Islander News Articles 12/23

New York Islander Fan Central | 12/22/2008 08:12:00 PM | | | | | | Comment Here
Newsday: Chris Mascaro reports goaltender Rick DiPietro participated in practice Monday while head coach Scott Gordon comments he has made a lot of progress but there is no timetable for a return or a trip to Bridgeport and for now it's just practice. Kyle Okposo comments on DiPietro.

Scott Gordon also comments on making himself available to all the players with regard to his system and discussed the play of Joe Callahan.

Owner Charles Wang attended practice. Andy Sutton is out six to eight weeks, Weight-Hunter day to day.

NY Post: Dan Martin has more from Scott Gordon about goaltender DiPietro while Richard Park talks about the clubs attitude being pretty good but that the players would not be human if they did not have a slippage in morale after losing nine in a row. Park also felt DiPietro was moving a lot better than he did when he returned in October.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Mike Knobler has the latest on the Thrashers who are home to Toronto Monday night and in the middle of fourteen games in twenty six days.

Johan Hedberg is expected to start against New York according to the writer and Garnet Exelby is in a walking soft cast/boot as his hairline fracture heals, Marty Reasoner is day to day with a sore hand.

Windsor Star: Jim Parker reports Spitfire gm Warren Rychel has heard nothing about Josh Bailey returning to juniors as he looks to add Jonathan Tavares to his roster.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
In short folks this is kind of like the NHL trade deadline in the Canadian Hockey leagues. Jonathan Tavares plays on a team that is not very good so they are looking to move him. Sarina with the three Islander prospects in Martin, Katic and DiBenedetto won a little recently but are another club that are what we could call sellers as the deadline approaches.

A year ago Robin Figren returned to the Oil Kings from the WJC and the general manager listened long and hard to offers to trade him.

Pioneer Press: Bruce Brothers has assistant general manager Tom Lynn's comments that former Islander Marc-Andre Bergeron sustained a lower body injury against the Islanders and will be out for weeks, not day.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio has a feature on Sound Tiger right wing Mike Iggulden with comments from head coach Jack Capuano as he talks about how well he has played and Iggulden about his one game callup against the Islanders last year with San Jose.

NYI Fan Central Comments:

A six foot three scoring right wing looks like a very good fit in Trent Hunter spot while he's out or in Tim Jackman's minutes. Scott Gordon needs some speed and scoring skill.

No summary from me covers Jack Capuano's endorsement for Iggulden's play.

Ct Post: Mr Fornabaio also has the Sound Tigers weekly with a lot of items which includes five questions with Jason Pitton which should wrap Sound Tiger coverage through Christmas.

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Thoughts on Garth Snow

New York Islander Fan Central | 12/22/2008 10:26:00 AM | | Comment Here
General Manager Garth Snow spoke just before the losing streak began in Newsday a few weeks ago with his club a game under five hundred and looking to make a run at playoff position.

He spoke again Sunday night with Mr Botta, all realistic playoff hopes over with nine players injured.

He gave Scott Gordon blanket support and spoke very eloquently about his long-term vision for this franchise as he did earlier in the summer with Gordon a big part of the franchise moving forward, it was very impressive.

I want to believe everything Snow said just as I did when he sat on that stage last April and told us he had no problems working with Ted Nolan and told Newsday April 12th he saw no reason why Ted Nolan would not be back and that they communicated almost every day.

Having written all this I have to point out it's fair to speculate if Garth Snow went to his boss and requested the coach he just hired be replaced after Ted Nolan is being paid to stay home he could have been told you go before Scott Gordon.

It's more than fair to speculate regardless if that happened Snow and Gordon's tenure will be tied together from here.

What can be said for sure is the pressure is now off Scott Gordon and directly on the current players to work his system better (whether he adjusts his system or not) or calls up other players who can.

Overall I liked what the gm had to say and agreed with it. He felt Brendan Witt should have kept his comments in house but nothing else can be done there.

Having written all this trust for me now must be earned from the general manager, not by words but be actions.

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NYI Fan Central? We just keep working..

New York Islander Fan Central | 12/22/2008 10:00:00 AM | Comment Here
I got an e-mail the other day asking if this blog will be doing less because the Islanders are essentially out of the playoff race?

I suppose that's a fair question and what some folks may do but whether the Islanders win or lose every game, the hockey goes on at NYIFC.

Anyone who's been here a long time or remembers Islanders-Sound Tigers knows this is a year round effort.

Some spots will be picked to take a few breaks and vacations but between the pre-written blogs scheduled during vacations there is always New York Islander hockey here almost every single day now.

Islanders-Sound Tigers kept going daily through a lockout and the 1999-2000-2001 seasons so nothing ever changes based on a hockey result.

At this point the blog itself is kind of like Al Arbour where it goes year to year, I'm not sure what the future holds for NYIFC but whatever is decided will never be about the clubs record on the ice but what's next?

To that end what's next could be writing a book about the New York Islanders instead of NYIFC or both are done at the same time, or not.

In terms of NYIFC now we have the Islander remaining games, the WJC, the Sound Tigers who at the very least look like a playoff team and will get a lot of help from the Islanders come playoff time.

Always a ton of hockey here for everyone with a lot of folks following and e-mailing so this blog will give everyone our very best effort regardless of any on-ice results.

When the season ends for the Islanders on the ice, it's not even considered an ending point at NYIFC even if the club wins the Stanley Cup. The countdown to the draft, free agency, the WC, hot button hockey topics, contract negotiations.

Hope that answers the question.

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Islander News Articles 12/22

New York Islander Fan Central | 12/21/2008 10:37:00 PM | | | | | | | | | Comment Here
Newsday: Mr Logan reports no injury updates will be available until Monday, head coach Scott Gordon's comments on the toll they have taken on his team. Bill Guerin comments on the opportunities for the young players.

Point Blank: Mr Botta had a late entry with comments from general manager Garth Snow on Scott Gordon, Brendan Witt, what's been going on in terms of trades and the long-term plans.

