Thinking of Mississippi Sea Wolves

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/31/2008 10:36:00 PM | Be the first to comment!

























Some may not recall but a few years ago the Islanders signed an affiliation agreement with the Mississippi Sea Wolves in the ECHL, Steve Stirling at the time had a few words and the Islanders issued a release here.

Within days Biloxi suffered a direct hit from Hurricane Katrina, resulting in extensive damage to the team’s home arena, including flood damage to team offices, locker rooms as well as the ice-making equipment, two Zambonis and had to suspend operations for two full seasons resuming play in 2007-08.

Unfortunately the Islanders former affiliate looks to be in the path of Hurricane Gustav as the club's website has posted a notice along with what preparations they have made here that the staff has left.

Folks, if you are going to pull for one minor league hockey franchise in your life this is the one that really could use your support today even if it's only a hopeful thought or two along with the thousands of people who will go through this again.

Thank You




A few things from Kevin Allen

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/29/2008 03:17:00 PM | Be the first to comment!
I know a few folks have been e-mailing me asking about a follow up to what I wrote a few weeks about joining the Professional Hockey Writers Association of America and contacting President of the Association Kevin Allen.

I do not want to go overboard here at this time and write too much or speak too much for Mr Allen but I will tell you we spoke a week ago Tuesday, he was kind enough to call me back after doing an interview, we spoke for about twenty minutes and it was a pleasure where I learned a lot.

I did send Mr Allen a long series of questions a week ago and it no doubt will be time consuming to answer. He wrote me the other day and told me not to give up on him, I responded and told him to take his time and do it when he can. When this is available I will post it here for everyone.

Without remembering everything word for word from ten days ago we discussed hockey coverage around the league and the process for joining the association, why I wanted to do this and gave my example of someone from a website who was a member of the association according to an old Islander website article.

For Mr Allen's part he told me joining the association is like joining the local school board where the local chapter sets many of the rules or standards and it can be years before someone is granted voting rights as a member of the association for awards.

In my case I told him of my experience/background writing about hockey and felt it would give my blog more legitimacy if it were considered professional. He did tell me not interviewing players would not work in my favor but sometimes exceptions are made.

We also spoke about some media changes with the exceptional writer in the Carolina Observer, Luke DeCock leaving the Canes coverage and I did a lot of talking about folks like Helen Elliott in Los Angeles and the lack of road coverage from so many papers.

What was somewhat surprising was Mr Allen credited how blogging is making huge strides and saw all of this as a positive and made a lot of great points on the subject while I was the one more on the side of the conservative way with standard professional reporting from Newspapers being the only credible media sources.

Mr Allen did a fine job and impressed me with his knowledge and what obviously is his love of hockey. He brought up something at the end of our conversation where he felt the tone has been so much more negative/harsh (not his exact wording) than it used to be twenty or so years ago in the media.

This did make an impression on me where afterward I thought about how often I am tough on Newsday or the other reporters in my space here but I also feel what I doing is ground breaking for our team and necessary at this time because there have been so many problems with the Islanders coverage in my estimation.

This is something I have kept in mind from day one writing this blog.

Anyway I just wanted to follow up here for everyone who has contacted me before the holiday weekend begins about this.

Unless something major breaks regarding the Islanders, have a great weekend or check the feeders all over the blog.




Islander Prospect Gratchev traded in QMJHL

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/29/2008 02:34:00 PM | Be the first to comment!
Our Sports Central: Report Islander draft pick Maxim Gratchev has been traded to the Lewiston Maineiacs from Rimouski in the QMJHL with general manager and coach Ed Hardings comments.

QMJHL.com: Karl Jahnke has a release confirming the trade.

Lewiston's website: Also has a release on the trade.

Hockeyjournal.com: Bill Keefe has Gratchev's comments about the trade and if he could be playing for Bridgeport this season?

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Gratchev is still a player in the QMJHL and with their trade/transaction peirod running until September 2nd, it may not be the last move for an Isles prospect.

Gratchev was drafted last summer by the Islanders.

His new teams Newspaper coverage is in English.




Forward Preview Pt II: Sillinger, Hunter, Sim

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/29/2008 05:46:00 AM | | | Be the first to comment!
Friday begins with Pt II of our forward preview which includes Mike Sillinger, Trent Hunter and Jon Sim.

1. Mike Sillinger:
Mike Sillinger entered 2007-08 as a player coming off an excellent January in 2006-07where he was the go-to center come playoff time with Ryan Smyth and Jason Blake/Trent Hunter after a line of Hilbert-Sillinger-Hunter not only was an excellent shut down line but carried the offense for a stretch to sixth place heading into the trade deadline.

Overall his second half numbers where not dominating, he had a balanced scoring season in 06-07, he had a playoff goal and assist.

Entering camp in 07-08 it seemed Sillinger would again have Hunter on his right side with a mix of Jon Sim, Hilbert or Chris Simon/Bergenheim on his left.

Simply put it was not a good statistical season or a year where Sillinger had a lot of impact when he was healthy early which could have been a byproduct of the teams strategy but Sillinger was hard to notice in too many games beyond his special team play or his faceoff ability unlike 06-07.

Only Sillinger knows how long he played hurt before he shut it down and returned before finally deciding he could not go any further after February 2nd in a season he was honored for playing a thousand games.

He did have an overtime winner against Tampa where he got animated with Chris Campoli just prior to the goal and no doubt he's a winner who knows what it takes for a team to improve and is an asset in many ways that do not show up on a scoresheet. His multi-goal games in Carolina and Calgary where two of his biggest games of the season.

Moving forward, this was a significant injury and surgery that reportedly would keep him off skates until August. He was one of the players who acknowledged the club did not play well but was solidly behind Ted Nolan and credited his coaching so he will be starting over with a new coach and a lot of young centers pushing for his spot in the final year of his contract.

At this stage of his career is this what he wants?

Garth Snow has a tough decision here. Sillinger has not been on the same club to begin a season three years in a row since Vancouver a decade ago. Unless something unexpected happens here regarding his health or a signing/trade it should be his spot to open camp.

Last year's group did win six games in a row without him going into the trade deadline which Garth Snow has to consider.

2. Trent Hunter:
Trent Hunter as I wrote above for Sillinger was a huge part of the club's playoff push in 2006-07 with an outstanding January-February.

2007-08 was somewhat of a strange season for Hunter among the league leaders in hits and outstanding in the trenches with his second highest point total but the lack of speed seemed a factor in his lack of scoring along with the clubs system. No one will go all out more aside from Brendan Witt to block a shot and he did set up a lot of goals but overall the scoring slumps defined his season on a club that badly needed him to step up and increase his production going in.

Moving forward on paper to open camp he signed a five year contract and his play will likely determine how and where Scott Gordon uses him but given how the last two years have played out he will have to produce to see first or second line minutes over Bill Guerin or Kyle Okposo if he makes the roster.

Hunter has not been the same player in terms of that extra step since his 2004 knee on knee hit with Sean Brown and at times the broadcast has noted he wears a brace on his knee but does not tell us if it's the same one?

3. Jon Sim:
Some might think were back to square one with Jon Sim but this is not the same roster on left wing as it was a year ago. Blake Comeau and Sean Bergenheim last year proved they belong in a teams top nine and Jeff Tambellini has to get his full chance and that will not happen on a fourth line for a player with his hands and scoring ability.

