Islander News Articles 2/1

Newsday: Greg Logan's game recap has head coach Scott Gordon's comments about his teams improved defensive coverage and goaltending while Yann Danis also talks about his play.

Daily News: Peter Botte's extremely limited space is almost as much about the Islander fans losing ground in the race for Jonathan Tavares than it is about the teams play. Head coach Scott Gordon comments on Kyle Okposo, Yann Danis about how a shutout made no difference to him.

NY Post: Dan Martin's theme is mostly the same as Mr Botte's noting the club's improved health. Kyle Okposo comments.

NY Post: Larry Brooks was long overdue to throw something against the wall about the Islanders, today was the day claiming they are in the bottom five or three in NHL gate receipts (he did not elaborate if this includes Smg taking part of gate) and that they should be entitled to participate in NHL revenue sharing because they are not a big market team despite being in New York.

NHLPA Director Paul Kelly is quoted that the television-market clause discriminates unfairly against teams like the Islanders and Ducks and that the union would certainly support eliminating that clause based on Hawks past problems under Bill Wirtz with the Hawks games not televised during that era which was why many feel it was put into the CBA.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
In the world of Larry Brooks some will see this as a positive article, but it's not.

One year Mr Brooks is telling us about all the Islander fans at the Garden, the next how they have no fan presence in New York at all as he did toward the end of last season.

It's as bad as him praising Ted Nolan and then a month later running him down in print last season.

Too bad Mr Brooks left out what company does all they can to restrict New York Islander access in this market to keep their marketabilty low. If Charles Wang is losing 20m a year, that's less than the paper Mr Brooks is employed by reported the Rangers were losing according to the Post a few years ago.
(broken link)

September 17, 2004 -- The owners of the perennially money-losing
Rangers hockey team are going to plug up a big red-ink hole with the
National Hockey League shutdown of the season. The Rangers haven't made the playoffs in seven years or any profits in years.

In fact, industry sources say the team loses between $25 million and
$30 million a year with its highly paid players and steep overhead in
Madison Square Garden arena.

With the team now on ice, owner Cablevision, controlled by media
mogul Chuck Dolan, won't have to write that many big checks for
hockey players.

It'll lose revenue, of course, from the 41 home games at the Garden,
but analysts say the typical $45 per seat for Ranger games is hardly
a drop in the bucket in Cablevision's fortunes.
Miami Herald: George Richard's coverage and blog on the Panthers loss calls Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum the Worlds Most Famous Arena in his pregame but felt the Panthers had the better of the play while head coach Peter Deboer just feels the Islanders have their number at the Coliseum.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Works for me, I used to like Fort Neverlose which Mike Lupica gave as a nickname long ago.

Newsday: Mark Herrmann's coverage of the Islanders three game winning streak is about Nassau Coliseum lineage with comment from the son of the late Welton Becket and Denis Potvin on his days in the brand new " Nassau Coliseum " with a few words on the Lighthouse project.

Former Islander Bryan McCabe also comments.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Did you really expect Mr Herrmann to write about the team on the ice when they win a few games?

Of course he got his quotes in advance of the game.

Sun-Sentinel: Steve Gorten's coverage.

Palm Beach Post: Not sure if Brian Biggane's paper provides road coverage.

NY Times: David W.Chen in a feature on politicians and sports reports Representative Anthony D. Weiner idolized Islanders goaltender Chico Resch was he was growing up.

Toronto Sun: Steve Simmons plays the shockjock game big time and writes Jonathan Tavares should refuse to play for the Islanders because there is no hope for the franchise.

NYI Fan Central Comments:

As opposed to playing for Toronto who have four less championships than the New York Islanders since 1967 and lost their playoff spot outright to them in 06-07?

Sure seemed like there was plenty of hope here during the 2002 playoffs.

How fast would Jason Blake be on the next plane here if it were not for the money, despite finally finding his offensive game after a year and a half.

All due respect to Mr Simmons but there is not a lot of hope in the Leafs current roster and Garth Snow has Toronto's draft pick, silly stuff.

Newsday: Mark Herrmann does his latest Ranger infomercial on Henrik Lundqvist.

NYI Fan Central Comments:

Looks like Mr Herrmann is the front-man for the man who pays his salary here. This was what we got after a team that spent 90m dollars on two centers who could not play with Jagr were handily eliminated by Pittsburgh last spring.

No knock on Lundqvist here who obviously is one of many professional sporting figures who gets it and gives back to the community but how come DiPietro and so many Islanders do similar things and Mr Herrmann does not go to these extremes to hype them?

I guarantee we would not be seeing the same article from Mr Herrmann if DiPietro gave up the goals Lundqvist did against Pittsburgh or had the same mediocre save percentage and gaa Lundqvist does this season.