NYI Fan Central Comments:

Mr Botta puts in the time to provide this information for Islander fans. I feel folks should visit his site for the details.

Hockey Canada: Reports team Canada broke open a 3-3 game with Finland in the third period winning 7-3, Islander prospect Jyri Niemi had a double roughing in the third Canada scored on.

USA Hockey: Reports team USA defeated Latvia Sunday night 13-2 with a whopping 63-12 shot advantage. Islander prospect Blake Kessel was not one of the fourteen players to record a point but had a first period penalty.

Edmonton Sun: Derek VanDiest has Oilers coach Craig MacTavish on former Islander Robert Nilsson who criticizes his play.

Sports Business Journal: Tripp Mickel reports the NHL projects a two percent increase in league revenue for the 2008-09 season. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and NHLPA Executive Director Paul Kelly comment as the cap could move up or down a million or two for next season.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio recaps Bridgeport's 4-0 win against Lowell with comments from head coach Jack Capuano, Nate Lawson on his return and the shutout win along with Jeremy Colliton and Trevor Smith.

Lowell Sun: Covers the Devils.

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Bridgeport 4, Lowell 0

New York Islander Fan Central | 12/21/2008 06:25:00 PM | Comment Here Reports Bridgeport defeated the Lowell Devils 4-0 at Harbor Yard on Sunday.

Nate Lawson returned to the Bridgeport net with seventeen saves for the shutout.

1. BRI Smith, (15) (Wotton, Hennigar), 9:01
3. BRI Colliton, (2) (Smith, Joensuu), 4:34
3. BRI Smith, (16) (Skinner, McLean), 16:09 (PP)
3. BRI Marcinko, (3) (Haley, Morency), 18:55 (PP)

Jeff Tambellini returned to the Islanders according to Michael Fornabaio's pre-game blog with lines here.

Note-Tambellini is part of Islander roster, once his conditioning assignment ended Saturday he could not be assigned to Bridgeport without clearing waivers first. In short do not view this as a recall to the Islanders.

Jeremy Colliton had five shots on goal.

Bridgeport goes 2-1 on the three game weekend homestand, next game Friday against Hartford.

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Poll Update

New York Islander Fan Central | 12/21/2008 02:43:00 PM | Comment Here
Our poll hits the final day and asks everyone:
Given the standings what players should be moved now?

Keep in mind now and moving forward not as easy as dumping players with a cap floor for Garth Snow and other general managers know it. You take my contract I'll take yours and give me a pick may be the game as things progress.

Poll leader Mike Sillinger may have entered Shawn Bates territory where he simply cannot play any longer if his groin-hip problems are related.

Anyway here is where things stand as of late Saturday:

Mike Sillinger 31 (60%)
Brendan Witt 17 (33%)
Richard Park 11 (21%)
Mike Comrie 29 (56%)
Trent Hunter 2 (3%)
Sean Bergenheim 1 (1%)
Radek Martinek 11 (21%)
Freddy Meyer 4 (7%)
Andy Hilbert 12 (23%)
Andy Sutton 16 (31%)
Chris Campoli 0 (0%)
Bruno Gervais 16 (31%)
Mark Streit 0 (0%)
Bill Guerin 16 (31%)
Doug Weight 12 (23%)
Blake Comeau 1 (1%)
Jeff Tambellini 17 (33%)
Patience-stick with it until everyone healthy 9 (17%)

Tuesday I will try and put some time into articles with the Atlanta pre and postgame but I will be traveling afterward.

Wednesday and Christmas Day there will be no blog updates beyond anything prewritten. Friday morning is up in the air at this time.

Only thing for sure is I will blog if Scott Gordon receives a lump of coal and a pink slip in his Christmas stocking.

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Jyri Niemi on Television Sunday

New York Islander Fan Central | 12/21/2008 12:32:00 PM | | | | | 1 Comments Reports Islander Prospect Jyri Niemi will be on Tsn2 Sunday at 7pm when Finland faces Canada in a WJC tuneup. .

Note-I had no box score for Canada-Sweden to see if David Ullstrom played in the hyped Tavares-Hedman contest Friday, his name was not in the game summary.

Only question for the moment seems to be if Kirill Petrov is a go for team Russia.

I have seen some things that he is on the roster but not sure he will play.

Team Russia plays against Kazakhstan Sunday night at GM Center in Oshawa
here in their first camp game.

I will see if Oshawa papers have something on the game Monday.

Team USA with Blake Kessel has it's first game Sunday against Latvia at K-Rock Centre

I have been adding WJC pages and blogs from to the WJC section.

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Islander News Articles 12/21

New York Islander Fan Central | 12/21/2008 12:45:00 AM | | | | | | | Comment Here
Newsday: Greg Logan recaps the Islanders 1-0 loss to Nashville. Head coach Scott Gordon's comments about the injury to Doug Weight along with his clubs play while goaltender Joey MacDonald credited his defense and Joe Callahan who was called up.

NYI Fan Central Comments:

Scott Gordon did not talk long in the ITV postgame but he said a lot about the club on offense in terms of getting to the net.

Not a lot of speed.
Not physically imposing.
Do not get the puck to the net when they do get there.
Do not have the personnel that are going to bury chances.

He did credit his club and discussed the injuries also.

Point Blank: Mr Botta for his part did not think those comments were the right thing to say out loud in a league where the fans pay to see the games and where you never want your players to give up.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
At least we heard the word " We " a lot which our fans did not get last year from Ted Nolan which Mr Botta brought to everyone's attention.

Nashville City Paper: Matt Wilson recaps the Predators 1-0 win against the Islanders on Saturday.

Nashville Tennessean: Is the Predators primary paper.

Tampa Tribune: Erik Erlendsson had more than a few animated comments from Martin St.Louis after Tampa dropped it's fifteenth one goal game of the season with head coach Rick Tocchet also talking about his players.

Tampa remained 30th in the NHL for those wondering.

