PHWA Member Dennis Bernstein Goes Woodward On Botta?

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/05/2011 07:42:00 PM | | | | Comment Here

A little thing surfaced in my research the other day that I remembered from years ago when Miroslav Satan received the Good Guy Award with the Islanders. A member of the PHWA was from a site called the fourth period.

I admit, this blog completely looks down on such a site being credentialed by the association. I'm very tight and strict with my standards here, have been since day one to a fault.

Apparently now though a different PHWA member from same site named Dennis Bernstein had a lot to write/speculate/opinion about Chris Botta and this ugly situation on Tuesday here. I remembered his article on 12/17 regarding this story here where he included the following but asked questions of Botta and how Lou Lamoriello fired PR people as someone who was from the NY area.

This is the point in the story where the question of credential status and game access comes into focus. Chris Botta is a good guy, he credentialed me for Islanders game back in the day but I’m not a follower of his work. My assumption is that since he writes for more than one website, he’s able to translate his experience of two decades around the NHL to the written word, not a stretch for someone coming out of public relations.

Some Fascinating Points Were Made Today I Wanted To Share:
If the writers wanted to pressure the Islanders into reversing the decision, they should have chose to boycott the games, not withdraw from voting for season ending awards. The best way to show solidarity is to not sit in the same press row at Nassau Coliseum where they used to sit shoulder to shoulder with Botta but it would likely risk their jobs. So let's man a protest that puts us in no jeopardy but does risk our standing with the NHL. Let's start an action that potentially lowers our visibility if we lose the right to vote for the high profile awards. The NHL will likely look at this as a marvelous opportunity to grab a sponsor for fan voting for the awards and find a 'blue ribbon panel' to select the finalists. Sad to say, none of my colleagues took a primer on negotiation and civil disobedience before decided to engage in an ineffective strategy. One of my fans, a New Jersey Devils supporter made a fabulous point that if the PHWA voted for the Vezina Trophy, would Larry Brooks of the New York Post really boycott the voting if he had the opportunity to vote for the Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist?

So while a right I've worked hard to earn stands at risk in a matter that has zero to do with me, the politics of the matter isn't what the most egregious part of the story.

When Chris Botta was disavowed in Uniondale, he got an audience with WFAN Radio on Mike Francesca widely listened to afternoon drive time show. On the show, Botta, who was the former PR director of the Islanders, stated he left on amicable terms and had no idea why his credential was pulled. In the days thereafter, he hypothesized that the cause was the jealousy Islanders management and ownership had over his great relationships with the players. If credentials were pulled for every reporter that had good relationships with players, there would be no credentialed reporters, it's just silly logic.

NYIFC Comments:
I have no idea about what was hypothesized or where Mr Bernstein is coming from with this. I cannot endorse or reject that viewpoint.

The leadership of the PHWA has come under fire for not going to the wall in support of a dues paying member of the association. One of the deans of hockey writing, USA Today's Kevin Allen, issued a brief, smart statement questioning the logic of the boycott which I am in total agreement. While I don't want to impair anyone's right to earn a living, membership to the PHWA is granted on an invitation basis only and for a body of work, certainly not a requirement for Botta to possess for continuing employment. My support for Mr. Allen's stance comes from the following logic:

What if Chris Botta's actions earned him expulsion from press row? Was there full disclosure on the nature of his relationship with the team?

I've come to learn a very different version of the reality and have been quiet up to this point but in an effort to get to the other side of the story (and there always is one), I feel a duty to those in the PHWA who feel the same way as I do as well as the public.

An alternate version of the story is that Chris Botta was terminated from the Islanders and as a result, every time he entered the locker room he came with an agenda. He routinely bad mouthed the organization to players, questioning why they would want to play for them and denigrated management. If you were GM Garth Snow or owner Charles Wang and you got wind of a former employee that you granted access was discrediting the organization at every turn, what would your best response be? Like the Islanders, I'd be doing the exact same thing, pull the 'privilege', not the 'right' to be in the building and make no comment about it.

Which of the two scenarios makes more sense? An innocent writer being singled out for doing his job for a team that is in dire need of publicity, or a terminated employee with an agenda to get back at his former boss. I'm no Sherlock Holmes, but I'm buying the latter and as for those dues paid to the PHWA, I'm happy to refund the $25 annual fee out of my own pocket if it came down the second way. With the status of the ability to vote for the awards now in potential jeopardy, shouldn't Botta do the right thing? Step away as to serve the great good of the association, thank those chapters for their support and in a public statement urge them to cast their vote to maintain the integrity of the awards and the PHWA, or is it really all about Chris?

Perhaps the PHWA should explore termination for a member that's misrepresented his situation, not enact an ill-planned, ill-advised boycott that damages the reputation and privileges of a long standing international body.

Feel free to check Mr Bernstein's twitter account and ask hard questions here along with researching his background reporting here.

NYIFC Comments:
Mr Botta made clear he had no part of initiating such a boycott in his statement the other day beyond knowing it was discussed.

NYIFC comments are simply we just wanted to bring this PHWA members views to our readers, you have to make up your own minds.

Completely admit NYIFC loves a style where someone is willing to put their credential or themselves on the line for the fans and ask same hard questions like this blog always does when things do not seem fair or add up. The past stories speak for themselves about this PHWA experiences.

Could the writer be wrong about Botta? Absolutely, but the point is there are always two sides.

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A Jolly Good NY Times: Meet Chris Botta's New Bosses

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/05/2011 09:59:00 AM | | | | Comment Here

These things cannot be made up. No folks, I hate writing about this subject or beating a dead horse but I suppose someone has to make an effort to set the record straight.

You think the card-carrying PHWA is going to make any kind of objective effort for the benefit of the fans they claim to serve?

Not a prayer. That would require some work, why do that when it's easy to simply rip the Islanders once again?

Tom Jolly was moved upstairs by the NY Times in December here from the role of sports editor, it does not change NYIFC view of what's transpired that helped set up this problem.

Mr Jolly's twitter account makes clear enough his interest in sports is active.

I contacted the NY Times 4/5/2011 and was told Joe Sexton is the sports editor, some articles list him as the interim sports editor here I did not inquire if his role was interim.

You folks must remember Tom Jolly? Sure he went to an occasional NHL party in NYC and met Crosby/Parise and other NHL stars, he would not approve full-time local coverage of the New York Islanders or a beatwriter, but the Times business reporter will go to Newark and question the workers on the day of Kovalchuk's press conference about the economy here.