I have never seen an article written about the Islander franchise goaltender that allows us to know last years All-Star in this manner. I have seen enough pictures of the team events where he is involved.

Not about the Rangers or Lundqvist but a double-standard in reporting. I guarantee we will see the same theme Tuesday night from Mr Herrmann if he is assigned the hockey beat after he put out his negative theme on the Islanders big nights for Al Arbour and the Core of the Four. Reports Bridgeport won at home against the Portland Pirates Saturday 2-1 on Ben Walter's goal with fifteen seconds left in regulation.

2. BRI Nikiforov, (1) (Hillen, Haskins), 6:57
3. POR Darche, (15) (Kennedy, Mancari), 3:25 (PP)
3. BRI Walter, (11) (Haskins), 19:45

Nate Lawson made twenty six saves, seven thousand in Bridgeport.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio has game coverage and a blog entry here head coach Jack Capuano praised his team top to bottom, Ben Walter and Jack Hillen also talk about Bridgeport's win.

Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram: Covers the Pirates.

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New York 3, Florida 1

New York Islander Fan Central | 1/31/2009 10:15:00 PM | |Comments

AP & Sports Network: Recaps New York's 3-1 win against the Florida Panthers Saturday.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
With every game Okposo is looking more and more like a first line player in this league. Not the goals but just the overall play and the strength on the puck.

Team defense was strong, a lot of blocked shots, stick checks to win battles with Park, Hunter diving to break up chances. Campoli, Gervais very solid with just another strong game from Mark Streit.

Have not written about him for a while but Pock does nothing on defense to hurt this team, his deflected shot almost found the net in the first period.

Florida without David Booth was a big loss for the Panthers, they had a few wrap-around chances early and the better of the play to start the third with the four minute powerplay but Islanders took back momentum and put the game away with Guerin's goal followed by the work from Hunter to find Okposo coming in off the point.

Would have liked to have seen the Islanders just go for it when Peter Deboer pulled his goaltender with five minutes left and if they ice the puck, so what.

Go for the kill.

Islanders started this game well, Jackman a nice rush at the net, Nielsen some good reads and drew another powerplay like he did in Atlanta. Gervais got a nice chance coming in. Okposo got past Jay Bouwmeester, with a power move which was impressive.

Campoli was hitting and making plays.

That early penalty kill on Okposo's double-minor was excellent blocking the lanes and even creating an odd-man chance shorthanded, crowd got behind the team too.

Heck of a read by Comrie who saw where Vokoun was going with the puck and simply beat Bouwmeester and showed nice hands to beat him to the post for the 1-0 goal.

Second period Florida started skating and got some quality chances, Park saved a goal, the fourth line for Florida had some good shifts, but Guerin made his best move of the year (until his wrap-around goal) on Keith Ballard and nearly scored. Both teams traded chances but Florida has the better chances.

Yann Danis had another very strong game, few goalies going to give the Islanders a much better chance to win. Witt again going after players who crash the net and looking much different now that he is healthy.

For a team going all-in on youth very strange Tambellini is sitting for Park to play third line left wing or Andy Hilbert has the fourth line spot or Thompson/Jackman are regulars.

That's seven out of eight points and three straight wins, guess tonight's negative theme from the media cannot be a blown lead.

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Newsday Update on Islanders Lease

New York Islander Fan Central | 1/31/2009 09:46:00 PM | Comments
Newsday: Eden Laiken reports the Islanders lease prohibits them from leaving the Nassau Coliseum before 2015 with Nassau County Attorney Lorna Goodman quoted as saying if the an Islander owner tried to move he could be held in contempt and face the possibility of jail time, high fines and the payment of any damages incurred by the county based on the 1985 lease which was upheld by a Nassau State Supreme Court justice in 1998 when Howard Milstein's tried to move the team because of the Coliseum's condition.

Some outside experts were brought in to give opinion. Nothing from Charles Wang or anyone close to the situation.

NYI Fan Central Comments:

Behind the scenes for weeks I have been looking for the articles that say if the Lighthouse project is voted down the Islanders owners have the right to vacate the current lease immediately. I have read the Memorandum of Understanding documents and have been compiling everything I could find on this because I have wanted to present this here for everyone.

A lot of pdf files, but I'm very sure and have written here on several occasions Charles Wang as part of the MOU can opt out of the lease if the Lighthouse is not approved before 2015.

Even after the MOU there were articles about Suffolk County and a possible move.

That does not mean the Smg lease is voided or the cable contract.

I'm not sure if Eden Laiken is correct on this one or if Tom Suozzi did not include it in the language of the MOU.

We need more information, I have been running into the offers when the bids were taken from several potential outside developers.

For now this is the pdf file with the MOU here.

Here is the proposed lease agreement from 2005 here.

Finally another article I researched from 2007 on project delays here.

