9/9/08

Prospect Camp Update

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/09/2008 09:38:00 PM
Islanders website: Has a preview of prospects camp beginning next Monday (September 15th) at Iceworks in Syosset. Camp will run until September 18th. Rookie Camp concludes with a scrimmage against the Boston Bruins rookies at the Sports Center in Shelton, Conn. at 1 p.m.

Training Camp begins after that with most if not all of the prospects heading to Moncton.

Here is the list of the players who will participate with their profiles:

GOALTENDERS
Peter Mannino
Kevin Poulin

DEFENSEMEN

Jamie Fraser
Travis Hamonic
Jack Hillen
Mark Katic
Dustin Kohn
Simon Lacroix
Andrew MacDonald
Jyri Niemi
Jared Spurgeon

FORWARDS

Josh Bailey
Sean Bentivoglio
Justin DiBenedetto
Jesse Joensuu
Rob Hennigar
Matthew Martin
Vladimir Nikiforov
Max Gratchev
Micheal Haley
Tyler Haskins
Tomas Marcinko
Joel Rechlicz
Trevor Smith

NYI Fan Central Comments:
I added this link to the prospects blog for reference, from what I can tell Nikiforov is the only player without a contract.






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Quick Notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/09/2008 10:43:00 AM
The Star: Kevin McGran has the latest on Jason Blake as he reports on his health and expectations for year two with the Leafs.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
I know I'm rooting for Jason Blake and with him settled in now after a tough first season I expect we will see more production from him and a return to the forum he showed here. Every day he plays hockey this is a better league with him part of it.

NY Post: Mark Everson has his usual negative article on the Devils in terms of free agency and keeping their own players.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
He did not get the nickname Neverson among area hockey fans for nothing, makes you want to run right out and purchase tickets before he does a limited space article on the Devils attendance. He makes it feel like root canal starts september 19th.

Quick Hit:
That's two nights in a row Msg featured some Rangers on their Msgny show and did a little advertising for their preseaon games. John Giannone was up at their training facility with Dave Maloney, nothing from our announcers.

Henrik Lundqvist said he wants to play about seventy five games and Giannone waved the Cablevision pom poms and lobbed him a lot of softball questions which is fine but if DiPietro said this it would be turned into something negative.

I wonder if Greg Logan still had his old beat if he would have written Lundqvist was hard-headed as he did about the Islander goaltender on 3/20?

Don't worry folks, Mr Zipay has several Ranger blog updates and a live chat on Wednesday for his readers while our beatwriter.......................nevermind.

NYI Fan Central Update:
I'm not sure if folks are interested in this but blogger came up with something where you can add a blog you visit on a regular basis for those with accounts who go through differnt sites to link here.









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9/7/08

08-09 New York Islanders Fact vs Fiction

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/07/2008 11:38:00 PM
I thought today would be a good day to play a little fact vs fiction regarding the 2008-09 New York Islanders and some statements you read in the media.

1. This will be a rebuilding season for the New York Islanders.
Fiction.

This team was very competitive all season in it's own division a year ago aside from some self-inflicted damage by it's own special teams against Philadelphia. When you lose games to Pittsburgh with Crosby and Malkin putting on a skill show that's over matched, when you lose three one goal games because of a Laraque shorthanded goal, a Ruutu goal, a bounce off Brendan Witt late in a game with a fifty two shot loss to Ty Conklin this is not being over matched.

When you open a combined 9-0 against the Rangers and Devils and win both season series with two more Msg wins in March and April this is not being over matched.

You go 0-8 against Florida and Boston you are not going to make the playoffs.

Another reason is this team has too many veterans here at this time playing for their careers on one year contracts with a lot of defenders signed in their thirties to longer-term deals.

For the veterans on one-year contracts they are not passing through or marking time because if they struggle now this could be the end for them. If the club enters the second half well out of contention than you will see some veterans traded and a little rebuilding but for now this team is playing to win with a lot of players like Tambellini, Gervais, Campoli and Bergenheim who are not kids anymore, they have had years of seasoning and it's time to produce or move on.

