Islander News Articles 2/4

New York Islander Fan Central | 2/03/2009 11:12:00 PM | | | | | | | | Comment Here
Newsday: Greg Logan's game recap (without quotes at this time) notes the smaller crowd that turned out in the snow and that things are going well when Radek Martinek scores his first in 101 games.

Newsday: Mr Logan's other article was mostly a repeat of his pregame blog on Josh Bailey vs Steven Stamkos where the Lightning's top pick credits the Islanders for selecting a player he had a big rivalry with when Sarnia played Windsor.

NY Post: Dan Martin after doing his attendance estimate asks head coach Scott Gordon if the winning mean anything changes with regard to his young players while Bill Guerin and Brendan Witt comment.

Looks like Peter Botte was given the game off for sports-ticker coverage while the Devils game had a writer assigned for their game and of course Filip Bondy (big Ranger homer) was an extra covering the Graves/Garden cash grab.

St Pete Times: Has Damien Cristodero's coverage on how McKenna played in goal & Tampa Tribune: Erik Erlendsson has Martin St Louis on his cross-check that negated a goal.

Atlanta Journal Constitution: Mike Knobler has comments from Thrashers rookie head coach John Anderson about his job status with general manager Don Waddell.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Posted this just to get some ground work about a team that just hired a coach with some of Scott Gordon's background may be going through in a losing season as the Islanders have. No doubt Don Waddell has Anderson's back because I cannot see him getting another coach and staying employed himself.

Of course Anderson has Kovalchuk and some firepower, not the Islanders three hundred man games lost to injury and no dynamic scorer/first line talent.

Two of the nine coaches hired last summer are gone with Barry Melrose and Ottawa’s Craig Hartsburg.

AP/CP: Report former Maple Leaf Bryan McCabe was booed every time he touched the puck in his return to Toronto, then he scored the game winning goal in overtime and was named first star.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Good for McCabe.

Never had an issue with McCabe playing for the Islanders, just that his contract combined with his defensive play was a non-starter for any kind of return and the media rumors assuming Snow would hand over any compensation for a bad contract made no sense. He got bullied out of Toronto by the media who were not classy at all with him and created a lot of negative perception.

Now the Islanders have a team to play with some momentum off that game on Thursday.

Sporting News via Sports Busness Journal/several articles: Liz Mullen reports NHLPA ombudsman Eric Lindros resigned Tuesday over differences with director Paul Kelly and is quoted as saying it should be noted that this is not the result of conflict of personalities but a fundamental problem between the Current Executive Director and the office of the Ombudsman and the effort to create transparency.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
I can guess what an Ombudsman does but knowing Lindros past negotiating this is hardly surprising, maybe he was right here? People like Lindros and Healy have the ego to drive the NHLPA to another lockout.

Newsday: Mark Herrmann tells us if you are an Islander or Devils fan it's not our business that the Rangers overdo their celebrations and that retiring Graves number is a family matter.

NYI Fan Central Comments:

Reads all well and good but when the Islanders honor a homegrown dynasty or coach Mark Herrmann is one of the first to question the motivation behind the Islanders family matter and a franchise who cannot honor a true homegrown dynasty enough.

Mr Herrmann should follow his own advice next time he questions Islander family business.

He's no New York Islander Fan.

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New York 3, Tampa Bay 1

New York Islander Fan Central | 2/03/2009 09:58:00 PM | Comment Here

Associated Press & Sports Network: Has the recap of New York's 3-1 win against Tampa Bay.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
I know when a team wins a game 3-1 and it's their fourth straight for a season high streak there is supposed a lot of positives.

The Islanders won this game, I did not like how they played.

Hunter's post before he scored was as good as his goal. Okposo's touch pass for a three on one was the Islanders best chance of the night.

Nielsen had some chances (as did Park) with that nice shot off the post in the third but for the most part the Islanders were off and did not have a very effective powerplay again.

Choppy game by the Islanders, choppy game by Tampa. Danis was a big difference even though he did not hold some rebounds and some shots hit the post against him.

Were Tampa's goaltenders even tested after Ramo basically beat himself on the last two goals with his defense getting in the way?

High marks to Yann Danis and a team defense that played the third without Streit but they were scrambling far too much against a struggling team all night. They got some calls and a break on Martin StLouis's crosscheck which would have made it 3-2.

Tampa had the better chances and simply did not finish, all night long they seemed one pass or play short and the missed the net a few times. Even on Tampa's goal they kept making mistakes before LeCavalier finally got it in his wheelhouse but that's not a great shot to take with a five on three.

Witt touching that puck early on a hand pass immediately led to a great chance where Danis robbed a Tampa player and Hunter had to take a penalty.

Credit to the Islanders for doing enough in the trenches to earn two points and especially Yann Danis.

Take the two points and move on, Islanders have lost games they generated better chances. Do not want to be tough on our team when they win but I'm looking for chemistry and the kind of offense built to last.

Did not see nearly enough of it tonight.

No one wrote a word why Joey MacDonald was healthy enough to be on the bench but not able to start? Seems like the same plan that we saw earlier with DiPietro.

We'll see what the story is with Mark Streit, he scored after the hit but that shoulder took a good hit.

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Tampa Bay at New York 7pm Msg+

New York Islander Fan Central | 2/03/2009 12:20:00 PM | Comment Here
NYI Fan Central Comments:
I would expect aside from maybe Joey MacDonald dressing few changes to the Islander lineup because they have been winning.

Do not be fooled by Tampa's goaltending problems, other teams have put in backups or minor league goaltenders who could have sat down on the ice and won handily against this Islander offense. That game the Islanders were doing well John Curry came in for Pittsburgh and was barely tested in relief.

It's all about the quality chances the Islander offense can create. The record says Tampa Bay give up chances and have a spotty defense with players who are working their way back from injury. Like Atlanta do not be fooled because they can score in bunches.

The recent games do not lie. Five against Montreal, five against Buffalo.

How many five goal games have the Islander had?

01/30/2009 PHI 6 @ TBL 1
01/29/2009 TBL 2 @ CAR 3
01/27/2009 MTL 3 @ TBL 5
01/21/2009 BUF 3 @ TBL 5
01/19/2009 DAL 2 @ TBL 4

Flyers 6, Lightning 1: Two Tampa Bay goals were disallowed on Friday, the Lightning also missed a penalty shot and failed to convert on two-man advantage for 1:47 early in the second period when the game was still tied. Fifty-three seconds after an apparent Steven Stamkos goal was waived off for a high stick, Philadelphia took a 4-1 lead before tacking on two more goals.

Seems that early game in Tampa where Nielsen found Hunter in overtime was in another season but like Atlanta this team can score in bunches. Barry Melrose has finally quieted down after being fired (at least for now) so we get our first look at Rick Tocchet beind the bench.

Paul Ranger, who has had an undisclosed upper body injury and missed a handful of games this month, and Matt Smaby return to the lineup, giving the team six NHL defensemen after a patchwork defense for a while skated for Tampa with —Andrej Meszaros, Lukas Krajicek and Steve Eminge playing between 25 and 30 minutes a night for good stretches in January.

