New York Islander Fan Central | 6/11/2008 12:27:00 PM | | Comment Here
Today's NYI Fan Central review is on defenseman Freddy Meyer and his wild ride in 2007-08 which I'm not sure has precedent.

Entering 2007-08:
Entering 2007-08 there were a lot of tough questions to be asked of Freddy Meyer.

Garth Snow traded for him from Philadelphia in 2006-07 and never really was healthy long enough to get a good idea what he could do beyond a good rookie season with Philadelphia. To be fair he hung in with hand problems as long as he could before shutting it down late in the season. He was praised by the club for playing with the injury as long as he did.

Having written all that Freddy Meyer was clearly on the outside looking in entering training camp with nine spots for six defenders. Once Bryan Berard was finally signed it seemed someone was going to go and sure enough it was Meyer placed on waivers who was claimed by Phoenix who demoted him to the AHL.

This is where things got kind of strange. Isles situation suddenly changed on defense with players starting to get hurt or were ineffective. Phoenix put him on
re-entry waivers, Garth Snow claimed him back at a percentage of his contract and the Coyotes had to pay for someone they never gave a chance to play.

It took a while for him after that to finally get a chance from the Isles. He got little press when he left and it was barely a footnote he was reacquired.

He finally stepped into Islander the lineup in early December and we got to see the healthy version of Freddy Meyer, who was not the scorer he was as a rookie with Philadelphia but someone who adapted well to Ted Nolan's system and looked like a stopper on defense. He won the puck in the corners, made the safe, smart play to get the puck out of the slot and held his position well.

He never was scratched again.

Here is where things got even more strange.

As quickly as he was placed on waivers, Garth Snow just as quickly signed him to a two year contract extension and both sides never looked back after only a few weeks of solid play. His two goals were critical in the Isles six game winning streak in February and on a club deep in negative player ratings, Meyer finished with a plus six.

Moving forward:
It was about as strange a season as it gets for Freddy Meyer but next year he enters camp with his two year extension and a spot in the top six if healthy. Isles need his offensive game to improve but would likely more than settle for the same steady defense he gave them last year.

Final Grade:
I cannot hold it against him not being played by the staff or placing him on waivers, he came back and did an excellent job when he got a chance and did it with a lot of adversity on the backline with a very poor offense. Ted Nolan put his name in the lineup every game after he returned and he earned his spot.

Freddy Meyer receives an A for overcoming a ton of adversity and showing what he can do for a club when healthy and given a chance. It was not flashy but it was impressive.

And it was one heck of a wild ride.

Islander/Sound Tiger News Articles 6/11

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio in his Sound Tigers blog among several items lists important deadlines and early schedule of some Islander-Sound Tiger related events moving forward.

June 20-21: NHL draft
June 25: Tender qualifying offers to Group II free agents by 5 p.m.
July 1: Free Agency begins.
July 14: Prospect camp at Syosset
Sept. 12: Rookie camp opens (tentative)
Sept. 19: Training camp opens

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Usual excellent work by Mr Fornabaio. We now know when July rookie camp begins as well as a much later start to training camp this year. We also now have a date and a time for a deadline for qualifying to restricted free agents.

Rochester Democrat & Chronicle: Sal Maiorana has an interview with Islanders goaltending coach Mike Dunham about his latest golfing venture.

Mr Witt & Mr Botta's blog feeds seem to be working again here, both have some excellent features on the upcoming draft.

Star Tribune: Michael Russo's blog on the Wild has the early reaction from Marc-Andre Bergeron on being traded to the Wild among other things which also notes a Blake Wheeler signing cannot be announced until July 1st.

Hot Tuesday update

Newsday: Katie Strang has an interview with Kyle Okposo and Garth Snow's comments about the young prospect.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
No doubt both were interviewed during last weeks business club event when Snow and Okposo were together.

Islanders website: Reviewed the picks the club will have in the upcoming draft.