Also a little reality check for those in the media who go back to the late nineties to start any current discussion of the club. New York has been to the playoffs four of the last six years and stayed competitive with a lot of flaws last season. This is not one of the franchises in this league that starts poorly and is so far out of contention the competitive part of the season is over by Christmas aside from the 2005-06 where it was clear the club was in a free fall.

2. Rick DiPietro must have his workload reduced and a set schedule because he cannot stay healthy.

Fiction.

The schedule and the days off in the second half combined with more road-trips make this year different than last year where the Isles never got a break because they were off most of October. On top of that the injuries he had in 2007-08 were different than the injuries he had in 2006-07.

To lay out a set schedule of games and a target number now for March is pointless because he may be completely healthy and a lot of this also depends on his workload in games. If his shots against continue to drop as they did last season he will be more durable, if he has to stop over thirty shots a game and carry the club it will take a larger toll.

3. This team will struggle with injuries.
Fact.

Many players on this roster (especially on defense) are not going to play eighty two games because it's not their career track record. Up front Guerin, Comrie, Sillinger all played hurt or missed significant time and Doug Weight is no stranger to injury.

That's when a Colliton, Walter, Nielsen (whoever does not start the season here) will sink or swim because they will have to step up and be a factor.

Sutton, Witt, Martinek, Campoli, Gervais and Meyer have all missed significant time with injury and some of them will be injured again.

4. Islanders lack the speed to keep up.
Fact.

If Scott Gordon think this team is going to stay in games playing wide open hockey he has not watched tapes of Guerin, Sillinger, Hunter, Weight because this is not a fast roster and something Ted Nolan talked about often and those players are not getting any younger or quicker.

My biggest concern is what Montreal did to them last season in the open ice and what Ottawa has done for years to dominate them head to head. Western Conference brings a lot more skating clubs into the mix that the Islanders did not play a year ago.

5. This team lacks a true enforcer.
Fact.

Tim Jackman and Joel Rechlicz are not NHL enforcers, does it mean the Islanders should have made a play for Eric Godard to occupy a spot on the fourth line? No,
because a team this limited on offense with a lot of third and fourth line players cannot afford such a luxury. Bottom line in games like this the Islander wingers along with Witt, Guerin and Sutton will have to fight their own battles.

6. This team will drop from the race because it cannot score.
Fiction.

How much worse on offense can a club do scoring two goals or less fourteen games in a row as last year's roster did? At times this was called the worst offensive club in the teams history statistically and still going into January they occupied a playoff spot.

If they can stay in the race with Vasicek going through his thirty game scoreless streak along with most of the roster at various times they should be able to survive with the kids if a few players step up.

When does it become fact? If the players who won the jobs do not produce as much as the players who left and the players who struggled last season pick up right where they left off struggling.

7. The powerplay will be terrible.
Fiction.

Different year and some different players at the point and up front will get a chance that did not receive one a year ago. Berard, Bergeron, Fedotenko, Satan and at times Vasicek were a big part of the powerplay. Streit will be on this club's powerplay but needs another reliable pointman and a far better second unit on the backline.


8. Okposo has to have a big year at a very young age.
Fact.

Fair or not Okposo has to give this team twenty goals and forty plus points and be far more visible than Satan. Park, Hilbert are not the answer if they are in that spot for any length of games and you do not get that kind of player in a trade unless you give up something of value.

There is no right wing in Bridgeport that can play in the club's top six until Robin Figren comes over unless Marcinko or Joensuu change positions or Tambellini, Comeau, Bergenheim change wings which does not seem in their best interest.

I think if Okposo is not ready or productive he has to go down and Garth Snow has to trade for a veteran right wing. Fact is for this to work Okposo even at his age is a key or someone who can produce twenty plus goes must be in that spot.





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A Few Notables & Quick Hits

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/07/2008 09:30:00 PM
The Guardian: Mike Carson has a few words from Bill Schurman, director of community services that ticket sales were not strong for the Sept. 27 game between the Florida Panthers and the Islanders because of the ticket prices so it will be packed with other games including the Sound Tiger regular season game November 11th against Binghampton.

