NYIFC EXCLUSIVE: Agent Refutes Chris Botta Words Of A Staged Story On Paul Martin Negotiations

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/14/2010 09:09:00 PM | | | | | Comment Here

As some may have noted the Islanders former VP of media relations on AOL FanHouse, Saturday wrote in a team preview General Manager Garth Snow's efforts to sign Paul Martin, or placing a call to Ilya Kovalchuk's agent employed the words "staged stories."

I linked to this here, so you could read it in full context.

Jay Grossman, who represents Ilya Kovalchuk in North America, did an interview with Craig Custance, was quoted directly on Islander related negotiations in the Sporting News. NYIFC did an entry on this last week with commentary.

Mr Grossman was contacted requesting an updated comment/reaction, if one is received it will be posted here.

Paul Martin's agent, Ben Hankinson of Octagon Hockey comments on negotiations were widely reported this summer CBC Sports.ca

I forwarded the AOL article in context (with link) to Mr Hankinson, requesting a response, he replied 9/14 with the following:
As I stated before Garth Snow was very aggressive in pursuing unrestricted free agent Paul Martin on July 1, 2010. Garth called my office more than any other NHL GM. Garth directly spoke to Paul on the phone and also had Doug Weight call and speak with Paul. Garth offered more money than any other team. It was not staged. I certainly did not have time on July 1 to waste. I did express our (Paul’s) concerns about playing in an older building when Garth replied “Paul would be sitting on the (bleeping) players bench, not in the stands.” It was not a staged story.

NYIFC Comments:
My Thanks to Ben Hankinson of Octagon Hockey.

It was not a staged story, why use those words?

Sorry folks, NYIFC does not like wasting our time lowering our standard here, but when a former team employee uses such words, it's time to find out what we can.

For those e-mailing why Point Blank was dropped from NYIFC earlier this year, I submit there will be no change in policy here for the reasons given in February which through commentary like this only confirm the decision was the correct one.

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New York Will Ice Veterans In Saskatoon vs Calgary on 9/29

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/12/2010 04:24:00 PM | | | Comment Here

Montreal Gazette: Cory Wolfe has comments from General Mangager Garth Snow, on veteran lineup that will represent New York in Saskatoon, against the Calgary Flames on 9/29 at Credit Union Center, along with Rick DiPietro's progress to date.

Comments from the General Manager:
On the game in Saskatoon on 9/29:
“We consider our game in Saskatoon a home game and we’re going to put on a good show for the fans.”

“We were always going to play one of our home games in Saskatoon, just because of the positive experience that we had there last year.”

“With the way we were embraced in the community, I’d like to think that we won over some fans in Saskatoon because I know we’re big fans of going back there.”

On Goaltender Rick DiPietro:
“He’s been doing great, He’s been skating with a bunch of our players who have come here early either to train or get their kids in school. He has looked really sharp.”

“He can just go out and play and not have any physical issues.”
“To say that he’s excited would be an understatement.”

NYIFC Comments:
What's notable here is the Saskatoon/Calgary game, although scheduled long ago as part of the canceled China trip, is a split squad contest, with the Islanders also playing in Philadelphia the same night.

The other split-squad contest is in Quebec on 10/2, with the Coliseum exhibition against New Jersey where historically the majority of the opening night lineup participates.

Sure, the gm could be selling the Saskatoon game a bit to help lagging ticket sales for a one-day event, which is far different than a full camp a year ago.

We'll see who participates when 9/29 comes along, one group will make a much shorter trip.

As for Rick DiPietro on 2/25 he told the NY Daily News his leg/body felt good.

Three days later his knee issues resurfaced in practice that sidelined him for the remainder of the season.

Snow's comments on this (even DiPietro's) are good news, but until DiPietro can stay healthy in the long-term, it means nothing.

Ak Bars Official Website: Translated to English will give you up to date team announcements/play of Kirill Petrov, no sources required.

Twitter updates today have article/analysis on Sporting News, Islander preview by Flyer centric-writer, Chuck Gormley.

Mr Gormley writes the Islanders got what they paid for in free agency, and mostly discusses how the club did not keep up with it's Atlantic counter-parts, despite New York finishing only fourteen goals behind the Flyers a year ago. He also did not bother noting his fellow Sporting News writer, Craig Custance entry on Islander/ Kovalchuk negotiations just days ago, where agent Jay Grossman's comments contradict him entirely, but still wrote New York made a lucrative offer to Kovalchuk in the $100 million range.

According to Kovalchuk's agent, Jay Grossman, no such offer was ever made.

Beyond that a lot of old, stock quotes.

Mr Gormley was correct on one thing, Islander fans got what they paid for, a free article so sloppy/lazy he still owes us a refund.

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Can DiPietro/Roloson Be Effective Sharing Crease?

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/10/2010 11:53:00 PM | | Comment Here

This entry is done under the presumption Rick DiPietro will make it through camp, open the season, and remain healthy, regardless of some what folks may think about that.

DiPietro has not seen many games/pucks for two years, improvement to his former level does not happen in a vacuum, nor does someone shake two years of not playing and emerge near the player they used to be, it takes time.

Which brings us to Dwayne Roloson, who was outstanding last season. He started with some ot losses, some poor goals, but once he won the job from Biron and saw steady work, the better he played which he made clear during interviews.

DiPietro returned on 1/8, less games for Roloson changed the level of his play, he was not the same goalie after 1/12. Some solid individual games, but never quite getting back to the very high level he was at for a sustained stretch.

What some will forget is the Olympic break absolutely would eventually have had the same effect, but whether it be Biron after the break or DiPietro, who returned on 1/8, Roloson never got back to the level he was at earlier.

This makes former goaltender Scott Gordon's problem, what if Dwayne Roloson must be used as he was last season before 1/12? What if DiPietro cannot regain his skills playing part of the time or flat out needs a full year (or longer) to raise his game back to where it was when he was an all-star?

