9/16/08

Rookie Camp Day Two/NHL Notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/16/2008 07:41:00 PM
Newsday: Greg Logan's article has an update on Mike Comrie who is working his way back from hip surgery also but says he will play by the opener as he talked about the team and the expectations.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
I think it's fair to say anyone who saw pictures during the summer saw a few of them with him on crutches. I'm not sure this is a story that merits an article to where camp and prospects were ignored today but if he is held back for a while it is newsworthy.

Newsday: Arthur Staple's article was on local product, left winger Vladimir Nikiforov who reported after a tryout invite in July was again invited to the current rookie camp. Garth Snow comments along with his father while some lineage is drawn with other local products who have made the NHL as he has made an impression on a few veterans.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
I was a little skeptical of what former Ranger beatwriter Arthur Staple would write about today but he did a very good job here.

I'm also a little confused here because in one part of the article it's written he was invited to this weeks camp according to Mr Staple but then he writes Nikiforov is on a two-way minor-league contract with the Isles, so he may end up in Bridgeport or Utah.

I will add his profile if there is one to the prospects blog in the Bridgeport section if he is signed given he cannot go back to the junior league given his age.

No formal announcement was made of a signing to my knowledge, I wonder if Mr Fornabaio can confirm that for us?

OHL.com: Has Vladimir Nikiforov profile with the Sarnia Sting for those curious. The Islanders website had a feature back during prospect camp in July which was linked to the Sarnia website here.

Tsn.ca/several media sources: Report former Islander Mathieu Schneider has been placed on waivers by the Anaheim Ducks.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
I do not see a fit with the Islanders given they have seven defenders under contract for the next two years and his contract is hardly a bargain. If healthy and at his best he may be a nice stop gap for a year in terms of offense but if you sign him you have to move a defender.

Would not shock me to see general manager Garth Snow put in a claim but if he did he has to move someone or put a regular in the stands long-term. I think if the Isles can offset this by offering a combination of Andy Hilbert, Richard Park or Freddy Meyer to offset the cap hit it's move that may be worth it but with Schneider on waivers we are past that point.

Windsor Star: Reports Josh Bailey has been named the new captain of the Windsor Spitfires with head coach Bob Boughner's comments.

Sound Tigers website: Has the projected lineups for Thursday's prospect game in Shelton against the Bruins.





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Islander News Articles 9/16

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/16/2008 06:41:00 AM
Newsday: Greg Logan has a lot more on head coach Scott Gordon with his comments regarding Gerard Gallant deciding to work out of PEI as a consultant to general manager Garth Snow, his relationship with current assistants Dan LaCroix/John Chabot and if the club may add a third assistant along with how he took charge at practice for day one of rookie camp.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
It's always a downside with Mr Logan, always looking for a negative undercurrent to sell to the public like there is some kind of problem with today's being it would have been awkward for Gerard Gallant to work with a rookie coach after he just worked with Ted Nolan who was out of the NHL for close to a decade.

Mr Logan was so quick to let us know Scott Gordon was schooling the assistant coaches yesterday, he could not even get Bridgeport Sound Tigers coach Jack Capuano's name correct in the article.

I want to read about what players looked good in practice and what drills Gordon did and who made an impression along with how he took charge at practice. When is Newsday going to tell us about the players and some actual hockey?

NY Post: The Post editor actually allowed Dan Martin to do a limited space article on practice yesterday with Scott Gordon, Kyle Okposo and Brendan Witt's comments on day one of rookie camp.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Dan Martin is quick to tell the public the club could struggle, he could not even properly report Scott Gordon was not even hired when prospect camp took place back in July and until yesterday never worked with the organization's younger players.

Nothing but the sounds of silence from the Times, Daily News and NY Sun but if you want to know what's happening in Europe the Times blog will be all over it.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio was in Syosset and reported on how practice was conducted with head coaches Scott Gordon and Jack Capuano commenting along with former Providence Bruins Ben Walter and Sean Bentivoglio who both played for Scott Gordon in 2006-07 as they talked about the practice and the systems Scott Gordon will play.

Ct Post: Mr Fornabaio in his blog goes on to tell us a host of things that happened at camp during day one with line combinations and who impressed.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
As usual Mr Fornabaio leads the way with the coverage letting the public know Scott Gordon had meetings last week with the coaches in the organization and that having all his coaches on the ice before practice is not be something he would be doing next year. Mr Fornabaio also told us specifically what was done in practice as he even got us comments from Sean Bentivoglio and Ben Walter who played for Scott Gordon.

Brandon Sudgen will supposedly be in town tomorrow according to the beatwriter.

Too bad Mr Fornabaio is going on assignment for a few days, his coverage will be badly missed.

Times & Transcript: Gerard McLaughlin has comments from Warren Frizzell, who heads the Moncton delegation dealing with the Islanders needs as he has more details of training camp.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Times & Transcript along with Daily Gleaner have brief updates on prospect games and exhibition games next week for those planning to attend.

Updated Tuesday:
Newsday: Mr Logan blogs on Mr Botta being given a spot on the Islanders website for his new blog and what his contribution will mean. Mr Logan also also had a few words on expanded coverage for the New York Islanders and the team now owned by Newsday who for some reason receive equal or better coverage (and far more many blog entries) despite the fact the city publications do not have a regular beatwriter traveling with the club.

