Bridgeport Sound Tigers Update: Pat Bingham's Interim Status?

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/12/2011 11:55:00 PM | | Be the first to comment!


Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio addresses the compete season in Bridgeport with speculation on the future of Interim Coach, Pat Bingham, along with player comment.

"I give credit to anybody and everybody who was here who tried to battle through," coach Pat Bingham said. "We didn't have a lot of slackers. We really didn't have any."

An organizational breakdown is also provided that list a signing deadline for prospect Brian Day, who is a college senior of 8/15.

NYIFC Comments:
All of the numbers are copied from the article. (below) I can add the club responded well to Josh Bailey going down, along with Jeremy Colliton's return to the organization. When both were called up to New York things really got off track.

Pat Bingham got a ton out of a lineup comprised largely of ATO signings down the stretch.

My viewpoint from afar is coach Pat Bingham and his assistant, Matt Bertani deserve a full season (contracts expiring) with a better mix of prospects and especially veterans to go with one more year from Captain Mark Wotton. If Bruno Gervais wants to return a two-way contract would be an alternative from Wotton.

David Ullstrom, Mark Katic, Justin DiBenedetto and Rhett Rakhshani had excellent seasons.

From Mr Fornabaio's numbers:
Bridgeport lost 380 man-games to injury, a team record. (with smaller roster)

Only four teams in the past 15 AHL seasons used more players than Bridgeport's 62 this year.

On Dec. 31, the Sound Tigers were 18-14-1-2. Then January was the worst month in team history. Then February was the second-worst month. On the morning of March 13, Bridgeport was 21-36-3-5, having gone 3-22-2-3 in the meantime.

They went 9-3-1-2 in their last 15 games, After winning just six of their first 33 road games, they won six of their last seven.



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Jack Capuano Video Interview 4/12/2011 On Being Head Coach

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/12/2011 10:49:00 PM | Be the first to comment!







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New York Has Fifth Selection In 2011 Draft

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/12/2011 08:32:00 PM | Be the first to comment!


The New York Islanders will have the fifth selection in the 2011 draft based on Tuesday's NHL lottery result, basically the worst possible result of what could have happened.

NYIFC Comments:
I don't believe another pic of Bill Daly with another Islander logo makes much difference anymore and hopefully this is the final time we see the New York Islanders in one of these unless a team trades them a future lottery pick.

This blog has not done the research on the draft class of 2010-11. NYIFC has added/moved things on sidebars to provide our readers more information. Obviously the outstanding work of E.J McGuire will be greatly missed by hockey fans around the world.

As for June in Minnesota, we'll see where the Islanders go with the pick. Another trade down/up or perhaps for an actual player? We have over two and a half months to speculate.

For those believing the organization has enough prospects, many have graduated to AHL level either with the Islanders or were not signed. One look at the updated NYIFC prospect blog here shows a lot of forwards on paper but many may never be signed.

Remaining defenders: Calvin deHaan (signed) Tony deHart, Shane Sims (must be signed upon graduation) and Blake Kessel. (deciding whether to sign/return to school)

In goal it's Anders Nilsson (must be signed this summer) and Cody Rosen in goal.

Thomas Marcinko, Jesse Joensuu, Robin Figren are all RFA, it's possible one or more may not return. I can keep listing Troy Mattila/other college players yet to graduate and there are some forward prospects in the system like David Toews, Brock Nelson, Jason Clark (among others) but depth goes quickly.

An NHL team building from within must be dedicated to a fault adding talent to sustain it's success long-term. The time will come where this franchise will not be able to keep everyone out of Okposo, Tavares, Bailey, Hamonic, deHaan or whoever else emerges as top level talent from within.

This happens all over the NHL as few players stay with one franchise their entire career.

Bottom line you can never have enough prospects.

The twitter box will return Wednesday at 3pm, unless something major happens it's time for a break after stepping things up here down the stretch.

If coverage of the World Championships here it will be infrequent, no special section will be created.

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New York Names Jack Capuano Head Coach

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/12/2011 01:44:00 PM | | Be the first to comment!


Islanders website: Announced that they have removed the “interim” label from Head Coach Jack Capuano’s title.

Later in the day the teams website had more more from General Manager, along with several of the players here.