Those are all left wingers or were used as left wingers a year ago, Sim has to beat one of them out for a spot in the top nine and he will have to do it recovering from an injury we have seen time and again take an extra year for the player to fully get back that extra stride. We saw it with Peca, Martinek, Nokelainen where they hit a wall in their recovery, no one was injured as early as Sim so that could be to his benefit and the Isles could used his seventeen goal contribution but at who's expense on the left side?

Islanders need the best version of this player who displays a nasty edge and has the occasional hands and speed to match, tough to say how this will work out on the Scott Gordon Islanders but he does have two years left on his contract.

Next up: Richard Park, Andy Hilbert, Sean Bergenheim.








New York in the Sundin-Schneider mix/Notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/28/2008 01:09:00 PM | | 2 Comments so far
Tsn.ca: Darren Dreger describes the Islanders as a dark horse team in the mix for Leafs unrestricted free agent Mats Sundin claiming general manager Garth Snow has been persistant to keep his team in the mix.

Mr Dreger also speculates the Islanders have an interest in bringing back Mathieu Schneider.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
These things are what they are until Sundin and Schneider's agents confirm or deny the Isles involvement unless Garth Snow actually has something to say and he is very unlikely to do so.

Considering the Isles have a lot of depth at center I would think if Sundin did sign here Mike Sillinger or Mike Comrie would be traded unless Sillinger does not intend to return or unable to.

On defense six defenders (not including Jack Hillen) are under contract for at least the next two years so do not bet on Schneider returning for his second go around with New York because he's not a durable player and not in line with what this team is advertising with a youth movement if it plans to give Campoli, Gervais or Hillen an opportunity among others.

Let's just hope if Mr Logan (or another Newsday reporter) writes about Sundin signing somewhere when they come around to mentioning the Islanders possible involvement make sure to include whether the Islanders offered a front-loaded contract
here with bonus money which the Islander beatwriter failed to do last summer instead of waving the everyone wants to be Ranger pom poms (as Larry Brooks did claiming it was not about the economics) and only providing the public the part of the story that would stir up Islander fans omitting that a corporate team is better suited to offer a front-loaded contract and an advantage the CBA did not take into account.

Of course Garth Snow made it very easy for Greg Logan to omit that part when he's bringing up the Coliseum as an issue but it's still something our beatwriter should have made clear if he's talking about the Islanders offering those players similar contracts.

Don't think for a second front-loaded contracts and bonus money are not a big deal to a free agent because by the final years of that agreement they can be bought out and lose a big part of the money they signed for (see Alexei Yashin) if you need any proof.

Cory Witt in his Islander media blog posted a very classy letter from blog boxer Jon Jordan announcing he will not be part of the program next season here with his reasons.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
NYI Fan Central wishes Mr Jordan the best of luck moving forward with his writing career and will continue to carry his work in our blog box feeder here at NYI Fan Central because of the outstanding quality and content.







Islander Notables/Quick Hits

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/27/2008 01:56:00 PM | | | | | | 11 Comments so far
NHL.com: Brian Compton has a feature on Islander prospects David Toews and Blake Kessel with their comments along with brothers Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Black Hawks and Phil Kessel of the Boston Bruins.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Another outstanding feature from NHL.com on the teams young prospects, almost seems like the league's staff is doing more on the Isles to make up for what the media is not providing.

Parry Sound.com: Evan French has a feature on defenseman Chris Lee who will be at the Islanders NHL tryout camp in Moncton on Sept. 19 who signed an AHL contract earlier this summer.

THN: Adam Proteau of the Hockey News in a blog entry feels if European players became more fluent in English, there’s little doubt their on-ice talents would garner more mainstream attention than they do at present.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
New York Islander Fan Central feels Mr Proteau should become more fluent in other languages so he can do his job better which is report on these players, not make excuses for selective reporting.

No law that says the owners of THN cannot employ writers who can interview these players and no law the teams cannot provide writers or interpreters for supplemental coverage. It's also unfair of Mr Proteau not to credit many of these players who go out of their way to learn multiple languages which was not included in his article.

What's ironic is Mr Proteau omits Mats Sundin of Sweden speaks English perfectly well and still no one has a clue what he's doing in any language.

Quick Hits:
So our friends at Cablevision are televising all Ranger preseason games running all over North America and Europe and putting it in Newsday as exclusive content?

I guess someone from Newsday will be doing the same for Islander fans shortly announcing every Islander preseason game will be televised with Billy Jaffe and Steve Mears/Chris King providing commentary?

Sure does seem the Islanders have paid for plenty of advertising all over the sports page at the paper, some live televised game preseason games only help hockey marketing in New York.
*********************************************************
Not for anything I'm getting tired of Howie Rose never doing anything but the games (as soon as baseball season ends) for this club beyond going on WFAN once a year to barely talk about the team.

Someone want to tell me why Howie Rose cannot take an hour or two and blog on the Islanders changes this summer for our fans?

I think it's time the Howie Rose era comes to an end with the club, our fans deserve better than a part-time announcer who does little else beyond the games themselves.
**********************************************************
Nothing but good things to write about Bryan Berard as he heads to Philadelphia on a tryout contract, he stayed healthy in the second half and did a good job concentrating on his defense and cut down his mistakes and proved he can still play in this league at a high level.

The Isles powerplay problems was about the entire team and sure he made some mistakes but he hung in as best as he could on a club with a lot of injuries working against it with some basic weaknesses on the roster. I hope he sticks with Philadelphia and picks up where he left off in the second half and wish him the best of luck.





Forward Preview Pt I: Guerin, Comrie, Weight

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/26/2008 03:07:00 PM | | | Be the first to comment!
Today New York Islander Fan Central begins it's early season preview where we look at a group of three players, what happened last season, where they left off entering the summer and look ahead as the countdown is on toward training camp and the regular season.

Every few days we will review three other players, move to the defense and finally the goaltenders.

No better place to begin than with last year's captain, Bill Guerin.

1. Bill Guerin:
When the Islanders lost six games in a row in late March former coach Ted Nolan blasted his veterans and threatened to skate them every day, Bill Guerin at the time did agree with his coach about the lack of support from the veteran players but Ted Nolan always praised Bill Guerin and did so at the end of last season for playing hurt.

Bill Guerin had a very mixed season a year ago, he came back to the Eastern Conference after years out west where he was put in a role where he had to be a first line right wing instead of a supporting member of an offensive group as he was in St Louis, Dallas and San Jose, in addition he was given the captaincy of a team for the first time in his career. In December the media reported he also dealt with personal loss to open last season.

Guerin had a few early goals (including a hat-trick against a struggling Olaf Kolzig)
and then went into a slump with the rest of the club where he did not set up many goals or score many goals until a December burst finally got him somewhat un-tracked but overall produced like a support player on a team that had too many of the same kind of player where they needed a first line player.

He did have his quality shots off the rush on the wing where it produced goals and had the quickness where the game played to his strengths but too often Guerin was stuck on the perimeter taking low percentage shots.

Moving ahead it's clear Doug Weight was brought in to help Bill Guerin and once again he will be a key part of the offense off right wing on the first line, with Hunter and Okposo who are not first line producers as the other two right wingers entering camp. Guerin comes in off an injury from last season, a year older and with a new coach but he also comes in with a year of experience with New York so his situation is more settled.

Needless to write the club is going to need Bill Guerin's twenty goals and a lot more for this to work out in terms of winning next season. It's fair to write at this point with Hunter signed for the next five seasons and Kyle Okposo likely to get a full opportunity Bill Guerin will have to produce to keep his spot with free agents and right wings like Robin Figren, Kirill Petrov entering the radar.


