3/6/11

New Jersey 3, New York 2 Shootout....

New York Islander Fan Central | 3/06/2011 05:55:00 PM


New Jersey 3, New York 2 Shootout postgame.

That dive call against MacDonald was one of the worst calls I have seen all season and that's writing quite a bit considering how bad some officiating has been.

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Statement Game For New York vs Devils? No

New York Islander Fan Central | 3/06/2011 06:13:00 AM


Sunday is not a long-term statement game regardless of the Devils run compared to New York having the second most points in the East going back three months, depending on where you draw the line.

We can draw the line anywhere we like, but bottom line is the complete NHL standings.

Of course, I love what I'm watching on the ice. This team is skating hard every game, even when you would expect the club to be tired/sluggish or another team is waiting to play them. Pick a player and virtually all of them are working hard and progressing/effective from Parenteau's work to setup Moulson/Tavares, to Katic's skating to Wishart's strong play, with Tavares getting more confident with every game along the boards/in front of net.

Does anyone even notice anymore Travis Hamonic is a rookie and Andrew MacDonald is in his first full season playing these minutes?

Look out if Bailey, Comeau or Okposo get hot and Grabner starts finishing.

It's not just the goals, the skating, but the quality shots against. When this team was getting it's 15/18 points in December they were being outshot/outplayed badly.

Not anymore.

Remember that win against the Devils in Newark here where the Devils dominated for long stretches, and outshot the Islanders 35-14 or New Years Eve in Detroit where but the Islanders scored on their few shots, where Roloson had to make 43 saves?

This has been different with the club getting stronger instead of fading. It's been fun to watch this team play games. Sunday is a good test because it's a Devil team that virtually never losses (allows more than a goal or two) facing one of the hottest teams in the East going back to December.

This gives us a good look to see where the Islanders are, and if they can win what will likely be a low-scoring game.

Ultimately the statement will be made when next season starts, with a lot of different players that include most of the defense out and Trent Hunter.

And that will also include if Jack Capuano is back or someone else is hired, with a new coaching staff.

Extra:
As well as Al Montoya has played with his adjustments made by staff after Buffalo game, it's tough to see him keeping this up or Rick DiPietro out of the net when he's ready to play, now that he's returned to practice.

The test for Montoya will be how he bounces back after a bad game, it says a great deal about how well he has played that to this point he has not had a bad game once he got a start.

Having written this he's making a case to be qualified as a RFA next summer and force a decision regarding goaltending that includes Koskinen, Poulin, Nilsson along with Nate Lawson/Rick DiPietro.

Grabner made his best pass this season to Parenteau for that goal, might be worth considering switching Okposo to first line for a few shifts.

As for 2010-11 playoff statements if New York goes 16-0, they finish with 91 points.

New York wins Sunday they are one point behind the Devils, who many feel can pull off a miracle and qualify for the playoffs.

10-6 matches last seasons 79 points which is incredible considering how far back they were from that pace with all the injuries they have had.

We'll see, win/lose another game Tuesday.

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3/4/11

Trevor Gillies Suspended Another Ten Games

New York Islander Fan Central | 3/04/2011 06:09:00 PM


NYIFC Comments on Colin Campbell's latest suspension to Trevor Gillies.

NYIFC Comments:
Beyond my twitter update....This was entirely different from his head-shot against Pittsburgh.

From the right side view, you see Gillies hit Clutterbuck an instant after DiBenedetto got boarded as part of the play going on. Gillies it him clean with the right shoulder and he did not jump into the player.

With his left arm there is no elbow, high stick, or cross-check. Gillies does clearly raise his left hand in a punching motion and drive his gloved hand into his head in an uppercut motion, that combined with Gillies hitting him from behind drove Clutterbuck into the boards.

I have seen a lot of hits like that in this league go without penalties, much less a ten game suspension. Gillies head-shot, punching and subsequent actions against Pittsburgh/combined with taunting cannot be defended, this is something different.