“We have made tremendous strides as a team this season under Jack’s direction and I’m confident that he’s the right person to lead the Islanders into the playoffs,” said Islanders General Manager Garth Snow. “Jack’s work ethic and familiarity with the numerous players on our roster has eased his adjustment to the NHL and we look forward to him taking the Islanders to the next level.”

“I’m extremely excited to remain the Head Coach of the Islanders,” Capuano said. “The organization has built a tremendous core of players here and I look forward to helping the Islanders become a consistent contender for years to come.”

Daily News Espn Canadian Press: Have more from General Manager, Garth Snow and Jack Capuano.

NYIFC Comments:
Congratulations to Jack Capuano, who came in not really deserving this opportunity based on Bridgeport's struggles when he was given the interim assignment, however absolutely produced a lot of positive results and progression from young players to where he earned the chance to come back next season as head coach.

Overall his familiarity with the organization, the clubs rebound in the second half and ability to compete in most games with so many regulars out made this an easy choice.

The team at it's worst point were 5-18-5, Capuano got it down to five under before finishing nine under with one veteran defender. It really goes beyond numbers to how the club competed most games.

Did Scott Gordon receive a fair opportunity given same circumstances? No. If next year's club sees another six hundred man games lost Jack Capuano will not be able to overcome that to where the club can consistently move up the standings.

What remains to be decided is the status of Scott Gordon's assistant coaches along with Pat Bingham in Bridgeport, although NY Post part time writer, Brett Cyrgalis speculates Scott Allen, Dean Chynoweth will be retained.

Scott Gordon for his part will absolutely resurface with another NHL coaching job, and likely after team USA concludes the World Championships.


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Ed Mangano's 4/11/2011 Statement On Nassau Coliseum Future

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/11/2011 08:59:00 PM | | | | Be the first to comment!


Long Island Business News: Ed Mangano gave his State of the County speech on 4/11 with comments on the future of the Nassau Coliseum/New York Islanders.

LIBN site had pdf file or each page listed individually, the content regarding the Islanders/Coliseum is on page eight.

As you know, I have not been shy about my plans to develop the area near Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum and Mitchel Field into a sports-entertainment destination center. For too long, Nassau Coliseum and the property that surrounds it has laid to waste rather than generate revenue for the County that can help hold the line on property taxes.

The aging Coliseum is no longer competitive with other sports complexes and conference centers around the region and nation.

Long Island's only professional sports team, the NY Islanders, have threatened to leave Nassau County in three years if a new Coliseum is not built. To construct a new Coliseum, an investment of nearly $400 million would be necessary. Several options have been explored to keep our Islanders and build a new Nassau Coliseum…

Option one was for a sustainable mixed use development which hasn't proven economically viable at this time.

Option two is a public-private inter-nation partnership with the Shinnecock Nation to develop a gaming casino on the land that surrounds the Nassau Coliseum. This project would include a hotel and conference center, a newly refurbished Nassau Coliseum and restaurants and stores.

Finally, option three is to ask homeowners via referendum whether they wish to fund the construction of a new Coliseum.

Regardless of your preference, we must all agree that the status quo is not the answer. It never is. A project of this magnitude would create thousands of jobs, generate hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue annually and would increase tourism in Nassau County. Best yet, it would help keep our New York Islanders here in Nassau County.

Over the coming months, I will seek public input on these options and work with community leaders to address any and all concerns. While I am excited about the opportunity of developing a sports-entertainment destination center in Nassau County, I am still focused on helping create and retain other jobs throughout all areas of the County.

NYIFC Comments:
Charles Wang is on record as saying the team will be here through the end of it's lease and is not for sale, he paid for rights to run the Coliseum through the end of the lease but there is an out in that clause.

Mr Wang outright owns the Marriott Hotel.

Only Mr Wang/Rechler know if both run the Coliseum via Smg amended agreement.

There is no MOU between Nassau County only with Charles Wang. Scott Rechler must be included, they were both approved as developers.

As for Mr Mangano's comments Monday, nothing new but clock is ticking louder.

It seems his final card is to dump it in the taxpayers laps via referendum, something that did not happen with Yankees/Mets taxpayer bonds, the Garden's forever tax exepmtions, the Prudential Center, Atlantic Yards or the new Meadowlands Stadium infrastructure.

Agreements got done behind closed doors, taxpayers had to pay for parts of what was agreed to.