1st Round: #5
2nd Round: #36, #53 (Ana to Edm to NYI)
3rd Round: #66, #73 (Edm to NYI to Edm to Ana to NYI)
4th Round: #96
5th Round: #126, #148 (Phi to NYI)
6th Round: #156, #175 (Min to NYI)

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Phoenix was awarded the 35th pick as compensation for losing the rights to Blake Wheeler recently so the Isles move back a selection. There may be more picks added as compensation so that could change again before June 20th.

Sudbury Star: Harold Carmichael reports Islander coach Al Arbour has been nominated for Joe Drago coach of the year award at the 40th Annual House of Kin Sports Celebrity Dinner and Awards Wednesday night.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Unless Al Arbour is being nominated for his win against Pittsburgh this season it seems late in the day for him only to be nominated now for his accomplishments, but impossible to know how this work.

J.D News, Jacksonville NC: Gregory Bond has former Islander Ed Westphal's comments about NHL salary and the struggle for some clubs to keep up.

SI: Darren Eliot reports on the goalie equipment working group which will meet Wednesday in Toronto and include Garth Snow and Rick DiPietro.

Lots of old updates on this one from March when this was announced here.

Updated 7:46pm: Reports Anaheim traded the rights to former Islander defender Marc-Andre Bergeron to Minnesota for a third round pick.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
So Anaheim was able to unload Bergeron, got it's third round pick back and added depth for their playoff drive while Garth Snow obviously was concerned he would be stuck with him so he dealt him at the deadline and made the offensive part of his back line weaker subtracting the club's best powerplay point shot at a time they had just won six in a row and had nothing on the backline to replace Bergeron's shot?

Not one of Garth Snow's best moments today. Not saying Bergeron's shot would have made the difference by itself but the year before they desperately needed to add a shot and decided on Bergeron and he helped. This year they took a step back to where they were before that trade and left themselves weaker when they could have waited and gotten the same pick from the Wild. Reports former Islander Trevor Linden will announce his retirement on Wednesday.

Kings website/several media outlets: Report Marc Crawford has been fired by the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday with comments from general manager Dean Lombardi.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
I remember two years ago how many Islander fans were furious the club did not hire Lombardi and Crawford. It begs the question if ownership believes in Lombardi's development/prospect plan why did they not support the coach who had to take the pains to coach under those circumstances?

Dean Lombardi sure left him hanging a long time or someone was just fired he really is interested in?

Monday afternoon update

New York Islander Fan Central | 6/09/2008 02:57:00 PM | | | | | | Comment Here
Bloomberg News/Several sources: James Callan reports JumpTV will combine with NeuLion to increase sports programming with Charles Wang purchasing ten million dollars in stock. The purchase will give the Toronto based company access to National Hockey League games, the International Fight League, with television shows from China and the Philippines.

Newsday: Mark Harrington has more on the deal with a statement from Mr Wang.

Fox Business News: Has more details of the agreement.

Globe & Mail: Grant Robinson also had details.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Anything that helps the New York Islanders television exposure is a good idea. Mr Wang's company was a big part of ITV which the entire league used. It says a lot to the detractors who after a full decade of losing money owning a hockey team who could still think he's only in this for a land purchase that he spends ten million to increase sports programming?

Yahoo Ross McKeon placed the Islanders 27th in his NHL power rankings this week and wrote the Islanders bungled negotiations with Wade Dubielewicz.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
All due respect to Mr McKeon, I know he's doing a paragraph on thirty teams but unless he was with Garth Snow and Wade Dubielewicz agent he has no idea what was offered or rejected.

I did notice Joey MacDonald will be making an appearance on LI at a team event later this summer in the Trent Hunter appearance update but all the players listed are subject to change. The Isles are likely moving on without Dubielewicz but to write anyone bungled anything without being in the negotiations or a quote from someone saying that's what happened is not fair.

Dubie at this point should be looking for a chance to be a starter.