Lot's of similar hits and worse not being called much less suspensions give.

For those who would like a nice team photo of the 2010-11 New York Islanders from Friday 3/4/2011 that included most of the long-term injured here.

I'm pretty sure that's Mark Eaton in the photo also with Weight, Hunter, Streit, reportedly no one got injured when photo was taken. Rick DiPietro has returned to practice which likely means he is on time-table to return of 4-6 weeks.

Nothing on any recall as of this writing. If Haley is still out, the club no longer has a Joel Rechlicz to recall and Yablonski has not played in months for Bridgeport, so they may be short an enforcer.

Schremp is in Atlanta off waivers, so it's Joensuu, Rahkshani seven defenders or someone about to make a debut.

The twitter box will return on Saturday morning.


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2/28/11

Trade Deadline Passes....Schremp Claimed by Atlanta, DiBenedetto Recalled

New York Islander Fan Central | 2/28/2011 05:12:00 PM


Rob Schremp was claimed off waivers by Atlanta, Nate Lawson cleared waivers. Justin DiBenedetto was recalled.

The trade deadline has passed, with no further transactions by New York.

All future waivers not eligible for NHL playoffs after Saturday.

NHL.com: Recaps all trades/transaction from Monday's deadline in what was a quiet day where major moves were made in advance.

First deadline this blog, took off the entire day leading up to 3pm.

NYIFC Comments:
First of all the best of luck to Rob Schremp in Atlanta, he did practice with Bailey and Comeau on Monday, but bottom line is the Islanders needed him to be a winger with Tavares, Bailey and Nielsen here. For a year and a half Bailey played out of position, he needs to be a second line center and hopefully Atlanta gives Schremp that opportunity, who will play the Islanders in March.

I have followed Justin DiBenedetto this year and prior, he will be a better fit on the wing than Schremp and it was time for him to get a look. I believe our fans will see his skating, offensive skill fits this rosters will.

Very happy Radek Martink was not traded for a draft pick after all the years he has been here and how much his defensive game brings to this lineup when healthy, I hope a contract is worked out and he finishes his career in New York. Also believe the right move was made in not trading Knonoka, who is a good part of this core, and hopefully can come to terms in the future.

Sometimes the right move is to support the direction the club is going, I do believe how they have played recently is an endorsement of that by the general manager, along with sticking to their plan.

Trent Hunter and Rick DiPietro were in Bridgeport Sunday to honor the inaugural Sound Tigers team that went to Calder Cup Finals. Nate Lawson cleared waivers, but Ottawa claimed Curtis McElhinney so he is likely not going to Bridgeport.

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2/26/11

Washington 3, New York 2

New York Islander Fan Central | 2/26/2011 09:51:00 PM


Washington 3, New York 2: NYIFC game review.

NYIFC Comments:
Not going to do this after tonight, just getting everyone used to what it will look like it twitter box for a second game.

Misc:
Ty Conklin, Pascal Leclaire and Curtis McElhinney, were placed on waivers Saturday, which may explain Nate Lawson going on waivers again, but could also mean DiPietro may be close/may be shut down. There are no playoffs for Bridgeport so no law Koskinen cannot play a game or two. Montoya's test will come when he does struggle in how he recovers from it.

As for Rob Schemp, fair to write it would be a waste for him in Bridgeport given there are no playoffs upcoming for them, but maybe the organization has decided what Scott Gordon said long ago, that for him to have a spot here, it must be at center. As long as Tavares, Bailey, and Nielsen are in the middle, it's better for Joensuu, Martin or someone else to be in that spot.

I expect both players to clear waivers, Schremp had a brief run after an early injury which kept him out the first month but obviously management made the correct decision in placing Josh Bailey in his natural spot, and stopped moving him around, after he was recalled (was doing great at center in AHL) immediately they put him back on wing.