As an Islander fan who have seen both goaltenders play for years, I see a problem here. It's not about either players ability to work together, or willingness to share the crease if necessary, but simply can they come off the bench when needed and win/steal some games when required, maintaining a high playing level.

What if both these goaltenders simply need to play number one minutes to be as effective as the club will need for this team to be in contention? Roloson's last year in Edmonton suggests he needs to start. DiPietro's earlier years sharing the crease with Garth Snow suggests he needed to start.

I keep looking at this and it brings me to Nate Lawson, who played in a straight goalie rotation at Bridgeport last season on a low-scoring club, and for a second season posted a .920 save percentage.

No, I'm not suggesting Lawson is making the club, despite three goalies in Bridgeport for two spots. Last year even without DiPietro, Bridgeport had three goalies before Koskinen got injured, and the AHL weekend-centric schedule makes it much different.

No, not a chance Roloson is being traded unless this club is out of contention at the trade deadline, or even if DiPietro returns to his sixty game forum far sooner than anyone could have expected.

What I do see here is a potential problem, despite DiPietro's return healthy, a great positive in the long-term for this franchise.

Some Notes From Friday:
* I believe prospect camp opens Monday with the Bruins games, Wednesday and Thursday in Boston.

* Kirill Petrov played eight minutes in Ak Bars second game. David Towes made his debut for Brandon Friday, but will be in Islander camp, so don't draw conclusions yet based on who is playing where for a little longer. An entry was done on this, it's past late. Ak Bars owns his rights, they can allow him to come to camp or remind Petrov he has has a binding contract/obligation, unless he wants to give back his income.

Islanders website last month put him on the projected list for Boston prospect games.

* Tons of twitter updates with new interviews/Bobby Hughes signing with another team/Jeremy Colliton #27 among new road jersey's available, which had updated rosters as of Friday w/correct player numbers, all prospects.

*Petteri Nokelainen is among several former Islanders on the outside entering camp, Bruins media giving more information on games next week than Islanders, but no shock there.

* Daily News new Ranger beatwriter contacted Islander player rep Bruno Gervais on Donald Fehr, but his boss sends no one to camp or informal workouts?

* Yes folks, Peter Botte has a twitter account, it's not Islander centric at all or I would add it to media sidebar beyond link. We'll be lucky to see his work before Yankee season ends.

* No Msg Islander/studio replacement for Butch Goring announced at this time.

* Other print media added to twitter section.

* Almost seems like NHL.com has to make up for the Islanders lack of print media, don't count on that for long.

* No mistakes this year on NYIFC domain renewal because that was done today, so regardless what happens these pages will remain visible all season, I can now promise you that much.

* Going back to labeling blog entries for those who asked.

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Josh Bailey/Kyle Okposo Interviews

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/09/2010 03:21:00 PM | | Comment Here

NHL.com: Brian Compton has an interview with Josh Bailey, where he discusses the 2010 team, previews, the injuries that have plagued the club and what he believes is the Islanders development plan, and opportunity for players.

Mr Compton also reported on the informal practice.

NYIFC Comments:
Until camp officially opens next week, management cannot work with players. I'm not sure of the exact date prospects can work with management but New York rookies will play at Boston on 9/15-9/16.

Outstanding work by Mr Compton here again after his excellent interview with Doug Weight.

Josh Bailey impresses me every time he speaks, even more than his play which is only getting better. He seems to understand what the team is trying to do, easy to see why character players like this are targeted by organizations and drafted earlier.

Josh Bailey more than anyone here outside of John Tavares, understands what it will take for Nino Niederreiter to earn a contract with the club and remain here, his insights into that were excellent.

As a fan on the outside, I wonder where he fits in the Islander plans as a left wing, or at the position they drafted him at center? With Schremp, Nielsen, Tavares down the middle, seems his natural position at this time is closed to him.

Rob Schremp was rightfully qualified and demonstrated he has NHL ability. Scott Gordon made it clear early last season, Schremp either plays center or he does not have a spot here. Frans Nielsen is not moving to a wing, Gordon did not change Tavares position last year.

I would suggest this as the article you read today if you can only pick one.

NHL.com: John Kreiser also has a late feature on Kyle Okposo with his comments.

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Richard Park Signing in Switzerland Official

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/09/2010 01:39:00 PM | | Comment Here

AP: Reports Richard Park has signed a three-year contract with Swiss club Geneva-Servette, general manager, Chris McSorley spoke with Mark Streit regarding Park, who did play in Switzerland during the lockout.

NYIFC Comments:
Nothing but thanks and the best of luck to Richard Park, who's effort won many games here and was a huge positive in the team going to the playoffs in 07-08. Without his huge goals in Philadelphia and New Jersey that final weekend, the team does not qualify.

Cablevision-Msg: Superficial release on Msg employee Butch Goring's transfer of duties to Islander broadcast booth which was allowed/ordered to be posted on Islanders website, includes his comments on being reassigned within the company.

NYIFC Comments:
Nothing on Cablevision/Msg announcement of a new Islander personality hired to take Goring's role on telecast or in studio. So a full half hour pre/post game most of the time, we'll see.

Obviously no comment from any Islander employee on these transgressions.

The release is also incorrect. Eighty Islander games did not appear on MSG Plus last season, eighteen schedule games were on Msg+2, which many do not have access to in a standard television format, others were assigned there late in the season on virtually no notice, and some outlets did not carry these channels in HD.

Not one single game appeared on Msg despite several Devil games being given the primary Garden outlet. These details never seem to make it into hockey rating releases.

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Ilya Kovalchuk's Agent Jay Grossman On New York

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/08/2010 06:03:00 PM | Comment Here

Sporting News: Craig Custance had comments from Ilya Kovalchuk's, North American agent, Jay Grossman, about discussions with New York, in a long interview about the process that took all summer.

On reports of an offer from the Islanders:
"They inquired. They called, we had some discussions. They had to get to the floor, obviously. We had a number of calls of that type of nature, with teams that would have been interested if we were interested in a specific kind of contract. Our objection going in was to put Kovy in one place for the remainder of his career."