NYI Fan Central Comments:

I posted this because the question is how long before we start seeing some of this from the Islander veterans or Scott Gordon?

Atlanta visits Tuesday.

Late Sunday Morning Mr Logan had an entry in the Islanders Newsday blog
here where Andy Sutton talks about his injury and the team having to play with so many players and credited the coaching staff for working so hard to teach the players. Joe Callahan talked about his opportunity and praised his roommate from camp (Sutton) while Bill Guerin acknowledged it's time to give the kids more opportunities even if they are in a tough spot.

Mr Logan is trying to find out more on Doug Weight for later today or tomorrow's article but sometimes it takes a few days.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Sutton went out of his way to praise the staff, good stuff from him and Callahan. I wanted more from Guerin who understands prospects have it tough but also must be very disappointed with where this season has gone and what it will likely mean.

Nice job by Mr Logan getting us more on a Sunday after a lot of travel for him.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio recaps Bridgeport's 4-1 loss to the Binghampton Senators with former Sound Tiger Drew Fata scoring twice. Jeff Tambellini, who had Bridgeport's only goal and head coach Jack Capuano comment on the loss.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Tambellini talked like a man not sure if he will be coming back. He either returns or has to clear waivers to stay with Bridgeport. With Weight's injury the roster spot is there for him to come back but they may need to recall a center also.

Ct Post: Mr Fornabaio also previews Sunday's game against Lowell at 4pm.

Ct Post: Mr Fornabaio also blogged on the loss.

Press Connects: Michael Sharp covers the B-Sens.

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Nashville 1, New York 0

New York Islander Fan Central | 12/20/2008 11:52:00 PM | Comment Here
AP: Recaps the Islanders 1-0 loss in Nashville on Saturday with Sports Network here.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
What would you have me write folks? Simply not enough speed and skill here to score consistently at even strength.

Good thing Nashville is not a very good team and slumping themselves or it could have been a lot worse. One powerplay generated and Doug Weight joins the list of players out.

MacDonald did all he could again and had no chance on the goal, Meyer got caught in center, a good pass off the two on one.

A few chances by Sim, Bill Guerin pushed into Rinne who gave few rebounds. Callahan gave them nineteen minutes, at least Comeau got to play. Bailey took a big hit.

I may have more to add Sunday to this entry.

We'll see what happens Tuesday, back to back is usually the game they win, not tonight.

Competitive (playoff) part of the season is gone, fifty plus games of exhibition ahead.

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Even strength goals a little over one per game

New York Islander Fan Central | 12/20/2008 11:55:00 AM | Comment Here
Just a quick update on even strength scoring here.

Doug Weight two even stength goals.
Bill Guerin seven/one coming out of box against CBJ, another open net goal.
Trent Hunter seven.
Mark Streit one.
Andy Hilbert five.
Richard Park one.
Mike Comrie two.
Andy Sutton two.
Jon Sim three.
Kyle Okposo one.
Frans Nielsen two.
Sean Bergenheim four.
Chris Campoli three.

Thirty two games played:
Seventy nine goals, thirty five special teams (28pp/7 shorthanded)

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New York at Nashville 8pm Msg+

New York Islander Fan Central | 12/20/2008 09:55:00 AM | | Comment Here
AP: Has the preview of tonight's game in Nashville against the Predators.

Nashville Predators
S. Nichol Upper body
S. Sullivan Back
Nashville Tennessean: Jessica Bliss reports the struggling Predators will have Martin Erat on the checking line tonight.

The Predators have scored only 21 goals in their past 11 games but are 5-4-2 in that stretch. Vern Fiddler has two goals and an assist in his past seven games with a plus-two rating. Captain Jason Arnott has two points and no goals in his past seven games.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Ok, here we go again.

Another club with only one win in five games (Dallas) that has scored six goals in four games and has not had a four goal game since November 28th.

Nashville was Steve Stirling's final game as head coach in 2006, nothing would surprise me on that front given the chances this club is giving up combined with the five on five play.

You can bet Barry Trotz is looking at game films, his players will turn it up and look to put up a big number against the defensive system. Every team struggling seems to be able to do it. MacDonald must be upset to play that well and have nothing to show for it, he has to be a little tired also.

Spin the wheel on who gets a call and how late they arrive unless Comeau dresses and they play five defenders. Skinner, Callahan?

This Islander team is in a free fall. I have never seen a version of this club play worse (were talking thirty years) at even strength including last year when they could not score but at least played some defense to keep them in games.

This year we have a club that cannot score at even strength but looks just as bad on the defensive end. Only thing they have going is that powerplay goal a game.

Seems most of the games they have been competitive lately the other club is not playing very well themselves or just having an off night (Flyers/Caps) and not putting in their best game.

Another two weeks of this they are going to be double-digits out of fourteenth.

Maybe for this game we can get some sound.

Updated 12:40pm

For those wondering Erik Erlendsson reported here Jussi Jokinen has cleared waivers this afternoon and will play tonight against Atlanta. Tampa Bay general manager Brian Lawton said that as of now there is no intention of sending down to AHL Norfolk and possibly putting him on recall waivers. Reports Joe Callahan was called up to replace Andy Sutton.

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Islander News Articles 12/20

New York Islander Fan Central | 12/19/2008 11:46:00 PM | | | | | | | Comment Here
Newsday: Greg Logan has head coach Scott Gordon's comments on the turnovers that killed them, the huge loss of Andy Sutton that overtaxed the defense and why he did not play Mitch Fritz despite dressing him.

NYI Fan Central Comments:

I think Scott Gordon is kidding himself, with Sutton the Wild had at least two breakaways early.

Newsday: Mr Logan's second game article had Kyle Okposo & Mike Comrie's comments on returning the the lineup and former Islander Marc-Andre Bergeron's comments along with a full blog entry here.

Mr Logan also explains the travel from Minnesota to Nashville could be a problem with the weather.