Schremp's best fit is as a second line center somewhere, I don't see that here, sure he could clear, finish out the season and then we see if he's qualified.

Of course like many players, being placed on waivers does not mean they are necessarily going to Bridgeport or anywhere.

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2/25/11

New York Trade Deadline Preview

New York Islander Fan Central | 2/25/2011 02:15:00 AM


Obviously not much to write here unless something very unexpected happens.

This is not a great draft class, the later first round picks will/have been in play more than past few years already.

Garth Snow says he is always looking to improve his team, but unless he wants to part with players who are part of his core, prospects or his top draft pick, he has no position of strength to make a major move unless it's a salary dump from another club with a contract for next season.

Teams in playoff position do not give away depth or any asset at the trade deadline if they have the ability to help them in playoffs. Many players go on waivers/clear and are not even physically sent to the AHL.

No folks, you don't give up a potential lottery pick for Zach Bogosian, that's Atlanta's problem.

The kind of players you would want to have in play at this deadline are all injured in Weight, Hunter, Mottau, Eaton. The value of a Rob Schremp at this time is of little value above a waiver claim now that he no longer has a spot at center and is moving from wing to wing/being scratched.

Why? Josh Bailey was drafted to be a center and is first round draft pick, they wasted enough time moving him around when it's hard enough to get established at your natural position.

Defense? Garth Snow may need a transaction next week just to fill out his depth to last the remaining games and must be second guessing himself on Jared Spurgeon a little these days, who will be at Coliseum next week. Bridgeport is down to Dustin Kohn/Mark Wotton in terms of regular defenders. If Martinek were to return you almost cannot trade him any longer given what's behind them in the AHL at this time, same goes for Gervais.

I don't see Snow moving what he considered an extra first rounder in Hillen, who's had a good second half, even without the injuries on defense.

You take Jurcina/Martinek out of this defense and it's Katic, Gervais, Wishart, Hillen, MacDonald, and Hamonic with Al Monyota and Nate Lawson in goal. No team is going to hold up long with that kind of depth playing against teams fighting for first place or in must-win games for their playoff chances.

Is there a real value for a Zenon Konopka on the trade market where it makes sense to deal him next week and take a leader out of the room, who is good on faceoffs and can fight/kill penalties? I don't see it. If someone is desperate enough to offer a first round pick, see ya 7/1, Zenon, hello David Ullstrom.

If you feel Blake Comeau is never going to be any better here, maybe it's time to give someone else his spot because there are prospects or veterans who can be signed for his role, and maybe the return improves the club. I can see a trade there, but cannot see a team giving Snow anything of better current value/potential, but when Comeau starts scoring, it looks like he can carry a club.

Maybe after what happened in Philadelphia perhaps it's time to get left wing Matt Martin off the fourth line given what he did in juniors offensively, and last year when he got chances on top three lines?

This is written a lot here, but if someone puts up an upcoming or established talent with size, and offensive skill, Frans Nielsen's value may never be higher in a trade.

Great defender, faceoffs, pk. He has three even strength goals all season, two of them softies allowed by Sergei Bobrovsky. In three seasons part time, Kyle Okposo does not look like a good five on five player on his wing, maybe it's fair to speculate Trent Hunter's production struggles have to do with him at center?

Sure, he can turn into a Selke winner, he can also turn into Petteri Nokelainen, bottom line Nielsen has to be a five on five scorer for this team.

I don't see a trade for Mark Streit, but if another team comes with a big offer that includes a prospect along the lines of a Cam Fowler, that's something I have to listen to. Problem with moving Streit is UFA replacement will not be there to produce anything close to a two-way defender of his ability at his current contract.

No law a PA Parenteau cannot be traded if the right return is available, of course that would be along then lines of what Anaheim did to Wisniewski.