Windsor Star/countless articles: Michael Traikos reports the Maple Leafs have an agreement with former Sharks Ron Wilson to become the new head coach that will be made official tuesday as former Islanders Jason Blake & Bryan McCabe are mentioned by the writer but not interim gm Cliff Fletcher.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
I wonder if the Toronto media can complain enough to get Brian Burke out of his job as Ducks gm if that's what he wishes to do or if Cliff Fletcher stays the interim figure head for Richard Peddie the next year?

If Leafs do buy out Blake or McCabe they can do so within the next week.

No way do I see Burke taking marching orders from Richard Peddie or anyone. I do not think Ron Wilson will take anything from Mr Peddie either.

Islanders website: Has a profile of prospect Tyler Myers from Friday which I already added to the draft center.

Quick note-I'm not sure why Mr Botta/Mr Witt's blogs are not updating on the feeders here. It could be a blogger issue or something they did with their feeds. For now just click the links to their site for updates.

NYI Fan Central Final Review: Tim Jackman

New York Islander Fan Central | 6/08/2008 10:57:00 AM | | Comment Here
We are down to the final reviews this week on the New York Islanders for the
2007-08 season this week which will include Bruno Gervais & Freddy Meyer.

Today's review is on right wing Tim Jackman, the final forward to be reviewed.

Entering 2007-08:
What can I write about Tim Jackman entering last summer? I knew his name and that he was somewhat of a journeyman player who played very limited games on three other teams. I did not expect to see him in the NHL for many games at all as an Islander but this was a former second rounder at an age where it's a good gamble to sign him in terms of the NHL.

He got his best NHL opportunity last season.

Tim Jackman is one of those players who makes you look at the AHL vs the NHL and how different both leagues are in terms of speed and skill and how big a jump it is from one league to the other. In Bridgeport Jackman is a top six forward who can take over a game. In the NHL he's a fringe player for the fourth line who does not generate many chances with his limited ice-time. That may be a bit unfair but to this date Jackman has not forced a team to give him a top six forward spot for any amount of games.

Having written that Jackman worked hard in his thirty plus games here even if it's not reflective in the stats, giving the team energy and hard work in his shifts with the presence of an player who will defend his teammates. He was not a liability on the ice and did a solid job in all three zones with good hockey sense.

This was one of the taxi-squard players at the end of the season, playing five games in five days as he would go from New York to Bridgeport and back depending on which club had a game as they scrambled to fill out a lineup. I have never seen something like that but Jackman hung in and did a fine job under those circumstances displaying a lot of composure and maturity in his game.

Moving forward:
Jackman got a well-earned one year extension by the club, I expect he will get a look as fourth line right wing but Joel Rechlicz also is a right wing with a three year two-way contract who will also provide competition for that spot among several potential players.

Either way Jackman will fit in somewhere, whether it be New York or Bridgeport. It
does not seem feasible he can the play right wing spot on New York's top three lines with Guerin, Hunter and perhaps Okposo nor would his lack of NHL scoring be a good fit for that role unless his NHL offensive game improves dramatically in camp. I'm not sure he solves the enforcer problem on the roster and on this team more is required than just a pure fighter.

He sure looks like a goal-scorer in the AHL, if he could ever play that game at this level Islanders would have themselves a top six right wing.

Final Grade:
Jackman did a solid overall job in 07-08 in New York. He worked hard and did everything the club asked of him and was a good fit for his limited minutes. Jackman gets a solid B for his performance last season.

A few notables for Sunday

New York Islander Fan Central | 6/08/2008 10:24:00 AM | | | Comment Here
I only took one day off and I added in the final preview on Tim Jackman which was scheduled to be released here.

Monday and Tuesday will be very busy next week, I will not have time for early updates either day beyond pre-scheduled automated blogs.

Time & Transcript: Gerard McLaughlin on Saturday reported Moncton will play it's only preseason home game against the Islander rookies Sept. 22.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
For those putting together a pre-season schedule:
New York vs Florida, Sept 27th at Summerside.
New York vs Boston, Sept 23th at Moncton.
New York Rookies vs UNB Sept 24th at the Aitken University Centre.
New York Rookies vs Moncton Sept 22 at Moncton Coliseum.