Tampa leads Islanders by nine points entering this game, they will play again Saturday in Tampa.

Blog Notable:
My schedule may mean no post-game or articles after this game. I will watch recording at some point. Not completely sure at this time but feeders will be working here.

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Islanders to the playoffs in 08-09? No.

New York Islander Fan Central | 2/03/2009 12:18:00 PM | Comment Here
We used to have these entries where we would look at the playoff picture and project where the Islanders could accumulate enough points based on schedule to where they would hit the magic 92-93-95 point range that it usually takes to qualify.

Last year we did the projection based on ninety two points, it took ninety five.

I know for a few folks a nice little seven out of eight points is a noteworthy streak, but just for laughs I will present the grand picture for anyone thinking playoffs.

Islanders have thirty five points with thirty three games left. If they go 33-0 they will finish with only 101 points.

Based on last season's eighth place cutoff being ninety five point that means the Islanders can only lose a total of six points out of sixty six available.

Surrender yet?

For book-keeping purposes Carolina currently in eighth needs a combination of forty six points won or lost by the Islanders to officially eliminate them.

Boston's magic number to clinch a better record than the Islanders is at twenty.

What's the old expression from Charlie Brown?
" Tell your statistics to shut up "

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Latest Poll/NYIFC Notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 2/03/2009 09:33:00 AM | | Comment Here
Have not had a poll for a few weeks because I do not believe in them simply to draw votes and have not had anything that interested me.

I like to go with things I feel challenge the readers.

This week our poll looks at the latest benching of Jeff Tambellini and asks why was a player who in my estimation had been doing a much better job recently sitting because Andy Hilbert returned to the lineup while Richard Park shifted to left wing so Doug Weight could return to the lineup play center?

Especially given the standings and the playoff picture.

I guess you know where I sit with the poll but created several options. If you vote other place e-mail/respond and that option will be noted.

Future polls will go Monday-Monday/I have been doing Sunday-Sunday for most of the season.
NYIFC Notables:
Most likely we will have our first live blog in a long, long time on the day of the trade deadline at around 1pm-4pm for as many who want to show up and talk Islander hockey.

The more folks who respond and tell me they want to chat here 3/4 (1pm-4pm) will determine where I go with this.

With so many folks having live blogs for games with Newsday I did not think it was necessary to do it here this season.

Yes, I did tweak the tag for the Islanders website to include their new logo, there was no space for a Bill Guerin photo. The Islanders tweaked DiPietro out of the latest picture.

The Fox feeder has been updated for the latest.

For Saturday home games we will continue to use the third jersey color as our background.

For the record NYIFC only goes with established media sources for it's main blog content and I have very strict standards about this.

I do have a section for folks who want to link their sites here with a special feeder for as many blog box folks who have a feed. I put links in for everyone else directly below that.

If interested e-mail and we can talk about it.

All I ask of folks wanting to add their links here is no profanity in their content and that they update on a regular basis.

I'm still deciding on the future of NYIFC at this time beyond the season which I can say will run as long at least as far the Sound Tigers playoffs/World Championships barring anything completely unexpected.

Whether the Islanders have a blog box program or wish to include me in it will have no bearing on anything I decide. Last time I did this with Islanders-Sound Tigers the final entry was the first week in May.

I have been a little lazy in going down the entire page here recently but noticed this little blog hit the 90,000 hit mark a while back. Not a big deal but would like to pause and thank everyone for your interest.

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Islander News Articles 2/3

New York Islander Fan Central | 2/02/2009 11:43:00 PM | | | | | Comment Here
Newsday: John Jeansonne covered practice with his article on goaltender Yann Danis who will apparently start in goal against Tampa Bay. Head coach Scott Gordon reports Joey MacDonald is set to return having completed his rehab from his groin injury but will not commit to a number one goalie beyond whoever is starting that day.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Anyone who watched, listended or read the reports on camp knew Danis and MacDonald were solid goaltenders who did not look out of place at this level. That may mean nothing in the future but it's been obvious this teams goaltending has been solid all season even without Rick DiPietro with very few poor efforts in goal.

NY Post: Dan Martin's six short paragraphs talks about a goaltending battle between Danis and MacDonald where only a very small part of Danis/Scott Gordon's comments made the paper.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Those heart of a cash grab ads for Adam Graves surround the Islander article, class act off the ice but not even close to having his jersey retired based on his career.

St Pete Times: Damian Cristodero is not sure of the goaltending story on the Lightning with goaltender Mike Smith injured not flying to New York with the team. Gm Brian Lawton saying he probably won't be able to play which means Mike McKenna and Karri Ramo will suit up but the later is on AHL suspension. The newspaper version has the injury report for Tampa here.

According to the writer McKenna was just called up and signed Monday here.

Tampa Bay — G Mike Smith (upper body), D Jamie Heward (concussion), D Marek Malik (ankle), LW Gary Roberts (elbow), F Paul Szczechura (lower body) and G Olie Kolzig (arm) are out.

Tampa Tribune: Erik Erlendsson also reports on Tampa goaltending problems with head coach Rick Tocchet's comments he would have no problem going with McKenna.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Best way to attempt to explain all this would the equivalent of Nate Lawson being recalled to start a game for the Islanders while the AHL has suspended him?

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio's article is on Tomas Marcinko with Jack Capuano's comments about the big wingers physical play and potential.

Stamford Advocate: Patrick McNamee has a feature on career day with AITE students visiting the Sound Tigers offices working in community relations, ticket sales, advertising and media relations. The workers gave insight into running charity-themed games, selling advertising and the overall challenges of running a sports franchise.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Given the attendance with no television and very limited media, team President Howard Saffan and the entire staff have done an amazing job this year in this tough economy.

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NHL Notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 2/02/2009 05:01:00 PM | | | Comment Here sources: Dan Rosen reports Craig Hartsberg has been fired as coach of the Ottawa Senators forty eight games into his three-year contract while general manager Bryan Murray talks about trying to make the playoffs.

Cory Clouston from from the Binghamton Senators of the American Hockey League will take over for the rest of the season behind the bench.

NYI Fan Central Comments:

How many coaches can Bryan Murray fire before he pays with his job. Paddock, Hartsberg, he even kicked himself back upstairs. Maybe Garth Snow will be allowed another coaching choice.

I would be shocked if Murray is general manager beyond this season, the defense and goaltending the general manager provided was not nearly good enough and this problem began last season.

NY Post: Jay Greenberg magically appears on a Devils off day to get the players talking about Brent Sutter not returning as head coach next season.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Mr Greenberg just appears to do an article for the first time on the Devils in who knows how long (nothing recent) and in his article after Sutter does not know where the rumor came from writes:

But this newspaper does and considers the source, one close to Sutter, to be credible.

Seems to me like the Post and Mr Greenberg wanted to create a distraction for the club because they are playing so well. The Post does not even know the length of Sutter's contract which in Newsday/Islander reporting country would be big headlines about management contracts being kept private.

With the Devils it's just a footnote.

Call me cynical but I think Mr Greenberg and the Post wanted to rock the boat a little here.

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Why are the Islanders giving up less goals?