I see nothing happening in the goaltender department and fair to write it's a good thing Roloson (who's had some uneven games for Tampa w/four shutouts) is not here now or he might have had to stay. Montoya is not likely to keep up this pace based on his career, Lawson will have to be ready when called upon and we'll see what happens with DiPietro. If another injury happens, Koskinen will likely be called up again, Anders Nilsson may follow Poulin and sign a PTO to check out North America for a game or two in Bridgeport.

There will be no Bridgeport playoff run/the PTO contracts have been flying to supplant their roster which is almost pacing the Islanders in terms of injury with a smaller roster.

Playoff spot? 18-2 equals ninety points, which may well not be nearly enough. Carolina's number to eliminate New York from contention is 31 out of a possible 82 available points remaining between teams.

That does not include other teams between them.

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2/22/11

Islander Notables/Trade Deadline/Realistic Expectations

New York Islander Fan Central | 2/22/2011 02:55:00 PM


Islander Notables/Trade Deadline/Realistic Expectations

This is the new format which is being used in all game reviews which appears as twitter link but is a full blog entry. I wrote a separate blog entry here to give folks an example of how it may look in twitter boxes on NYIFC main page.

Tons of topics/several subjects, quick to write.

This post really shows how a team now 17th in NHL scoring got into the playoff position they are in today here and how one month does not hide a season worth of offensive struggles/man games lost notwithstanding.

Twitter box will be re-post tonight at 7pm with game review posted in twitter box with same kind of link which had the review of New York 5, Florida 1 from Monday.


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2/14/11

Zenon Konopka Verbal Beating Monday On Lemieux/NHL

New York Islander Fan Central | 2/14/2011 03:02:00 PM


Ottawa Citizen: Ken Warren has the latest from, Islander winger, Zenon Konopka who spoke out against Mario Lemieux, and the league for their discipline of the New York Islanders, and protection of the players.

“I can’t believe (Mario) is so far removed from the game that he doesn’t realize in the heat of the moment what happens. “We’re trying to keep our best players on the ice. We want John Tavares to be a superstar in this league and play every night. Obviously, we’re going to do everything we can to protect our players in here. It’s not an easy job to do it, but we’re worried about each other, not outsiders.”

“As soon as I get home, I’m taking the poster of Mario on my bedroom door down.”

”You look at Trevor Gillies,” said Konopka. “He’s a first time offender. He hits a guy, throws a few punches, he gets a nine-game suspension. The guy’s got a wife, two kids and plays in the East Coast Hockey League and AHL most of his career and now he’s going to lose $35,000. And it’s not right. Obviously, the league has their job and not mine, but in here, we feel for him. It hurts not to have Trevor in lineup for nine games. It hurts me, personally, my buddy, out $35,000.”

“Montreal and Boston, they play a game and it’s great old-time hockey, it’s ‘wow, this is awesome, the rivalry’,” Konopka continued. “Then we have a game and now we’re getting crucified for it. We’re doing everything possible to keep guys in the lineup, to fight for points, to do everything we can to win hockey games and everybody keeps taking shots at us. Talk to our trainers (about) how many man games we’ve lost. We’ve lost 360 games to injuries and now we’re getting crucified because we’re trying to have some retribution for a couple of our guys getting knocked out. It’s tough for us to deal with.”

NYIFC Comments:
Konopka's dead right on a lot of what he said, but Gillies hit to the head like that, first time offender regardless is not acceptable, nor was his standing there yelling at him. That can't be defended regardless of what league anyone is in and Gillies knows the so-called code at this point in his career. The man on the ground groggy taking a verbal beating has a family too.

His comments on the hits that have led to countless man games lost are exactly right on the money along with Boston-Montreal because this team has not been protected by the officials. His digs at another NHL owner is not going to win him points with anyone but his teammates.

Sure he was very funny there too.

Konopka sees the media double-standards, he knows it is about the laundry in a lot of cases and you can bet some of our local/not so friendly home media is part of what's behind this. I'm frankly annoyed as a fan still when Martinek takes a high stick off a shot, is cut/bleeding and it's a standing goal for the person who did not control his stick.