I will keep looking.

This is what I remember, I guess it depends on how you interpret the wording, breaking the lease does not mean the lease expires.

Doug Miller in the Herald Community Newspapers reported on 2/8/07 here when the matter was before the finance committee Jan. 22, concerns were raised that if the Legislature votes down the plan ultimately worked out between Wang and the Town of Hempstead, the deal allows the Islanders to break their lease at the coliseum, which is due to expire in 2015.

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Florida at New York 7pm Msg+

New York Islander Fan Central | 1/31/2009 01:00:00 PM | Comments
Florida Panthers
Updated Player Pos Injury Expected Return
12/30/08 Bryan Allen D Knee IR. Out until at least March
01/25/09 Rostislav Olesz LW Groin IR. Out until at least March

Last we saw Florida in December they were headed toward a win record for the month.

They came into the Coliseum and the Islanders had one of their easiest games of the year where the Panthers did not put up a good effort.

Panthers were not happy with that loss at the time with some players speaking out.

Since that game the Panthers have gone 7-1-3 and as of Friday were alone in eighth place in the Eastern Conference standings and come off a big win against Montreal.

Very good test for Scott Gordon's club and their recent winning streak/competitive play to see where they stand and if there is some real traction here.

Craig Anderson or Tomas Vokoun both generally play well against the Islanders but Vokoun got the hook against the Islanders last time out. Comrie had two goals and Bergenheim had a nice rush for a goal.

Booth, Weiss, Horton and Jay Bouwmeester make up a developing core up front with veterans like McCabe on the backline. Fast club that outskated and outhit the Islanders in the early game at Florida.

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Islander News Articles 1/31

I will add what I can to this entry on Saturday which at best will most likely be a NY Post article previewing the game.

The pregame blog is set for release around 1pm. Panthers had three papers do a pregame for them.

Newsday: Barbara Baker covered Islanders practice with comments from head coach Scott Gordon about the chemistry between roommates Josh Bailey and Kyle Okposo while Doug Weight compares Bailey to himself when he was a young center.

NY Post: Dan Martin's article ignores Bailey's game in Atlanta entirely, his assist total and goes right to the standings, Kansas City rumors and his earlier injuries while both he and Scott Gordon comment in a limited space preview.

NYI Fan Central Comments:

Did Dan Martin even watch the Atlanta game or see his play making, was this absolutely necessary to drive away anyone who may want to become a fan of this kid?

Even stranger the Post had someone named Howard Kussoy do a small game preview with Kyle Okposo and Scott Gordon's comments here after starting with a foolish line to open an Islander playoff spot is as likely as a Mike Tyson Presidency.

NYI Fan Central Comments:

Only thing less likely is the Post actually doing two articles about the Islanders on an off day. The Post wants to impress me have someone blog and go out on the road like Mark Everson does. They did not even send Larry Brooks to Pittsburgh to cover the Ranger game.

All this limited space there is only time for player and coach comments, not junk.

Palm Beach Post: Brian Biggane has the latest on the Panthers along with George Richard's coverage in the Miami Herald with print and blog coverage here.

As always the Islander Prospect Watch Updates are listed on NYIFC prospect blog which has the last year archived. Reports Bridgeport lost 3-1 in Hartford on Friday night. Peter Mannino returned from the Islanders to backup Nate Lawson.

1. HFD Moore, (14) (Parenteau, Sauer), 13:21 (SH)
3. HFD Owens, (8) (Fahey), 15:21
3. BRI Smith, (23) (Wotton), 18:17 (SH)
3. HFD Ouellette, (9) (Owens, Sauer), 18:48

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio's print coverage has head coach Jack Caupauno who felt there were some passengers for his club which was blanked for the third time in five games. Joe Callahan also comments with postgame blog here with the Saturday pregame vs Portland written here.

Hartford Courant: Covers the Wolfpack.

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Islander Insider, Friday Notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 1/30/2009 06:27:00 PM | ||Comments
Newsday: Greg Logan has the Islander Insider which featured Doug Weight's contribution, where the club stands now and what he wants to do in games to help the club win. The powerplay set up was discussed where head coach Scott Gordon also comments.

Also included is how the Islanders over the previous five games and two scoreless periods against the Thrashers allowed just 10 goals. Scott Gordon acknowledges he has adjusted his defensive system, Chris Campoli talks about the communication being better with the down low forward and limiting odd-man chances have made a difference.

Comrie did not react well when Reasoner beat Martinek on a goal as the down-low forward but was he center on that shift or a left wing?

Mr Logan reports more on Yann Danis becoming a father with more speculation on
what could be a quiet trade deadline for Garth Snow and what Charles Wang could do with the Lighthouse Project if it is not approved in due time given past real estate projects and next week's " Dad's Trip " which has been a tradition the past few seasons when the club heads to Florida.