Mr Jolly is the long-time (now former) Sports Editor of the NY Times, who in 2005 took on an Islanders former media relations coordinator after the lockout and comments critical of NY Times coverage here by one Chris Botta.

The last part says contact the editors, demand coverage with some other thoughts on the NY Times and Daily News.

Then there were Mr Jolly's Talk to the Editor's mailbags where Islander fans asked questions about why the team was not receiving daily coverage here.

For those wanting to read them all Mr Jolly answered questions in August 2006, February 2008 and December 2008 here you will have to scroll to Mr Jolly's name to find his Q & A's on sports coverage where Islander fans demanded better hockey coverage.

In 2008, Mr Jolly wrote a note to Chris Botta again here with a lot of contention on both sides about coverage problem.

I hope this note doesn’t come off as off-putting or give you the sense that I’m offended. I don’t begrudge your comments, nor am I upset by them. I’ll concede I’m a bit baffled because I can’t figure out your purpose in repeatedly making such remarks, but since you’ve made them several times, I thought I’d at least express our view.
That was basically it from the Times on the Islanders coverage issue.

A very occasional New York Islander game covered, SI-like features on goal judge box moved, feature on Mandarin coverage, Botta's best moment getting Brandon Sugden reinstated which the Times did correctly feature.

George Vecsey showing up with an Islander feature on 5/24 last year suggesting maybe the Islanders should fold or leave.

Correctly the Times media person Richard Sandomir reported the story when Botta's banishment from lockeroom broke on 11/15 here.

Then a funny thing happened after Botta's credential got revoked by the Islanders, Ken Belson/Dave Caldwell of still Mr Jolly's Sports department went off at the Islanders five days after a win which basically parroted many of Botta's blog charges against the organization.

It took several e-mails exchanges to NYIFC for Mr Belson, a Times business reporter who is not a hockey expert to report MSG had no say in the Islanders radio contract.

SI: Stu Hackel of Times, who by his own words was leaving Times in a 11/12 entry for SI here where he thanked Mr Jolly, also went off at Islanders at supposedly his new venue.

What's amusing there is Mr Hackel still writes for Times here on a regular basis.

Now that AOL Fanhouse outsourced/folded to Sporting News and Botta really only had whatever you call SNY video interviews and his blog, also now co-written by another former Fanhouse employee (Kevin Schultz) who roasted Garth Snow in Fanhouse after Botta's credential was revoked but someone who we have no idea if a member of the PHWA?

To say nothing of Botta's first very unfortunate choice to back him up.

Somewhere in the middle of this Tom Jolly or new sports editor/interim editor, Joe Sexton, who would not give our team coverage or assign a beatwriter all these years, who forced the Islanders into hiring bloggers or starting blog boxes in the first place gave Chris Botta a blog to write for them?

I guess all of these people like to insult the fans and believe we all practice the same hypocrisy or have no memory of what's transpired in the past?

Perhaps because of NYIFC and Islanders-Sound Tigers I remember?

It almost begs the question is Botta blogging there short-term to make sure he can retain a credential? After all if the money is not there at the Times to cover Islander hockey according to Mr Jolly (all those years) it should not be there now unless Botta's not getting paid for his work?

If only Tom Jolly listened to Chris Botta in 2005 and paid a full time Islander beatwriter after the lockout and never put the Islanders in this position we would not have this problem today and neither would the NY Times.

Once again, the hypocrisy and double-standards cannot be cut with a chain saw, but like many things it all comes down to money.

The Islanders paid Chris Botta when Tom Jolly's sports department would not spend money to employ an Islander beatwriter or Botta would never have a credential to begin with because media relations coordinators are not professional hockey writers.

Common knowledge from Botta himself, he was out looking for work after he resigned his position before the team hired him to do a blog as he detailed often in his blogspot version of Point Blank with fans (NYIFC included) asking him to stay in his comment section.

One thing for sure is this will clinch that no NHL team will ever employ someone as a blogger (see Msg policy on bloggers) again because it's not worth the aggravation or risk. Rich Hammond was a Kings newspaper writer who joined the Kings organization as their blogger because of..........drum roll.

Declining media coverage by editors because of budget costs which extended to Helen Elliott's declining space. Then the same media claims teams like the Islanders don't spend enough on payroll?

Comical and hypocritical.

Any sportswriter who takes a public stance against the paper that employs them about not spending on sports coverage would be fired by their editor, lose their credential and the PHWA would not be protesting that publication's action. Why do you think Craig Custance, Pierre LeBrun, Rich Hammond and so many writers move around so often?

It's all about money, most markets including NYC papers don't send writers to the finals unless it's markets or teams they care to cover here with Mr Jolly's Times sending a reporter only to the finals opener in 2007.

Sports Business Daily: Has more from Mr Jolly that year along with then-Post sports editor Greg Gallo aka Larry Brooks boss replaced by Chris Shaw according to the sports department as of 4/5/11 confirmed by call.

N.Y. Post Sports Editor Greg Gallo, whose paper will not send a writer to the finals, said, “Anaheim and Ottawa just doesn’t work for us.” N.Y. Times Sports Editor Tom Jolly “feels the interest in the game over the past 10 years has declined.” Jolly: “I think the lockout was the watershed moment. There was a lack of outrage in the United States about the lockout, and people took stock of that.”

I really hate writing about this subject and wish it would simply go away for good so we don't have to write about it any longer and concentrate on hockey.

Unfortunately for hockey fans the Botta issue will not go away and anything regarding the PHWA will keep forcing this issue to re-surface. The only person with a bigger agenda against the New York Islanders is NYC chapter President Larry Brooks, who kept his mouth/column shut when Evan Grossman's full-time Islander beat was pulled in the middle of a season from the Post.

Again hated writing all this, someone had to.

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9/23/2008: NYI Fan Central Exclusive Q & A with Kevin Allen

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/04/2011 05:00:00 PM | Comment Here

NYI Fan Central Exclusive Q & A with Kevin Allen
I spoke with Kevin Allen, President of the Professional Hockey Writers Association of America by telephone recently and detailed our conversation here where at the time I asked if he could answer a few questions regarding the Hockey media business and the Islanders coverage for everyone.

1. What would be your advice to aspiring writers who would like to become members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association of America who would like to cover hockey as a career and how should they get started?