New York Islander Fan Central | 2/02/2009 04:34:00 PM | | Comment Here
Not just goals but quality chances.

I know there has been talk of adjusting the system but has anyone even considered some players who have been in and out of the lineup playing hurt have simply gotten healthy?

You put Brendan Witt into this lineup healthy he will make a big difference, you add in Radek Martink at his puck-moving best and that helps a great deal.

I'm not sure how healthy Campoli is at this point but his defense does not hurt the club.

Not seeing anything but solid work from Gervais and Pock. No falloff from Mark Streit.

Another huge reason is Frans Nielsen is healthy down the middle as is Kyle Okposo.

My impression despite Bailey taking a penalty against Florida he plays a very solid overall defensive game.

Whether it be MacDonald or Danis the goaltending has been as solid as you can ask for on any NHL team. Cannot point to many games where the goaltending was the reason for a loss.

Not writing some changes to the system have not helped but there have also been some other basic reasons. Too early to credit Hilbert/Thompson/Weight's defense.

Too bad we will never get to see the full picture with Sutton and Meyer added in and completely healthy or for now Sean Bergenheim.

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Sorry Mr Botta, Our fans should always respond

New York Islander Fan Central | 2/02/2009 11:57:00 AM | 2 Comments
Point Blank: Mr Botta makes a entry our fans should not write or respond to items like Steve Simmons article in the Toronto Sun because it gives the writer more page views which helps him with his editor.

NYI Fan Central Comments:

I think I'm starting to understand how come the Islanders all these years sat back and let their perception take a huge beating in the media with virtually no response which is how we got to where we are today.

I have no idea what part Mr Botta played in that and you have to pick your spots, but you don't sit back and ignore something when it's unfair. It's this kind of philosophy that got a Long Island label stamped on a New York team far too often that put the team in a bad spot today and limited it's fan base.

You have to stand up and hit back. A lot of articles on the Islanders are negative but fair, many others are not.

For that matter where is Cory Witt to do a little hitting back as he has done recently on a few items? If he can do it for the Avalanche he can do it for the team he works for.

Larry Brooks takes shots his shots at the Islanders viability and local presence but because he feels the Islanders should receive revenue sharing he's done a good article?

Is this how far things have fallen we give thanks for insults?


Mr Brooks knows who owns Islanders marketing on television, he knows they do not get a fair shake in his Newspaper, if he wants to talk about the Islanders viability he should start at his editor's doorstep and the double-standards they set.

This is the same Larry Brooks who reported in 2006 Mike Bossy (and Bryan Trottier) were not attending the 25th anniversary without compensation, a few weeks later he had to do a retraction where he blamed his staff for giving him incorrect information.

Then he ignored the event entirely despite covering that team in 1980.

Mr Botta told folks over the summer when it came to Newsday when Mr Rieber/Mr Baumbach would write things just to stir up Islander fans to ignore them.

Mr Botta would pick his spots in his old job ripping Newsday/Alan Hahn/Glen Healy when the former goaltender starting ripping Yashin's personal life.

My point is you cannot just pick your spots, one day tell folks ignore and the next hit back.

Our fans should always respond when they think something is not fair or correct long and loud. This is how you show these writers they cannot get away with misinformation or things that are not fair, that our fans are passionate about this team and will not let misinformation or outright poor journalism pass.

Perhaps Mr Botta does not see it but the more you sit back and take it, the further the media will go until you do respond.

By then perception is created and it leads to more articles along the same lines.

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Islander News Articles 2/2

New York Islander Fan Central | 2/01/2009 07:40:00 PM | | | | Comment Here
Newsday: Greg Logan asks head coach Scott Gordon to elaborate on his comment about Kyle Okposo doing things that he did not know were in his repertoire with the head coach responding about Okposo's ability to carry the puck, change speed, pull back, look-away combined with patience when he has the puck to find holes and play deceptive.

Okposo for his part feels his situation is far more settled than it was a year ago that this takes pressure off of him while he explains he is scoring because he is finding the " soft " area as he credited Blake Comeau and Josh Bailey for their patience with the puck helping the line to jell.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
It should be noted Okposo's goal against Florida partly came off the work of Frans Nielsen, but so far it seems the change from Comrie to Bailey at center has not hurt the line in any way.

For now it seems Scott Gordon perfers Okposo's right handed shot off left wing point on the powerplay so Hunter-Guerin can play right wing.

The story for me is not just Okposo's scoring but the plays he is making to create quality chances.

File this under 2/1 pm:

USA Today: Kevin Allen has comments from team USA general manager Brian Burke that he is not counting out Rick DiPietro for a spot on the club for the 2010 Olympics.

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My Forward Plan for the Islanders at Deadline

New York Islander Fan Central | 2/01/2009 12:51:00 PM | Comment Here
There are about fifteen games (thirty one odd days) left until the trade deadline so I felt a good time to look at the forwards and what my plan would be looking ahead.

I could be wrong but I do not see higher than a second round pick at the very most for a Doug Weight or a Bill Guerin who may not even waive his NTC regardless.

If another team did make such an offer I would have to move Weight which may bring Guerin to waive his NTC.

Having written this Weight and Guerin are not the problem with the 2008-09 club, they are not going to score a ton of big goals but will get their numbers if healthy and provide a solid veteran presence. I have seen no dramatic decline in either one of these players that tells me they cannot contribute next season.

Weight is having a fantastic statistical season on the powerplay.

What needs to happen for Garth Snow is they need to address the size, skill, scoring problem. The prospects are not going anywhere (aside from maybe Tambellini who for some reason may be out of the mix for good) unless a top prospect is the return so forget Nielsen, Comeau and Bergenheim moving.

Bailey and Okposo will not enter discussion.

I think it's Weight or Comrie, not both with Nielsen and Bailey locked in down the middle.

That brings us to where Garth Snow has to remake his roster which means Richard Park, Andy Hilbert, Mike Comrie, Nate Thompson and Tim Jackman. Never say never but I do not see Trent Hunter in a trade unless it really improves the club.

This is where they have to add in some twenty goal scorers to make a skilled play, along with other players who can score with size. Players with grit who cannot score more then ten goals are not going to address the problems who are not big or physical.

Easy to do? Not at all or it would have happened.

That would be my template moving forward. Resign Guerin/Weight if the offers do not give a second or better and let them be the veteran nucleus with the kids.

I have little doubt Garth Snow will be able to land some players in UFA if the money is right. So many clubs are capped out there is no choice for many teams but to walk away from players.

Defense is for another day soon.

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Islander News Articles 2/1

New York Islander Fan Central | 1/31/2009 10:18:00 PM | | | | | | | Comment Here
Newsday: Greg Logan's game recap has head coach Scott Gordon's comments about his teams improved defensive coverage and goaltending while Yann Danis also talks about his play.

Daily News: Peter Botte's extremely limited space is almost as much about the Islander fans losing ground in the race for Jonathan Tavares than it is about the teams play. Head coach Scott Gordon comments on Kyle Okposo, Yann Danis about how a shutout made no difference to him.

NY Post: Dan Martin's theme is mostly the same as Mr Botte's noting the club's improved health. Kyle Okposo comments.