Point Blank: Mr Botta had his best blog entry in two years providing the differences between Joe Torre and Al Arbour given recent events.

A second entry was written on Josh Bailey with his comments.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Call me an Islander homer on this but in all my years of following New York sports there has never been a management tandem come close to the level of class, dignity and humility combined with incredible success that Bill Torrey and Al Arbour brought to New York.

The Islanders set the standard of winning championships, those men set the standard for how two people can work together to build it.

ITV only has the post-game with C.J Papa's questions, not Mr Logan or another member of the media covering the game.

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The Real Problem: Front-Loaded Contracts

New York Islander Fan Central | 1/30/2009 02:05:00 PM | |||Comments
National Post: Bruce Arthur in his article on Henrik Zetterberg signing his 12-year, $73-million deal questions if the league should put term limits on contracts with heavy criticism for the past signings of Alexei Yashin and Rick DiPietro but praise for Wings gm Ken Holland?

The Star: Damien Cox praised Detroit's signing of Zetterberg long-term because of an outstanding track record compared to what he writes are the " wacky Lightning " (Lecavalier) or what he says are the " eccentric Islanders " (Alexei Yashin/DiPietro) as apples to oranges citing the Wings are just a little bit smarter than everyone else winning four Stanley Cups in eleven years.

NYI Fan Central Comments:

A few articles like this surfaced where DiPietro is being kicked around despite being an all-star last season while he is injured but we all know a big part of this is who the owner and gm behind the signing.

This is the same Ken Holland who was a big reason for the NHL injury policy according to Tsn last year here that has caused a lot of complaining but in sports you are as smart (or foolish) as your record.

Ken Holland had a lot of pre-cap years where owner Mike Illitch spent through the roof, that was a big part of the Wings success which led to those cups which I guess Mr Cox and others just did not bother with.

I have no problem with the Zetterberg signing in terms of money/years, the Wings take the risk and it's more than a fair question to ask if there should be limits on these kind of deals which are becoming much more common.

Ted Leonsis handed Jagr that huge contract then he had to pay about half of it for years when he was traded and now Ovechkin received an even longer deal with virtually no criticism because to lock him up sooner means no competition for his services later.

My issue and this blog entry asks about what few write about, front-loaded contracts.

The public does not talk about this because it's usually buried in the hype of someone signing.

Greg Logan was so busy telling us Gomez and Drury turned down the Islanders for team Cablevision tradition a few summers ago he forgot to report part of those deals were frontloaded after he got the Islander fans stirred up with Garth Snow making it easy talking about the building.

Daniel Briere also got a huge front-loaded contract here when he signed with Philadelphia that summer.

Signing a front-loaded contract means the cap hit is still the same but it makes a player much easier to trade later in the contract after the bulk of the money has already been paid out.

For the players getting the bulk of the money in the early years of the contract means they lose far less in a possible buyout later.

Fact of the matter is there are a lot of corporate teams in this league that may have to deal with a salary cap for the first time but still have a huge advantage by offering a front-loaded contract.

Corporate teams have no problems losing money which is how we got to a lockout with the market driven so high everyone had to spend more while teams like the Rangers and Wings took big financial losses to ice their 70-80m dollar lineups.

Depending on what I read Ranger losses per year were between 25-40m a year because of the huge payroll/overhead in an outdated building like Msg. Detroit for years used to talk about needing to make the finals to break even financially and Joe Lewis Arena is an outdated building in the mold of the former Devils home.

Charles Wang pre lockout as owner of a lower payroll club had some very tough choices to make. Sign Yashin long-term or risk losing him in a few years to another teams big contract offer. If he scored forty goals a year there was a good chance a corporate team would have made an offer the Islanders could not match and lost him for nothing.

Yashin's contract did one other thing few write about. It put players/agents in a spot where they wanted their money upfront because of buyouts/lockouts. Sing no sad songs for Yashin but he lost about a good thirty plus million with the lockout givebacks, a year salary loss and his buyout.

You don't think ownership in Minnesota (Gaborik) or Atlanta (Kovalchuk) face the same reality because they went shorter term with their contracts? Their agents know someone will pay them big upfront in the UFA market.

Rick DiPietro took a trade off (less money vs more years) but that deal benefited the Islanders (despite criticism) because if he did hit UFA and kept progressing another club would have made a huge offer which likely would have been front-loaded which Charles Wang most likely could not have been able to match.

This is why Roberto Luongo had to be traded from the Panthers, they could not or would not give that commitment and/or Luongo's side wanted out.

For those wondering Kevin Allen in USA Today here reports the Wings front-loaded the Zetterberg deal, paying close to $68 million the first nine years, with a maximum salary of $7.75 million. His final salaries are $3.35 million, $1 million and $1 million.

