A few words on the Lighthouse

New York Islander Fan Central | 5/31/2008 09:30:00 PM | |Comments
The Lighthouse Website: Mr Wang sat down with WLNY TV 10/55 news anchor Richard Rose and Long Island Association President Matthew Crosson for the show Focus back on May 18th where he talks about the Lighthouse Project and the approval process.

This is a three part interview and runs about thirty minutes:
Part One
Part Two
Part Three

The site also has some updated articles on the business end of things and the upcoming schedule of events.

The proper format to show your support for the project would be to submit a letter through the Lighthouse website here
because sensationalist tactics & misconceptions about the process are not going to get this approved.

I have added the feeder from the site to this blog for those wanting regular updates from credible professional media sources.

Islanders 5/31 Update

New York Islander Fan Central | 5/30/2008 09:51:00 PM | |||||Comments
Islanders website: John Hill has a very early Saturday am update on the Isles at the prospects combine with comments from Ryan Jankowski, the Islanders Assistant GM/Director of Amateur Scouting on the process and what the club is looking for.

National Post: Michael Traikos also had a few words from Mr Jankowski in an article on the defenseman defining the draft class after the first selection.

NHL.com: Evan Weiner does a feature on Bobby Nystrom and his Stanley Cup winning goal in 1980 against Philadelphia and asked the legendary player if taking a misconduct on a hot day helped get him a rest?

Toronto Star : Rick Westhead claims a secret document on NHL revenue shows the six Canadian teams account for thirty one percent of the $1.1 billion (U.S.) in league ticket revenue with the Isles among eight clubs that generated less than half the amount of ticket revenue of the Edmonton Oilers and Ottawa Senators with the Coyotes generating the least ticket revenue of any club.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
The fans had to sit out an entire year for this agreement, both sides agreed to full disclosure and there is revenue sharing so why not simply release the full accounting of each team from an independent arbitrator without secret documents leaking to the media?

If the Canadian dollar is strong of course they are going to take in more revenue along with markets that increase the price of tickets. In many markets this still does not offset the huge overhead to run a franchise in places like New York where many things are more expensive.

Note the pdf file included says the Isles revenue from ticket sales went from five hundred thousand per game to five hundred fifty thousand per game. Seems estimated in many teams cases or at the very least rounded off.

Many of these reports come off like fabricated Msg/Versus press releases on television ratings or announced attendance at games off Espn links. It's practically as bad as all the folks who take the Forbes yearly estimate released around December as gospel even though they have no access to any teams books.

My point being with a lack of credible information folks will believe anything that anyone says or writes.

Telegraph-Journal: Nathan White and Marty Klinkenberg had comments from Ted Nolan on the passing of his former player in Luc Bourdon, former Islander Steve Tambellini also comments. Islanders website also released an article with the coaches comments

Tsn.ca: Has an article on the prospect combine taking place in Toronto with player comments and provided a full blog on the days events here.

Isles profiled prospect Zach Bogosian on the website, I added it to the prospect section.

USA Today.com: Kyle Woodlief of Red Line Report profiled the top fowards in the draft with Stamkos, Filatov a cut above the rest.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Added to sidebar, must read for Islander fans.

Newsday: Neil Best who has the media beat reports New York finished with a 1.6 rating for game three of the finals which was 34th among 56 major markets and claims it must be baseball season.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
It's always baseball season in New York, Mr Best. This is why your paper needs to put in more New York Islander coverage and lower Ranger content in the paper but you only seem to be interested in your favorite team, it's hurt local interest in the sport across the board.

What's funny is folks like Mr Best will be the first ones telling us his Rangers in the finals will be good for the sport but here is Detroit-Pittsburgh and New York could care less.

So why will it be different for other markets if a New York area team did make a final if New York is thirty sixth for a great matchup like this?

Daily News: Ranger reporter John Dellapina who has been selling the Rangers at Yankee Stadium since day one has Bill Daly's comments the big meeting regarding this will take place next week which involves the Mayor's office. The article says NBC wants no part of the Isles involvement or a local matchup and that being excluded could anger the club.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Keep sending e-mails to Mayor Bloomberg folks if you want the New York Islanders involved because it's down to the Mayor's office and a meeting next week. If Mr Ebersol, Dellapina, Flood and the Garden do not want the Isles in that game let them pick another city. Isles put in all the work for this and should not only be in the event but the host New York team as the championship hockey tradition in New York Hockey.

Finally nothing new on the Ridderwall-Johansson front.

NYI Fan Central Final Review: Rob Davison

New York Islander Fan Central | 5/30/2008 08:32:00 AM | |Comments
Today a quick final review of Islander defender Rob Davison.

For a player who had not played going back a few months in San Jose Rob Davison not only got here from Columbus on the day of the trade deadline but played that same night so he was a man very happy to be a part of a team getting a chance.

His days in the pressbox were over when he came here.

For what I could tell he seemed to fit in well and did a solid job on defense. It was rare to see many mistakes from him and in this conference he seemed to be able to keep up in terms of skating on defense. His game reminded me of Andy Sutton in the second half when he was playing well. Isles did not need him fighting which was one of his assets going into the deal because he did too good a job on a team with a backline with so many injuries, he was needed on the ice. Not many big hits but you look for solid defensive play and it was a good job scouting by the Isles on this move.

Having written that he did not help the club win but he is not an offensive defender.

Moving forward:
With so many defenders signed he is in a mix of players who are fourth, fifth and sixth defenders here. His only chance seems to be if the Isles move a Witt or a Sutton. My guess is his goal against Toronto from two hundred feet away will be the memorable highlight of his tenure in New York.

Final Grade:
I thought he did a solid job, I'm not expecting him back but he earned a B with his defensive game.

Islander/NHL notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 5/29/2008 09:23:00 PM | ||||Comments
Islanders website: Islanders New Vice President of Communications
Josh Bernstein comments on the new Islanders Illustrated program that will debut June 18th on Msg plus and what the long-term plans are for this permanent feature.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Good concept to have a television show for the Islanders that is long overdue. I do not want to come off negative here but the house team at Msg has constant progamming that can run for a full day and longer if necessary so I'm not sure if it's time to celebrate one program. I want to see Jiggs McDonald do half hour programs on all the great players from the franchise with highlights from their careers and the writers comments.

And the same has to start happening for the Devils.

If Ron Duguay can get something like this on Msg there is no excuse for championship winning players with multiple cups as New York Islanders being profiled as well as the entire current team along with a regular schedule of the greatest Islander games as voted by the fans. Added to that a regular lineup of pre-season games televised with some games sold to channel nine or channel four to help market the club that would normally appear on Msg plus2.

Finally repeat Islander telecasts provided a one hour edition.

When the Garden starts making television inroads like this for our team that is the day I give them credit for doing things properly and will call them a fair partner.

Partners share, not give one team ninety eight percent while splitting two percent with the other two teams.

It's helped kill exposure and ratings for all three teams and the sport in the New York market. One look at the local coverage for the finals say it all.

THN.com/several articles: Ken Campbell confirms Blake Wheeler rejected the Coyotes final offer and will be an unrestricted free agent as of June 8th with the ramifications of this.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
One of those ramificantions is the Coyotes are awarded the fifth pick in the second round which pushes the Islanders back a spot. Kyle Okposo is from Minnesota as well as Wheeler.

Someone will get a good prospect without giving up a player in return, his value in terms of contract is limited as to what can be offered so this will not be a sweepstakes.

I think it goes without saying it sure would not hurt the Isles youth movement to try and sign him along with twenty eight other clubs.

Yahoo sports: Released an uncredited team report which is basically a summary of recent Islander events with some speculation on their own free agents along with a few old comments from the Isles website.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
It is what it is, take it as an uncredited overview. I debated posting it at all here but Ross McKeon does some good hockey reports for this site.