One thing for sure, the Isles pre-season and regular season will be beginning a little later this year unless they have no intention of playing any preseson games in the tri-state area before opening night. Isles were done playing in NB by Sept 19th in 2007, pre-season ended on Sept 30th after several games in the New York area or in Bridgeport/AHL affiliates.

For those wondering Rangers opening in Europe means they will be not be around for a preseason game. Prudential Center should be open for business and my guess is a game at Harbor Yard could be possible.

Of course no law against another day game with all the school kids at the Coliseum, good way to market to the kids. No law against two or three home preseason games at the Coliseum.
The Blake Wheeler sweepstakes started Sunday. Isles should have no reservations making an offer with Kyle Okposo on the telephone. Of course both play right wing but Wheeler was drafted two years before Okposo.

Funny thing is if Isles did sign Wheeler he would likely take Okposo's spot next season as a second line right wing. Guerin and Hunter are not left wingers and with Comeau, Bergenheim, Sim and Tambellini on that side there is no spot for them.

No shock in the paper that does not have the financial luxury to cover the Isles properly with a professional writer and a blog on Sunday Larry Brooks decided to take his usual dig at Rick DiPietro and Garth Snow about Chris Osgood being the most successful goaltender of the Charles Wang era to open his Ranger-centric feature?

Larry Brooks ever consider if he covered hockey better all these years when they gave him more space he would not be reduced to reporting on baseball while the important US hockey markets never have to send their hockey writers to another sport in summer?

Boston Globe had a five part article today, several major hockey markets had full coverage today with the draft and free agency approaching.

Hope you enjoyed what you help create for hockey fans in New York Mr Brooks?

NY Times has all these professional writers around to blog, why not let one of them cover the New York Islanders exclusively and provide a dedicated blog? Do they really think feature articles on selling equipment or this SI type coverage that has been a total failure for two years is helping hockey in this market when the finals
ratings for New York are coming in at 24th and 36th among US cities?

The European league coverage is more dedicated than the New York coverage. It is interesting the paper fills in articles with blogs from fans which seems to be a growing practice for papers who need hockey filler to make up for lack of content.
I did a little looking back and I have to ask how come Newsday's Mark Herrmann did a Ranger playoff features raving about Jagr here defending his poor season/problems through his career, then when the Rangers were losing in five did not write about how they took a step back and barely qualified, that they spent 90m on two centers that could barely play with Jagr?

I did not see these features on Yashin when he had his good playoff against Toronto nor did he ever refuse to participate in shootouts and I did not see him defended by Mr Herrman when he was hurt in the playoffs for the Isles?

If Garth Snow added 90m in forwards and he had Jagr's poor season guys like Mr
Herrmann would be lining up to rip him but he has a good game in a series his club trails 3-0 and we get a feature that reads like someone who's more fan than beatwriter?

What happened the day the Rangers were eliminated?

Mr Herrmann did a feature completely ignoring the loss about a family from California who were die-hard Ranger fans who left the house with them losing which prevented an accident. He then made sure to point out the former LI family were not Islander fans here.

It sure would be nice if a few of these reporters simply dropped the pretense and said what teams they were fans of going into an article. This way when Mr Herrmann is selling one team and putting down another we can figure out whether to take it seriously?

I did not see any articles from Mr Herrmann last spring when the Isles were eliminated in the same five games about a family of Islander fans in another market
instead of articles calling for changes?

Sorry folks, I think these are very fair questions to ask.

Of course with Cablevision coming in to run Newsday this may become the standard for hockey viewpoints in the paper. Good article for the resume Mr Herrmann.
The Islanders resigned Campoli for three years last 7/16 for those perhaps looking for a time line on Gervais or other RFA. These things seem to get done in bunches.
Buyout time is coming soon in the NHL with the date around 6/15. I highly doubt the Isles will go that way with Hilbert or Bates because between waives and trades they could help fill out a deal.

