5/14/10

Kevin Poulin Signed by New York

New York Islander Fan Central | 5/14/2010 03:43:00 PM
Nouville Union: Reports Prospect Kevin Poulin has signed a professional contract with New York.

Updated:
Islanders Authorized: Three year, entry level contract for Poulin.

NYIFC Comments:
From the translation, it appears to be a three year entry-level contract, this was paper that had Poulin's comments last week on negotiations. No shock after Ridderwall signed in SEL, but now we see where Nate Lawson, an RFA for Bridegeport fits.

It should be noted Poulin was in Bridgeport at end of last season.

Congratulations to Kevin Poulin.

Memorial Cup: Islanders prospect, Travis Hamonic of host Brandon Wheat Kings, begins Friday night.

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5/12/10

Islander Notables, USA Relegated At WC

New York Islander Fan Central | 5/12/2010 06:07:00 PM
AP: Has a few words from NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg on the Islanders relocating to Queens, who apparently did not know Charles Wang's name despite his radio station airing the teams hockey games for a few seasons.

Mr Bloomberg's former deputy mayor, Daniel Doctoroff, according to the NY Times had a small stake in the club for a while.

NYIFC Comments:
Apparently Newsday has a new end game to force Charles Wang to speak, go to the people he would be exploring all his options with, and ask them for comment. The Mets, Jeff Wilpon has obliged, he will likely not be the last.

Too bad hockey games did not get this kind of extensive coverage at Newsday, much less the front page. If Cablevision/Newsday pulled this on the owner of Msg, my speculation is it would not have been approved for publication.

Seems this end game once again also includes, looking for fan comment, critical of the club, while Newsday employees not dare ask the public what they think of Garden management.

Different rules for different owners at this paper now.

No gang, Michael Bloomberg and the City are not going to be used against Ed Mangano/Nassau or Kate Murray/TOH, they will want a commitment.

Will Mr Mangano do his Tom Gluotta impersonation NY Times because for now, he has not said the New York Islanders are not going anywhere on his watch.

And he needs to say it.

Where I sit, Nassau County after close to forty years should finally pay for something to make this team self sustaining off the ice. This team is a public trust and should be treated as such. Every other municipality in New York, and New Jersey have been provided taxpayer money (bonds) to give teams new stadiums/arena's or tax breaks (low cost electricity/exemptions) to keep from relocating.

It's time for Nassau County and TOH to do the same thing.

Bottom line, Charles Wang has every right to sell his hockey team to anyone he wants.

This game has gone on now for close to twenty years come next March NY Times. I have gone over the significant problems at Willets Point several times here. Whether Wang, Rechler, Wilpon or all three own the club someone has to pay for an arena, win a bid against several potential developments, plus survive a very ugly eminent domain fight against generation business.

NYC will not be using taxpayer bonds this time to finance anything.

A soccer stadium in the area is a more feasible financial alternative considering the demographics/cost to run a hockey club vs a soccer team.

This is something that will take the rest of the Isles current lease in Nassau to build, regardless of who owns the club.

No doubt the gamesmanship, whether Charles Wang (or Scott Rechler) likes it or not will continue in the media.

AP: Actually had one of it's writers refer to Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, as a "storied arena" recently.

NYIFC Comments:
Story is Joe Louis Arena, looks like Devils former home from the outside and is a dump on the inside, that had problems selling tickets to playoff games.

Nothing like spin to sell an arena's perception to the public.
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Apparently Wednesday's loss to Finland eliminates the US from medal contention, after a very ugly 0-3 against three very beatable teams. Denmark beat the US and lost it's exhibition giving up eight goals a week ago.

Regardless of roster, this is not a good week for Team USA Hockey/Scott Gordon or the players, with it's worst showing since 2003 so far.

Switzerland beat Canada 4-1 today. Denmark lost Wednesday.

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5/11/10

Stefan Ridderwall signs with Djurgarden/Notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 5/11/2010 08:58:00 PM
Islanders Authorized: Report prospect goaltender Stefan Ridderwall has signed with Djurgarden for 2010-11 season, and that the club will lose his NHL rights as of June 1st.

NYIFC Comments:
Best of luck to Stefan Ridderwall.

With the new transfer agreement, Ridderwall over age twenty-two, he no longer is property of the Islanders. I believe the official SEL signing deadline date is June 15th, not the Canadian Hockey league deadline of 6/1 in team release.

Disappointing he did not take the Isles contract offer, however with Mikko Koskinen signed, Nate Lawson a RFA, plus negotiations with Kevin Poulin there were simply too many players to be signed for two AHL goaltending spots.

If Ridderwall starts for Djurgarden, that is in his best interest unless the Isles offer was for him to play in the NHL or sign him and let him play in the SEL, as Robin Figren did in year one of his contract.

Dwayne Roloson is signed, and there is no apparent change in Rick DiPietro's future playing status, an NHL contract offer for Ridderwall seemed unlikely.

I also do not see a spot for Kevin Poulin if Nate Lawson is retained, who played very well (above 9.20 save percentage) for Bridgeport the last two seasons. Mikko Koskinen was the top goaltender taken in his draft class, he needs to be a full time starter. There is also Anders Nilsson, who the club used a high selection to draft.

Scott Munroe has signed in the KHL for 2010-11.

I do not see Poulin, Lawson or Koskinen in Utah, Poulin already has been to Bridgeport a year ago.
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Notables Updated:
* Jeff Wilpon, Tuesday, said he has spoken to Charles Wang about construction of a hockey arena and a possible future purchase/relocation of the team to Queens, but for now that is just exploratory conversation. A soccer stadium/team may be another alternative for the area.

* I guess Tuesday's tactics/recent gossip from Canadian media recently (Globe & Mail) is another way to make Charles Wang speak, despite some local owners not communicating with media for several years, and many NHL clubs sustaining heavy losses.

Charles Wang for his part is not obligated to say anything, and frankly has said enough already. Scott Rechler, is apparently going to spend five hundred seventy million for property in Manhattan, that may or may not have been used on LH financing.

* Columbus Blue Jackets annouced a deal somewhat similar to the December sublease between Smg, Wang/Rechler to run the Coliseum, and will make extra revenue from booking events. Nationwide Arena/BlueJackets and OSU apparently will no longer be using Smg, but the Jackets management credited the company for doing a " nice job."

* I do believe the situation in Phoenix is for real and time is running out.

The NHL is not going to run any franchise for a second year, despite the Coyotes turnaround on the ice and in the stands. If an agreement cannot be made by the end of June, expect a sale/shift to another market.

Several teams are losing money, which includes the Devils in Prudential Center, who sold out less games than the Isles in 2002 Newark Star Ledger & NY Times in a brand new facility, with a first place team, with arguably the greatest goaltender in league history unless it's playoff time and Bill Smith is in net.