Finally a horrible day for the entire NHL family and all of it's fans with the death of Cauncks prospect Luc Bourdon in a motorcycle accident. Bourdon played in Moncton under Ted Nolan and Danny Flynn when they reached the memorial cup final.

Ratings game/Outdoor game

New York Islander Fan Central | 5/29/2008 02:56:00 PM | ||Comments
NBC sports: Released their version of the ratings for game three
announced as earning a 2.8 overnight rating and a 5 share, the best overnight rating for a Game 3 in six years. (2002 – Carolina-Detroit, 3.8/8)

The Penguins 3-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings garnered an 18.2/28 in Detroit, trouncing the Detroit Pistons-Boston Celtics NBA Eastern Conference Final
head-to-head by more than 14 percent in "Hockeytown" (15.9/24).

The 2.8/5 was an 87 percent increase over last year's Game 3 on NBC (Anaheim-Ottawa, 1.5/3) but that was a Saturday night game which is traditionally a lower rating night.

Wednesday's Top Markets:
1. Pittsburgh, 33.1/47
2. Detroit, 18.2/28
3. Buffalo, 6.2/9
4. Columbus, 4.1/7
5. Minneapolis, 3.7/7

NYI Fan Central Comments:
A ton of spin both ways. Ottawa-Anaheim game three was played on a Saturday night which is traditionally a lower rating night.

I think it says a lot about how far hockey as fallen when Pittsburgh-Detroit is competing with Carolina-Detroit for ratings.

2.8 is not even in the same universe as Dallas-New Jersey about a decade ago. The Wings beat out the Pistons with basketball on cable and hockey on free television but with both on cable the Pistons won across the board.

NBC finished fourth for the night on broadcast with ratings down 34% from the programming they showed a year ago which is not good.

New York did a 1.6 according to WFAN and Francesa-Russo laughed off the New York hockey fans claiming a WNBA basketball game here had a higher rating than a conference finals hockey game last week.

Tsn.ca: Is confirming Detroit will play Chicago in the next outdoor game.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Wake me when the league announces an official game, we have a few too many unofficial/official confirmations, someone call Al Trautwig.

Can the Isles contend in 08-09 Absolutely

New York Islander Fan Central | 5/29/2008 02:20:00 PM | Comments
With the Islanders off at the NHL prospect combines in Toronto doing player interviews & the local papers not covering anything beyond one blog on Lighthouse meeting the other day (Post had Devil/Ranger updates Thursday) the question of the day is can the NY Islanders content next season?

Absolutely and without any doubt would be my answer.

This club was one of the lowest scoring teams in the league with a terrible powerplay that was prone to allowing goals with the man advantage, had a fourteen game stretch with two goals or less when they were rested/healthy and lost over four hundred man games to injury. They lost seven games in a row in January. As bad as things were with a team that had only eleven first period goals into December and were terrible at even strength that could not get games to overtime they still were mathematically in the race until the final two weeks of the season.

The forty/fifty shot games they managed to lose also said something about how hard they did work in some games, even with a lot of players who could not score.

You look at Boston going into last season who were supposed to be terrible, a club that lost Bergeron and somehow they found enough scoring and defense to qualify for a playoff spot that took Montreal to seven games. Philadephia went from 30th to a playoff spot and made a run to the conference finals with a flawed team that had some brutal stretches last season.

Islander fans know terrible teams that cannot compete, the kind of seasons they are ten-fifteen points out of a playoff spot before Thanksgiving/Christmas and approaching double-digits below five hundred. Last years's club was in a playoff spot for a good part of the season until health and the lack of scoring finally caught up with them. Even with the seven game losing streak they won six in a row and were close enough not to be sellers at the trade deadline.

I know the schedule is about to change with less Atlantic division games which could hurt with more speed/skill teams from the West but Isles had a winning record against two of the four teams in the division and finished a game under against Pittsburgh who they played eight even games with aside from a deflection off Brendan Witt. Another game they lost they took over fifty shots against the Pens.

Isles improve their scoring and stay healthy (two big questions) there is no doubt they not only compete for a playoff spot but can make a run come playoff time. Isles for all their flaws had very few games they were blown out of and no more than most teams that did make the playoffs.

DiPietro's shots against was cut by almost two hundred last season from 06-07, something no one has written about.

I'm not expecting much in terms of roster changes aside from many of the UFA not returning. I do think Snow will stick to his word and the team will get younger but as we saw on many nights the young players were among the most visible. If any of these kids emerge as consistent scorers and they can some mileage out of some veterans who are injury prone, I have little doubt Isles will have a great chance to not only return to the playoffs but do some damage.

My guess is a young player could be moved in a trade, especially on defense.

NYI Fan Central Final Review: Kyle Okposo

New York Islander Fan Central | 5/28/2008 09:05:00 PM | |Comments
Tonight's mini-review is on the Islanders top draft pick Kyle Okposo.

Overall it was a wild ride for Okposo in 07-08 being one of the first player to leave college in season and sign with an NHL club as he was headed to the WJC. A few weeks after the commotion died down after he returned from team USA he found himself with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in completely different circumstances as a professional.

Islander stretch:
Okposo was recalled to the Isles as soon as his contract could no longer count against this season and he did not disappoint showing the skills and hockey ability to find the open area's of the ice and make plays to get into position. He looked very solid with Richard Park and Blake Comeau. His first goal was very impressive that won a game against the Devils where he got himself to the high slot and unloaded a rocket to beat Martin Brodeur, another goal he hit the hole and drove the net for a good goal against the Rangers in the season finale. He's not easy to take off the puck and a wrap around against Toronto almost brought down the house in his home debut.

All in all you look at a player like Tambellini who has had several NHL looks and seems invisible then you see Okposo come up and make that kind of impact where he is a factor and it's very impressive at such a young age after a tough season with so much change.

Moving ahead:
It would not shock me to see him with the Isles but maybe the right thing to do is let him get a full year in Bridgeport. With Guerin, Hunter under contract there seems to be room for only one more right wing. If Satan is resigned or another veteran scoring right winger is brought in there does not seem to be a spot for Okposo unless he plays on a fourth line. Either way it's a good situtation for the club because he can flat out play with a talent level lacking on the roster.

Final grade:
For his nine games he hardly looked out of place for his age and showed good instincts. Put me down for an A as I cannot wait to see him a year older and better hopefully with a scoring center who can get him the puck.

Upcoming final reviews

New York Islander Fan Central | 5/28/2008 08:17:00 AM | Comments
Quick Update on the final reviews remaining and what dates the ones I have done were posted for those who wish to go back.

Bill Guerin 4/6
Mike Sillinger 4/15
Shawn Bates 4/15
Sean Bergenheim 4/16
Jon Sim 4/21
Miroslav Satan 4/26
Frans Nielsen 4/30
Jeff Tambellini 5/1
Richard Park 5/7
Mike Comrie 5/19
Josef Vasicek 5/22
Blake Comeau 5/22

Remaining reviews: Trent Hunter, Kyle Okposo, Ruslan Fedotenko, Tim Jackman.
Colliton, Walter, Regier did not see enough minutes to do a full review beyond a quick blog so I'm going to omit them.

Brendan Witt 4/9
Radek Martinek 4/11
Bryan Berard 4/14
Andy Sutton 4/29
Chris Campoli 5/14

Remaining reviews: Bruno Gervais, Aaron Johnson, Rob Davison, Freddy Meyer
Hillen, Fata, Spiller did not play enough games or minutes to do full blogs.
Rick DiPietro 4/23
Wade Dubielewicz 5/28

Joey MacDonald/Mike Mole did not play enough games or minutes to do a full blog.

I guess enough blog postings have been done already on Garth Snow and Ted Nolan that can be called full reviews.

I will have these reviews done before the draft.

NYI Fan Central Final Review: Wade Dubielewicz

New York Islander Fan Central | 5/28/2008 07:46:00 AM | |Comments
Today we continue the season ending reviews with the spotlight on goaltender Wade Dubielewicz.

