3/31/12

Boston 6, New York 3: Charles Wang Sunday

New York Islander Fan Central | 3/31/2012 03:56:00 PM
New York was eliminated from playoff contention with Saturday's 6-3 loss.

Comments from the game are on twitter, overall the game was there to be won in the third.

Boston turned up the pressure, New York failed to match, contest was closer than score.

The goal off Travis Hamonic, Montoya needed to stop from that angle. The work for Parenteau's two goals, no goaltender was going to stop.

Charles Wang will be interviewed during Sunday's pregame against Ottawa.

Bridgeport won Saturday.

Casey Cizikas was injured, not sent down to the best of our knowledge.

3/29/12

New York Sweeps Pittsburgh: Bailey Five Points

New York Islander Fan Central | 3/29/2012 10:25:00 PM
When a team losses it's first back to games since Jan 10th-11th they are doing everything right, when another team beats them twice in a row this says something very positive about them.

You know it's a sign of something good when Steve Staios is breaking in shorthanded.

All kidding aside, New York was the better team, had the extra step, outworked the Pens, and earned their sweep of the home and home.

They have had success at home vs Pittsburgh before this season.

Not sure what to make of Bailey but a remarkable night to register five points. Of course for this blog he should play his natural position of center. The concept of him being a winger has been tried many times without success, but that's not for today.

Congratulations to Josh Bailey.

Nielsen-Okposo played with Grabner the entire second half of last season.

Congratulations to Kyle Okposo for a new career high in goals. 

That was an incredible effort by Pandolfo short-handed to get the puck to Bailey. 

When a dominating team hits the wall like Pittsburgh has, they are going to lose some games, and make some mistakes trying to do more, despite this they still almost came all the way back.

The Pens short-handed play was good, despite the goal they allowed off their defense.

Montoya's surprising me a little, he looked unplayable for a long time (even before injuries) but now he seems to have settled down which does not happen in a vacuum.

The shift Reasoner came off the bench and scored his first, like in Florida the team had a dominating shift, you could see the Isles were beating the Pens to the net.. Okposo found the quality spot, the first line did not finish but generated chances, Grabner, Niederreiter and Martin had chances.

Streit is just playing like he was told go play offense for a while now, he got caught in Pittsburgh when someone did not cover well, but he has to do it.

Isles took some big hits to clear some pucks on defense.

Overall this suggests nothing new, the Isles have been a team between five hundred and six under the entire season. This is no carryover to next season if there is one.  

Now we see what happens with Bridgeport, who need Ullstrom (plus Cizikas) and what happens when Boston/Ottawa visit over the weekend. 

Those teams have not hit the wall the Pens have, they will be much tougher.

For this day congratulations to the New York Islanders. 

Lottery Watch:
New York is five points clear of the 27th place team. Toronto is playing the kind of hockey where they may well not win another game, anything can happen. 

Beating Winnipeg/Columbus or even better having success against Boston/Ottawa/New Jersey could place the Isles around the 8th or 9th team from 30th spot. 

3/28/12

New York Notables: Poulin Recalled

New York Islander Fan Central | 3/28/2012 06:53:00 PM
New York recalled Kevin Poulin on Wednesday, David Ullstrom was listed on practice lines.

Nabokov is out with a lower body injury and a contract for next season so despite being on bench in third period against Pens, it's possible they may shut him down for the rest of the season. 

Anders Nilsson is still out with his sprained ankle in Bridgeport as of March 17th, for now they have the goaltender on an amateur tryout contract in Dan Clarke. The early projection when Nilsson got hurt was seven to ten days.

New York has games Saturday/Sunday.

Bridgeport has three games this weekend with huge playoff implications.

Mikko Koskinen (on loan) is participating in the playoffs with his team up 3-1 in their series. Beyond one video nine days ago of Rick DiPietro there is nothing to suggest he is ready to return to practice much less play a hockey game.