NYIFC Comments:
Not terribly important, but after a summer of brutal reporting for page views first and foremost, felt it was worth folks knowing what Grossman has to say specifically about Islanders part of these negotiations.

Darren Dreger's claims from what he wrote were his sources about what the Islanders could offer took on a media life of it's own, if nothing else this proved reporting standards must absolutely be reigned in.

Note-I initially posted Scott Cullen's name instead of Mr Dreger's, that error has been correct.

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Butch Goring's Employer Assigns Him To Islander Broadcast Booth

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/08/2010 02:15:00 PM | | Comment Here

Cablevision's Newspaper has reported Msg employee Butch Goring will also become the Islanders new color commentator, replacing Billy Jaffe in the television booth.

NYIFC Comments:
Butch Goring like everyone who appears on a hockey broadcast for the New York Islanders, Devils or Buffalo Sabres, is an employee of Msg regardless of what they do.

Butch Goring remains an Msg employee under contract to Cablevision-Msg, his salary is paid by Cablevision-Msg. He is not an employee of the New York Islanders.

Once again, I'm going to call this as I see it.

Msg/Cablevision just saved salary by eliminating a position (or Goring's studio replacement will be paid far less by Msg) and I suspect that was the plan all along from a company that replaced it's WNBA teams logo with that of a Casino to make extra revenue.

Charles/James Dolan's Newspaper/media people will report what they are told to report.

New York Islander management choices? About the same as when the Islander pre-game was pulled, or it was time to collect the full Metro Ice Challenge money from the same company, that ironically pulled Islander games off television long ago around the time Goring was coach.

No choice.

So now the former head coach Charles Wang allowed Mike Milbury to fire a decade ago, that drew very strong justified criticism at the time from fans/alumni, will move from the stands/Msg studio to the broadcast booth and will be discussing how Mr Wang's team performs during live play?

Only Msg knows if Rob Carlin will remain to do road interviews with head coach Scott Gordon.

A great deal is being asked of Butch Goring here, who has no background doing live game commentary in a broadcast booth or someone who paid his dues like Denis Potvin for years in such an assignment. Only he knows if he had the option to decline and remain employed with Msg.

Of course, Goring has a life filled with hockey experience beyond what can absolutely be strongly argued is a Hall of Fame career. He paid his hockey dues long before going to Anchorage Alaska, to coach the Aces after leaving New York, only to deal with another bad ownership after Howard/Ed Milstein, that did not live up to it's financial commitments. He then coached the Krefeld Pinguine to the DEL championship as head coach in Germany.

Of course, many recall Goring's brief time as Bruins head coach after leaving the Islanders as a player.

After what Msg did to sanitize Joe Micheletti's performance when he left the Islanders booth, this will not be easy for him, but as long as he is muted about his Msg employer his performance will not be an issue for them beyond salary.

So do all the savings on salary for Msg now mean a full post game for the New York Islanders or some programming?

If Sam Rosen can run downstairs and ask all the questions of Cablevision's coach, surely Howie Rose can finally start doing exactly the same and interview Scott Gordon as Deb Placey/Rob Carlin work the full locker room for every televised game, and not depart the air so quickly after the final horn?

Sorry folks, I think the world of Butch Goring, and felt he was treated terrible a decade ago after an excellent first season as coach where a team that won 24 games, played much better than projected.

I'm not the biggest Billy Jaffe fan, the team could be playing awful and be up/down by three goals and his commentary would reflect the scoreboard more than how the team was actually playing.

Bottom line, this has not been fair to Billy Jaffe, who did nothing on camera to not be rehired, this is not fair to Butch Goring, it's not fair to the New York Islanders or our fans.

Seems the only place it is good for will be Cablevision/Msg bottom line.

As I wrote after Msg/Cablevision announced Jaffe would not be rehired you have to make up your own mind about what some will actually now claim are the Islander broadcast partners, despite a record that obviously screams otherwise.

The media will not be giving that to you in Newsday about their own employees and what ultimately was their decisions.
At this time there is no official confirmation from a team website Richard Park has signed in the NLA
with Genève-Servette in Switzerland. To the best of my knowledge their regular season opens Friday.

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Islander NHL Notables/Defense

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/07/2010 09:59:00 AM | Comment Here

Denis Potvin was hired by the Senators as it's new broadcaster, according to team1200 radio in Ottawa.

NYIFC Commments:
Our so-called Cablevision partners to date cannot even be bothered with a release announcing Billy Jaffe's replacement.

Anyone who believes Howie Rose is leaving the Mets a second early to report on camp regardless of record is dreaming, this would be a good time for his latest vacation so he can do every scheduled New York Islander game this coming season.
Having more depth on defense does not necessarily mean your team on the ice will be better because it takes six players as a unit, not just two players in front of the goalie.

Meyer-Sutton individually were excellent defenders for long stretches last season, their level of play at times will be tough to replace.

They also have to be in roles they are used to and comfortable with.

I have gotten it wrong a few times this summer, noting only seven defenders on one way contracts, there are now eight.

Mark Streit, James Wisniewski, Radek Martinek, Bruno Gervais, Andrew MacDonald, Jack Hillen, Milan Jurcina, Mark Eaton.

Outside of Jurcina, all eight have been playing significant minutes when healthy for years. This will not be like Berard, Bergeron or Aaron Johnson a few years ago, where one can sit in the stands.

Plus there is second rounder Dustin Kohn, all-star Mark Katic, Dylan Reese and the two prospects in deHaan, Hamonic among other signed or recently selected draft picks.

Cannot see Gervais, Martinek, Jurcina all making this team if everyone stays healthy through camp, and what if deHaan-Hamonic out perform some of these players?

After the way MacDonald played last year, he would need a brutal camp to lose a spot or a badly mismanaged numbers game by the front office, and no chance he clears waivers with that contact vs his steady play. Would Garth Snow move what he felt was an extra number one pick in Jack Hillen?