Mr Logan cites the impressive blog numbers achieved by both teams was the catalyst for the decision to provide hockey fans with increased coverage despite the fact Mr Zipay's blog produces more views because of far more information and regular updates for their readers.

Of course Mr Logan made sure to point out the Islanders were last in NHL attendance.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
All I can add is my old point our team needs more blogs and coverage which Mr Logan does not provide for us as he's out blogged by his Newsday counterpart which there is no excuse for despite some who claim longer blogs is a substitute for less blogs.

Our fans do not need even or less than even coverage with the team that now owns the paper. Islanders should be receiving virtually all of the Ranger coverage in Newsday for the same reasons the city editors are not covering the New York Islanders beyond a few articles on occasion.

It will be interesting to see if those live blogs for baseball are also posted for New York Islander hockey.

Globe & Mail: David Shoalts in an article about NHL participation in the Olympics after 2010 a problem because of insurance onn long-term contracts has Jim Johannson, the assistant executive director of hockey operations for USA Hockey perspective that Rick DiPietro's 15-year, $67.5-million contract is un-insurable and even if he were healthy before the world championship last spring in Halifax and Quebec City not have been added to the U.S. team.

From Late Monday:
SI.com: Darren Eliot gave us the usual sloppy SI Islander content that began with Rick DiPietro's contract and that this year could feel longer which was advertised as a camp notebook in one of the smallest updates of the thirty teams he wrote about.

In other words he knows nothing about the 2008-09 Islanders.





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9/15/08

Rookie Camp Day One Update

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/15/2008 06:34:00 PM
Islanders website: Website publications coordinator Jason Lockhart recaps day one of rookie camp with comments from head coach Scott Gordon, Director of Player Development Bryan Trottier and Director of Pro Scouting Kenny Morrow.



NYI Fan Central Comments:
I posted Katie Strang's video update with Kyle Okposo and Scott Gordon's comments.

I will either post the Newsday/media updates here later or in a new blog post tomorrow depending on how many articles are written on the club.

Upcoming Schedule:
Iceworks
Tuesday: 9 am – 12 pm
Wednesday: 9 am – 12 pm

Shelton, Ct
Thursday: 1pm vs Boston Bruins rookies

Updated 8pm:
Newsday: Mark Herrmann after making sure to let the public know expectations are low for the club now and in the immediate future has comments from Kyle Okposo about what he is looking to do this season along with Bryan Trottier who coached the Islanders 2006 first round selection at a teen select camp in Minnesota when he was fifteen years old according to Mr Herrmann. Okposo did not practice with the rookies but worked out with the veterans and had a few words with team owner Charles Wang.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Mr Herrmann is entitled to his opinion but Scott Gordon, Bill Guerin, Doug Weight and Garth Snow disagree about the expectations. Only time will tell if the New York Islanders will parade down the Canyon of Hero's where they belong next June but if Philadelphia can go from 30th to the conference finals it's fair to say any club can turn things around quickly.

Okposo is obviously part of the long-term answer.





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Islander notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/15/2008 11:21:00 AM
Newsday: Greg Logan has a blog update with head coach Scott Gordon's comments where there is a lot of speculation about early line combinations and who could play center in Mike Sillinger's possible absence during camp.

Mr Logan felt there will be attention on Josh Bailey as prospect camp opens with his opinion he could benefit from another year in junior hockey.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
I have no idea why Greg Logan thinks it was interesting Gordon did not include Ben Walter in his list of possible centers, he did not include Jeremy Colliton or Rob Hennigar either according to this.

All he had to do was ask the coach about Ben Walter, what he thinks of his game and if he had input into the trade for Petteri Nokelainen.

We just have to see how this plays out and hope the players make it a very tough decision for Scott Gordon and Garth Snow because they did well.

Espn.com: Scott Burnside does an Eastern Conference preview and as usual makes Rick DiPietro and how he gets along with his coaches issue number one (after he brings up the last fifteen years to make up for his lack of current information) even though he is not around the club and feels Mark Streit's contract is a whopper of a deal and Doug Weight is the next John LeClair waiting to fall off the map during the season.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
No shock Mr Burnside had his usual negative preview where he goes right after the goaltender despite this young player never saying a negative word about anyone in print going back to the day he was drafted. What a surprise Mr Burnside did not feel Wade Redden at ten million more did not get a whopper of a contact but Mark Streit did?

Of course Newsday treats Rick DiPietro poorly in print, looks to make it about his personality and his contract every chance they can so no shock Mr Burnside and the outside media take that angle and run with it every chance they can. His speculation is fair about the lack of scoring on the roster but the rest was virtually worthless.

By my count Rick DiPietro has played for John Anderson, Butch Goring, Steve Stirling, Peter Laviolette, Brad Shaw as well as a few tournaments and no one wrote about how he got along with those coaches until he got his long-term contract.

I have never read one word about a fan being treated poorly by him for what that is worth since the day he was drafted either.

Of course Greg Logan took off all-star weekend from blogging like he wanted no part of DiPietro as an all-star.

CBS Sportsline: Wes Goldstein placed Doug Weight ninth in players who desperately need a turnaround noting his defensive role in Anaheim with Ryan Smyth playing eleventh.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Is it that tough to look at the stats before writing incorrect statements? If Doug Weight has been in decline since the lockout how come he had his best single season goal total since 2000-01 in 2006-07?

Fifty nine points and a plus ten is hardly a poor season or reflects a player in decline but how he does now will tell us the story.