NY Post: Larry Brooks was long overdue to throw something against the wall about the Islanders, today was the day claiming they are in the bottom five or three in NHL gate receipts (he did not elaborate if this includes Smg taking part of gate) and that they should be entitled to participate in NHL revenue sharing because they are not a big market team despite being in New York.

NHLPA Director Paul Kelly is quoted that the television-market clause discriminates unfairly against teams like the Islanders and Ducks and that the union would certainly support eliminating that clause based on Hawks past problems under Bill Wirtz with the Hawks games not televised during that era which was why many feel it was put into the CBA.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
In the world of Larry Brooks some will see this as a positive article, but it's not.

One year Mr Brooks is telling us about all the Islander fans at the Garden, the next how they have no fan presence in New York at all as he did toward the end of last season.

It's as bad as him praising Ted Nolan and then a month later running him down in print last season.

Too bad Mr Brooks left out what company does all they can to restrict New York Islander access in this market to keep their marketabilty low. If Charles Wang is losing 20m a year, that's less than the paper Mr Brooks is employed by reported the Rangers were losing according to the Post a few years ago.
(broken link)

September 17, 2004 -- The owners of the perennially money-losing
Rangers hockey team are going to plug up a big red-ink hole with the
National Hockey League shutdown of the season. The Rangers haven't made the playoffs in seven years or any profits in years.

In fact, industry sources say the team loses between $25 million and
$30 million a year with its highly paid players and steep overhead in
Madison Square Garden arena.

With the team now on ice, owner Cablevision, controlled by media
mogul Chuck Dolan, won't have to write that many big checks for
hockey players.

It'll lose revenue, of course, from the 41 home games at the Garden,
but analysts say the typical $45 per seat for Ranger games is hardly
a drop in the bucket in Cablevision's fortunes.
Miami Herald: George Richard's coverage and blog on the Panthers loss calls Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum the Worlds Most Famous Arena in his pregame but felt the Panthers had the better of the play while head coach Peter Deboer just feels the Islanders have their number at the Coliseum.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Works for me, I used to like Fort Neverlose which Mike Lupica gave as a nickname long ago.

Newsday: Mark Herrmann's coverage of the Islanders three game winning streak is about Nassau Coliseum lineage with comment from the son of the late Welton Becket and Denis Potvin on his days in the brand new " Nassau Coliseum " with a few words on the Lighthouse project.

Former Islander Bryan McCabe also comments.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Did you really expect Mr Herrmann to write about the team on the ice when they win a few games?

Of course he got his quotes in advance of the game.

Sun-Sentinel: Steve Gorten's coverage.

Palm Beach Post: Not sure if Brian Biggane's paper provides road coverage.

NY Times: David W.Chen in a feature on politicians and sports reports Representative Anthony D. Weiner idolized Islanders goaltender Chico Resch was he was growing up.

Toronto Sun: Steve Simmons plays the shockjock game big time and writes Jonathan Tavares should refuse to play for the Islanders because there is no hope for the franchise.

NYI Fan Central Comments:

As opposed to playing for Toronto who have four less championships than the New York Islanders since 1967 and lost their playoff spot outright to them in 06-07?

Sure seemed like there was plenty of hope here during the 2002 playoffs.

How fast would Jason Blake be on the next plane here if it were not for the money, despite finally finding his offensive game after a year and a half.

All due respect to Mr Simmons but there is not a lot of hope in the Leafs current roster and Garth Snow has Toronto's draft pick, silly stuff.

Newsday: Mark Herrmann does his latest Ranger infomercial on Henrik Lundqvist.

NYI Fan Central Comments:

Looks like Mr Herrmann is the front-man for the man who pays his salary here. This was what we got after a team that spent 90m dollars on two centers who could not play with Jagr were handily eliminated by Pittsburgh last spring.

No knock on Lundqvist here who obviously is one of many professional sporting figures who gets it and gives back to the community but how come DiPietro and so many Islanders do similar things and Mr Herrmann does not go to these extremes to hype them?

I guarantee we would not be seeing the same article from Mr Herrmann if DiPietro gave up the goals Lundqvist did against Pittsburgh or had the same mediocre save percentage and gaa Lundqvist does this season.

I have never seen an article written about the Islander franchise goaltender that allows us to know last years All-Star in this manner. I have seen enough pictures of the team events where he is involved.

Not about the Rangers or Lundqvist but a double-standard in reporting. I guarantee we will see the same theme Tuesday night from Mr Herrmann if he is assigned the hockey beat after he put out his negative theme on the Islanders big nights for Al Arbour and the Core of the Four. Reports Bridgeport won at home against the Portland Pirates Saturday 2-1 on Ben Walter's goal with fifteen seconds left in regulation.

2. BRI Nikiforov, (1) (Hillen, Haskins), 6:57
3. POR Darche, (15) (Kennedy, Mancari), 3:25 (PP)
3. BRI Walter, (11) (Haskins), 19:45

Nate Lawson made twenty six saves, seven thousand in Bridgeport.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio has game coverage and a blog entry here head coach Jack Capuano praised his team top to bottom, Ben Walter and Jack Hillen also talk about Bridgeport's win.

Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram: Covers the Pirates.

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New York 3, Florida 1

New York Islander Fan Central | 1/31/2009 10:15:00 PM | | Comment Here

AP & Sports Network: Recaps New York's 3-1 win against the Florida Panthers Saturday.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
With every game Okposo is looking more and more like a first line player in this league. Not the goals but just the overall play and the strength on the puck.

Team defense was strong, a lot of blocked shots, stick checks to win battles with Park, Hunter diving to break up chances. Campoli, Gervais very solid with just another strong game from Mark Streit.

Have not written about him for a while but Pock does nothing on defense to hurt this team, his deflected shot almost found the net in the first period.

Florida without David Booth was a big loss for the Panthers, they had a few wrap-around chances early and the better of the play to start the third with the four minute powerplay but Islanders took back momentum and put the game away with Guerin's goal followed by the work from Hunter to find Okposo coming in off the point.

Would have liked to have seen the Islanders just go for it when Peter Deboer pulled his goaltender with five minutes left and if they ice the puck, so what.

Go for the kill.

Islanders started this game well, Jackman a nice rush at the net, Nielsen some good reads and drew another powerplay like he did in Atlanta. Gervais got a nice chance coming in. Okposo got past Jay Bouwmeester, with a power move which was impressive.

Campoli was hitting and making plays.

That early penalty kill on Okposo's double-minor was excellent blocking the lanes and even creating an odd-man chance shorthanded, crowd got behind the team too.

Heck of a read by Comrie who saw where Vokoun was going with the puck and simply beat Bouwmeester and showed nice hands to beat him to the post for the 1-0 goal.

Second period Florida started skating and got some quality chances, Park saved a goal, the fourth line for Florida had some good shifts, but Guerin made his best move of the year (until his wrap-around goal) on Keith Ballard and nearly scored. Both teams traded chances but Florida has the better chances.

Yann Danis had another very strong game, few goalies going to give the Islanders a much better chance to win. Witt again going after players who crash the net and looking much different now that he is healthy.