Obviously all three alternatives have been mentioned in the past year or long before. It's easy for a New York Islander Fan not living in Nassau to write pay up for a new building but reality is the tax exepmtions/construction bonds or infrastructure all other local teams fans had to pay for to keep their teams.

Fans in Nassau County will now have to do likewise if it comes down to final alternative. That alternative does not guarantee Wang signing a new lease or revenue from a taxpayer funded facility.

I wrote in the last year it's time for Nassau County to pay up like other teams fans had to for their teams. If Kate Murray only wants her suburbia this is the position she has put folks in herself.

I have posted tons of articles on how every other local government had the taxpayers absorb the burden on construction/infrastructure or bonds/exemptions.

Reality is Charles Wang is not paying for a new building that he cannot make any money running plus give out massive front-loaded contracts for hockey players when teams in modern buildings with high ticket prices are bleeding red ink already.

Nothing new today but no doubt New York Islander fans have an interest. The State of the County address date has nothing to do with the conclusion of the New York Islanders season.
***************************
Al Montoya will participate for team USA at the World Championships.

Some NYIFC tweaks, the scoreboards gone for summer, free agent status/draft/prospects take over for the NHL writers twitter.

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Current Roster Status For New York & Bridgeport

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/10/2011 11:20:00 PM | Be the first to comment!


Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio has the roster status of most players in organization entering the summer so I wanted to include it here. He does have a question on Dylan Reese.

(Numbers in parentheses for signed players are years remaining on the contract; those without numbers are signed only through next season.)

NYI
SIGNED: Rick DiPietro (10), Al Montoya, Kevin Poulin (2), Mark Streit (2), Calvin de Haan (3), Mark Eaton, Travis Hamonic, Milan Jurcina, Mark Katic, Mike Mottau, Andrew MacDonald (3), Trent Hunter (2), Matt Martin, Matt Moulson (3), Nino Niederreiter (3), Frans Nielsen, P.A. Parenteau, John Tavares

GROUP II: Josh Bailey, Blake Comeau, Michael Grabner, Micheal Haley, Jesse Joensuu, Kyle Okposo, Bruno Gervais, Jack Hillen, Dylan Reese (V-320), Ty Wishart

GROUP III: Trevor Gillies, Zenon Konopka, Doug Weight, Radek Martinek, Evgeni Nabokov (if his contract isn’t tolled)

BST
SIGNED: Mikko Koskinen, Matt Donovan (3), Anton Klementyev (2), Aaron Ness (3), Justin DiBenedetto, Rhett Rakhshani, Tony Romano, David Ullstrom (2)

GROUP II: Dustin Kohn, Robin Figren, Tomas Marcinko, Rob Hisey

GROUP III: Andy Hilbert (V), Jeremy Yablonski (V-320), Nathan Lawson, Joel Martin

GROUP VI: Jeremy Colliton (V)

AHL (unrestricted): Mark Wotton (V), Matt Campanale, Brett Motherwell, Benn Olson, Corey Syvret, Steve Tarasuk, Chris Barton, Jean Bourbeau, Brett Gallant, Phil Ginand, Tyler McNeely, Shayne Neigum, Joe Pereira, Mike Sellitto, Mike Sgroi, Justin Taylor

UNSIGNED DRAFT PICK: Brian Day (free agent if not signed by Aug. 15)
ELIGIBLE FOR NHL DRAFT: Art Bidlevskii, Alex O’Neil, Cameron Wind

Group II players are restricted free agents. The other free agents are all unrestricted. (V) indicates he’ll be a veteran next year. (V-320) means he qualifies as that one exempt player a night with 320 or fewer pro games.

I’m not positive on Reese, and if I was thinking ahead, I’d have asked him, ’cause he and a few other guys were here. Reese is 25 with less than 80 NHL games, but I think this was only his second year on an NHL contract.


NYIFC Comments:
Prospect blog has been updated to include all changes for 2011-12, including the ending of the Odessa affiliation.

Saw mistakes on Rakhshani who was a rookie this season and signed a three year contract last year and Klementyev who just completed his second season with Bridgeport but Mr Fornabaio will make necessary corrections.

As for overall prospect base: Shane Simms, Casey Cizikas, Brian Day and Anders Nilsson are to the best of my knowledge the players who must be signed by 6/1 or their 22nd birthday or upon graduation from college.