St Louis Post-Dispatch: Jeff Gordon has latest on Blues financial issues.

* Maybe the Isles can get Ed Mangano/Nassau, and Kate Murray/TOH, to cover any Islander losses, like they want in Phoenix lease.

Updated.... City council in Glendale, Ariz, has voted unanimously to guarantee the NHL up to $25 million US to keep the Phoenix Coyotes in Jobing.com Arena for the 2010-2011 season.

* Finally perhaps the New York Daily News can provide the front page, with Ilya Kovalchuk in an Islander jersey, and an editorial on how badly New York needs our team if they want to do a little advertising for select players/teams?

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5/6/10

D'Amato In LI Herald Supporting Casino, Not LH

New York Islander Fan Central | 5/06/2010 08:25:00 PM
LI Herald: Former Senator, Al D'Amato on Thursday, personally writes a three page article on the merits/benefits of a Shinnecock Nation Casino over the Lighthouse, and includes: " For six years, real estate developer Charles Wang, has been pressuring elected officials from the Town of Hempstead and Nassau County to authorize this $3.7 billion project."

" Six years ago our economy was in much better shape. It might have been possible to finance the project and fill 36 stories of office space. Now, regardless of the developer, it’s impossible. Even though the commercial realty market has been creeping back, the current market would not be able to sustain such a grand endeavor."

NYIFC Comments:
Who does this man think he is kidding?

A week after he is visiting Ed Mangano, and now is writing articles in favor of a Casino, supporting mass transit, and against the LH.

In 2005, he was ripping the LH, calling it " the sixth borough of NYC, " and knocked the sixty story tower, as a "non-sense" plan back then.

Charles Wang and Scott Rechler won an open bidding to develop that land, if Nassau County did not want to award them the bid, they were under no pressure to accept them as developers vs other competing bids.

Nassau County/TOH were/are under pressure to renovate or replace, Nassau County's Coliseum.

Tom Suozzi, was honest enough to make it clear long ago Nassau did not have the resources to renovate or replace the Coliseum, long after Charles Wang bought the team.

I'm no historian on Long Island economy, but even I remember where Nassau was financially during the Tom Gulotta administration with it's bond ratings. During the exact same time, Al D'Amato was lobbying Charles Wang to purchase the New York Islanders.

How nice of the former Senator to throw in the hockey team as something important in this article a few times, but I'm not buying, I suggest no one else does either.

He pulled this exact same act over a decade ago.

Silence is deafening from that TOH impartial judge, Kate Murray.

All seems designed to make Wang-Rechler walk away on their own, so Nassau/TOH are held blameless.

Shinnecock Nation should take a long, hard look at the history of Nassau County/TOH politics, along with Al D'Amato's conduct which Tom Suozzi.com linked to the Newsday article last year regarding the former Senator, and his part in this.

D'Amato whether he knows it or not just made Mangano's job much harder to sell what he is trying to do as credible.

Bottom line:
Whether it be Wang/Suozzi, Shinnecock Nation or someone else, they are financing their own projects.

Nassau, and TOH, cannot afford to pay for anything, a little fact missing far too often in this process.

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5/4/10

Calvin deHaan's First Comments, Mark Wotton Signed, World Championship Exhibition Results

New York Islander Fan Central | 5/04/2010 07:03:00 PM
Ottawa Citizen: Don Campbell has Calvin deHaan's, comments upon signing his first professional contract that will be announced on Wednesday, and what's ahead going into 2010-11.

NYIFC Comments:
Ottawa Citizen had the first comments and not Newsday? This is a first rounder, selected 12th overall in the draft.

deHaan received a maximum contract allowed under the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement, with a base salary of $900,000 a season and bonuses of up to $600,000 per season, meaning the contract could be worth $4.5 million.
************************************************************
USA Wins Exhibition:
Kyle Okposo per twitter page, had two goals in Tuesday's 3-1 exhibition game win against France, and was named first star of game. John Tavares, had an assist, and a penalty in Canada's 4-1 win against host Germany.

Islanders Authorized: Reports Bridgeport Captain, Mark Wotton has been resigned to a one-year AHL contract for 2010-11.

NYIFC Comments:
Good news for Wotton, perhaps not good news for Brendan Witt in terms of staying in Bridgeport?

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Charles Wang vs Other Teams Not Offering Front Loaded Contracts

New York Islander Fan Central | 5/04/2010 03:36:00 PM
I was going through the NHL teams that do not offer front-loaded contracts today, and wanted to ask this question because all I read is the usual, no top free agent will sign here mantra.

This begs the question what top free agents have signed anywhere, without that infamous front-loaded contract?

Granted Garth Snow brought some of this on himself, saying a few years ago the arena is one factor that came in in negotiations which many re-interpreted and made much more of.

Marian Hossa, left Pittsburgh, and signed a one year contract for 7.8 million with Detroit, before leaving for Chicago, and his twelve year deal (front-loaded) worth 62.8 million while he was injured.

That is the last time a top player,entering UFA, did not sign a front-loaded deal in this CBA.

What has Garth Snow not offered in contract negotiations like other clubs when the words front-loaded contracts are not part of negotiations? I don't see other teams who have signed top players to contracts unless they were on that team and most of those are front-loaded.

The contract Buffalo matched from Edmonton to retain for Thomas Vanek was heavily front-loaded.

New Jersey signed Patrik Elias to somewhat of a front-loaded deal in 2006 but he still has to play his final three years to make his five million each season. Jamie Langenbrunner's 5-year, $14 million dollar contract is somewhat on par with Trent Hunter's five year, ten million dollar contract.

In July 2007, Dainius Zubrus, signed a 6-year $20.4 million dollar deal with the Devils, which was a terrible signing and heavily criticized at the time.

Sergei Gonchar signed a 5-year, $25 million deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins in Aug 2005 for a club built of UFA that cost gm Craig Patrick his job, which is similar to the contract Snow signed Mark Streit to given today's market vs talent disparity/expectation of each player at time they signed.

Marc Savard: Seven year extension with Boston was heavily front-loaded.

The list of front-loaded contracts and now teams trading for players failing under those contracts (after highest part of salary having already been paid-Scott Gomez/Ryan Smyth), so who is signing top line talents to contracts in this league as UFA where Charles Wang or Garth Snow has failed to do the same?

I just don't see it. Comrie, Guerin, Weight, Sutton, Witt (resigned) Hunter, along with Sillinger (under Neil Smith) all signed here. Before that Hamrlik, Yashin, Peca, Scatchard, Parrish and Aucoin all resigned as RFA.

Even Jason Blake's, 5-Years, $20 million was slightly front-loaded at $5 million, $4.5 million, and $4.5 million before Anaheim took the remainder of his contract in a trade.

