Final Thoughts on Islander Changes Behind Bench/Notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/16/2010 08:21:00 PM | Comment Here
Several Radio, ITV interviews with Garth Snow, Jack Capuano and players were added to twitter feed.

Today I wish to present some final thoughts on coaching changes made, and some other items.

Butch Goring was in this spot a decade ago, with more first-hand experience than anyone on the subject because he lived it. His opening words a week ago asked why are Josh Bailey and Blake Comeau being moved around between wing and center this much, and flat out said it's hard enough at this level at one position. (paraphrasing)

Say whatever you want about the Dolan's contract to plug in the television booth to save money on Billy Jaffe, but he was absolutely correct in my viewpoint. Did it lead to only seventeen even strength goals this season? Maybe, perhaps not.

Hunter, Nielsen even strength performance absolutely also have to go on Scott Gordon, along with a ton of minus players.
I find it interesting how so many who did not want to give Scott Gordon any kind of fair chance when he was hired because he replaced the popular Ted Nolan now feel he was such a big part of the answer moving forward?

Always seems when a coach is hired here it's a terrible move because he is inexperienced but when he is fired or moved to another spot, the perception is they just let go of the next great coach like Peter Laviolette, who was not a popular hire at the time over Ted Nolan?

I hope for Scott Gordon he goes to another club and wins a Stanley Cup sooner than later, but it would not shock me to even see him rehired as coach of the New York Islanders next summer if he does have a good working relationship with Snow.

Having written that, one out of twenty points in regulation is going to seal the fate of most coaches, especially one with the longest tenure in in division.

I guess now Gordon can host the Dolan's Saturday night show being that Pat Flatley is never there to represent the club because full-time Islander personalities cost more money for Msg.

I suspect Lou Lamoriello will be coaching again very soon so he will not be available.
Memo to Don Lagreca: No one in New York is talking Rangers or Devils anywhere either, don't make it only about the New York Islanders in baseball/NJ football's town. That's the true reality, you are not doing our team any more favors than you do the other local teams by interviewing Snow.

The Cablevision Garden are announcing their sellouts which more and more media are noticing despite thousands of empty seats here.
Requirements for being an Instant Media Expert on Everything Regarding NYI:
1. Just check the payroll/cap/DiPietro's stats.
2. Ignore the prospects signed to max contracts.
3. Ignore the players signed to long term deals. (Nielsen/Hunter)
4. Ignore Comeau/Moulson's production at end of last season.
5. Ignore you can only have nine players on top three lines.
6. Ignore horrible UFA market for forwards less Kovalchuk last summer.
7. Ignore Agents claim Snow offered most for Paul Martin.
8. Blame Wang for not going bankrupt, claim you know what he does daily regarding hockey operations when none of us know anything along those lines and it's not our business, then claim he's only in it for real estate to contradict yourself.
9. Ignore Nassau/TOH role in arena issue.
10. Ignore NHL's oldest dump in Manhattan, & it's taxpayer exemption for life.
11. Bring up Milbury, DiPietro, Yashin, ignore the four playoffs/five years.
12. Rinse, repeat.

13. Submit resume to Espn or SI/THN where there is no local professional media outlet to challenge how our updates are served up for sensationalism first and foremost for page views.

All I ask is our fans is to tune out the rhetoric, see the players for how they perform on the ice, how management makes it's decisions on performance, and what they claim to be building towards as a franchise.

I maintain Garth Snow got on a stage and lied three summers ago about his working relationship with Ted Nolan. I'm not going to pull punches for anyone on anything regarding the New York Islanders. There are more then fair questions on why Trent Hunter has a spot or how long before Frans Nielsen starts having final value of Petteri Nokelainen as he was force-fed powerplays or what realistically can Doug Weight do at five on five?

Jon Sim outscored all three last season.

How come Joensuu or another prospects is not brought up and given same chance Jack Capuano now has?

These all go directly on the general manager, who can always made a trade to change his mix, tough trade market or not.

As I wrote recently I don't do alarmist game here at NYIFC, this was easy to see coming, which Scott Gordon noted when the team was a 4-2-1. Frankly, I do not see the current roster as it's constructed capable of producing at five on five based on what I have seen over seventeen games.

Do Jack Capuano's coaching tweaks change this because he comes in as a new voice who was failing in the AHL with an impossible three goalie system that also goes on the gm?

I'm very skeptical.

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Jack Capuano's First Day, More from Snow, Weight Speaks.

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/15/2010 07:44:00 PM | | | | Comment Here

Islanders website: Had more from General Manager Garth Snow, comments from Interim Head Coach, Jack Capuano, along with team Captain Doug Weight.

Assistant coaches Dean Chynoweth and Scott Allen will remain on staff in their current capacities. In Capuano's absence, Sound Tigers assistant coach Pat Bingham will assume head coaching duties.

NYIFC Comments:
Doug Weight did not throw Gordon under the bus, and acknowledged the players are responsible for this, however he did not sound like a man who disagreed with the decision to make a change.

Scott Gordon for his part was first class, and showed a side of himself as fans we rarely got to see. I do believe Snow-Capuano comments were genuine about how they liked Gordon. Only the gm knows if Gordon will be an active part of things or will find himself an assistant to the gm, who has the job in title only.

As for Jack Capuano's long-term status, he could be here a week or less, another coach could be hired quickly. It depends on whether the general manager is permitted to hire another coach or does this set the stage for a housecleaning next summer that includes Garth Snow?

I will add this on Capuano, if he's been teaching Scott Gordon's system for over two years, what's different that he can bring to the position?

Bottom line, this team does not start winning soon at six games under five hundred soon it's not going to matter who the coach is. They have to produce at even strength, they have to go on a winning streak.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio has comments from Pat Bingham who takes the role as Sound Tigers head coach.

Did you really expect some media shockjocks to do anything but blame Wang because they could not count how many max rookie contracts or forwards were already here with long-term contracts signed? They are not interested in the contract offer made to Paul Martin or others, it's not Pittsburgh or Chicago/Toronto or a market where they will give the teams all benefits of the doubt because those clubs are important to their businesses/status. The only thing most of them they have proven is their knowledge, information and viewpoints are irrelevant/obsolete.

There is no excuse for the New York Islanders losing streak, there is even less excuse for such lazy, outdated media coverage.

