New York 3, Montreal 2 Shootout

New York Islander Fan Central | 3/17/2012 10:55:00 PM | Be the first to comment!
No one wishes to be negative all the time.

I remember in the great old days the Isles would struggle for a bunch of games, then win, and Al Arbour would unload on them.

The New York Islanders won a skills contest and will be credited with a win.

When teams win/lose shootouts, it seems many of the games are written up like the club that won/lost was great/terrible.

Some good things happened for New York in this game. MacDonald's defensive efforts were special, Streit's pp goal (Moulson pick notwithstanding), some efforts by Ullstrom, one hit by Jurcina to spring a rush.

Hamonic just would not quit on any play, Streit also.

Still the biggest takeaway for NYIFC watching this game was how a Montreal team that played the night before (poorly by their own account) outhit/out-skated New York in the third period, and for a good part of the game overall despite the Isles strong second period.

This is the 14th place team, coming off a poor effort, playing the night before, starting it's backup.

Granted any team can beat another on any given day in this league.

Montoya looked unplayable early and got lucky the first shot that got through his pads went wide, he did not see some shots late either, but he hung in and got better as the game wore on. I believe that's the first shootout win he's posted here.

Don't ask me why David Ullstrom was on right wing and Bailey was on left wing. For the good chances Reasoner did generate, he should sit for Tavares, Bailey, Nielsen, Cizikas down the middle until there is an injury/same for Pandolfo.

I liked what I saw from Niederreiter, so much that I'm wondering why not give him some shifts with Tavares? Okposo was trying to play physical, the fastest he moved all night was when someone hit Streit after a whistle and Okposo threw a punch which was great.

Okposo's missed open net early, his marginal penalty, not so good.

What was Grabner doing in overtime with that pass back in his own end around the boards that looked like a Montreal forward dump-in? Was hoping to see some speed after he looked quick on some rushes against Philadelphia.

The club has something to feel good about for a few days.
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I guess Jack Capuano did not know in the ten minute postgame, Peter Ruttgaizer, was asking about how the Isles defense played during the late/ot penalty kill? Capuano started taking about the Canadians skill?

Mr Ruttgaizer did not seem to understand the Bell Center has never been the home to a Montreal Canadians championship as he went on about the rich history in the building.

For New York The Problem Begins On Defense

New York Islander Fan Central | 3/16/2012 06:22:00 PM | | | Be the first to comment!
If your team defense cannot score, is not very fast or physical, that's a disadvantage at both ends of the ice and in transition.

It throws off your entire club. The Isles are not a big team up front that are going to dominate the corners to buy the defense more time to join the play.

It's all a big part of the 2011-12 New York Islander story.

Dylan Reese went from the stands to playing with Mark Streit, that says a great deal about the depth or lack thereof.

Best part of the game on Thursday was watching Andrew MacDonald attempt to play some physical hockey, but that's not enough. Travis Hamonic cannot be that player at this point in his career much less wearing a cage.

Mark Streit's beautiful effort to find Tavares for the 3-2 goal was also not enough on one of the lowest scoring defenses in the NHL.

Streit's looked like he's played two seasons with all the pressure on him every game, which is why signing Steve Staios was such a mistake because teams key on Streit.

Bottom line this team needs some major changes to it's defense which obviously begins with Jurcina, Eaton and Staios because they solve none of those flaws on this backline.

No, it's not their fault, they have played exactly as their career trends would suggest (beyond injuries) as did Mike Mottau.

Obviously the UFA market will only have inconsistent players with a lot of downside available which is why they are on the market. The one or two top defenders available will be front-loaded contract defenders where again even a James Wisniewski will be offered more than Tavares and likely are not going to be available to this team.

In short, the prospects will provide some answers, not all.

That's where Garth Snow comes in.

29 other clubs want the same upgrades on defense so the price in the trade market will be extremely high.
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Flyer game:
Jack Capuano for as flawed as his team can play at times should feel some pressure watching John Tavares diagramming a play after him.

His team played a ten minute game.

Capuano was correct in his twenty second post-game, the Isles did dominate the early minutes and skate well, but for all that they generated virtually no scoring chances. As soon as Nabokov gave up the opening goal the club did little until Grabner's goal.

Streit, Capuano and many were correct in the post-game, there is no excuse to play a ten minute game, this also goes on the coach.

The Flyers came in red-hot off three shutouts in a row, having written that they did not have to play very hard after they got the lead and it showed.
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Jay Pandolfo was nominated for the Masterson.

Total Support For Charles Wang

New York Islander Fan Central | 3/14/2012 07:25:00 PM | Be the first to comment!
As far as New York Islander Fan Central is concerned, Charles Wang has done an excellent job as New York Islander owner and has our total support.

This blog does no favors, it pulls no punches. If Mr Wang did not do his job, he would receive nothing but criticism here.

Mr Wang's proven his loyalty time and again, our fans need to remember that regardless of the clubs record on the ice, the final score of any game or the standings at the end of the 2011-12 season.

Too many folks either get too upset after games about the owner not willing to spend when that's all he's done since the day he bought this team and saved the one in Bridgeport where before Charles Wang this club had no home AHL affiliate or new building.