For a team going all-in on youth very strange Tambellini is sitting for Park to play third line left wing or Andy Hilbert has the fourth line spot or Thompson/Jackman are regulars.

That's seven out of eight points and three straight wins, guess tonight's negative theme from the media cannot be a blown lead.

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Newsday Update on Islanders Lease

New York Islander Fan Central | 1/31/2009 09:46:00 PM | Comment Here
Newsday: Eden Laiken reports the Islanders lease prohibits them from leaving the Nassau Coliseum before 2015 with Nassau County Attorney Lorna Goodman quoted as saying if the an Islander owner tried to move he could be held in contempt and face the possibility of jail time, high fines and the payment of any damages incurred by the county based on the 1985 lease which was upheld by a Nassau State Supreme Court justice in 1998 when Howard Milstein's tried to move the team because of the Coliseum's condition.

Some outside experts were brought in to give opinion. Nothing from Charles Wang or anyone close to the situation.

NYI Fan Central Comments:

Behind the scenes for weeks I have been looking for the articles that say if the Lighthouse project is voted down the Islanders owners have the right to vacate the current lease immediately. I have read the Memorandum of Understanding documents and have been compiling everything I could find on this because I have wanted to present this here for everyone.

A lot of pdf files, but I'm very sure and have written here on several occasions Charles Wang as part of the MOU can opt out of the lease if the Lighthouse is not approved before 2015.

Even after the MOU there were articles about Suffolk County and a possible move.

That does not mean the Smg lease is voided or the cable contract.

I'm not sure if Eden Laiken is correct on this one or if Tom Suozzi did not include it in the language of the MOU.

We need more information, I have been running into the offers when the bids were taken from several potential outside developers.

For now this is the pdf file with the MOU here.

Here is the proposed lease agreement from 2005 here.

Finally another article I researched from 2007 on project delays here.

I will keep looking.

This is what I remember, I guess it depends on how you interpret the wording, breaking the lease does not mean the lease expires.

Doug Miller in the Herald Community Newspapers reported on 2/8/07 here when the matter was before the finance committee Jan. 22, concerns were raised that if the Legislature votes down the plan ultimately worked out between Wang and the Town of Hempstead, the deal allows the Islanders to break their lease at the coliseum, which is due to expire in 2015.

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Florida at New York 7pm Msg+

New York Islander Fan Central | 1/31/2009 01:00:00 PM | Comment Here
Florida Panthers
Updated Player Pos Injury Expected Return
12/30/08 Bryan Allen D Knee IR. Out until at least March
01/25/09 Rostislav Olesz LW Groin IR. Out until at least March

Last we saw Florida in December they were headed toward a win record for the month.

They came into the Coliseum and the Islanders had one of their easiest games of the year where the Panthers did not put up a good effort.

Panthers were not happy with that loss at the time with some players speaking out.

Since that game the Panthers have gone 7-1-3 and as of Friday were alone in eighth place in the Eastern Conference standings and come off a big win against Montreal.

Very good test for Scott Gordon's club and their recent winning streak/competitive play to see where they stand and if there is some real traction here.

Craig Anderson or Tomas Vokoun both generally play well against the Islanders but Vokoun got the hook against the Islanders last time out. Comrie had two goals and Bergenheim had a nice rush for a goal.

Booth, Weiss, Horton and Jay Bouwmeester make up a developing core up front with veterans like McCabe on the backline. Fast club that outskated and outhit the Islanders in the early game at Florida.

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Islander News Articles 1/31

New York Islander Fan Central | 1/30/2009 09:18:00 PM | | | | | | | | Comment Here
I will add what I can to this entry on Saturday which at best will most likely be a NY Post article previewing the game.

The pregame blog is set for release around 1pm. Panthers had three papers do a pregame for them.

Newsday: Barbara Baker covered Islanders practice with comments from head coach Scott Gordon about the chemistry between roommates Josh Bailey and Kyle Okposo while Doug Weight compares Bailey to himself when he was a young center.

NY Post: Dan Martin's article ignores Bailey's game in Atlanta entirely, his assist total and goes right to the standings, Kansas City rumors and his earlier injuries while both he and Scott Gordon comment in a limited space preview.

NYI Fan Central Comments:

Did Dan Martin even watch the Atlanta game or see his play making, was this absolutely necessary to drive away anyone who may want to become a fan of this kid?

Even stranger the Post had someone named Howard Kussoy do a small game preview with Kyle Okposo and Scott Gordon's comments here after starting with a foolish line to open an Islander playoff spot is as likely as a Mike Tyson Presidency.

NYI Fan Central Comments:

Only thing less likely is the Post actually doing two articles about the Islanders on an off day. The Post wants to impress me have someone blog and go out on the road like Mark Everson does. They did not even send Larry Brooks to Pittsburgh to cover the Ranger game.

All this limited space there is only time for player and coach comments, not junk.

Palm Beach Post: Brian Biggane has the latest on the Panthers along with George Richard's coverage in the Miami Herald with print and blog coverage here.

As always the Islander Prospect Watch Updates are listed on NYIFC prospect blog which has the last year archived. Reports Bridgeport lost 3-1 in Hartford on Friday night. Peter Mannino returned from the Islanders to backup Nate Lawson.

1. HFD Moore, (14) (Parenteau, Sauer), 13:21 (SH)
3. HFD Owens, (8) (Fahey), 15:21
3. BRI Smith, (23) (Wotton), 18:17 (SH)
3. HFD Ouellette, (9) (Owens, Sauer), 18:48

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio's print coverage has head coach Jack Caupauno who felt there were some passengers for his club which was blanked for the third time in five games. Joe Callahan also comments with postgame blog here with the Saturday pregame vs Portland written here.

Hartford Courant: Covers the Wolfpack.

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Islander Insider, Friday Notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 1/30/2009 06:27:00 PM | | | Comment Here
Newsday: Greg Logan has the Islander Insider which featured Doug Weight's contribution, where the club stands now and what he wants to do in games to help the club win. The powerplay set up was discussed where head coach Scott Gordon also comments.

Also included is how the Islanders over the previous five games and two scoreless periods against the Thrashers allowed just 10 goals. Scott Gordon acknowledges he has adjusted his defensive system, Chris Campoli talks about the communication being better with the down low forward and limiting odd-man chances have made a difference.

Comrie did not react well when Reasoner beat Martinek on a goal as the down-low forward but was he center on that shift or a left wing?

Mr Logan reports more on Yann Danis becoming a father with more speculation on
what could be a quiet trade deadline for Garth Snow and what Charles Wang could do with the Lighthouse Project if it is not approved in due time given past real estate projects and next week's " Dad's Trip " which has been a tradition the past few seasons when the club heads to Florida.

Point Blank: Mr Botta had his best blog entry in two years providing the differences between Joe Torre and Al Arbour given recent events.

A second entry was written on Josh Bailey with his comments.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Call me an Islander homer on this but in all my years of following New York sports there has never been a management tandem come close to the level of class, dignity and humility combined with incredible success that Bill Torrey and Al Arbour brought to New York.

The Islanders set the standard of winning championships, those men set the standard for how two people can work together to build it.