In the very interesting department:
Media relations coordinator Cory Witt sent out a press release out announcing Mr Botta's Point Blank blog will be carried by the club in it's current version or a new version beginning September 25th which will not be subject to approval by Islander management.

Islander team President Chris Dey and Mr Botta comment about what they are looking to go with this.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Obviously great news for all New York Islander fans, his tenure ended far too quietly with no formal announcement and his link quickly pulled from the site.

Seemed a bit cold from an outsiders point of view but obviously the Islanders need all the folks willing to write about this club with objectivity they can find.

My only suggestion if possible is keep the same link and blog site, most folks know where it is already and the club's media voices blog is set up the same way because facebook seems like a lot or work that seems limited to the general public.

Mr Botta has a few words on this and as usual credits is very classy and thanks the fans for the support here.

24/7 Coverage? Be careful what you wish for in that department, Mr Botta.

THN.com: Ken Campbell rips the NHL for reinstating Brandon Sugden because of NHLPA pressure, a feel good story and what he calls the media apologists and those in hockey who refuse to acknowledge Sugden and his ilk are a blight on the game. Mr Campbell feels anything that can be used to keep him out of the game is a good thing because he is nothing short of a goon who could seriously injury some one's prospect. He goes on to further write the Islanders by extending an invitation to him goes a long way to explain why they’ll almost certainly be prime players in the Victor Hedman/John Tavares sweepstakes this season.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
The only thing that matters here are the rules, not the ilk of someone you have never met face to face Mr Campbell or what kind of player he is. More than fair to question changing the rules to accomodate Sugden but the rest of this has no place here.





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Defense Preview Pt I: Witt & Martinek

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/15/2008 05:43:00 AM
Monday begins the preview of the Islander defenders with Brendan Witt and Radek Martinek.

1. Brendan Witt:
Brendan Witt's statistical season in 2007-08 would suggest not much happened given the numbers but we all know Witt is a player who is not about his stats but how he contains the opposition from getting their stats with physical play, strong positioning and shot blocking with the occasional big hit that can change a game.

Along with the goaltender he sets the defensive tone for the club and did an excellent job. His second half was marked by injury and shutting it down early to avoid further problems but this is a trend that has marked his career we did not see as much in 2006-07 as Witt has altered his game since the lockout and adapted to the new NHL.

Brendan Witt last season did his job so well there was a lot of talk he should have represented the Islanders at the all-star game which is virtually unheard of for a defender without offensive numbers.

Make no mistake Witt will continue to be one of the leaders on the club with his physical play, shot blocking and leadership. Islander management made a very savy signing this summer locking in Witt to a three year contract at what many would consider below market value. It will be interesting to see how he reacts to the youth movement and a new coach as more young players enters this clubs mix.

2. Radek Martinek:
New York again not only got a solid season out of Radek Martinek a year ago at a time they needed him to step into a number one pairing but for the most part he was healthy. Overall we saw his usual locked in strong defensive play and ability to take away the puck from the opposition and skate it out of dangerous areas but we saw him have some very memorable battles with Evgeni Malkin and Alexander Ovechkin where he gave as good as he got and as those games went on he wore down those players down leveling Malkin and Ovechkin with checks as he kept in position and won the puck late in the game or overtime.

That was a highlight for me last season and I expect to see more of the same as he only seems to be getting better in his own end of the ice.

For a small framed man Martinek has this ability to play very big with his skating ability and defensive instincts, you can see the confidence when he is on his game, playing well.

On offense Martinek is still very tenative to step into a play or use his shot but maybe coming in at full strength can improve his offensive game.

Islanders need another huge year our of Martinek who is one of the longest tenured players here and with a contract extension should not be going anywhere. Plus minus would not properly tell his story because like Witt, Martinek is out of these players who wins games with things that you do not see on the stat sheet.

He will never receive any hype on this club with the limited media around it but Radek Martinek is a top defensive defender in the NHL.





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9/14/08

NYI Fan Central Update

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/14/2008 08:43:00 AM







A few things:

I hope folks are finding and checking out the new prospects blog that has it's link at the top of this page under New York Islander Fan Central Prospects blog.

It is not a blog I write messages in but an extension of the sidebar where you can link to a specific players website or newspaper coverage (in some cases) and see how they are doing. New York Islander Fan Central as always will have the prospect updates in the daily news articles but New York Islander Fan Central Prospect blog will have reference links added to it's blog.

Just too many links to keep all on one blog and I wanted two pages that loads as fast as possible for everyone.
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The newspaper links for Moncton/Summerside coverage are on the sidebar so days I cannot update you can find what's happening quickly. No specific feeder for this because Islanders are not just a sports story but a news story in these places and no feeder is Islander-centric.
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I'm not sure if I'm going to do a live blog during camp, a few folks have asked but I will have a few during regular season games.
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A little early for polls but as I wrote all along when I come up with a good one folks will enjoy and be challenged by I will post it. I do not subscribe to the concept of creating polls for page hits or to stir up reaction.
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I think the new redesign to the template looks excellent and will serve us well. I wanted the three column blog so things are not cluttered and tried to balance things on both sides.
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Still working on a cloud tag format but for now I set something up where you can see items with twelve entries or more if you want to search. For this year I'm going to drop putting NYI, NHL or Bridgeport, AHL in tags just as I stopped listing specific writers most of the time.

Just makes for a tag list that is simply too long.
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As I wrote last week blogger now lets you add blogs as a favorite if you choose so you do not have to link to it from other places if you care to.