Free Agency:
No, Charles Wang likely will not front-load, most owners cannot/will-not.

That means on 7/1/2012, Zach Parise is not getting ten-twenty million dollars upfront from Charles Wang, which will have nothing to do with age of the Coliseum, Cablevision Garden, or Maple Leaf Gardens if we were back in the 1990's.

If folks believe with the CBA ending a top UFA player is signing a contract where he could lose twenty four percent by the time Donald Fehr/Bettman are done is not being realistic or acknowledging history.

History:
Charles Wang was spending 45m dollars before there even was a salary floor, he was so close to a salary floor his gm could move Wisniewski/Rolson's 4.5m in salary in Dec 2010 for a player (Wishart) who went directly to Bridgeport.

What's been reported via speculation, sources, gossip or the self-serving folks who are only interested in pageviews/themselves simply is unfair and not reflective of the facts.

Those facts include nothing but praise from many former players (Peca, Osgood, Jonsson, Yashin) and current players who took his money when they had options, who simply could have ripped Charles Wang faster than Michael Peca ripped Edmonton.

For those who recall what did Trent Hunter say about Charles Wang after he was traded and about to be bought out by New Jersey just before 8/1?

Hunter said he was the only one here longer than Charles Wang, and that he really deserved the referendum be approved after all he's done.

That was only reported in Newark paper, not Dolan's paper.

12/7/2010 NYIFC had one of it's many entries supportive of Mr Wang citing many of the reasons we have written countless times, however we did address the future at that time with the following:

The true judgment of Wang's future commitment will come based upon how he pays the players who are part of Garth Snow's long-term plan.

John Tavares-Signed
Kyle Okposo-Signed
Michael Grabner-Signed
Josh Bailey-Signed
Nino Niederreiter-Signed
Ryan Strome-Signed
Kirill Kabanov-Signed
Calvin deHaan-Signed
Aaron Ness-Signed
Matt Donovan-Signed
Frans Nielsen-Signed
Poulin-Nilsson-Koskinen-Signed

Looking back, Charles Wang did his job and more, every player key to Snow's plan was signed, many long term.

Reality Check:
No contract has been signed with any top prospect to our knowledge that is different from another standard ELC. Other teams in this CBA era have signed veteran tryout players in camp to incentive laden deals.

Last Summer:
This blog is no fan of Steve Staios, Jay Pandolfo. Our entries made clear several times last summer returning Eaton, Mottau and Jurcina with this mix had the makings for a disaster on the backline.

The same could be written in retrospect about Rolston/Reasoner, but at the time both were good statistical gambles based on Rolston's second half with New Jersey vs Trent Hunter or Reasoner's thirteen goals vs Zenon Konopka.

I do not see any of these choices as Charles Wang's failure.

This blog had no problem with a contract limit for Christian Ehrhoff (as did Vancouver) which turned out to be a huge overpayment by Buffalo in a UFA defender market where James Wisniewski was signed for more than John Tavares.

For those with recall what happened with Tomas Kaberle? He was such a bad signing by Carolina, Jim Rutherford even spoke out about his mistake.

That was the defenders UFA market last summer, it will be again in July 2012 with even Andy Sutton being resigned early beyond what's going on with Nashville's defense.

Yes, if Hal Gill or Roman Hamrlik replace Steve Staios, what's changing, however that's most of the market soon after 7/1.

Overall:
Charles Wang has owned this team for over a decade, he's the only owner anywhere in New York/New Jersey who has not gotten a new arena or some kind of taxpayer assistance.

Tenant Wang continues to renovate his landlords building.

Mr Wang has no media to tell his side, he's done enough talking and this is not reality television as many other local owners never speak.

Mr Wang/Mr Rechler reportedly lost twenty million, they did over two hundred meetings on the Lighthouse Project.

NYIFC did plenty of entries per-referendum, knowing it likely would not be approved, our blog saw that process as an insult to begin with vs politicians willing to lock the doors and do a deal.

We did entries before last May when it was announced making it clear it now comes down to the taxpayers.

We also wrote about the media who got selective amnesia on every other local team getting taxpayer assistance for their new facilities in NYC papers, who were too cheap to pay a writer to cover hockey games all season, but had no problem paying staff to write that Charles Wang should be the only New York team owner who should pay himself.

Wang last summer for his part made clear he was not going to construct or pay for an arena, nor was he interested in real-estate. What he was willing to do was sign an Smg-like deal where a percentage of his rent/revenue would go to Nassau County in a facility he would manage/operate.

Islanders Senior VP, Michael Picker, said nothing's changed on 2/14/2012 when he met with Nassau County legislature.

Wang for his part every single time has successfully placed the focus back on hockey, he has not threatened like Darryl Katz in Edmonton, he has not allowed this to become what's overshadowed Phoenix.

What got no ink anywhere (besides teams website) was again Charles Wang hosting kids locally and around the world for the Lighthouse Tournament for a week at his own expense. Nassau County/Ed Mangano had no comment on this because they were hosting the New Jersey Giants.