Allen: Presently, membership to the PHWA is determined by each local chapter. The writers in each local chapter set standards for inclusion into our organization. The reason for the differing standards is simple: the media situation on Long Island where few writers actually cover the team is far different than it is in Toronto when the press box is always full. Our organization is open to bloggers, provided that the local chapter chairperson is comfortable that the blogger covers the team in a professional manner. Some chapters are more open to bloggers than other cities. For national bloggers, the PHWA Executive Board makes the decision about whether they are accepted into our group.

2. What can you tell the fans about being President of the Professional Hockey Writers Association and what the job function requires?

Allen: I coordinate the balloting for the post-season awards, and I interact with the NHL with regard to the media regulations. If our writers have issues regarding access, for example, I’m the point man to discuss that with NHL. Over the years, I have fought for writers who were denied access. Issues are different every year. A few years ago we were fighting for wireless internet in every building and now we are discussing why the NHL wants to put all team media guides on CDs. Essentially, if you are included in our group, the PHWA stands up for your rights.

3. It seems we have many professional media doing blogs of their own, some in the newspapers that employ them but other media on what seems fan websites, do you think this is a good thing moving forward or something that only clouds the question?

Allen: It doesn’t matter whether it is good or bad, because this is the wave of the future. The internet has changed politics, the economy, global communication, the movie and music industries, and of course it has changed journalism. The craft of journalism is now interactive, and mainstream journalists now have to blog to keep up with the times. This is a world where people have come to expect instant news and microwave analysis. I don’t like it because it leads to far too many errors in judgment. But this is journalism today so I do what I must.

4. Any thoughts or impressions on the Islanders blog box program after year one and if you feel this is something other teams should look to do moving forward with even Caps owner Ted Leonsis having a blog where he does an excellent job sharing with the fans even though he is not a professional hockey writer?

Allen: I’m surprised more teams that are starved for media attention don’t do more with bloggers. I think Ted Leonsis is a forward thinker, and he has the right approach. I think his fans appreciate that he expresses his feelings in a blog.

5. What I find interesting is when the Islanders announced the blog box program some wrote about the fan/bloggers cheering for the team and maybe wearing the team colors during games, however what I notice in the work of many of the professional media the next day is they seem to do a lot of cheer-leading for the teams they cover as well in their space as they hype the club or rip them with the same passion the amateur fan writer would do. It's seems only natural long-time reporters of one team become fans and want that club to win so what's the real difference aside from the credential and the writing skills that separate the two?

Allen: I don’t agree with you that journalists generally end up being fans of the team. I’ve been writing professionally for almost 35 years and what I see is journalists always rooting for what serves their best interest. Most of us root silently for an interesting storyline or for an early end to a playoff series so we can go home sooner than expected. Most of us are usually happy when a very quotable player has a big game, because we know he will give us good verbiage to work with. Occasionally, I see journalists cross the line, but not often. I do agree that journalists often write from the fan’s perspective in that they try to anticipate what the reader wants to know about the next day. And their job sometimes is to dissect team happenings so that also can sometimes read like fan perspective.

6. I found it disappointing newspapers and hockey media websites that forced the Islanders to turn to fans and create a blog box to increase coverage because many claimed not to have revenue to provide regular coverage still found room in their budgets to come and report on the bloggers themselves when the program started, begging the question if they cannot afford coverage and daily Islander blogs in their papers why are they using their budgets to cover the fans?

Allen: I have no idea how to respond to that, other than to say that the newspaper world is now in crisis mode as it tries to make a determination about how to adapt to the changing marketplace. Most major newspapers have had significant buyouts or layoffs.

7. New York Islander Fan Central in one aspect of it's coverage looks at professional hockey writers/blogs and comments on the article only when it's from what we consider is the professional media (newspapers/established hockey websites Espn, THN ect) but what I encounter a lot of in my research are a lot of writers where it's very tough to determine who are the professionals vs those who in many cases do quality work but may only be writing/blogging, so how do I best go about setting guidelines to follow for my readers with regard to content here?

Allen: It will always be a judgment call going forward because some bloggers do this full-time while others do it as a hobby. People tell me that page view statistics can’t be trusted so there will be no help there. If it were me trying to decide who was worth commenting on, I would simply use my own standards of professionalism. Is this person fair in their analysis? Is their analysis layered in its approach. If someone writes, “this is a joke” or “the people running this team are morons” I tend to dismiss their writings. But if they write ‘This team has $1.45 million left under the cap and that means they still have room to add a stay-at-home defenseman. These are the players that can be had for that amount….’ then I tend to view that person as a professional blogger. I judge blogs on the depth of their perspective. I despise blogs that simply act as rant forums. Good Grief, when did sports become such a forum for hate and anger?

8. In my hockey research I have noted a lot of articles in general where it seems the unbalanced conference schedule combined with many papers like the Los Angeles Times outstanding writer Helene Elliott no longer able to travel for Kings coverage has created what seems an information void to where many writers do not see some teams for four of five years and have to work off past impressions. As an Islander fan I have see many articles out of media websites like SI/Tsn ect along these lines, how does this improve moving forward with a situation that only seems to be getting worse that began in many markets with the lockout ?

Allen: I agree that Helene is outstanding and that readers would be better served if she were traveling, but most elite hockey writers know just as much about the West as they do the East and vice versa. The NHL Center Ice is package is under $150 for almost every game. I don't travel as much as I used to, and I still feel like I know league. I guarantee you that Helene knows plenty about the Eastern Conference and Boston Globe reporter Kevin Dupont knows the West. New York Post writer Larry Brooks always writes from a national perspective. The schedule makes it difficult to see as many teams live, but it's still possible to know what's going on.

9. What are your thoughts on declining media coverage for the Hockey in New York market with the Times (who's blog has more coverage of European hockey) not even sending a writer to attend Scott Gordon's press conference after a thirty year relationship with the team going back to writers like George Vecsey to the Daily News and New York Post that at best has limited select home game coverage with no Islander blogs in those publications to supplement a lack of print coverage?

Allen: As I said, it’s a changing world and right now newspapers are trying to figure out how to survive. Editors are simply making guesses about what should be covered, and hockey isn’t a high priority. Often times, editors make decisions based on their perception and their perception is often colored by TV ratings. As we all know, hockey falls short there, although it has improved.