Very easy to buyout or trade. A club struggling to reach a cap floor (whatever the cba is in the future) can take the cap hit and pay the one million.

These front-loaded contracts are what no one is writing about and the real problem the league/NHLPA needs to address in the next CBA.

Another reason Ryan Smyth signed with Colorado was because a big part of his thirty one million dollar contract was frontloaded here while we have no idea if Charles Wang offered a front-loaded deal.

As for Detroit gm Ken Holland like most general managers he talks out of both sides of his mouth depending on the year and the circumstances here where a few years ago he had a far different take on front-loaded contracts.

He needed a front-loaded deal to keep his own player? So much for the attraction of Detroit.

Bottom line this needs to be written, discussed a lot more and the big part of these signings, not a sidebar.

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Islander News Articles 1/30

Newsday: Greg Logan's game recap reports Islander head coach Scott Gordon did not even wait to hear a reporters question about earlier blown leads before launching into what the Newsday beatwriter calls a rant who wanted to talk about his team getting five points in it's last three games and his young players.

Kyle Okposo also comments about his third period who credited Comeau and Bailey for their play-making.

NYI Fan Central Comments:

I thought Scott Gordon was under the weather during his post-game, apparently he got a bit annoyed beyond Msg+ postgame.

I will put up the video when/if ITV has it.

Was he upset with Mr Logan, C.J Papa, Mike Knobler, AP/CP reporter?
George Henry had an AP entry.

Safe bet Times, Post and Daily News were not in Atlanta.

All I know is Newsday has played up the third period blown leads all season, if the Islanders were the Knicks I wonder if the perception created and theme would have been the same if their prospects won the game in similar fashion?

This is why teams needs more than one beat reporter/newspaper. You need competition between papers/professional writers for scoops/information and if things get tense in interviews the papers/reporters not involved usually will report the story and play no favorites.

Remember Barry Baum vs John Vanbiesbrouck back in 2001 here or the Ranger beat writers ganging up on a Toronto radio personality last season?

One thing for sure, if Newsday is the issue here the staff will make sure to gang up on the Islanders with no response from the club.

Good for Scott Gordon, this team has been in a lot of close games lately and have not had the third period theme surface for a while, the kids and the win did deserve to be the story.

Newsday: Greg Logan in a late blog entry had comments from Josh Bailey and Kyle Okposo about how their line played under pressure with the focus on the third period they produced.

Atlanta Journal Constitution: Mike Knobler's coverage points out the Thrashers moved closer to the Islanders for 30th seed and a better chance at Tavares in the game recap.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Dave Molinary reports on former Islander Miroslav Satan who has one goal in eighteen games after a good start for Pittsburgh with his comments along with gm Ray Shero and head coach Michel Therrien.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio has Jeremy Colliton's comments on returning to the lineup for Friday's game against Hartford with head coach Jack Capuano's comments.

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New York 5, Atlanta 4

New York Islander Fan Central | 1/29/2009 10:01:00 PM | Comments

Sports Network & Associated Press: Recaps New York's 5-4 win against the Thrashers in Atlanta.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Did you really expect it to be easy?

Islanders played a game in Atlanta last February, they led 3-0/4-3 and needed an overtime goal to finally win which was their last stand in 07-08. We all know how the earlier game in Atlanta played out with the Islanders blowing a 3-1 lead, losing 4-3.

Atlanta is around the top ten in league scoring and dead last in goals allowed, these are the kind of hockey games they play which is why we see so many wild games especially when they play in Atlanta.

The 2008-09 New York Islanders are not built for that kind of hockey game, they are built for the Atlanta team that came out to start this game who were terrible in all three zones. Thrashers did not backcheck, skate or win the puck and got some brutal goaltending from Kari Lehtonen.

The stick-check from Bailey and pass to Okposo for his early goal was amazing, the key third period play where Comeau fed Bailey who found Okposo was another beauty with the game in the balance.

Okposo beyond his goals simply looked dominating at times the way he was driving the net and backchecking which Billy Jaffe did a fine job illustrating at one point. I think that was the best overall game in his young career.

This combined with some of Frans Nielsen's plays are what Garth Snow's plan should be about along with every feed Mark Sreit can set up his teammates which is why Trent Hunter opened the scoring.

Thrashers were so poor in the first it easily could have been six or seven goals, Bill Guerin hit a post, a few other chances down low, Weight finally banged in a rebound.

Yann Danis made that big save on Kovalchuk to close the first but as soon as the second opened Atlanta started skating and taking the play at the Islanders who did not score on some key powerplays that could have put the game away.

Islanders offense dried up in the second aside from a few spurts and they had only three shots in the third not counting Hunter's post. Without Danis strong play they do not win here despite the four goals which he did not have much chance on beyond the Reasoner goal where Martinek lost his man but blocked what looked like an open net for Peverly shortly afterward.