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Scott Gordon Fired As Head Coach, Jack Capuano Promoted on Interim Basis

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/15/2010 11:04:00 AM | | | | Comment Here

Islanders website: The New York Islanders announced today that Jack Capuano has been named interim head coach, replacing Scott Gordon. Gordon will remain with the organization as an adviser to General Manager.

“We believe we need a change in direction and, with the majority of the regular season still ahead of us, our goal remains to qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs,” Snow said. “Scott has made tremendous strides with our team the past three seasons and I look forward to continuing our relationship in an advisory capacity.”

NYIFC Comments:
I cannot put this on the head coach, however when you cannot change all the players, you have to change the voice in the room. Having written that when a team struggles this long offensively, the coach usually takes the hit unless it is a true partnership (see Nashville-Buffalo) many sold (not Garth Snow) when Gordon was selected as head coach.

Was it fair to Scott Gordon inheriting the NHL's most injured team his first year or losing another 250 man games lost last year, or having no Okposo-Streit this season? Absolutely not.

This is a results-oriented business with a bottom line, this team accumulated one out of twenty points in it's last ten games.

Too many players on this roster were struggling. Gordon had the most tenure of any Atlantic coach, John Anderson was fired in Atlanta and came in around the same time as Gordon with far more talent.

When the team captain employs the word pathetic with regard to the players work ethic something is going to change.

As for Jack Capuano, Bridgeport is tied for last place, and by record did not merit this opportunity even on an interim basis.

This also suggests the general manager's tenure is on shaky ground and must produce improvement he felt the team must make this season.

Do I think a coaching change will fix the offensive struggles at five on five? No, this goes to the offensive resume's of the players at even strength, however it's Capuano's opportunity which will likely be just for this season with his time in Bridgeport ending.

Of course interim can also mean a game or two before another coach is hired.

What happened today goes entirely on the general manager, he made the decision to keep or resign some veterans in Hunter-Weight, he signed Parenteau, gave Nielsen a four year contract and built a large majority of the roster.

Scott Gordon was also Garth Snow's coaching choice.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio reports no announcement at this time on the status of Pat Bingham, Jack Capuano's assistant in Bridgeport in terms of a replacement or promotion.

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Does A Coaching Change Solve Offensive Problems? NO

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/14/2010 05:31:00 PM | Comment Here

Seventeen games, seventeen even strength goals, despite the hard work in many games it's not happening offensively, and the captain is using the word pathetic and questioning the work of the players.

Doug Weight is frustrated, however the problem is not going away as long as Nielsen, Hunter, Comeau and many other cannot finish chances. Konopka for his hard work is not going to produce many even strength goals, he was pinned to the ice when Schremp's shot beat Quick for the Islanders only goal Saturday.

Very easy team to defense at five on five. Even when they generate chances you see Grabner and Tavares battling one another for puck, combined with a forecheck they cannot sustain to draw powerplays, which has had Frans Nielsen getting a bigger look with the man advantage.

Nielsen has not demonstrated he can produce at five on five, when he does take the puck and skate he usually is an easy target.

The Islanders looked painfully small, slow and lacked offensive skill vs San Jose and the Kings, players looked unsure where to be and many shots were poor percentage area's which a defense will block.

On defense against San Jose they were dominated but gave them virtually nothing in terms of rebounds.

Sure they wore down in the third against the Kings, five defenders and three games in four nights against a hot team will do that.

Replace Scott Gordon?
A lot of teams in this situation make such a move because you simply cannot change all the players. Bailey went back to center, Comeau to left wing, Grabner has been used with Tavares, so what line combination has not been tried that a new coach will attempt?

Doug Weight is no offensive answer at his age for this team at five on five.

Is bringing up the last place Sound Tigers coach in Jack Capuano on an interim basis going to all of a sudden made Frans Nielsen score at five on five, or make Hunter move faster, or turn Parenteau into a reliable five on five player? Is it going to help Bailey or Tavares finish a few chances?

Don't see a coaching change here as the solution, if one were made it would simply be for the sake of changing the voice in the room.

What's next?
This team has played five games at home, outside of one contest they have not demonstrated an ability to score at five on five in their own building.

Something is going to give soon, either the gm has to shake up his mix in some manner or make a change behind the bench. One thing for sure is Garth Snow brought back Comeau, Weight, he signed Nielsen, Parenteau and did not move Hunter after some poor/injured seasons.

Matt Martin offensively has not been visible beyond his goal against Montreal.

Also his last place team in Bridgeport has had three years of waiting on Joensuu, three years (first in Sweden) or Robin Figren/Marcinko.

Make no mistake, this has gone from three games over to six under. One point out of a possible twenty in the standings. Another two weeks of regulation losses or the eighth seed cut off reaches ten points/ten games under five hundred.

In short if that are looking at what becomes a fifty plus exhibition game schedule because the realistic part of playoff contention is over.

The general manager went on record that his team must take next step, on record that they should be able to overcome the injuries to Streit, Okposo.

It must also be noted Nashville has less goals than the Islanders, they are over five hundred.

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Reality Check: Wang's Spending Not The Problem At All

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/11/2010 01:42:00 PM | Comment Here

Do some folks understand the CBA and that rookie contracts have a max with bonus money? Or that you can only pay eight or nine forwards to be on your top three lines?

The notion this team struggling is about Charles Wang not spending more money during the summer to add an UFA forward class that was sub-par with a lot of names like Zherdev, Frolov or Torres is ridiculous. I suppose he could have done what Pittsubrgh did with Comrie or Fedotenko vs Patenteau but how does that solve anything?

You want to argue Snow should have forced Chicago or Philadelphia to trade them players they had to unload? That's not so easy, and involved top picks that here added Niederreiter and Brock Nelson. Snow got Wisniewski sort of that way, but the Flyers were not likely to trade Gagne in division, he has also struggled and been injured.

Garth Snow tried to use Wang's money on defense, which Paul Martin's agent confirmed. It would have been easy to promote deHaan or Hamonic and not signed Mottau but they spent another million plus.

Once again the CBA rookie contracts have a max with bonus money. Or that you can only pay eight or nine forwards to be on your top three lines. If Wang/Snow cannot sign them when they become RFA because of low offers then we can start talking about Mr Wang.