Kirill Kabanov was drafted last summer, the Islanders retain his rights for another season even with questions on transfer agreement with Russian.

Kirill Petrov's contract has another year to run in Russia.

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Brock Nelson Update

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/10/2011 11:00:00 PM | Be the first to comment!


Grand Forks Herald: Report UND freshman forward Brock Nelson has a fracture in his tail bone and an inguinal sprain as a result of crashing hard into the boards Thursday night in the NCAA Frozen Four against Michigan.

The injury will take six to eight weeks of recovery time for Nelson.

NYIFC Comments:
Obviously great news that this will not effect his future health or a possible career as a professional hockey player.


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End Of A Very Rough Year For New York

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/10/2011 03:16:00 PM | Be the first to comment!


My Thanks as always to all the folks with their kind support at NYIFC, here, and at twitter & in e-mails.

This concludes the 2010-11 season, one that frankly was a tale of two teams but overall has to be considered a huge failure, despite individual success/improvement from many players.

Does this year's failute go on former head coach Scott Gordon or current interim coach Jack Capuano?

Absolutely not. Scott Gordon did not like how his team was playing at 4-1-2, he saw the signs and knew his team. Jack Capuano turned this around but when this team struggled for a while he was threatening to take ice time.

All my years writing I have never seen this organization run out of contracted NHL/AHL defenders and go through six goaltenders.

No doubt there were some good signs from this team in the second half and despite the struggles at the end there are very tangible reasons to be optimistic about next year.

Having written this the bitter reality is a year ago there was some of the same reason for optimism when the Islanders had an eighteen point improvement with the gm on record as saying everyone must be better.

Sure when you again lose same 586 man games to injury (four more than in 08-09) combined with Bridgeport losing so many players due to injury they were fourth in AHL history in players used you have serious problems.

The players brought in were durable, Eaton is generally a healthy player, same for Mottau, but here they did not stay healthy.

As I wrote a while back the blame has to go on the general manager, not for the injuries but for some of the construction flaws that led to problems when some of the players were healthy.

The Islanders season fell off track in October/November when Hunter, Weight, and some of the players on the side-lines now were still healthy, it fell off track when Comeau did not produce as he did at the end of 09-10, when Nielsen could not score at even strength for most of this season and when they could not score at five on five or on the powerplay. If failed when Sim could not produce as he did a year ago.

It failed with the players from Bridgeport not giving them enough early when called upon and that includes a season where Andy Hilbert signed and never played.

It failed in a ton of one goal/open net losses and a pp that completely fell apart after the early hot start. It failed miserably at five on five like few teams in club history.

Sorry, but some of that has to go on the general manager, he knew Weight is not a scorer, he saw the struggles of Hunter, sometimes you have to create an opening as was done with Bergenheim and Tambellini.

Josh Bailey had more than his share of slumps but at his age you cannot expect production and it was made harder again moving him for far too much of this season before Schremp was finally placed on waivers. Bailey went to Bridgeport, did very well, and was recalled to again by placed on a wing initially.

Comeau early was moved around also.

We can look back at the final fifty five games and sure have tons of optimism, it's impossible not to with remarkable breakthrough by Michael Grabner, another excellent season from Matt Moulson, Tavares, the emergence of Hamonic, more great signs from Andrew MacDonald playing as a first line combination and outworking veterans as well as the final numbers by PA Parenteau and Blake Comeau.

Plus minus is a stat sometimes misleading, look at Eaton's plus minus when healthy, when the team was in free-fall he almost never had a minus game.

Okposo had a very rough season after he returned and deserves a pass. We have no idea what a year off does for Streit, who is far from a kid. Hunter is signed and there are a lot of right wings between Parenteau, Okposo, Joensuu, Niederreiter and Rakhshani.

Rick DiPietro did not prove he can play with any regularity in terms of starting and earlier despite some strong games the rust showed in others. What he did was a start but next year he must return to full time status and not allow soft goals or his contract does become a mistake if relegated to a backup. I have to throw out his play in small set of games since returning from Johnson fight because it was a small body of work.

Al Montoya outplayed DiPietro, but there is Kevin Poulin and for now Evgeny Nabokov to go with Koskinen, perhaps Nilsson or even Nate Lawson if re-signed.