Moving Forward:
Charles Wang has nothing left to prove for New York Islander Fan Central regardless what he ultimately decides on players or the clubs future.

The church he said in 2003 would not remain open forever has remained with nothing but aggravation/loss for his effort.

Whether the players who are pending UFA take his general managers contract offers or not, they have made clear they like being here which is an endorsement of this ownership/management.

Most of the forward spots seem filled for 2012-13, some defenders should be ready to play at this level with Hamonic, MacDonald and Mark Streit.

The thought of Nabokov a year ago, a player who's contract was tolled which cost him millions negotiating to re-sign here after being forced to be here says everything about this clubs management.

Our readers know where New York Islander Fan Central stands on this subject, Mr Wang's earned our total support.

Outnumbered In Standings & Around Puck

New York Islander Fan Central | 3/12/2012 07:37:00 AM | Be the first to comment!
From the entries after the first games back in October, to 12/27/11: New York A Limited/Mediocre Team there is little new left to write.

New York easily could have had four points this weekend, forget that.

This is about how you play a sixty minute game, how the New York Islanders respond when the pressure is on them.

Whether this be Saturday's terrible loss, Nabokov forced to make an incredible save in Boston to preserve a win, it all comes back to the same trends that have defined the 2011-12 season.

The takeaway from both weekend games was watching this team outnumbered around the puck, dominated for large stretches of both games.

I don't care that the Isles led 1-0 until the final two minutes on Saturday, or that Anders Nilsson for as well as he played gave up a poor goal to tie the game.

Virtually every battle along on the boards or every rush the Devils would have three players against two, or two players against one competing for the puck.

Or like most games this season another team would have a box of four players moving faster as a unit, against fewer Islanders, to say nothing of the size/physical differential some clubs present.

The Isles got their odd-man chances when the Devils turned over the puck or made their own mistakes, Niederreiter, Moulson, Haley could have scored, but little sustained pressure was what stood out the most.

Watch Tavares goal against the Devils, he got inside a circle of five players, leading up to it Okposo was outnumbered on the wall but puck got to Moulson.

No, the Devils were not very good either. If Hedberg is not sharp the Isles win going away, but again the Devils had the extra man in the play and that's why they dictated play.

The story was generally the same on Sunday besides being the latest team playing the night before (since 2/12) heading to the Cablevision Garden for another chess match with the Ranger defensive system as they have their own obvious struggles.

If another shot bounced past their goaltender in regulation or overtime, what's improving when your team is chasing the puck or outnumbered for large parts of another game?

Brad Richards has been terrible for them, he's slow, easy to defend, and still he went up the middle and the Isles backed off, plus they allowed him a pp goal on a shot not much better than Brian Rolston has elected to take from the outside.

Bottom line the New York Islanders have had worse weekends for sure this season, they did compete hard in both games and could have won both, but the story is the same since opening night against Florida as the peripheral names change, but the pace of most games do not.

-46 rating, with the most blocked shots in the NHL with goaltending that for the most part has been very good most games.

The numbers are not there, around the puck or in the standings.
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Owen SoundSun Times: Mike Halmo explains why the New York Islanders were his choice among several interested NHL organizations.

"There were some other teams in the mix and it just came down to the best opportunity for me to play NHL hockey," said Halmo.

"My family and and my agent and myself looked at all my options. The Islanders are a great organization to go to."

New Jersey 5, New York 1: Loss Goes Directly On Coach

New York Islander Fan Central | 3/08/2012 10:42:00 PM | Be the first to comment!
" We can do something about it, we have to get more players playing with passion and urgency " -Jack Capuano.

Sorry Mr Capuano, but that was your job before this game over three days.

If your team is not even ready with all this rest, it goes on you/staff because they absolutely should have been.

Urgency was what I saw in Philadelphia, when the Flyers fell behind after Peter Laviolette called timeout. That team was exhausted coming back from the west coast and from there simply dominated.

Urgency was what I saw in Colorado when their player started yelling at the team and from there dominated the Isles coming back down 3-0.

It's one thing to lose to a good team that outplays you or gets the breaks, this was two points there for the taking.

The New York Islanders competed for ten minutes like this was September or October, not March after plenty of time off to prepare for a desperate effort.

Even worse, the Devils were not that interested in working very hard tonight.

Tonight has to go on the coaching staff with the players.

No one's going to convince me Michael Grabner should be sitting against a team he exploits in Newark often so Adam Larsson or Elias can outwork Jay Pandolfo or Marty Reasoner for goals.

I wrote about it on twitter before the game.

Steve Staios made his usual costly mistake, he had his man on the fifth goal as John Tavares was not back defending, this goes on the entire team.

Josh Bailey can misfire on shots as a center or a right wing, he should be at his natural position.

As written all season, steps forward/steps backwards.

Nassau Coliseum Has A New General Manager

New York Islander Fan Central | 3/05/2012 06:31:00 PM | | | | | Be the first to comment!
Tulsa World: Reports Jerry Goldman, who has served as the BOK Center’s assistant general manager since it opened in August 2008, has been hired to be the general manager of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

In that role, Goldman will be responsible for the overall operations and booking of the facility.