As far as this team the last few summers, I have seen a roster set up mostly before July 1st with few available spots.

You want to criticize the general manager or owner for not signing/spending on Alex Tanguay or inviting Max Afinogenov with his eight goals last year to camp, fair enough, but there were questions about both players. You can add letting Satan go unsigned with his nine goals in thirty eight games for Boston to the list if you want.

Add in Doug Weight's re-signing, along with Tim Jackman, those are fair game for not signing a younger UFA with some scoring upside, or even bringing back Jon Sim vs a spot for a signing.

It's a question some will have if Brendan Witt is not brought back to the NHL, as his cap hit sits on the club's books along with Yashin. (maybe DiPietro)

I'm just not seeing where as an owner Charles Wang is failing to pay players when the contracts are not front-loaded.

If that's the case, there are about twenty teams or more in the exact same boat, that simply lose their pending UFA or top players to a front-loaded contract.

If I'm wrong, let me know.


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Tsn Scott Cullen's Sloppy Isles Report/Quick Hits

New York Islander Fan Central | 5/04/2010 08:08:00 AM
Updated: Mr Cullen has corrected his report.
***************************************************************
Tsn.ca: Scott Cullen released an Off-Season game plan for the Islanders, misquotes the owner, nor does he post Charles Wang's comments about spending for free agents in the past.

NYIFC Comments:
Just more proof why one person should not be doing thirty team reviews, the depth chart review is well done, but these are mistakes that cannot be made in a review.

Scott Cullen:
Owner Charles Wang has high expectations anticipating a playoff berth next year, telling Newsday, "Everyone in that locker room who we bring back has to be better than they were this year," but there was no mention of management making a commitment to improve the roster to the point that it's reasonable to expect a playoff berth.

Charles Wang did not say that, GM Garth Snow did:

Cullen on payroll issue/spending, not even quoting Wang:
Considering that the Islanders do have room to move under the cap, and the possibility that the Island still isn't the free agent destination of choice for top free agents, the Isles could use some of that financial flexibility to help them acquire a player from a team in a tighter cap situation, but there has to be a willingness to take on salary.

What Charles Wang did say when asked if the Isles were willing to spend the type of money required to reel in a top-shelf player:
"I think we've demonstrated that in the past,'' Wang said, "and we'll continue to look at every opportunity. We went after Ryan Smyth [in 2007] and he got us into the playoffs."
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Nothing to add on 2008 college prospect, Corey Trivino's impending suspension from BU reported by Scott McLaughlin in Daily Free Press.
********************************************
In NYIFC business, I have decided to go with a sidebar, and twitter updates, for World Championships, as opposed to individual blog entries. USA plays France today it an exhibition game. Scott Gordon, John Tavares, Kyle Okposo, Jack Hillen, and Frans Nielsen will represent the club in Germany.
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All prospects who have to be signed by 6/1 or 6/15 have been added to sidebar with pending UFA/RFA. I took out full rosters in redesign because you can link to Isles general roster.

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4/30/10

Ed Mangano's Memorandum of Understanding

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/30/2010 11:36:00 AM
Updated 5/1:

Disclaimer:

Ed Mangano was quoted earlier this week that a Casino project would be " in addition " to the Lighthouse Project.

He then also was quoted as saying a Shinnecock Nation Casino "is a very real alternative" to the LH.
*************************************************************************
I have to admit, I did not see this coming.

Someone with less patience than Howard Milstein who may give Tom Gulotta a run for his money?

Folks actually knocked Charles Wang for a lack of patience after waiting for about eight plus year?

Apparently new Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano from his first days in office, decided to create his own Memorandum of Understanding with himself. In that understanding, he decided to forget who was awarded the right to develop the Coliseum property in an open bidding and started immediate negotiations with someone else.

Mr Mangano has also apparently decided in his understanding to save the millions Wang-Rechler invested for traffic/water/misc consultants. There will not be two hundred plus community meetings to inform the public if a Shinnecock Nation Casino is to break ground next summer.

All the issues that held up the LH are now positives for the community, according to the new Nassau Executive.

Meanwhile the usual lip-service about saving the Isles is thrown in at the end like the team simply does not matter. Mangano clearly is not in favor of the LH project vs a Casino as a destination spot.

Al D'Amato even stopped in for a chat and took a few digs at the LH, we all know where he stands.

Can't make this stuff up folks.

TOH/Kate Murray? They don't even have a vote in this matter apparently.

Even if by some miracle TOH released a scaled down LH project that Wang-Rechler may be interested in building, a lease still has to be negotiated with Mangano.

This was the lease Tom Suozzi had ready before he left office, but could not be voted on by Democratic Nassau.

Mangano was quoted about looking into the developers agreement with Wang-Rechler that is currently in place so it's not looking promising for a future lease negotiation with Nassau if the TOH approved the LH.

Apparently that property is too valuable in Nassau for private developers to build on it where they make the bulk of the revenue in exchange for renovating Nassau's Coliseum, especially when it's something that could compete with other office space/residential in Nassau/TOH.

No wonder the Lighthouse page on the Nassau County website disappeared less than a day or so after Mangano took his oath.

Ed Mangano had his Memorandum of Understanding with himself all set to go.

Bottom line:
Where is Mangano's plan to make the New York Islanders self-sustaining as a hockey franchise at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum? A week ago Nassau hosted the Yankees championship trophy after every other sports team in the area received huge money to become self-sufficient, relocate locally or remain in place.

Some folks wondered why I was so tough on Tom Suozzi for letting the LH sit in a drawer for a few years? Mangano was not happy with Wang/Rechler/Smg deal negotiated by Suozzi to run the Coliseum.

I'm not sure if Wang-Rechler have any response, I doubt it will be through the media because Wang made it clear he does not want it done that way. My speculation remains TOH would do anything not to take the blame for voting down the LH.

My stance is unchanged from the entry earlier this week.

Wang-Rechler should demand an immediate vote on the full LH proposal, they are entitled to that for the millions they have spent.

If Ed Mangano is eventually the one to turn the LH down, he will not need a memorandum to understand he will be the one to blame if the Islanders do leave or if a Casino fails to be built, he will be the one held accountable.

There will also be no 51st state he can support to hide in.
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Some format changes to New York Islander Fan Central, including a new twitter box.

Previous full page template and all elements are now located at nyifancentral.blogspot.com prospect blog is unchanged, but will have all contract status updated per Ct Post article last week.

The generic page was removed.

Still have not decided on whether to do full blog entries during World Championships.

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4/25/10

Management Review 09-10 NY Islanders Season

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/25/2010 11:05:00 PM
Today we wrap up our review of the 2009-10 season and the full-time blog entries with a review of Head Coach Scott Gordon & General Manager Garth Snow.