Why did the league not protect Martinek, who has a family and has been injured countless times on questionable hits? Where was the protection for Nielsen, Tavares when Pock, Witt were suspended and the Islanders simply issued statements respecting the leagues decision.

I love most of what's Konopka said, however I was looking for signs why perhaps Tampa moved on from him last summer, maybe this rubbed folks the wrong way or became a problem internally and the statements got old in the room. I'm not in the room and don't have the first clue.

It will be interesting to see how his general manager and owner feel because this could lead to another fine or him being suspended.

Sportsnet: Islanders Interim Head Coach, Jack Capuano and John Tavares commented.



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Islander Notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 2/14/2011 08:36:00 AM


I have to be honest with my readers, I don't know what to make of Michael Grabner yet. Maybe it's because I have not seen a New York Islander show such a combination of explosive speed, now mixed with scoring in so long, or because he's scoring now with outside shots, breaking through players.

He's only getting better by game, and creating four/five great chances a contest.

Don't know where/if, it ends and frankly at a loss for words (as Howie Rose was) beyond absolutely loving what I'm watching. I can write Nielsen needs his even strength goals, and Okposo numbers can't just be assists for his offensive skills.

Now they have to get Bailey, Comeau, Schremp to make that leap and provide consistent scoring.

Hamonic and MacDonald keep getting better and better. Jurcina shooting/scoring from outside on five on three low-percentage. Ty Wishart got his first.

Koskinen looks like the first goal bounced on ice aka Toskala, did not see other goals as being his fault. Montoya did not look ready and Lawson seems very close.
*********************************
In two weeks the NHL trade deadline will be here. Will Konopka's outspoken protection of this team and obvious loyalty be taken into account if Snow receives an offer?

It could be a quiet day for Snow, it could also be the end for Weight (if he's close to playing) Martinek, Konopka, Gervais and perhaps others.

Frankly, I see Nabokov's career over unless he comes to New York hat in hand and asks to be a part of the team for a full year next fall. I don't see Snow letting him near this group if he decided to report tomorrow. He's going to learn what suspended indefinitely means in a league where teams don't tolerate this conduct.

My guess is he will go to the mat this summer and take his chances of being declared a free agent first and a lot of media will have his side.

Based on league comments, he's going to lose.
*********************************
Mixed emotions on final suspensions. Trevor Gillies to my knowledge had no career NHL suspensions, I have seen a lot of first timers get far less or nothing for head shots. Gillies shot to the head, his stick-work afterward was far over the line, his yelling off the ice, makes for good entertainment, but not acceptable one bit in my estimation. Go to the lockeroom, quit the taunting at someone hurt on the ice.

I get where Garth Snow is coming from, he has to protect his player, but like Chris Simon there is a time actions cannot be defended.

Matt Martin is a repeat offender, it did not look like a sucker-punch and simply put down his man with a push/shove when he did not want to engage a fight and covered up, he did not Bertuzzi-Moore his head to the ice or even close.

There should be no rule or excuse that protects a coach for any player going over the boards under any circumstances ever, which is why we no longer have bench clearing brawls in this league. Dan Bylsma should have been suspended and the Penguins fined for their actions Friday for not controlling themselves if that is the precedent the league wants to set, one they failed to do with Boston against Montreal.

In the media game it comes down to Mario's spin-doctors vs the spin-doctors who remember Lemieux has whined before vs his teams fighting majors and employing Matt Cooke. It's sad watching Kevin Allen of all people maneuver delicately in his article protecting Lemieux.

Virtually nothing comes down to honest views of what simply happened. As critical as I am of Colin Campbell here, and don't like his Islander-only statements, I do believe he was fair enough with the suspensions of players.

The fines are another matter, that seemed about the laundry and to single out one team reflects some obvious bias, Snow made his point.