Not the best of weeks for Mike Sillinger. First some writer in THN refers to him as dead weight here then he goes to a baseball game in Toronto and receives some light hearted jeers here.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Perhaps Sillinger should change his name to Holik or Naslund because it seems the older and less productive they are the more writers think they can produce? Sillinger when he is healthy and on his game does a lot more to win a game with things that do not appear on a score sheet than a lot of limited veterans around the league. If he reverts to his twenty goal forum he is far more valuable than a Peter Forsberg will be and maybe even a Mats Sundin who despite his numbers had carried the Leafs nowhere the past two season.

Quick Hits:
* The Times cannot cover the Islanders press conferences or provide a professional newspaper blogger for the club but Mark Messier's biographer, Jeff Klein at the Times can do a full interview with K.H.L. president Alexander Medvedev here?

* With the calender pushed back a week for the start of camps it's technically just the beginning of September but in New York especially between the baseball, huge football stories from two clubs early season hockey in the NY market is going to be a very tough sell to the dwindling hockey media.

* I wrote it before and will again, Isles needed a high profile training camp here in New York and to tone down the Long Island angle because anyone who's a fan inside the city limits feels like they are rooting for the wrong club. They want to sell more tickets they have to make all tri-state area fans feel like this is their team.

* Good for John Tortorella blasting the new ownership in Tampa, you never give up a first round pick next summer when you finish 30th the year before unless it's a franchise player and this new ownership has not been classy at all with it's actions on a lot of levels. I do not think it's sour grapes at all and their treatment of Dan Boyle was horrible.





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9/5/08

Friday Notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/05/2008 08:39:00 AM
One week to prospects camp, two weeks to training camp.

Sarnia Observer: Dave Borody has a few words on Islander prospects Matt Martin and Justin DiBenedetto getting in their final games before reporting to Islander prospect camp next week.

Lewiston website: Reports recently acquired Maxim Gratchev has three goals and five assist in an inter squad scrimmage.

Barrie Examiner/countless sources: Report the Atlanta Thrashers signed first-round pick Zach Bogosian to an entry- level contract, while the St. Louis Blues signed defenceman Alex Pietrangelo, the fourth overall pick in the June draft.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
I would guess given Mr Botta's recent speculation on Josh Bailey signing the Islanders are working on a contract for Bailey that will be announced during or before camp for the same reasons many of the top picks are being signed to entry level deals.

Associated Press/several outlets: John Wawrow reports the KHL issued a release accusing the NHL of signing Russian players under contract negating the agreement reached earlier not to sign another leagues signed prospects with deputy commissioner Bill Daly's comments.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
It's not as easy to find out if these players signed by NHL teams were under contract to Russian clubs as easy as it would be to know Alexander Radulov had a signed contract with Nashville. Mr Daly says they were not under contract to Russian clubs while the Russians said they are.

What's clear is the Russians did not or could not stop Radulov for signing despite his Nashville contract so they redrew the line in terms of the agreement and did not want to get involved.

One thing for sure is if they cannot get together on this, a new transfer agreement with Russia involved is not looking good.






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Forward Preview Pt IV: Comeau, Okposo, Nielsen

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/05/2008 06:37:00 AM
Friday we continue our early season preview of the Islander forwards with Blake Comeau, Kyle Okposo and Frans Nielsen.

1. Blake Comeau:
During the early part of the 2006-07 season Ted Nolan made some trips to Bridgeport and at that time felt Comeau had the best NHL potential in terms of overall hockey skills and the long-term ability to play at this level.

It turned out when his chance finally came in December last season he stepped in and looked like he belonged at this level with a solid defensive game, hard work in the corners where he was a visible player nightly who showed us exactly what Ted Nolan was talking about. By the time the season was over he was singled out by the former coach and the veteran players for his hard work and ability who even displayed an ability to throw a few big hits.

Only problem last year was Blake Comeau struggled when he was shifted to the right wing (his draft position in 2003) for a few weeks, his impact in games suffered and he looked somewhat unsure of himself but picked it back up late when shifted back to the left side.