Overview:
In a painfully mediocre conference, which saw the playoff cut on average drop dramatically from ninety five points/eighth seed to the final three seeds all being under ninety points, a huge opportunity was to qualify for a playoff spot was missed.

New York won only as many regulation games as they did a year ago with about two hundred fifty less man games lost to injury. Overall goals scored/allowed improved with point total which is what many media sold as improvement, but special teams were worse than a year ago with both powerplay/penalty killing dropping into the bottom five.

Third period scoring saw this team at the bottom of the league.

Head Coach Scott Gordon:
Like the individual players grades, Scott Gordon did not build a roster of smaller/less physical players, which lacked veterans who could contribute as top line forwards. He worked with what he had and changed some players positions with Comeau, Sim, Bailey, Okposo, Weight. (on more than one wing/point)

As on any other team, some players improved or had a breakthrough while others regressed. Some of that has to speak to Scott Gordon's decisions, others to how players performed individually.

Decisions that also included Comeau riding the bench so Trevor Gillies could play three minutes in Philadelphia.

In 2008-09, he did not put public pressure on his young players, even criticizing a 2002 pick in Bergenheim for being worried about his numbers, that is what good coaches do, which of course he held to with virtually all his players again this year.

Being head coach is not about winning a popularity contest with the players, the job ultimately is to win hockey games and getting the most out of the talent you have.

Moving Forward:
Unlike Ted Nolan, Gordon did not take the media bait regarding his contract toward the end of this season. Owner Charles Wang (despite management claims it does not discuss management contracts) informed the public of Gordon's contract status in an radio interview.

Are Gordon and his general manager on the same page and a team that work well together? Only they know, however Nate Thompson was the player Scott Gordon used but lost his spot to waivers while Jeff Tambellini was glued to Gordon's bench and his comments about his defenders lack of size after a to Boston sure did not seem an endorsement of Snow's trade deadline decisions.

Scott Gordon was not in the same situation as AHL counterparts like John Anderson in Atlanta or Peter DeBoer in Florida, both who had more top line veterans or older, more-developed prospects. The clock is running for the first head coach since Al Arbour who should be back for a third consecutive season to have this team not only in playoff contention but ready to take the next step and qualify.

A club that can beat the top teams, have a good record against the West should have been able to win against equal/lower teams by standings and on the road in their own division.

Many opposing coaches/players, praised how difficult the Islanders were to play against. Next year they have to beat the clubs they are supposed to win against.

Grade C
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General Manager Garth Snow:

The general manager said recently he is not satisfied with the season and that everyone who returns has to be better. This has to start with how he reconstructs a roster with some expiring contracts that were lacking in terms of size, physical players, speed and veteran scoring on far too many night's that had nothing to do with the young players.

You going to tell me Max Afinogenov (pick a struggling veteran from last summer) with his eight goals would have failed and been a mistake here as a late signing/tryout? Ok.

You going to tell me Tim Jackman or some other veterans were a better offensive fit, than Afinogenov (pick a struggling veteran) and had to be signed at the end of last March?
Not buying.

Snow also has to be held accountable for leaving his club short on defense (in terms of depth and size) after the trade deadline. Anton Klementyev came up who was sitting prior to recall and to date had not played again for Bridgeport after drafting and signing him last summer. When this club was in it's losing streaks Snow did not panic, however he did nothing in terms of a lateral move to address any weaknesses beyond Brendan Witt being placed on waivers.


Moving Forward:


With Jesseu Joensuu, Matt Martin and other players in teams system, expect part this teams changes to come from within. Having written that there are not a lot of open spots heading into July 1st with five defenders already under NHL contract and many players at the point here signed (Gervais-Hunter-Bergenheim-Tambellini-Comeau) where it may be time for a change.

Make no mistake, this is now Garth Snow's organization and he is on the hot seat with his head coach. He has made a few excellent decisions on Matt Moulson, Mark Streit and even Dylan Reese. He needs more signings like this and a few creative trades for established veterans that upgrades the overall veteran talent pool. This gm has also had his share of clunkers with Bobby Hughes, Ben Walter, Petteri Nokelainen and Rob Hennigar along with Joel Rechlicz, albeit minor league players or the past general managers former picks but par for almost all organizations.

2009-10 was a missed opportunity and like the teams uneven play, he must receive an uneven grade more than anyone because he constructed the roster.

Finally, don't tell us the Coliseum is one reason why free agents won't sign here anymore when they took front-loaded contracts to play in dumps like Joe Louis Arena, Msg and Mellon Arena.

Tell the truth which is Charles Wang and most non-corporate owners cannot afford to front load a contract and pay someone twenty/thirty million dollars over the first three seasons of that kind of contract. It's not a knock on Wang or you.

Grade C

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Stefan Ridderwall Has To Be Signed by 6/15

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/25/2010 02:22:00 AM
Did a prospect update a while back, which included who needed to be signed this summer.

Add goaltender Stefan Ridderwall to the list.

With no formal announcement by the NHL, the league did come to terms on a new transfer agreement with Sweden on 3/26 and Finland earlier according to the Hockey News.

The agreement with Finland is reportedly similar.

Details:
The new agreement with the SEL runs through the 2011-12 season and according to the deal, the NHL will compensate Elitserien teams $225,000 for players signing with an NHL club.

Players can sign before June 15 and players who’ve been drafted into the NHL the same year can sign until Aug. 15.

Players under 22 who haven’t been drafted in the first round may return to the Elitserien if they can’t make the NHL club roster with hockeyexpression here reporting the Isles lose their rights to prospect goaltender Stefan Ridderwall if they do not sign contracts with him during the summer and include speculation Timr√• of SEL could be interested.

Prior to this the same outlet (4/11/10) also reported the Isles were waiting on the conclusion of Ridderwall's playoffs for the 2006 draft pick, who passed his twenty second birthday in March.

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4/24/10

Quick Hits/Notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/24/2010 12:00:00 PM
Updated:

* I have no doubt Charles Wang &/or Scott Rechler would be more than happy to renovate or even replace the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum for the Town of Hempstead and Nassau County, " like those five other metropolitan-area professional franchises that opened magnificent new facilities in the past year, " if they were given hundreds of millions/over a billion in tax exemptions like New York City taxpayers were forced to do for two stadiums or Newark issuing bonds that turned its $12.5 million annual payment into a lump-sum total of $221 million for Prudential Center arena funding or PSL's & money from from the NFL/fifteen million annual loss for NJSEA at the new Meadowlands Stadium.