2. Mike Comrie:
Mike Comrie was not a man who had a lot to say at the end of last season who apparently was another veteran who played hurt far too long but Comrie has never been a durable player in terms of being an eighty two game player.

Comrie signed here to be a top line player, to be the go to player for a team and wanted that challenge. Outside of his first weekend against Buffalo he was sporadic at best in that department but so was the talent around him which is an excuse that many did not allow for Alexei Yashin and cannot be given for Comrie as he disappeared for long stretches of the season and took a lot of offensive zone penalties.

Still, when the season was over he did finish with fifty points and led the club in scoring.

Comrie also found himself in spots where he got into fights which he did before he signed here also.

Moving forward it seems both sides want another year with neither committing long-term to the other.

Comrie's a solid second line center with the right supporting cast but again will not have that (on paper going into camp) with a mix of young and old on his wings depending on who he is paired with. Regardless he does have to be far more visible nightly on a team where the opposition will key on him.

Was Comrie's inconsistent offensive about the club's system, the talent around him or simply a player with a limited ceiling? I think this year we will get our answers to those questions as he could drop to a quasi-second line if Doug Weight is Bill Guerin's right wing.

3. Doug Weight:
I know a lot of folks only look at the numbers/age and see Weight as a slow player in decline. That could be correct but as he said fifteen months ago he was a very productive player and a year ago would be coming in expected to score like a top six player, his numbers in 2006-07 do not lie that he can still produce.

Last year was not a good year for Weight where he was traded in season from the Blues and outright said at the time he would love to come to New York and play with Bill Guerin, he recently also said he was told to play defense for Anaheim or would see his minutes cut and his role reduced.

Moving forward we know Doug Weight is a playmaker and a veteran this roster needs but for this to work he will have to produce as a top six forward, take some of the burden of leadership off of other players and he will have to keep up in the speed department or this signing will not work.

Like Guerin he is also playing for a future contract here or somewhere else and with Nielsen, Sillinger, Colliton, Walter, Josh Bailey and other centers down the middle there is a lot competition for jobs.

Next up: Mike Sillinger, Trent Hunter, Jon Sim.










Tuesday Islander/NHL Notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/26/2008 01:50:00 PM | | | | Be the first to comment!
Sarnia Observer: Dave Borody reports current Sound Tiger/former Sarnia player Jamie Fraser was working out with the Sting veterans and will be attending Islanders training camp.

Toronto Sun/Wire Services: Terry Koshan has former Islander Jason Blake's comments as he prepares to begin his second year with the Leafs.

Moose Jaw Times Herald: Uncredited had a few words on the Warriors scrimmage which included Islander draft pick Travis Harmomic.

Point Blank: Mr Botta has some speculation on Islanders first round pick Josh Bailey signing before camp opens and gives specifics as to what that would mean for the club moving forward.





NYIFC Top Ten Hockey Items to Drop/Crush

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/25/2008 01:29:00 PM | | | 4 Comments so far
A iittle fun for a quiet Monday, a Scott Gordon inteview on a local radio show today
Kjoy.com along with USA Today Kevin Allen reporting Bryan Berard has been invited to Flyers camp in his blog is about all that's happening.

Delcotimes.com: Anthony J. Sanfilippo has Berard's comments on his tryout with Philadelphia along with those of general manager Paul Holmgren.


I'm sure a few older folks remember this on television so I thought being that this is the time of year we see articles about things folks want to change around the NHL in that spirit here at NYIFC we would give our own list of requests as what we would like to see dropped or crushed in terms of hockey.

Enjoy.











1. The Eric Lindros (smile) Bobblehead doll.

























2. The Shoe Mike Milbury used to beat up a Ranger fan. (Fan/Milbury not included)



















3. A nice big bowl of Wendy's Double-Chili.












4. The Mark Messier Leadership Award.












5. A pair of those Roberto Luongo overstuffed pads.














6. Some Red Wings Octopus.


















7. The Marine Midland Arena (Buffalo Sabres) first scoreboard.












8. Those ugly Reebok Edge NHL jerseys filled with all the water they hold.











9. Billy Smith's Thirty one cases of Budweiser from his retirement ceremony.






















10. Those larger goal nets to match Luongo's pads.











Islander Notables/Quick Hits

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/24/2008 12:01:00 PM | | | | 2 Comments so far
Islanders website: Kimber Auerbach has a feature on two of the players general manager Garth Snow's signed this summer in goaltender Peter Mannino, defenseman Brett Skinner with their comments and their link back to winning a National Championship in Denver.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
It should be very interesting to see how things play out with Skinner and Mannino, especially Skinner to start things being he was signed from Scott Gordon's Providence Bruins in June where his former coach had to have some opinion about not
resigning him. I'm somewhat surprised they did not have a comment from Skinner on Scott Gordon but this feature may well be from mini-camp and pre-scheduled for a Sunday in August.

If I'm correct Skinner was drafted by Vancouver, traded to Anaheim and then traded to Boston last September.

My guess is Peter Mannino takes the same track Dubielewicz did at Bridgeport and competes with Joey MacDonald or Yann Danis. I'm not completely sold MacDonald has a lock on the backup spot entering camp or that Danis could not win it from him.

Quick Hits:
I will have more on my conversation with Professional Hockey Writers Association President Kevin Allen this week. I saw something today I wish I had seen a week ago before I spoke with him because I would have loved to ask for his take about it.

A Newspaper site called Michigan Live (Mlive.com) carries a freelance amateur hockey writer's blog in their newspaper site which today ripped the Boston Globe's Kevin-Paul Dupont for an article the writer felt was owner-friendly and felt Mr Dupont talks out of both sides of his mouth with regard to the CBA when it comes to NHL's Board of Governors, Jeremy Jacobs who owns the Boston Bruins.

The writer provided a lot of links to articles that supported his claims.

I guess some newspaper are allowing freelance amateur writers space to do hockey blogs in their newspapers begging the question why isn't the Times, News or Post doing this for the New York Islanders to supplement the coverage they are not providing for our hockey team?

No folks, this is not about me lobbing for my blog to be posted in one of those papers. I'm simply asking aloud for anyone with a blog/journal/whatever if a Michigan based publication where hockey has far more media presence does a paper in this market do the same thing?




For New York to return to the playoffs.....

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/24/2008 10:18:00 AM | | 2 Comments so far
In writing this blog entry I'm going to take a few things for granted about the Islanders overall because these are things you could write about any club.

On the Isles it's slightly different going in because the trend on defense is the group overall is prone to injury. They also have forwards who are older and played out a season injured along with a goaltender who has had two surgeries the last two summers. In that regard we'll forecast less injuries overall for the team and hope for the best.

So what will it take to return to the playoffs?

1. Better survival skills to get stretches of games to overtime that produce long unbeaten in regulation streaks and pile up the points.

I always love those graphics in Islander games that they rarely if ever lose games they lead going into the third period, for me they are misleading.

Maybe Islander fans did not notice how last season ended but it took Boston ninety four points and twelve games over five hundred to secure the eighth seed. Carolina was ten games over and had ninety two points and did not qualify which used to be my personal barometer for a playoff seed. Two years ago the Islanders went on a second half run that saw them lose three times in twenty regulation games that got them to sixth place but last year this teams survival skills to force games to overtime and secure points was missing virtually the entire season.