10. Living in New York, I always read folks in the hockey media write about this being a big hockey media market, but I have to ask what is a big about a media market when the Florida Panthers come to town with writers from the Sun-Sentinel, Miami Herald & Palm Beach Post meanwhile when the local clubs travel to Sunrise many New York editors simply let the AP cover the game because year round baseball dominates the back pages to a point even during the hockey playoffs in New York City television ratings for NASCAR, golf and poker repeats outdraw hockey which Richard Sandomir in the Times, Bob Raissman in the News and Neil Best Newsday report about with virtually no full back pages for hockey any longer?

Allen: No matter how many reporters cover the team, New York remains a major market because of the number of people who care about the teams there. We may wish hockey had better ratings, but it would be worse if New Yorkers weren't helping those numbers

11. Finally of course I have to ask what's your take on the Islanders splitting with Ted Nolan and will the media give a club that has made four playoffs in the last six years that were in a playoff spot most of last season (and competitive in the division) until four hundred man games lost to injury finished any chance at all of making a run at a playoff spot and more under Scott Gordon?

Allen: I believe the Islanders have a shot as long as Rick DiPietro remains healthy, but I think it will be an uphill fight. The Eastern Conference is more forgiving than the West right now. But the Islanders didn’t do enough this summer to assure that it will be a lock for them to make the playoffs. The read around the NHL is that Scott Gordon was a good hire.

Once again I would like to thank Mr Allen for going out of his way to answer our questions.

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Islander Notables/Corrections

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/04/2011 09:32:00 AM | Comment Here
Later Monday 5pm NYIFC will re-release it's exclusive interview with Professional Hockey Writers Association President, Kevin Allen from 9/23/2008.

Of course it is available in the blog archives at all times.

Three games/four days and that concludes the 2010-11 season.

Perhaps a chance to bump a team up or down a spot and likely an entirely meaningless game in on Saturday.

Obvious lottery consequences with hopes of catching Devils/Atlanta almost zero.
Not sure what will happen against Pittsburgh besides the obvious league warnings to both sides with the Pens having more to lose in terms of playoff suspensions.

If the Islanders are interested in bringing back Trevor Gillies with 2.9 strikes for next season, it will be interesting to see how they allow Gillies to play things the next few days.

If the league were smart it would throw out anyone after their first fight and not allow things to escalate.
Can Rick DiPietro play back to back games? Not a bad time to find out because if he is only starting once every week or so, not going to get off the rust that way.

Would like to see him represent US at World Championships after that, not expecting to see it.

Bottom line he has to return as a starter here able to play at a high level or the contract does become a mistake. He had knee swelling twice this year, one hip injury and the elbow to his face caused him to miss significant time.

There has been no knee setback/damage reported.
Nothing updated on Blake Kessel beyond early articles. Of course the Islanders can sign him and let him stay another season at college but run the risk of injury.
National Post: Reported in a Sunday conference call the rest of the PHWA decided to go ahead with the voting for NHL awards during a Sunday conference call.

Nashville Tennessean: Josh Cooper has the latest with a release from the PHWA along with Teri Frei in Denver, who never has a kind word for the Islanders

NYIFC Comments:
As usual this sad story will reach ten different outlets and ten different versions of it will be reported.

More than one article now concerned the NHL will take the vote from all professional writers on awards they control vote on so no doubt this will be settled quietly. I'm in favor of the league controlling the vote entirely or keeping it internal because of obvious team bias regardless of how this plays out.

The standard of what is a professional writer vs a blogger has become very skewed and some markets have writers who don't cover hockey but have the privilege of voting because they are long-time members.

Why should Pittsburgh or Buffalo have less votes than New York when Penguins and Sabres receive ratings higher than all three local teams combined and better overall coverage by less writers?

Twenty writers make up the New York area hockey chapter of the association? Less than ten of them write with any regularity.

A writer should not have the privilege of voting for anything unless that publication spends money for full time home and away coverage along with daily blogs.

No blogger should be given any kind of vote. Only accredited newspaper writers with columns that cover the teams games on a daily basis. The last few years has convinced me of this.

To get a little perspective here of what credentials it takes to join this association when Satan was given Good Guy Award in 2006 the Islanders website listed the Long Island Chapter of this Association here so you can see what standards make up a member beyond paying dues.

It was beyond sad with one full time beatwriter, an AP writer, an NHL writer, one writer who barely covered team and one person from a fan website.

Obviously some names have changed since then.
Ct Post writer Michael Fornabaio has a vote up for a team award in his blog at the Post. NYIFC wrote in comment section it would not be voting unless Chris Botta is removed from lockeroom when in fact what was meant to be stated is his content is not carried by the Ct Post.

Obviously the Ct Post does not control locker-room access, but what content Mr Fornabaio can link to which is where my protest comes from.

I'm not very happy with what I wrote, perhaps I should not have put that there and obviously worded it incorrectly.

Having pointed this out I don't find it fair given all the interviews those same kids gave him on rare occasions he went to Bridgeport. Many of them have made it and deserve better than to read there is nothing in AHL from someone who is not a scout or a prospect expert that do not need to be placed in the middle of someone's private issues with that team that he has worked very hard to make public.

I'm also aware of Garth Snow's comments in the Calgary Sun/Toronto repeat Saturday. .
NY Times: Quietly corrected it's error three days later on New York winning the 82-83 Stanley Cup, along with other local team making the playoffs and other items from Jeff Z Klein's poorly done article from Thursday.

NYIFC Comments:
Of course it was well hidden. Full disclosure again, the Islanders website quickly edited out it's Saturday mistake on association having Vezina vote without pointing out it's mistake.

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Carolina 4, New York 2: Grabner, Nielsen, Weight

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/02/2011 10:28:00 PM | | | | Comment Here
Frans Nielsen was awarded Bob Nystrom award Saturday night...Congratulations.

NYIFC Twitter Game Review of Carolina 4, New York 2 high marks to Hillen and Wishart for even being able to play in this one.

Matt Donovan had his first professional point in Bridgeport's 4-3 win which also featured another point from Aaron Ness on a team packed with ATO's but included Rhett Rakhshani's 21st goal.

Buffalo News: Bucky Gleason has Michael Grabner for the Calder and felt Frans Nielsen had a terrific year for the Islanders.

Edmonton Journal: Jim Matheson provides Islander captain Doug Weight (former Oiler) more space than local papers and a complete interview with more very tough details on his current and future health, and perhaps is more interested in management than coaching.