Newsday: Mr Logan repeated most of his pre-game blog for the print edition but had Doug Weight defending the system and felt there has been too much talk about it and disagreed with Columbus Coach Ken Hitchcock's assessment of it being more run and gun.

NY Post: Dan Martin did not have a game article but the Post did have Bill Guerin's comments about being captain in such tough circumstances and talked about the teams attitude being good along with his early days being a player under Scott Stevens with the Devils.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
No post-game comments from Guerin, this came at a point before the club left on the trip. Guerin for his part took a good penalty defending Witt last night. The look of frustration says is all about the captain.

Point Blank: Mr Botta's post game blog entry.

Star-Tribune: Michael Russo recaps the Wild's 4-1 win against the Islanders.

Pioneer Press: Has Bruce Brothers game recap with quotes.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio recapped Bridgeport's 4-1 win in front of five hundred fans at snowy Harbor Yard on Friday. Jeff Tambellini scored another goal, head coach Jack Capuano praised the forechecking and the pressure.

Mr Fornabaio had several blog entries, the Ct Post had the three stars here.

Bridgeport is home to Binghampton on Saturday, there will be a ticket exchange for those who could not make Friday's game.

Springfield Union News: Also had Mr Fornabaio's coverage who did a separate article for the visitors.

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Minnesota 4, New York 1

New York Islander Fan Central | 12/19/2008 10:35:00 PM | Comment Here
Sports Network: Recap's the Islanders 4-1 loss to the Wild on Friday along with the AP.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Sorry folks, forgive me if I miss some things in this recap, our friends at Time Warner whenever a game goes on Msg+2 more often than not has pregame, picture or sound problems.

Tonight the entire game was shown without sound, too bad we did have a picture.
That was an absolute joke watching this team play tonight and I have seen a lot of terrible Islander clubs.

I think it's time for the system to change, the players to change or this coach was not the right hire for them.

It's not working, I do not think it will work.

No one is learning anything or improving, not the veterans or the prospects and this is not a system helping them play to their collective strength whatever that is.

I have no doubt Scott Gordon and the players are doing all they can but it's a bad mix that is only getting worse. There is no one player I can point to for such a poor collective effort here.

This is not growing pains, this team has enough bodies where they should be far more competitive. A pickup team could have showed better team chemistry than what I saw tonight.

Without MacDonald standing on his head the Minnesota Wild, a club struggling to score that came in with a big losing streak easily could have had nine or ten goals.

That was sure inspiring watching Bailey and Okposo get beaten for goals as players skated around them.

The Islanders were outclassed from beginning to end, they were outskated, outworked and the Wild threw some huge hits without response unless you want to call the penalties a response.

How many quality chances did the Islanders generate? Two or three early and one in the third? How many did they give up? About fifteen or more.

The Wild record does not like, they are not a good offensive club and they dominated in every area and they did not even have to be very good.

Alarming stuff.

Why is Blake Comeau out of the lineup so Mitch Fritz can get a nice seat on the bench or sit for Tim Jackman? Comeau comes up on the left side, looks excellent for a few games then is moved to right wing for someone placed on waivers (who is on the powerplay again) the coach talks about his backchecking after the Jacket game while he plays the wrong position and now he finds himself out of the lineup?

That makes no sense to me, Comeau has good skills and can help but we see Fritz in the lineup and Jackman getting a shift and far too much pk time. Anyone else want to see Comeau with Bailey centering & Okposo all in their natural positions?

This was after Gordon moved Okposo to the left side and admitted it was a mistake.

At even strength Guerin, Weight, Bergenheim were eaten alive. Witt was taking hits from everywhere and will get hurt with that kind of pounding. The Richard Park show seems to be all this club has with Doug Weight getting the powerplay assist, he got his open net goal and little else. I think Andy Hilbert was the latest to move from left to right.

Folks want to say they hung in, without MacDonald making two breakaway saves on Gaborik in the first the game was over right there, they did not hang in at all.

MacDonald was outstanding.

Now Hunter has a groin problem and Sutton gets his latest injury.

I do not care that they lost but how they played is just alarming on every possible level and demands action from the general manager.

It's clear they are doing their absolute best and only getting worse.

This is not taking pains to improve or going with prospects, it's just losing with no one getting anything out of it in the long run.

I do not think there is anything that can be done with this system to give them a better chance in games without changes.

I'm not sure Scott Gordon knows any other way so it's the players or the coach.

All I do know is this is not building toward any kind of improvement given what I am watching and a lot of these players are doing their best.

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New York at Minnesota 8pm Msg+2

New York Islander Fan Central | 12/19/2008 01:04:00 PM | | | | Comment Here
AP: Previews tonight's game against the Minnesota Wild.

Curtis Foster and Owen Nolan look like the players out for the Wild.
Backstrom should be in net.

NYI Fan Central Comments:

Always fun seeing the Islanders head out to markets they do not play often. A year ago this was the game the club the Isles finally gained a point after getting past the flu that set them up for the six game winning streak. They did blow the lead in regulation and the Wild were a very fast team that won in overtime.

Bridgeport has a lot of extra players, Islanders seem to have a surplus so spin the wheel whether Fritz, Walter, Jackman or Sim sit for a Comrie/possible Okposo return.

Minnesota comes in a low scoring club on a big losing streak but that includes somewhat of a bullet with Marian Gaborik just returning to the Wild lineup this week and scoring in his return game. Over/under for how many Marc-Andre Bergeron complaints about the Islanders starts at about two, he's done a good job in the plus/minus department so he deserves some credit.

One team is desperate, the Islanders passed that point around a week and a half ago, maybe the comeback against Washington helps but it will take more than deflection goals on point shots to win unless MacDonald can steal one or this team can put together some goals and play defense.

With Brendan Witt not thrilled with overspeed, Scott Gordon has to be under the gun a little here. A few more players speak up it comes down to the coach or the players. A win and something to feel better about is really needed by this group in the room.

More losing and more talking by the players usually means a choice, we saw this in Tampa.