ITV only has the post-game with C.J Papa's questions, not Mr Logan or another member of the media covering the game.

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The Real Problem: Front-Loaded Contracts

New York Islander Fan Central | 1/30/2009 02:05:00 PM | | | | Comment Here
National Post: Bruce Arthur in his article on Henrik Zetterberg signing his 12-year, $73-million deal questions if the league should put term limits on contracts with heavy criticism for the past signings of Alexei Yashin and Rick DiPietro but praise for Wings gm Ken Holland?

The Star: Damien Cox praised Detroit's signing of Zetterberg long-term because of an outstanding track record compared to what he writes are the " wacky Lightning " (Lecavalier) or what he says are the " eccentric Islanders " (Alexei Yashin/DiPietro) as apples to oranges citing the Wings are just a little bit smarter than everyone else winning four Stanley Cups in eleven years.

NYI Fan Central Comments:

A few articles like this surfaced where DiPietro is being kicked around despite being an all-star last season while he is injured but we all know a big part of this is who the owner and gm behind the signing.

This is the same Ken Holland who was a big reason for the NHL injury policy according to Tsn last year here that has caused a lot of complaining but in sports you are as smart (or foolish) as your record.

Ken Holland had a lot of pre-cap years where owner Mike Illitch spent through the roof, that was a big part of the Wings success which led to those cups which I guess Mr Cox and others just did not bother with.

I have no problem with the Zetterberg signing in terms of money/years, the Wings take the risk and it's more than a fair question to ask if there should be limits on these kind of deals which are becoming much more common.

Ted Leonsis handed Jagr that huge contract then he had to pay about half of it for years when he was traded and now Ovechkin received an even longer deal with virtually no criticism because to lock him up sooner means no competition for his services later.

My issue and this blog entry asks about what few write about, front-loaded contracts.

The public does not talk about this because it's usually buried in the hype of someone signing.

Greg Logan was so busy telling us Gomez and Drury turned down the Islanders for team Cablevision tradition a few summers ago he forgot to report part of those deals were frontloaded after he got the Islander fans stirred up with Garth Snow making it easy talking about the building.

Daniel Briere also got a huge front-loaded contract here when he signed with Philadelphia that summer.

Signing a front-loaded contract means the cap hit is still the same but it makes a player much easier to trade later in the contract after the bulk of the money has already been paid out.

For the players getting the bulk of the money in the early years of the contract means they lose far less in a possible buyout later.

Fact of the matter is there are a lot of corporate teams in this league that may have to deal with a salary cap for the first time but still have a huge advantage by offering a front-loaded contract.

Corporate teams have no problems losing money which is how we got to a lockout with the market driven so high everyone had to spend more while teams like the Rangers and Wings took big financial losses to ice their 70-80m dollar lineups.

Depending on what I read Ranger losses per year were between 25-40m a year because of the huge payroll/overhead in an outdated building like Msg. Detroit for years used to talk about needing to make the finals to break even financially and Joe Lewis Arena is an outdated building in the mold of the former Devils home.

Charles Wang pre lockout as owner of a lower payroll club had some very tough choices to make. Sign Yashin long-term or risk losing him in a few years to another teams big contract offer. If he scored forty goals a year there was a good chance a corporate team would have made an offer the Islanders could not match and lost him for nothing.

Yashin's contract did one other thing few write about. It put players/agents in a spot where they wanted their money upfront because of buyouts/lockouts. Sing no sad songs for Yashin but he lost about a good thirty plus million with the lockout givebacks, a year salary loss and his buyout.

You don't think ownership in Minnesota (Gaborik) or Atlanta (Kovalchuk) face the same reality because they went shorter term with their contracts? Their agents know someone will pay them big upfront in the UFA market.

Rick DiPietro took a trade off (less money vs more years) but that deal benefited the Islanders (despite criticism) because if he did hit UFA and kept progressing another club would have made a huge offer which likely would have been front-loaded which Charles Wang most likely could not have been able to match.

This is why Roberto Luongo had to be traded from the Panthers, they could not or would not give that commitment and/or Luongo's side wanted out.

For those wondering Kevin Allen in USA Today here reports the Wings front-loaded the Zetterberg deal, paying close to $68 million the first nine years, with a maximum salary of $7.75 million. His final salaries are $3.35 million, $1 million and $1 million.

Very easy to buyout or trade. A club struggling to reach a cap floor (whatever the cba is in the future) can take the cap hit and pay the one million.

These front-loaded contracts are what no one is writing about and the real problem the league/NHLPA needs to address in the next CBA.

Another reason Ryan Smyth signed with Colorado was because a big part of his thirty one million dollar contract was frontloaded here while we have no idea if Charles Wang offered a front-loaded deal.

As for Detroit gm Ken Holland like most general managers he talks out of both sides of his mouth depending on the year and the circumstances here where a few years ago he had a far different take on front-loaded contracts.

He needed a front-loaded deal to keep his own player? So much for the attraction of Detroit.

Bottom line this needs to be written, discussed a lot more and the big part of these signings, not a sidebar.

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Islander News Articles 1/30

Newsday: Greg Logan's game recap reports Islander head coach Scott Gordon did not even wait to hear a reporters question about earlier blown leads before launching into what the Newsday beatwriter calls a rant who wanted to talk about his team getting five points in it's last three games and his young players.

Kyle Okposo also comments about his third period who credited Comeau and Bailey for their play-making.

NYI Fan Central Comments:

I thought Scott Gordon was under the weather during his post-game, apparently he got a bit annoyed beyond Msg+ postgame.

I will put up the video when/if ITV has it.

Was he upset with Mr Logan, C.J Papa, Mike Knobler, AP/CP reporter?
George Henry had an AP entry.

Safe bet Times, Post and Daily News were not in Atlanta.

All I know is Newsday has played up the third period blown leads all season, if the Islanders were the Knicks I wonder if the perception created and theme would have been the same if their prospects won the game in similar fashion?

This is why teams needs more than one beat reporter/newspaper. You need competition between papers/professional writers for scoops/information and if things get tense in interviews the papers/reporters not involved usually will report the story and play no favorites.

Remember Barry Baum vs John Vanbiesbrouck back in 2001 here or the Ranger beat writers ganging up on a Toronto radio personality last season?

One thing for sure, if Newsday is the issue here the staff will make sure to gang up on the Islanders with no response from the club.

Good for Scott Gordon, this team has been in a lot of close games lately and have not had the third period theme surface for a while, the kids and the win did deserve to be the story.

Newsday: Greg Logan in a late blog entry had comments from Josh Bailey and Kyle Okposo about how their line played under pressure with the focus on the third period they produced.

Atlanta Journal Constitution: Mike Knobler's coverage points out the Thrashers moved closer to the Islanders for 30th seed and a better chance at Tavares in the game recap.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Dave Molinary reports on former Islander Miroslav Satan who has one goal in eighteen games after a good start for Pittsburgh with his comments along with gm Ray Shero and head coach Michel Therrien.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio has Jeremy Colliton's comments on returning to the lineup for Friday's game against Hartford with head coach Jack Capuano's comments.