“I was getting some deadness in my left leg just before the bones were healed and they found a nerve coming out the L3 and L4 vertebra that was being pinched. My left leg atrophied, about eight centimetres. The nerve has slowly come back but the nerve still has to straighten in the next three to four months so I can avoid surgery”

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Islander Notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/02/2011 12:53:00 AM | Comment Here

Capuano Status & Weight Behind Bench:

Only the Islanders/Capuano/Weight know what is going on with this but it was odd seeing the captain in street clothes as an assistant. I don't know beyond what he said recently about possible retirement or joining organization in some capacity.

My speculation is management is going to wait until the end before making a decision on Jack Capuano or Scott Gordon's assistants. There is also a decision to be made on Pat Bingham (Capuano's assistant) in Bridgeport.

The question we have to ask ourselves as fans is was the individual progression of some players based on Jack Capuano or the talent level of young players improving as it should. Being fourth in East since December with all injuries of course says something positive for Capuano and staff.

I will throw this out as pure guesswork on my part but I believe the Islanders are going to keep Capuano waiting and see who becomes available and as I wrote the day he was let go I'm not sure Scott Gordon is out of that discussion.

Ironic how so many now want Capuano back but when he came here it was seen as a poor choice regardless of the interim tag and familiarity with the players.

Capuano has to keep it out of the press regardless.
No Suspension/Discipline for Gaborik:

Not a popular thing to write, but I did not see a suspension for Gaborik based on what happened. It was a shoulder hit/between numbers where Nielsen was close to boards and hit his head, the referee gave him two minutes for that and two for roughing.

I'm sorry but it was the correct call. He did not make any kind of contact with head or use his stick/elbow on head. These hits do happen in NHL, Peca had one against a Canadian player long ago as an Islander where he was down/out for minutes with no penalty. You do not give penalties based on laundry or you are guilty of the same double standards/bias Colin Campbell has repeatedly been accused of where similar hits happen.

I feel horrible for Nielsen, he was out as soon as his head hit the board and it could have ended his career if not more and I remember Kevin Colley. It's not the first time Nielsen has taken some huge hits either. This will not go over well but he has to learn to protect himself better, we have seen this with Martinek over the years also where he is not ready to take a hit.

For those claiming if this were Gillies it would have been a huge suspension, I agree but we cannot practice the same hypocrisy Campbell and the NHL are accused of or we are as guilty as them of wasting everyone's time asking for suspensions based on laundry.

Did not like it or enjoy writing this and can only hope Nielsen is ok. I would have him in my top three for Nystrom award but the competition is great this year with MacDonald, Hamonic, Grabner, Tavares, Moulson and Martinek.

I would vote for Martinek this year given veteran status if he does not return.
Sure the Islanders can put Grabner back in Saturday if available, and move a forward to center but they really need a natural center. Would like to see David Ullstrom get rewarded.
Nothing new on Blake Kessel front about him leaving school to go professional with the Islanders beyond articles twittered last night. Based on what I read Kessel was very upset about his team losing but only both parties know when the Islanders or his agent was trying to get a deal done.
Devils winning Friday mean New York is one point from being relegated to lottery status.

Updated-Not correct. Number around four and must still include Atlanta.
The Wishart/Hillen injuries leave New York with one Islander contracted defender in Mark Wotton given endless injuries/ATO contract in Bridgeport. Someone can return but it's possible a Donovan/Ness could see an NHL game, I'm not sure what this would mean for eligibility status unless nine game rule (see deHaan/Niederreiter) applies.

Hillen came out of nowhere to sign and make a two game debut a few years ago as an NHL signed player.

Bottom line is find six defenders for Saturday and hope someone day to day is ready on Wednesday. I don't see Okposo doing double-duty and could use some games as a right wing with Bailey and Comeau.
I'm going to repeat this again from Thursday, Mark Katic does nothing but impress me with his skating and puck-handling ability. How many shots/plays did not block or break up on Thursday?

Ok, we'll see what happens Saturday.
Last & Least Department:

Islanders website: Issued an official statement late Friday night on NYC professional writers boycotting NHL voting because a former team employee/blogger had his credentials revoked claiming Islander and Ranger players are being punished for withholding nomination votes required to be finalists.

Sporting News: This was based upon Craig Custance earlier story on Friday with comments from President of the Association, Kevin Allen of Usatoday.

Pittsburgh Tribune Review: Rob Rossi breaks down voting and includes the Islanders part of this was a 5-0 vote (7-3 NYC) despite one beatwriter and a lot of Dolan employees at Cablevision/Msg/Newsday.

NYIFC Comments:
Kind of amusing reading Kevin Allen, almost came off like he gave a child taking a tantrum a treat to keep them quiet by even commenting to pacify him. Kind of how NYIFC feels on this subject wasting space until the Islanders website did.

Most of those fifteen votes are from people who are not active NHL writers because the NY area does not have that many active professional hockey writers.

Here goes Chris Botta again, anything to put the fans and now the players themselves in the middle of his private issues for some attention. The Islanders beating the Rangers meant virtually no Islander-centric newspaper coverage from NYC, now this as a bad April fools joke?

Too bad the Ranger (depending on who you believe NY) chapter did not refuse league votes since the lockout unless their editors provided full-time New York Islander coverage/daily New York Islander blogs at the Times, News and Post being that they have such strong feelings today about coverage standards?

Of course this would cost them their jobs.

Once again Chris Botta (Ranger NY Times part-time blogger) again is forcing his issues to center stage through his media friends who ignored Islanders request for coverage when he was media relations coordinator.

Mr Custance failed to report Friday in January AOL Fanhouse outsourced it's product via Sporting News that currently employs him or reported Botta was not carried over to Sporting News here and was not sent on assignment by AOL for an NHL contest after the outdoor game.

Botta of course had no public statement on AOL/Sports Illustrated not retaining his services despite making any story about an Islander employee/Msg employee not returning as quickly as possible for his page views.

The former Messier book-writer at the Times, Jeff Z Klein, who's paper allows Botta some occasional Ranger centric blog space seems to think the New York Islanders did not make the playoffs in 82-83 when they were champions, and a day later still has not corrected his Ranger-centric article here.

If the Rangers are overtaken by the Hurricanes and fail to clinch a berth, the three metropolitan-area teams will miss the playoffs. That has not happened since 1982-83, when the Devils arrived in New Jersey.

No folks, you cannot make up such poor coverage or invent such double-standards and look in a mirror.

Good to see the Islanders respond to this vindictive non-sense with a website statement which I completely agree with, the players should not be put in the middle.