Brendan Witt was good in this game again, Kovalchuk hit him and he got the worst of it. That extra step is clearly visible in his skating. Saw a solid game from the rest of the defenders.

So what happened in the third? Atlanta does what their record says they can do, skate and score some goals in bunches. One outside shot, you could see the 4-2 goal coming as soon as Gervais-Comeau failed to finish and were caught. Long time since I have seen a goal and a penalty, Park had it called on him.

Martinek lost Reasoner.

Finally Atlanta gambled and lost, Comeau to Bailey to Okposo was just an amazing setup. Nielsen drew a powerplay after that to take off the pressure.

Scott Gordon or the assistants seemed to make it hard on the Islanders at the end.

Why is Jackman-Hilbert-Thompson this teams go-to players in the final minutes of a close game? Nielsen, Okposo did not get on the ice until the final ten seconds.

We saw this same strategy against Anaheim in the final minute.

Not a ton of impact from the new veteran line tonight in their shifts after the first period. Weight had his goal and some early shots, Comrie had a partial breakaway early but little else.

They faded in the third with the rest of the team.

Someone is going to have to explain to me why Richard Park is in Jeff Tambellini's spot and what becomes of him and Comrie when Bergenheim returns?

Jackman plays with a ton of heart, is mildly effect at times with the puck and brings grit (tonight he had a goal) but seeing him against a superstar like Kovalchuk in the final minutes is just a bad strategy and the same goes for a fringe player like Thompson.

It's things like this that make me wonder about this coach. You are not trusting your franchise prospects or letting a Guerin-Weight decide the game. I'm not sure what this is.

Ok, the Islanders finally got a twenty first century road win (not counting NHL overtime point in Buffalo) which would have been a tie in 72-73 and have gained five of the last six points.

They have been better than competitive. I wanted the shutout for Danis but he'll have to settle for another win.

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New York at Atlanta 1/29 7pm Msg+

New York Islander Fan Central | 1/29/2009 02:00:00 PM | |Comments
Atlanta Journal Constitution: Mike Knobler in his blog reports the difference in the standings between the Isles and Thrashers record right now is the head to head games with Atlanta 3-0.

Updated Player Pos Injury Expected Return
01/20/09 Garnet Exelby D Leg IR. Out until at least late January
01/27/09 Jim Slater C Shoulder Questionable for Jan. 29

NYI Fan Central Comments:

Atlanta played and lost in Dallas 2-0 on Tuesday. I would expect Kari Lehtonen to get the start here who did not play the earlier games.

Atlanta has Ilya Kovalchuk, White, Kozlov, Little, Hanisey & Amrstrong and despite the Thrashers record can put up a four or five goal game. The Islanders do not have this element.

That game the Islanders led 3-1 in Atlanta after two periods and lost for me was the most frustrating game of the season. Weight, Hunter, Hilbert, Campoli likely in, I guess McLean, Hillen are not recalled while Sim and someone else sits out.

Islanders not going to win many games being outplayed as they were against Anaheim, they were playing some low-scoring games and have been more than competitive for a while now.

Rust has not been a friend to this team all season. This little stretch against Atlanta/Tampa are four point games for the bottom spot.

Updated 5:00pm:
Newsday: Mr Logan in the Islanders Newsday blog reports the lineup has Richard Park on left wing in Jeff Tambellini's spot who apparently will be a scratch while Andy Hilbert goes to the fourth line for Jon Sim while head coach Scott Gordon comments.

NYI Fan Central Comments:

Hilbert has done a fair/good job recently, he should not be sitting so Richard Park, can take his spot or Tim Jackman, Nate Thompson or Andy Hilbert should dress.

Jon Sim should also be dressing also over Jackman.

Last we looked Thompson is not some projected great prospect.

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Islander News Articles 1/29

Newsday: Mark Herrmann has comments from former Islander Jean Potvin in an article about comparisons between this team and the 72-73 version because of the current road losing streak.

This article does not take into account an overtime point in Buffalo on December 27th.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
The Islanders and Atlanta Flames were both expansion teams, that version of Atlanta moved to Calgary. Mr Herrmann of course neglects to write that this Islander team has lost over three hundred man games to injury which is a large part of why they are in last place which is why it makes little sense to compare them with an expansion club.

Also the NHL did not have overtime/overtime losses in that era.

Hopefully this is not the only game preview for the paper?

NY Post: Dan Martin has comments from head coach Scott Gordon on his practice lines with Mike Comrie and Doug Weight.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
These writers sure love stamping that Long Island label on everything. Why not just start slapping a New Jersey tag on the football teams or the Bronx, Queens, Manhattan on everyone other club depending on where they play.