Cody Rosen to the best of our knowledge has played one game for Clarkson.
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What's Next:
Round two with Pittsburgh and likely Al Montoya's chance to see if he can continue to elevate his game.

Not surprised at all with what happened in Pittsburgh besides how Fleury played.

All teams hit the wall after a long winning streak which we wrote about before the game. Ottawa had eight goals against the Pens, the signs were there despite the Sunday win for Pittsburgh. 

The second half against Florida was a sign the Isles had some extra jump to their game.

Isles should have had a few early in the third and put them away handily. The shots against seemed very inflated.

Comments for that game are on twitter.

Unless Montoya struggles or the Pens are on the power-play a lot, I expect another very competitive game against Pittsburgh. 
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Lottery Watch:
One point by Buffalo eliminates New York from playoff contention.  The trends suggest Minnesota (first in Western Conference in December) will not catch the Isles. Toronto could well fall past the Isles.

As written last week trends mean nothing. 

New York needs seven points to match their best season since their last playoff team. At best it will be statistical progression. The club has not had a five hundred season since 2006-07.

The win in Pittsburgh matches last seasons point total. 

Our thoughts have been you miss the playoffs x years in a row, your franchise should not be awarded a lottery pick at all.

However this blog does not make the rules.

The NHL lottery is April 10th.

3/26/12

Charles Wang Cannot Move His 90m Dollar Hotel From Nassau Coliseum Site/New York Notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 3/26/2012 07:54:00 PM
Perhaps if it's in the title more folks will understand?

I'm not a big fan of these kinds or repetitive entries however someone has to reiterate, Charles Wang is the last person who wants to move business away from a hotel he spent ninety million dollars for in 2005 (with Scott Rechler) then bought out Mr Rechler's share of it which was reported July 29th 2010.

The same day, 7/29/2010 Islanders website released images of the renovations done to the Marriott Hotel which means more resources were put in by Wang/Rechler.

I do not believe our fans, or a lot of lazy professional media, who don't do their homework in reporting much beyond gossip understand Charles Wang even owns the hotel (and connecting abatement) to the Coliseum.

A closed Nassau Coliseum is the worst possible scenario for Charles Wang because he cannot move his hotel whether he owns the team or not.

There is no also expiring lease for that hotel in 2015.

Folks speculating asbestos concerns are Charles Wang's chance to get out of his Islander lease fail to understand if Nassau Coliseum is closed, he losses huge event money at his hotel.
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To the best of our knowledge nothing has been reported that the Nassau Coliseum must be closed immediately/near future because of asbestos issues.

Aerosmith announced Monday it will perform at the Coliseum on it's tour.

The Cablevision owned Garden did have to close for a few days because of falling debris/asbestos concerns in 2010.

The circus did take place last weekend at the Coliseum, if there were any safety doubts, the inspecting federal/state authorities would have informed Nassau the facility must be closed immediately.
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Anyone who believes NIFA, which held only their second meeting of the calendar year on Thursday 3/22 (at Charles Wang's Marriott Hotel) approved over 2.4m in emergency capital repairs to the Coliseum (among a huge list of expenses) because of asbestos concerns do not understand how slowly Nassau/NIFA work.

Coliseum emergency repairs page 21.

I read this last week and did not even feel necessary to write about it, but put in this entry for those who did not know.
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Ed Mangano had his state of the county address on 3/14 here.

His Hub/Coliseum/Islander related comments are on page 18/19 of 22.

That is exactly why I launched “Accelerate Nassau Now” – a plan that seeks to partner with Governor Cuomo’s Economic Development Council to launch new development
opportunities at the Hub……along with development at Belmont Park on the western
end of Nassau and the former Navy property to the eastern end of the County.

Nassau’s Hub, home to Long Island’s only major professional sports team and its 200
million dollars of local economic activity, has L-O-N-G been the victim of Long Island’s most notable export, the word “NO”.

To solve that problem, I challenged developers with privately-financed plans to come
forward; and I challenge critics today, to become supporters of redeveloping the Hub.

