12/6/10

A Little Good News...Hamonic, Joensuu, Martin.....And Some Media

New York Islander Fan Central | 12/06/2010 09:04:00 PM


It may well be a lost season, however there are some good individual things taking place here with the development of Jesse Joensuu, Travis Hamonic and Matt Martin.

Joensuu has more speed than I expected, and a nice ability to cut to the net, he has the scoring hands as he displayed against the Devils, and I love what he did against the Rangers to stick up for Nielsen. Win or lose was nice seeing an Islander have a size advantage in a fight/scrum for once.

Travis Hamonic may look like he is fourteen but apparently the Islanders liked what they saw in him so much, the very reliable Dylan Reese went back to Bridgeport Monday who are overstocked with depth again on defense. Cannot say he looks out of place or over matched to this point.

I know Matt Martin has not put up the numbers or do I see him driving the net as he did a year ago, but he hits a lot and is a noticeable player.

Rhett Rakshani/Robin Figren absolutely need to come up and get a look on this teams wings. I'm very impressed with Rakshani and feel he brings a scoring element lacking on this team.

I know Andrew MacDonald has had three puck go off him for goals the last two games, I'm not worried about his play one bit. He will settle in, get the rust off his game and at some point contribute on offense.
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I know folks don't want to read this and may get the impression I'm trying to spin how poorly this teams record and season has been, however this team has played competitive hockey all season.

So far this group is not going out and losing games 6-0 every night, to portray the club in those terms would contradict how games have been played.

For those who have followed NYIFC, I saw the signs of problems when they were winning, and wrote a free-fall could happen. Scott Gordon was talking about his offensive problems after the Tampa win, which I highlighted and agreed with.

And sure two years ago they lost a ton of one goal games also, it's nothing to celebrate at all, but does have to be written this team does not go out most nights and mail it in.
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You read this non-sense from a few over the top vindictive folks in the media, who go above and beyond to bury this franchise, most facts do get lost along the way because they need their page views and really don't watch the team play.

New York has twenty losses at 5-15-5.
Eleven were one goal games, five overtime/shootout. Three two goal losses via empty net.

The last six games New York could have easily won and absolutely were competitive, if their even strength scoring and pp gave them any timely goals/or anything.

I don't think that can improve this season, twenty five games is enough to see there are offensive issues not going away.

I do see some poor efforts and big losses coming, all teams have clunkers, this team has had about three or four this season, and are again due.

Plus Boston, and some upcoming teams can fill the net and embarrass anyone, I saw what they did to Tampa, winning 8-1.
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Good time to see how many friends this team has in NHL media circles, these days, the kind answer is not many.

I don't like to write about other teams, however for the very limited Ranger fans in the local media who love to kick the New York Islanders (for their personal enjoyment/past success, lack of money to cover them full time, or to satisfy some former employee's personal agenda/grudge) whether they are up or down, spare us.

The New York Islanders, Rangers both made four playoffs last decade, both scored same 222 goals last season (as did Devils) and both missed the playoffs, both play in dumps for home facilities.

I did/do not see articles from the same shock jock crews calling for the NHL/NBA to step in and remove James Dolan.

No doubt it's a very tough time for the New York Islanders and our fans, knock off the vindictive attacks or hold all local teams to the exact same standard or kick all teams when they are down. Charles Wang even paid out of pocket to upgrade a building he does not own nor was obligated to do, why don't you write about that?

Maybe the league should step in and have former Ranger beatwriters, Frank Brown and John Dellapina, never shy about bashing the Islanders, who currently occupy top media positions in the NHL, have a few meetings and request these money losing publications have their editors at the Post, Times and Daily News give this team full time coverage and blogs or demand the Dolan's open their pay wall and hire a full time, experienced professional beatwriter.

Writers that actually cover the team, all games, that interviews the players?