In the Islanders seven games losing streak in January they only got the final game of the losing streak to overtime against Minnesota and were leading late. When they won six straight immediately afterward only one game did they win in overtime.

Down the stretch in March when things fell apart again losing six in a row they did not get a single game to overtime and secure one point.

That has to change for New York next season with a defense on paper that should be improved with better survival skills in games to secure points but it's about team defense, not just players on the backline.

2. Out with the old, in with the new...
Everyone is doing a lot of talk of rebuilding and youth movements in New York but if you have read this blog you know about how many veterans are here and will be key parts of this team to start next season.

For this to work out as intended and for the club to compete for a playoff spot someone like an Okposo, Comeau or a Jeff Tambellini have to step up and fill the production gap when a Bill Guerin, Doug Weight or Mike Sillinger slump or outright struggle. That is when the real youth movement/rebuilding begins as you'll see a Frans Nielsen or someone else get a prime slot.

My guess is this change will be more subtle as long as the club is in contention and producing but make no mistake for this to work these kids have to step in and score when they get their chance if this club wants to make the playoffs this season.

3. Scoring
A general term but simply put Scott Gordon has to get another productive year out of some veterans past their prime and in many cases some players have to produce more goals. This club cannot have a roster where almost all the forwards have a twenty game plus goal scoring drought.

Isles lost about forty goals with Satan, Fedotenko and Vasicek's departure on a club that was at the bottom of the league in goals. Trent Hunter did not have a point production drop but he has to find the net along with Sillinger, Comrie, Weight and Guerin among the veterans. Among these players there is no dynamic offensive star who can carry the scoring unless Comrie has a career season.

Simply put all the talk means nothing, these guys have to find the net on a regular basis.

4. Powerplay
We all know the story with the powerplay, if your not a great scoring club at even strength you have to do damage with your powerplay and last season too many nights were giving up give up quality chances with the man advantage like no other Islander club I have even seen.

There is no Berard at this time and Bergeron is in Minnesota with Aaron Johnson off to Chicago. Satan's departure dramatically changes the look along with Weight's passing skills but still they have no sniper/finisher in this department and no doubt other clubs will key on the defenders knowing there is not a lot of speed among the forward down low to get the other club running around in their own end of the ice and keep them off balance.

That's how you wear down a team with the man advantage as we see Billy Jaffe say often when he sees a team tired killing a penalty. Too many nights Isles stayed on the perimeter with their powerplay and the other team sat in it's box and waited for a mistake and attacked them, only very early last year did a forward take a puck from the corner and drive the net forcing the defense down low.

Mark Streit will be the quarterback and the Isles will likely hope Campoli and another player step up but this club cannot give up another fifteen goals with it's powerplay and look like the team shorthanded when they get an advantage.

If Richard Park or Bill Guerin are on point, it's obviously time to give Jack Hillen a full time spot or make a trade to get someone in here because for this club to have any chance at getting games to overtime and securing points on a regular basis this has to change from day one of next season if they want to be a playoff team.

5. Speed
Cue the movie Rocky II where Burgess Meredith has Sylvester Stallone chasing chickens to get some speed in those legs because this team does not only lack greasy fast speed but a lot of players who simply do not react well to the other teams speed.

Scott Gordon says he has looked at films and felt he had a fast team and talked of pressure and attacking but I think he has a ton of work ahead in this area outside of a few individuals like Richard Park who have the speed, but not the finishing skills to play a top six or nine.

For this club to return to the playoffs they need not only improved team speed but the ability to react better and counter the oppositions speed to make up for what they lack in this area.

6. Plus/Minus
You go from one of the best clubs at even strength in the league to one of the worst with most of the roster deep in the red your not scoring enough or defending enough.

Isles cut their shots against by close to two hundred , it's a misleading stat at times but clearly this team did not score enough to offset it. This could have been filed under scoring (plus/minus does not count for powerplay) but I felt required a spot for itself because it will be another key in something that has to improve for this club to return to the playoffs.




Quick Saturday Update

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/23/2008 12:55:00 PM | | | | 1 Comment so far
Windsor Star: Jim Parker has an article on Windsor Spitfires training camp that has a few words on Josh Bailey.

Sports Illustrated: Alan Muir puts Islanders defenseman Mark Streit in his top five of players who could be a potential failure of a signing putting him ahead of Jeff Finger (Toronto), Michael Ryder (Boston), Jose Theodore (Washington) and Ryan Malone. (Tampa Bay)

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Mr Muir's reason's for Mark Streit failing here are reasonable but he failed to note he has steadily improved the last few years and is not a player with a lot of NHL mileage with his best likely ahead of him. It's hard to say what will happen here because the test will come when he struggles on defense and Scott Gordon considers using him as a forward as Montreal did to get his offensive skill in the lineup.

Some of the players Mr Muir did not list in the top five have seem to have more potential for failure than Streit.

Sure would be nice if SI finally did anything positive on the Islanders, there are a lot of players here with some upside but I guess it's not good for page views, it's amazing how the BlackHawks have been hyped along with St Louis the last few years.

edited-Jeff Gordon is not the Islanders new coach, someone contact NASCAR.




Prospect Notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/22/2008 07:23:00 PM | | | 2 Comments so far
Sarnia Observer: Dave Borody explains the rules in the Ontario Hockey League only allow clubs to carry three overage prospects with coach Dave McQueen's comments as Sarnia opens training camp with Islander draft pick Justin DiBenedetto one of those overage players who will report to the Islanders training camp as Sarnia current has four overage players but a situation the coach says will work itself out within a month.

Mark Katic and Matt Martin were also listed among the fifty three players who will be at camp.

Windsor Star: Jim Parker reports many of the prospects will report this weekend for camp and will leave the club by the third exhibition game to join their NHL teams for prospects camp. Spitfires head coach Bob Boughner comments on Islanders draft pick Josh Bailey and what it means to have him on the club.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Camps are starting up for these junior clubs this weekend or have began already.

Exhibition games start in about a week and then after some prospects play a few games they report to their NHL clubs for camp.

Outside of the Windsor Star which has a section for it's hockey team and put Friday's article in it's News section all the Islander junior prospects in the OHL and WHL has newspaper coverage available here that was easy to find today in the updated prospect section.

The QMJHL league has newspapers listed but many of those papers are French Canadian, I will keep trying to tweak this to get us the best newspaper links possible.

Islanders in terms of prospects right now the breakdown is as follows:
College-Fourteen
Canadian Junior Leagues-Eleven
Europe-Ten with many far off the radar unlikely to ever sign drafted several years ago with Tunik, Volkov, Stonkus and Axelsson under Milbury's tenure.

Figren is signed and playing in Europe. Petrov, Ullstrom, Johansson and Ridderwall round off the group, Niemi came here from Europe but will play in Canada.

Past prospects likely heading for Bridgeport like Joensuu, were not included in that mix but Marcinko was because there is a slight chance he could be back with Barrie.

All of the European prospects have had links updated to include their team websites/current profiles and statistics with the exception of Alexei Stonkus who's league from last year has apparently become a development league for the new KHL.

From what I can gather the KHL has not provided team links or websites to where Stonkus can be found nor is there a transfer from his last club reported.

Always kept tabs on Stonkus after his serious neck injury, any time I see he is still playing anywhere, it's more than enough for me.