As always comments, suggestions on things you would like to see here are welcome here along with your links if you would like to add your site to the sidebar here. My only criteria for this is an updated Islander blog and no profanity.

Thanks again. I cannot believe this little blog hit the sixty thousand mark the other day but just says how New York Islander hockey is a year round passion for our fans.

Summer went very quick.

A little treat for a few days only, our new dynasty header for special occasions that includes the entire core of the four.






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Islander News Articles 9/14

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/14/2008 06:58:00 AM
Point Blank: Mr Botta reports he received a call from Brandon Sugden that he has been cleared by the league and can attend Islanders training camp which Darren Dreger of Tsn.ca confirmed last night.

Syracuse.com: Lindsay Kramer who reported on this story in the Cruch blog from the beginning has Brandon Sugden's comments about the phone call from Bill Daly and how he will be fighting long odds to make the Islander roster.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Highest marks to Chris Botta and Lindsay Kramer who went to bat and worked hard to make this a story for folks to rally behind, praise to the Rangers and the other three clubs who changed their stance allowing Brandon Sugden to return because they stand to lose the most if Sugden dresses for an NHL game against them.

An invite is one thing but signing a contract and making an NHL club is quite another but now he receives a chance here and regardless where he plays you wish him and his family the best of luck moving forward.

For all the negative things Greg Logan jumps all over where was he to get out the message in Newsday to Islander fans about Sugden? If it were a negative story I have little doubt he would have been all over it.

It was kind of interesting Yankee salesman Michael Kay had to defend his ripping the Yankees the other day but at the end made it clear he cannot rip them all the time to make everyone feel miserable about being a fan of the club to where they no longer care to watch.

Somewhere along the way that kind of media attention is the only kind the New York Islanders receive.

When a good story like Sugden comes along we get nothing but silence about Islander management, the same kind of silence like when clubs copy things Mr Wang does first.

Islanders website: Has the highlights of Saturday's events at the Coliseum when individual tickets being put on sale.

Newsday: Greg Logan has his article with coach Scott Gordon where he talks about how he will work with his players and what he will do to increase the clubs scoring and speed.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Scott Gordon had a lot of interesting things to say about Jeff Tambellini and what his problem have been in terms of confidence. I'm a bit surprised Scott Gordon feels he can get more speed out of his players by better positioning and how fast players can play slower but he is correct and if you know hockey you understand that. He repeated one comment about where his players will know where the stand with him but overall he said a lot of things I was looking for because replacing forty eight goals on one the lowest scoring clubs in this league will most likely define how this club will do.

The New York Islanders not only need to replace those goals but add another fifty goals to that and play defense.

Newsday: Greg Logan also has the coaches comments about how has worked in the past with changes at Providence and how he will work with general manager Garth Snow. To this point the duties of assistants John Chabot and Dan Lacroix have not yet been determined.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Ted Nolan is one of the brightest and most respected coaches around, he knows when a player has the talent and when he does not. Just because he is no longer here does not automatically mean his judgement was incorrect about Jeff Tambellini, Robert Nilsson or any other player he did not give more minutes to. Only Snow and Nolan know if they held back Tambellini but it was clear enough Comeau and Bergenheim won over the coach so the idea he does not trust young players does not completely add up.

Scott Gordon is correct in that he will disagree with his gm but how it's handled with define the working relationship.

From Saturday afternoon:

Boston Globe: Kevin Paul Dupont has an interview with Bryan Berard where the writer claims Berard's opinion was his early season groin injury placed him behind the eight ball with Ted Nolan and is quoted as saying he felt it was time to move on as he gave his thoughts about Mark Streit's acquisition.






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9/13/08

Brandon Sugden Update/Notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/13/2008 12:30:00 PM
Toronto Sun: Joe Warmington reports NHL deputy comissioner Bill Daly called Brandon Sugden and said he would contact the teams that voted against his return and see what could be done but made no promises as the groundswell of support increases.

The Star:Mark Zwolinski's article today apparently only had the story before Bill Daly's call that he was going to drive to New York but intends to play in the AHL if the rule stands.

Point Blank: Mr Botta's update links to the background of this story and today's article that Bill Daly called Brandon Sudgen.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
I hope Brandon Sugden gets reinstated, I'm not sure if he should be signed by the Islanders and who's job will he take because for him to play here someone has to go but I hope he can attend camp.

Vancouver Sun/several outlets: Dave Stubbs reports the Canadians trade with Chicago for Robert Lang means they are out of the mix for free agent center Mats Sundin with Montreal gm Bob Gainey's comments.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Sure would be nice to read if the Islanders are in that mix for Sundin or will we only read about how he does not want to sign here out of Newsday?

I guess no one reported Lang is older than Doug Weight by about a month.

Newsday claims Sportswatch columnist Neil Best on the top of his blog advertises he leaves no stone unturned as he brings you news and commentary on the world of sports media.

He lobbies for expanded Ranger radio coverage on LI but when the Islanders announce a new radio deal that limits them he does multiple blog updates and an article on the Yankees and ignores it entirely?

How quickly can you say double-standard?

Mr Best at least admits on his blog he is a long-time Ranger fan but there is no excuse for ignoring this if he has time for all these other media updates. He did get Howie Rose comments from a baseball article and wrote he will be covering Islander hockey as the Mets season is over.

Newsday has the Sunday pics up from Scott Gordon's interview but no article. I did not see it in early edition in New York today either but I will never purchase Newsday under it's new ownership and barely purchased it last season.