Coverage that went in the tank under past media relations coordinators that worked for the New York Islanders, and set them up for the lack of credible coverage they receive now in newspapers.
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When I twittered Ranger Newsday beatwriter, Steve Zipay why his article said New York was 1-13-1 at Msg recently, I asked if the Dolan's wrote that for him? He replied the Islanders media gave him the notes for a game in his own building?

I guess Mr Zipay does not proof-read his work or Sports editor, Hank Winnicki has a very short memory given the Islander were around 9-4-2 at Cablevision Garden going back to 2005-06. Most of those games Mr Zipay personally covered.

Msg does not provide the media notes in their own building about the teams record at home against the opposition?
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Have been a bit behind on WJC, however will have a few updates. Usual suspects like deHaan will play for Canada, of course Niederreiter, others.

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12/5/10

57 Game Pre-season All That's Left For 2010-11 New York Islanders

New York Islander Fan Central | 12/05/2010 05:09:00 PM


Very tough time to be a New York Islanders Fan right now, sure a lot of people are staying home and that's very disappointing but the nature of NY market when teams lose.

Having written that you stick by your team, and support them as best you can. I'm not going to pretend to insult anyone's intelligence by writing that's easy, however that is what loyal fans do.

Four playoffs in a decade is not acceptable, not here, not in Florida or with countless franchises in NHL/sports, who have performed the same or worse.

The 2010-11 New York Islanders have dropped to sixteen points out of eighth place in the Eastern Conference race, with a team decimated by injuries at the NHL/AHL level, that has not demonstrated this season they can score at even strength (even with minimal injures) plus have road trips coming up where Boston, Detroit, Chicago, Vancouver are on the upcoming menu, you cannot pull punches.

The competitive part of the season in terms of playoff contention is likely over, the next important game in terms of standings October 2011.

This is also looking like a different Eastern Conference from last year, with the one year anomaly of three seeds under ninety points over.

Blame?
All that's left is plenty of time for this, but frankly speaking Comeau, Nielsen, Hunter did not give them the even strength production they had to have at a point in their careers they needed to pull their offensive weight. The decisions to go with Doug Weight/Parenteau or not trade Hunter have not brought the speed/skills/offensive creativity that gives other players room at five on five. Bailey/Comeau were shifted around too much by Scott Gordon.

Bailey and John Tavares are very young players.

No, the injuries don't mean an automatic pass when you have a flaw exposed from day one of the season, but they are part of this teams story. The loss of an Okposo/Streit would hurt any roster going into camp, the additional losses of Schremp, MacDonald, Weight, Hillen, Hunter, Jurcina, with others playing hurt would effect any team.

Moving Forward:
The head coach has been removed, the general manager, who said everyone has to be better this season is still here. An interim coach on a struggling offensive team is likely not going to be retained, or sent back to the AHL, playing a system that he was not teaching the last two seasons.

Unless Michael Grabner, Schremp and others step up at even strength it's going to be a very trying second half to even stay within distance of 29th. That losing streak was no bad stretch, it was a flaw exposed in the roster from game one.

The very tough questions of Moulson, Martinek, Wisniewski and Roloson's future all come into play as the trade deadline approachs, the loss of any of them may not be replaceable.

Jesse Joensuu, Matt Martin are likely going to stay, who's coming back at forward from the injured list to replace them when Jon Sim is now on a third line? How much more bouncing from center to wing helps Josh Bailey's career to recall him when he is healthy and producing at his natural position in Bridgeport.

Rhett Rahkshani, Robin Figren will likely be here very soon. Outside of the three goaltenders for one job in Bridgeport, the depth has taken a beating at the AHL level.

Expect a few ugly moments like Mark Parrish's comments a decade ago when he called out the fans, there are no doubt a lot of frustrated players already. Mark Eaton did not sign on for this, many saw the improvement last year and how tough this team was to play against.

Media:
There will be an avalanche of negative coverage, some fair, others very unfair, and a few will display a level of vindictive reporting that even the Knicks have not seen the last decade.

The ones who have agenda's/vendetta's will kick the franchise the hardest, and they are not interested in man games lost to injury. The media in Florida does not go that negative to it's fanbase, it's not what the Knick media does to it's fans to drive people away.