Both facilities are overseen by SMG venue management firm.

NYIFC Comments:
This is being posted for a few reasons.

1. Our NYIFC 1/9/2012 entry   links to a Connecticut Business News Journal Article where Bridgeport Sound Tigers President, Howard Saffan, discusses management of Webster Bank Arena under Charles Wang's new 2011 agreement in Bridgeport where he said the following:  

I used to manage the Nassau Coliseum [in Uniondale, N.Y., home to the NHL’s New York Islanders]. There we had 138 events in the prior year. 

2. Charles Wang and/or Scott Rechler have a vested interest in the Coliseum under the 2009 sublease agreement, where Mr Saffan makes clear he managed the Nassau Coliseum.

Review Of Sublease Agreement Notables:
1. The sublease requires the Islanders to pay SMG $3.4 million annually, plus additional payments structured as a percentage of the Islanders' net operating income.

2. The deal gives the Islanders operational control of the Coliseum, while SMG will continue to handle day-to-day activities. The Islanders will receive all revenue that SMG used to get, including parking, concessions and some ticket sales and the team will handle all Coliseum bookings. 

3. The deal gives the Islanders operational control of the Coliseum, while SMG will continue to handle day-to-day activities there. The Islanders will receive all revenue that SMG used to get, including parking, concessions and some ticket sales and the team will handle all Coliseum bookings.

4.If Charles Wang wanted to sell the Islanders, or move them before 2015, and relinquish control of the Coliseum, they would immediately have to pay SMG the remainder of the rent due for the entire term of the lease, which still expires in July 2015.

5. Nassau County would have to approve the team leaving.

Bottom Line:
This comes down to was this hire made by Charles Wang/Scott Rechler, an internal change made only by Smg, or a sign Wang/Rechler want out of the sublease agreement?

The sublease says the Isles handle bookings, this article says Mr Goldman will handling booking?

Those writing this sublease was some kind of gift to Wang/Rechler forget it cost seventeen million dollars through the end of the Islanders lease with Nassau.

It was announced in Tom Suozzi's closing days as County Executive 12/27/2009.

Ed Mangano was critical of the agreement.

If the Islanders had Mr Saffan managing the Coliseum, why is Smg bringing in someone to apparently do what a current employee of Charles Wang in Bridgeport had been doing?

Or between the time Mr Saffan managed the Coliseum, a different Smg employee had been in that function for Smg?

It bears some close watching.

NYIFC will ask Ed Mangano this directly via twitter and see if he can provide a straight answer if he's letting the Islanders out of their lease early or is aware of this change?

New York 1, New Jersey 0: Nilsson First Win/Shutout

New York Islander Fan Central | 3/04/2012 06:28:00 PM | Be the first to comment!
New York 1, New Jersey 0

Anders Nilsson has his first NHL win/shutout.

Some shots against him hit the crossbar, a few others he did not have his post on chances that missed the net, while others he was sharp and quick to grab the puck, and even slashed a Devil.

That was the kind of win it was for the New York Islanders, it could have gone either way.

Cannot write this up as a great dominating win by New York or any kind of sign that they played they kind of hockey where something was building in terms of season changing momentum.

Hardly. 

Home ice has certainly not been friendly in terms of winning which has been a big part of the difference in why this is not a playoff team.  

Having written all this, for a third game in four days, they had some fight in their effort and earned their two points. They started this game well and for the most part played at a high level.

Perhaps it was playing a smaller New Jersey team after seeing huge teams in Boston and Philadelphia, or it was one of those days the Devils felt they could play their system and produce against Washington, who the Islanders could not hold the lead against.

The officiating was awful on the non-calls. 

Casey Cizikas for his nine minutes, was on both ends of some hits. David Ullstrom impressed me a lot more with his effort especially driving the net in the third period after taking the puck from Kovalchuk.

Tavares could have had a hat-trick, his move in the third was like the one in the 5-2 win against Philadelphia. Moulson was robbed a few times and Parise beat him down low.

The defense gambled a few times with the pp, which started good but faded and almost cost them. They have to finish a five on three, then a four on three, and seemed satisfied with outside shots. 

Not sure what to make of Okposo's goal. If he followed it up with shifts where the Devils could not contain him or get him off the puck, I would be more impressed. That's the Kyle Okposo who was a threat to score and dominating before his injury.

Steve Staios drew a penalty, he took another Devil with standing up for his teammates. Hamonic threw a Devil down in the third clearing the crease wearing his cage. Eaton played hurt. Streit/MacDonald did all they could, and came close to scoring.

Next up three days off.

New York 3, Boston 2: When Winning Means Little

New York Islander Fan Central | 3/03/2012 06:17:00 PM | Be the first to comment!
New York 3, Boston 2.

This should be the usual time to write any win is a good one, credit Nabokov's strong play which deserves praise, and write about the positives.

Having written this, I did not see a lot of positives.

Exclude the newest players like Cizikas, Ullstrom, from any of this.

I'm hardly thrilled with stealing points, watching the Isles largely out-hit (stats aside) or out-skated, where the other team puts on the pressure, forces them to play the other clubs game, then hang on.