Nassau/TOH does not want " construction of a mini-city along Hempstead Turnpike " that is fair enough. Do what other cities did so Mr Wang &/or Mr Rechler can open magnificent new facilities for the New York Islanders, but stop telling them to do the impossible alone.
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* Do I think John Tavares got a fair shake not being a Calder finalist? A few more games between Jimmy Howard or Matt Moulson and he may have been the 2003 pick as a finalist.

It's not a contest only between last summers draft class. A year ago produced three later round picks as finalist over several seasons. John Tavares was not selected once for the award all season nor did he merit it on a month to month basis, so I don't believe it's unfair he was not among the finalist.

Having written that I'm not a fan of the media voting on anything these days given the Isles media coverage.
**************************************************************
* The media did not come out in force to cover the Devils early playoff games but they sure came out when it was all over with the Flyers winning the series four games to one to bury them.

A few media seemed to enjoy themselves a little too much knocking the Devils from what I read after their accomplishments. What folks forget about their record was they built it early with a lot of players out, after that this was a five-hundred team for most of the second half.

Fourteen days ago they beat the New York Islanders 7-1 and then beat Buffalo who pulled their goalie late in a tied game because they needed a regulation win.

Want to claim they played Atlanta-Kovalchuk hockey and that was why they lost? Not buying. Flyers made a few more plays and their size helped them, Parise was working as hard as ever. Of course they should be frustrated top to bottom.

You play this series a week from now and Boucher is likely letting in soft goals from all over the ice and it's a different series. Philadelphia's streaks and slumps are legendary and this was one of their streaks after they their goaltenders were letting in soft goals to Blake Comeau. Carcillo, Asham, Ian Laperriere, making big plays? High marks to the Flyers on winning the series, however the career track record says that is not going to last.

As for New Jersey, will those now predicting their demise ever learn? They only finished second in the Eastern Conference and until they have a poor eighty two game season they are the team to beat in this division with Pittsburgh. Do they have a record now for not being a good playoff team? Fair enough.

Do I expect them to lose Kovalchuk, Martin and still be at the top of the East around December next season? Absolutely.
*******************************************************************
Too bad the Hershey Bears did not call up Michal Neuvirth to Washington or the Sound Tigers may have still been playing Hershey with Braden Holtby looking like Jose Theodore.

******************************************************************
Such parity in the NHL these days, I'm very happy for Miroslav Satan after all the things written about him after leaving Buffalo along with Sutton/Campoli, who had a lot of praise for Bill Guerin here.

Interesting watching Sutton go for an overtime big hit and miss his man creating an odd-man rush.

Virtually no series where any playoff result can absolutely be called a huge upset anymore in this version of the NHL.
*******************************************************************
Kevin Poulin VictoriaVille lost 6-1 on Friday and trail their playoff series 3-1 with game five Saturday. All other Islander prospects in CHL have been eliminated with Travis Hamonic/Wheat Kings, Casey Cizkas, St Michaels Majors.
*******************************************************
Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio from Thursday had updates which included some exit interview which did/did not take place with some veterans, but had an updated list of all players contract status for Bridgeport and New York.
*******************************************************

I see one more blog update grading management before going back to twitter format.

I have not made a decision yet on full blog entries for the World Championships or just adding a section.

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4/23/10

Newsday Accused of Censoring Sports Pages

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/23/2010 06:43:00 PM
Nbcnewyork.com: Josh Alper reports of more problems in sports coverage censorship at Newsday, links to a report in the New York Observer by John Koblin about Wallace Matthew's leaving the paper to join Espn New York.

Mr Matthews pulls no punches, as he tells his side of why he left and what he claims was going on regarding sports content reporting under sports editor Hank Winnicki and new editor (current website designer) Debbie Krenek at Charles/James Dolan's newspaper, with several anonymous quotes from current Newsday employees.


NYIFC Comments:

Talk about a super-bowl of conflicts/double-standards/censorship.

First, you need a scorecard to identify the players.

1. NBC Newyork is the same NBC that includes sports chairman Dick Ebersol, who with Sam Flood are/were making hockey television decisions. Mr Ebersol, never shy about involving himself in anything NBC-related beyond sports here who's network is a former part owner of Msg according to the New York Times.

2. NBC/Comcast/Flyers owner Ed Snider are attempting a merger, his Flyers were selected last summer out of nowhere to participate in last year's NHL outdoor game which saw a ten percent decline in ratings Sports Business Journal and only placed third in the Philadelphia market.

3. Wallace Matthews, who surfaced every few years to play instant Isles expert and take a few digs at the team, joined Espn New York. What's important to remember about Matthews was he never criticized (or mentioned) his new employer's teams in their paper and now he's complaining he was having his criticism edited/muted and blaming the Dolan's?

Matthews March 6th article on the Isles (during time he felt he was being phased out) included fan comments critical of the team did receive the Newsday/Winnicki/Krenek seal of approval for publication.

4. Former Daily News sports editor Leon Carter, who under his tenure Isles coverage declined dramatically (while false radio ads from his paper claimed his sports department covered all the local teams) was criticized a few years ago by guess who? here.

5. NBC writer, Josh Alper in his bio writes he is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse. This is the same fringe outlet which currently sponsors our former Islander-team sponsored blogger, who on days when he is not ripping Islander management or breaking news about internal team business is at Msg lobbing softballs at the Rangers/Garden management completely muted of any criticism.

You cannot make this stuff up.

Sadly, it does speak to the current level of coverage the New York Islanders receive from this paper and how their national perception is influenced across North America along with a few other items.

When Tsn/Espn do articles they usually link to a report from this paper.

Too bad our fans and team are caught squarely in the middle.

Ownership has one major local paper to market it's team and report on Lighthouse updates across New York. The Islanders upper management have created some of their own New York media perception damage with their short-sighted, Long Island only campaign. This approach neglecting it's fan base across the New York City market, despite outreach and team events scheduled inside the city limits, makes little sense.

What's very unfortunate is none of these articles that concentrated on Msg teams in Newsday mentioned the coverage standards of the New York Islanders. You remember them, the local home team?

A year ago Greg Logan ripped the club early and often for working within league mandated guidelines regarding injuries among countless issues. This year they hired a former intern as it's full-time beatwriter, the paper did report about anonymous quotes critical from a few players, last month which was never reported on Msg teams.

Do you think the negative fan comments approved in Matthews article on the Isles would be permitted and printed about the Garden's teams?

The question from day one was would there be sports coverage double-standards under Cablevision owned Newsday.

The people working at this paper have made it clear that answer is yes.

Friday, this was the paper sending the Ranger beatwriter to ask Gary Bettman about the Lighthouse project and then take the role of political reporter, interviewing TOH officials about the status of the project.

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Forwards Review Pt 2: 09-10 NY Islanders Season

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/23/2010 12:00:00 PM
Today we wrap up the review of the forwards.

Forwards Pt II:
Richard Park:
Park, as always gave all he had over a sixty minute game.