Moving forward Comeau is a left wing with a lot of competition on that side and should be ahead of Jeff Tambellini on the depth chart to start camp but with a new coach he will have to prove himself again and will be counted on to produce more in a bigger role from the beginning on a club that needs scoring. Scott Gordon has seen Comeau play in the AHL when he was in Bridgeport.

For Garth Snow's plan to work in 2008-09 he needs a big year from Blake Comeau where he can produce twenty goals.

2. Kyle Okposo:
A lot of folks may forget if things went according to plan Kyle Okposo would be making his NHL camp debut if he stayed at Minnesota all season and then signed in the summer.

You look at a Kyle Okposo and can tell immediately he has the long-term ability to play at this level because he is visible in games already unlike so many young player who go through games and look unsure of themselves or are tentative. Okposo was creating chances or driving the net from his first game against Toronto, displayed a nice shot for his first NHL goal to beat the Devils and a big goal in the season finale, considering his age he should only get better if used properly on right wing.

It's fair to speculate the Islanders did not add a free agent right wing or resign Miroslav Satan because that will be Kyle Okposo's spot to win or lose entering camp but how will he work with Scott Gordon, who will be his center or left wing and can he produce enough at a point where it could be asking a lot are the big questions moving forward.

No lock Okposo stays with the club if he struggles early and at this point they have to look out for his best interest in the long-term.

3. Frans Nielsen:
Frans Nielsen is not an eighteen year old player or a prospect, he was selected in the same draft as Sean Bergenheim and has played among NHL players in a lot of tournaments for Denmark over the years and did not look out of place. He has had some games at this level over the last two years and had his first goal, a shootout goal and displays a good overall skill set where he is not shy about getting into the corners and working.

The Islanders gave him a four year contract and obviously feel he can help this club in the long-run. Entering 2008 but has a lot of competition for a spot at center or right wing which appears to be a fourth line spot entering camp but could improve depending on his impact in games.

Next up: The rest of the Forwards





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9/4/08

Islander/NHL notables & Quick Hits

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/04/2008 09:20:00 PM
St Pete Times: Beatwriter Damian Cristodero has the first of a two part blog interview with former Lightning coach John Tortorella who interviewed with San Jose, Atlanta and the Islanders this summer but according to the writer were not the right fit but for now will start the season with Tsn along with former Islander Ray Ferraro.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
I did not read Jim Kelly of SI making issue of Tortorella about his other interviews this summer when he was in San Jose or Atlanta?

Good luck to John Tortorella and Ray Ferraro at Tsn, I only wish the Islanders could make full time use of Ray Ferraro on television because I think he would do a fine job here.

Someone along those lines should be making the same call to Ted Nolan or Garth Snow should find a way to use his talents in this organization because there is always room for quality hockey people somewhere. Butch Goring has helped out for a few years behind the scenes and left under poor circumstances.

Pioneer Press: John Shipley has the latest from Mark Parrish who wants a chance to prove himself with another club as he talked about his role in Minnesota.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Good luck to Mark Parrish but he had to know the system played in Minnesota going in when he signed his contract and should not make excuses for his struggles. Parrish is not a first-line answer if Guerin gets hurt or if Okposo struggles to where he does not earn a roster spot. With Hunter locked in for five years Parrish has no spot on right wing here but it's likely tempting to his former teammate turned gm.

Cbcsports.ca/several outlets: Report former Islander Brad Isbister has signed a one year/two way contract with the Senators.

ECHL.com: Has Kevin Colley's comments from his press conference Thursday as he was named head coach of the Utah Grizzlies.

Quick Hits:
* Trevor Linden will have his number retired by the Canucks this season.

* Mats Sundin is still making up his mind whether he will play anywhere.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
No problem at all here for me when any player is not sure if he wants to play anymore. After all the years of wear they have every right to do what's best for them. I perfer that to someone who takes another teams offer and clearly stayed a year too long.







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NYI Fan Central back in Season Mode

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/04/2008 04:27:00 PM





Next week will be a very busy time so I decided to pick today to roll out the new blog redesign and put back our traditional look as opposed to the opening of camp.