Martinek's best has proven far better than Gervais so far.

Unless defenders start dropping with injuries (which happens a lot) someone will be without a spot who is used to playing. This 82 game season is spread out over six months, no Olympic break this time, more recovery time.

Bottom line Garth Snow should have a trade/transaction. Jurcina could be Garth Snow's equivalent of Ken Sutton, who went from solid Devils defender, to someone without a spot very quickly after signing here.

Eaton's a steady defender, who sees twenty minutes, he's going to play.
To waste more time on Tsn's preview than it was given here on twitter would be pointless, they could have picked this team first and it would have been brutal, incomplete and lazy.

30 in 30? TSN should trying going 1 for 1.

The NHL preview done in August was the most in-depth and the most accurate.

A lot of signings have done far worse than the four playoffs in five years, Alexei Yashin led the Islanders to after seven years with no playoffs (none since) with nothing close to an established first line player besides Satan.

I guess Yashin needed to talk to Canadian media like Sundin or Alfredsson to excuse their failures with far superior teams, but he didn't and the Islanders media is a disaster in selling it's players to newspapers in New York, where the sport is off the media radar entirely.
So the one team beatwriter behind the Dolan's paywall finally found out month old information on the prospects playing the Bruins's prospect next week?

Not like she is running to Syosset to report on informal workouts daily, or put together some comments, while Cablevision has it's Ranger reporter working much harder to sell the house team.

It's time for Ms Strang to get busy, like her counterparts have been busy doing several updates about informal workouts, unless Cablevision's editor is holding back coverage/information?
Meanwhile, our great TV partner is even having kids camps on the doorstep of Harbor Yard, which even the Ct Post wondered about because Harbor Yard is Islander-Sound Tiger country.
The New York Islanders should absolutely have some practices and team events inside NYC during this training camp because this is a NY team, with solid fan support inside the city (especially at Islander games at Msg), and must reach out to it's fans everywhere because the print media coverage is not going to be there, win or lose.
Notice Ilya Kovalchuk did not get one positive local article in New York about resigning with the Devils? He handled himself very well during what happened. Mark Everson at the Post lived up to his nick name (Neverson) and disappeared for the good news or to hype the signing, he was quick to point out possible penalties to NJ or who they could lose because of cap space.

Glass always as empty as possible, now that Kovalchuk is signed we may never see another article from him and never when he does well.

Good news for Kovalchuk is he did not leave a Canadian team so he will not be berated for the rest of his career.
Will be interesting to see if Kirill Petrov will be free to leave Ak Bars, to participate in Islanders camp and these games next week? He was on earlier Islander website expected to participate list. Ak Bars season starts this week.

What does it mean Kabanov, Niederreiter were not with their junior teams and will report here, which include David Toews and others? Not much. We all know the nine game rule, it's either NY or juniors for these players depending on how much impact they have.
Wonder if Nassau/Mangano have tried to land a sponsor for naming rights to help renovate/replace the Coliseum? The Cablevision Garden will now likely also be the JP Morgan Chase Garden in a great deal for them.

Dolan's print media version of Fran Healy, Neil Best, never moved faster on a weekend unless it was to report the one solid rating the Dolan's hockey team received last season on national television.
Maybe Arthur Staple wants to explain how only the 222 goal Islanders have a " weak forward corp, " while his employers team with same 222 goals is described as a forward group that could use, " more youth and some more moxie " in selling Tim Kennedy signing?

Welcome to James Dolan's Media World, hockey content controlled by Ranger fans and former beatwriters/book-writers or employees who write what they are told and how, or they find a new job.

Not a Met fan, but I respect how they pull few punches in coverage in being critical of the team they own on the air.
Sure looked like former Islander-Sound Tiger, Steve Valiquette was thrown under Lundqvist new bus last week, along with his other backup goalies. Not their fault he would not sit when he was having his usual two month slump packed with three or four goals on less than twenty shots. What's next Valiquette was the reason he could not stop a beachball in the Olympics for Sweden?

No doubt former Islander broadcaster, Jim Cerny has to sell Biron's season and two wins before DiPietro's return in January about three goalies being under contract, not his sub-par play in a two-goalie system, where he lost out to Roloson, who was eleven games over five hundred at one point.

But that does not reflect his season or what happened on the ice.

Biron has the same kind of season again as a caddy, he's going to be under Lundqvist bus quickly. Those three-four goals Biron gave up in many of his late season wins here were not quality performances.

He could have re-signed here and I would have written the same thing, he lost out in a two goalie system to Roloson, to spin it any other way would not reflect what did happened. If DiPietro returned in November and he took his job, when winning it would be more than a fair discussion.

Sure, you can make the point DiPietro should have sat while Roloson played virtually ever game, because despite 2-0 against Buffalo/NJ, Roloson was not the same goalie afterward, and he had them in contention.

Many feel it was a factor in the teams decline leading up to the deadline, it's not an unfair point to make.
On the former prospect front, Doug Rogers was invited to Tampa Bays' summer prospect camp, while Jared Spurgeon was invited to Minnesota's camp.

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Islander/NHL Notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/01/2010 11:00:00 AM | Comment Here

NHL.com: Brian Compton's in depth interview with Doug Weight, pulled no punches on his resigning, the prospects, the teams lack of media respect at times, and goaltender Rick DiPietro among several subjects.

NYIFC Comments:
One local paper owned by another NHL team used the work "weak" in describing the Islander offense, but did not use the exact same term to describe the team owned by the paper or the Devils despite all three locak teams scoring 222 goals last season.

The Comcast Flyers, packed with front-loaded contracts scored fourteen more goals than the 250 man games lost by New York last season.

The respect factor in some cases has nothing to do with the New York Islanders, but respecting the fans intelligence to not see through this selective reporting.

Brian Compton of NHL.com also noted this indirection.

Having written that no one cares or wants to write about how many man games to injury a team losses.

I'm guilty of pushing that point here often because so few media have reported it.