I am confident that if we come together, we will find a path forward that leads not to empty parking lots, but RATHER to a vibrant center of economic activity with Islanders banners hanging from every post and the Stanley Cup on display at its heart.


NYIFC Comments:
For those who recall a year ago Mangano's referendum was plan three of his three part plan, which he arrived at by May 2011.

Mr Mangano is very good at not responding when NYIFC asks him why Nassau was the only local municipality in New York/New Jersey not to give taxpayer bonds/exceptions or outright investment for their local teams, but a referendum?

In 1998, Queens City Council member, Peter Valone, called for a referendum on a new taxpayer funded ballpark for the Yankees here despite supporting a new Mets stadium in an article that screams what politicians are fans of what teams.

Plus what referendum's on sports teams really meant to the Yankees.

Mr Mangano's been great at being a NJ Giants fan, supporting county events for both local baseball teams, while being completely invisible in his hockey support for Nassau County's only professional sports team with a championship tradition like no other NHL franchise in the US, and arguably in the history of professional sports.

3/25/12

New York 3, Florida 2 Shootout

New York Islander Fan Central | 3/25/2012 08:46:00 PM
The game New York played their best hockey was the one where they got no points.

Win or lose Sunday, I was very satisfied with the second half of this game by the Islanders.

New York played two poor games in Canada, four points.

New York played two better (not great games in Florida) one win, which should have been two, despite Montoya falling/Martin St Louis missing an open net. Roloson played well, the Isles were in control Saturday with momentum, but the game got away from them.

Our comments on the Tampa game are on twitter.

Florida for it's make-shift roster has size, speed the Isles lack and some more hitting, that's par for most teams the Isles play. The Panthers have earned their standing as a first place team.

After the opening night disaster the Isles played in Florida, Jacob Markstrom stole that game in relief for the Panthers in the third period for those who recall.

On this day, Andrew MacDonald (especially Parenteau like in Tampa) did not have his man on the opening goal, the Isles were scrambling a bit early in the game, but did also get some early pressure, they did not have the extra step.

Florida was hardly good themselves on this day.

Then a funny thing happened with less than eight minutes left in the second, the Isles had a shift where they dominated play, kept the puck in for longer than it seemed they had any team pinned in all season. That concluded with an outside Okposo shot that Theodore saw with no screen (a common theme in this game for the Isles) but the game did change from that point.

From there, the Isles dominated. Moulson converted on a pp, it seemed a matter of when before the Isles got the lead.

Then the common third period theme of a break/breakdown and it's 2-1 Florida, Nabokov's reaction said it all, he had to stop it regardless of the board bounce.

On this day the breaks evened out as Okposo's pass to Sreit, found Dmitry Kulikov's stick, who deflected it past Theodore 2-2.

Isles closed third/overtime out skating very well, obviously Theodore's sweep/check with the stick look like it was thrown.

From there New York won the skills competition.

What stood out in this game for me was the Isles had the five on three pp, Jucina took a bomb from the outside, no one screening (or near) Theodore, which happened a few times.

Ullstrom was very good and kept driving the net, Martin did that once, this team needs a lot more of that. Okposo again had a little more jump. Jurcina looked motivated to stay in the lineup.

Tavares looked tired with no extra step in this game, he still had his chances.

Niederreiter should never sit for Pandolfo/Reasoner. Enough's been written on it.

What was disappointing is it took half a game to really start challenging Florida's defense or pushing the play at them.

In the end folks only remember the final season standings, the Isles have six of eight points on a five game trip that concludes in Pittsburgh.

The best game they played they got no points.
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What's Ahead:
New York heads to Pittsburgh for a home & home. The numbers are what they are, but if history has taught us anything when teams peak too early, it balances out.

Ottawa broke their streak with eight goals, Sunday they came home and defeated New Jersey.