Of course the Islanders could keep and play both if healthy. That would create one heck of a numbers game with the prospects.
Nothing updated on an outdoor game folks. Don't let Cablevision and NBC keep the Isles out of this one, contact the Mayor's office and demand the Isles are included or no construction be done on the current Yankee Stadium and the game shipped out of town.

If there is a game in New York the Isles have to be in it at all cost for the future of the franchise on a lot of levels, including the Lighthouse. If Mr Ebersol does not like that let him take his coverage elsewhere.

Do you part and send a quick e-mail. Mr Bloomberg will not give Cablevsion the time of day but he may do it for the New York Islanders.

A few quick hits

New York Islander Fan Central | 6/06/2008 04:55:00 PM | Comment Here
Were already two months into off-season for the Isles with the draft in two weeks.

Two more months and camp will be here, things are moving very quickly. Free agency, prospect camp, signings/trades/negotiations. No off-season at New York Islander Fan Central.

So far the live draft chat is still on here for Friday June 20th. I wish this was a full Saturday with several rounds. Opening night is first round only which means if Isles pick and do nothing it could be over very quickly.

Saturday will be a lot of fun with nine picks. I'm planning another live interactive
blog Saturday morning. I'm working on feeders and tickers that show the Isles picks as they come in.
__________________________________________________________________ John Rolfe does an article on Mike Milbury where the former gm verbally goes after Tiger Woods.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
What's funny is Mr Rolfe spends three quarters of the article bashing Milbury then prints he is right for bashing Woods begging the question why do an article on everything he ever did wrong if that's the case or did he have to qualify it with a rip job on the former gm so he would get no backlash?

If Tiger Woods does not like hockey, that's his business. Almost seems like he was brought into it by the league just to create some headlines.

Mr Rolfe went back to his previous Islander update where he was critical of the team for rolling out the dynasty players. I responded and wrote Mr Wang is just doing the right thing because John Pickett did not bother. I also wrote if he does not do these things he is accused of not caring about the alumni and if he does it's only to sell tickets so how can he win?

Isles also scheduled these events on weekends when ticket sales were not a problem last season so the ticket sales argument makes virtually no sense.

Call it the heat but I also asked Mr Rolfe if he's going to ask the same question of the forever mediocre Rangers when Adam Graves number is retired next year considering the New York Islanders are the standard for US hockey dynasties with no team in any sport matching nineteen playoff series wins in a row and a boatload of players who should have their jersey's retired for their championship accomplishments compared to Graves with his one cup at Msg.
_________________________________________________________________________ Adam Muir reports Michel Therrien's job status could be in trouble.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Old news before the playoffs, for a good part of the season and since he was brought up from the AHL to coach from Wilkes-Barre. Given the revenue Pittsburgh will take in with the playoff run and with a new building going up the bad old days in Pittsburgh are officially over so if enough star players want a new coach, they will get one this time.

And the same thing can happen here folks, don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Isles
ping-pong ball came up for Crosby a few years ago it might have happened already.

Having written that put me in the minority that Malkin is better than Crosby. He got them in the playoffs and carried them through the early rounds and was dominating games at a level Crosby is not at currently.

I'm hoping John Tortorella does not find his way to Pittsburgh, Toronto, Ottawa or an Eastern Conference club. I know quality coaches like Wilson, Quenneville and Hartley will land somewhere and hope that Pat Burns coaches anywhere. I would like Paul Maurice in Florida because I do not think he's the right man but good for a gm like Jacques Martin who does not want anyone who will create waves.

I do not dislike the Panthers but Isles have to stay ahead of them, amazing these kids have not put it together yet and a year of turmoil could force a few of those young players here.

I guess that's why.

If Barry Melrose is hired by Tampa I will never make the mistake of writing someone has been out of the game too long to return to coaching again. Not Kevin Constantine, Trots, Goring, Al Arbour, Keenan, Bowman or anyone living. I used to write Ted Nolan should go coach in the AHL if he wants another NHL job, he went to Moncton and got to the Memorial Cup and proved himself. Pat Quinn coached against Al Arbour in the 1980 final and still wants to coach.