Of course the biggest joke of all is Cablevision, Msg, Newsday, and it mistreatment of the New York Islander Franchise on every level as more games will be hidden on Msg+2 and Butch Goring/Howie Rose will jump as high as James Dolan demands to remain employed by Msg.

The New York Islanders will do exactly what they need to do, continue the business of hockey in a very long-tough season, same as New Jersey, Edmonton, Toronto and many other losing markets so far this year must do.

Bottom line:
The fans who hated the Milbury plan around 2000, who stayed away long ago are forcing Snow into a position where he may have to act like Milbury to bring fans back to the building sooner rather than later. Snow if he goes that route he will deal with far more problems than Milbury had.

In a front-loaded contract league packed with NTC/NMC this owner with most cannot afford front-loaded contracts, a decade ago there were holdouts all over the NHL which led to Milbury landing Peca/Yashin.

The climate is different now, unless you want to play Toronto's way and give up picks for a Kessel, which has been a disaster.

In short like last summer the UFA classes are not there like they used to be, and as we have seen in New Jersey sometimes that kind of spending backfires badly, at least for now. Front-loaded contracts, NTC/MVC have made this a very tough league to improve strictly through free agency.

You want to blame Charles Wang for not losing/spending more money, and his losses are not your problem that is your choice. I do not see that as fair because he inherited an impossible arena situation and county government. Just because he (along with Scott Rechler) are likely very disappointed a LH project has stalled/stopped, the answer cannot be Wang should throw away money and drive up his payroll toward 50m+, when at some point he will need to pay the players his general manager drafted players the last few summers.

There is no easy out, this owner intends to honor his lease by his comments and is firmly vested in running the Hotel and the Coliseum at this time, if the owner don't care he has a funny way of showing it renovating Nassau County's building for them out of pocket.

Unlike the money losing Caps, he does not receive revenue sharing, unlike many corporate teams bleeding red ink, he cannot call up Comcast or Cablevision and add another 100m to the teams debt.

About twenty other NHL teams have the same problem as Charles Wang.

As for this season, the playoff competitive part is likely over, it's going to be a rough four plus months, the Islanders have played six one goal/EN games in a row, they are due to start struggling.


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11/24/10

Bailey Demotion Is A Shocker, Good News on Mottau

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/24/2010 02:43:00 PM


Islanders website: Reports Josh Bailey has been assigned to Bridgeport and will make his AHL debut with the Sound Tigers against Providence.

Mike Mottau is only expected out four to six week.

NYIFC Comments:
If Mottau is only out four-six weeks that is a huge relief compared to Bryan Berard, Bob Nystrom and what happened to many players who had eye injuries, this easily could have ended his career.

Bailey is a shocker that caught me off-guard and frankly I see as a mistake. He's been moved around too much, he needs to play his natural position of center and stay there. He has offensive ability many of the current forwards on this roster lack.

The idea a healthy Weight, Nielsen with his even strength goals at zero is not a good move for this franchise. It's a stretch Rob Schremp cannot play winger for Jack Capuano and in the pecking order Bailey must rank ahead of Schremp.

No folks, I do not see Bailey as close to one of the passengers on this roster, his three goals, three assist make him a sniper compared to a few players.

Unless this team puts a few wins on the board immediately, it's not going to matter who plays where soon. Columbus is a winning team, New Jersey had a breakout game.

They simply cannot fall any further.

No game reviews/twitter updates tonight/tomorrow, have a great Thanksgiving.

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11/22/10

Expect A Defender Added or Hamonic Recall If No Mottau

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/22/2010 03:53:00 AM


No folks, not inside information, simple math.

Mike Mottau has an eye injury and stayed overnight in Atlanta, so he likely cannot play on Wednesday. The Bridgeport roster is decimated by injury. Katic is out, Kohn was a last minute injury Sunday. Andrew MacDonald is likely not near ready for a return, nor Jurcina with neither at team practices.