First time in Pittsburgh the Isles lost in a shootout, where DiPietro replaced Nabokov for the skills contest. Unlike recent years this one has been a problem vs Pittsburgh at home.
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Bridgeport:
Broke their long regulation/overtime/shootout losing streak Sunday with Matt Donovan's pp goal in overtime in a game for a shot at first place. Kevin Poulin needed to make over forty saves, in a game the Sound Tigers were short-handed a lot.

Their playoff hold is a mix of Ottawa/Florida.

3/24/12

Coliseum Asbestos Issues Could Be A Problem--Or Nothing

New York Islander Fan Central | 3/24/2012 02:21:00 AM
Updated Saturday PM:
Nbc New York: Released a video on New York State, and Federal Investigators doing an investigation of asbestos issues at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

"The Islanders expect that the building owner, Nassau county and the building facility manager, SMG will review the allegations and take any and all appropriate action. The safety of our fans, players and employees is paramount."

-Islanders senior vice-president, Michael Picker.


NYIFC Comments:
Interesting, however this likely means absolutely nothing.

If events/hockey games are cancelled there is a problem.

Just to refresh folks memory Msg had to cancel a game last season because of asbestos related issues here.

What's also mildly interesting here are the Islanders, (the primary tenant), commented before Nassau County, (owner), who are responsible for capital repairs to the Coliseum with possible lawsuits, (not Smg), who manage the facility and are only responsible for minor repairs.

Some will recall on 7/10/2011 the Nassau legislature approved four million dollars in repairs/upgrades.

It would be presumptuous/speculation at best connecting Smg announcing they were bringing in a new general manager for the Coliseum to book events a few weeks ago here as a sign the Isles want out of their sublease based upon this.

Bottom Line:
The New York Islanders can opt of their sublease without an asbestos issue, we all know Mr Wang's comments on honoring his lease. The team has given no indication they want out of their sublease.

If that were to happen, the Isles could move immediately only if Nassau County approved such a request. Smg would receive it's money through 2015.

Recently this blog did an entry with links to the sublease agreement.

The Islanders letter to ticket holders also give the impression once again they are ready to upgrade Nassau County's facility at their own expense, teams wanting out of a sublease don't spend money for their landlord.

In the event the Coliseum were closed for an extended period due to this issue it does Charles Wang's Marriott hotel harm financially.

If this becomes a major issue it forces Nassau/Mangano to perhaps put this back in the taxpayers laps without referendum, done behind closed doors as all other local teams received.

3/21/12

New York Resigns Evgeny Nabokov

New York Islander Fan Central | 3/21/2012 03:01:00 PM
Islanders website: Announced goaltender, Evgeny Nabokov has agreed to terms on a one-year contract for the 2012-13 season.

“I’m thrilled to commit to this team for next season,” Nabokov said. “We have a great group in the locker room of young, talented players and we’re heading in the right direction. I’m excited to have the chance to help get this team back to the playoffs.”

“Evgeni has proven that he can still play at an elite level in the NHL,” Islanders General Manager Garth Snow said. “He’s given us a chance to win every night and we’re excited to have him back for another season.”

NYIFC Comments:
The ultimate sign many of those in professional media circles create issues for their own profile without really knowing anything about the circumstances.

This was a player two summers ago who did not take Ed Snider's money in Philadelphia and went to the KHL.

Another huge endorsement of this teams management, Nabokov had options this summer.

This was a player the Islanders forced to play here this season for only five hundred thousand dollars. His contract was tolled, he could have come here with a horrible attitude, and was not given the starters role out of camp.

He got his chances, got hurt again, returned and finally the rust came off his game and management saw the durable goaltender he was in San Jose.

We also saw something else, a player who looked like he was enjoying his time here and wanted to stay with some excellent prospect goaltenders management needs to make some tough decisions on.

This could backfire next year, not a lot of players are as durable as Dwayne Roloson
was in his forties, but on paper it's the right signing for this franchise at this time.

Long term, not sure what this means for Poulin, Nabokov, Koskinen besides someone's going to be moving on but that would have happened anyway.