Updated 6pm:
Newsday: Mr Logan in the Islanders Newsday blog did not get much more from head coach Scott Gordon on Brendan Witt & the coach did not even care to give the media the scratches. He did talk about DiPietro, the state of the goaltending and the lack of practices while the goaltender who skated did not wish to discuss his time table for return with Newsday or Howie Rose.

NYI Fan Central Comments:

Not sure what else Scott Gordon can say about Witt. Good for DiPietro keeping to his earlier word of not wanting to be a distraction. Any surprise Mr Logan will have comments from former Islander Marc Andre Bergeron for some more x-mas cheer?

The beatwriter without Mr Botta never would have put in the paper that Witt is a player who went through thin and thinner with the Washington Capitals in the pre-Alexander Ovechkin days and can handle it. He had a blog, two articles and did not do it until Mr Botta made it clear Witt loves it here and does not want to be traded.

Updated 7pm:

Krys Kalanos was called up to replace Owen Nolan.

Pioneer Press: Bruce Brothers has Kyle Okposo's comments on returning to Minnesota and said he stays in touch with former coach Don Lucia.

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More from Brendan Witt/Islander Insider

New York Islander Fan Central | 12/19/2008 11:37:00 AM | | | | Comment Here
Point Blank: Mr Botta had a lot more from Brendan Witt where he did not back off from his comments to Newsday's Greg Logan but elaborates a lot more on his answers and makes it clear he does not wish to be traded and signed here because he wants to be a part of this club and loves being here. The defensive system is something he has talked with head coach Scott Gordon a lot behind the scenes.

Mr Botta for his part includes Witt was not happy playing for Ted Nolan.

NYI Fan Central Comments:

No summary from me will tell the entire story, Mr Botta's blog says it best. Witt seems like someone who simply wants the club to play better defense, this is not some kind of thing where Witt wants out which the defender makes clear.

Question is if the coach feels this is the way the defense must be played can Witt adjust?

Newsday Islander Insider: Mr Logan for his part had little that was not in the earlier article beyond Witt's knee being fine and not effecting his play while the beatwriter looks at the numbers and suggests if things continue the coach may have to reassess what he is doing playing a way that no one else in the NHL is playing.

Richard Park for his part talks about how despite how challenged the team is in the standings right now there is still time to turn in around as he talks about what he has tried to do to help.

Scott Gordon for his part talks about what Chris Campoli should be doing more of to generate offense in this system at length.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
How come the part about Witt does not want a trade and loves being here did not make it into Mr Logan's update this morning?

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A few things about Scott Gordon

New York Islander Fan Central | 12/19/2008 08:40:00 AM | Comment Here
Not one game with the starting goaltender or the top six defenders healthy and a team injured from day one of camp but having written that:

Most goals allowed.
Huge jump in shots again.
Most shots blocked in the league.
Worst even strength club in the league.

Islanders last season cut the shots against by a hundred and ninety eight.

This season (31 games-891 shots against) twenty fifth.
Last season (82 games-2228 shots against) nineteenth.
Note-shots do not reflect quality chances against.

Scott Gordon from the day of his hiring talked about overspeed and his defensive system, he talked about playing more in the offensive zone as a good way to keep pressure off.

Lets re-introduce some of the quotes which do not reflect how things have played out.

"He's adamant about playing a tight defensive system. He's going to make a difference, starting with our defensive zone. The neutral-zone forecheck will be different, too. It's going to be a great fit for our players."

Islanders gm Garth Snow, Newsday August 13th

One of the best things is Gordon's commitment to playing a tight defensive system. As DiPietro often has pointed out, the Islanders play their best hockey when they concentrate on protecting their defensive zone. "As far as systems go, my job is to stop the hockey puck," DiPietro said. "But as a goalie, you do get the opportunity to see things in front of you. I'm sure he's going to institute a system that fits our team."

Islander goaltender, Rick DiPietro Newsday August 13th

"We didn't have the team that anybody would've picked to win the amount of games that we did," Gordon said. "It didn't just take coaching Xs and Os, it took the players buying into the system that we play and being accountable to each other. That's kind of the last step in my development as a coach in refining the team chemistry part of it - how to get the guys to want to play for each other.

"I've been able to find what works and doesn't work and been able to do it on a small stage and not have to have the growing pains, hopefully, at the NHL level."

Scott Gordon, THN, August 13th.

I do not want to kick too hard at Scott Gordon but between his earlier comments, some mistakes from Fritz to Okposo on an off-wing (now Comeau) combined with so many high percentage shots against (and MacDonald giving an incredible effort) things should be better.

A lot of things go beyond coaching as part of the clubs record, some do not.

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Frustration for coach, players will only get worse

New York Islander Fan Central | 12/19/2008 07:09:00 AM | | Comment Here
The one thing I liked about this club going into this season is there were no players on it who talked a better game then they played.

For all the even strength goals Richard Park or Andy Hilbert will not score they give everything they have and leave it all on the ice.

I do not see anyone on this team who does not play the same way, even if the collective results have not been good at all.

Folks want to say Tambellini did not produce or create chances that's fair enough but he went into the corners and took hits to make plays, he tried to fight at Msg, it was not enough for Tambellini or anyone.

One thing for sure we can expect is more items like Brendan Witt's comments and frustration among the players (especially the veterans) which we saw from Doug Weight after Tuesday's loss.

Players like Weight would trade every assist he has to win some games, that is the kind of player you want here.

A lot of pride among the players who do not care about NHL previews or expectations and came into the season expecting to be a better team for the changes. No one is going through the motions but the results do not lie.

When you do not win and struggle like this you have to expect a frustrated coach and a lot of upset players. Losing like this has to be very new for Scott Gordon who is also facing more media and a lot of veterans in their thirties.

I think something would be wrong (and worse) if there was not a lot of frustration, most teams will go through the same thing when they struggle like this.

Expect a lot more frustration from Witt, Guerin, Weight, Sillinger, Park, MacDonald and as they return and maybe struggle DiPietro, Comrie unless we see a winning streak put together quickly.