Boston designed a set-play on their second goal, it looked too easy as MacDonald could not get back.

This is not building anything, it's not progress.

It's not the team a year ago that was very hard to play against in the second half, which forced the other team to skate, producing goals.

The most notable thing I saw against Boston was Jack Capuano grab for the clip-board twice during the time-outs, because usually the assistant coaches do that.

Still Boston scrambling, hardly playing great, almost tied it except for Nabokov robbing Lucic. Is that supposed to be a positive?  

Eighty Two Games:
x games a team will play well.
x games a team will play poorly.
x games will be decided by luck/breaks/officiating.
x games will be won/lost by goaltending.
x games the fatigue factor is justified. 

Then there are the many games that make or break a team/season, who wants it more?

I see a New York Islander team too small, slow, taking big hits, where the other club turns up the pressure (Philadelphia/Washington/Ottawa) today against Boston, and this club simply fades.

You see so many plays during a game where the Isles are outnumbered by the other team on the boards or in transition. 

The Isles went into this trip against two tired teams all set up to win, they opened the scoring in three of those games, lost two in regulation, one in overtime before going into Boston because those clubs simply wanted it more and had many more players capable of raising their play with the game on the line.  

Tavares made a brilliant play to tip in a shot that won the game on what was likely a huge break by not calling icing.

MacDonald still has his assist. 

Nielsen had an excellent effort outnumbered before finding Bailey who finished. 

New York 3, Boston 2.

Does winning this way build anything moving forward?

Okposo & Bailey vs Coaching/Development/Winning

New York Islander Fan Central | 2/29/2012 07:02:00 PM | | | | | | Be the first to comment!
For those who recall, Kyle Okposo, did not play a game under Scott Gordon a year ago.

He did play briefly under Jack Capuano in Bridgeport here  and no doubt worked under Capuano in summer or training camps.

The point is Capuano and Okposo were familiar with one another when he returned from his shoulder injury in January 2011.

Kyle Okposo is a young player, he's had success and shown he has first line potential. 

Jack Capuano is in a tough spot here. He's benched Okposo, put him on the top line where a pick of his potential should thrive with Tavares, however now again is off that line for Parenteau.

Okposo's been used with Nielsen most of the time since his return in 2011, that produced five goals, but did not get a lot of notice because of Grabner's success on that line combined with his injury. 

Seems the only thing that brought immediate improvement for a short-time was Okposo's benching this season, and not just the two quick goals against the Flyers, but his dive to the net returned.

Of course the numbers are important, however he's simply not generating chances, skating well, and visible in games for all the wrong reasons.

There are no easy answer here, this is not the same player before his injury.

The Milbury plan and a trade should not even be a thought.

The only acceptable plan is the staff does everything possible to get Okposo back to the player he used to be.

That's part of what the staff is paid to do, that's why the player got a five year contract extension. 
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As for Josh Bailey, many have read our 8/25/11 entry about him being mismanaged by the club.

Bailey dismissed returning to play his third forward position (RW) against Washington.

Despite scoring this blog feels players who teams use first round picks to draft, must play their natural position.

Bailey's been different than Okposo, he's had very visible games with a lot of unproductive wingers.

The answer is not to make Bailey a full time wing again. 
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Coaching:
The facts are the players here all praise this organization, that's a reflection of the head coach.

Blake Comeau went both ways first crediting his work with Capuano in Bridgeport, then praising Scott Gordon, who picked Nate Thompson over him and played the communication with Capuano card.

Rolston also had some comments that seemed odd considering the minutes and role he was given on the club's powerplay. 

One reason Jack Capuano was given a contract to return in 2011-12 was familiarity with the Isles prospects.

Garth Snow made clear recently he's very happy with his head coach.

Should he be satisfied getting nothing statistically from most of the veterans, or little aside from the natural progression Tavares has made with Parenteau?

The kind of natural progress you expect from Okposo and Bailey at this point, even without the statistics? 

Or is the reality no coach was going to make some of these veterans more productive, and this collectively hurt the ability of many forwards to do better?

Reasoner/Rolston second half numbers a year ago would suggest one thing.

Parenteau, Moulson progress/improvement says that works both ways.

Washington Loss:
Little to add from twitter comments.

Steve Staios does his absolute best in a role he should never have been entrusted with.

This team came out and should have been down four goals in the first period, even if they won 2-0 it was a terrible response to Sunday's game.

How they won the previous game in Washington is how they needed to play Monday, the scoreboard never reflected the disparity in skating most of that game. 

Upcoming Games:
Flyers come limping home after having a very tough trip to the west coast where they should be tired, it will make no difference if the Isles continue to struggle in games.

Will we see the Islander team that went into Philadelphia and earned a 5-2 win with excellent skating or the game where they looked shorthanded for sixty five minutes and Nabokov stole a shootout?

What's also is clear very soon, someone's going to have to start a game besides Nabokov.

Our new twitter box has it's first update on that front. 


NYIFC Update

New York Islander Fan Central | 2/29/2012 10:00:00 AM | Be the first to comment!
As many know this blog has never been a fan of doing these kind of updates, however folks ask questions via e-mail, so it's respectful to keep everyone informed on rare occasions.