Entering 2007-08:
It took some time for Ted Nolan to go with Wade Dubielewicz down the stretch late in 2006-07 but when he did he won the coach over and management as he was finally given an one-way contract as a reward for his strong season in Bridgeport and for the Islanders when they needed it most.

At the beginning of 2007-08 Dubie did not see much action but had a solid preseason, when he finally got his first start an exhausted Islander team was traveling and playing it's fifth game in seven nights against Toronto and simply did not give him much help in a bad loss against Toronto where he was not sharp himself.

After that the club played about three games in twenty plus days where again he was put into a bad situtation where an Islander team hung him out to dry in a game against Atlanta where he surrendered four first period goals where he allowed one bad goal late in the first period.

In that Atlanta game their club came at Dubielewicz in waves and did not allow anything after the first period that could have been 8-0 if not for his play.

On Al Arbour night he came in cold half way through the game and was outstanding in the comeback win.

At one point the Isles did get him to Bridgeport for a few games but when the call came he proved he could adapt and not only responded with good play from a backup but did not look at of place against any club.

When DiPietro did miss some games with mild injuries or knocks after that Dubielewicz played above and beyond what you expect from a backup goaltender with several outstanding efforts, his forty shot win against Carolina was typical of most of his work in the second half, he defeated the Rangers twice in the garden, gave his team a chance to win in almost all of his stretch starts after DiPietro shut down his season. No goalie is going to win without scoring support, Dubie did all he could and more and looked as good as most full time starters in this league.

In truth Dubielewicz looked like he could start for many teams in this league. As
much as the club needs Rick DiPietro's world class abilities, Wade Dubielewicz was outstanding most games when he got the call.

Moving forward:
Here we are in late May Joey MacDonald is signed to a one-way deal, Ridderwall's status will be decided in a few days and Dubie hits the open market on July 1st while DiPietro recovers from his second hip surgery. Seems to me if the Islanders wanted Dubie back something would have been done. The goaltenders comments have usually been he does not want to prove himself somewhere else and would like to stay.

Do the Isles gamble and give the backup role to MacDonald who has NHL experience and a few solid late season efforts or Dubie who looks like he could step in and start if necessary?

I have written several times the Islander fan in me wants him to stay but the NHL fan wants to see him start for someone. From day one this year I felt he would do a good job here, he lived up to my expectations and no doubt the Islanders are stronger with him.

Final Grade:
He could not outright steal games on the lowest scoring club in the league but he was ready when the call came for him to do the job without playing which was something we were not sure he could do after such a big workload in Bridgeport, he did his job and gave his team every chance to win.

Dubielewicz gets an A and a contract extension if it's my decision. He would easily start in Toronto/Los Angeles and vastly upgrade the current state of their goaltending.

Islander News Articles 5/28

New York Islander Fan Central | 5/28/2008 06:32:00 AM | |||Comments
Newsday: Greg Logan blogged on last night's Lighthouse meeting, the road ahead in the process as well as the political and enviormental hurdles the project will have to get through before final approval. It was written partly from a hockey perspective with Mike Bossy also in attendance.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Hopefully Newsday has an update in the business section on the meeting. The LI Business News lags behind a day or so on these updates but has done a lot on the Lighthouse project. Will be interesting if/when the heavyweights like Smg/Al D'Amato, and the same folks who have been killing Coliseum projects back to the days of John Pickett start surfacing with their demands. Nice update today but this works kind of like Sheldon Silver in Manhattan where he can kill something simply because he feels like it regardless of what anyone thinks.

Mr Wang negotiated an out-clause in the Isles lease with the county if this project is rejected at some point but Smg's lease runs until 2014 and the television contract until 2030 makes any relocation highly unlikely because of the huge revenue the club receives in the deal.

Erie Times News: Victor Fernandes has an article on the NHL draft as Pierre McGuire envisions Drew Doughty as the next Denis Potvin with comments from several of the prospects.

Winnipeg Sun: Steve Simmons has an article about Wings scout Hakan Andersson and the success they have had with draft picks from Sweden starting with Henrik Zetterberg in relation to the 1999 draft with a lot on how Mattias Weinhandl was also targeted by the Wings but went to the Isles in the third round.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
This was the kind of thing I was writing about recently in terms of the Islanders drafts over close to a decade, no late round steals at the forward position, not even a mid or early round steal for that matter either.

Erie Times News: Victor Fernandes has an article on the NHL draft as Pierre McGuire envisions Drew Doughty as the next Denis Potvin with comments from several of the prospects.
It should be noted for those watching Wednesday's finals on my cable guide Versus lists no postgame while Espn news is advertising all postgame interviews.

Makes little sense to me unless NBC-Versus-NHL Network simply do not work well together. Why not have a panel with an hour long postgame and full press conferences after months of Versus coverage. NBC will be cutting to local news quickly after games.

They did a special live program to show some ping pong balls for a half hour lottery, to not have finals postgame makes little sense but it's been happening for three years.

Islander/Finals notables

Thanks for the e-mails on the outdoor game folks, but please just send your e-mail to Mayor Bloomberg, not to me. I have done what I can with this, it's up to you.

I will leave the link up until a decision is announced on the game. If you want our team involved you have to do your part, I do not know if it will help but it sure cannot hurt. Isles put in two years trying to make this game happen and I feel our team deserve to be in this game or no event like this should ever take place in New York.
Has three rumor reports Tuesday of Islander prospect Kim Johansson moving to Sundsvall, Nyköping or Nybro with all three linked to a blog here.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Take all this with a very large grain of salt but with Johansson needing to be signed within a week I listed it. I'm leaning toward cutting out eliteprospects.com from our updates because a few of them like this are linking to blogs I'm not sure are legitimate professional media sources and they have not been as reliable as they have been in the past. _______________________________________________________________________________
Finals notables:
My finals predictions of Pittsburgh in six from Hockey Night on LI Saturday with Osgood being exploited because he is not one of the new age goalies wearing all the extra padding is not looking too good right now. Guess that home ice advantage not being a big deal in today's NHL has me 0-3. (Laughing)

Having written that I did also say these clubs have never met and we'll see what will be the over-riding factor and that anything could happen.

It is getting old reading these 83 Oilers comparisons, Pittsburgh did not dominate during the regular season like Edmonton did in their conference that year. Fact is this Pittsburgh team is looking more like the 81-82 Oilers but played two average clubs in Philadelphia-Rangers who struggled to make the playoffs and a Ottawa club in a free fall but their overall talent and long-term potential is excellent.

Now they are meeting a good team playing well that dominated their conference all season, but Pittsburgh is going home and this will tell us whether we have a long series or a short series if their home winning streak is broken.

Gary Roberts looked like he did in the 2002 playoffs going after Jonsson's head last night. Only this time he's too old to charge in from center ice, garbage play.

These Versus ratings are not exactly great, are they double last year because they have more outlets in year three for people to watch? What does 1.8 on Versus translate to on a network with limited affiliates?

I guess we will find out when NBC takes over for game three. Personally I do not think any market makes that big a difference, the fact so many media did not even go to Detroit says all we need to know about what the sports editors think of hockey in general.

The New York media is not even showing the game highlights.

Best articles I have read from the major media on the finals are the ones wondering why Gary Bettman opens his press conferences with softball questions from NHL network to set the tone as David Shoalts in the Globe & Mail pointed out here.

It's about as pre-packaged as those rating reports coming from Versus media people.
Newsday: Mark Herrmann does a feature with Robert Borzomi from Sunday, who has painted the Nassau Coliseum ice since day one which the Isles website linked to today with comments from Bryan Trottier, John Tonelli and Lorne Henning.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Nice feature and well deserved, but it's long overdue for an update on pending free agents and a state of the Isles. If there is room in the print edition for a two part feature on this there should be room in the budget for information on the team. Kind of sad only Steve Zipay's Ranger blog is going live for the finals but all I can do here is point it out to everyone and ask why the Islander blog is not covering the finals?