His speed and ability to carry the puck/create chances along with his hard work always stands out and there will be a small handful of games he will carry the club when he is scoring. Having written this the penalty kill struggled badly and this is a big part of his role here. This team is over-matched in the size/physical department, he is not going to produce big offensive numbers over eighty two games.

Scott Gordon fell into the same trap, Ted Nolan did in the past by giving him prime offensive opportunities when Park scored some goals. Who can blame them when no one else is scoring or carrying the puck/creating chances? When Park is scoring for brief stretches he earns more chances and does pick up the entire team, but the long stretches where he struggles on offense are his career trend.

Gordon, to his credit dialed back his offensive role early this season but had him out on some powerplays, his offensive struggles for a good part of the season were a big part of his minus nine rating.

Moving Forward:
Park enters this summer as an UFA and a tough call for management because no doubt he is a respected leader. This team needs to become bigger, with more offensive upside and despite his versatility to play all three forward positions and carry the puck, there are too many prospects/veteran free agents with more potential offensive upside.

Park signed here as a camp tryout player during Sean Bergenheim's contract problems, his huge goals in Philadelphia and New Jersey the final weekend three years ago were a huge part of this team making the playoffs.

I see his time in New York ending, it could be a gamble that fails because his ability to move the puck is lacking here, but a risk that needs to be taken.

Grade C+

Doug Weight:
I felt it was a mistake to resign Weight last summer. I'm not in the lockeroom so for me to write about that his leadership ability makes no sense. I can only write about what I see during games. No doubt he is respected by Tavares, Moulson and the players on the team by their quoted comments.

On the ice, I saw an injured player, who had been hurt basically from December of the previous year, who was a non-factor on a team that needed a twenty goal veteran who could move the puck and provide some big goals. His powerplay passing skills were visible, was it worth a defender with a possible offensive upside watching for him to play that role when he could play?

Moving Forward:
Doug Weight is a career center who needed to change position, that alone even if he were healthy and not approaching forty is a big problem.

Weight says he wants to play next season and he hopes it is here but I cannot see him being given a roster spot and absolutely not as a top three center or forward.

For Garth Snow it seems best to thank him and move on. His veterans need to score twenty goals and have the speed/skills/size to set up these young players and stand up physically when needed which he did do his first season.

These are intangibles beyond Doug Weight's abilities at this stage in his career.

Grade Incomplete.

Tim Jackman:
Jackman showed a ton of guts to come back from having his orbital bone broken after being mugged by Carkner and two other Ottawa Senators, his skating is not bad along with his middle-weight fighting ability, however his impact is minimal on games and far too many nights at best you can hope for is an even shift.

He created more chances a year ago offensively and at rare times has these shifts where he was flying and creating chances, but that's far more the exception. Jackman is not going to antagonize the opposition into many penalties or throw the kind of hits that draw many powerplays to turn a game around.

Scott Gordon would put him on the ice to set the tone after goals against or to start periods, but if most shifts at best are even what tone is being set?

How many times did we hear before games, the Isles are going to have to weather x team's offense/momentum in the opening ten minutes coming off a bad game? Can you say that for this team starting games or periods with Jackman that the other teams had to weather the Isles attack early with him on the ice?

Moving Forward:
Tim Jackman enters this summer as a pending UFA.

On a roster lacking in players who can produce or who can impact a game in the physical department on a regular basis it seemed a mistake to resign Jackman so quickly at the end of last season. He was a twenty goal AHL player so he does have the ability/hands to score goals, but if his signing was based upon a step up in production this season that did not happen.

No doubt Jackman is a character player, but he is not the right fit for this team because he cannot score enough on a team desperately needing goals who turn games in the Isles favor with his physical play.

Grade C


Trent Hunter:

I feel like I have been writing the same season ending review now for three seasons with Trent Hunter, after the third one I'm not going to be generous with my patience or grade.

He has stretches where it seems he is past his injuries and we will finally see the consistent offensive player we saw in 03-04, but it's never sustained and despite his positive impact in so many other areas on this team the physical/scoring/skating game just are not nearly consistent enough.

He also simply cannot stay healthy and it's obvious he does play hurt a lot of the time. The ability to fight off players for goals/draw penalties with his power skating or that extra step with quick moves off the boards seem to be gone for good.

He will dive in front of any shot to help his team, he is giving all he has but his impact in games dropped again this year and on a club needing his veteran offense desperately. He can play defense which speaks to his plus three rating, he still has a slap-shot, but cannot seem to release it on the fly anymore.

Moving Forward:
Trent Hunter is signed for the next three years at a bargain 2m contract, he took less than market value at the time so he does have value on the trade market. On a club lacking in physical players, veteran scoring it may well be time for Garth Snow to see if he can improve his roster by trading Hunter, who may well need a fresh start or more veterans around him.

Grade D

Jon Sim:
Sim signed here off back to back seventeen goal seasons for Atlanta, an injury that ended his first year and waivers twice before a demotion ended his second NHL season.

To Sim's credit he kept working and to Garth Snow/Scott Gordon's credit he was allowed to earn back a spot which started how he played for Bridgeport.

Like his production, he was all over the place. Left wing/right wing, on the top two lines or the fourth line, you never knew where Sim would play. This year his production was acceptable, unlike many past goals on outside shots created a lot of goals jamming the crease. Sim tried to play the antagonist role with a hundred twenty eight minutes in penalties for his teammates and did whatever was asked.

Is he the correct player to put on the wing of a Rob Schemp, who wants to make a skilled open ice play to setup a winger vs Sim who grinds it out? ?

Answer to me would be no.

Moving Forward:
Sim enters this summer as an UFA.

Nothing illustrated this teams physical/size problems better last season than watching Sim looking up, trying to push bigger players around during scrums he was over-matched badly when two other players joined in for the opposition who also towered over him. He's a solid role player on a team with far too many similar veterans and maybe a good fourth line fit if he were resigned, but with so many prospects, not give them a chance?

It's time to give someone else, younger or a veteran UFA with better offensive upside and size an opportunity in his spot.

Grade C

Jesse Joensuu/Trevor Gillies:
Joensuu had eleven games here to make an impact with his size and despite one goal in brutal loss to Florida was not a big factor where he could have pushed someone out of a spot, his plus four no doubt is a positive.

Gillies was resigned for next year. I would guess it's a two-way contract where he will make his cameo's with Joel Rechlicz entering the final season of his three year contract, but little else. His career resume and brief time here are clear he cannot take a regular shift.

No grade.





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4/22/10

Forwards Review Pt I: 09-10 NY Islanders Season

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/22/2010 12:33:00 AM
Today NYIFC continues it's New York Islanders 2009-10 season review with Pt I on the forwards.