Outside of a few minor tweaks this is close to the final product and like the new prospects blog I think it's something everyone will enjoy.

One of the big new changes was a triple-column blog design so more items can be featured with less clutter. Another was the return of the labels so folks can link and find information. The old setup had so many tags I could not post tags any longer because the list ran longer than the page.

A new feeder tag was also added to each post along with the book marks so many of those old subscribe widgets could be deleted.

Eventually when games begin I will add in the scoreboard.

This season there will also be more live chat blogs during some games.

Thanks again to everyone.







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9/3/08

Islander News Articles 9/3

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/03/2008 10:14:00 PM
Newsday: Katie Strang has an interview with Rick DiPietro regarding his health from last season through the summer and whether he will be at a hundred percent for the season opener, also a few words about Scott Gordon and how much he wants to play this season.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
What's never brought up is how well DiPietro played after the all-star break, how his surgically repaired hip reportedly had no problems all season nor did he suffer any concussions. I did not read all these things about his health when he returned for the playoffs against Buffalo last summer despite having surgery after the series.

One other huge difference no one has written about is DiPietro will have a lot more breaks in the schedule during the second half this season unlike last year where the club did not see one three day break after December aside from the ASG which is why all this talk about locking him into a set schedule now makes little sense just like it would for any other starter.

You can bet the folks in the media who have problems with DiPietro will make sure to always point out the downside first because part of this is about his relationship with the media and his contract.

You see the negative parts about Brodeur played up in the media as soon as he struggles but when he does well we read how under-rated he is or it's outright ignored. When Henrik Lundqvist plays with a family member sick he is praised or given excuses for mediocre play over a few months but when DiPietro suffers a loss in his family he is portrayed as a selfish player regardless of what he does.

Barrie Examiner: Ian Schantz speculates Tomas Marcinko will not be back with Barrie because he's signed by the Islanders.





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Guerin, Weight, Colley, Wang & Expectations

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/03/2008 05:21:00 PM
NHL.com: Adam Kimmelman has a preview of the Islanders season where he looks at the offense, defense, goaltending and makes comparisions with last year's club and the coaching change.

Sporting News: Craig Custance has an article with captain Bill Guerin's comments about the expectations for the veterans on the club, the push for a playoff spot along with Doug Weight as the writer notes the nine players over age thirty and questions are they working in prospects or playing to win now?

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Islanders have nine players over thirty but the players with the long-term commitments are on defense in Streit, Martinek, Witt, Sutton.

Sillinger, Weight, Guerin are all in the final year of their contracts.
Sim and Richard Park have two year remaining on their contract.

On weak part here was linking to a Scott Burnside ranking from 7/25 from Mr Custance.

At least someone from a media outlet outside of Newsday picked up the telephone and got some comments.

NHL.com: Dan Rosen reports on the NHL media tour through the New York area which includes Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro.

Salt Lake Tribune: Maggie Thach reports former Islander and Sound Tiger Kevin Colley will be the Utah Grizzlies' new head coach taking over for Jason Christie, who recently announced he will take a job as an assistant coach for the AHL's reigning Calder Cup Champion Chicago Wolves.

A news conference to announce the new coach will be held at the E Center on Thursday at 1 p.m.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Notable because an assistant coach who just completed his first season will take over as head coach at age twenty nine. Chicago Wolves new coach (John Anderson was hired by Atlanta) so his replacement took a long time to hire an assistant.

Best of luck to Kevin Colley of course and Jason Kristie with the Chicago Wolves.

Quick Hits:
* Not taking sides but Sam Wyly yearly goes to court in what is nothing less than a yearly personal vendetta against Charles Wang that goes back to a proxy fight back in 2001. Last October Newsday reported a federal judge turned down his appeal and had some strong words for Mr Wyly here.

Of course that did not make it into Newsday's sports blog to make up for a lack of hockey information which is where fair questions have to be asked.