Tavares, Bailey, Okposo are all on their entry level contracts, making the max that Mr Wang is allowed to pay them, three spots gone.

* Frans Nielsen was drafted in 2003, he signed a four year contract, we can argue whether he should stay or not but you cannot simply get rid of someone you put that kind of commitment in, four spots gone.

* Trent Hunter is on a five year contract, you can debate a trade but other general managers see the same things we are. You cannot demote him or cut him, five spots.

* Matt Moulson was resigned and is a pending UFA, six spots.

* Blake Comeau was drafted in 2004, did it make sense to not sign him again or release him based upon his strong finish a year ago because of how much he made?
Seven spots.

* After the stretch Rob Schremp had did it make sense at his age to not qualify him because he made less money? Eight spots.

That's eight forwards, not counting Niederreiter, who would have been another max contract or Grabner on waivers coming off his rookie contract.

You want to tell me they should not have signed Weight or added Parenteau and instead added a five million dollar scoring forward, give me a name beyond Kovalchuk from last summer's UFA class? Not like the NHL is boycotting Bill Guerin or Satan these days either.

I know things look terrible right now, I felt the pp was due to dry up so now they are not scoring at all, and the five on five play scoring is reaching a point where something has to give.

They seem to be out of options beyond throwing in Joensuu, Figren or another player in Bridgeport. I hate to write it but this team played two solid games in a row and could not score, they are due again for a clunker or two especially with Thornton returning for San Jose and them desperate for a win.

Rick DiPietro also is due to play on a team with seemingly no margin for error at five on five.

Just a little reality check for those complaining about Wang and how he should spend more. The roster spots were mostly taken and he's paying some of these players the max allowed. Also spending more so far has not worked in New Jersey.

Did you want Snow to move Nielsen, Comeau or Schremp this summer simply to add more payroll, or walk away from Moulson, or buyout Hunter?

The prospects are making the max, almost all the other spots were taken. You want to blame Snow for not moving Hunter or bringing back Weight, that's fair enough, but you cannot place Bailey, Tavares or Okposo on your fourth line.

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My Plan? Bailey to Nielsen's Spot At Center

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/08/2010 04:08:00 PM | Comment Here

Garth Snow traded down twice to draft a center who had 96 points with Windsor in Josh Bailey, it's time he play his natural position of center full time regardless of who has to be moved to make that happen.

Frans Nielsen is better suited to the fourth line role because he cannot score at even strength. Rob Schremp had two even strength goals last season, but fifteen points at even strength. The tradeoff from defense is huge between Schremp vs Nielsen and a risk.

No law Konopka cannot play a fourth line wing with Nielsen centering and Weight on right side.

It's also time Blake Comeau go to left wing (as he was Saturday) and stay there for the rest of the season regardless.


Is the right side weak offensively at even strength? Absolutely without Okposo and with Hunter stuck on zero goals, along with Parenteau with a zero at even strength.

Putting Michael Grabner on top line makes that painfully clear also.

They need someone who can produce at even strength on right wing and down the middle.

Will Scott Gordon make these kinds of changes? I doubt it. Weight has been in on four even strength goals, and is only a -1 playing his natural position of center, from last year he had no interest in Schremp on the club as anything but a center.

Absolutely Nielsen is due at even strength and can keep a game close, but he is also not Michael Peca or showing any kind of signs he can produce as a top nine forward this year. If your fourth/third lines are not scoring plus top lines are not producing at five on five what can be done?

On defense they are stuck with the six they have at this time unless a call goes to Bridgeport.

In net Dwayne Roloson let up a goal he cannot allow against Ottawa, Rick DiPietro allowed a soft goal in Philadelphia, he had two turnovers vs Carolina (one stick/one glove) that led to both goals against.

Beyond that the goaltending has not been the problem, but at this point you play the goalie who gives you the best chance at winning, for now that is Roloson but not by the statistical discussion some will make.

Of course if DiPietro does start and win you have to play him.

The losing streak does not bother me (see Toronto) as much as what appears a weakness in the scoring that does not seem correctable so far either with the players here or how they have been used.

Updated: Brian Compton reports on Monday's practice and believe it or not put together Bailey as a center on a line with Comeau and Parenteau.

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Even Strength Goals -10 From 09-10 Season After Fourteen Games

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/07/2010 12:04:00 PM | Comment Here

Not sure where things go from here, something has to give.

That was about as hard as this team could play last night in a sixty minute game, and it still was not enough, they played with about as much desperation as you can ask from a team. Sure Moulson's shot or Konopka's breakaway could have been goals, with a few others to take the game going away but they weren't.

Moulson's pp goal was more a broken play.

Josh Bailey has his third new forward position, Blake Comeau was back at left wing.

However none of this is the point. You see Weight, Schremp, Nielsen, Hunter, Konopka and many others eating minutes at five on five and nothing is happening. You don't win games only by face-off numbers. Frans Nielsen has zero even strength goals this season and he's out on the pp?

Philadelphia in the third period with the game on the table, finally had a good shift and from there until they scored the back-breaking 2-1 goal, they looked like the team with a powerplay at five on five.

I'm not sure what else Scott Gordon or anyone can do, he does not have the five on five scoring to go with his powerplay and this goes beyond coaching. I'll go through these numbers last year vs fourteen games, in short Tambellini's hat-trick, Witt's two goal game vs Edmonton produced some better even strength numbers by game fourteen.

2010-11 New York Islanders Even Strength Fourteen Games:
1-3-1-1-2-1-2-1-1-1-0-1-0-0=15 goals

2009-10 New York Islanders Even Strength Fourteen Games:
1-1-2-1-2-0-3-0-2-0-2-4-4-3=25 goals

What's going to happen when they go to the West Coast? Other teams are going to press at five on five and force them into an offensive game, knowing by the numbers they are not keeping up at even strength.

No trade or firing of a coach makes Hunter move faster or Nielsen finish the few quality chances he's generating. Tavares is not producing at five on five, seems Moulson/Grabner are the only five on five players they have who can find the net.

Doug Weight is not someone who is going to produce at five on five very often, was sad seeing Richards/Carter on one side vs some of the players not scoring at five on five for this roster.

Garth Snow/everyone connected with this organization said this was the year the had to make progress and compete for a playoff spot. They either figure out their five on five struggles (among many problems) soon or this team will be approaching seven-eight games under five hundred with little hope of a turnaround.