Overall:
As with the defenders for a team with so many goals allowed/shots against which includes a lot of poor special teams play ranked at the bottom of the league, some high individual grades had to be given out based strictly on production.

I cannot grade an individual on a lack of size, speed or skill or the construction of the roster around an individual player's performance.

Forwards:
John Tavares:
John Tavares came out of juniors, scored twenty four goals with no established first or second line veteran offensive talents on a team that had no twenty goal scorers a year ago so how can anyone complain, despite not being selected as a Calder finalist?

His transition/defensive game needs to gain NHL experience and a few times he got caught watching plays, but his hands were as advertised along with his ability in front of the opposing goal. He finished his season ok, started great and struggled badly in the middle. No doubt he took far too many big hits and looked to be playing hurt at times, but this is all part of his development.
Grade B+

Kyle Okposo:
Was thrilled with Okposo's start to the season where he had some huge goals and looked dominating, but his game faded for long stretches also that seemed to go beyond numbers which may have been about flu but only Okposo knows this. His impact on games far too many nights was that of a negative player at five on five, it seemed he tried to do too many one on one moves and his physical game for his size needs to be developed. I'm not a fan of him being a left wing point on powerplays for a team with no first line right wing, but that is where Scott Gordon has used him while Doug Weight was out. There were also stretches where he looked fantastic and carried the club.

Like Tavares on a team with no established veterans talents who can score, it's an acceptable nineteen goals at this stage of his development, but his night to night game was lacking for stretches that went far too long.
Grade C-

Matt Moulson:
Matt Moulson scored thirty goals coming out of the AHL, was only a minus one on a team near the bottom of most NHL team stats again with no first or second established veteran talents. He got into high traffic spots, deflected pucks like Mark Parrish a decade ago and was a huge impact player for a club that should have made playoffs alone based on his unexpected contribution. He showed excellent instincts in all three zones and knew where to be on the ice to make up for speed or an great shot.


Moving Forward:

Hopefully a contract for this restricted free agent that keeps him past next year and more of the same. As the younger players progress/scoring veterans are added he should do ever more to help the club win games that go beyond numbers.
Grade A+


Josh Bailey:

Bailey finished + 5 in seventy three games, that's is a very impressive number for a player his age where coaches want players to learn the defensive game first.

I was not a big fan of trading down to draft Josh Bailey so he could play a year at center, struggle badly at times, only to start year two as a center and then be moved away from the position you drafted him to play. Scott Gordon did it and for the most part his plus/minus improved until down the stretch when he was switched back to center with Rob Schremp's injury, during that time his plus minus did struggle again in some games.

For his age and at this stage of development, +5 on a team at the bottom of most league stats is great number. The sixteen goals and thirty five points come second but the skills are obviously there and he adjusted well to the speed of this level in his second full season.

With Tavares, Nielsen healthy down the middle and if Rob Schremp has a roster spot, what position does Bailey start next season after being a left wing?
Grade A

Rob Schremp:
Overall 09-10 was an uneven season for Rob Schremp after being claimed off waivers from Edmonton. Having written that this was the season he finally broke through to the NHL, a team showed confidence in him and he demonstrated he could play at this level. If you recall he started here on wing, struggled and Scott Gordon told the media he had to play center to play here, which was very out of character for this coach. Frans Nielsen's injury gave him that chance, after he got comfortable as a center, he showed some confidence and made some very nice plays that led to goals.

His best goal was not the highlight goal, but the ones later in the season he crossed the offensive blue line, delayed and found his wingers cutting to middle for great chances that led to goals.

On defense he was a -4, that is an acceptable number given his late season production before his season-ending injury.

Moving Forward:
Rob Schremp is twenty four and a restricted free agent. One problem is the center position here has three players in Tavares, Bailey and Nielsen unless you plan on making Bailey a full time left wing. Another problem is very obvious on a roster painfully lacking in size vs so many other NHL teams. The signs are there he can play a standout offensive game and in a league with shootouts, he is a big asset.

Tough call for Garth Snow and Scott Gordon, I would guess he is resigned because scoring hands/offensive skills on this roster are lacking.

As a winger/early season: Incomplete
As a center C+
Overall C+

Frans Nielsen:
What can I write that was not written in several blog entries on Frans Nielsen this season? He has the defensive game, his offensive game at his age needed to give this team more. No doubt he still had knee issues that kept him out of last seasons World Championships and kept him out of the lineup to start the season, however he played seventy six games. For his size he plays as hard as he possibly can in the physical department. His offensive game come shootout time is money for a club that did not win often in regulation.


Moving Forward:

Nielsen has two years left on his contract. Scott Gordon loves his overall game and it's easy to see why because he is a smart player with excellent defensive ability and plenty of potential upside who gives all he has every night.

Grade C+

Blake Comeau:
Comeau is listed as 6/1 207lbs on the club's website, he said he lost weight and got faster and it helped him recently.

What I do know is what I wrote several times, on February 10th he had six goals, eight assist and was a healthy scratch so Trevor Gillies could play three minutes in Philadelphia. He started making some good plays that led to goals along with some terrible goals he was credited with off shots that had to be stopped. I have written how he was brought up as a left wing, switched to right wing at times under Nolan and Gordon, he got chances at both wings this season but it was obvious that plan has been to make his a right wing.

I was more impressed with reads he made or passes he made with Tavares late in the season as a right wing that led to quality goals he was given assists on.

Moving Forward:
Comeau is signed for next season and his defensive game improved at even strength from a year ago, Comeau finished this season next to John Tavares before his injury and despite his 2004 draft age is still a very young twenty four who finally played one full season here. Having written this the clock no doubt here is running, more was expected overall and when Scott Gordon needed a win in Philadelphia, Comeau was the odd-man out.

Comeau has displayed an ability to hit and a nasty edge at times, but again on a small roster he is not a standout physical player, he has to produce next season to keep his spot.

Grade C-

Sean Bergenheim:
After eighteen goals a year ago where it looked like he was finally on the same page with Scott Gordon after struggling, this year they did not look on the same page at all with a lot of games scratched or him moved to a fourth line. Scott Gordon put him on the top two lines and gave him an acceptable chance on several occasions.

Too many past blog entries where I'm repeating same things you can read back on.

Moving Forward:
Bergenheim enters this summer as a RFA, with an injury that ended his season which looked terrible. I don't see him leaving North America or not being qualified and after his past experiences which cost him a full year, I see a trade as possible here because he will have value on the market with his work ethic and potential.

Overall same player I saw when he was wearing orange playing for Steve Stirling long ago and that's not enough. He gives all he has, takes bad offensive zone penalties, has an edge to his game this fan loves to watch and when on his game creates chances that are excellent, however his offensive struggles and uneven play can no longer be placed on the coach.