Expect it from Scott Gordon and Garth Snow too.

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Islander News Articles 12/19

New York Islander Fan Central | 12/19/2008 04:28:00 AM | | | | | | Comment Here
Newsday: Greg Logan's article has comments from defenseman Brendan Witt who talks about how Scott Gordon's defensive system is tough to play at length with a lot of details as to why it leaves players open. Scott Gordon responded while Witt for his part also said he's trying to do whatever the coach asks along with his fellow defensemen and for the progress they have shown they have not showed it very often for 60 minutes but until the coach says something different we have to play this way.

NYI Fan Central Comments:

That's more space than Brendan Witt has received after a practice since he signed here so we knew it had to be a negative story. Positive stories just are not news worthy.

Having written that we all know it's not a time for positive stories.

Not good when a leader on defense talks at length about why the system is not working while the coach responded that's why we practiced it for two days in print.

I have to admit the defense looked better with Witt out or at least more like a unit. When Witt talks about Scott Gordon changing his system twice it seems like this is something he will try and buy into but knows it's not going to work for him as hard as he will try to play it.

I do not see a lot of transition goals against but play in the Islanders end of the ice where other clubs keep finding the passing lanes which look like poor coverage reads, it got a lot more noticeable in the Penguins game at the Coliseum and seemed to really put the club in a tailspin.

We'll see what happens, but this is not good.

The gm has to back his coach here or he hangs Scott Gordon out to dry making it a bad hire. The gm also considers Witt a team leader and just gave him a three year contract.

Welcome to the gm chair, Garth Snow.

Newsday: John Jeansonne's article is on Kyle Okposo's return to Minnesota where he played for the Gophers last season. Head coach Scott Gordon comments on the return of Mike Comrie to the Islanders lineup and how well Okposo was playing before his injury.

Newsday: Mr Logan in the Islanders Newsday blog speculates on who could sit, previews the struggling Minnesota Wild and the Friday Islander Insider with more from Brendan Witt & Richard Park.

Pioneer Press: Has the combined coverage of Bruce Brothers and John Shipley where for now it seems Owen Nolan will not play against the Islanders.

Star Tribune: Michael Russo previews tonight's game.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio reports the team is on the mend from illness/injury with head coach Jack Capuano's comments about the prep work for this weekends games which stars with tonight against former prospect Ryan O'Mara and the Springfield Falcons here.

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Comrie, Okposo return, more changes coming

New York Islander Fan Central | 12/18/2008 01:36:00 PM | | Comment Here
Point Blank: Mr Botta reported Mike Comrie and Kyle Okposo will return to the lineup against the Wild on Friday.

Head coach Scott Gordon comments on the return of both players.

More changes are expected as the club leaves by 2:30pm Est.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio reports on changes at Sound Tigers practice on Thursday with the following:

No word on anybody coming down from the Islanders, Ben Walter gets continued glowing reviews.

Jon Gleed was sent back to Utah after practice.
Len DiCostanzo was released from his PTO, and might wind up in Utah.

Otherwise, everybody's good to go, including Nathan Lawson. Micheal Haley was back out there after he finally got over the bug; he and Pascal Morency were the stray forwards as they lined up.


Islanders website reports Kyle Okposo's game status will be determined after Friday morning's skate.

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Islander News Articles 12/18

New York Islander Fan Central | 12/18/2008 01:52:00 AM | | | | | | | Comment Here
Newsday: Greg Logan has comments from Mike Comrie who wants to return to the lineup Friday in Minnesota while head coach Scott Gordon is not too sure there is a roster spot available and praised the play of Ben Walter who he felt fit in well.

Mr Logan also reported Kyle Okposo took part in practice and Jeff Tambellini's conditioning stint ends Saturday.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
The roster speculation game has gotten more than stale, we should know when the club leaves who got on the plane.

I agree with the Islanders coach Walter did fit against Washington and played well for the minutes he saw, very visible who got some chances.

NY Times: Dave Caldwell apparently showed up for Tuesday's Islander game to play the state of the attendance card and get fan reaction pitting this years struggling club vs those of the late nineties and asked why does Mr Wang not spend more on the payroll?

Also included were comments from general manager Garth Snow he never saw what he was doing as a youth movement but he is committed to getting the younger players on the ice with significant playing time along with a few words on Rick DiPietro's return.

Rest of the article were repeat quotes from the Washington Postgame from Bill Guerin, Doug Weight.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
I guess it was the Times turn to show up and take a few kicks at the club after not giving them a story since I think as far back as Brandon Sugden? I'm not sure Mr Caldwell understands you cannot put young players in the lineup and spend to the cap. Does he understand Okposo makes rookie cap money, Nielsen got a four year deal, Bailey could have been sent back to save money?

They spent a lot of money on Mark Streit and all we read was he is overpaid when he signed? They locked up Brendan Witt, Trent Hunter and every defender on the roster to multi-year extensions. Only Doug Weight and the club knows where the incentives in his contract will take his salary.

Mr Wang could have spent a lot less long-term money, that's what Mr Caldwell should have looked at with the contracts Marcinko, Figren, Tambellini were given.

That's all revenue that could have been saved for the Lighthouse.

Given the Islanders lease no owner can spend to the cap unless it's a multi-billion dollar company willing to take such hits as many corporate clubs do. Funny how many reporters immediately estimate attendance vs what is announced at Islander games, we do not see that practice at the Garden for games despite the empty seats.

Mr Caldwell said his comments from the gm were from Tuesday.

Shoddy work.

For Garth Snow's part when Park-Hilbert are on the powerplay and Bergenheim/Comeau are watching (with Comeau on left and right wing) that does not reflect what you said.

Daily News: Elliot Olshansky's prospect article is on both Islander prospects at Clarkson, Tyrell Mason and Shea Guthrie as both talk about the struggles of the team this year.