Can make no projection on Al Montoya or Rick DiPietro beyond one is signed, the other is a free agent.

3/20/12

New York 5, Toronto 2: Individual Progress Not Team Building

New York Islander Fan Central | 3/20/2012 11:04:00 PM
So do we double-down after Saturday, again beating up an Islander team that won, despite giving up a season low in shots against, plus closing out the game very well?

Afraid so.

With respect to PA Parenteau, who made an excellent rush, or Moulson to give the Isles the 3-2 lead with his usual great work in front, it was far from a good team effort against a tired club that lost 8-0 the night before.

I watched the 2010-11 New York Islanders play out the second half and came away convinced that very hard working team was something built to last, despite the late season wave of continued injuries before they finally fell back.

I see nothing happening here aside from the natural progression of individuals, or anything positive on a team level that will carry over to 2012-13.

The Isles breakdowns were noticeable, the Leafs having the extra man around the pucks in the walls/corners stood out the most even when they did not get shots.

Both New York goals before Moulson scored illustrate where I'm going.

Center Josh Bailey returned from injury and was placed on right wing, where he scored some recent goals and many started forgetting he is a center. Now the last two games he's on left wing where he started as a rookie?

Despite Tavares feeding Bailey for a nice finish, how is this good for him moving forward?

David Ullstrom broke in as a center. This blog asked earlier why is he coming up to play left wing? We were told he was switched there by Bridgeport, the Isles played him as a left wing before his concussion.

Makes sense.

Now the last few games Ullstrom is playing right wing which begs the question why? Who cares that Grabner made a nice poke check and he tapped in his centering pass.

That is not progress for Ullstrom, just as it was not progress to move Matt Martin to right wing for a few shifts recently.

I fail to understand this kind of coaching, many other former Islander coaches played forwards on off-wing, it never worked.

It's not a new NHL concept or only about the Islanders.

Bottom line this club has to get better on the walls, they have to get more numbers around the puck and work as a unit. Moving players off their natural position and switching them around usually brings a franchise nothing but confused players and a team that does not read or react well.

That means many games you are chasing the puck, or outnumbered.

When you are small, slow, not very physical, with a low scoring defense it's just another obstacle for these kids.

It's kind of the same philosophy you use with Hamonic-MacDonald, put them together and leave them alone unless one get's hurt, don't make one play the opposite side.

Sorry folks, that is what stood out most in the 5-2 win.

Okposo worked hard early, when he got hurt he did seem to fade. When Tavares hit the boards hard making his usual brilliant move it made me wonder should he be playing any more twenty minute games at this age?

The fourth line goals against were on breakdowns, to put that on one player would not be fair but it begs the question why not put Reasoner in the stands if simply to balance the forward lines?

Moulson-Tavares-Parenteau
Bailey-Nielsen-Okposo
Grabner-Cizikas-Ullstrom
Martin-Reasoner-Niederreiter

vs...

Moulson-Tavares-Parenteau
Grabner-Nielsen-Okposo
Ullstrom-Cizikas-Niederreiter
Martin-Bailey-Pandolfo

Despite the late pp goal, it did not look good watching Streit skate right into two Leafs in front of his own net.

Bridgeport plays Wednesday.

New York Trades For Alexandrov, John Persson ATO Bridgeport

New York Islander Fan Central | 3/20/2012 03:47:00 PM
NHL.com: Report the Boston Bruins traded defenseman Yury Alexandrov to the New York Islanders for future considerations.

NYIFC Comments:
Alexndrov left the AHL last August after playing a season in Providence and returned to Russia for 2011-12 despite being under contract. The Bruins trading his NHL rights to another team do not mean he is obligated to return to North America and apparently he signed a two year contract in the KHL last summer.

In terms of signing Alexndrov, if he has a two year agreement in the KHL, think of it along the same lines as Kirill Petrov last summer.