Edmonton had same problem last season, while Colorado lost second most games to injury here but qualified for 2010 playoffs.

After a while writing about all those one goal losses (via special teams games NY lost to Philadelphia) Weight is correct that if you want respect you have to win.

Weight also said in January, (paraphrasing) you have to have players who can finish the hard work when describing the Islanders offensive struggles. That obviously has not been answered to this point on paper about the 21st ranked offense in the NHL.

Mildly interesting Weight mentioned it was tough to make contact with Rick DiPietro, but in the end he will practice/play and that will give us our answer if to if he can hold up.

Mikko Koskinen, Kevin Poulin, Nate Lawson, and likely Anders Nilsson future contract offer depends on it.

As for Weight himself can he take a lesser role, or a seat in the stands if Andrew MacDonald or another defender is the better second pp point option? It's one thing to play hurt, but for his minutes he must produce in whatever role his is given or he was not the right signing if he cannot take a seat for a player who brings more to a specific game.

The Post Dan Martin (part time Islander beatwriter) was assigned to do some fluff on Henrik Lundvist for print edition, while Weight got a brief blog entry from Martin's editor.

The New York Islanders regardless of record will have the worst newspaper coverage out of all thirty teams.

In the end as I have written more and more, Islander fans are going to have to see through reporting standards or lack of them in many cases. Out of town NHL media or National outlets like TSN are also influenced by what they read when they do write/discuss a specific club due to their own lack of knowledge.

I suggest watch the games and make up your own minds based on how the team plays, what players/management are quoted as saying.

For myself, any one of the fifteen clubs in the East can finish first based on a year ago. All have some on-paper weaknesses at this time. No reason if the Islanders last year could compete with top teams in the East & West they cannot compete now.
James Wisniewski is in Detroit with David Booth and some Red Wings practicing, no local reports on players skating, despite usually many players/prospects at Ice Works.
Kovalchuk decision due Wednesday again by 5pm, I suspect another rejection means another NHLPA filing and arbitration hearing.

Updated-Now extended mutually per NHL/PA until Friday.
The Lee Stempniak/Raffi Torres signings still leaves some players available along with many forwards from the 2008-09 Islanders. I see some invites coming for camp but that will not necessarily mean a player will be signed.

With so few preseason games including split-squad, spots will most likely be decided at practices because veterans have to participate in games.

I will keep writing this roster will likely go right to the opener as teams up against the cap will have to make trades and let players go.

Will a Niederreiter, Kabanov, Petrov make the club/sign? We have a long way to go before those questions are answered.

All I will maintain is my guess Garth Snow will have a trade before the opener. Can only have x number of one-way contracts.
NYIFC Notables:
I will not be adding Islander player individual twitter feeds, too much non-hockey discussion. Isles have a website for this. It's been tough with too many NHL writers using their accounts for non-hockey subjects in summer.

As for NYIFC twitter, I appreciate and thank all who have joined but respectfully ask comments be kept to hockey-Islanders, if you joined to sell products or advertise, please unsubscribe.

NYIFC since April 2009 is not allowing comments after entries beyond e-mails.

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GM Garth Snow's Plan, Has He Really Learned Anything?

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/30/2010 07:36:00 AM | Comment Here

I remembered this from April 2008, the Islanders website still has a link to it.

"Average is as close to the top as it is to the bottom, and I'm sick of being average," said Snow. "We've developed a strategy to become competitive every year, which is the key to winning the Stanley Cup. It's called "The Plan." And it involved three parts: drafting wisely, developing prospects and sprinkling in free agents. We're putting in all the resources to bringing home a Stanley Cup. We need you the fans to help make this happen. We want you to continue to be the great fans that you are and we'll make this happen together."

Snow was asked about his working relationship with Nolan.

"I think it's good," said Snow, smiling to Nolan before answering seriously. "We have a great working relationship. The key is communication and we communicate on a daily basis. I get taken aback when I get asked that question."

Since that interesting evening, we have see our GM keep referring to one part of his quotes, while the other part may have been true about daily communication, but absolutely did not prove out to be a great working relationship.

Bottom line is I have no problem with Garth Snow not speaking or being guarded when he does. Many general managers/owners rarely speak and it's also usually guarded at best.

Having written this, if he decides to say something definitive it has to be honest or don't waste our time. If he wants to interview and be cryptic in responses that is also fine.

Since that day Snow has kept to his words about his plan, no doubt folks would have liked him to go heavier on the sprinkles, but on the ice his team has been sidetracked severely by injuries.

I would also suspect we will see by action if the Atlantic Division's longest tenured coach does have a good working relationship with his boss.

For those scoring at home this was the opening night lineup for game one of the Snow-Gordon era at New Jersey in 2008, many others injured/scratched that night or backups are long gone.

35 Joey MacDonald *
39 Rick DiPietro **

32 Brendan Witt * 24 Radek Martinek **
38 Jack Hillen – 2 Mark Streit
44 Freddy Meyer * – 8 Bruno Gervais **

16 Jon Sim + - 93 Doug Weight ** – 13 Bill Guerin *
15 Jeff Tambellini * – 51 Frans Nielsen ** – 7 Trent Hunter **
89 Mike Comrie * – 10 Richard Park * – 11 Andy Hilbert +
20 Sean Bergenheim * – 45 Nate Thompson * – 21 Kyle Okposo

+ Waived/Resigned AHL
** Long Term Injuries in parts of seasons
* No longer on team

Many will recall that was Jon Sim's first game after almost a full seasons absence and the start of a nightmare season that produced 582 man games lost, after league leading 402 in 2007-08. Brendan Witt played 65 games (-34) on guts with knee problems, Kyle Okposo also played 65 games but to call him completely healthy missing seventeen games is pushing it.

Frans Nielsen played hurt into 2009-10 for his 55 games that season which also concluded Mike Sillinger's career. Mike Comrie to this day has not proven durable.

Hillen/Comeau saw a large part of 08-09 in Bridgeport.