If Melrose does not have to go coach in the minors to get hired by someone, no one should have to.

Speaking of Toronto why not hire a new gm and let him pick a coach, or does that make too much sense for Richard Peddie? Ron Wilson would be a good pick but if you are going with a traditional GM/Coach format you are forcing a gm to accept that coach and you have to wonder who makes the final decision?

Garth Snow if there are players you absolutely want to deal pick up the phone and trade with Cliff Fletcher, even Milbury got Jonsson, the pick for Luongo off of him.

I'll go out on a limb right here and guess I think Sundin is headed for Colorado this July if the money is right. Between Forsberg, Sakic, Smyth it's just a place star players seem to like to play with pressure but not overwhelming pressure and going there does not upset anyone very much.

Someday someone has to explain to me why every star player who goes to Edmonton seems to want out while Colorado everyone seems to want to sign there for the
long-term. Is it the exchange rate, the city? It's cold with a ton of snow in both places. Both are good hockey markets and Edmonton's crowd will be intense regardless of record.

Is the travel that much different? I would think that ice surface in Edmonton would be a big selling point to players who want to extend their careers because it's faster.

That's one I have never figured out.

Should I want Mike Milbury behind the bench in San Jose to keep a better coach out of the job or do I want him off television? Not too sure.

One thing I do know, Milbury coaching another club at the Coliseum will produce a sellout crowd calling for his lynching. Like Roenick the act is getting old and things sure are peaceful with him in San Jose.

Milbury started off entertaining but now it just seems forced. Last summer I thought he should get the Bruins job, but Chiarelli hired his friend Claude Julien and it was an outstanding pick who deserved at least Jack Adams consideration after what the Bruins did last season.
One more time:
When Pittsburgh dominates the Eastern Conference next season and returns to the finals we can start making Edmonton Oiler comparisons, not before.

When Detroit wins three more cups in a row we can talk about the in the same universe with the Islanders.

Good final, great players? Absolutely.
Any better than Edmonton-Carolina, Calgary-Tampa? No, if you take away the color of the uniforms and just look at the hockey for what it was, one team got that bounce or the post/crossbar or powerplay that made the difference.

Pete Sykora's ot goal was the first pp goal to win a finals game since Denis Potvin did it in game one of the 80 finals.

First time:
All this attention for Chris Osgood to the Hall of Fame? He had two cups rings before this final and well over three hundred wins. I guess this takes him off the Tom Barrasso list.

For those who listened to me on Hockey Night on LI a week ago I got little right on the finals predicting Pittsbugh in six on the basis Pens sharpshooter would exploit Osgood because he did not wear the over sized equipment and find holes. I did get the home ice question correct with Detroit breaking the Pens home winning streak and Pittsburgh winning in Detroit.
Isles claimed today the Dinner & and Dynasty DVD was the first released in a decade by the club, I would be very curious what that last one was? I still have Pride of the Island on VHS.

Imagine the money Cablevision could let them make if they let them go through the archive of incredible games and make DVD's from them to go with one for each season.

Anyone notice you almost never see the Jiggs McDonald-Ed Westphal calls of these games, just the out of town version?

I would love to see Islanders-Oilers 1981.

Unless something major happens a full weekend off for NYI Fan Central, of course whenever I write that something major does happen. The feeders all over the blog are always working for updates.

Major means a signing, a trade or more this weekend.

NYI Fan Central Final Review Aaron Johnson

New York Islander Fan Central | 6/06/2008 07:25:00 AM | | Comment Here
Todays season ending review is on defenseman Aaron Johnson.

Entering 2007-08:
Aaron Johnson played over sixty games for Columbus in 2006-07 so any misconceptions this was an AHL defender trying to earn a job in the NHL are not correct. Former Jackets gm Doug McLean wanted to keep him, new gm Scott Howson could not find a spot for him but both liked his game and praised him.

Unfortunately with so many of the same kind of defenders on the Isles roster and the group healthy early Johnson had problems getting into the lineup, when he finally did it was as a forward or rare instances when the club would dress seven defenders.