Mark Wotton was not supposed to even be in lineup for the Sound Tigers fourth game in six days here on Sunday.

Bridgeport's defense Sunday consistent of the following:
Wotton-Hamonic
Motherwell-Landry
O’Neill-Klementyev

Some fans will recall Wes O'Neill was a former Islander draft pick, who was never signed by the club, the new ECHL affiliate signed him.

Only Klementyev, Hamonic or Wotton can come up without signing an NHL contract. I believe Wotton would also have to clear waivers which could mean the loss of Bridgeport's captain, and another defender without solving the problem.

On paper if Mottau is out, no defender added in NHL trade. Hamonic is the most comparable alternative.

This will not be one game day injury with no chance to get someone across the country in time, like with Jack Hillen.

Unless a signing, or trade, but long-term that does not make sense unless it really improves the team. NHL teams don't move quality defenders.

Marc-Andre Bergeron tour of teams not interested in signing him remains on-going.

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11/21/10

Atlanta 2, New York 1 Overtime

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/21/2010 08:10:00 PM


All you'll see is the 13th straight headlines but it does not tell the story of this one. Atlanta was rested, at home and just came off blowing out Washington, and for a good part of this game they were outworked.

New York played well, they missed chances, hit post or were robbed, but were getting to the net.

Atlanta was forced into a time out in the third and they had Thrashers scrambling and they did it with in back to back games with only five defenders after the first period.

New York skated well, and were creating chances five on five, they even showed a little speed. Grabner was moving very well, Comeau also.

If not for the hand pass goal to make it 1-1, New York wins 1-0, that was just a terrible non-call.

DiPietro was very good in goal.

No complaints with their effort, they work like that on Wednesday they have a real chance to earn two points, saw some good signs today.

Howie Rose is Cablevision's employee, he works for Msg and James Dolan, just like Goring does, and Billy Jaffe did. His unprofessional conduct and explanation for it is fine, but the New York Islanders should not have to tolerate his frustrations/technical issues/whatever, regardless of what Msg pays them to bury most games on their network.

Not calling for his dismissal because of today, that would be for years worth of issues here that have nothing to do with Sunday's game in of itself.

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Target Skating Wingers Who Can Move Puck Into Offensive Zone

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/21/2010 05:46:00 AM


I believe I now understand the five on five struggles, and why they are occurring.

This problem has been there from day one, masked by the early season pp success beyond one game.

This is really the first time since 2002-03 they have not had a Jason Blake or a Richard Park/Bergenheim to carry the puck into the offensive zone. I finally figured out why so many past coaches relied on Park and kept using him on top lines, his skating/ability to move the puck over the opposing blueline helped setup the fore-check, even if his line did not score often enough it did get some offensive flow going and made the other team back up a little.

Of course Park (early Blake) could go months between goals, that's not the point, they could carry the puck to set up the other lines/or his own.

Things like this would help a Trent Hunter, Yashin, Guerin whoever get some room for their shots.

At Blake's best it helped set the offensive tempo when he was scoring, he failed in Toronto because everyone got annoyed he over-handled the puck, here it was necessary.

For all Bergenheim's flaws on his game he was usually a plus/close to even player, had puck carrying ability, and we saw the two games vs Islanders he was flying around them and driving net.

Comeau don't or cannot do it often enough to set any kind of offensive tone, Bailey's not a speed burner and what he did early did not stick for him, but that little give and go against Tampa where Comeau hit side of the net is speed/setup missing nightly.

Michael Grabner is one who can do it but not established enough to be relied on.

When Okposo was playing well and dropped the shoulder he could drive the net off left wing, I'm not sure he is the guy who can turn it on such a slow roster in transition.

Bottom line, no one can carry the mail like what they subtracted, even if those players did not score enough.

Weight, Hunter, Parenteau simply can't. Nielsen is a slow skating easy target when he tries to do it, and Tavares was not drafted for transition speed from defense to offense. Other teams simply outnumber them at five on five, collapse on them quickly and you see the lack of confidence skating the puck over offensive blueline as they keep going offsides.