2009-10 saw man games drop to 250+ and 21st overall in the NHL which by this teams post-lockout numbers was a dramatic improvement, but indicates an underlying problem that has yet to be solved which goes well beyond only Rick DiPietro.

This will be the year we start to get some hard answers about Garth Snow's plan unless the injuries start piling up early and often again. No gang, he get's a full pass on Rechlicz, Hennigar minor signings that obviously did not pan out, his early contract to Brendan Witt did not pay off, but also no criticism to lock up a character veteran.

The trades of Mike Milbury's former first rounders in Nokelainen, Nilsson and Ryan O'Marra have not proven to be bad decisions, it remains to be seen if Garth Snow's Islanders got the most out of Jeff Tambellini and former Milbury selection, Sean Bergenheim.

For what's it's worth Snow likely could have sprinkled in Guerin, Comrie, Satan or Richard Park by now if he wanted to sign them, along with some others.

That to me would be a clear sign Snow is not sticking to his plan. If Hilbert or Sim beat out some prospect at this point it's fair to say his plan is failing in some significant spots also.

As I have written often, I see trades coming and moves made which may go right down to opening night.

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Besides Selective Media Spin What's Really Different?

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/29/2010 06:26:00 AM | Comment Here

Fun topic for a slow time, but one I have wanted to write about for a while.

A picture is worth a thousand words.

In the end, when you get past all the overt negative articles on the Nassau Coliseum (usually from media in other markets) who's employers have a vested business/advertising interest in selling their favorite teams meaning they don't call their own building dumps, it begs the question what's the real difference beyond the selective spin?

I have never read Maple Leaf Gardens, Montreal Forum, Chicago Stadium or Boston Garden take these kind of beatings from their local or national media and those facilities were horrible toward the end of their time.

The Buffalo Aud was finally demolished a year ago, it was not constantly ripped by opposing writers in it's final years as an active facility for the Sabres, who's scoreboard came crashing down in the new building.

Is it the plane ride, the LI expressway, the hotel/food/outside entertainment or simply the lack of any relevant media to objectively discuss the Nassau Coliseum?

Absolutely, Charles Wang has had to make his point the Coliseum is outdated, so are all these other facilities, but it's not a sidebar to games or previews about those teams.

Perhaps it's like the NY spin with the NJ football teams? They are entirely NJ in the same parking lot the Devils/Nets played in until they moved, but to tell the truth is not good for media business or teams so sports writers/editors look the other way along with the NFL/Networks.

Never mind NYC did not contribute one penny.

I cannot wait for the day NJ government sues the teams and NFL/Networks to demand they change the name to NJ Giants/Jets, because they are stuck in their 1.7 billion dollar stadium where NJ taxpayers are on the hook for 300m infrastructure here with 1976 Giants Stadium debt still on the books.

For 1.7 billion, it looks like a bad aluminum siding job on a house, with ugly gray speckled seats. It must remain team neutral week by week for it's twenty odd days per year of football use.

Good luck to any sports editor who allows their staff writers to constantly report the home teams facility is a dump or discuss how old or run down their facilities are at every opportunity because it's not a good career move.

Lot's of ad dollars at stake along with newspaper sales.

You think Jim Matheson or his editor at the Edmonton Journal are going to run down Rexall Place every few weeks to the point it drives away Oilers fans/readers from purchasing tickets for a 30th place team?

Daryl Katz demanded a new building a lot louder than Charles Wang ever has recently.

Detroit News: Ted Kulfan waved his Little Caesars Pom Poms a week ago, as he writes with sentiment about Joe Louis Arena, and great moments/while some players with front-loaded corporate contracts are quoted.

Mr Kulfan left out part about empty seats at Wings playoff games over several seasons, while Jobing Arena in Phoenix had better crowds in round one of the playoffs in 2010. A few years ago Mitch Albom called out Detroit Red Wings fans in the Free Press, claiming it's not Nashville.

Mr Albom forgot one minor detail, Nashville had more fans at games than Joe Louis Arena when it opened around the time the Nassau Coliseum was home to the Stanley Cup, and the Wings were offering free cars for people to attend games.

When was the last time a local paper did a similar article on great moments at Nassau Coliseum again like Mr Kulfan did?

New York Islanders problem is they don't have a media to ever defend the Coliseum the way media will defend/downplay the Little Ceasar's Wings (Joe Louis) or Cablevision Garden (Msg), Rexall Place (Edmonton) or former Pens home in Melon Arena.

You may be wondering why former Devils/Nets home is in this picture? Only because Devils owner James Vanderbeek may be purchasing the facility here despite his many disputes over rent/other items at Prudential Center.

Mr Vanderbeek also claimed the Devils were slightly in the red by his own words, in their partly tax-payer funded arena.

I'm not going to insult anyone here by writing the Nassau Coliseum is a great modern arena despite it's outstanding sight lines, but someone better tell me why we don't read the exact same criticisms about the other facilities posted about here just as often because the only dramatic difference I see is in the reporting.

Sports Illustrated In 2008 Michael Farber & Richard Deitsch, headlined knocking the Coliseum among several arena/stadium criticized and even though they included Cablevision Garden-Msg/Izod Center, left out these other facilities.

What makes this article notable was despite making the Coliseum the headline, they never provided a real reason to criticize the facility, where with others they did get specific.

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Islander Notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/27/2010 12:26:00 AM | Comment Here

I thought it would be nice temporarily to use the New York Islander Hall of Fame plaques as the NYIFC header.

A bit large, but if this blog entry is boring at least you can read the plaques a little.

At least a dozen more names should be added to the New York Islander Hall of Fame, starting with Jiggs McDonald, Ed Westfall.

I don't care if the team does it in a small/private ceremony on a weekday without the press. It's something as important as milestones for Weight, Sillinger the last few years.
Player value changes as summer unfolds, some agents/teams become more desperate to sign client/fill need. For my money I would take Raffi Torres at his one year contract with Vancouver over Milan Jurcin, a hundred times out of a hundred at virtually the same price.