The Oklahoman: Bob Hersom does a very good three part interview with former three time cup winner with the Islanders, Mike McEwen who talks about what is was like to play on those championship clubs.

Telegraph-Journal: Scott Briggs has a feature on former cup winning Islander Yvon Vautour who will enter New Brunswick sports shrine Saturday as he talks about being a part of a championship team with the Islanders.

Newsday: Noel Rubinton in the business blog of Newsday has more on Cablevision's purchase of the paper with more criticism for the deal and a link to the LI business news article on 5/23 and a Times article on the history of Newsday.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
I sent Mr Rubinton an e-mail about a week and a half ago asking what this means for the New York Islanders and their hockey coverage, to this point he did not respond.

Point Blank: Mr Botta answered a blog on the Islanders Hall of Fame regarding Bob Bourne and did a second video blog as a new feature (nice work) on John Tonelli.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
A few years earlier a relative of Bob Bourne sent the Sunday Post Soundoff of all places an e-mail about Bourne being under appreciated. As usual Charles Wang stepped up and did something about that to make up for past owners because it was the right thing to do. Hopefully names like Goring, Tonelli, Persson, Westphal and company also are added to that list in the coming years.

In the prospect section Igor Volkov transferred to another Russian club over the weekend.

The Star: Kevin McGran reports the draft prospects combine is underway in Toronto with the Isles (among several clubs) having wined and dined Paul Myers who is the fourth-ranked skater in North America according to the NHL's Central Scouting bureau. Meyer and as Alex Pieterangelo are asked and comment about being drafted by the Leafs.

E-mail Mayor Bloomberg, No Isles, no outdoor game in NYC

New York Islander Fan Central | 5/25/2008 02:19:00 AM | ||Comments

Folks, the New York Islanders need your help now.

I'm asking for my fellow New York Islander fans reading this blog to get involved in something that should only take a minute of your time and could help our team be a part of the outdoor game in their own market or make sure no game is held in New York at all.

Spread the word to as many folks as you can.

Please save the time you take e-mailing me back/responding with a discussion and use it to send NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg an email and then get your fellow Islander fans involved.

It's down to the end of the process with the league expected to announce a host city for the next outdoor game according to Gary Bettman's Stanley Cup press conference.

It looks like that comes down to the City of New York granting approval for the construction/winterizing projects that have to take place in the current Yankee Stadium to host an outdoor hockey event that need city approval. This means the Bloomberg administration is the final word here.

Spread the word, let the Mayor's office receive a few thousand e-mails from New York Islander fans demanding our team is involved in this event or no approval be granted by the city for any work on the current Yankee Stadium to make this event possible.

Mr Bloomberg's radio network owns the rights to New York Islander hockey. Former deputy mayor Dan Doctoroff used to be a minority owner of our team.

Not political here folks, it's simply about the right thing being done.

Fill out the forum and demand the New York Islanders be involved in the outdoor game or the city not approve any construction/winterization on the current Yankee Stadium so Cablevision/NBC/Dick Ebersol, Sam Flood can once again cut the New York Islanders out of their own market while only their own special interest take precedent.

If the New York Islanders are not involved in this game, the city should not grant the Yankees approval to make a game possible.

New York is the Islanders market. The club has put in all the work to make this game a reality for almost two years according to Mr Botta while NBC/Dick Ebersol/Sam Flood and likely Cablevision want no part of the Islanders involvement despite our strong fan support at Msg and in New Jersey.

If Dick Ebersol does not like it and wants the Garden's team involved at all cost let them go on the road to play an outdoor game. New York is the Islanders market and if they are not part of it no game should ever take place in New York.

Anyone who thinks Cablevision is paying the New York Islanders close to seventeen million a year or Devils about the same to give them equal billing on television and build a larger fan base I'm afraid I cannot do anything for you.

This is the same Cablevision that killed the West Side Stadium & the Olympics with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and his former chief of staff Patricia Lynch, a Garden lobbyist. The speaker himself has been accused of special priviledges at Ranger games by the NY Post here.

To this day Msg is still receiving tax exepmtions from the early 80's to keep from moving back then and want no part of ending that practice here with again Mr Silver pulling all the strings for Cablevision.

Our team needs this game and the exposure from it. The Islanders put in the groundwork for it and are the championship hockey tradition in New York. They belong in this event as the only other New York pro team with four or more consceutitive championships with the Yankees. It may even help them get the Hub approved with that many Islander fans in one place rooting for the team sending a message to the politicians in Nassau County with the attention the club will receive in the media from being a part of this.

This is the link to contact Mayor Bloomberg:

You can bet Mr Bloomberg will be more than happy to step up and take something away from Cablevision after all they have taken from New York if the Islanders are not included. The mayor would not even get involved in a friendly wager with the City of Buffalo last spring when the Rangers were in the playoffs while Mr Suozzi did a friendly wager for the Islanders in the opening round.

It's up to you and I think it's a time for everyone to take a few minutes and do something to help. I hope you decide to send the mayor an e-mail and spread the word to help our team.

Thank You for reading this.

Hockey Night on LI, Isles Notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 5/24/2008 04:30:00 PM | |||Comments

Just finished up Hockey Night on LI with Alex & Steve who as usual did a great job as we talked about several Islander subjects (draft, media coverage, fan meetings) as well as the NHL final. They always make it a pleasure for me to appear.

For those wishing to listen to the show it is posted on the sidebar of the blog as is the links to their website to follow their upcoming/past programs.

On other fronts Mr Botta in his Point Blank blog Saturday gave his thoughts on the Islanders efforts for New York to land the outdoor game again here and points to Larry Brooks article in the NY Post today here where he makes his point Dick Ebersol/Sam Flood do not want the a New York Islanders (or Devils) vs Rangers at Yankee Stadium.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Other than Mr Botta's insights, the only value here is what the Yankee rep said on the subject. I'm kind of talked out on Mr Ebersol/NBC's long friendly association with Msg to where the Garden is promoted by NBC sports at all costs and have had a vested stake in the past with the Garden. The poor ratings the Rangers have produced when featured during the regular season & the playoffs the last three seasons on national television say all we need to know about the hockey market in the city and it's marginal impact on a national level.

Pittsburgh, Buffalo carry the Eastern Conference ratings.

If the New York Islanders are not part of the game I encourage our fans not to attend or watch. I encourage the Islanders to schedule a game themselves at the same time if possible.

All I can add beyond that is Mr Brooks speculates on a decision being made in two weeks. That reads well but a year ago nothing was officially announced until training camp opened and unofficial confirmation did not hit the Pittsburgh papers until August 25th according to Rob Rossi in the Tribune Review here.

I suppose anything can happen in that regard but it seems off-base for anyone to claim something must be done within two weeks if that was not the case a year ago.

Gary Bettman in his finals press conference intends to announce the teams and venue for the winter clasic shortly here.


Islanders website: Release it's best of 2007-08 with a feature of Al Arbour night.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
I do not want to be the bad guy here but perhaps given the calander says 5/24 the club could have done something on the 1980 team and held that for another day?

In the poll for the Isles website I gave them a B and it would have been an A if they simply beefed up the championship information and articles on this teams incredible past. They should have year-round access to old articles/backpages, photos, game highlights all over the site. Few teams have the Isles storied championship tradition and it's something that's needs to be addressed and should not be very hard to incorporate into the teams website.

You cannot just market the past on core of the four weekend or Al Arbour night to a new generation, that information should be available all the time.

This should be an easy one. A few snippets from the book Pride & Passion are not nearly enough.
As for the blog itself:

Unless something major breaks in terms of the New York Islanders, I'm going to take a few days off here for the holiday that could run well into late Tuesday. The Ridderwall, Johansson signing watch continues along with the unrestricted/restricted free agents.

The current media poll will run through the next few days as well.

The feeders all over the blog provide Islander-related updates as well so visitng here you will miss nothing.