Ryan Jankowski, the Islanders' assistant GM and director of amateur scouting talks about both young players. Chuck Gormley had a feature on goaltender Joey McDonald. Adam Proteu cannot tell us anything about the Islanders beyond DiPietro's injury or the age of the Coliseum but as usual it does not stop him from his latest assault which is supposed to be a sidebar to the Oilers 9-2 loss.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio's article is on the all the defenders in Bridgeport and the competition for spots with head coach Jack Capuano's comments on the depth and the current injuries.

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Quick Hits

New York Islander Fan Central | 12/17/2008 11:27:00 AM | 2 Comments
* I understand Doug Weight's frustration with losing but he's sadly mistake if he thinks the players are the only ones who want the club to win. Having written that
it's up to the him and the guys in the room to run off a big winning streak or face the hard reality that this is not going to be a playoff team.

The fans do not like the standings or the losses either but we know the trends and how much winning has to be done to earn a playoff spot, right now that is off the radar until the players win enough to change our minds.

My math says the Islanders need to play about nineteen games over five hundred starting Friday if they want to be a playoff team.

So far the 08-09 Islanders have given us one collective sign they are capable of any sustained winning with that five out of six streak. Aside from that it's been critical blown leads, a club that responds to rest with rust, too many injuries and for now a group with depth players in roles where they have to score with not much chemistry on the backline and a goaltender who's played has leveled off.

Don't count on many games where Sutton's shots or Weight's shots are deflected in or Richard Park to put up a three point game.

I only wish we could count on it.
* I almost feel guilty I did not write more about Mark Streit's game last night because whenever he gets the puck you expect him to make a solid play on defense or when he joins the rush something that will lead to a quality chance. The minutes and solid play he has given the team cannot be praised enough.

Streit absolutely should be the Islanders representative in Montreal unless Bob Gainey and the Canadians have some control over who is selected as the reserves.
* I do not know what is worse, Tsn not having a hockey rss feed for it's readers or actually employing Shane Milloy formerly from HF to do prospect articles. It's the equivalent of John Spano working for Forbes.

I think I read some of my old comments on prospects from earlier in the decade re-written.

Of course given Forbes astute reports on NHL revenue and finances guess work with no access to any clubs books or real information from the NHL Spano could not do much worse.

Tsn should get someone like Kyle Woodlief in and give Shane Milloy the boot.
* Funny no one is talking about the age of Msg when it comes to Mats Sundin or why he wants to play in a building that is a dump?

When was the last time a Ranger free agent did not get a huge frontloaded contract?

It's funny when you get past all the I love Msg infomercials how much up front cash it takes for players to actually sign there.

Should be interesting if Garth Snow claims a Prucha if he goes on waivers.
* I may be the only one but I do not subscribe to kicking anyone when they are down and disappointed Mr Botta gave his blog readers a new story about Sean Avery from last year when he should have taken the high road and credited a man with a problem taking steps to help himself and wished him luck.

A year ago that's what Mr Botta wanted for Chris Simon? Avery may be many things we do not like as hockey fans but when a person admits there is a problem it should be treated as such.

A lot of coaches, players gave horror stories and threw Avery under the bus, I think Mr Botta as someone who is in a better league than to do something like that.
SI: Michael Farber feels the loss of Mark Streit by the Canadians has hurt Alexei Kovalev and the powerplay.

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Islander News Articles 12/17

New York Islander Fan Central | 12/16/2008 10:51:00 PM | | | | | | | | Comment Here
Will update this blog entry late AM/early PM if any additional news when possible but will be very busy tomorrow.

Newsday: Greg Logan's early recap is on the Islanders coming back in this one because of a red-hot powerplay but questioned why Ovechkin was that open despite Semin making a mesmerizing play for his second period goal?

Head coach Scott Gordon, Richard Park and goaltender Joey MacDonald comment on the loss.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
The early recap also has the following " The Isles began the third period on their third power play, but that's where the catch-up push ran out of steam. "

Guess someone was not expecting a late comeback.

Newsday: Mr Logan's second article is on Ben Walter who discusses the differences between practice time and scouting in the AHL and that Bridgeport head coach Jack Capuano has gotten everyone to " buy in " to what the system is.

Mr Logan has a few words from Scott Gordon on possible time tables for DiPietro, Okposo, Sillinger.

Newsday: Arthur Staple had Doug Weight's interesting comments no one cares if we win again other than the twenty four in the room after a minus five (along with Brendan Witt) as he was upset with the loss while Mr Staple had a few words from Richard Park and former Islander Tom Poti on their system helping them.

Of course Mr Staple questioned announced attendance instead of asking for a few words from Mark Streit who had three assist, I wanted to know what the defender thinks.

Washington Post & Washington Times: Has coverage of the Caps win on Tuesday.

NY Post : Dan Martin's article had Doug Weight's comment that only coaches can take solace in a point while Jon Sim comments about urgency and baby steps. Richard Park talks about the club having had enough and needing to find answers, Bill Guerin on trying to build on small things and the club being desperate to get out of this.

Daily News: Peter Botte's article focuses on Doug Weight's comments who takes nothing from an overtime loss while goaltender Joey MacDonald talks about the game.

NYI Fan Central Comments:

I added feeds from both papers to the sidebar with Newsday, Islanders website and Mr Botta (Point Blank) Mr Fornabaio (Sound Tigers blog) even if the coverage is infrequent.

I included the Times in case an Islander feature is done.

The feeds are also still in the media section with the Times.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio reports on a third of the Sound Tiger roster out with a virus running through the club. Jeff Tambellini was one of the last players off the ice with captain Mark Wotton.

Ct Post: Mr Fornabaio also had the Sound Tigers weekly.

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Washington 5, New York 4 OT

New York Islander Fan Central | 12/16/2008 08:51:00 PM | Comment Here Recaps the Islanders 5-4 overtime loss to Washington on Tuesday.

AP: Recaps tonight's game.