Of course to release a statement means getting it correct and the Islanders did make an obvious mistake. The thirty general managers vote for the Vezina, not the writers association here.

Islanders website deleted mention of Lundqvist or Vezina award.

You think some of these Ranger life time fans writing are giving up votes when a Ranger could be nominated for Chris Botta? Only possible local relevant NHL awards this year for these writers locally would be Islander-centric in Grabner and Nielsen for Calder and Selke.

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New York 6, Rangers 2, NHL Officials 0, Grabner +1

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/01/2011 12:13:00 AM | Comment Here

Another statement game for the New York Islanders, one that maybe this coach does deserve to return.

The words that come out of that room often about how much they play for one another was again backed by action, despite some very weak games for the last few weeks, even when winning.

Two years ago, the New York Islanders played a similar game in such circumstances against the Rangers, at the time I wrote I would like to see this game a few years from now when the prospects and players developing here were a few years older.

Obviously how the Islanders went into this game was not how I envisioned it, but the score/effort sure says something very positive about the core group of this team because decimated by injuries, playing with tons of adversity and so many players out. Bottom line they simply outworked a desperate club that has been very streaky with their offense, but dangerous when it's producing, that employs it's trap well.

The Islanders had a Devil-Ranger consecutive set of games a few weeks ago (with days off between difference) both those teams trap heavily at times, but tonight the Islanders started well and were put on the defensive by some questionable officiating, which gave the Rangers every chance to take over the game on PP and go into their trap.

At the end the officials handled things correctly giving out ten minute misconducts to clear ice.

Despite losing Nielsen, more injury and another game of attrition, they stuck together and found a way to not only win but break the game open.

As for Nielsen, I did not see Gaborik jump into him, use his hands/stick to head or elbow. He made hard-shoulder contact and got a fair boarding call, I do not see a suspension there even if it is reviewed.

Still want to say goodbye to Radek Martinek? Not me, his defense when on his game is as good as anyone not named Kenny Jonsson, nice to see the offensive side tonight.

Frankly the Islanders could have had ten goals tonight, the chances that beat Lundqvist before he was sent packing down 4-1 were quality chances, the extra step was there tonight and the inexperienced defense somehow did the job short-handed.

Having written that, yes folks, it's time the goaltending police measure Lundqvist equipment or make some real changes because he's getting more overstuffed every year, and wearing longest pads.

I don't care how he played.

Every time I see Mark Katic play I come away more impressed, when Hillen's skating like that I want to see more and that was one nice hit. Moulson-Parenteau were due and Tavares needed a big game and delivered.

High marks to Montoya, he made the big saves and did it after a long break between games. This was something that had me concerned tonight. DiPietro gave him a huge hug afterward on ice after win.

Gee, Trevor Gillies can throw hits and score goals, that's his second career goal this season for those wondering.

Fights are fights, Haley put a nice beating on Avery which likely had everyone on both teams cheering with Tortorella. Avery went after Hamonic first and then decided on Haley and immediately looked like he made a mistake.

If Wishart/other defenders out Saturday, not sure where next NHL contracted defender will be coming from because all of them are here or injured. One of those day to day injuries on the backline may have to play or someone has to be signed or coming back for Bridgeport.

Overall any of the teams still in realistic contention can make the playoffs and come out of the Eastern Conference and win the Stanley Cup, the New York Islanders will not be one of them in 2010-11.
Seacoastonline: Reports Islander prospect Blake Kessel may be leaving school early to sign with the Islanders.
Good to see Howie Rose is where he particularly cares to be, hopefully the Islanders demand he stays there after this season, of course the Dolan's would likely then give the Islanders Kenny Albert because that would save Msg money.

Congratulations to Michael Grabner who goes into the books as a plus one today but not on the ice here who shared with the fans the happy news.

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New Jersey 3, New York 2

New York Islander Fan Central | 3/30/2011 10:14:00 PM | | Comment Here

NYIFC: Recap of New Jersey 3, New York 2..

Only things to add to game review is fight Martin had in his game, still not playing going to net that he was a year ago when he went right at crease. I though Konopka was hurt before his fight.

This game likely decides fourth place in Atlantic with Devils now opening up a five point lead. It would have been nice not to finish last again this season, but the injuries are tough to ignore now on the backline.

Trevor Gillies played five minutes in Grabner's absence.

Tons of prospects/ATO contracts, Brian Day's second professional goal helps Bridgeport win 2-1 at Portland Wednesday behind Mikko Koskinen here.

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Matt Donovan Signed By New York

New York Islander Fan Central | 3/30/2011 03:23:00 PM | | Comment Here

Denver Post:: Reports Islander draft pick, Matt Donovan has decided to leave school and signed an entry level contract with the Islanders.

"We wish Matt continued success in professional hockey," DU head coach George Gwozdecky said in a statement. "Matt was a very dynamic defenseman who helped us win a lot of games in two seasons."

NYIFC Comments:
Garth Snow keeps locking up his prospects leaving school, his biggest and most likely toughest signings that must be made this summer will be Casey Cizikas, out with a serious hand injury here and goaltender Anders Nilsson, along with other college players graduating.

I don't belive Snow is done yet, the ATO's are going to be flying just for Bridgeport to finish the season. As for the Islanders if the injuries continue anyone signed could be called into service for a game or two including Calvin deHaan.

Some twitter issues today, Rick DiPietro vs Martin Brodeur, Zach Parise will not be in Devils lineup.

Eagle Tribune: Reports Chris Barton signed an amateur tryout contract with the American Hockey League's Bridgeport Sound Tigers Wednesday morning and could be in the lineup for tonight's game in Portland.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio reports Matt Donovan will not play tonight for Bridgeport but Matt Campanale, from the Philly area via the University of New Hampshire, and forward Chris Barton will along with the all the ATO's Bridgeport has in lineup.

Islanders website: Report Rhett Rakhshani has been named to the 2010-11 AHL All-Rookie Team.

NYIFC Comments:
I really see this as the breakthrough forward coming to New York in the near future even ahead of Kirill Petrov or Kabanov. Everywhere he has played he has progressed quickly, he's setting Bridgeport rookie records on a team that has frankly been a disaster with injuries and so much turnover. At age twenty three he should get a great shot in camp, but with Niederreiter, Hunter, Okposo and Parenteau as the right wings he's facing a lot of competition ahead of him.