Reese, Kohn among several with prospects can compete for Jurcina's spot.

Having written this, that's hindsight now.

The market has changed a lot for when Jurcina signed vs Torres, expect to see more of the same.
Do Niederreiter-Kabanov (see tweets to articles) skipping CHL/QMJHL camps mean they are locks to sign here? Tavares-Bailey trends notwithstanding, they have to make the club within the nine game rules before a decision has to be made in place before they must return to juniors.

It's up to how they play in camp/preseason.

Also someone can sign and participate in the WJC, whether they play here or in juniors.
All due respect to Antti Niemi, but at best he is a mediocre goaltender on a good team, who won a final against another team with very mediocre goaltending.

Given a choice even without DiPietro, I would prefer Roloson with one of the Isles prospects starting with Nate Lawson's .920 save percentage the last few years.

The Hawks as long as they place Huet on waivers have every right to let him play in Switzerland, same as the AHL. What they cannot do is keep his contract in the NHL plus let him sign a contract in Europe.

As for Niemi several NHL teams with mediocre goaltending not breaking down the door to sign him. How can Flyers/Caps open with such mediocre players in net or no experience not take a chance?
The source/page view game is getting so bad even the NHLPA is correcting the reports. Too bad the few professional writers simply don't demand a name be put to a quote or tell whoever they speak with the days of anonymous sources in their writing are over.

Unfortunately, that would hurt page views or ability for many to present themselves as the messenger, while they write about what they are doing for us.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

In the end folks, it's up to you to accept/not accept what is professional. My advice is to raise your standards and see through agendas/those selling anything to make a living for themselves above all.

I understand where they are coming from. If they don't produce shock-jock material or throw countless sources into a story to keep folks linking to their work, someone else will be hired who absolutely will.

Seems the best things written are the ones that simply let the players tell the story. Not very exciting, not many page views or retweets, but best quality.

The quality NYIFC still loves to post or tweet about.

Gaylord Times 8/17 had fantastic information on Weight-Tavares who took vacation together, with best quality I read all summer on both players.

On 6/28 The Evening News: Had a feature on Weight being inducted into the Lake Superior State Athletic Hall of Fame, that gave us direct quotes about last season from him about his injuries.

These are the quality updates, too bad the Islanders website did not even give them special recognition. If I can find it, certainly the interns working there producing feature articles can?

Sure the twitter Q/A's with players are fine.
All I really know about IIHF Rene Fasel is the transfer agreements collapsed on his watch for many years, maybe it's not his fault?

The KHL/Russian leagues are a big part of that problem while Sweden/Finland finally pushed through new agreements, but this man is not part of the answer with the decline in European talent being drafted, or seemingly developed. What's happening does filter to every level of development.

In a small way it's like roller hockey no longer being played in most NYC parks, just something that for the most part became less and less visible.

I also learned this week Mr Fasel is a part-time dentist, which makes me wonder how much authority he really has over anything.
Speaking of professional reporting when are the New York Islanders so-called broadcast partners at Cablevison that hide 1/4 games on Msg+2 going to step up and formally issue a press release as to what new Msg employee will replace Billy Jaffe?

Hopefully that person will not have to read promos for their FoxWoods WNBA team, or it will not be a cost-cutting decision to bring in someone already with a contract employed by Cablevision.

Former Islander beatwriter Alan Hahn on Msg the other night selling James Dolan's Knicks after virtually ignoring the Isiah circus or every other publication's criticism of his boss? Where's the current person assigned by Newsday to go discuss the New York Islanders on other outlets?

Note-I did send an e-mail to Bob Raissman of the NY Daily News, who hired a new Ranger fan/beatwriter to replace Michael Obernauer, who did less blog entries than Greg Logan (which is saying a lot) to provide us a professional report on the true circumstances of Jaffe's dismissal.

Howie Rose in 2003 finally received three year contract after many reports he would not return.

Of course, I also requested full time coverage, a professional media blog for the New York Islanders at the NY Daily News.

Might as well get our money's worth and fight for a little coverage.

If an answer is provided it will be posted at NYIFC.

Problem is people like Bob Raissman, Phil Mushnick, Richard Sandomir have far more important media stories to cover. Cablevision's media reporter works for Msg.
Today's news Steve Stirling was hired by the Binghampton Senators as their assistant coach brings a mixed reaction (see twitter entries for links) because he is qualified to be a head coach in the NHL/AHL.

Good luck finding someone to get a 92 point season out of the 2003-04 Islanders with all those injuries to the playoffs. This coach got a fifty point season out of Oleg Kvasha when he had to produce with Yashin/Parrish out, and one final twenty five goal year out of Czerkawski after being buried in the AHL.

Those 92 points were before the shootout era for those thinking about the 88 point Flyers, who made last year's finals.
If Ed Mangano finally makes Nassau/TOH residents pay for a new/renovated Coliseum through taxes or floating bonds (which Wang suggested years ago) like every other entity in NY/NJ did for their teams (including infrastructure), I will take back every word of my Ed Mangano Memorandum of Understanding with himself entry.

For the moment, I will settle for a public statement this team will never leave Nassau County and are a public trust regardless who owns them from Ed Mangano.

Kate Murray can keep her suburbia, the people who voted for her can now also pay up to provide the New York Islanders a modern facility being that Nassau-TOH over two decades fought every idea any owner ever had to make the team self-sufficient without involving the taxpayers.

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Countdown Begins for 2010-11 New York Islanders

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/23/2010 04:08:00 PM | Comment Here

A little less than a month now until camp opens, so a blog entry with a some speculation.

Seven defenders on one-way contracts without deHaan, Hamonic, Kohn, Reese, Katic, Klementyev, DeHart, among others not included in that mix.

Garth Snow obviously cannot add a defender to Streit, Martinek, MacDonald, Hillen, Wisniewski, Gervais and Jurcina now without some kind of trade or series of injuries.