Alexandrov is likely a restricted NHL free agent this summer despite leaving under contract for 2011-12 to Boston. This means the Isles must qualify him as a RFA to retain his NHL rights here.
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Bridgeport Sound Tigers: Report Islander 2011 draft pick, John Persson has been signed to an amateur tryout contract (ATO) with goaltender Dan Clarke.

NYIFC Comments:
For those who follow these transactions a few past Islander prospects have signed an ATO with Bridgeport before signing with the Isles and played in Bridgeport.

Persson is not on the Sound Tigers clear day or residence list, meaning it would take many injuries/all residence players to be used for Persson to participate in Bridgeport's playoffs if they qualify.

In the case of John Persson his deadline to sign a contract with the Isles would be the 6/1/2013 under the current CBA.

The signing of an ATO goaltender means Anders Nilsson is likely unable to dress Wednesday at the very least after an ankle injury Sunday, but the comments from the Bobcasts website indicate Clarke is a prospect and perhaps more than a fill in.

The Isles also still have Mikko Koskinen under contract playing in Europe.

3/19/12

New York Playing Out The String: Misconceptions/Fabrications

New York Islander Fan Central | 3/19/2012 01:59:00 PM
New York has ten games left in the 2011-12 season.

Anything can happen in terms of the final seeding, projecting out the remaining games has no value because any club can beat another.

Trends:
The seventy two games played suggest the Islanders likely will finish out of the lottery despite their present standing because this is a club that has mostly fluctuated between six under and five hundred all season.

Some other clubs are in a more pronounced free-fall.

The trends also suggest this club is incapable of more than a three game winning streak.

Trends always change so a lot cannot be read into them.

Misconceptions:
NHL franchises/players do not tank games.

Those writing players/coaches who are fighting for their future employment have no interest in winning every single game are only kidding themselves.

How some players produce are everything come contract time or what other organizations find out via scouting when they decide on signing or trading for a player. Someone mailing it in will not be the player a gm wants to build around or spend their limited resources on, much less have around their prospects.

The list of players signed (or not) are playing for their future and how they finish mean everything.

Fabrications:
NYIFC will still use it's twitter account to refute fabrications/bias and writers with obvious agenda's in some of the worst articles out there on occasion.

Having written this NYIFC has done enough of that here, our goal has been to use our important time/space for credible, relevant journalism that's fair.

There are years of archives responding to those only interested in tabloid journalism who fail to practice professionalism desperate for pageviews above anything else.

Unfortunately our archives are still completely correct most of the time which says everything about the writer/publication/agenda/double-standards and virtually nothing about the New York Islanders.

All our welcome to view the archives here back to 2007.
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Moving Forward:
New York plays it's final game of the season in Canada vs Toronto.

Bridgeport with a six game losing streak (some OT games) absolutely could use back David Ullstrom/Casey Cizikas to strengthen it's tenuous spot.

Anders Nilsson hurt his ankle on Sunday, it's reported not serious.
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The twitter box will return Tuesday at 3pm.

3/17/12

New York 3, Montreal 2 Shootout

New York Islander Fan Central | 3/17/2012 10:55:00 PM
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.

3/16/12

For New York The Problem Begins On Defense

New York Islander Fan Central | 3/16/2012 06:22:00 PM
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.

3/14/12

Total Support For Charles Wang

New York Islander Fan Central | 3/14/2012 07:25:00 PM
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.

3/12/12

Outnumbered In Standings & Around Puck

New York Islander Fan Central | 3/12/2012 07:37:00 AM
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.
****************************
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."

3/8/12

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

New York Islander Fan Central | 3/08/2012 10:42:00 PM
" 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.

3/5/12

Nassau Coliseum Has A New General Manager

New York Islander Fan Central | 3/05/2012 06:31:00 PM
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?

3/4/12

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

New York Islander Fan Central | 3/04/2012 06:28:00 PM
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.

3/3/12

New York 3, Boston 2: When Winning Means Little

New York Islander Fan Central | 3/03/2012 06:17:00 PM
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?

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