Bottom line we have to see what happens next, who is qualified and resigned out of the teams many RFA/UFA. Is Jack Capuano the likely new head coach and if so what does he do as the boss from day one with many of the players who got hurt failing under Scott Gordon?

Garth Snow for his part cannot be shy about pulling the trigger to trade players and improve his team.

Until then all fans can do is speculate.

What can be said about 2010-11 is overall it was a very rough year, all this optimism means nothing unless a year from now this team is in a playoff spot with a realistic chance of bringing the Stanley Cup home to New York.

The media coverage was a disgrace on virtually every professional level, it would have been if the team went undefeated.
***********************
Updated:
Matt Donovan's first professional goal: combined with Mikko Koskinen's 46 saves sends Bridgeport into the summer 4-3 winners with Pat Bingham's interim status as coach needing to be addressed.



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New York Signs Shane Sims To ATO

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/09/2011 11:28:00 AM | | Be the first to comment!


Islanders website: Announced Saturday that defenseman Shane Sims has signed an NHL regular season amateur tryout agreement. The club is under emergency conditions, with injuries to Jack Hillen and Milan Jurcina.

Sims, 22, led all Ohio State University defenseman in scoring this season with 19 points and ranked second overall on the team with 16 assists. The East Amherst, NY, native also led the Buckeyes with a plus-9 rating during his senior campaign.


NYIFC Comments:
This is a little different than the previous players on ATO. Sims is an Islander prospect from 2006 draft who the club has signing rights to until he graduates which will be this summer if he is a senior.

Same as any prospect in organization drafted from college ranks from Ness to Donovan to Okposo.

DiPietro starting for New York. Flyers are tied with Pens so this game huge for Flyers, who are struggling badly and usually find a way to break out of a slump against the Islanders. Pens next game in Sunday.

Ottawa lost against Boston Saturday. New York loss (of any kind) relegates them to 27th overall (fourth from bottom) in terms of next week's lottery.

A New York win relegates them to 26th overall or fifth from bottom in terms of NHL lottery.

Pittsburgh 4, New York 3 Shootout

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/08/2011 11:00:00 PM | Be the first to comment!


I do not mind league cracking down, but has to be even for both teams.

Clipping for Haley on a textbook clean hip-check, a disallowed goal when Tavares was clearly pushed into the crease and did not make contact with the goalie after DiPietro was bumped in Boston? Seventeen minutes to Konopka while Asham receives five?

Was Lemieux sitting with Campbell?

As for the game overall a long part felt like game against Atlanta where the Islanders did not have much working and were being out-skated plus the Pens with a lead trap heavily and had four back often. The pp has been so out of sync for a long time but with injuries hard to build much, but then in the third Grabner's speed set up Comeau's second, the team came to life and even after giving up the 3-2 goal, Pittsburgh was on the ropes.

A little surprised Capuano went for it and pulled Montoya early with a powerplay for a two man advantage.

What a bomb by Hamonic to tie the game.

Consider how ot ended, they are playing a team fighting for first and Wishart is coming in alone, Katic is flying and even scores. (after horn)

Joensuu was flying again tonight, Tavares, Parenteau had good chances. Comeau is getting to the right spots. Montoya robbed Kovalev twice in game/once in shootout and had some great saves, including the 2-0 break in overtime. Katic outside of his mistake against Boston looks fantastic and is an outstanding skater.

Little is working for Okposo, he had that great dive to break up a play shorthanded in the first.

What was odd was Pittsburgh's goals, two created by Rupp, one by Godard.

That's about all I can write on this game, what can be expected with the inexperience and all these injuries? If you did not know the standings you would wonder if Pittsburgh was the team playing out the season.

Pittsburgh did not add a ROW win but Flyers had control of that. Islanders without Nielsen and even Schremp are a different shootout team.

Matt Donovan had an assist but Bridgeport lost 4-1 Friday at home.

Have not found anything on Brock Nelson being discharged or admitted to hospital at this time.

New York has to win Saturday and Ottawa has to lose for them to finish 26th. Florida lost and cannot pass the Islanders in the standings.

Flyers are tied in points with Pittsburgh meaning it will not be a game where Philadelphia is resting anyone.

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Islander Prospect Brock Nelson Leaves NCAA Game on Stretcher

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/07/2011 10:05:00 PM | | Be the first to comment!