Everyone have a good memorial day weekend, thank you as always for the great support.

Happy Anniversary 1980 New York Islanders

New York Islander Fan Central | 5/24/2008 07:21:00 AM | |Comments

Finals Coverage, Boedker & Kessel

New York Islander Fan Central | 5/23/2008 03:11:00 PM | ||||Comments
Globe & Mail: William Houston writes about the lack of Newspapers covering the Stanley Cup finals or providing only part time coverage.

Newsday sports editor Hank Winnicki believes interest in the NHL in increasing, but felt it couldn't have been much worse than it was a couple of years ago. He also says among Newsday's sports blogs, the Islanders rank in the top 10. In April, the Rangers blog led in traffic.

Mr Winnicki also says there are a lot of Islander fan blogs but there's only one by the guy who's covering the team and in the locker room, he thinks people see the value of that.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
I would see the value if I saw a dedicated blog updated often by someone who understands the Isles need more coverage and picks up the slack for the poor coverage in the city. Instead the Rangers have far more blog updates in Newsday than the Islanders. That's something he seems to want no part of and it's unacceptable.

Again, I disagree with Mr Botta because the teams does need quantity and as much as possible in terms of blogs. You can have quality and quantity also.

In fact it should be a given.

Newsday does not give Islander fans that, at best we receive even space with a team that should not be covered at all in Newsday given the city's papers treatment of the Isles. Mr Winnicki should be the first one to understand this and provide greater coverage to help offset the problem.

Can you imagine the complaining if the Islanders had blogs in the city papers that outworked the Ranger blogs five to one or better?

Both major Flyer publications (Philadelphia Daily News/Inquirer) declined coverage for a team in their own state because of the late start time.

Globe & Mail: William Houston's article from 5/24/07 on coverage of last year's final by the media had some different comments from the sports editors which again includes Newsday's Hank Winnicki.

University of New Hampshire: Dick Umile, head coach of the University of New Hampshire men’s hockey team, announced the seven-member incoming freshmen class of 2008 which includes Islander prospect Blake Kessel.

Updated 5/24:
Nashua Telegraph: Mike Zhe has a few words from the Islanders prospect on the University.

Islanders website: Profiled prospect Mikkel Boedker today.

Point Blank: Mr Botta blogs with a few words for anyone who would be interested in applying for his former job with the Islanders.

Michael Fornabaio in the Ct Post blog had a picture of his ticket stub from his first Sound Tigers game.

Of course NYI Fan Central can go one better:
Curtain rises on Sound Tigers

BRIDGEPORT -- Over a year since the team's inception, just four weeks
after training camp began, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers' inaugural
season finally begins tonight.

The Sound Tigers left here Thursday at noon for Rochester, N.Y., and
the first game of an 80-game schedule against the Americans tonight
at 7:35. The team also plays the Syracuse Crunch on the road Saturday
night at 7:35.

"I'm not really sick of training camp," defenseman Ray Giroux
said, "but I'm definitely eager to get started and have them count."

"It's time to get going," coach Steve Stirling said. "As training
camp winds down, a lot of the younger guys get a little antsy. They
know the season's near, and they're ready to go. They're as ready as
they're going to be."

With talented goaltending, experienced defensemen and a group of
forwards with potential, there's a lot of optimism about this team.

"I feel pretty good about this group," Giroux said. "We've got a good
blend of veterans, a good blend of young guys. We've got guys who can
put the puck in the net, guy that are great defensively."

The defensemen themselves are a solid group. All but one of the six
defensemen have NHL experience, and that one, Dick Tarnstrom, has
played in Sweden's top league for the last seven years.

Chris Armstrong begins his seventh pro season. Ray Schultz is in his
fifth, Evgeny Korolev and Giroux each begins his fourth, and
Branislav Mezei, the 10th pick in the 1999 entry draft, is in his

"There's no reason our defense shouldn't be extremely solid every
night," Giroux said, including the goaltending trio of Rick DiPietro,
Dusan Salficky and Stephen Valiquette in that assessment. "It's a
good mix, good players. I think we're pretty talented. The defense is
going to be good, as are the forwards."

Some of Stirling's plans for the forwards changed when center Jason
Krog dislocated his left shoulder in a New York Islanders practice
this week.

Krog had been held in Islanders camp because of minor injuries to
other New York players, but he was a player expected to be one of
Bridgeport's top centers.

"Up front, we'll have to maneuver a little bit. Without Krog,
obviously, that throws us a little curveball," Stirling said. "That
hurts us down the middle. It's bad news, but the good news is guys
like Mapletoft and Guite are given an opportunity to step up."

With a shortened center corps, Stirling said he might double-shift a
veteran forward, Marko Tuomainen or Jason Podollan for instance, in
the middle to allow Bridgeport to play four lines.

"It's up to whether we put all the pieces together," Giroux
said, "but I think we have all the pieces."

UP AND DOWN -- Defenseman Marko Kiprusoff was called back to Long
Island. Tarnstrom, who had been practicing in Bridgeport but wasn't
among the 20 players initially assigned Monday, was kept with the
Sound Tigers for opening weekend. Bridgeport returned defenseman
Scott Ricci to Trenton of the ECHL for the start of the season.

NYI Fan Central Final Review: Blake Comeau

New York Islander Fan Central | 5/22/2008 08:47:00 PM | |Comments
Today's final season review is on Islanders left wing Blake Comeau.

Entering 2007-2008:
Blake Comeau entered 2007-08 as a prospect who got a limited look in 2006 but if many folks recall before Robert Nilsson & Ryan O'Mara were traded that Ted Nolan felt he he was the prospect with the best overall ability to compete at the NHL level in the future when he visited Bridgeport to watch games.

Comeau was called up in December after a slow start with the Sound Tigers and again the Islanders coach made it clear he felt Comeau's overall game was best suited for the NHL. From the beginning he not disappoint, showing a level of skill, composure and instincts that looked like he can help an NHL team with just a solid overall game.

Most important he was visible because of how hard he skated which on this team was badly lacking collectively.

He had the big goal in a December win against Pittsburgh but what was most impressive was how visible he was with and without the puck, how he worked to get into position to make plays in all three zones that do not appear on a scoresheet but help a team win, Comeau also displayed an ability to throw a big hit or two to shake up the opposition as he did against Montreal.

2007-08 on the stat sheet will not tell us the full story of his impact because for a fair part of the time he saw limited minutes and played with a lot of other prospects, but one area that will was his plus minus where he was a plus one on a team that was terrible at even strength.

Only problem I saw with Blake Comeau's game was the drop in his play when he was suddenly switched from left wing to right wing for a good fifteen games when Jeff Tambellini got called up. He was not the same player and did not look confident in what he was doing like he was out of synch on another wing.

It should be noted Comeau played right wing in juniors but I did not see him play the right side for Bridgeport, that sudden switch seemed to effect him. He was moved back to the left side after and almost immediately regained the forum he showed earlier.

Moving forward:
Blake Comeau should be a big part of the Islanders next season as his role increases. He's been praised top to bottom by the veterans, his coach, general manager for his hard work. The production has to improve and should as he earns more time with the top line forwards. With Sim, Bergenheim, Tambellini and other players the left side is loaded but no standout offensive performer is among the group.

Final Grade:
Blake Comeau flat out looks like an NHL player who is only going to get better, he was one of the most visible forwards on the team nightly and stats aside proved he not only belongs here but can be an impact player.

Comeau gets an A.

Islanders/NHL/Finals notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 5/22/2008 04:38:00 PM | ||Comments
Islanders website: Answered the fans questions from the open house last week.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Best player available, we'll see what we can do. A lot of stock answers to questions but impossible to blame the Islanders for this. They cannot give definitive answers to most of these questions without giving up strategy. What can they say about transportation answers that are more Nassau County than the club but who they no doubt will try and work with?