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Montoya resigned, Weight and More Injuries/Callups

New York Islander Fan Central | 3/29/2011 07:39:00 PM | | | Comment Here

Islanders website: Report goaltender Al Montoya has signed a one year/one way contract with the Islanders for the 2011-12 season along with his comments here.

NYIFC Comments:
Congratulations to Al Montoya, he earned a contract based on his strong/consistent play over an extended period. To go to Bridgeport he would now have to clear waivers.

Kevin Poulin, Mikko Koskinen are both signed for next season. Anders Nilsson has to be signed this summer (22nd birthday) or like Stefan Ridderwall will be out of the organization. In short there seems to be no immediate place for advancement and that says nothing over lingering Nabokov waiver claim being tolled or any possible change in Rick DiPietro's status.

Unless a goalie under contract decides to go home next season I do not see any spot for UFA Nate Lawson.

Islanders Website: Report Doug Weight will not play this season with his comments on possible retirement.

“I would lean more towards retirement than I would playing (again), but by no means have I made that decision,” Weight said. “I don’t want to hang on. I just want to make sure my mind’s right. I feel like that’s my right. I’ve earned it over time, to make sure that’s what I want.”

Weight continued, “When I’m on the ice, I don’t feel out of place. I owe it to my family and myself to make the right decision.”

NYIFC Comments:
Time will tell regarding what Weight decides, but the center spot here is locked up. He has not proven he can hold up and frankly his resigning was for a second year a mistake that cost the club on the ice.

Mark Katic and Dylan Reese have been recalled from loan from Bridgeport for Jurcia and Gervais both out with injury.

NYIFC Comments:
Fair to write it's going to be very tough for Jack Capuano to build anything with this many injuries mounting up on the blueline in terms of any questions about his future status. To lose MacDonald is a game changer as it was in October, as we go deeper it gets even harder to play at high level the club was for so long.

Fair to write the club could end the season as it did when it fell out of contention. Kovalchuk will play against New York on Wednesday, Parise is still a question mark but practicing.

Defense: Hamonic, Reese, Wishart, Martinek, Katic & Jack Hillen.
Defense injured: Streit, Mottau, Eaton, Jurcina, MacDonald, Gervais.

Islanders website: Had interim head coach Jack Capuano's NHL interview today.

Islanders website: Also released another prospect report which recently has been a week occurrence.

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Philadelphia 4, New York 1: New York Eliminated

New York Islander Fan Central | 3/26/2011 10:19:00 PM | Comment Here

New York was eliminated from playoff contention Saturday night with Buffalo win combined with Islanders loss.

I can repeat some of the blog entry from Atlanta game, even though effort was better, with shot disparity, this team keeps fading for big portions of games.

A few different players had good individual games (Comeau beyond his goal) but you can see New York is a team that simply is out of sync.

The chemistry the pp had going is just gone, the opposition usually waits for mistakes and gets quality chances, and you can see them pressing with five forwards or Jurcina-Hillen.

The Flyers did not even play very well. A bounce off end-boards, the redirection on fourth goal, and mostly on cruise control in third. DiPietro cannot be faulted on second goal with rebound chances, he was a little out of control, but for time he has been off, was solid enough.

It's not happening for Okposo with Nielsen as his center, Moulson did everything but finish, still overall the level of skating, passing has dropped.

Sometimes it's hard to explain, the Devils are now going through the same thing once the bubble broke for them, but they have more veterans. I saw Jacques Lemaire's press conference and he was all over his team for their play.

Jack Capuano should feel the same about his team.

Bottom line this is what the gm is going to remember last when deciding to bring back the interim coach/players.
Aaron Ness has his first professional goal in Bridgeport's 5-1 win Saturday with Nate Lawson in goal.

NYIFC Comments:
Bridgeport is finishing up as you would want the Islanders to do. Ullstrom, Colliton, Rakhshani and others have been very good with many ATO players.

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Atlanta 2, New York 1: Not liking this teams effort for six straight games

New York Islander Fan Central | 3/24/2011 10:13:00 PM | Comment Here

Atlanta Journal Constitution: Has game recap of New York's 2-1 loss to Thrashers.
The New York Islanders are not mathematically eliminated, they had a lot of days off in Florida before coming home to play tonight.

They have not come close to a sixty minute effort or an A game for a while.

I know over eighty two games, teams have clunkers, what happened against Atlanta tonight goes back to previous five games where you could see the skating, passing and play drop significantly, despite the wins/shootout/overtime games.

I also understand they had a few pp goals on the road, they also showed a lot of the poor trends with the man advantage Atlanta handily exploited tonight, dominating the puck and pinning the Islanders in their own end.

Only Atlanta being frankly a struggling team themselves, with Montoya's goaltending kept this from being 5-1 or worse. Sure Montoya turned his pad into the net on Schremp's goal which was brutal and the same goal he allowed in his Buffalo debut.

There is winning ugly, and playing to build something that's a formula for long term success. Beating the struggling Lightning, Panthers with sporadic good moments is not the team we were watching earlier.

If the Islanders played like the team that defeated Boston, St Louis, took forty shots and had pressure all over Atlanta and lost 2-1, credit the other goalie.

In the context of one game, tonight is no problem.

Six games in a row something's missing.

Some individuals had some good moments against Atlanta, especially fourth line, however shots against reflected game/skating/effort tonight. Atlanta was a team with four days rest, coming off an 8-2 still with playoff hopes, two points ahead of New York going into tonight.

Where was the Islanders playoff desperation tonight, or really for the last six games? Jack Caupauno can talk about long road trips but it was three games on road with a lot of days off.

The 6-1 losses are going to be happening soon via Flyers, Devils & Rangers if this team does not raise their game significantly. If I were deciding on players or the interim head coach status this is where I want to see if this team how hard this team is willing to compete down to game eighty two.

Clunkers? Sure, all teams have them.

Six games of ok to fair/poor efforts is not convincing me.

Easy from a keyboard to coach, tonight was the night to see Capuano do a little line juggling in my estimation to shake up some players.

Buffalo's number to eliminate New York stands at three/Sabres have games in hands and wins tie-breaker.

Streit not to return this season, draft pick Brian Day in Bridgeport on ATO, along with several other players per Ct Post.

NYIFC Comments:
Bridgeport was eliminated last Saturday, Day is a prospect who has to be signed upon graduation. From what I'm reading Anders Nilsson's team is in playoffs (Nilsson and team doing very well) so he likely will not be making a cameo on an ATO as we saw with Kevin Poulin or others.