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Not Rocket Science No Even Strength Scoring

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/06/2010 04:46:00 PM | Comment Here

Last year they were at the bottom in special teams, but had the ability to produce at five on five. This year the even strength scoring is simply not there.

If you cannot score five on five you are not going to win many games, forgetting the struggles on defense and in goal.

Even Strength:
Frans Nielsen -1: 0 goals/13 games. Overall 2 goals. 1 ps goal, 1 empty net.
John Tavares -11: 1 goal/ 10 games. Overall 6 goals, 4 pp goals, 1 empty net.
Matt Moulson -7: 3 goals/13 games. Overall 5 goals, 2 pp goal.
PA Parenteau -9: 0 goals/13 games. Overall 3 goals, 3 pp goals.
Trent Hunter -1: 0 goals/ 9 games. Overall 0 goals.
Blake Comeau -6: 2 goals/13 games. Overall 3 goals, 1 pp goal.
Josh Bailey -2: 1 goal/ 11 games. Overall 3 goals, 2 pp goals.
Doug Weight -1: 1 goal/ 13 games. Overall 2 goals, 1 pp goal.

At five on five play the primary offensive players on this roster have a total of eight goals scored in total.

James Wisniewski's two goals are on pp/zero even strength -11.

Michael Grabner's three goals are all at even strength.
Matt Martin's goal is at even strength.
Nino Niederreiter's goal is at even strength.
Radek Martinek's goal is at even strength.
Milan Jurcina had one even strength goal/one shorthanded.

Jon Sim and Zeon Knonpka failed to score a single goal, along with Trevor Gillies.

Total even strength goals scored: Twenty in thirteen games or less than two per game.

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Signs This Could Be A Season-Ending Free Fall

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/04/2010 09:59:00 AM | Comment Here

For the long-time folks who read NYIFC, I don't do the alarmist game here.

I watch games, occasionally write about what I see and look at what's working vs what is not working, and review the trends of team/individual players.

Very early they did comeback and win games they would not have come back in a year ago, I did believe it would translate to five on five play.

Recently, even when they were winning games I asked what's really different (besides pp Bailey/Comeau) than the start a year ago when they could not win early, and what happens when they do have some bad games.

We're finding out.

The signs are there right now for a season-ending free fall that make the 2008-09 injury ravaged season look tame by comparison before it fell apart when Joey MacDonald could not repeat his third NHL star of the month performance that November.

They have not scored this season at even strength, the powerplay was/is due to go into a slump. Sure if Carolina can be shutout back to back games and put up seven on the Islanders, this team can do the same starting in Ottawa tonight but there is nothing happening to indicate that it would.

The fantastic early signs of Bailey-Comeau being critical producers has stopped between injuries/line combination changes, there are very fair questions to ask of Scott Gordon on that subject.

Gordon is also falling into the Richard Park trap with Doug Weight at even strength, and sure he's in on most goals. Grabner down 5-0 off Weight's work are not going to sustain this offense or get it un-tracked at five on five.

I saw Bailey's play against Philadelphia where he was robbed, I know Weight's fore-check got the puck to him. Having written this I saw where Bailey was on left wing and my first impression was what if he was playing his natural spot at center where he did all that scoring earlier and in juniors?

Worst of all the teams edge/defensive play/blocked shots/lanes has been lost the last three of four games without Andrew MacDonald. Roloson had to be outstanding in Montreal to allow only four goals, it could have been eight or more.

The 2-1 winning goal against Montreal on Friday, Tavares and Martin did not hustle back to have their man who had all night to come in to slot and score. In Philadelphia and Carolina, we have seen players on other teams beat the defense on the walls, get behind them for easy tap-ins and to the center ice for one-timers.

Team defense includes the wingers and centers.

Doug Weight floating through middle not having Staal in the high slot for the third goal last night, Schremp getting beat at the blueline by Samanov and again to the net on Matsumoto's first goal is not acceptable, his reaction (along with Scott Gordon) said it all.

Skinner on the sixth goal is not quality coverage.

DiPietro's Fault?
His one poor goal allowed vs Philadelphia was terrible, the first and fourth goals against Carolina go entirely on his inability to handle/cover puck.

Having written this ten other goals were scored that went beyond goaltending and were about poor defensive play by the entire team. They did not lose the last two games because of Rick DiPietro, even though a few want to blame him for even being part of this team regardless how he plays.

Marty Biron was 2-11-1 last January when Roloson was around ten/eleven games over five hundred. Biron allowed soft goals last October that cost this team a lot.

Right now DiPietro is 2-3-2, they cannot afford many more poor goals or mistakes.

My preseason concern about DiPietro/Roloson splitting games and being effective still are a question here.

Bottom line:
Last year even with injuries this club had ability to stop the bleeding and win a bunch of games, even in March.

This year has a very different feel and almost the opposite with the five on five play fair and the pp terrible for long stretches.

This begs the question if you don't have even strength scoring for most of twelve games, if it's down to Mike Mottau, Mark Eaton having to play as top four defenders, with the struggles of Hillen/Gervais (+1 Wed) and a lot of forwards not paying price to win pucks in the corners or the middle of the ice, plus a goalie allowing making mistakes on a team that cannot afford a single one, where does a turnaround begin?

You have to have something that works to turn things around to get the confidence going. At even strength Parenteau, Hunter and many of these forwards don't look capable of that.

Even with a different team/coach in 07-08, the club lost seven straight, but you could see them getting close to breaking out by plays they were creating, when they finally won what they built toward produced a six game winning streak.

I wrote last week some things were due to start/stop working for this club, they are showing no sign the long overdue even strength scoring is getting close, and now the team defense is struggling.

Five straight regulation losses mean zero/ten available points. In this league playoff teams cannot allow that, earlier they were getting to overtime or winning.

They will not be winning as they did against Detroit, Vancouver, Chicago last year playing at this level five on five. Last year's team would have gotten that game in Washington to overtime, and did twice.

Again, I don't want to be an alarmist. It could turn around, but if it does not soon it could be a season-ending free-fall.

I don't like the signs/trends or what I'm seeing in these games. This is an easy team to play against in too many areas.