The official name of this blog is New York Islander Fan Central. Abbreviations (NYIFC), or (nyifancentral), or (NYI Fan Central), are so the words fit some of the sites/gadgets like twitter that do not accept the full version.

Personally it makes no difference, as our long-time readers know, this has never been a blog about advertising, the name on the front of the jersey axiom would apply.

Updated Changes:
1. The fonts were made larger for folks to read blog entries, and to do a better job writing them.

1a. The social networking tags have mostly been removed from entries, it's now on the sidebar for less clutter.

1b. Tagging entries has been terrible here since the 2010 full time closing. Will attempt to do better.

2a. A new area only for the latest blog entries was created on the right sidebar.

3. Recently the archives were made easier to access/find.

4. The @nyifancentral twitter box on left sidebar for responses/discussions from readers has been removed because of too much spam that cannot be deleted from this specific feature. The decision to continue not protecting tweets makes this necessary.

4a @nyifancentral twitter tab at top of page will lead you to the exact same page on twitter where spammers are blocked/removed.

4b. No changes to the general twitter box here with NYIFC updates.

5. A new twitter box has been added replacing (4). This new twitter box is for, Important Team News, Injury Updates, Gameday Lineups, Transactions.

These updates will only be visible for the time they are important, then deleted.

5a. In twitter language they will be Favorites for the time they are important, then unfavored and disappear from the box.

6. If New York or Bridgeport do make the NHL/AHL playoffs, there will no daily blog updates.

Future of New York Islander Fan Central: 
I receive many e-mails on this subject, and appreciate the very kind words.

As written in every one of these updates, the next entry could always be the final one.

There will be no closing announcement, this was done once already in April 2010, before a twitter format was discovered to add here which unexpectedly kept things going.

Our thoughts on closing NYIFC from April 2010 are unchanged with the same thanks and appreciation.

No decision on the future of NYIFC will ever be decided based upon the team or it's lease.

The promise moving forward is the same one made every year when the domain is renewed each October.

NYIFC will remain visible for the full term of it's domain registration which expires October 2012.

Trade Deadline Concluded For New York

New York Islander Fan Central | 2/27/2012 06:03:00 PM | Be the first to comment!
The trade deadline has passed, the players who are pending UFA will be signed here before 7/1 or move on to another club.

Our speculation on Evgeny Nabokov is Kevin Poulin (and Anders Nilsson) would be best served playing in Bridgeport's playoff run, one may well have to come up and replace Al Montoya.

Nabokov, if unsigned will have a market for his services, but his age, level of play will not make him nearly the attractive UFA prospect he was a few years ago come 7/1. Nabokov still has another twenty games with this team, a lot is riding on his performance for all sides.

Parenteau made clear he's done talking contract for the remainder of the season, how he performs will determine the direction things go.

NYIFC Comments:
The good news of this day is Mark Katic is finally off IR, and loaned to Bridgeport, he's been out since the preseason opener.

Overall the trade made was an odd one by Boston. 

Brian Rolston cleared waivers, Boston all of a sudden wants Mike Mottau so badly they took Rolston with him and included two minor league players? New York may see one or both come Saturday.

One look at the Isles roster/depth chart suggests they simply could not start unloading veterans.

It sounds nice and reads well to move Eaton, Staios, Pandolfo, Reasoner (signed for next season) or others, however a big part of Bridgeport's roster is here now. Dylan Reese is not ready to return, we don't know for sure if Staios will be ready Tuesday.

Calvin deHaan just started playing this weekend. Ness is there as is Wishart/Donovan.

NHL Deadline:
Deadline day between No Movement/Trade clauses, massive front-loading of contract's is not what it used to be. About what was expected in trade market.

Former Islander, Scott (one-shot) Howson's tenure as GM in Columbus unofficially ended today disclosing Rick Nash requested a trade which was unprofessional. Expect Nash to be traded or retained by Howson's successor in the future.

Mike Mottau/Brian Rolston Traded To Boston

New York Islander Fan Central | 2/27/2012 03:05:00 PM | Be the first to comment!
Mike Mottau and Brian Rolston (after clearing waivers) have been traded to the Boston Bruins for Defenseman Marc Cantin. (ECHL Reading Affiliate) & RW Yannick Riendeau. (AHL Providence Bruins)

Confirmed by Islanders twitter Cantin and Riendeau will be assigned to Bridgeport.

NYIFC Comments:
Best of luck to Brian Rolston and Mike Mottau.  New York is better served with it's prospects at Bridgeport than these players at this time.

New York At Deadline/Rolston Clears Waivers

New York Islander Fan Central | 2/27/2012 12:13:00 PM | Be the first to comment!
Brian Rolston has cleared NHL waivers. The Islanders website is showing the NHL/Tsn trade deadline show as the club practices at the  Kettler Iceplex in Washington.

NYIFC: 
NYIFC will have blog entries for transactions related to New York if any happen, the trade deadline marker on sidebar has latest. Transactions tab links to Isles website page.

Ottawa Loss Microcosm of Season:
Sunday's loss in Ottawa was one of the most frustrating of the season. 