* Funny reading an article out of Toronto where the writer was happy to get anything to be rid of Bryan McCabe. I'd perfer Van Ryan and the cap space than the fourth and McCabe with that contract.

* Best of luck to Wade Flaherty who after a 19-year professional career, has ended his playing career in North America to join the Shanghai Sharks of Asia League Ice Hockey.






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9/2/08

Tuesday Notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/02/2008 05:53:00 PM
Media Blog: Cory Witt in the Islanders media blog had a nice surprise, the numbers most of the prospects will wear in training camp.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
And just like that we can update the prospects blog with the numbers of the Bridgeport players. No point listing Josh Bailey's number because if he plays for New York it could change again.

Mark Wotton and another player have the number four, aside from Kurtis Foster who is more a Utah player all the numbers should be correct. Jesse Joensuu changed numbers from his one game last season, Colliton will again wear John Tonelli's twenty seven.

Islanders website: Jonathan Morvay reports on Islander prospect Kirill Petrov at the four nations tournament with Islanders Chief European Scout Vellu-Pekka Kautonen comments. Former Islander Sergei Nemchinov was coach of the team.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
This article will be linked on the prospect blog in a special section for reference as will all updates like this.

Canadian Press/several outlets: Report Predators forward Alexandre Radulov has been suspended by the club without pay with general manager David Poile's comments.

Mike Van Ryan was traded to Toronto for Bryan McCabe and a fourth round draft pick as the saga finally ends, amazing anyone took that contract for anything.

SI.com: Darren Eliot has a few words on the new coaches with some speculation at how the transition will work for Scott Gordon with last year's assistant coaches.

Updated 10:30pm:
Newsday apparently want to make sure despite the lack of hockey blogs about the club we have the latest regarding old news on team owner Charles Wang here with a link to a news article on a sports blog.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
This is kind of a sad joke Newsday posted this on the Islander blog and just another example of the lack of professionalism at the paper. It belongs in the business section or the news section but apparently because of the lack of hockey information they throw us this to stir up the fans against the club once again?

Funny, I did not see negative articles about the countless lawsuits against the Dolans or the Garden posted on the Rangers blog?

Windsor Star: Jim Parker reports Islanders first round pick Josh Bailey came to camp briefly last week, but didn't scrimmage and returned to New York Thursday at the team's request even though the Islanders don't open camp for another 10 days.





Forward Preview Pt III: Park, Hilbert, Bergenheim

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/02/2008 06:35:00 AM
Tuesday we begin part three of our forward review with Richard Park, Andy Hilbert and Sean Bergenheim.

1. Andy Hilbert:
What can be written now that was not written a year ago about Andy Hilbert?

He can play defense, skates well and works hard which has kept him on the roster to this point but what he cannot do is finish.

He's had two years to follow up what he did in Pittsburgh but to this point has proven offensively he does not belong in a teams top nine forwards if you need a goal on one of the lowest scoring clubs in the NHL last year that just lost over forty goals. A third period where he missed a wide open net against the Rangers to date best sums up his Islander career in terms of his offensive play.

He played some center when Mike Sillinger went down and did not do a bad job, he also played some left wing on the first line with Guerin and Comrie and was visible with his effort but overall he is the wrong player for this team at this time on paper based on his Islander career to this point.

What's new is he has a coach who knows him from Providence in Scott Gordon. It's fair to write with Bergenheim, Comeau, Tambellini and Sim on the left and a host of third and fourth line centers (Sillinger, Nielsen, Walter, Park) even with his contract he has an uphill battle to keep a roster spot.

Andy Hilbert has a year left on his contract, I think he needs a dominating camp and some injuries to other forwards or I think he's in a trade or on waivers. On a team with limited offense his overall solid skating and defense is a luxury they cannot afford.

2. Richard Park:
It's going to be interesting to see what the coaching change does to Richard Park's status on this roster where he won over Ted Nolan and the fans with his effort.

He signed a two year extension so he will have a role but unlike last year I cannot see Scott Gordon playing him as Ted Nolan did because outside of his shorthanded play, skating and defense he simply cannot score enough to play in this club's top nine forwards. We saw it last season despite some timely scoring early but not nearly enough over eighty two games.