-Nice high stick on Martinek not called or run into DiPietro on Carolina fifth goal, by the officiating. Not an excuse, but what needed to be called.
-Jon Sim (unfortunately for Sim/great for Islander prospects) went to Bridgeport for an 11am game, scored a hat-trick, the shootout goal in a 6-5 win and did everything short of taking the 7,000+ kids out to lunch afterward.

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Islander Notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/01/2010 10:17:00 PM | | | | | Comment Here

"If you look at the replay, it's clearly not a crosscheck which is two hands moving forward. It's a push with one hand. The mistake I made is my stick was up there. Is it worth three games for that? I don't think so.

"And on top of that, I missed him. I didn't even get him ... My glove grazed the top of his helmet, not my stick."

No shock, Colin Campbell decided Daniel Briere's second suspension for head-hunting only carries a three game suspension which appears to have been decided based on schedule. Somehow a second suspension (not including his 2006 suspension) for head hunting does not even merit the five games Thomas Pock received with no prior history.

Briere has his own logic, where he thought at best he would receive a game here and is shocked at the decision.

"I made a mistake, my stick was up. I'm the first one to admit that it shouldn't have been there,'' Briere said. "After what happened with Trevor Gillies on Coburn, I said, 'I got to protect myself,' and if you see the faceoff before, he gets me in a headlock and punches me behind the head.''

NYIFC Comments:
So in Briere's world, he needed to protect himself from Frans Nielsen with a five on three man advantage, that included only Mark Eaton and Radek Martinek on the ice while Trevor Gillies was already out of the game? Also Carcillo, needed to hit Nielsen from behind because Briere needed even more help?

About as big a mismatch as the Cablevision's invisible Islander media vs the Comcast Flyer media, in a game of who controls the spin which obviously influences fan viewpoints which Campbell likely uses because player record obviously do not play into this.

If Pock received five game with no record, Briere as a repeat offender for intentional head-hunting must receive ten games, not three. You don't intentionally raise your stick towards anyone's head. PERIOD.

Comical, as usual. If New York did not play Philadelphia Saturday, it likely would have been less games.

No folks, not a word on Trent Hunter's penalty being rescinded by the league, we don't have Pittsburgh media either to lobby for any action.

-Apparently, Rob Schremp is healthy per the Islanders website here.

NYIFC Comments:
Obviously Josh Bailey will not be used in his natural position if he's being moved off center for Doug Weight, who is not going to score at even strength. Only the coach knows what's ahead for Schremp in terms of position but did say last year he must play center.

Jon Sim was placed on waivers here.

NYIFC Comments:
With Schremp and Grabner returning, someone had to go. Matt Martin may or may not be following him to Bridgeport, but Sim on a two-way contract had to standout to remain.

On a two-way contract this year (unlike past) there is a fair chance sim could be claimed to play for another organization at the NHL/AHL level because he is a hard-working player who is good for an organization, and was a huge part of Bridgeport making the playoffs a few years ago. Andy Hilbert has yet to play due to injury so a veteran is needed in Bridgeport.

It seems this club needs a steady fourth line, too many nights it's been three lines and a mix, as Trevor Gillies barely sees the ice. The breaks in Nov schedule indicate Gordon has the luxury this month of going with three lines/mixing.

The hitting Matt Martin brought against the Canadians is an element lacking on this roster.

Would it be a day without another player injury? Milan Jurcina out 2-4 weeks.

First things first, some even strength scoring and a sixty minute game in Carolina.

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Campbell's Officials Creating More Problems/Injuries

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/31/2010 01:40:00 PM | Comment Here

I know Colin Campbell is an easy target, however he makes himself one.

This man is the NHL's executive vice president of hockey operations and supervisor of officials, he has no clue of anything besides the calendar or standards no one can follow regarding officiating/league decisions.

I don't have a clue what's going to be decided.

Sun Sentinel: Colin Campbell here is too busy cracking jokes beyond admitting a mistake that cost a team a game and could have cost Florida it's goaltender due to injury after Orr ran the Panther net-minder.

Meanwhile Konopka was taking the puck at the net last week and was given an interference penalty?

No folks, this is not about the scoreboard or watching hockey through blue and orange glasses, it's about getting calls correct/consistent regardless of laundry.

It's about a five minute penalty and ejection to Trent Hunter for a shoulder on shoulder check that helped put away an Islander team that was playing poorly already, it's about setting up a five on three for Philadelphia by giving Trevor Gillies three minor penalties, which I have never seen in thirty plus years watching hockey for a few pushes and a swipe.

Hunter's penalty should absolutely be overturned.

Meanwhile the officials leave Dan Carcillo in the game after his two fights with Konopka (who was ejected) and after that he get's into it with Gillies and he's left in again so things could escalate in a 6-1 game?

Where is the common sense from the officiating there? Nielsen was jawing at Briere, and got a ten minute penalty?

So now we see if the NHL conference call for Briere Monday TSN results in a suspension that we can only guess at because it's October and not April?

For those scoring at home (not Campbell) Briere was suspended for two games in 2009 for head-hunting Scott Hannan of Colorado.

Are we supposed to be happy Nielsen was not seriously injured again? Is an intentional chop to his head decided based upon it being 10/30 or dismissed because it's just a part of hockey on this day but not when Pock or Brendan Witt hits a player?

These things all occurred last night because poor officiating led to them happening.

You eject Carcillo, Knopka, Gillies and keep things close to even strength.

Meanwhile the Islanders were being handed bench minors and somehow Roloson's name appeared in the box-score for serving a penalty to DiPietro?

As for DiPietro he let in a very soft second goal, he was the victim of a bad bounce off end boards on first goal, and some terrible coverage/Flyers pp on the others. He displayed a ton of guts to stand up for his teammates, and was lucky Pronger did not engage him. The fungo act has to stop, along with the clearing attempts up middle.

Having written this goaltending was not even close to the reason the team got blown out on the ice or started that game with absolutely no jump again. DiPietro did not have an easy third period, yet stopped everything.

I will say this for Butch Goring, he's a former NHL head coach and either read NYIFC or does not understand what Scott Gordon is doing either because one minute into live coverage he's wondering why Bailey and Comeau are being moved around this much between center and wing?

He was dead right, it's hard enough to play at this level without that. After the start both had they should have been put right back together and left together.