Point Blank: Mr Botta answered more questions in his blog with this one on fan relations with the team.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
It should be noted all links to Mr Botta's blog have been removed from the Islanders website. I would hope the person taking Mr Botta's spot would be willing to blog and talk to the fans at some point also.

What was the rush to pull his link or not leave it in for Islander fans who use the website to access it? I did not know this until today because his blog is linked here.

Media blog: Cory Witt reports Bill & Kara Guerin are being honored at the Long Island Children’s Museum on May 30th. Part of the evening will include a live auction, which the Guerin's are offering up the opportunity for 12 children to play a game of street hockey at their Long Island home with the Islanders captain.

National Post/several reports: Confirm Tony Granato has been signed on for a second time to coach the Colorado Avalanche.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Would I be correct in guessing Lou Lamoriello would be the last one to coach the same organization twice unless were talking about Larry Robinson from the same organization?

A little surprising but Larry Robinson went from coach to assistant coach back to head coach. Granato will do the same after being an assistant for the Avs.

Of course Robinson won a Stanley Cup for the Devils.

Islander fans are well aware Mike Milbury came back a second time from the gm box to coach and that did not end well at all with the players practically driving Milbury back upstairs for good.

I wonder if Peter Laviolette will in the same position a year from now?

Detroit Free Press: Has Gary Bettman's comments from a radio interview (WDFN-AM 1130) on the finals, the scheduling conflicts and a bunch of items.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
I know it's easy to blame Bettman for anything/everything but if this was scheduled over a year in advance by both leagues there is nothing that can be done to anticipate this. The Wings and Pistons no longer share the same facility and also the networks are competing with one another.

Also both the Wings and Pens have earned a few days off. If Dallas-Detroit went seven games that would only have been a two day break. We see teams at playoff time get a full week off and more all the time after a short series. Four days is not that big a deal.

Fun storyline for me is Scott Bowman coached both clubs to their last Stanley Cup.

I have no idea which club will win, both play a modified trap and can slow things down with a lead. Both have good offenses with an extra gear that can turn it up.

This is a different Chris Osgood than in past years who won a cup but mostly was about the club in front of him dominating. Now he is stepping up where in the past soft goals found him. Fleury is playing like a number one pick only getting better. On paper the Wings have the better names on defense but that is all about the chemistry of the collective group.

It could be very close but it could be a blowout also with one teams system/strategy simply better at this time. A long/competitive series between one of the two best national ratings markets in the East (Pittsburgh/Buffalo) & the top ratings market in the West (Detroit) is the dream exposure matchup for hockey.

A guess prediction here but I see Pittsburgh in six. I have a hard time seeing a different Osgood who allowed soft goals in critical moments because that's how I remember him even if he has seemingly turned around his career this season which is unfair on my part but an impression that marks his career for me.

For what little this is worth Osgood is one of those goalies who is not wearing an extra fifty pounds of equipment where he takes up another twenty percent of the net, he broke in during a different generation for goaltenders. My impression is Pittsburgh's great offensive talent will see those openings and exploit them.

Having written all that if Osgood plays like a stopper Detroit has a great chance.

Will Espn News be the only outlet with a full postgame when NBC goes off the air when they start covering games? This is a problems Versus should finally correct because in past years once the contract for their games was up they stopped all finals post-game coverage.

Games would be off NBC within minutes, Versus would be showing their own programming and hockey fans had to scramble to find any postgame press conferences after a team wins a Stanley Cup.

Enter Espn News for all postgame which is kind of ironic and only fuels the
Espn-spin doctors in the media business with a vested interest to market Espn & everyone else to make a great point why not get Espn back in the mix for hockey if Versus is not going to do a postgame.

Dick Ebersol, Sam Flood, Gary Bettman, Comcast, Ed Snider, Versus, repeat after me.

All finals games will have full postgame coverage and press conferences on Versus after each game of the Stanley Cup Finals followed by a repeat of the NBC telecast.

No law against Versus making every day hockey day with past finals highlights, hockey programming, and a pregame before NBC shows the live game either.

Elite Prospects.com: Reports former Islander Zigmund Palffy signed a three year contract extension with
HK 36 Skalica today which their website confirms here.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Like Chris Simon we do not know if his contract could allow for him to sign as an NHL unrestricted free agent but given how long Ziggy has been out of the NHL I would expect he will end his playing career where he is after this contract. Of course this Islander fan wishes Palffy the best of luck.

NYI Fan Central Final Review: Josef Vasicek

New York Islander Fan Central | 5/22/2008 03:32:00 AM | |Comments
Today's season ending review is on center Josef Vasicek.

Going into 07-08:
Vasicek returned to Carolina in 06-07 in a trade with Nashville where he produced a combined six goals in a split season with both clubs. When you go back to where you did your best and that team is not interested in signing you it's not a good sign.

Garth Snow specifically targeted Josef Vasicek for his grit/ability/skills and felt with the knee problems that hindered him for a few seasons behind him could match & surpass his most productive season with Carolina in 03-04 with nineteen goals & forty five points in a fresh start.

Hard to complain with the early effort of Vasicek last season where he was visible, drove the net and most importantly with his few shots he took made most of them count as he raced out to a great start where he was given a role as the teams second line center with Miroslav Satan and Sean Bergenheim for the most part. His overall effort was solid in all three zones and he did display an edge to his game that helped the club.

Having written all that the Isles got what they paid for which was a track record of someones who at best was streaky and at worst was unplayable in your top six. After November 21st he did not score another goal until late February and despite solid defensive play where he seemed to do everything asked he had far too many nights as a second line center where he could not produce as a top six forard on a club desperate for scoring, many games he was not very visible.

Ted Nolan moved him around at times, nothing really seemed to spark his offensive game to where he could prove consistent.

You get what you pay for and out of Vasieck they seemed to get an honest effort from a limited player. For a checking center on a club with good balanced scoring it could be enough. On the 2007-08 Islanders, the lowest scoring club in the league it was not nearly close to being enough. Vasicek is not going to look to shoot often and like former Islander Viktor Kozlov did not use his offensive gifts nearly enough as he looked to create a perfect goal with far too many moves. He was strong on his skates, the few times he drove the net it was impressive. For a big man he seems to have the potential to play big at times also but last season he did not give that to the club nightly.

Best example of Vasicek's offensive game can be described by his shorthanded goal in a 1-0 win against the Devils where he made what seemed like an endless series of moves before finally flubbing a shot over Brodeur where it looked nice but he seemed to make it as tough as he could on himself. Other times he would move from high quality area's to take lower percentage shots.

Moving forward:
Vasicek signed a one year contract with the Islanders, he's unrestricted at this time and it's fair to say with Sillinger & Comrie signed the club has to look to find a more productive second line center despite how he did a good overall job in the defensive zone where he proved he could be durable. Someones going to sign him, give him a better offensive supporting cast but I doubt any club will use him above their third line.

There is a chance he is back too, but I tend to think the club has to improve it's scoring and look for consistency. I do not think another club in the league would carry him as a top six forward & given a choice my guess is he would like to return.

It's also fair to ask should Ben Walter, Jeremy Colliton, Frans Nielsen & even Rob Hennigar get a shot also now that they have seen Vasieck for eighty one games.

Final grade:
Giving Vasicek a poor grade here would be like giving Richard Park a poor grade for not being a front line offensive talent and that would not be fair. He proved himself durable after years with knee problems, posted a plus rating among a group of forwards who were terrible at even strength as a unit and gave a club with no front line offensive talent and a brutal powerplay sixteen goals & thirty five points and he seemed like a good team player on the ice.

Vasicek receives a B. All in all he did a nice job here and may even be back but I do not see a role for him and he's not going to become a twenty five goal player who can produce critical goals or dominate games.

His next goal will always have me wondering will we have to wait thirty games before we see another one.