Times & Transcript: Yvon Gauvin has a primer from Moncton on training camp with The City of Moncton planning a welcoming barbecue for the team on Sept. 21 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Ian Fowler, the city's general manager for Recreation, Parks, Tourism and Culture & Warren Frizzell, camp co-ordinator comment.








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Forward Preview Pt V

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/13/2008 03:32:00 AM
After a week off from forward previews today we have a few words about the rest of the Islander forwards.

1. Jeff Tambellini:
Nothing really new to write about Jeff Tambellini, an impact player in the AHL, a player who looks like he does not belong when given chances (albeit limited minutes most of the time) in the NHL. You see Comeau, Okposo and Bergenheim visible in games, creating chances and driving the net and wonder why this former first round pick is virtually invisible when he gets his opportunities, then goes back to the AHL and dominates?

Those players won over the coach and earned more minutes because they were impact players who did the little things and did them well. Tambellini had a month at the end of 2005-06 and a few weeks with more minutes at the end of 07-08 and was not visible. Tambellini has been around a few years snd went through the Kings system, he should be ahead of everyone but he seems to be behind everyone when he is called up to this level.

Ted Nolan, Scott Gordon or whoever is not going to hand him ice-time as a gift, it has to be earned or those players will continue to play and he will continue to see less minutes.

It's fair to write at this point if he is visible and producing chances he's improving even without the numbers. If he's invisible and not a factor or creating chances who is going to pay the price for him to see ice time he is not earning?

2. Frans Nielsen:
Nielsen despite his late season injury is a well rounded player and someone used to playing among NHL players given all the tournaments with Denmark where he was the veteran. He's had a few years in Bridgeport and comes from the same draft class Bergenheim did in 2002.

He signed a four year contract, he also has to be one of those players like Comeau who's game is better suited to the NHL level over the AHL and he has to produce to keep his spot. A lot riding on the next few weeks for Nielsen but it seems on paper his extension could land him a roster spot to start the season.

3. Jeremy Colliton:
I keep watching Colliton and see flashes of talent but he comes from the 2003 draft and was a big impact player in junior hockey. He has had a lot of chances in Bridgeport and it's time to step up and show the obvious skills and talent he has and force management to give him a spot in the NHL. His size is absolutely a plus as is his ability to hit the holes and charge the net as he showed in a late season game at Msg.

4. Ben Walter:
You have to think Scott Gordon was asked about parting with Walter when Bruin management traded him for Petteri Nokelainen, this is the man he has to impress to win an NHL spot at an age where it's time to ask whether he will make it or not after Boston gave him a few games and he scored his first NHL goal with the Islanders late last season.

Clock is ticking, Walter needs to be an impact player in camp and force management to keep him and there are not a lot of spots.

5. Rob Hennigar-Trevor Smith-Sean Bentivoglio-Tim Jackman:
Smith and Bentivoglio just completed their first year in Bridgeport and came in with some NHL expectations, Hennigar is twenty five and needs a huge camp to win a spot considering Nielsen is signed for the next four years and the other players I wrote about.

I guess Tim Jackman's status depends on how Scott Gordon sees him vs how Ted Nolan did. Jackman was here about as much as Tambellini and produced virtually the same numbers but the club does need a fighting winger and right now at the forward spot he is the most qualified veteran for the role.

6. Jesse Joensuu-Tomas Marcinko-Josh Bailey:
Given the depth at these positions, with Josh Bailey only able to play on the Islanders or go back to his junior club it's going to take a great camp from these players where they force management to clear a spot for them and in Joensuu-Marcinko's case it will take a lot of clearing to make that happen as they can and likely will be in Bridgeport. Most of the players I wrote about who are centers (above) would have to go to the AHL for Bailey to make the club and that's with Mike Sillinger working his way back from injury.

It will be interesting and a very good problem if Garth Snow does have to keep his promise and give a spot to anyone who earns it.

Next week the defenders






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9/12/08

Gerard Gallant special consultant to the GM

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/12/2008 02:38:00 PM














Islanders website: Announced Assistant Coach Gerard Gallant has been re-assigned as a special consultant to GM Garth Snow with comments from both on the change.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
It will be interesting after all Scott Gordon said about working with the current staff and Gallant/Chabot making the transition easier on September 2nd here it was decided the only head coach with NHL experience has been reassigned.

This does not seem like a Greg Cronin-like move where Gallant would sit in the press box when he has been assigned to work with the general manager, he just helped run the teams mini-camp.

I guess we'll wait and see if someone with ties to Scott Gordon is brought in but with camp starting in a few days if someone is being added it's likely decided.

Of course it could simply be Dan Lacroix and John Chabot as the two assistants.

Newsday: Greg Logan blogged on the sudden change at a late date and reported Gallant's duties will also include some scouting and will be based out of PEI Summerside where his son plays for a second tier junior team. Mr Logan also reports in a Sunday feature on Scott Gordon the new coach did not give any indication of a change and said he knew Gallant previously as the beatwriter speculates on a possible replacement with NHL experience.

SI.com: Alan Muir does the usual SI rip-job on Charles Wang and what he refers to as his cronies then claims Rick DiPietro personality tends to be a distraction when he's not working nightly even though this writer is never around the club as he feels Scott Gordon would need a miracle to keep the club in contention as he only seemed to know about Kyle Okposo's physical play and Mark Streit's pp ability.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Usual worthless content from SI that does not tell us why Blake Comeau, Sean Bergenheim or Jeff Tambellini could step up and carry the club or even mention Yann Danis could win the backup spot and went a step further calling some of the players prima donnas.