27th in even strength goals after eleven games is not going to get it done, if the powerplay falls off as expected it could be a very rough ride unless these problems get solved right now.

Not the same team defense without Andrew MacDonald, the breakdowns and mistakes along the walls led to some goals that go beyond netminder.

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Depth Gone, Even Strengh Scoring Not Happening, Slumps Expected

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/30/2010 05:04:00 AM | | | | | | Comment Here

Of course, they could have bounced a few past Alex Auld Friday.

Matt Moulson could have scored on his breakaway, Tavares was robbed, Weight took the puck at the net like he was ten years younger than his birth certificate, however that's not the point, it's about building something for the long-term here.

Enough opposing coaches/players credited the Islanders hard work last year or being a tough team to play.

When you think of how this club was on special teams a year ago, the pp has been a fantastic trend so far.

The starts to games, the even strength scoring are all alarmingly poor trends for more than a few weeks now.

Rick DiPietro starts Saturday.

Scott Gordon was surprisingly upbeat in his post-game press conference after a third straight loss Friday here which Cablevision promised to show but eventually decided not to wait for and after a while cut the telecast off so Msg+2 could show it's test pattern.

New York again did not start a game well at all, not only on the scoreboard, but in terms of creating chances, it's a trend that has lasted quite a while and very noticeable.

It's been a different than a year ago (not counting injuries) however the trends/NHL averages/player careers suggest the pp was not going to carry them for eighty two games. Tavares is not going to be a goal a game player, Doug Weight, James Wisniewski are not going to make a run at a hundred points.

This means others have to step up, and fast. Travis Moen looked like a superstar driving the net for two huge goals in back to back games.

Paging Jon Sim/Trent Hunter/Zeon Konopka.

I maintain Blake Comeau has not been the same player since he was banged up repeatedly in games, or does not have the extra step. Josh Bailey has looked pedestrian (granted only two games) where before he looked like a first line center in how he was playing in all three zones.

With Bridgeport getting a rare weekend off, Rob Schremp either waits in Ct for Wednesday or returns to New York. If Gordon maintains his stance from a year ago that Schremp must play center, Bailey is moving back to wing.

What if Bailey needs to play center to be as dominating as he was?

So much for depth.
Milan Jurcina was injured Friday against Montreal and is out for Saturday. This means Bruno Gervais has his full time spot back on defense, Trevor Gillies likely goes back into the lineup vs Philadelphia.

Time to start reversing the trends, the 6-1 losses/poor games all teams have over eighty two contests are also one of the trends due to happen soon.

The even strength scoring is overdue, so is a sixty minute effort.

Things have to start balancing out, regulation losing streaks cannot happen in this league if you expect to be a playoff team.

Bottom line in an eighty two game season there are x nights you are going to be the better team and win or play just well enough to steal points, or the team is going to have a clunker and lose big.

It's what teams do in those other games up for grabs that separate the contenders and pretenders.

Six points/three games were just lost that were clearly on the table for this team to win, they got none of them.

Successful teams find a way to win those points, this team must do the same thing.

Don't count on another year of three clubs under ninety points making the playoffs from this conference, last year was the exception, not the rule.

There are trends to be broken all over Philadelphia on Saturday for Scott Gordon's players.

-NY Times: Dave Caldwell was allowed to do a feature on Zeon Konopka, but not cover the game.

The Times did not cover the game at Cablevision Garden vs Carolina Friday.

-Oregon Live: Nino Niederreiter had an assist in Portland's 4-2 win over Kelowna Friday.

NYIFC Comments:
The local paper that covers the Winterhawks is on NYIFC prospect blog for those who would like to follow Nino Niederreiter's game by game progress.

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Kirill Kabanov Traded To Lewiston Maineiacs QMJHL

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/29/2010 12:03:00 AM | | | | 2 Comments

Good night to do some blog entries apparently.

Lewiston Maineiacs website & Sun-Journal: Justin Pelletier reports the Moncton Wildcats traded Islander prospect Kirill Kabanov to Lewiston for a package of draft selections in next summer's QMJHL entry draft, along with 17-year-old net-minder Jordan Kennedy.

Lewiston GM Roger Shannon, Coach J.F. Houle and Managing Consultant, Bill Schurman comment on trade that includes following on paperwork and Immigration status:

"We know they don't work on weekends, so unless he goes down and everything is absolutely taken care of tomorrow, this weekend is out," Shannon said. "But having him in town next week for the game against Quebec is still a possibility."

"We're working hard on that right now," Schurman said. "We're hoping we can get the t's crossed and the i's dotted and have him the lineup, maybe by Wednesday."

Moncton Wildcats: GM/Head coach/Former Islander assistant coach Danny Flynn had the following statement on the trade:

“Kirill is a talent. I want to wish him the best of luck in Lewiston. In return we receive a young player and 4 draft picks that will help us maintain a solid future for the Wildcats.”

NYIFC Comments:
In short Lewiston (Lewiston, Maine) are the only QMJHL team located in the United States, hence the possible paperwork and immigration issues/delays.

Times/Transcipt: Neil Hodge had more from Danny Flynn on why Kabanov was traded.

"There were no issues here at all this season that prompted this move. This was purely a hockey trade. It was something that we've talked about for quite some time.

"It was a difficult decision to trade him, but we just thought this made sense from the standpoint of the future of this franchise. Acquiring a good young goaltender and four significant draft picks gives us options."

NYIFC Comments:

As for the hockey situation it was obvious Kabanov had worn out his welcome in Moncton, regardless of his recent departure for personal reasons or Danny Flynn's classy statement. If a professional like Flynn/Wildcat management decided to make such a trade this reflects very poorly on Kabanov, who's interviews contradict his actions.

Obviously Lewiston management thinks very highly of Kabanov, it's now all up to him to develop on and off the ice. It said a lot the Islanders demoted him before a single exhibition game, when they needed prospects for split-squad contests.

The rest is all words and speculation. Mr Pelletier the other day had some speculation on Kabanov being traded, it was not packed with source game, so I added it in twitter updates here.

For reference former draft pick Max Gratchev from 2007/4th round also played in Lewiston.

NYIFC Prospect blog is updated with change for Kabanov.