Islander News Articles 8/22

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/22/2008 07:56:00 AM | | | | 2 Comments so far
The News Pictou County Nova Scotia: Report the Islanders will be sending an ITV camera crew up to Pictou County this weekend to cover the second annual Play the Pros event at John Brother MacDonald Stadium with Jon Sim's comments on the event started by Sim and the Devils Colin White.


ECHL.COM/serveral outlets: Report Andy Sertich was resigned by the Utah Grizzlies.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
His profile was updated back on 6/26 which is still on the sidebar because he played twenty eight games for the Sound Tigers last year. With the ECHL movement involving players it's not feasible to keep stats/profiles for entire rosters with so many changes, only the ones who played a significant time for Bridgeport will be added to the sidebar.

Sudbury Star: Bruce Heidman had Wolves owner Mark Burgess comments on what the plan is for Columbus draft pick Nikita Filatov if Blue Jacket management decide he should start the season in Juniors with Sudbury with regards to contracts in Russia and transfer paperwork.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
A few reasons why this was posted:
One to show that draft picks on the fence between NHL or junior hockey start their season with the pro clubs training camp.

Another would be to show what it's going to take for Filatov to play in Junior hockey if he does not make the Columbus roster.

Finally because players like Josh Bailey at his age it's NHL or juniors as the two options, there is no AHL/ECHL option at that age. Once they hit that nine or ten game mark in the NHL they cannot retrun to juniors and must remain in the NHL as we saw long ago with Tim Connolly.

Quick Hits:
* Long time assistant coach for Scott Gordon Rob Murray was hired as new coach in Providence so he will not be coming to New York.

* I think Mr Botta set a record for longest paragraph as a title to an article in his latest blog entry. It seemed to fit in the widget but I'm going to throw a little criticism here at Mr Botta because if he's writing and telling us to ignore Newsday or the articles from an Anthony Rieber or Jim Baumbach or it will only get worse because of the what it generates in terms of page views and hits why did he not ignore Mr Kelley's article in SI which a week ago instead of giving him more page views and hits which will make Mr Kelley's bosses happy?

Mr Botta's heart is in the right place with his comments and intentions just like the folks who did the same with Mr Rieber and Mr Baumbach. I hope he understands this cannot be selective where we pick and choose the folks who put out this kind of content on the club.

* Finally the widget on the sidebar with the schedule now includes all the Islanders preseason games, impressive work from the folks behind this.





Thursday Islander Notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/21/2008 03:02:00 PM | | | Be the first to comment!
NHL.com: Brian Compton has an outstanding blog entry with comments from head coach Scott Gordon and general manager Garth Snow Thursday where they both discuss the hiring process and what they will have to happen for this to work on the ice with a lot of information from both along with the plan for the young players and the veterans.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Easily the best article/blog I have read to date in terms of questions and answers from both the writer, coach and general manager. Mr Compton knew his stuff and asked about all the veterans on a roster that is building a youth movement but could skate nine players who are at least 30 years of age and the important questions of the goaltenders workload and his working relationship with the general manager.

Only place Mr Compton falls short here is not noting goaltending was not a factor for the team in that second Ranger game and Dubie was outstanding in the win at the garden prior to that.

Sportsnet.com: Chris Nichols has an article with his speculation what the line combinations will be for each club in the Atlantic and did a very good job on the Islanders not only having the players on the correct wings but noted the strong competition for spots with the options as he reviewed the first three lines.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
I think Mr Nichols did outstanding with his line combos which for now leaves Jon Sim, Hilbert, Park, Nielsen, Walter, Colliton and Josh Baley (for openers) battling for fourth line spots to say nothing of the enforcer role between a Jackman or a Rechlicz?

I wrote this a while back and I see no other place to go write I think Mike Sillinger's spot on the roster could be in play sooner than later. Right or wrong I keep coming back to that along with Andy Hilbert who also worked with Scott Gordon.





NYI Fan Central New Prospect Center Open

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/21/2008 11:07:00 AM | Be the first to comment!




After a lot of work behind the scenes this summer our new redesigned prospect center is now up and running at NYIFC and I think it's a winner that everyone will enjoy that is a vast improvement over year one where where all it did was link to the teams website profile.

Each prospect now has a section of it's own with information from the teams they play for now in North America along with stats, information, website and newspaper coverage in some cases. European prospects were also given links to follow stats and information that will include links to their teams directly if possible.

Also a new feeder was added to this blog that has College, Canadian League News and Pro Hockey Leagues in general.

Some things were simply not available, many college clubs do not have dedicated independent newspaper coverage. I did provide many newspaper links to CHL teams but many were in French and no paper had a specific team feeder.

Hopefully I got all the players who transferred correct, any mistakes let me know and this is something that will change a lot as players move around, these are the changes to this point:

* Corey Trivino Stouffville Spirit Ontario Provincial Junior A Hockey League transferred Boston University.

* David Toews- Shattuck-St. Mary’s High School in Minnesota to University of North Dakota.

* Blake Kessel Waterloo USHL To University of New Hampshire Hockey East NCAA.

* Troy Mattila Tri-City Storm USHL to Darmouth ECAC.

* Jason Gregiore from Lincoln Stars (USHL) to University of North Dakota.

* Aaron Ness from Roseau High School to Minnesota Gophers.

* Matt Donovan Cedar Rapids USHL & Denver University WCHA:
Donovan will play for the RoughRiders again this season while also attending the University of Denver. Eligibility rules differ in hockey. As long as Donovan doesn't receive any money with Cedar Rapids, he can play for both clubs.

Finally:
I have already been setting up for Moncton coverage, no specific feeders but I will set up a link list for those Newspapers for days I cannot update.

Enjoy...





Islander News Articles 8/21

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/21/2008 06:11:00 AM | | | | Be the first to comment!
Islanders website: Has the recap of last night's RE/MAX Open House
with new head coach Scott Gordon where he took fan questions, Frans Nielsen also was part of last night's event and gave his comments.

Islanders TV: Has a fourteen minute video of last night's open house with Scott Gordon.

Islanders Television: Has Scott Gordon's fifteen minute interview on FAN960.

Newsday: Katie Strang covered last night's open house with Scott Gordon's comments again as he again talked about incorporating the teams speed into the game plan and will be calling his players over the next week to introduce himself and try to get the to buy into the clubs system and philosophy.

Newsday: Katie Strang has a blog last night on the event before above article where Mr Dey's promotion was included.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
I'm not sure what to make of this and I'll admit I completelty forgot about last night's event. A lot of what we read about Scott Gordon was he's all about defense and keeping shots against down, second time now I have read him talking about this club's speed to play more of an attacking style of game.

Ted Nolan on countless occasions talked about how his team had to play the style they did because they did not have the speed and skill of other clubs where by contrast we read alot about Ted Nolan not playing a 1-3-1 until the very end of the season against Pittsburgh. The former coach also was furious in a game against Philadelphia where they scored three rare first period goals where he felt they cheated their defensive system for offense. That was the game a few pucks hit the SMG boards and found their way in front of DiPietro on strange bounces and the Isles blew the lead and the game.

My take on this is the new coach is going to discover this is a very slow group of veteran forwards who are easy to predict and defend. Bill Guerin, Trent Hunter, Mike Sillinger and Doug Weight are hardly fast skaters.

This is a trend that has gone back several years and roster reincarnations here, Jason Blake carried the puck for everyone and got them setup in the zone.

I do not know what Scott Gordon is seeing in these tapes that I did not see last season, Ted Nolan talked about the lack of speed and skill often and that's not how this club would win games. For his thirty odd games Jeff Tambellini did not look fast, he looked tenative and uncertain.