Grade D

Jeff Tambellini:
Go to earlier blog entries for more. As strange as Scott Gordon's comments on Yann Danis a year ago after one or two starts, his usage of Tambellini is on the same level.

The silence from Scott Gordon on Jeff Tambellini were beyond deafening. All I know is he was retained while Gordon favorite, Nate Thompson was lost to waivers. There was no two-week conditioning stint for Tambellini this year nor should there have been.

No idea what Scott Gordon did not see from him after a strong start where he was scoring the kinds of goals this roster lacks, showing great hands that made him stand out over other players because he was getting to high scoring areas. I did not see a terrible defensive game or a player not working in the corners who did not push back.

Just seemed the odd-man out, to be fair he had some infrequent chances with Tavares.

Moving Forward:
If Scott Gordon is not going to play him as a pending RFA with a lot of left wings signed or in the system waiting for a chance, why even qualify him unless you want some kind of return? In the past you could see reasons to put him on the bench, but not this year and not because he scored seven goals, he did fight through checks to make plays.

My impression is he will get another chance with an NHL team with some size, who will put him with some bigger veteran wings who can skate and his hands/shot are going to beat a lot of NHL goaltenders. He will win enough shootouts to give him value to someone.

How many players on this team scored the two powerplay goals, he scored against Montreal this season or even capable of displaying such hands? The team was at the bottom of the NHL in powerplays, why was he not given a regular chance with that shot. I still have visions of Richard Park fumbling the puck during an early-season five on three powerplay against Boston, in a contest the Bruins came back down three goals because Scott Gordon's powerplay could not put the game away in the first period.

Grade: When he played on a regular basis B
Otherwise: Incomplete

Part II Friday.

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4/21/10

Islander News Articles 4/22

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/21/2010 08:33:00 PM
OHL.com: Casey Cizikas had a goal/assist/-1 rating in Mississauga St. Michael's Majors 4-2 loss Wednesday to Barrie Colts, who was selected as second star of game.

Barrie Colts leads best of seven 3-1.
************************************************
Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio's recap of game five win by Hershey Bears 4-1 Wednesday with blog entries. Patroit-News: Tim Leone's coverage/blog entries of Bears series clinching win. Lebanon Daily News on Bears game five win at Giant Center, Wednesday where Bridgeport was credited with only seven shots on goal.


NYIFC Comments:

My thanks to everyone who followed the games on twitter or read the live game updates from NYIFC. I had a good time and listened to all five games.

Congratulations to the Hershey Bears.

Eight skaters who played for New York participated in game five for Bridgeport with several others signed by Garth Snow in the organization. This series was something I was interested in following and enjoyed opening this blog back up to full daily entries during the games.

Readers will see a 4-1 series win for the Bears (which both respective beat writers projected) however that would not be accurate at all to how things played out on the ice.

Hershey played one sixty minute game in game five and were long overdue holding Bridgeport to seven shots.

As dominating as the Bears were in spurts during games 1-4, they were even or outplayed arguably ten out of twelve periods before Wednesday.

To pull an upset against a team with Hershey's fantastic record and outstanding talent (which many were calling the best in league history) you have to get some calls/breaks and you have to make your own breaks. You must score some tough goals in front of other goalie and the powerplay must produce.

End of cliches. Bridgeport had Hershey down and out in game one, but lost not only a third period lead in that game, but another in game two which would have put a ton of pressure on the defending champs.

Powerplay goals/down-low with man advantage or at even strength, did not happen nearly enough in this series for the Sound Tigers which was a huge factor. Braden Holtby in game four was beat by Andrew MacDonald, Robin Figren full wind-up shots from outside but for the most part Bridgeport could not get goals in front of their net and not past Michal Neuvirth.

What decided series?
Without a doubt, game one and two, third period/overtime.

Leads in third period you have to close out, even if you cue images of Scott Gordon walking away from Rob Carlin. They did not get the break on the obvious high stick call in game one and they could not hold the lead again in game two where Nate Lawson got hurt and Scott Munroe had to come in cold.

Game three, second period Bears outstanding talent just forced Bridgeport into countless turnovers and six goals in one period in a contest Bridgeport was taking play at Bears over the first twenty four minutes. To Sound Tigers credit they played a solid third period that day, outscoring the Bears 2-1 with the game decided and came out dominating game four over the first two periods, winning 4-1.

Problem even that day was most/all of Bridgeport's goal came from the outside/angles or off goals from Braden Holtby, who did not play very well for the Bears in either of his starts.

The hard work was there in this series for Bridgeport and the upset was in the making. They could not get to Bears net often enough to beat their top goaltender in Michal Neuwirth, the penalty killing was shutting down the Bears. Munroe-Lawson played well and Koskinen closed out game three and played well in game four.

Game five was finally the night the Bears were due to play a complete game, they absolutely dominated on every level.

It will go down as a 4-1 series win for Hershey, however they dodged a major bullet in the opening round, despite their exceptional talent.

For Bridgeport they qualified for the playoffs, had to work very hard to earn a spot the final weekend and will return for their tenth season. A lot of new players at the end with recently signed Rhett Rakhshani, Michael Davies and Mikko Koskinen appeared in their lineup during this series.

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Hershey 4, Bridgeport 1 FINAL

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/21/2010 04:28:00 PM
Hershey Bears win series 4-1.

1. HER Alzner, (1) (Collins, Wilson), 3:25
1. HER Miskovic, (1) (Kane, Joudrey), 9:29
1. BRI Reese, (1) (Mauldin, Reich), 12:42 (SH)
1. HER Wilson, (2) , 14:51
2. HER Giroux, (6) (Bourque, Aucoin), 1:32 (PP)
********************************************
Michal Neuvirth vs Mikko Koskinen in goal.

I will be doing some twitter updates during the game along with updating the boxscore here. The audio/video/live box-score links are above.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio reports Mikko Koskinen will start game five tonight for Bridgeport in Hershey against the Bears.

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4/20/10

Islander News Articles 4/21

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/20/2010 11:28:00 PM
Telegraph-Journal: Scott Briggs reports the Victoriaville Tigres in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League semifinal series Tuesday night, defeated the Saint John Sea Dogs 6-3, with Islander prospect Kevin Poulin registering forty three saves.

The Sea Dogs lead the best-of-seven series 2-1 with games four and five in Victoriaville, Friday and Saturday.

WHL.com: Reports Travis Hamonic was -2, with no points in Calgary's 6-3 win over the Brandon Wheat Kings Tuesday.

St Michael's Majors, with Casey Cizikas plays it's next game against Barrie Colts Wednesday.
***********************************************
Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio has a feature article on forward Greg Mauldin with additional blog entries which includes links to Patroit-News with latest on Hershey Bears.


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