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Jimmy Devellano Article on Islanders Website/Not Torrey FLA Tributes

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/28/2010 10:46:00 PM | | | Comment Here Brian Compton does a feature on former Islander scout Jimmy Devellano and his induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame on November 8th.

"The Islander days were very important to me," said Devellano, who admitted he reflects often on his time in Long Island. "First of all, I don't get to Detroit as a general manager if I don't do a job for the Islanders. I know that. Bill Torrey was a great boss; he was a great mentor for me. He really gave me a lot of authority. Basically, he entrusted the draft to me.

"We had a lot of success. It led to four consecutive Stanley Cups. You really put that into perspective … that no other U.S.-based team has ever won more than two (consecutively). Here are the Islanders -- in their eighth, ninth, 10th and 11th years of existence -- (winning) four in a row. It was a team that almost was 90-percent built through the amateur draft. I'm very proud of that. That was my role there.

"I would still tell you the highlight of my life was the first Stanley Cup with the Islanders. You get into this business, you don't know if you're ever going to win one. If you do win one, you're not that cocky to think you're going to win two or three … or six or seven. It happened, but I didn't know that at the time. Those were very, very happy times."

NYIFC Comments:
Thrilled for Mr Devellano, I'm long familiar with his role here when New York won the Stanley Cup, I remember his return for the 25th Anniversary and his comments back then as well, first class gentleman.

I would be lying to my readers if I said I wrote a separate update for this because it was announced long ago.

This was posted this because the Florida Panther raised a banner to Bill Torrey Saturday, the Panther website had several updates, but none of them appeared on the Islander website, nor was anything special written by the Islanders staff.

The ceremony was posted on ITV quietly with nothing added where our fans coulod view it. Doug Weight came out during the tribute, but all our fans saw locally were highlights from his night back in 2001 beyond a very quick look in.

So why is the Islander website using updates for Mr Devellano but not for Mr Torrey?

The teams website is quick to give us features on Gillies-Konopka or about video replays (all worthy features) are made (Msg employee Butch Goring's quote was even allowed to be used by Cablevision) but they ignore Mr Torrey's ceremony plus Jiggs McDonald as emcee?

No excuse for this from the Islander website or the New York Islanders so-called
television partner who did not cover his live ceremony last Saturday, on the latest hidden Msg+2 telecast, but did interview him between periods.

Our fans should have seen the full ceremony and the New York Islanders writing staff/management should have honored Mr Torrey with written tributes.

No excuse for anything else.
For some reason Rob Schremp twittered he is going to play for Bridgeport Friday in Manchester, then it was quickly erased. I guess we will know tomorrow if he is traveling to the Sound Tigers road game.

NYIFC Comments:
Either way it's not a state secret that will have Manchester management scrambling to late night emergency meetings to adjust strategy. If he does play it's almost the equivalent of Scott Gordon's game day goaltending announcements. Fair to say most teams know and are well prepared/scouted for Dwayne Roloson or Rick DiPietro.

I have never had any problem with the Islanders being secretive with injury announcements per NHL policy. With the brutal media treatment they receive, I would not tell outlets anything and simply have them copy all breaking news from the website, and let them work off that.

This is Scott Gordon's practice and he does it in a way like it's going to give him some kind of advantage by waiting until game day.

Fair to say no one on the Islanders is scrambling tonight since the announcement of Alex Auld as the Canadians starter Friday to watch video.

If Scott Gordon does not know who his starter is Friday at this point, fair enough.
James Wisniewski near the top of NHL defenders scoring which is fantastic on countless levels for the New York Islanders, having written this I did not like how he played that Montreal short-handed goal, watch how he did not cut out the passing lane, despite him having position.

A disaster? No. Wisniewski has been very good and it's first month with a new team, but it's worth noting it's not the first time Wisniewski has not had his stick in right area to cut down passing lane, but skated to the correct area or had position.

Sure Weight/anyone could have lost the puck pinching and got beat, that's going to happen, it almost happened before he set up a goal by Bailey against Colorado, and he lost one against the Rangers which could have turned that game.

Not related to any of above but this defense seemed to have lost it's lynch-pin with the loss of Andrew MacDonald, that's with Radek Martinek playing his usual steady game.

Mark Eaton reminds me a little of Andy Sutton's very early days here when he was a victim of bounces, deflections or blocked shots that went to players who scored.

I'm not sure yet about Jurcina or Mottau as New York Islanders, better than track records, but expect mistakes. Maybe they can be better here than they were in New Jersey or Washington/Columbus.

Too much rust on Jack Hillen, far too much rust on Gervais, this classy kid needs to play somewhere and soon, even if it means a conditioning game.

The teams website had a good thing going with Islanders Authorized last year, they went out of their way to promote it, then stopped using it around June or July and now release things on Facebook/Twitter but it's jumbled among the comments/announcements and harder to follow.

The advertisements on the Islanders twitter feed for so many things and not hockey updates only made it impossible to use here on sidebar which extended to team website updates last year.

NYIFC is trying to keep up. The Islanders Authorized feature was removed and something was created for Islander-Bridgeport Facebook/Twitter.

Bottom line it would be appreciated if they use one outlet and stick with it.

Looks like Fox Rupert Murdoch has no problem doubling Cablevsion Ranger coverage in Post, having Jay Greenberg cover games while the Islanders have received nothing written in quite a while.

A few more days of this and Mr Murdoch may tell his sports editor to send Larry Brooks and Greenberg on the road with the Islanders.

Does the Daily News take Peter Botte out of hiding for a night? His twitter feed does not reflect someone watching games with any enthusiasm for the club whatsoever, who does not even follow.

The NY Times has the budget to pay a writer to do crossword puzzles with the Islander players, but does not have the money in that nice, modern building to cover any of the teams hockey games?

I'm sure there is a word that can fit on a crossword puzzle.

The twitter box will be re-posted at 5pm Friday.

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Niederreiter Returned to WHL

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/28/2010 03:55:00 PM | Comment Here

Islanders website: Report Nino Niederreiter was returned to the Portland WinterHawks by the club today, the teams website had an update with his comments here.

NYIFC Comments:
At such a young age or almost a year younger than Tavares/Bailey when they were rookies it's easy to see why this is the right move for Niederreiter, but he obviously made it tough on management with his seasoned play. Matt Martin was expected to be here going into camp, plus they have Joensuu/several wingers in Bridgeport with more seasoning who need an opportunity, plus at some point Kyle Okposo will return along with Rob Schremp moving another center to wing.