New York faced a tired team, with an AHL goaltender, who let up a poor first goal.

They needed to come out of that first period up two or three goals, and had plenty of chances.

The usual suspects, eating minutes, producing nothing, could not finish.

Marty Reasoner finally has to finish a play, these outside shots from Eaton, Mottau, Jurcina have to produce some goals from the defense.

Coaching:
Why play Matt Martin out of position, when Jay Pandolfo can move back to his natural position of right wing and move up Niederreiter with Cizikas and Ullstrom/Martin at left wing? Don't understand.

I completely understand the club wants to develop it's prospects, no one is going to convince us, Ty Wishart who played twenty games here last season five years into his career or Aaron Ness with two goals Sunday is going to make a mistake any worse than Mike Mottau did Sunday.

That's the theme, old, slower defenders, big mistakes, not able to produce by their career resumes, lot's of outside/low percentage shots, not physical.

Play That Defines Season:
Then comes the biggest microcosm of this season for NYIFC.

Isles cut the deficit to one, apply pressure and have momentum. Okposo lumbering to puck, with numbers, not able to create a play or move well, stops, waits forever, passes back to Mark Streit, stick breaks, transition ends up with a redirected tip-in goal to finish the club Sunday.

Okposo is skating like Trent Hunter far too many games, the one time he was moving well was after his benching, he needed to make a play there. 

Steps forward, steps backward.

Sure Nabokov needed to stop shot off Mottau turnover, that's not the point.

The weaknesses that have defined this club since day one are what beat them in Ottawa.

New York Not Sellers Based Depth At Foward. Ullstrom/Rolston

New York Islander Fan Central | 2/25/2012 04:34:00 PM | Be the first to comment!
If the New York Islanders are going to be sellers by Monday, a trade likely has to come from the defense or goaltending unless players come back in return who can play forward.

Brian Rolston was placed on waivers Saturday. David Ullstrom was recalled.

If Rolston clears (which he did a year ago/also on re-entry waivers) he could remain with the club, report to Bridgeport or retire.  Either way Rolston counts against the Isles cap unless claimed. 

Tim Wallace claimed by Tampa, Rolston on waivers, plus Bailey's injury extends the depth at forward down to virtually nothing in the organization in terms of scoring because of injury/suspension.

As written many times, Rolston was a good gamble for Trent Hunter (who was placed on waivers a week ago and currently playing for Manchester AHL), Rolston had a productive second half with the Devils a year ago with twenty nine points from Jan 9th to the end of the season.

The Isles statistically got the version of Rolston from the first half of 2010-11, who we specifically singled out as a player you do not claim. 

For some reason it never clicked here between injuries and other things in games for Rolston, it seemed he needed to play left wing more, which did Blake Comeau no favors. 

Lines:
Ullstrom-Cizikas-Niederreiter as a line with Pandolfo returning to his natural RW side, LW Martin and C Reasoner make sense in terms of position, but all that's up to the coach. 

Moving Forward/What's Next?
Plenty of twitter updates on Friday's game, no point looking back. Two points were needed and now they must repeat what they did earlier winning in Ottawa, Washington and Philadelphia.

Having written this New York is officially now on a four game road trip with no healthy forwards or defenders to scratch unless Rolston went with them or Bailey can play.

Of course, a seventh defender could be recalled, the one area Bridgeport will have some depth at in the near future. 

There is no game Monday at the trade deadline.

Seven Teams/Seven Points One Playoff Spot For New York

New York Islander Fan Central | 2/23/2012 12:43:00 PM | Be the first to comment!


Tim Wallace was claimed off waivers by Tampa Bay, Aaron Ness was returned to Bridgeport. 

Updated:
Casey Cizikas was recalled, Travis Hamonic has been removed from IR.

Seven teams/seven points (eight with Carolina), that's playoff reality for the the 2011-12 New York Islanders if you consider this realistic.

Ironically the club seemed to lose more ground winning a while back, than losing, however that's misleading.

It's highly unlikely Ottawa or another team will fall back as far as the 8th seed.

As for the New York Islanders, as written many times here, when they win ten games in a row, we can start having a realistic discussion about a playoff spot, not before.

We're not even close to starting such a discussion.

What is realistic will be a team in that mix of seven-eight clubs is going get on a winning streak, even if the Isles go on a run to match, it may only be enough to keep them on the outside or where they are now.

Problems/Buffalo:
John Tavares went from NHL player of the month, to scoring in one game over three weeks.

Doug Weight moving Matt Martin to right wing to open the game in Buffalo cost them the opening goal after a defensive turnover by MacDonald/Streit. Martin as a RW did not react to Myers coming down the slot with LW Grabner playing his usual spot. 

A bad change cost the Isles the 2-0 goal with Rolston involved.

The scoring problems also make any kind of winning streak not realistic.

Watching Rolston shoot from everywhere (he also had a shot or two from quality areas) is a lot like watching Eaton, Staios, Jurcina throw pucks at the net from bad angles. Low percentage.

Of course Nielsen's goal was a low percentage shot.