Atlanta Journal Constitution: Mike Knobler has the latest on the Thrashers which contains player features about Niclas Havelid and Tobias Enstrom, not 72-73 Flames or anything from Phil Myre who played against the Islanders in the 1980 finals but was part of that club.

NYI Fan Central Comments:

That's how you market players and make them known around the league, the media does features on them. When was the last time Campoli, Gervais or another player received this kind of feature in the local papers?

Players on the Islanders are under-rated in league circles, local media cannot put that on the arena but themselves.

Metro Daily News: Ken Hamwey has an interview with former Islander coach Peter Laviolette about what's next for him as he plays the waiting game and reflects on his time with the Islanders and other teams he coached.

Nanaimo Bulletin: Reports former Islander Bill Smith, Cliff Ronning will be part of the Old-timers’ Hockey Challenge goes Tuesday (Feb. 3) in Nanaimo.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Smitty and Ronning are playing more hockey these days than a lot of Islanders on the current roster.

Gopher Sports: Reports Islander prospect Aaron Ness collected four assists for Rookie of the Week honors for the his second league award in three weeks after taking defensive honors after his tournament MVP award at the Dodge Holiday Classic. 

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Islander Notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 1/28/2009 04:10:00 PM | ||Comments
Newsday: Mark Herrmann in the Islanders Newsday blog had two entries.

The first on Scott Gordon wanting to see more from Chris Campoli because he has that potential. Doug Weight and Trent Hunter off the injured list, Sean Bergenheim went on it.

The other about Mike Comrie being shifted in practice to a line with Bill Guerin and Doug Weight where it appears if that is the case (during games) Comrie could be returning to left wing where he opened the season and discusses his role. Frans Nielsen centered the line Comeau and Okposo played on.

NYI Fan Central Comments:

How many entries have I written something has to give at a few positions? Weight, Nielsen, Bailey and Park/Thompson are the centers. Comrie could be hurting or it could be going all in with one veteran line.

I think Chris Campoli needs more powerplay time on the point, not Kyle Okposo, it's up to Scott Gordon to get more out of Campoli and his players.

Point Blank: Mr Botta looks at the veteran-youth mix with the practice lines and reports Joey MacDonald did not return to practice meaning Peter Mannino or Nate Lawson should be getting another callup for the Atlanta game.

Newsday: Mr Herrmann corrected himself/credited Mr Botta's entry now writing Bailey was with Okposo-Comeau while Nielsen was part of the pp scrimmage with them.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
This is why the Islanders need that practice report on video with Chris King and Steve Mears that was so very reliable and accurate. They went through the lines by players wearing colors and set up next game/practice very well for everyone.

No knock on Mr Herrmann here, but that was a better format.
I was going to include this with the news articles but held off for a proper spot.

Media Blog: Cory Witt does a very good job correcting a mistake about a Tsn report regarding Dallas Stars forward Fabian Fabian Brunnstrom being sent to the AHL and gives us a reminder to not take everything you read in the media as 100 percent fact.

NYI Fan Central Comments:

The reads very well and Mr Witt is correct but unfortunately the when it comes to the Islanders and the same level of reporting the media relations department we rarely see any response to similar mistakes made by the local/national media which influences New York Islander perception.

Mr Botta's blog is independent of the club and his view point does not speak for the Islanders any longer nor should he be a substitute to get out the message for the media department. That means Mr Witt and the Islanders website should be doing a lot more entries like the one just written defending their own team under similar circumstances.

When Mike Francesa goes on WFAN and throws out misinformation about our club for close to an hour. I expect someone employed by the New York Islanders to be available to correct it.

Mr Botta is not obligated to do this for them.

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Drafting cannot just be best player available

New York Islander Fan Central | 1/28/2009 12:53:00 PM | Comments

This entry is about the strategy of drafting too many of the same kind of players, especially with the top end picks.

I remember the third jersey ceremony in October, for me one thing stood out more than anything else and that was looking at Clark Gilles and Bobby Nystrom standing next to Josh Bailey and Mike Sillinger.

Mike Milbury once said. " Where's the Beef " as one of his more famous quotes, begging the question where was the beef when it came time to adding some size to this roster in the early round drafting strategy for the better part of a decade?

I'm not talking about doing it with the Per Braxenholm's and a lot of hit and miss picks at best.

At some point did Mike Milbury, Tony Feltrin, Kenny Morrow or someone in the scouting department wonder how come so many smaller players were drafted aside from Steve Regier, Jason Pitton or Jeremy Colliton with the early or mid-round selections at forward?

When Colliton receives a callup I notice him immediately because he's a bigger player, same with Ben Walter. I would not consider either one physical even if Colliton impressed me with a big hit he threw in Pittsburgh last year.

Let me write up front any player I mention below will go through a wall to win a hockey game for the New York Islanders, that's not the issue.