Of course they are badly pressing right now, frustrated, with little team confidence.

All they do is look for Wisniewski for a shot on pp now, unless it's a five on three, even Martinek is out over Gervais now.

Plus nothing is replacing Sim's ten plus garbage goals, Jackman's six goals, Bergenheim/Park's offense, even when they were not scoring or finishing that skating got others into position to score and forced the opposition to move around drawing them out of position.

And of course both Nielsen and Hunter stuck on zero at five on five, Tavares, one?

I don't see a fix for this until they target that kind of player. Most of these players are simply slow forwards outside of Grabner.




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11/20/10

Florida 4, New York 1

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/20/2010 10:19:00 PM


Cue five on five, broken record. I'm tired of writing about it.

Too much Vokoun, Panthers can score at even strength and skate better, this team cannot score to save their lives at even strength beyond Moluson, who McCabe gift-wrapped a goal for, or it's another sixty minutes with nothing at five on five.

Perhaps if the second period five on three produces for Islanders, Florida opens up and makes some mistakes, but they simply outworked them for their goals, and drove to the net better.

The Islanders looked like a beaten team after the second.

Panthers with 5-3 pp looked as flawed as the Islanders when they actually are creating pressure at five on five, still early in third the Islanders had Vokoun moving and he had to be very good on a few saves, but down 4-1 this year's Islander team cannot come back from that, they knew it too.

Jack Capuano was right in his post-game, the Islanders had some passengers.

Dwayne Roloson was not/never is the problem in goal, DiPietro confirmed starter Sunday. Does it matter who starts in goal if the club only produces one even strength goal each game?

I have been giving the scoring problems some thought. Maybe the even strength goals, Park, Sim whoever scored last year, even the rare early goal Jackman chipped in, this group outside of Moulson just cannot do that, plus for what this is worth they did not bring back a player who's near even in Bergenheim.

It does seem like Park's ability to skate the puck into the offensive zone helped them create a better forecheck, I'm getting an education myself now on why maybe so many coaches fell into the trap of playing him on top lines. Before Park, Jason Blake had that ability, it was criticized in Toronto, but here it got the opposing defense moving.

Now that the pp is struggling which masked problem early, it's obvious how poor this team is in creating chances. All those dirty Sim goals last December made a difference.

Next is they go play Atlanta Sunday. For those wondering why I'm doing blog entries here on games, this looks like the end of any hope for a competitive season, this is what folks will need to remember if they cannot recover.

I don't believe this team can recover, the even strength problems have been there in every game but one, the trade it would take to alter the mix effectively, likely alters the idea to go with prospects.

Sure, I feel terrible for all of our fans, the players, management needs to take a long look in the mirror at the summer decisions they could control.

All I can add is this is the second year, don't count 582 man game lost 08-09 season, that was not building toward anything, it only surviving eighty two games with Guerin, Sillinger, Comrie, Weight not producing often enough.

Los Angeles took almost a decade, Florida is around a decade, Chicago, Pittsburgh and a lot of teams had countless poor years in a row. The years injuries dominated this organization cannot be counted as years players were developing.

This is what growing pains are, we saw them a decade ago.

On the other side of that coin, there are the Jesse Joensuu's prospects, his comments speak for themselves about how this is his time and he has to produce.

It goes directly on management if he fails.

Oh yes, tonight's loss equals the Arbour-Torrey 1990 Islanders.



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Hopefully The Final Word Ever On Chris Botta

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/20/2010 04:34:00 AM


I went on my own little media tour Friday and sent Mr Hanikison's comments with Mr Botta's staged story link from Fanhouse to a few outlets I could find who twitted/wrote about this subject.

That would be Paul Martin's agent.

No folks, not to be vindictive, this is about our fans getting fair information, and the entire story, nothing more. If people are going to write/comment about this everything should be included, right?