But of course folks like Alan Muir are never around the club or write about games but claim to know what anyone's personality around the lockeroom is like?

It should be noted no other club in the Eastern Conference did Mr Muir write about any player or owners personality, not even Toronto.





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Islander News Articles 9/12

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/12/2008 05:14:00 AM
Toronto Sun: Joe Warmington has an update on Brandon Sudgen with comments from players union spokesman Jonathan Weatherdon and agent Scott Nornton.

Daily Gleaner: Bill Hunt has an interview with Rob Hennigar on how hard he trained this summer for his first NHL camp and what's ahead at prospects camp as he wants to get into an NHL preseason game.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Frans Nielsen has the four year contract but make no mistake this twenty five year old will be one player he has to compete against along with Ben Walter and Jeremy Colliton.

The Star: Cliff Fletcher had some strong statements about how much he thinks his club could struggle this season declaring they do not have one top six forward aside from Nik Antropov but some players were on the fringe of that.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Is that Jason Blake's agent I hear on the telephone for Mr Fletcher? Could be a record for someone hired on an interim basis but I suppose if the expectations are played down there is less long-term blame.

How does a club install an interim gm this long then hire a new coach, what's going to happen when a new gm is finally named and he is stuck with a coach he did not hire?

CamWest News/Several outlets: Has the latest on Alexandre Radlov who now wants to return to play hockey in North America according to NHLPA executive director Paul Kelly but did not elaborate when he would return as he defended the players breach of contract because he did not do it in any kind of dismissive way.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
I did not see read about anything dismissive from Alexei Yashin or Keith Tkaczuk when they held out under contract either but they still breached their contract and the court of public opinion did the rest. A player signs an agreement they have to live up to that or do not sign it in the first place.

This is kind of reading like a Marx brothers comedy between Bill Daly, Alexander Medvedev and Rene Fasel.

I can almost see why Garth Snow and a lot of general managers simply do not want the problems that come with this process. Draft results do not lie with the recent trends in terms of where players are selected.

It's ok Mr Medvedev decided to finally decided to hold the line on his agreement not to sign players with NHL contracts but Radulov is still playing in his league, Rene Fasel has not done anything to prevent it and now it seems his claims of the NHL signing Russian players under contract was a lot of non-sense or he's simply letting it pass which is not the right thing or fair to those Russian clubs.

If Radulov has a valid NHL contract he should play for only Nashville, if those players with Russian contracts are the property of those clubs they should not be playing for NHL clubs or their affiliates and Mr Medvedev should stand by his claims.

It's not that tough but of course this is all about money and making up the rules along the way.

Finally I absolutely should have included Tom Gulitti who covers the Devils for the Record and does an outstanding job with the Devil coverage in his Fire and Ice blog here when I blogged on Atlantic division writers the other day.






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9/11/08

Sillinger Update/Late Notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/11/2008 09:20:00 PM
Newsday: Greg Logan reports Mike Sillinger has not been cleared for contact and will be on his own rehab schedule in camp in Moncton after suffering some setbacks in his recovery from hip surgery that could put his status for the opener in doubt as he comments from the teams training facility in Syosset with the other veterans working out.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Not completely unexpected, we'll have to see how it goes for Sillinger but there are a lot of centers under contract with a veteran and prospect surplus at the position.

Islanders website: Announced a new radio agreement today that will have it carried on several different Long-Island based stations.

Long Island Business News: David Reich-Hale reports fans in the rest of the metropolitan area, including Queens and Brooklyn will struggle to pull in the signal and fans in New Jersey and most of Connecticut won't be able to listen on the radio at all.

Media relations coordinator Cory Witt comments in the article that the Islanders Radio Network is set up so fans outside of Long Island can listen on XM Radio or online and that they are always looking for ways to increase their reach.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Another step backwards in coverage of New York Islander hockey.

Basically what the team just told their tri-state area fan base that comes in big numbers to Msg and New Jersey unless you live on Long Island, go buy XM as if you live in another state and good luck if you want to listen from Brooklyn or Queens but we cannot help you.

If your a Sound Tigers fan who wants to follow the Islanders, good luck listening from Ct.

That's not acceptable.

I do not know the radio business but anyone who has followed along on this for years knows the club has bounced every other year to a new network and had a lot of carriers that provided a signal so poor you could not listen in Queens or Nassau County.

A major step backwards from Bloomberg or Espn 1050.

SI.com: Jim Kelley had an article on the changes to goaltending equipment that he felt were peripheral at best while the caption had a picture of Rick DiPietro and Ken Dryden with Carolina general manager Jim Rutherford's comments.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
I suppose we should be impressed SI found a recent picture of Rick DiPietro given Mr Kelley could not pick up the telephone to interview coaches who were on the Islanders list to interview? How about a nice Luongo or Lundqvist picture of his very long billboard like pads stretching from post to post flat on the ice when he is in the butterfly?

Mr Kelley made the right point but the staff picked the wrong goaltenders picture to make it's point.

Point Blank: Mr Botta claims the Rangers were one of four teams to block Brandon Sudgen's return to the NHL and that it makes sense for a rival to block such a move because it could effect them on the ice.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Just as the Islanders would be on the other side of this if a divisional club tried to sign Brandon Sugden because it would hurt their competitive advantage if the Rangers, Flyers, Devils or Pens tried to sign him.