You can only play three right wingers on top three lines.
**************************************** Report Alex Auld will make his debut for Montreal Friday in New York.

NYIFC Comments:
Given the road trip coming up along with the Islanders constant struggles in Philadelphia, this club needs a win Friday regardless who Scott Gordon puts in goal. Four games now in a row they have outplayed for long stretches of games.

Scott Gordon before the game in Montreal had this quote, and I could not write it any better to sum up what I have been seeing, granted Comeau and some players have obviously not been same or playing hurt or getting banged up in games:

“Usually when a team struggles, they were struggling before they started to struggle, It might not have showed up in the win-loss column, but to me (our play) started to deteriorate after the Washington game. We didn’t come close to playing the last four games with the same kind of oomph that we had in the first three.”

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New York Does Not Need A Short-Sighted Contract/Notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/27/2010 01:08:00 AM | 1 Comments

Someone has to remind folks you only have six spots for your top two lines.

John Tavares, Josh Bailey, Kyle Okposo and if he stays Nino Niederreiter make as much money as the CBA allows them to be paid with bonus money. Trent Hunter is on a five year contract.

Rob Schremp on paper is the second line center, and his production supports that kind of spot. After the season do you dump him or Blake Comeau because you need a higher paid veteran winger because your payroll is too low?

Charles Wang did spend plenty of money and his team qualified for four playoffs in six years before becoming the NHL's poster-team for man games lost to injury, acceptable results? No, but hardly a management that should ever be portrayed as poor or not trying to win.

It's kind of on the same level reading from some of these experts how Garth Snow is building like Chicago and Pittsburgh now.


So Garth Snow bought half the league like Craig Patrick a few years ago to finish in the basement after Crosby lottery before he was fired, or Snow should have paid Campbell, Huet/Hossa huge money and fired his coach after four games and the gm should have forgotten to submit his qualifying offers in time?

These are also the Hawks that lost 30m per their ownership after winning the Stanley Cup here.

Should this have been Garth Snow's blueprint because I must have missed it, either that or when you win the Stanley Cup, no one remembers what actually happened?

Folks want to write Garth Snow never should have given Moulson a shot at an NHL spot, fair enough. I was one to write they should move on from Doug Weight and added/traded for a scoring winger.

Guess what? Snow/staff made right call on Moulson regardless what the payroll turns out to be, and it's looking good on Weight/Parenteau early.

Not like Simon Gagne with no points/minus eight is off to the same start as PA Parenteau statistically with a far better offensive supporting cast on paper.

Hard to argue with adding someone with Michael Grabner's talents which are painfully lacking on this roster in speed/hands department. It's easy to argue with Trevor Gillies getting a very expensive seat to barely play or mix and match three lines.

Bottom line it's a long-season, but how much money you spend is not the answer sometimes. Management has proven so far the players it has targeted can help this organization, they are playing acceptable enough to accumulate points.

Long term Wang/Snow's payroll test will be re-signing Moulson, Wisniewski, Parenteau, Comeau and Schremp, their biggest problem will be in finding a way to fit Bailey, Okposo, Tavares into their budget.

If they reached out to Kovalchuk over the summer and made an inquiry, fair enough, obviously they were patient enough to identify players who apparently fit what management is trying to do. I felt they should have kept reaching out, so far the results suggest management knew better.

PA Parenteau is not the NHL's best kept secret, he's not a franchise superstar, but if this waiver-wire player becomes a fifty point winger here, he was the right decision regardless of the teams current payroll. Jussi Jokinen was passed on waivers by Snow/NHL, he went to Carolina and became a thirty goal player.

I watched the NHL market this summer as did everyone, what franchise offensive talent was available beyond Kovalchuk? You wanted a Simon Gagne trade fair enough, but asking the Flyers to trade in division is not their first choice of a salary dump.

You wanted Frolov, Torres, Nystrom over some of the players here now? Fair points.
NHL/Islander Notables:
The loss of Andrew MacDonald is huge to this team's defense, the closest player they had to Mark Streit in terms of a two-way game. Obviously the club was not happy in practices/scrimmages with play of Jack Hillen which substituted for teams preseason schedule or Mike Mottau would not be here with a two year contract.
My guess is I don't have a clue if Nino Niederreiter is going back to Portland. If I had to speculate I would say no based on Bailey-Tavares, but Matt Martin was not on rookie/Bridgeport camp list before his injury, neither was Jesse Joensuu.

I would send him back, put Matt Martin in Gillies spot, and callup Joensuu. Bottom line is at some point Kyle Okposo will return. You don't put Niederreiter on your fourth line and demote Sim.

Bailey, Tavares, Nielsen, Comeau and top forwards must stay healthy.

Sure Niederreiter has looked good enough to stay also with his overall play.

The bonus points and play of Doug Weight cannot be counted on long-term, the stats and age do not lie as fantastic as he has played.
Tavares was never this dominating in front of goal as he was against Florida a year ago, the first/third goals were excellent signs, but he is still a very young player who should have no expectations of thirty goals placed on him, even if he reaches that number or greater.
If they play in spurts like they did against Toronto, Tampa, Florida, they will be in a regulation losing streak soon. Games cannot come down to Roloson or DiPietro stealing points. Florida never played the Islanders in Sunrise, as poorly as they did on Saturday and still had four goals. DiPietro was not great, but the mistakes in front of him were not good either.
Beating Habs is no major accomplishment, not late last year or now, but I would like a sixty minute game and a win Wednesday after Mike Cammalleri, cheap shots from Canadian media over split-squad roster.
Always nice to see the Devils receive some coverage. Kovalchuk could score 100 goals and would not receive the coverage he got for one benching. I seem to write this every year around now, when the Devils are in first place will anyone remember? When they finally lose for a full year, things have changed, not before.
If I'm going to be critical of Msg for not showing Torrey ceremony, the Islanders website did a pathetic job not recognizing Bill Torrey with a tribute. We don't need Gillies-Konopka features, as much as we do need people like Mr Torrey to be honored long and loud.

This was a website staff that was giving us non-stop updates on Sopel-Asham last June as they played in finals.

The twitter box will be up Wednesday afternoon.

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