I guess we'll see. This club was never faster than the stretch Bergenheim-Yashin-Robert Nilsson were a line in early March 2006.





Chris Dey Named Islanders President

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/20/2008 07:10:00 PM | | Be the first to comment!
Islanders website: Announced Chris Dey has been named team President with comments from Mr Dey along with Islanders owner Charles Wang.

The release notes Mr Dey will expand his responsibilities beyond Sales, Marketing and Event Operations. He will oversee all business operations for the team as well as the Islanders Children's Foundation, the Islanders office in China and the Charles B. Wang Ice Hockey Project Hope in China and will also work with the Lighthouse Development Corporation on the planning, as well as the sales and marketing, of the transformed Nassau Coliseum.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Seems like an awful lot for one individual who has the overwhelming job of trying to fill seats at the Nassau Coliseum for hockey games and set an ambitious goal of ten thousand season seats tickets before Ted Nolan's departure and a flood of negative press from Newsday which from an outsiders view seems impossible, but who knows given the clubs earlier release of seven hundred odd new subscriptions sold that does not tell us how many did not renew.

I'm somewhat surprised it got a lot of play in the sports media to where it was even in the AP/CP coverage.

I do not recall the Islanders naming a team President since Bill Torrey's tenure (David Seldin was New York Sports Ventures President) and clearly Mr Torrey was involved in hockey decisions, but this apparently is something different with the release clearly about business.

I know some fans will not give Mr Dey a fair chance, but any idea he came here this summer to take over is a total misconception as the Pacific Business Journal's Janice Magin reported back in May of 2007 around the time Mike Milbury announced he would not be returning here that Mr Wang had intended to hire Mr Dey and bring him here full-time.

No doubt many are aware of his background in Hawaii which did not end well for an arena II football team Mr Wang owned which folded back in 2004. Pacific Business Journal also had Janis L. Magin here cover the story of the folding of that club in 2004 with Mr Dey's comments about the circumstances at the time.

Bottom line here unless were inside the Islander offices we have no idea beyond blind speculation what goes on.

I know folks will throw out those infamous Espn attendance links and point out the Islanders finished last but a lot of those numbers are clearly announced by clubs and that's not a reliable barometer for true attendance.

Let's also give Mr Dey his due here because for those who go right to Espn attandance links as the gospel there is another side to that for the Islanders and despite missing the playoffs, the team had it's highest average per game paid attendance since 2002, and a year over year increase that was top five in the league. The group sales department ranked third in the league in total sales and corporate sponsorship sales set a team record last season.

Some spin both ways? Perhaps, but the Islanders did report eighty three percent of the building was filled on avgerage and you filter out those early weeknight games it would have been much higher.

Good luck to Mr Dey and from an Islander fan viewpoint, we all better hope he does a great job because an awful lot is riding on what Mr Wang has entrusted him with.





NYI Fan Central Update

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/20/2008 06:51:00 AM | | | 2 Comments so far




Some changes at NYI Fan Central.

As always I'm always trying to upgrade this blog to bring more information and features to it for everyone.

I announce these changes sometimes so everyone knows where to find new features here along with things they may have been moved because some folks may may come here just to find links to other sites.

For the remainder of the summer up until training camp begins the new brighter page look will we be third jersey (home white) version of this blog.

So what's next?

* I have been bulking up sidebar with some links to some Independent Islander Fan Sites, many links are included. My requirement for listing folks here are regular hockey updates and no profanity from your site.

If interested please send an e-mail.

* We now have a Hockey Database (hockeydb.com) player finder widget from their excellent site added to the NHL Trades/Transactions/Free Agent Signings section which will now be a permanent fixture here so we can follow player transactions, not just trade deadline days or July 1st.

* Faceoff.com has a feeder of sorts showing it's latest update which is now listed below the picture link to that site.

* I found something that has an RSS feed for the Sound Tigers, the Ct Post does not have exclusive Sound Tiger rss feeds for Mr Fornabaio so where stuck and I asked him enough about that last year which is beyond his control.

* I also added back in the Sound Tigers live scoreboard widget which will have live game scores and the schedule. If AHL.com comes up with something better I'll go with that but it seems no one in North America has created anything for live game AHL updates to put on a blog, but the Utah Grizzlies are offering a toobar for computers which will not be here because it's not for blogs.

* When the Isles announce their new blog box members I will add them all to the current feeder for it regardless if I am part of the blog box moving forward.

* I pulled the Isles rotonews widget for the summer because there was just not enough updates for it, however I did add a new one for the entire NHL in the media section toward the bottom of the blog because they only reference information from newspapers and do all the teams. The specific Isles widget will return to the sidebar along with NHL scoreboards, standings when camp opens along with our classic look.

* I moved the Daily News, Times and Post feeds below Newsday up from the bottom of the blog, there are too many sites down there now to keep them buried despite how terrible a job their editors do providing our club coverage. If anyone remembers a very old movie called Walking Tall (Joe Don Baker Version) the scene where he puts the judges chambers in the men's room was kind of where I decided to put the Post, Times and News for year one of this blog in our media section given the decisions of their editors with regard to our team.

* I'm working on a fix for not having a message board this season that used to have Mr Prospects outstanding game by game prospect updates for all of us but for now I have added a link to the prospect coverage section that includes Newspaper Coverage for all Junior leagues in North America, I also found a link that can reference most prospect boxscores in North America.

What's in the works/under consideration as a solution is a brand new widget like the one we have now for the local writers, Islanders website updates and the separate one for the blog box updates.

This new one will be the most involved of all because it will have every RSS feed from every North American/College paper that covers a specific club where an Islander prospect plays. I'm not sure how many of those papers link up to their hockey teams that way and depending on how this goes will determine if I do it or not because many small town/college papers do not have specific rss feeds for hockey, Tsn does not even have it for hockey coverage so it's a long shot but if I that local paper has an feed we can get their game coverage so we have more information.

Linking to the major league sites (OHL, WHL, QMJHL) will give us league wide updates but that cannot be narrowed down to specific Islander prospects, I will also include this in these feeders.

What I will do for sure and have almost finished behind the scenes is locating links for our prospects that linking to their latest games or team boxscores so you can visit here and follow what they are doing, some leagues do game by game player breakdown, others do not (QMJHL) or you have to go to the boxscore sections.

I'm not sure if I can do this for the European prospects but first things first.

I will never have the time to go from page to page and put together a digest of weekly/daily game summaries as Mr Prospects does so well. I think that's an element of coverage our fans need.

Anyway that's what's up around here, this is one of my pre-scheduled vacation blogs on the timer.

Updated Wednesday:
I spoke for about twenty minutes on Tuesday afternoon with Professional Hockey Writers Association President Kevin Allen as we discussed briefly the process for joining the association and a lot of hockey-media related subjects. It was very classy of him to go out of his way like that to return my call and was a pleasure to speak with and taught me a lot in that short time.

I will have more on this in a few days.






Islander/NHL Notables























The News Pictou County: Has an uncredited article on Saturday's second annual Play the Pros event will take place at the John Brother MacDonald Stadium in New Glasgow which was started last year by Jon Sim and Colin White of the Devils. Jon Sim comments, Joey MacDonald will participate.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
What's fun about an article like this is last year's photo has Jon Sim wearing the Islanders 2006-07 jersey before the Reebok edge designed was released, Sim never wore that jersey playing in New York.