NYI Fan Central Comments:

Funny watching the versus in-studio preview and Brian Engblom saying how Mike Sillinger on faceoffs will be a key tonight.

Not like Sillinger was a late scratch.

Washington did not play very well nor did they have to be very good. Islanders to their credit worked for some bounces and produced a third period comeback of their own to force overtime.

What can I write folks that I have not been writing almost every game?

Youth movements and rebuilding do not start with Andy Hilbert, Richard Park in prime scoring roles or on a line with Trent Hunter. They give all they have but scoring is just not something they can do on a regular basis.

Tonight was more the exception than the rule and still it was not enough.

I know Park scored and was in front for the latest deflection goal (Tom Poti) by a Doug Weight shot and even had a third period breakaway but at even strength what did Brent Johnson have to do for two periods besides Weight intercepting a pass for a chance and a few scrambles in front of Johnson?

Career scoring records do not lie, if you expect Park, Hilbert or Tim Jackman to produce enough to carry your offense the team is not going to score enough goals to win many games.

I wish one (or both) of Park-Hilbert would become what Jason Blake was on offense and that changes but I do not see it happening. Park was everywhere tonight and it still took a third period penalty with the man advantage and got crunched in overtime.

If those are the key players on offense vs the opposition (Ovechkin, Semin) for the Caps (but insert any teams star player on a given night) the percentages of winning many games are not very good.

Jon Sim has a better chance to score than both in a key moment but at this point you have to wonder why he is on a powerplay? He found something to feel good about and needed it.

Shifting Blake Comeau from left wing to right wing (for Sim) and back is not going to make him an effective player from shift to shift. Aside from a third period chance he deflected in a goal against and had little impact but what does the coach expect from him when he moves him around?

Did he not learn this lesson when he moved Okposo to the left and he struggled? After what he did against Atlanta and in Philadelphia just send him out on left wing and play him with the offensive forwards.

Meanwhile Ben Walter saw more key moments to produce offense than Comeau, Bergenheim and was on for the overtime goal, he struggled on faceoffs.

Bailey was not very visible for his minutes, he seems to be playing with a lot of different wingers. Comeau should not be on his right side, even the announcer on versus noted Comeau is a left wing but playing mostly the right side tonight.

Tough time seeing what Scott Gordon is trying to accomplish here besides make Comeau a confused player with a poor plus/minus.

Bill Guerin needed to hit the net on that second period chance.

Joey MacDonald made some good saves but let up two goals that were killers and was slow to react a few times. Defense was not pressed a lot by the Caps but one time they did Witt and Meyer were eaten alive. Overall Islander defense did not let up a ton of great chances but again, Washington was not skating well.

Witt's misconduct led to the first goal.

Sutton had a nice deflection goal off a Washington player.

Give the Islanders some credit for skating hard and getting the bounces to tie the game against a team that did not play very well with a very beatable goaltender in Brent Johnson. Crowd got behind the club when they tied the game with the loudest cheering in a while at a home game.

Earlier in the year a point out of this would have been a good thing, at this point it's virtually worthless.

One play short of a shootout. Ovechkin was quiet but in ot hit the post and never should have been where he was in the winner, at that point you take a penalty if necessary but cannot let him shoot from there.

Of course you have to catch him.

Next up Marian Gaborik is ready to return for Minnesota. Will Okposo be in Minnesota?

I thought that was Mitch Fritz, I really did but never saw him after that one time for the person who e-mailed.

Not exactly Michael Peca dressing against the Blues and going off in 2002-03 for motivation.

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Washington at New York 7pm Versus

New York Islander Fan Central | 12/16/2008 09:30:00 AM | | Comment Here
AP: Previews tonights' game against Washington.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
If the Islanders need three forwards for Bailey, Thompson and whoever (Fritz?) I guess Colliton, Iggulden or Walter should be among the players unless Rob Hennigar receives a call.

In Mr Fornabaio's article on Trevor Smith it says he was shifted from center to left wing.

Jon Sim, Bergenheim, Comeau, Hilbert all are healthy and play left wing which means Smith waits in line or he comes up and someone plays out of position.

Tambellini returning for Fritz seems logical before a Smith callup after a goal.

In terms of tonight's game do not expect a lot of holiday cheer.

No point writing about standings or wins/points until the Islanders do something to make that a storyline by winning. Washington again has injuries but offense, Islanders have a lot of chemistry issues in it's team defense and even with a lot of injuries Caps did not even play well last time and still picked Islanders apart when the game was in the balance in the third and had a ton of quality chances.

Islander offense is starting to struggle and did not generate much in Columbus, Johnson is a very beatable goaltender.

Updated 10:30am:

Newsday: Mr Logan in the Islanders Newsday blog reports Ben Walter has been called up to replace Nate Thompson in what could be the first or last callup wave.

Updated 11:30am:
Ct Post: Mr Fornabaio reports Jeremy Colliton was also called up but the flu bug is sweeping through the Bridgeport roster with as many as ten off the ice for various injury/illness.

Walter or Colliton could have the bug despite the callups. Mr Fornabaio is promising more as he knows.


Steve Mears has Scott Gordon in an interview with a lot of quotes from this mornings Newsday article here.

Point Blank: Mr Botta reports Josh Bailey will play along with other items including the earlier reports.

Note-I may not have postgame or articles depending on schedule tonight/tomorrow until Wednesday mid-day, not sure yet.

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This weeks poll: Which players do you move now?

New York Islander Fan Central | 12/16/2008 07:56:00 AM | Comment Here
The new poll was released Sunday night and asks everyone who would you move now given the standings.

For the purposes of this no one is limited to one vote.

We got our answer for Jon Sim earlier this week when he was placed on waivers and before that with Thomas Pock, Nate Thompson when the Islanders claimed him so no need including any of them. Prospects like Nielsen, Okposo, Bailey and the goaltenders will not be part of this nor will the Bridgeport callups like Tim Jackman or Mitch Fritz.

Anyone e-mails a write in vote for someone not included it will be added in when an update is done.

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