A knee injury at practice set him back months and he never got his chance at full strength until late January where he played most of the games in February and March and did a very good job at even strength and was a big factor in the clubs six game winning streak. For the most part he was playing fifteen minutes a game or more and on a team that could not score played to a plus rating which was impressive with steady play. Nothing flashy but he showed a lot of good signs and was rewarded with minutes.

Johnson was constantly praised by the staff for his attitude and hard work.

Moving forward:
Johnson enters June as a restricted free agent but like Columbus will he be qualified? The numbers game on this roster and signed defenders make this a tough call for Garth Snow and Ted Nolan to bring him back because there does not seem to be a spot for him again with everyone healthy. Of course it also could mean Garth Snow can trade a defender to give him a spot in the top six which makes me look at Bruno Gervais who is a restricted free agent.

Final Grade:
It took until January before he finally played on a regular basis, he did a solid/steady job on the backline and logged significant minutes and it was impressive.

Aaron Johnson receives a B. I would like to see more but I'm doubtful that will happen here.

Islander News Articles 6/6

New York Islander Fan Central | 6/06/2008 06:32:00 AM | | | Comment Here
Daily Gleaner: Bill Hunt reports the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds hockey team will host the New York Islanders rookies Sept. 24 - with the writer speculating for UNB player Rob Hennigar could dress for New York.

It will be the second year in a row the V-Reds will meet the Islanders rookies. For
those curious, Rob Hennigar did play in last years game and score in the win over the Isles rookies here.

Telegraph-Journal: Also had a few words on the upcoming game featuring the Isles rookies.

The Lindsay Post: Matt James reports the Islanders were one of the first eleven teams to interview prospect Cody Hodgson who could go in the top ten picks with his comments on the NHL combine and the upcoming NHL draft.

Timmins Press : In an editorial on the NHL off-season beginning speculation that Islander defensive prospect Mark Katic should have a decent shot at cracking the lineup of the New York Islanders and is ranked as the team's fifth best prospect.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Not to pick apart a general article/NHL editorial that mentions a prospect, but Katic was drafted in the third round. I have never seen an official list from the Islanders ranking prospects to where he would be placed fifth and it will take something very special for him in camp to beat out Jack Hillen combined with what is a big group of defenders already signed to say nothing of Dustin Kohn.

Katic also would have to be signed.

Islanders website ranked it's enforcers from five to one with more video on the website for each player.

Small notables:
Kyle Woodlief again did a prospect report on which is posted in the prospect section, on XM radio in his mock draft he predicted the Isles would select Michael Bodker.

Newsday: Neil Best Thursday reported the NHL television ratings and for some reason seems to think New York's jump from 36th to 24th in markerts to a 3.4 is a positive?

NYI Fan Central Comments:
So much spin from so many places on these ratings. Sure it's good news overall ratings are higher but it really says a lot when two teams loaded with stars in major hockey-centric markets did not even match the Carolina-Detroit final or the Devils-Stars matchup. It's hard for folks to understand with versus this is a new network that has been adding outlets each year so they will improve ratings but that's more because they added more affiliates for folks to see games.

On paper take away the team colors and both Carolina-Edmonton, Calgary-Tampa put on just as good a show for the league.

Dick Ebersol nor Sam Flood can be thrilled with such a poor New York market rating with three teams fans only good enough for 36th or 24th?

Yes, folks I'm aware a 3.4 in New York can equal a 20.0 somewhere else with less televisions. Still, the bottom line here was this series was barely mentioned or even covered much by the media.

Islander News Articles 6/5

New York Islander Fan Central | 6/05/2008 04:59:00 AM | | | | | | Comment Here
Islanders website: John Hill reported on last night's business club meeting.

Newsday: Islander blog had a recap of last night's business club event with Chris Dey's comments.

Newsday: Katie Strang attended last night's business club event with Garth Snow's comments that we're a tight-knit organization and the situation with confidence in Wade Dubielewicz was not as big of a deal as what people are making it out to be. In addition, the gm said everything is great regarding his relationship with the coach but prefers that situations like this be kept within the four walls.