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New York 5, Atlanta 4

New York Islander Fan Central | 1/29/2009 10:01:00 PM | Comment Here

Sports Network & Associated Press: Recaps New York's 5-4 win against the Thrashers in Atlanta.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Did you really expect it to be easy?

Islanders played a game in Atlanta last February, they led 3-0/4-3 and needed an overtime goal to finally win which was their last stand in 07-08. We all know how the earlier game in Atlanta played out with the Islanders blowing a 3-1 lead, losing 4-3.

Atlanta is around the top ten in league scoring and dead last in goals allowed, these are the kind of hockey games they play which is why we see so many wild games especially when they play in Atlanta.

The 2008-09 New York Islanders are not built for that kind of hockey game, they are built for the Atlanta team that came out to start this game who were terrible in all three zones. Thrashers did not backcheck, skate or win the puck and got some brutal goaltending from Kari Lehtonen.

The stick-check from Bailey and pass to Okposo for his early goal was amazing, the key third period play where Comeau fed Bailey who found Okposo was another beauty with the game in the balance.

Okposo beyond his goals simply looked dominating at times the way he was driving the net and backchecking which Billy Jaffe did a fine job illustrating at one point. I think that was the best overall game in his young career.

This combined with some of Frans Nielsen's plays are what Garth Snow's plan should be about along with every feed Mark Sreit can set up his teammates which is why Trent Hunter opened the scoring.

Thrashers were so poor in the first it easily could have been six or seven goals, Bill Guerin hit a post, a few other chances down low, Weight finally banged in a rebound.

Yann Danis made that big save on Kovalchuk to close the first but as soon as the second opened Atlanta started skating and taking the play at the Islanders who did not score on some key powerplays that could have put the game away.

Islanders offense dried up in the second aside from a few spurts and they had only three shots in the third not counting Hunter's post. Without Danis strong play they do not win here despite the four goals which he did not have much chance on beyond the Reasoner goal where Martinek lost his man but blocked what looked like an open net for Peverly shortly afterward.

Brendan Witt was good in this game again, Kovalchuk hit him and he got the worst of it. That extra step is clearly visible in his skating. Saw a solid game from the rest of the defenders.

So what happened in the third? Atlanta does what their record says they can do, skate and score some goals in bunches. One outside shot, you could see the 4-2 goal coming as soon as Gervais-Comeau failed to finish and were caught. Long time since I have seen a goal and a penalty, Park had it called on him.

Martinek lost Reasoner.

Finally Atlanta gambled and lost, Comeau to Bailey to Okposo was just an amazing setup. Nielsen drew a powerplay after that to take off the pressure.

Scott Gordon or the assistants seemed to make it hard on the Islanders at the end.

Why is Jackman-Hilbert-Thompson this teams go-to players in the final minutes of a close game? Nielsen, Okposo did not get on the ice until the final ten seconds.

We saw this same strategy against Anaheim in the final minute.

Not a ton of impact from the new veteran line tonight in their shifts after the first period. Weight had his goal and some early shots, Comrie had a partial breakaway early but little else.

They faded in the third with the rest of the team.

Someone is going to have to explain to me why Richard Park is in Jeff Tambellini's spot and what becomes of him and Comrie when Bergenheim returns?

Jackman plays with a ton of heart, is mildly effect at times with the puck and brings grit (tonight he had a goal) but seeing him against a superstar like Kovalchuk in the final minutes is just a bad strategy and the same goes for a fringe player like Thompson.

It's things like this that make me wonder about this coach. You are not trusting your franchise prospects or letting a Guerin-Weight decide the game. I'm not sure what this is.

Ok, the Islanders finally got a twenty first century road win (not counting NHL overtime point in Buffalo) which would have been a tie in 72-73 and have gained five of the last six points.

They have been better than competitive. I wanted the shutout for Danis but he'll have to settle for another win.

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New York at Atlanta 1/29 7pm Msg+

New York Islander Fan Central | 1/29/2009 02:00:00 PM | | Comment Here
Atlanta Journal Constitution: Mike Knobler in his blog reports the difference in the standings between the Isles and Thrashers record right now is the head to head games with Atlanta 3-0.

Updated Player Pos Injury Expected Return
01/20/09 Garnet Exelby D Leg IR. Out until at least late January
01/27/09 Jim Slater C Shoulder Questionable for Jan. 29

NYI Fan Central Comments:

Atlanta played and lost in Dallas 2-0 on Tuesday. I would expect Kari Lehtonen to get the start here who did not play the earlier games.

Atlanta has Ilya Kovalchuk, White, Kozlov, Little, Hanisey & Amrstrong and despite the Thrashers record can put up a four or five goal game. The Islanders do not have this element.

That game the Islanders led 3-1 in Atlanta after two periods and lost for me was the most frustrating game of the season. Weight, Hunter, Hilbert, Campoli likely in, I guess McLean, Hillen are not recalled while Sim and someone else sits out.

Islanders not going to win many games being outplayed as they were against Anaheim, they were playing some low-scoring games and have been more than competitive for a while now.

Rust has not been a friend to this team all season. This little stretch against Atlanta/Tampa are four point games for the bottom spot.

Updated 5:00pm:
Newsday: Mr Logan in the Islanders Newsday blog reports the lineup has Richard Park on left wing in Jeff Tambellini's spot who apparently will be a scratch while Andy Hilbert goes to the fourth line for Jon Sim while head coach Scott Gordon comments.

NYI Fan Central Comments:

Hilbert has done a fair/good job recently, he should not be sitting so Richard Park, can take his spot or Tim Jackman, Nate Thompson or Andy Hilbert should dress.

Jon Sim should also be dressing also over Jackman.

Last we looked Thompson is not some projected great prospect.

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Islander News Articles 1/29

New York Islander Fan Central | 1/28/2009 11:04:00 PM | | | | | | | | Comment Here
Newsday: Mark Herrmann has comments from former Islander Jean Potvin in an article about comparisons between this team and the 72-73 version because of the current road losing streak.

This article does not take into account an overtime point in Buffalo on December 27th.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
The Islanders and Atlanta Flames were both expansion teams, that version of Atlanta moved to Calgary. Mr Herrmann of course neglects to write that this Islander team has lost over three hundred man games to injury which is a large part of why they are in last place which is why it makes little sense to compare them with an expansion club.

Also the NHL did not have overtime/overtime losses in that era.

Hopefully this is not the only game preview for the paper?

NY Post: Dan Martin has comments from head coach Scott Gordon on his practice lines with Mike Comrie and Doug Weight.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
These writers sure love stamping that Long Island label on everything. Why not just start slapping a New Jersey tag on the football teams or the Bronx, Queens, Manhattan on everyone other club depending on where they play.

Atlanta Journal Constitution: Mike Knobler has the latest on the Thrashers which contains player features about Niclas Havelid and Tobias Enstrom, not 72-73 Flames or anything from Phil Myre who played against the Islanders in the 1980 finals but was part of that club.

NYI Fan Central Comments:

That's how you market players and make them known around the league, the media does features on them. When was the last time Campoli, Gervais or another player received this kind of feature in the local papers?

Players on the Islanders are under-rated in league circles, local media cannot put that on the arena but themselves.