It's only a matter of when before his twenty-thirty game scoreless streak hits which has marked his career.

It's tough to see a spot for Richard Park here on paper but he will have one because of his contract.

I cannot see him on left wing for the same reasons as Hilbert. If Sillinger is healthy do you keep Nielsen from a roster spot for Park to play fourth line center to say nothing of Colliton or Walter?

So where do you play Park until an injury hits? Fourth line right wing where you want an enforcer or some marginal offensive upside like a Jackman or perhaps Joel Rechlicz for a game where you need a fighter dressed?

Park like Hilbert has a ton of character and grit to his game and will go through a wall for his team, but again he's not going to score and has no business being on the point for a powerplay.

This was a player who signed here on a tryout contract for a lot of reasons, the biggest one from here is his lack of scoring.

Plenty of questions, few answers.

3. Sean Bergenheim:
Bergenheim came back to the NHL last season off a years holdout, had to win over a new coach again and not only did that but was one of the few forwards who had a visible nightly impact where he was one of the hardest working forwards who created offense or powerplays by his ability to get into the dirty area's of the ice.

Few of the forwards even talk about him as a prospect because he plays like a veteran but many credited him for his effort at the end of the season, he is signed for the next two years.

Bergenheim's going to have to start all over again by continuing to do the same things under Scott Gordon because the left side is stacked with competition and unlike last year he's going to have to make strides in his ability to finish chances for goals and curb his temper which led to some good moments but also some penalties because of poor discipline or he could drop on the depth chart depending on how Tambellini, Comeau or Sim do.

Special teams play was solid for his limited looks, technically he has the hockey sense to make plays and elevate his game when needed and it's a skill that separates an NHL player from an AHL player. It will be interesting to see if a system change bring more offense out of Bergenheim, which has been the question since he was drafted in 2002 but I see him no lower than a third line left wing starting camp but that means someone plays fourth line and less minutes.

Hopefully an apparent injury at the World Championships is behind him.

I do not see Islander management changing him to a center given the depth at that position or the right side with Figren signed.

Next Up: Comeau, Okposo, Nielsen





Islander News Articles 9/2

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/02/2008 05:25:00 AM
Sarnia Observer: Dave Borody reports Islander prospect Justin DiBenedetto had two goals in a pre-season game against the London Knights.

Miami Herald: George Richard has the latest on the Bryan McCabe to Florida deal which will likely be announced today for Mike Van Ryn and draft picks exchanging hands.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio had a few blog updates and reports Russ Moyer will be invited to Islanders training camp.

Mr Fornabaio also had a few words on Brandon Sugden and the article in the Post-Standard by Lindsay Kramer a few days ago about him not being allowed to tryout with the Islanders because he retired and three clubs voted to uphold the rule he must stay retired here.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Not much to write on any of this, a bit bush league on the rules regarding Sudgen considering he was playing in the same league Claude LaPointe was in and considering his father's condition this is a rule that needs to be looked at but he did retire on Syracuse which was not fair to them either.

I know nothing about Russ Moyer.

I guess the Panthers add some salary so Toronto can save money against the cap but this seems like a terrible move for Florida unless Toronto is sending a first round draft pick to the Panthers.

NYI Fan Central Update:
Major changes to the blog.....

We now have a second blog called NYI FAN CENTRAL PROSPECTS which is a brand new blog you can link to from the main page HERE and on the top of the blog tabs.

All Prospect, Bridgeport, Utah and Odessa Jackalopes sections have been transferred to that page and some new sections have been added like the Islanders Draft Central from June & July Prospect Camp Highlights.

The widget for all Junior League feeds and college has also been added to NYI Fan Central Prospects.

No blogs entries will be posted on that page, no comments permitted but it will have it's own special and unique look. This will clear up the clutter on the sidebar of this blog and help the pages load faster with a much better look I think everyone is going to like a lot.

As always all Prospect News, Sound Tiger updates and the World Junior Championships will have all News updates posted here.

This new blog is basically the sidebar for what used to be here but with a much better look.