If four teams blocked his return I would not be surprised if the Flyers, Devils and Pens were the other three clubs.






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Islander News Articles 9/11

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/11/2008 02:21:00 AM
























Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio has a few words on the upcoming Islanders prospect camp and the game against the Bruins rookies September 18th in Shelton.

The Guardian: Has a few words on the Islanders blue vs white game in Summerside PEI on September 25th.

The Oklahoman: Reports Larry Donovan (the father of Islander prospect Matt Donovan)resigned his position as head coach after five seasons and instead will be an assistant coach with one of the reasons given was he wanted to travel and watch his son play hockey.

The Sooners play in the American Collegiate Hockey Association.









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9/10/08

Your Coverage Starts When?

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/10/2008 11:12:00 PM















Being that we do not have any local coverage of our team from a writer while Steve Zipay is out on his beat with blog entries, articles and live chats while Mr Herrmann keeps the proverbial glass full for one club and not the other I thought I would see if the other teams in our division are being covered as poorly as our team?

At the very least I would get used to the changes at each paper since last season when I start linking to the coverage from these papers when games begin. Were going to need all the print media articles we can find to supplement poor Islander coverage.

Seems the club is doing their part and more spending money to advertise and impressed me with an ad on MNF.


First I started off with a trip to the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News combined sites which had a few updates here about a Spectrum game with a feature on Simon Gagne from September 5th.

Wayne Fish seemingly had only one update since July 5th in the Phillyburbs blog but does write about other subjects, he did have a blog entry this week on Mike Richards being named captain so he's back working. Chuck Gormley always seems to be writing on a lot of subjects at the Courier Post along with hockey and does a few updates for the sporting news and other publications here.

Over in Pittsburgh at the Post-Gazette Dave Molinary did a prospect camp updatehere with the coverage infrequent but because of the ground breaking on the new arena they are getting some peripheral coverage and starting 9/1 Mr Molinary did start up his weekly Q & A in the paper. Seth Rorabaugh has over a hundred and seventy blog updates for the Pens in July, August and September at the Post-Gazette.

At the Tribune-Review Rob Rossi's chipped ice blog disappeared after 7/5 but the paper did have several August updates here and he just restarted his blog with a Q & A.

Of course our friends in New Jersey must be getting no coverage at all beyond Mark Everson making the fans feel rotten about their club on occasion right?

Wrong.

Rich Chere & former Isles Daily News writer Colin Stephenson at the Newark Star Ledger is not getting much (if any) print space for the summer but has been blogging a lot in the reporters blog here and does an excellent job covering the Devils. On August 14th he even listed a host of other beatwriter blogs around the league here for their respective teams.

And of course we all know Mr Brooks over at the Post has to cover baseball because hockey's not different in New York City but he does all he can to throw anything against the wall to keep some Ranger coverage going, he sounded like a man who wanted to pay Brendan Shanahan himself today so he could have someone to interview and make his job easier.

Don't fret folks, we have that nice ad in Newsday that reads " Your Season Starts Now " with Bill Guerin's picture, but that is not coverage.

Unfortunately New York Islander Hockey Coverage Season does not start now.





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Brandon Sugden, Dwyer hired in Utah/Notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/10/2008 12:56:00 PM
Point Blank: Mr Botta has an interview with Brandon Sugden and his efforts in trying to get reinstated as Mr Botta gives his opinion on how he would help the Islanders if he were allowed to attend camp.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Classy work from Mr Botta, not sure if it's going to mean he will be reinstated but hopefully something can be done regardless of what franchise he plays for. I'm a little surprised Mr Botta did not mention Tim Jackman who is a right wing with a two year contract who should also be ahead of Sugden on the depth chart if he were signed here to an AHL contract.

Newsday: Mark Herrmann has a few words about the NHL off-season with Bill Guerin and Doug Weight taking batting practice at Shea Stadium this afternoon.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Classy stuff from Mr Herrmann on Chris Botta and Ted Nolan, the rest read like his usual pro Ranger/negative Islander infomercial that makes his viewpoint virtually worthless for all hockey fans and reflects a writer with an agenda against the club which is disappointing but the kind of shock jock coverage he does as he jumps from sport to sport at the paper.

Among the low lights:
Markus Naslund is still in his prime at age thirty five? I guess that means a lot of veteran Islanders have one more good year in them?

Funny he did not think Martin Brodeur at thirty six was in his prime, must be the uniform?

Wade Redden despite his poor performance and decline the last two seasons according to Mr Herrmann is the kind of solid, skilled defenseman the team has craved but forgot to mention the absurd price paid for his services which would have been front and center if Mr Wang paid that kind of money. Hockey writers all over North American questioned (which would be the kind take) giving Redden that kind of contract, Mr Herrmann ignored it like someone officially on the Cablevision payroll.

I guess Mark Streit did not make the cut for this article and the lower contract he signed with New York.

Worst of all Mr Herrmann waves his new Cablevision-Newsday Ranger pom poms big time and declares it's very cool to announce Cablevision management is retiring the numbers of Andy Bathgate, Adam Graves and Harry Howell as he does a great
Al Trautwig impersonation of declaring it's not a cheesy, showy, trendy grab for attention (which I would guess is his implied slam at the Islanders) for only honoring players who are far more deserving that Graves, Howell or Bathgate and have far more championship rings than all three combined.