Wednesday notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 5/21/2008 08:13:00 PM | |Comments
National Post: Cam Cole has a few words from Oilers general manager Kevin Lowe on the 1983 Islanders in one of the countless articles building this final up as the best one since the New York & Edmonton met twenty five years ago.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
All due respect to Pittsburgh but they did not dominate their conference like the Oilers in 1983. All due respect to Detroit but they are not in the universe as the Islander team that went into that final with three Stanley Cups in a row.

Very good matchup with a lot of star players but time to tone down the comparisions.

All due respect to the 83-84 Edmonton Oilers but the Islanders would have made ten finals in a row if they came out the Western Conference with that playoff format that it changed after 1981 so a Western Conference team could qualify for a final after years of the West being playoff fodder for the East. Atlanta relocated to Calgary and went from a marginal team in th East to a top team come playoff time.

To this day I have little doubt if the finals format was not changed for the first time to 2-3-2 from 2-2-1-1-1 Edmonton would not have beaten the Isles in the 1984 finals given how bad Gretzky looked in games one and two at the Coliseum.

Newsday/Newsday blog and a bunch of sites confirm Chris Simon signed in Russia starting with the Minneapolis papers the last fews days. (including today)

NYI Fan Central Comments:
I blogged on this all the way back on Saturday, still no one can get the full story on whether he signed a contract where he can still resign with an NHL team come July or if he is locked into the deal he signed?

Not much else happening on a quiet day for the Isles, nothing on Ridderwall or Kim Johansson signing but the clock is running regarding contract offers.

Sure would be nice if Newsday or any paper did an update on Dubielewicz and the club's pending UFA with July 1st about five weeks away.

If the NY Times is going to include fan blogs why not get some Islander bloggers in there being that they seem to have hockey content for a lot of teams out of town?

No, I'm not talking about my blog.

Hockey Night on LI, Prospects & Point Blank

New York Islander Fan Central | 5/20/2008 08:40:00 PM | ||Comments

Barring any family circumstances that force me to cancel at the last minute I will be appearing as the special guest for Hockey Night on Long Island this coming Saturday 5/24 (first cup anniversary) at 3:30pm for anyone who would like to call in and talk some Islander Hockey.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Alex & Steve from Hockey Night on Long Island do a great job with the show, always a pleasure to be invited as a guest. The latest show is always posted on the sidebar here for anyone who cannot catch it live.

USA.com: Kyle Woodlief's latest prospect update was released 5/20 with updated prospect rankings where he slots RW Mikkel Bodker as his fifth overall pick.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Must read independent prospect re-source for Islander fans, impeccable work, latest update is also in prospect center.

Point Blank: Mr Botta continues to update his blog with answers to questions submitted by readers on several subjects.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Great job by Mr Botta to take his time to answer the fans questions and is doing an outstanding job.

Yahoo sports: Greg Wyshynski of SportsFan Magazine in Washington DC/Senior Sports Editor for The Connection Newspapers of Northern Virginia had a few interesting comments on Mr Botta's blog entries to his readers where he credits him for the way he used his blog to pull back the curtain on how an NHL team works and how he would also use it to aggressively go after members of the MSM whom he felt treated the team unfairly. He also brought up and credited Mr Botta's take on Times reporter Selena Roberts and her comments on former Islander Eric Carins without getting as much as a quote.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
My first inclination was to check whether Greg Wyshynski should be treated as a legitimate professional media source despite his listed credentials. I'm aware of what AOL Fanhouse is but I'm also very conservative with what articles are posted here. I don't know if he wrote his own title in this instance (many professional writers in publications have it written by someone else) but " brutally candid " in the headline description I did not consider appropriate or reflective of Mr Botta's blog entries now or since he began it despite well deserved praise for Mr Botta.

I'm not a fan of writers who use sensationalism to get folks to notice their articles, the quality of the content should do that on it's own merit.

Even now 07-08 Isles a tough read

New York Islander Fan Central | 5/20/2008 10:47:00 AM | Comments
It's getting close to seven weeks since the Isles season ended and even now it's still tough to point to one thing that finished this club last season.

I see a team like Pittsburgh in the finals being talked about as the 1983 Edmonton Oilers and it makes me think not of how the Islanders swept that club long ago but why this years Islander team simply could not have been more consistent over eighty two games given how most of the head to head contest with Pittsburgh they outplayed them for a good stretch of the games but seemed to find ways to lose.

Less than two months ago on March 24th the Isles dominated the Pens in a 4-1 win with Joey MacDonald in goal, before that they lost a game where they took over fifty shots and lost to Pittsburgh. Blake Comeau helped win a game in Pittsburgh, Simon's stomp was big in a close loss while Dubie came in and won on Al Arbour night against Pittsburgh. Early season a powerplay goal against decided an Isles-Pens game.

Terrible teams are supposed to be losing games 6-1 or dominated from beginning to end of games on a regular basis. Islanders should have looked like Philadelphia did in the deciding game against Pittsburgh most of the season based upon that.

Meanwhile the Islanders had a lot of self-inflicted losses to Philadelphia. Power play goals by the Flyers that were too easy at times, goals allowed by the Isles powerplay that were critical in two losses. Isles lost a game they scored three first period goals where Nolan was visibly upset afterward with how they cheated the system when the Flyers came back and won.

Digest this for a moment: Isles scored three first period goals in that Flyer game, around mid-december the Islanders only scored eleven first period goals ALL SEASON.

Isles even needed close to fifty shots to finally win a game vs Philadelphia after that.

We saw some Islander games in 2006 where they just were all over the place with an
8-1 loss to Vancouver after beating Calgary the game before in Brad Shaw's debut as interim coach but that was not the case in the second half for the Isles, despite how many players were injured, even the Tampa game was close until the final minutes when it got away from them.

For me it was one of the toughest Islander clubs to get a read on in it's history on so many levels. A seven game losing streak, a six game winning streak, followed by fifty shots games where they could not finish any plays or generate any shots where the goalie was out of position and had no chance?

Teams that score two goals or less fourteen games in a row are supposed to be in last place by early December, not at a point where they are five games over and in a playoff spot.

On top of that they were terrible at even strength and could not get games to overtime like the previous season, trademarks for low scoring clubs that manage to stay in contention.

The year before Isles were a game over five hundred on 1/31, they lost only three times in regulation afterward over the next twenty games. Isles only had two shootout home games all season this year.

This group was all over the board even going back to the opening weekend where they ran over the Sabres and looked like an offensive powerhouse. At the time I though of how Phoenix ran over the Isles in Ted Nolan's opening game as Islander coach and knew a month later that Coyotes team would have it's bubble popped because they were supposed to be terrible and were.

That did not happen to the 07-08 Islanders.

Boston beat the Isles using the formula the Isles used to beat Boston over several seasons. Florida swept the season series with games like the one Craig Anderson started on core of the four weekend where the Islanders outworked Florida but rarely got a quality chance for their fifty plus shots.

Montreal was the only Eastern Conference team that beat the Islanders the way a good team is supposed to beat a poor team, all four games the Canadians speed and skill had the Isles off balance. Even after one of those losses Mike Sillinger defended his club saying we took over forty shots.

I look at the 2007-08 Islanders and cannot recall a Islander team that had so many flaws but managed to stay competitive and in some games dominate.

Meanwhile this is the same group that basically outworked and won the season series vs the Devils, Rangers.

You see all the exit interviews from the players on ITV and all of them talked of the injuries but no one brought up the two goals in fourteen games when all of them were healthy and well rested in November-December. No one touched the awful powerplay or the shorthanded goals allowed. No one talked about how Comeau and Bergenheim were the two most visible forwards on a team where the veterans were supposed to carry the club.

Ted Nolan in the first fan meeting felt he went too easy on some of the veterans early. He had a lot of days off for practice to forum a culture and no doubt he was very popular with the players given the comments. By the end of the season he was all over his veterans for poor play and promised to skate them daily if they did not work harder in games.