Funny how Pittsburgh now receives excuses for not having their top players out, how other media defends their teams for struggling with so many players injured?

Too bad they are not objective enough to point that out about this team, I guess when you have led in that department 3/4 years no one notices.

If I'm going to criticize Howie Rose, he has to get his due just as loud here when he gets it right, his comments on suspensions were on the money Sunday, and he said it as well as I could write it here.
**********************************
What's going on in Bridgeport right now is very rough, this is a team that simply cannot win any kind of game. They lack the veteran scoring, they have too many players up/out. Rhett Rakhshani went to the AHL all-star game, had a bunch of points and has been hurt since. They score and lose, they don't score and lose.

I don't see Pat Bingham as the problem at all, when Bailey was there he helped turn it around for a long stretch.

Jesse Joensuu NHL/AHL is a puzzle to me, has some great goals driving to middle of ice with a nice shot even at this level, then he disappears for games on end. I do want to see more next season with a two-way contract.

The twitter box will be back around 7pm.

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2/13/11

New York 7, Buffalo 6, Grabner Hat-Trick, Wishart 1st.....Snow Owns Mario

New York Islander Fan Central | 2/13/2011 08:00:00 PM





















If only New York was in some kind of realistic playoff contention.

Not a good game at all five on five and Koskinen finally struggled, but sixteen goals in two games, nineteen in three, and three fantastic wins in four days, where they had to work very hard. They just beat a hot, rest team at home and a very good goaltender.

This is not a league where even the best teams play many high scoring games.

That's 2-0 at Buffalo.

Michael Grabner has just been amazing and getting more confident in several area's of the ice, and obviously is making a run at Calder, player of week month, and whatever else is out there, and Okposo is just getting started even with Nielsen unable to finish at even strength. Comeau was not on the list of players practicing Saturday, apparently he was ready and had a nice backhand goal. Tavares another, Moulson looked hurt in second and that could linger. Wishart got his first, Jurcina a big pp goal?

Remember those blog entries on defenders not scoring a while back or five goals on season. MacDonald and Hamonic keep rolling along and improving.

Stick to Nielsen's face no call? MacDonald's play to stop breakaway down 4-2 was robbery.

Al Montoya, far from perfect, but his first NHL win for New York, still cannot find a quote from him which is approaching Freddy Meyer like proportions going from NY-PHOENIX-back, with no interview.
***************************************
As for the media side show Mario Lemieux obviously has a selective memory and really did not need to go there and let the league handle the process. Not the first time he has done this when he does not get things his way, and his silence regarding his own players/coaches transgressions to control themselves speak volumes.

Sure Lemieux should stick up for his team, but he wants to call out league, he should face consequences.

Snow for his part stuck up for his team (Al Arbour/Denis Potvin were pleased and they know better than Lemieux) and Garth Snow sounded off like a professional executive, who asked the same questions this blog did, along with Howie Rose about the Pens not controlling their players.

Sure he had a little creative tap-dancing spinning Gillies actions.

Even Mario's former teammate, Rob Brown, had some criticism of Matt Cooke today out of Canadian media here.

Snow should be proud of his players, and respectful of the process with his comments to the public. Charles Wang should not say a word.

New York Hockey getting some media coverage, with friends like Newsday, we need no enemies. Larry Brooks must be very upset the Islanders are getting far more media play, than Cablevision's team to unleash his latest blind-unreasoning assault with no quotes from anyone to support his silly claims, but par for course from him.

Not like Post is covering New York Islander hockey games.

This even forced NY Times, Dave Caldwell, to even include score of Sunday's road win in another rare article.

Islanders website already has post-game up with player comments.

Of course the game now becomes who has the most friends/media of each side defend the other. Hopefully for the New York side, they are done.

Oh well, on to Ottawa and perhaps a player of week for Grabner? He's heading toward the top ten in NHL scoring.

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