I also must now also update my previous entry to include more so folks understand the complete story. Mr Botta'a FanHouse preview/staged story comment on 9/11 was no misprint here he made it very clear the Islanders efforts were a staged story, his thoughts on 7/2 confirm this completely.

His first set of comments 7/2 here had the following:

But please, to make the Islanders’ inability to recruit Dan Hamhuis and Paul Martin and anyone else about the Coliseum issue is an insult. Hamhuis went home to BC to play for a contender. Paul Martin got $25 million for five years to sign with a team led by Sidney Crosby and run by Mario Lemieux. What would you have done?

Later that day in another entry.
I thought the leaking of supposedly strong offers for Martin and Hamhuis was beyond lame - and getting agents to back them up - was sadly obvious and regrettable. But that’s old news. The Islanders are in play for a six-time 40-goal scorer now, not a pair of unfalsh defensemen. No way they do this to their fanbase.

NYIFC Comments:
Note-At the time he wrote the Islanders interest in Kovalchuk was genuine and real, as the dancing source game was in full play with media misinformation galore, so I can absolutely give a pass for his enthusiasm along with a lot of contradictions from many that day.

Obviously when September rolled around he felt otherwise, including Kovalchuk as part of his staged story comment.

So long story short, he felt the agents backed up the Islanders months earlier, never mind Snow traded for Wisniewski's contract and signed Mottau for 1.6 million over two years later on when they have a lot of prospects to plug in.

All I can do is reiterate what Mr Hankinson e-mailed to this blog when I gave him Mr Botta's AOL link with full context of what he wrote 9/14:

In my viewpoint Mr Hankinson did not have to respond at all, much less go as far as he did with his information and disclose Doug Weight called also. I'm sure by that point no one in North America cared about Paul Martin's UFA offers back in July based on a season preview.

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.


No infomercial from NYIFC but days later (unnamed agents) were also praising Garth Snow.

Now hopefully we move on. I have done my part on this subject. Our team has one point out of twenty two and frankly, two regulation losses this weekend is likely the beginning of the end of any competitive discussion of the 2010-11 season.

Atlanta defeated Washington Friday, Tomas Vokoun before losing to Boston has been dominating recently for Florida.

The twitter box and game coverage resumes Saturday at 3pm.

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11/19/10

Chris Botta Credentials Pulled By Islanders Was Right Thing To Do

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/19/2010 12:53:00 AM


NYIFC announced Chris Botta content last here February was out at NYIFC, the New York Islanders waited nine months longer.

I debated even wasting an entry on this which is why it was released so late.

I emphatically support the teams decision to revoke his credentials for reasons I listed in February which he confirmed in September with an outright misrepresentation on the Islanders efforts to sign Paul Martin here writing general manager Garth Snow's efforts were staged, which Paul Martin's agent, completely refuted.

Our fans are desperate for coverage, but it needs honest reporting more. Never mistake one as a substitute for the other. Right or wrong, good or bad, regardless of teams record you are entitled to that much.

I know many are not getting that behind the Dolan's pay-wall, who have a track record a mile long of regulating/replacing media, which countless beat-writers have been outspoken about.

More and more Mr Botta did not give that to you, instead between his conflicting/contradicting viewpoints (which is his business) he again put his fans in the middle and you had to endure his personal complaints with the General Manager. When he had issues with Greg Logan and seemingly anyone who disagreed with him in the media the fans were placed in the middle.

Hockey did not come first, you did not come first.

Enough folks have told me of moderated comments by him, the one's agreeing with him standing, with others pulled or challenged, but it was your choice to engage in that forum and it belongs to him/sponsors.

Last March he made clear he would no longer request an audience with Snow, so last week he complained again and put his readers in the middle when he went through his AOL employer and was rejected for an interview request.

Scott Gordon still spoke with Mr Botta after being fired Monday, but the team paying him, who could have requested Gordon not do the interview, apparently had no reported issue. Mr Botta never got any thank you cards from Ted Nolan he decided to share.