Many changes to New York Islander Fan Central itself, some feeders moved or deleted because we had plenty of ways to subscribe already and a few things repeated in too many places are gone. Some scaled down features added back in like the standings and 08-09 schedule and a new look in terms of the graphics and presentation.

I think folks will also like the changes to this blog a lot also as we head toward the full rollout of the new features when training camp begins.

Any questions as always feel free to drop an e-mail.




9/1/08

Islander Notables/NYI Fan Central Update

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/01/2008 03:38:00 PM
Point Blank: Mr Botta had a blog update where he says Newsday will providing more Islander, Ranger and NHL coverage in the paper.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Sounds nice, reads well but the Rangers should not be covered at all in Newsday for the same reasons the city editors do not cover the Islanders. If anything Newsday's editors should see the problems with the city papers and double-up on Islander coverage by using the Rangers space in the paper, eliminating all of their coverage.

What Mr Botta should be writing about is this little footnote below Steve Zipay's Rangers blog because that sums it up best about Newsday's increased coverage:

Think Long Island is really Rangers country? Prove it by visiting Steve Zipay's Rangers blog.

The circumstances are a joke considering the sports section is dominated by Islander advertising, so is the coverage and lack of blogs about our team.

No team in the US hockey markets has worse Newspaper coverage than the New York Islanders.

Dallas Morning News: Mike Heika previews the Eastern Conference and lists the Islanders fourteenth writing they appear ready to go with youth, yet they signed Doug Weight?

Mr Heika listed the Devils first or fighting for first based on Brodeur and signing Bobby (older than Weight) Holik.

Quick Hits:
* The Times has a feature on John Davidson of the Blues by media writer Richard Sandomir but did not send a reporter to Scott Gordon's press conference? Comical.

* Islanders have had a few website updates on Rick DiPietro at the NHL team store among other things.

* Tampa's new ownership must be clueless or worse giving up a first round pick for Andrej Meszaros who's a good defender but not equal to the value of a potential lottery pick in another great draft. If Garth Snow gave up his draft pick next summer for this he would be rightful crucified.

Also good for former Islander assistant Jeff Jackson of Notre Dame for blasting Lightning ownership for eliminating a prospect tournament in Tampa.

* Hopefully in a day or two we can stop talking about any Bryan McCabe updates.

NYI Fan Central Update:
Some necessary blog tweaking to make the page load faster with the new prospect center getting priority:

I'm considering opening a second NYI Fan Central Prospects blog for our prospect section.

* Schedule widget pulled for now which is available in several spots.
* NYI Fan Central Widget deleted, if you want it drop me an e-mail.
* Free agent section deleted, will return for trade deadline.
* Widget for junior prospect news deleted, prospect section and slow page loading with advertising not what I was looking for as Newsgator made some changes.

* Some blog header tweaking putting in Duane Sutter and pulling out Brent Sutter as were going for a core of the four centric look. Josh Bailey takes Jeremy Colliton's spot for now, Radek Martinek has his third jersey picture back and as soon as we can classic jersey pics for Nielsen, Tambellini, Bergenheim, Comeau they will be added.

* A core of the four header has been designed for special occasions and will be rolled out when appropriate.

* When camp opens our classic color-scheme with scoreboards, standings will return.






8/31/08

Thinking of Mississippi Sea Wolves

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/31/2008 10:36:00 PM

























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




8/29/08

A few things from Kevin Allen

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/29/2008 03:17:00 PM
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
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
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.








8/28/08

New York in the Sundin-Schneider mix/Notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/28/2008 01:09:00 PM
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.







8/27/08

Islander Notables/Quick Hits

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/27/2008 01:56:00 PM
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.





8/26/08

Forward Preview Pt I: Guerin, Comrie, Weight

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/26/2008 03:07:00 PM
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
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.





8/25/08

NYIFC Top Ten Hockey Items to Drop/Crush

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/25/2008 01:29:00 PM
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.











8/24/08

Islander Notables/Quick Hits

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/24/2008 12:01:00 PM
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
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.




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