I referenced this information a few weeks ago and Bruno Gervais should also be one of the players participating.

I found it very interesting Ross McKeon of Yahoo Sports did an article about teams contracting here in a feature about things he would change around the NHL. Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis in his blog fired back with a strong response here as to why it's not feasible with a few choice words for the Yahoo sports senior writer who in turn responded to Mr Leonsis here and of course started by writing about page views.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Whatever happened to the good old player feature stories?

Is it really about page views for so many of these sites and revenue from their advertisers so they throw anything against the wall hoping it sticks and stirs up angry/passionate reaction? I was kind of offended Ross McKeon started his response to the Caps owner with that. It's just another reason I'm conservative with what I post here and I try and draw my own line between professional and amateur but I have included Mr McKeon's team ranking and work because clearly he is a professional and will be part of our blogs coverage regardless of content.

As for the article Mr Leonsis points out the almost countless reasons contraction is not feasible and it's impossible to argue his reasoning. I could sit here and make a case for the contraction of all thirty teams in this league at one time or another including all three New York area teams.

The team that won the Stanley Cup last year used to give away cars to get people to attend games when the New York Islanders owned this league, the Wings had problems selling out playoff games the last few years and play in one of the oldest building with the least revenue streams with it's management claiming it needed to make the finals to break even in past seasons with Wings president Jimmy Devellano's comments here about the situation in Detroit here during the lockout era.

Absolutely no club in this league is immune to being included in contraction discussion for folks who wish to start them and for me anyone who wants to start one of those discussions should include his/her favorite team first.

Congratulations to former Islander Gord Dineen who was named head coach of the Iowa Chops with the Desmiones Register doing a feature by Lisa Colonno
here.

Canadian Press here has an updated on the situation with forward Alexander Radulov with comments from Bill Daly from the NHL and KHL President Alexander Medvedev.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Good for the NHL turning down any compensation for Alexander Radulov, he signed a contract to play here, he should honor it and play here. If he signed his contract first in Russia first he should play there and honor that deal.

What Rudulov pulled on the Predators here is flat out bush league, you sign a contract you honor it, you don't decide to sign another one and leave for more money.

KHL president Alexander Medvedev says there no mechanism in the KHL rules to force Radulov's return to the NHL, and said the matter might have to be resolved in court is all well and good but if he was really interested in doing things properly he would be just as quick to blast Radulov and suspend him from playing in his league until he completes his obligation to Nashville as he is to threaten NHL players that they could be suspended from international competition. I know it's fashionable to pile on Gary Bettman and Bill Daly here but in this case it's not fair.

Calgary Herald/Several outlets: Bruce Dowbiggin has more on the Todd Bertuzzi-Marc Crawford-Steve Moore lawsuit from the incident years ago with Crawford now telling his side of what happened in court documents.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
I would not want this hanging over my new coach as training camp is about to begin if Crawford was in any serious consideration if I were Garth Snow. Islanders coaching job is hard enough without that to work with as a sidebar. I wonder if it was a factor for Dean Lombardi combined with a losing record as this finally made it's way into the court system the last few months and received more publicity?

Hard to believe this is the same Todd Bertuzzi who was roughed up as an Islander rookie over a decade ago.




A little mini-vacation Islanders update





















A little mini-vacation Islander update on what's up around the club.

NHL.com: Dan Rosen has an excellent feature article today on Josh Bailey with his comments along with that of assistant gm Ryan Jankowski and scout Eric Cairns.


Hockey Hall of Fame: Kevin Shea is the Editor of Publications and Online Features for the Hockey Hall of Fame has a story that includes Mikael Samuelsson of the Wings bringing the cup to former Islander Cup Winner Mats Hallin before the league adapted this fantastic tradition.

Erie Times-News: Victor Fernandes had a feature a few days ago about Islander defender Chris Campoli at a Kahkwa Club event benefited the Shriners Hospital for Children and Kahkwa Scholarship Fund for Caddies as he pronounced himself healthy and ready for training camp in New York.

Inside College Hockey.com: Joe Gladziszewski has a feature article on Islander prospect Tyrell Mason with Clarkson head coach George Roll's comments.

* The Utah Grizzlies announced that they have re-signed forward Ryan Kinasewich, who has led the team in scoring each of the last three seasons and was added back to the prospect profiles because he played over twenty games for Bridgeport last season.

* Michael Fornabaio reported in the Ct Post Sound Tigers blog Justin Mapletoft is headed for Austria.








New York vs Rangers 1984 Game Five

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/18/2008 03:49:00 PM | 2 Comments so far







I was at this game sitting a few rows up from where Morrow shot, too bad there is no camera angle from the other side.


Amazing how we NEVER get to see the Sportschannel Version with Jiggs McDonald calling all these great games.

That's right, the other team owns that version.

Oh well, hopefully a good vacation blog to pre-schedule for a Monday.
Enjoy.




NYI Fan Central Goes Professional?

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/15/2008 10:28:00 AM | 4 Comments so far
For my vacation project before I depart I thought I would share something I did Friday with my readers.

I have no idea what the response will be (if anything) but on this day I contacted the current President of the Professional Hockey Writers Association of America, Kevin Allen and asked how I can become a member?

In this instance I told Mr Allen I would only print his response only if it was ok with him, as many know he does some very informative articles on the club in USA Today that are linked here often, I told him about my background covering hockey in cyberspace the last decade and invited him to view this blog.

No, this is not about me all of a suddenly wanting to do interviews or receive credentials to go into lockerooms, that has never been my interest but after a decade plus writing about hockey and over thirty years of being a fan of hockey and the New York Islanders reading articles why would I not be qualified to make my viewpoint on this blog professional?

At the very least the answer could help others who would like to know?

Why now, some may ask?
I always try and draw the line between Professional Writers and Independent amateur writers or folks with blogs which is a somewhat of a new name for an old practice of writing about hockey. I thought it would be a fun project to do some ground work on the subject for everyone.

I also stumbled onto an old article from the Islanders website back in April of 2006 where Miroslav Satan was cited by the Association for professionalism or the good guy award, what caught my attention was who made up the Long Island Chapter (Mark Herrmann notes he is a former President) of this association.

One individual was listed as a member off a website where basically anyone could write if they applied with some basic qualifications, the others were Mr Botte (Daily News) Mr Hahn (Newsday) Mr Grossman (Post) and two AP writers at the time.

So I visited that website and looked at their qualifications to become a writer. I will leave out the site and the writer because it's not about them or their site but how someone could become a member of the Association off of a website that had the following credentials to join:

From 2006:
Team Correspondent -
The site is seeking professional individuals who will be responsible for covering and reporting on a specific hockey team throughout the hockey season, as well as writing articles/columns on the specified team for our monthly publication. Each Team Correspondent must reside in the city of which he/she covers. The ideal candidate(s) must be a motivated team player, have a strong passion for the sport of hockey and solid understanding of the sport and the National Hockey League.
Responsibilities:
• Create monthly written material pertaining to the team assigned and covered.
• Reports to the Editor-in-Chief.
Qualifications:
• Past or current sports journalism experience a necessity.
• University Degree and/or College Diploma in the field of journalism/media a plus.
Requirements:
• Excellent sports and hockey knowledge.
• Excellent verbal communication and written skills.
****************************************************************
It should be noted outside of two Islander website/Newsday reports this site does not list a current article or writer for the New York Islanders to the best of my knowledge and even then they listed about a dozen clubs needing a writer.