When the Isles went to Boston the game before the all-star break, one Bruin talked about desperately wanting to win the game after a bad loss. Isles came in off a bad loss and most of the Isles talk was about getting away, afterward the talk was Boston wanted the game more.

I have never watched an Islander season and wondered going into a powerplay if they were going to give up another shorthanded goal, this year down the stretch I expected them to give up chances with the powerplay.

I guess for many you look at the lack of scoring, the powerplay and it's easy to say they were just a bad team. You add in four hundred man games lost to injury and it also helps that argument as those eight two games fade away.

But it does not tell the full story of eighty two games, not even close for me.

Entire season feels like that win against Carolina where they had three shorthanded goals, yet gave up over forty shots and needed a Brendan Witt goal to finally win the game.

Even now it's still tough to get a read on them.

Poll on media coverage/blog notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 5/19/2008 04:50:00 PM | Comments
I finally found decided to do the big poll on the media coverage of the New York Islanders. Call this NYI Fan Central's version of super tuesday with several polls as every publication gets the spotlight.

Comments of course are welcome beyond e-mails.

Daily News
NY Times
Islanders website
Ct Post

I made a few changes to the blog:

I do this because I know a lot of folks visit and may want to know what I changed/added or deleted.

Faceoff.com & Tsn.ca have been added to the NHL news section. They do not have feeders so I put the picture link in so everyone can visit.

The NHL network picture weblink was removed from the sidebar, the other one is still in the NHL section of the blog for anyone who wants game highlights or video/audio features.

Google's search engine was removed. Too many sites linking to fan blogs that are not credible sources of information because they are not professional writers. This time of year not many professional writers doing Islander updates.

I took out the WC section with the games concluded and moved up the draft center.

Kyle Woodlief's prospect feeder was installed. The updates are infrequent but still worth reading for the entire season which is why the old dates are posted for reference.

Some of the subscription feeders which was a new thing blogger added caused the page to load with an error which worked but made it open slower, that feature was removed so the blog should open quickly for everyone now.

The scrolling welcome message was getting old and forced the page to open slower also so I removed that and put up a picture greeting.

Enough games with the scoreboard, it now stays where it is until the finals are concluded. I kept taking it out so the blog would load quicker but that made no difference.

NYI Fan Central Final Review Mike Comrie

New York Islander Fan Central | 5/19/2008 04:00:00 PM | |Comments
Today we pick up the season ending reviews with the focus on center Mike Comrie.

Going in 07-08 Comrie was an unrestricted free agent coming off a finals appearance with Ottawa where he had a strong playoff and was talked into signing here based on Ryan Smyth and Bill Guerin. He looked very good in preseason despite an injury and had a dominating opening weekend against Buffalo where he appeared to be on his way to establishing himself as a fan favorite.

Unfortunately in Comrie's case like many of the forwards on the roster he was being asked to carry a stronger burden than he had ever had in his career and it was painfully obvious despite some good stretches he did not have the support around him to sustain it for long on a club that fourteen games with two goals or less.

Along the way he also suffered with some poor reaction penalties in the offensive zone and some breakdowns in the defensive zone which even led to a few fights where he stood up for himself. He did not use his shot nearly enough but did not have the kind of forwards with the speed and skill to get him the puck where he could be most effective.

In the end Comrie did lead this club in scoring despite a lot of injuries, including playing with a hip injury of his own which hampered his game in the second half but he had far too many nights where he was invisible where he needed to show leadership and a role he wanted when he signed here.

Moving forward:
Mike Comrie signed a one year extension with the Islanders, obviously both sides want to see more before commiting to a long-term contract. Comrie makes for a good second line center with two talents of second line ability but next season again far more will be asked of him as he once again will likely be paired with Bill Guerin who's contract seems tied to Comrie. For this team to be successful he will have to have a greater offensive impact and a bigger overall impact.

Final grade:
I like the fact he tried to play hurt and was willing to try it here for another season. Forty nine points on this roster was below Garth Snow's expectation of sixty points nor did he have a first line (or even second line) players inpact too many nights on the lowest scoring club in the league with an awful powerplay.

Mike Comrie receives a D for his 20087-08 performance because he disappeared far too many nights.

Hrudey, Arbour, Huselius & Mr Botta

New York Islander Fan Central | 5/18/2008 01:29:00 PM | ||Comments
Russia came back to defeat Canada 5-4 in overtime to win the World Championship Sunday.

Mercury News: David Pollak in an article about the next San Jose coach has former Islander Kelly Hrudey comments about Al Arbour.

Edmonton Journal: Jim Matheson speculates the Islanders will go hard after Calgary UFA forward Kristian Huselius because he does not like a lot of pressure and would be a good second line fit for them.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
As a left wing good luck finding a fit for Huselius with Bergenheim, Comeau, Sim, Tambellini and Hilbert on the roster. It may take a Satan-like contract with a no trade clause to land him also.

Isles do need the scoring but to do this a left wing has to go.
Park, Bates can also play left wing.

Where is Newsday to give us updates on our pending free agents or what moves the team could be planning? Other papers for teams all over this league are doing this to keep the fans interested. You cannot put the lack of Islander talk on the age of the Nassau Coliseum.

You can bet players and their agents look at this too when signing with a team, some need and want a spotlight.

Point Blank: Mr Botta was kind enough to respond to a series of questions I had for him on Islanders coverage.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
I appreciate the time Mr Botta took to respond, that was very nice of him to go out of his way like that and he told me a few things I did not know.

I never knew writers could travel with teams because I have read stories both ways.

I was not sure if becoming a Newsday writer would be a step down or a step up from his position with the Isles, all I know was Pat Calabria joined the Isles after working for Newsday and I think Mr Botta would do a great job.

My point with asking about the Isles paying a newspaper for daily coverage/blog is Phil Mushnick in the Post told me the budget for sports department is a problem and covering the Isles is a luxury they cannot afford. So if the Isles can pay for advertising space why not just do the same for a daily article/blog and increase fan readership?

I'm not sure Mr Botta understood my point on that but if the Isles did pay a publication for coverage it goes without writing I would only want honest hockey content depending on how the club plays, nothing else and no doubt the Isles would not have it any other way themselves.

I respectfully disagree with Mr Botta on quality over quantity for Mr Logan and his lack of blogs because you can have both and we see it for other teams all the time.

I also stand by what I wrote that Mr Logan created the speculation on DiPietro using a stat based argument to create unfair perception about his play.

I had no idea Mr Logan had to fight for space in the paper for road coverage. If Mr Botta is writing these things it is not good between the Islanders and the Newsday sports editor to where the beatwriter has to push hard for additional coverage space. If that is the case Mr Logan has to be credited for his efforts but I did not see many second articles on game day during the second half, even after the superbowl was over which Mr Logan told Mr Botta was a reason for the Isles losing the second game article at the all-star weekend.

I also have to note every thing Mr Botta brought up where Mr Logan provided more coverage (Smyth, trades, playoffs) were from 2006-07. Going into 2007-08 I had a very favorable opinion of Mr Logan's Islander coverage but this season's work changed that.

To me less coverage is less coverage. The New York Islanders need every bit of daily coverage they can get.

I hope Mr Botta is correct about Cablevision/Newsday Islander coverage being enhanced but I'm skeptical because I know the history and all signs point to less Islander coverage and an outlet for Cablevision to give additional print space to properties they own. I think Mr Botta is underestimating how Msg network presents sport content which these days have Liberty games over Yankee and Met games.

I see the Dolan's Newsday version being exactly the same regardless and they could care less what anyone thinks or writes about them. Anyone who does not like it at Newsday does not have to be there.

If Mr Botta says Mr Logan's departure will be noticed with a drop in coverage or that I will not be happy I find it hard to believe. I did not see any noticable drop from John Valenti to Alan Hahn or from Mr Hahn to Mr Logan, despite changes at Newsday.

Having written that it may well be that way. Mr Botta knows a lot more than myself on these subjects which is why I asked.