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New York 5, Tampa Bay 2

New York Islander Fan Central | 3/22/2011 11:05:00 PM | Comment Here

Last time the New York Islanders were only four games under five hundred was November 6th.

This team was twelve games under five hundred on January 26th. The season low was thirteen games under December 13th at 5-18.

Four points in the Bermuda Triangle for the New York Islanders, long time since that has happened. No, it was hardly a classic tonight.

Nice rush by Hillen, you knew he would get the puck past MA Bergeron, Martin made a perfect shot to beat Roloson, who has to stop Nielsen's short-handed slapshot.

Roloson was solid enough, he defended the 2-0 break perfect, but the Islanders made some good plays for goals. Strange game when two Jurcina shots lead to goals, but any night Okposo-Bailey score is key. Bailey a rebound, Okposo a very nice deflection.

No big complaints besides officiating which seemed to find a lot to call so Tampa had every chance to get back in the game on the pp in the third, before finally giving Bergenheim his usual offensive-zone penalty as Guy Boucher looked like many Islander coaches when Bergenheim got overzealous. A dive on Hillen for touching stick while falling? Four minutes to Martinek?

A 5-2 win almost any way you get it is a solid win and the Islanders did some very good things tonight but they are not at that high skating/crisp level they were at on the homestand when they were just dominating. Tampa has been struggling and it's easy to see the Bolts are out of sync, even with the thirty plus shots they had.

On defense, it seemed Tampa's forecheck from fourth line caught MacDonald off guard one shift, Martinek was more aggressive tonight, and overall the team played well enough on defense.

Still, if Montoya is not sharp the Islanders do not win this game, more than a few times Tampa was buzzing it seemed they did everything but finish.

I'm more impressed with Grabner's back-checking then his offense, he skates hard both ways.

Nate Thompson looks like a much faster and skilled player for Tampa. LeCavalier was getting frustrated and he brushed Montoya's crease.

Buffalo wins again, the number to be eliminated stands at five/with tie-breaker favoring Sabres so number really is four. New Jersey's historic run is over, they stand two points ahead of the Islanders after another loss.

Now we see what happens at home against Atlanta/Flyers.

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New York 4, Florida 3 Shootout/Thirty For Grabner

New York Islander Fan Central | 3/19/2011 10:37:00 PM | Comment Here

Color me pessimistic about winning a skills competition in the Bermuda Triangle for the Islanders tonight, granted it's the first win of any kind back to 2006.

This team should not be that tired/sluggish considering how well they have skated with far less rest recently.

Game had the pulse of an exhibition game from both sides for long stretches, for a good week now the Islanders have not had that extra jump or speed in their game.

Florida looked like a team playing out the string and still the Islanders did not have many sustained shifts in Florida's end of the ice.

I was far more impressed with Grabner's back-check that led to a goal then his effort (from Nielsen) to score his 30th short-handed. Some good individual efforts, not many good teams plays. Seemed both teams picked it up when Comeau got his first career fighting major and Gervais stood up for DiPietro.

As for DiPietro, it seemed like the defense needed him to get involved stick-handling/diving for pucks. He played well and bailed the Islanders out early, BUT the third goal is the one Montoya has not been allowing, and on paper (sure final minutes may have gone different with Florida trailing) it's one he cannot allow.

Yes, DiPietro bailed them out stopping the penalty shot, and was quick/fast in shootout.

On the individual front, Parenteau had a nice shot for his goal, Haley made a great rush. (same as Pittsburgh goal) Tavares had a nice rush at the net, Joensuu went right at the Panther net for a quality chance.

Hillen got beat bad on second Dadonov goal, first goal he just made a nice deflection. Hillen also setup Parenteau.

Last time New York won at Florida. Mike Dunham had to make forty plus saves to win a 4-1 game where nothing could have been more misleading than the final score, in terms of how well Dunham played. I remember the interview with his father after the game.

DiPietro's has had a few comeback games in Florida, none with wins, even in preseason.

Miami Herald: George Richard's blog has Peter DeBoer's comments on the Panthers shootout loss.

Playoff race, Buffalo knocks another two points off the elimination number to eight for unofficial elimination (ROW favors Buffalo by five) as tie-breaker.

Ok, now we see if Tampa gives Dwayne Roloson a start against his former team, New York has a win with DiPietro in Tampa this season.

Bridgeport: A rare comeback win 2-1 in overtime. Lawson had thirty eight saves, Ness plus one, DiBenedetto had the ot game winner.

Second game in two days Bridgeport rallied to force a game to overtime.

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A Very Different New York Team Returns To Florida

New York Islander Fan Central | 3/19/2011 02:02:00 PM | Comment Here

Last time New York played in Florida, they came in 4-1-2 on 10/23 as a first place club with Scott Gordon already concerned about even strength play. Tavares had a hat-trick, the Panthers played pin-ball with a pass along the walls by DiPietro that helped Florida setup a pp goal and the game turned into a 4-3 regulation loss.

It was the beginning of the end.

Next time New York won a game was 11/26 with the next win after that 12/16, only two overtime losses/one shootout losses in-between. Eight skaters from that game for New York are injured, off the team or back in juniors. (Niederreiter)

MacDonald, Hamonic and some current players were not in the lineup due to injury or on the team.

So here we are in far different circumstances.

Montoya a nice bounce-back game in Carolina, with several days of rest before/after Canes/Panthers game and DiPietro gets the start after Lawson has been sitting for weeks?

I'm not seeing this for same reason you don't start Lawson here because he was well past point of rust anyway.

Granted the number to be eliminated is six combined points or nine counting Buffalo and not their games in hand.

Is it a huge deal DiPietro or another goalie is starting? Not really, but the choice should be ride Montoya until the club is eliminated or until the Atlanta home game where the schedule picks up. There are two more days off in Florida after tonight before facing Tampa Bay.

Also have to expect if Streit and Weight are on the trip skating they have to be getting very close to participating in a game if that is part of their plan for this season.
As for the teams play, sure Cam Ward kept Carolina in the game, but where was the team before the Devils game that put clubs away in the third? The Canes outworked and out-skated them, Moulson's pp shot was only quality chance in third and may have given Islanders the 3-1 goal, but the team should expect more from itself besides hanging on if it's about building something.

Nice sign is Nielsen is scoring a few at even strength. Okposo has to give them something in terms of goals. Did not like Jurcina on Canes first goal where he was badly out of position.

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