Injuries/Illness/Instant Chemistry/What's Ahead?
The New York Islanders have no time for anything but winning hockey games whether it be Rangers, Senators, Flyers, Bruins, or three games with Devils. 


What's realistic is when players are injured/out for a while with illness, they likely come back and struggle.

Hamonic has to use a cage, his view is different. Nabokov has not played since Winnipeg, who knows what the flu and lack of work mean in games?

Al Montoya looks completely unplayable, ironically he came here looking like this a year ago.

Mike Mottau is also skating, but he could have been skating for a while.  

Trade Deadline:
As written in our last entry the depth is not there to make trades unless players come in return for them.

Only thing that changes this is if deHaan, Katic can play hockey games in Bridgeport which could happen perhaps as soon as Friday.

The Isles need to be extra careful with Katic and deHaan and their history with shoulder injuries. 

Tim Wallace was claimed on waivers by Tampa Bay.

Jay Pandolfo continues to play his off wing on the left with Reasoner and Niederreiter.

Eventually we'll see about Bailey, Cizikas recall indicates Bailey could be out.

Our guess is Garth Snow is going to make sure he has depth in the NHL/AHL to finish out the season.

Bridgeport at 16-1-1 gained enough ground to put them in the playoffs but that spot is tenuous.
 

Winning Ugly Not A Long Term Strategy For New York

New York Islander Fan Central | 2/19/2012 10:16:00 AM | Be the first to comment!


No one's complaining about a win, by the end of the season few remember anything but the final standings.

Over eighty two games a few wins are very ugly as was the game against Carolina.

It also has to be written the New York Islanders should be a tired hockey team based on schedule alone, add to that a lot of younger players, too many unproductive older players is a tough mix when the scoring is not evenly distributed, plus your defense gives you nothing in terms of goals at even strength.  

Anyone following closely would have to know Tavares was due to hit a wall and did, he looked exhausted/frustrated against the Blues and was hardly smiling when Spacek went to sleep and he beat Ward, who was also slow to react.

Having written that, a tired Carolina team on their own winning streak had the Isles scrambling for a good part of the game, and did everything but tie the game in the closing seconds.

Cam Ward was injured and did not return for the third period, the Canes also seemed very willing to trade chances.

Bottom line the scoring is mostly about one line, the defense is not going to generate goals,  the players not producing all season are highly unlikely to start doing so now as they eat minutes and produce at best an even shift. 

Built To Last?
Statistically things are all over the map in that department so it's not a reliable barometer. 

Of course you can write a year ago this was a team buried below five hundred, now it's come back from five and six under to reach break even, it's also been a healthier group.

However that's also misleading. 

Good special teams vs team scoring dramatically down, vs great blocked shots totals (a reflection of pressure against/slow defense) with very poor team scoring from it's defense.

Last year's team was a high scoring club for most of the second half. There is no Blake Comeau getting hot or Micheal Grabner on a thirty goal clip this time. Nielsen's picked it up a bit, however that's not reliable based on his history.

It's not happening for Okposo most games at five on five and he's not visible or dominating beyond the few games after his benching. It's troubling he struggled with Tavares because Okposo is the top draft pick expected to be a scoring power forward, to take the pressure off Tavares and Moulson with a big game himself where he carries the line.

Bailey seems most noticeable short-handed as does Martin which are not good signs, sure they skate hard and generate chances at five on five. 

Niederreiter's throwing some big hits, he's coming close but not with the right line-mates to score.

Rolston's been invisible. Reasoner's been hurt or ineffective since camp. Pandolfo blocks shots, but provides no offensive game.  Tim Wallace is not a scorer.

Until the Montreal game, Mark Streit led the defenders in goals with three. For a little reference, Marc-Andre Bergeron, had nine goals in forty six games when he came here in a trade during the end of his first season.

That's a huge problem. 

Eaton, Staios, Jurcina point shots are not likely to produce goals. MacDonald/Hamonic have this ability but has not progressed this season in that area.

Let's also give Nabokov his due, where would this team be without him stealing some games?

For what this is worth it seems the second goalie whether it be Montoya, Poulin against Nashville are not ready when called upon.

Bottom Line here is this defense needs progression and changes before we can write anything happening now is built to last. A year ago there were reasons to believe a returning Streit, with Hamonic, MacDonald, Hillen, Wishart, Martinek could be faster and more productive based on the second half.

The current group is too old/slow/non-scoring/not-physical, that's a big reason why what's happened in 2011-12 cannot be considered team progression, despite Tavares natural individual progress.

Of course the answers could be in the system, who can be added to Hamonic, MacDonald, Streit, but for now what's here is very limited and it shows.

Moving Forward:
It's game by game now. This team plays like it did against Carolina, Ottawa will defeat them handily as will most teams in playoff spots desperate for points. Tavares has to again put the club on his back far too early in his young career. 

If the clubs around them are in sell-mode, the New York Islanders need to have the same mindset because the standings do not lie, nor do the weaknesses.

Sure you can be a seller and work just as hard toward a playoff spot. 

Of course the depth is so thin management likely needs these players just to finish out the schedule while Bridgeport's prospects work toward a playoff spot and an experience they need.