A healthy Willie Mitchell sounds great to sign if healthy. Who is Garth Snow going to buyout because other teams can read depth charts just like the fans, they are not going to offer anything of value to help Snow clear a spot.

You don't buyout someone with Radek Martinek's talent nor do you give him away for anything but return equal at his best, which is on a level with Kenny Jonsson when he was at his best.

Upfront seems room at best for one forward spot (likely right wing) and no place for Josh Bailey at his natural position without a trade. Obviously Snow needs one veteran scorer, but that answer may not come until he sees how PA Parenteau actually looks vs Nino Niederreiter or Kirill Kabanov/Petrov or other players.

After Moulson last year, count out no one. The answer could come from Justin DiBenedetto, it could come from a journeyman player.

Only the Islanders know when a Doug Weight signing will be official.

My speculation? Expect someone from Joensuu, Figren, Ullstrom, Martin or especially Rhett Rakhshani to make a serious run at a spot. This is the third year of Joensuu, Figren and Marcinko contracts so pressure is on for them to take a step up after time/investment has been made on them.

Rhett Rakhshani is not an eighteen year old player, this is a player in college circles that has gotten great reviews over four years, who stayed in school and is regarded by many to have NHL level ability. It would not shock me at all to see him win a spot in the Islanders lineup out of camp.

Again unless a player comes via trade up front, this could come down to the end of camp if they have to go outside the organization.

One thing the Islanders cannot do is put themselves in a position where they have too many players, teams are not trading/signing many UFA right now, some agents/players no doubt are getting a little anxious. Players all around the NHL general managers cannot give away or waive.

Why is Lee Stempniak still on the market? Because despite his fourteen goals in Phoenix his career numbers do not lie, even if he signed here today.

Raffi Torres? Because despite his nineteen goals last year, he is a career thirty point player on average and 05-06 was a long time ago.

Paul Kariya, Guerin, Satan (insert veteran) these are support players who need others to get them the puck, the exact opposite of what the young players need here.

Are they a better option then Jon Sim if he is on this roster? Absolutely.

All due respect to Sim, but if he makes the Islanders that is simply based on a failure of some young players stepping up to earn a spot. This is the same Jon Sim who had more goals than Trent Hunter and Frans Nielsen last season.

I have no idea if Garth Snow is going to move anyone. If I had to speculate I would believe Martinek, Gervais and Trent Hunter would be those players. Frans Nielsen is absolutely someone who can be moved in the right circumstances. Rob Schremp could be moved, but after waivers a year ago, he still has too much to do at this level to have real return value.

Look at the market and where Freddy Meyer fits the Thrashers depth chart, despite how solid he was for very long stretches here?

In goal, with or without Rick DiPietro (seems going into camp with) they have more than enough goaltending depth.

Either way the countdown begins for the start of 2010-11 for the New York Islanders season.

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Andy Hilbert and Rob Hisey Sign Two-Way Contracts with New York

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/18/2010 05:46:00 PM | | Comment Here

Islanders website Announced the team has come to terms with former Islander Andy Hilbert and center Rob Hisey, to one-year, two-way contracts.

Mass Live: Reported in a January article, Rob Hisey is a twenty five year old center, listed at 5-foot-8 and 170 pounds.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio has comments from Sound Tigers President, Howard Saffan and Head Coach, Jack Capuano on both players.

NYIFC Comments:
Andy Hilbert did play four games with Minnesota last season and no doubt is a good character player or management would not bring him back to their room to be with their prospects. Bottom line is Andy Hilbert as an AHL veteran will help, but as an NHL player does not bring a single element (scoring, size, speed, physical) that the current lineup needs if a callup were necessary.

Hilbert also only played thirty three games for Houston last year, so this was not the same player who was dominating in terms of goal scoring at Providence long ago, although he did have twenty five points.

This begs the question why not bring in someone never seen here before, whether it be Bridgeport or Kalamazoo, with an element the team lacks?

Rob Hisey is not going to do anything for team's size, however as a center has too many players in front of him at that position. Some obvious skills, but has played in the AHL for a handful of games here so some possible potential.

For those needing to see hockey here is video of New York's Nineteenth Straight Playoff Series Clinching Win against Montreal in 1984. I had not seen this before and of course not the New York home broadcast. That is Jacques LeMaire behind the Canadians bench. New York trailed this series 2-0 before taking the next three. It was not a 2-3-2 format unlike the final.

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New York 2010-11 Previews? Taking Out Trash

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/15/2010 02:32:00 PM | Comment Here

Soon, if not already those outlets needing early page views/customers will be throwing out their 2010-11 NHL previews, many of them regardless of where they project the New York Islanders will be completely worthless.

One was so lazy/sloppy from Alan Muir of SI, it did not even include the acquisition of James Wisniewski. What made this worse were his comments are based almost entirely on the lack of quality acquisitions to get fans excited/purchase tickets for next season.

Did he do his Islander update in early July, was it that backdated in the rush to throw out anything about all thirty teams? Is the budget that bad at some of these publications they cannot even included basic acquisitions?

Is the disconnect this bad for some hockey outlets in North American to where they cannot even provide complete information about teams in one paragraph on a subject they are writing about?

If Mr Muir wanted to write James Wisniewski is not a quality acquisition and will struggle that's fair enough, but to not include his name at all is sloppy/lazy.

I will pick and choose the fair/detailed previews for NYIFC from professional media, regardless where they project the 2010-11 New York Islanders.

There may not be too many, but we'll try.

Professional media writers who want to do a preview and claim the Islanders cannot stay healthy, that young players will struggle, the defense will not have good chemistry are very fair questions. Those writing Rick DiPietro is too big a health risk, or wonder about Dwayne Roloson's age, special teams, not enough veteran scoring along with pressure on Scott Gordon to give them a low ranking those are also very fair reasons to put in an Islander preview as to why this team cannot win next season.

Those questions should be raised in every preview.

Having written this if it's about ten year old subjects or things over five years old, or the work is outright poor and poorly researched, it's not worth anyone's time.

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