Chris Botta has his media friends based on his Islander tenure over twenty years, no doubt the uninformed masses in North America media, who don't follow his blog or the hockey team will defend him (some half-hearted/others for page views on slow day) but few will write the truth because no one cares/knows about this stuff in general.

In NYIFC viewpoint the New York Islanders absolutely did the right thing by revoking his credentials, it was long overdue in my estimation. They team is far too easy a target for criticism with their current record, but where I sit this was something that had to be done if they were undefeated.

Don't tell me someone who writes Snow's efforts were staged regarding Paul Martin is providing honest journalism when the agent writes nothing was staged. Ben Hankinson does not owe anyone the time of day.

I debated the headline that day and could have wrote Botta lied in big bold letters for more attention, this blog wrote the truth and that was his claim was refuted, no more, no less.

If I wrote he lied I would be guilty of promoting the same sensationalism Botta creates, and immediately fold NYIFC.

Botta knows the standards as to when things are unfair, he used to write about them often himself here &
here when media or others crossed the line.

The continual innuendo, digs, shots, were going further and further over the line.

Mr Botta will win the PR war because it's a game the New York Islanders are not playing, nor do they have the media cache to ever play. Right now they are about their losing hockey team, but in the process what started out as an outstanding blog simply turned into something very different and unfortunate.

No doubt whatsoever the New York Islanders have taken the correct action. Mr Botta can play page view game, which he was very conscious of here he can go on every hockey program and make himself the story but it does not deflect from the facts, and that is his blog, one he claimed was because of your support, but became more and more about his issues with the New York Islanders.

Full disclosure: Mr Botta placed this blog in the Islanders blog box program for it's initial season under my guidelines of how I would do things. We shared contact via e-mail enough times during that time (also beyond) as a team employee he never told me what to write and was a first class individual.

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11/17/10

Tampa Bay 4, New York 2

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/17/2010 10:12:00 PM


Time Warner, New York did not show pre-game or switch to game until well into first period.

One point out of twenty two, eighteen games, eighteen even strength goals.

What can be written that I have not been writing for a while, one more even strength goal off Zenon Konopka's hard work to Moulson and that's the even strength offense against a struggling Tampa team that easily could have had five or more, and were hardly impressive themselves, that did not even have LeCavalier or Gagne.

Sure Hunter's post could have gone in or a few others for the Islanders, but so many rushes where one player had to beat three or two had to beat four. Nielsen beat three players to get off one shot in the second, but he simply cannot score.

Hunter took a lazy offensive zone penalty, he was not the only one.

Sure seems like this team is going to live/die based on Doug Weight, who is seeing far too much ice on a pp now failing, plus was out with the goaltender pulled.

The pk did not get the job done tonight, neither did the pp again.

In the context of one game, it was a reasonable loss, in the context of eleven games and one point out of twenty two, it's a disaster with no solution in sight based on current roster.

Why not put Grabner and Schremp's offensive skills together, now that Gordon is not the coach why not play Schremp on a wing or move Nielsen to a spot where he can play defense and not worry about goals?

Best moment of the game was Bailey's pass to Comeau, even if he missed that's the offense you try and generate.

Bergenheim had some great chances, Thompson hit the open net but 3-1 stretch leading to the goal was terrible.

Martinek, Wisniewski and defenders played well, cannot complain about that effort.

Dwayne Roloson is reminding me more and more of Gerry Desjardins circa 72-73, this is beyond goaltending.



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11/16/10

Final Thoughts on Islander Changes Behind Bench/Notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/16/2010 08:21:00 PM
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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11/15/10

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

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


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.

Misc:
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


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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11/14/10

Does A Coaching Change Solve Offensive Problems? NO

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


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 happens.you 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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11/11/10

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

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


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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11/8/10

My Plan? Bailey to Nielsen's Spot At Center

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


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.

Moulson-Tavares-Grabner
Comeau-Bailey-Parenteau
Martin-Schremp-Hunter
Konopka-Nielsen-Weight

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:
NHL.com: 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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11/7/10

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

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


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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