Maybe it's time for the Islanders to announce an Ed Westphal night who is far more deserving than Bathgate or Graves who only had a twenty year career in New York as the club's first captain and long-time broadcaster.

No shock at all here Mr Herrmann had to write something negative about Rick DiPietro implying Scott Gordon will have to get along with the goaltender and brings up his contract.

Of course what's an article from Mark Herrmann without something on the Isles future viability and his personal speculation on them moving to Kansas City which he only brings up every other article if they do not get the Lighthouse, despite the club's cable contract and for now binding leases with Nassau County and Smg nor ownership never mentioning a word along those lines.

Makes you want to run right out and purchase tickets.

Mark Herrmann updates on the New York Islanders: Loss for all New York area hockey fans.
Would not be a bad thing for our fans if Mr Herrmann was the next one to move on from any coverage of our club, twenty years is more than enough for this fan.

Chris Botta would be perfect in this spot.

Carolina News Observer/Insurancenewsnet: Had an update on Canes forward Eric Staal's long-term contract negotiations which led to a few words on Rick DiPietro's long-term contract from 2006 and the local insurance firm that handles such negotiations, the Isles did not comment.

Salt Lake Tribune : Announced former Sound Tiger Jeff Dwyer announced his retirement to become Kevin Colley's new assistant coach in Utah.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
This was not the same Dwyer last year who went to Europe after attending Islander training camp where he was a late cut, that was Gordie Dwyer. Jeff Dwyer played for Bridgeport and Utah.

If that's not enough for you there is referee Gord Dwyer.

Good luck to Jeff Dwyer and Kevin Colley in Utah.

Globe & Mail: William Houston in an NHL update reports long time CP writer Pierre LeBrun is now a writer for Espn which was first announced back in early August.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
I kind of feel Mr LeBrun's quality work will get lost in the community that is Espn with insider updates and a lot of worthless content from shock jocks Scott Burnside and Teri Frei as the coverage seems to center around Espn-zone market clubs and pre-packaged articles.

E.J Hradek's updates I do not get a lot out of and whatever John Buccigross does on hockey never had any real value or information.

Seems like the quality went into a free fall when Al Morganti stopped writing at Espn.

I guess someone had to take Barry Melrose spot, a blank screen would have done the job for me.






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Dan Rosen and a few words on Rick DiPietro

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/10/2008 10:41:00 AM
NHL.com: Dan Rosen in his NHL blog responds to the strong support from fans who felt Rick DiPietro should have been included in his top five Eastern conference goaltenders from his September 5th preview here.

John Kreiser of NHL.com also had a few words about DiPietro being one of the best shootout goaltenders in a feature on 9/9 here as he wrote about the shootout rivalry with the other local goaltenders.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
No, for those wondering I did not contact Dan Rosen.

Very good stuff here from Mr Rosen who responds to the readers and gives a statistical argument why DiPietro was left out over Thomas Vokoun in Florida but he kind of lost me when he want back to last season to make a point because in that case DiPietro's save percentage should have worked in his favor from last season.

I disagree with Mr Rosen's reasoning because Fleury was out for months and Ty Conklin did a strong job (arguably better for a while) in his spot while Henrik Lundqvist on a club that allowed the least shots per game in the East went through a stretch from mid-December to mid-February going 10-10-4, with a .889 save percentage on a team that plays a trap.

If DiPietro put up those numbers on a club that allowed two goals or less fourteen games in a row the season is over before the new year begins.

Tim Thomas for me also belonged in the top five also before Fleury or Lundqvist based on how he carried the Bruins.

Regarding DiPietro it was refreshing not to read anything from the professional media that did not pretend to know him personally with blind speculation about his makeup or what kind of team player he is or what motivates him.

I'm getting so used to that kind or reporting I cannot remember the last hockey article written about him.

For a young player who Martin Brodeur felt is one of the best goaltenders in the league he is constantly put down in the local media by those who seem to have their own issues with him that go beyond what happens during a hockey game.

I have no idea what kind of person Rick DiPietro is off the ice or in the lockeroom and frankly unless were in that lockeroom daily we have no idea either.

DiPietro's paid to stop the puck and few goaltenders did it better in the first half of last season on a club with virtually no margin for error while fans like me blog about what I see during the game.

He did it so well he was named to the all-star team and after that carried the club to a six game winning streak.

It's like me blogging on Bill Guerin's leadership, I saw him play not what he did during the game or at practice in a lockeroom. Unless I'm in that room with him I have no clue how he leads and would never insult anyone here by writing that I did.

Lundqvist had his moment too where supposedly he went beyond anything I have read about DiPietro with the Post claiming he compained about players on the ice at the end of a game which he denied here according to Larry Brooks.

Can you imagine if a story like that came out about DiPietro?

Difference is with DiPietro Newsday (and whatever local media occasionally covers home games) would never let up on that angle and use it every chance they can to create negative perception about him.

Brodeur wants to play his games and the media jumped all over it when new coach Brent Sutter wanted to sit him early in the season. Lundqvist was on Msg a day ago saying he wants to play seventy five games and I did not read Steve Zipay complaining he was hurting the club or turned it into the inquisition DiPietro received.

As for Lundqvist and Brodeur (or any goalie who wants to play eighty two games)
that's leadership and what franchise goaltenders should always aspire to do whether it works out that way or not.

That's all DiPietro has done.








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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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