Washington Post/Several Outlets: Report North Dakota freshman forward Brock Nelson left the NCAA semifinal game against Michigan on a stretcher after crashing into the boards with his back, and he was taken to a hospital as a precaution.

He was flat on the ice in pain for a few minutes before climbing to all fours, with movement in all of his extremities, but he was wobbly and not ready to rise. Medical staff members then helped immobilize him and carry him off, as the crowd at Xcel Energy Center gave Nelson a standing ovation.

Update: Nelson was hospitalized for precautionary reasons due to a lower-body injury, North Dakota sports information director Jayson Hajdu said here.

NYIFC Comments:
The good news is he was able to move his body.

As for this writing no players have been signed as Matt Campanale, who could only play the one game in Boston per rules. Unless a change in the health status of the contracted injured player here or in Bridgeport a similar type of transaction with another player will be required.

Bridgeport has games Friday, Saturday and Sunday to conclude it's season so depth is not available unless someone returns from injury.

In terms of the NHL lottery Ottawa defeated Montreal Thusday in a three point game, the Senators control ROW which means they technically lead the Islanders by three points, one point lost by New York or gained by Ottawa relegates the Islanders to no higher than 27th.

The tie-breakers with Florida (if pts/ROW tied after game 82) favor Florida with one more head to head point.

All articles twittered from Thursday with comments from Garth Snow on his team moving forward/game against Pittsburgh as players on both sides commented.

Pittsburgh wins this game they can pass Philadelphia for first place in the division by one point. In short, this game is huge for Pittsburgh and could be just as huge for the Flyers Saturday.

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Boston 3, New York 2

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/06/2011 10:12:00 PM | | | | Be the first to comment!


Michael Grabner passed Bryan Trottier for second in rookie scoring with the New York Islanders which was a record set in 1975-76.

NYIFC game review of Boston 3, New York 2.

New Jersey winning/New York loss means club cannot finish higher than 26th overall in the NHL, meaning they will be part of next week's lottery. Things still too tight regarding Ottawa and Florida regarding 27th/28th overall, although at the moment Ottawa has a slight edge for 26th because of ROW.

The way the standings are breaking between New York and Florida if Panthers gain two points and tie Islanders, the ROW could be tied, that would make the tie-breaker head to head points. Florida lost a game in a shootout to give them point advantage in season series 2-1-1 vs Islanders 2-2.

Sportsnet.ca: Ian Mendes has an excellent interview about his first season working with New York Islanders Stanley Cup Captain, Denis Potvin.

Ct Post/Stamford Advocate: Michael Fornabaio has more on latest changes in Bridgeport with includes Alex O'Neil from training camp getting an opportunity.



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D Matt Campanale On ATO In Bridgeport, Called Up To New York

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/06/2011 05:38:00 AM | Be the first to comment!


Islanders website: Posted their pregame vs Boston Wednesday night which makes no statement of this signing at this time.

Concord Monitor: Reports Senior Matt Campanale of the University of New Hampshire men's hockey team, who signed an amateur tryout contract with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League earlier this week, has been called up to the New York Islanders of the NHL. Campanale is expected to be in the lineup for the Islanders' game at the Boston Bruins tonight.

Campanale skated in all 39 games with 11 assists. He posted a team-high +25 rating. The senior defenseman was second on the squad in blocks with 48.

NYIFC Comments:
The Ness, Donovan ATO contracts are exclusively for Bridgeport, the pro contracts do not begin until the following season.

Several area papers have posted this information, the Islanders website has not issued a release.

Updated:
Islanders website: Announced signing of Campanale per emergency rules that apparently only permit one game in the NHL. Jack Hillen is out apparently out for Wednesday's game.

If Hillen's injury lingers or all the defenders injured in Bridgeport cannot return it means Ness, Donovan may be asked to come up (unpaid) for games Friday and Saturday under same conditions.

Rick DiPietro is expected to start in goal.

The twitter box will return at 4pm.

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PHWA Member Dennis Bernstein Goes Woodward On Botta?

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/05/2011 07:42:00 PM | | | | Be the first to comment!


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 | | | | Be the first to comment!













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 | Be the first to comment!


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 | Be the first to comment!
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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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
here.

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. .
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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 | | | | Be the first to comment!
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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