Metro Daily News: Ken Hamwey has an interview with former Islander coach Peter Laviolette about what's next for him as he plays the waiting game and reflects on his time with the Islanders and other teams he coached.

Nanaimo Bulletin: Reports former Islander Bill Smith, Cliff Ronning will be part of the Old-timers’ Hockey Challenge goes Tuesday (Feb. 3) in Nanaimo.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Smitty and Ronning are playing more hockey these days than a lot of Islanders on the current roster.

Gopher Sports: Reports Islander prospect Aaron Ness collected four assists for Rookie of the Week honors for the his second league award in three weeks after taking defensive honors after his tournament MVP award at the Dodge Holiday Classic. 

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Islander Notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 1/28/2009 04:10:00 PM | | | Comment Here
Newsday: Mark Herrmann in the Islanders Newsday blog had two entries.

The first on Scott Gordon wanting to see more from Chris Campoli because he has that potential. Doug Weight and Trent Hunter off the injured list, Sean Bergenheim went on it.

The other about Mike Comrie being shifted in practice to a line with Bill Guerin and Doug Weight where it appears if that is the case (during games) Comrie could be returning to left wing where he opened the season and discusses his role. Frans Nielsen centered the line Comeau and Okposo played on.

NYI Fan Central Comments:

How many entries have I written something has to give at a few positions? Weight, Nielsen, Bailey and Park/Thompson are the centers. Comrie could be hurting or it could be going all in with one veteran line.

I think Chris Campoli needs more powerplay time on the point, not Kyle Okposo, it's up to Scott Gordon to get more out of Campoli and his players.

Point Blank: Mr Botta looks at the veteran-youth mix with the practice lines and reports Joey MacDonald did not return to practice meaning Peter Mannino or Nate Lawson should be getting another callup for the Atlanta game.

Newsday: Mr Herrmann corrected himself/credited Mr Botta's entry now writing Bailey was with Okposo-Comeau while Nielsen was part of the pp scrimmage with them.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
This is why the Islanders need that practice report on video with Chris King and Steve Mears that was so very reliable and accurate. They went through the lines by players wearing colors and set up next game/practice very well for everyone.

No knock on Mr Herrmann here, but that was a better format.
I was going to include this with the news articles but held off for a proper spot.

Media Blog: Cory Witt does a very good job correcting a mistake about a Tsn report regarding Dallas Stars forward Fabian Fabian Brunnstrom being sent to the AHL and gives us a reminder to not take everything you read in the media as 100 percent fact.

NYI Fan Central Comments:

The reads very well and Mr Witt is correct but unfortunately the when it comes to the Islanders and the same level of reporting the media relations department we rarely see any response to similar mistakes made by the local/national media which influences New York Islander perception.

Mr Botta's blog is independent of the club and his view point does not speak for the Islanders any longer nor should he be a substitute to get out the message for the media department. That means Mr Witt and the Islanders website should be doing a lot more entries like the one just written defending their own team under similar circumstances.

When Mike Francesa goes on WFAN and throws out misinformation about our club for close to an hour. I expect someone employed by the New York Islanders to be available to correct it.

Mr Botta is not obligated to do this for them.

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Drafting cannot just be best player available

New York Islander Fan Central | 1/28/2009 12:53:00 PM | 2 Comments

This entry is about the strategy of drafting too many of the same kind of players, especially with the top end picks.

I remember the third jersey ceremony in October, for me one thing stood out more than anything else and that was looking at Clark Gilles and Bobby Nystrom standing next to Josh Bailey and Mike Sillinger.

Mike Milbury once said. " Where's the Beef " as one of his more famous quotes, begging the question where was the beef when it came time to adding some size to this roster in the early round drafting strategy for the better part of a decade?

I'm not talking about doing it with the Per Braxenholm's and a lot of hit and miss picks at best.

At some point did Mike Milbury, Tony Feltrin, Kenny Morrow or someone in the scouting department wonder how come so many smaller players were drafted aside from Steve Regier, Jason Pitton or Jeremy Colliton with the early or mid-round selections at forward?

When Colliton receives a callup I notice him immediately because he's a bigger player, same with Ben Walter. I would not consider either one physical even if Colliton impressed me with a big hit he threw in Pittsburgh last year.

Let me write up front any player I mention below will go through a wall to win a hockey game for the New York Islanders, that's not the issue.

Blake Comeau drafted in 2003 is not shy about hitting. Same for Bergenheim, Frans Nielsen, Ryan O'Mara, Robert Nilsson and Petteri Nokelainen will all hit to make a play but none of these talented prospects will ever be mistaken for Dustin Penner or Todd Bertuzzi in the size department.

The trade for Jeff Tambellini was a good gamble for two players on the way out but it did not address the size of the roster.

I'm not too sure Josh Bailey fits the formula either but has a few growing years in front of him.

You have to add in that mix Bruno Gervais and Chris Campoli who with Radek Martinek can hit but are not big imposing players.

Dustin Kohn drafted in 2002 is listed at 6' 2" 182 lbs.

Tony Feltrin's staff in 2006 finally did a little to correct this. Kyle Okposo fits the profile with Jesse Joensuu, Tomas Marcinko.

Then you add in the players during Smith/Snow tenure with Andy Hilbert, Mike Sillinger, Richard Park, Mike Comrie, Ruslan Fedotenko and even a Jon Sim who has some grit but not a big player by any means.

A few players signed like Brendan Witt, Sean Hill and Andy Sutton evened things out on the backline somewhat but Tom Poti, Viktor Kozlov & Josef Vasicek were hardly known for physical play to go with their size.

Bill Guerin and Doug Weight are average size NHL players, but both have the ability at times to play physical as does Trent Hunter.

When the Islanders passed on Nikita Fliatov I felt size that was one reason, granted we all saw how that strategy worked so well with Zach Parise for a lot of teams.

You have to pick your spots.

Jack Hillen is listed as 5' 11" 195 lbs, Sean Bentivoglio 5' 10" 190 & Robert Hennigar 5' 11" 184 for a player in his mid-twenties. Garth Snow signed local walk-on from prospects camp Vladimir Nikiforov 5' 6" 150.

This is a list of the Islander prospect pool here you are going to have make up your own mind if the strategy has been the correct one.

I see Aaron Ness or the pick on Mark Katic and they are obviously talented prospects, I also see some of the same strategy and not enough size mixed in.

I know these are kids with a lot of growing to do.

I watched those games against the Devils/Ducks and the Islanders seemed badly over matched in the size department. Billy Jaffe mentioned it during both games.

Is this why Nate Thompson and Tim Jackman are here to offset the problem a little bit with their physical play despite both being on waivers?

Joel Rechlicz for his three year contract cannot make the Sound Tigers while Mitch Fritz while he was here was anchored to the Islander bench beyond the occasional fight by appointment.

I want to go the other way with this also as I wrap up this blog entry.

Mike Milbury drafted some very big prospects in Mike Rupp, Kristian Kudroc, Eric Brewer, Branislav Mezei along with a third rounder named Chara, some make it and others do not.

There are no absolutes but it begs the question can you trap yourself going for the best player available if it happens to be the same kind of player?

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