About a decade ago I did a little inquiring on this subject and it led me to a site called McKeens Hockey which I'm sure a few of you know that does some fine work about prospects.

We did a phone interview after some e-mails and basically they wanted me to moderate their information forum and write articles but I declined at the time because it was also about generating revenue for the site and looking for advertisers while I only wished to write about hockey and the Isles prospects.

That led me to Hockey's Future where my qualification was they needed a writer and I guess running Islanders-Sound Tigers was enough after the other writer left.

From Jim Smith to George Vecesy to the days Mike Lupica covered the club and called the Nassau Coliseum Fort Neverlose there is nothing I have not seen written about this team. Marc Berman did a fantastic job on the beat for this team for the Post as did Doug Gould, Joe Gergen and sure folks like Larry Brooks were around in 1980 and of course Mark Herrmann and Jay Greenberg had a more active hand in hockey coverage in those days but back then hockey was a bigger player in the New York media.

Where will this lead?
In the best case scenario I guess New York Islander Fan Central submits an application and somewhere along the way can stamp the word " PROFESSIONAL " over everything I write here but because there is no spot for that on this blog and I'm not changing the header unless Garth Snow trades someone, I suppose I can put a sticky on my keyboard reminding me from time to time but that's about it.

Having written that maybe it could help a few other folks and a hockey market that desperately needs more professional writers and space for content as they ask why they cannot become a member?

I keep my opinion of amateur content off this site aside from noting their effort (on occasion) to bring us information but I can tell you the work from the Islanders blog box members and a lot of other fan sites writing about the club currently would be a vast improvement to what little coverage we receive now.

Anyway that's my pre-vacation project.

Time for a little summer color tweaking of the blog look, the traditional colors of NYI Fan Central will return. I guess we can call this look the road whites in an era where the sport badly needs a return to home clubs wearing white.

Home dark uniform looked out of place in the sixties and early seventies, it still does today.









Islander Notables & Quick Hits for Friday

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/15/2008 06:55:00 AM | | | | Be the first to comment!
Sports Illustrated: Jim Kelley feels Scott Gordon made a mistake at his press conference mentioning the Stanley Cup and then goes back to the nineties while writing a lot of things about Mr Wang's tenure that do not reflect the clubs record as a franchise that has been to four playoffs in six years.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
I think what I object to most from so many of these articles is they can call up the Isles and be a part of these conference calls and get their own quotes straight from the club, but they cannot be bothered?

All due respect to Mr Kelly but I do not think he understands the Stanley Cup is expected for this franchise and it's fans, after four of them in a row for a generation it was taken for granted.

If they are not playing with the goal of winning the cup in it's plan every single year as they build up the core of the club (regardless of expectations) why bother at all?

Scott Gordon for me did say the right thing and given Philadelphia went from 30th with a rookie coach and inexperienced general manager in Paul Holmgren to an unexpected semi-final appearance with a team at times that looked helpless last season he does not understand how the NHL works. Brett Hull is an inexperience co-general manager in Dallas not receiving the same scrutiny Snow has and his club made a playoff run also.

The rest of the article for me just has the usual information gap between present day and the nineties or two summers ago because it's all the writer knows due to a lack of knowledge or information. When have coaches who interviewed for jobs and did not get them publicly object? Did we see this with any other club this year or ever in the past but for this job there should be public criticism by someone who was not hired?

Did Mr Kelly write this about half the clubs that have inexperienced NHL coaches at the helm now?

Again, a lot of franchises in this league that have not made four of the last six playoffs having the dysfunctional label slapped on them so quickly or freely. To be mediocre does not mean your dysfunctional, nothing to celebrate but nothing that merits the constant media lynching.

You would think the Blues were a first place team for all the free passes they receive in the media for another poor season along with the Hawks who again are still on the outside until they win but from a few writers are already a championship level club?

What has John Davidson done again not to merit the same public scrutiny Snow has received, how come Dean Lombardi got a free pass for firing his coach who was hired the same summer Nolan was let go?

It may well be hard to have optimism regarding the New York Islanders but you also have to be fair and have updated knowledge to do an article like this or at least point out here the Isles are not setting new standards.

Mr Kelly clearly in this case did a lazy, sloppy article nor does he note the man games lost to inury or the clubs place in the standing for most of the season.

Nowhere has an Islander team official said one word about bringing back Bryan McCabe, more sloppy reporting from Mr Kelly.

Yahoo Sports.com: Ross McKeon's article cites the trends of general managers over the last few years opting for rookie head coaches in talking about the Isles hiring Scott Gordon and notes the burnout factor in veteran coaches also.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
A lot of rookie coaches have been hired the last few years or brought in through a clubs system. That's the trend for now but trends change also and no doubt most of the men Snow interviewed will find another job if that's what they want when the trend goes the other way. Tom (John) Renney was not coaching anywhere when he was hired by Sather.

Brent Sutter a few years ago when he was rumored for this job was not criticized in the press.

Quick Hits:
* So the Francesa-Russo split got the full Newsday backpage Scott Gordon never received and more Newsday articles (four) than the Isles press conference? (three) I wonder if there was some controversy or an injury update if Mr Logan would have been around for the PC?

* No gang, I do not think it's Cablevision-related. When the season starts and Knick scrimmages start receiving backpages over baseball playoff games that's when you'll know.

* Speaking of our friends from Cablevision was this the enhanced coverage they promised a few months ago? A summer with one Islander-produced themed program and no current games or classic games? How nice of them to send Stan Fischler for a few web casted interviews with nothing on live television considering they own the broadcast rights, more like Msg minus.

* I guess only Mr Zipay can blog during vacation for his readers just to give the fans something to talk about? No way Mark Herrmann would have pulled that on another club in this town which shows everyone how poor Newsday's relationship is with the Isles.

Newsday knows it completely controls Islander perception, they write it and it goes straight to other outlets who throw in a few thoughts from a decade ago and move on quickly. There is no competition because there are no other regular writers, Newsday can now make or break Islander players, coaches, general managers and the franchise itself now by their opinion.


* Yes, I read Mr Botta's blog on Yahoo sports the other day and he did a good job for those wondering why I did not link to it. I have to be honest and tell my readers I'm still trying to decide if Mr Wyshynski's work despite his background in Virginia Newpapers and Sportsnet (I did some checking) makes the cut for coverage here as a member of the professional hockey media and have found myself on the fence about it at times. We spoke recently by e-mail about the Islanders (not this subject) because I commented on one of his articles about the club and he was very respectful even if we agreed to disagree on some things. I know Yahoo sports carries his work as does the feeder here. This is one I'm being a bit conservative on and perhaps I'm wrong here for the same reasons I did not carry an article out of the website that has the NY Sun very limited Islander coverage by Kevin Greenstein.

I did promise our readers when I started this blog I would be conservative at times when posting information, this was one of those instances.

* So the NY Times can get quotes out of Russia but not send someone to the Islanders press conference or find a writer to do an article? Instead we got a few blog updates with some links and nothing else? They send writers to cover goal judges or Kyle Okposo in Bridgeport and the new broadcasters in another language (all worthwhile features) but not when a new coach is hired?

Pathetic.

* I have to end this with something positive and for today that will be former Islander Craig Ludwig being inducted into the UND Athletic Hall of Fame. If you thought Brendan Witt made you wince when he blocked shots he had nothing on Ludwig who was down more than the goaltenders and had a memorable season for me as an Islander.