He also spoke with Rick DiPietro after surgery and everything is great according to the gm.

Ted Nolan for his part felt there was no disagreement at all, that he and Snow agreed on the conditioning, that Dubie was hurt in the off season, so he couldn't come in and that sometimes that's construed as lack of confidence, but it was maybe a lack of communication.

The coach also plans on thanking Dubielewicz, trying to maintain a friendship as he spoke about the business side vs the relationship side as he again praised Dubielewicz and maintained he never lost faith in his ability.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Bottom line Greg Logan made another mountain out of nothing and Garth Snow made it very easy for him to do so. Even a harmless comment about raising an eyebrow (starting Dubie in second March Ranger game) is all it took for Mr Logan to create something.

The Newsday beatwriter did not even attend to face Snow or Nolan together or do the blog on the business meeting.

Garth Snow for his part has to watch what he says a lot better. He talks of keeping things inside the four walls and they are a tight-knit family and all that but then he goes and tells everyone about Dubielewicz conditioning and that the coaching staff had no confidence in him, requiring a public comment from the coach. He made light of Dubie's conditioning back in April, once was enough.

Tight-knit families keep things in house, you publicly thank Dubielewicz (as Snow did in April) report we could not get together on a contract and that's it.

Charles Wang, Garth Snow, Ted Nolan need to understand the few people covering this team are not die-hard Islander fans who have been on this beat for decades like you would see with a Red Fisher, Tim Panaccio, Kevin-Paul Dupont. It's a paid job assignment, little more and when an opportunity presents itself to stir something up they will take that as far as they can.

What I personally do not like is Greg Logan has no real competition from several papers or writers, he's not struggling to produce stories or scoops and should not have to go out of his way to present an issue as more than it is unless the Newsday sports editor, Hank Winnicki demands he cover the team in this manner?

It does a lot of damage with the fanbase too because many folks cannot get past the headline before they start ripping the team and just tune out everything else.

Michigan Live: Ansar Khan has former Islander general manager Mike Milbury's comments that he offered Chris Osgood a
long-term contract, $16 million for four years, and he turned it down as an indication of what the Islander organization thought of him.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Congratulations to Chris Osgood on winning another Stanley Cup with the Red Wings.

Only Mike Milbury would trade Roberto Luongo, draft Rick DiPietro first overall and then offer another goalie a four year/sixteeen million contract who had a great first month in New York but was hardly a stopper after that.

Ozzie signing a four year deal here would have likely meant DiPietro would have been traded.

Of course this is old news that everyone knew when Osgood was still here at the time the contract offers were reported.

Updated 4:00pm:
Detroit News: Ted Kulfan has Wings owner Mike Mike Illitch comment today comparing his teams four in cups in eleven years with that of the Islanders four in a row and what a great organization they were.

Islander/Sound Tiger Notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 6/04/2008 03:27:00 PM | | | Comment Here
Islanders website: Invites everyone to preview the new home of the Islanders Business Club in the Nassau Coliseum Expo Hall tonight. Mr Wang will be in attendance and will address event guests along with Head Coach Ted Nolan and General Manager Garth Snow. Clark Gillies, Bob Nystrom, Mike Sillinger, Kyle Okposo with Mike Bossy will be on hand.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Will Newsday's Greg Logan be on hand now that Charles Wang, Garth Snow & Ted Nolan will be in the same room and can ask them about DiPietro and Dubielewicz together?

Islanders website: John Hill previews the top Islander enforcers of all time counting down from ten through six.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Normally I would not include something like this but what makes this newsworth here is the club decided to incorporate video directly from into the update which is the first time I have ever seen that on the teams website.

Is it fair for me to write how come Isles could not call up their television partner in cablevision and simply requested the game video's of these fights that could go on ITV for the profiles? Lauren Van Dam has a Sound Tigers website/tv interview with team President Howard Saffan about the past season, what he sees lying ahead for Bridgeport as far as the draft and the upcoming free agency period.