Blake Comeau drafted in 2003 is not shy about hitting. Same for Bergenheim, Frans Nielsen, Ryan O'Mara, Robert Nilsson and Petteri Nokelainen will all hit to make a play but none of these talented prospects will ever be mistaken for Dustin Penner or Todd Bertuzzi in the size department.

The trade for Jeff Tambellini was a good gamble for two players on the way out but it did not address the size of the roster.

I'm not too sure Josh Bailey fits the formula either but has a few growing years in front of him.

You have to add in that mix Bruno Gervais and Chris Campoli who with Radek Martinek can hit but are not big imposing players.

Dustin Kohn drafted in 2002 is listed at 6' 2" 182 lbs.

Tony Feltrin's staff in 2006 finally did a little to correct this. Kyle Okposo fits the profile with Jesse Joensuu, Tomas Marcinko.

Then you add in the players during Smith/Snow tenure with Andy Hilbert, Mike Sillinger, Richard Park, Mike Comrie, Ruslan Fedotenko and even a Jon Sim who has some grit but not a big player by any means.

A few players signed like Brendan Witt, Sean Hill and Andy Sutton evened things out on the backline somewhat but Tom Poti, Viktor Kozlov & Josef Vasicek were hardly known for physical play to go with their size.

Bill Guerin and Doug Weight are average size NHL players, but both have the ability at times to play physical as does Trent Hunter.

When the Islanders passed on Nikita Fliatov I felt size that was one reason, granted we all saw how that strategy worked so well with Zach Parise for a lot of teams.

You have to pick your spots.

Jack Hillen is listed as 5' 11" 195 lbs, Sean Bentivoglio 5' 10" 190 & Robert Hennigar 5' 11" 184 for a player in his mid-twenties. Garth Snow signed local walk-on from prospects camp Vladimir Nikiforov 5' 6" 150.

This is a list of the Islander prospect pool here you are going to have make up your own mind if the strategy has been the correct one.

I see Aaron Ness or the pick on Mark Katic and they are obviously talented prospects, I also see some of the same strategy and not enough size mixed in.

I know these are kids with a lot of growing to do.

I watched those games against the Devils/Ducks and the Islanders seemed badly over matched in the size department. Billy Jaffe mentioned it during both games.

Is this why Nate Thompson and Tim Jackman are here to offset the problem a little bit with their physical play despite both being on waivers?

Joel Rechlicz for his three year contract cannot make the Sound Tigers while Mitch Fritz while he was here was anchored to the Islander bench beyond the occasional fight by appointment.

I want to go the other way with this also as I wrap up this blog entry.

Mike Milbury drafted some very big prospects in Mike Rupp, Kristian Kudroc, Eric Brewer, Branislav Mezei along with a third rounder named Chara, some make it and others do not.

There are no absolutes but it begs the question can you trap yourself going for the best player available if it happens to be the same kind of player?

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Islander News Articles 1/28

New York Islander Fan Central | 1/27/2009 08:48:00 PM | ||Comments
I may let the feeders do the walking tomorrow, there is a pre-scheduled blog that will be automatically posted around 12:30pm.

Newsday: Greg Logan has Mark Streit's comments about his all-star experience and what it means to be recognized now as a defenseman vs a forward.

Mr Logan also reports Mike Sillinger had hip resurfacing surgery Monday.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio has the Sound Tigers weekly, Bridgeport is off until Friday.

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Mike Sillinger's season over

New York Islander Fan Central | 1/27/2009 07:16:00 PM | Comments
Islanders website & AP & Newsday Islander blog/Mr Logan & Point Blank/Mr Botta: All report Mike Sillinger will undergo a second hip surgery and miss the remainder of the season.

NYI Fan Central Comments:

It's interesting Sillinger seemed very optimistic about being part of Islanders camp come the fall considering this and the fact he will be an unrestricted free agent on 7/1.

I just do not see it and hope it's not the end for him. Too good a player who has been such a class act for so many organizations.

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Tough Times for New York Islander fans

New York Islander Fan Central | 1/27/2009 12:21:00 PM | Comments
No pulling punches with this blog entry because even though many in the media go over the top with the assaults on our team, it's a very tough time to be a New York Islander fan right now.

Do I think this is a 30th place team that was supposed to lose? Absolutely not, the Islanders are where they are in the standings because of an absurd amount of injuries at all positions but this has been the hand dealt to them.

These next ten weeks is where we find out who the real die-hards are among the fans because over these next thirty-odd games you will be tested to the max.

Wins for many will not be a positive, fans want one of those top two picks as the payoff for this poor season and if I had to guess I would say everyone is all in on Taveres because they want a franchise offensive talent who the Isles at best will have a 1/4 chance at landing.

That means the prospects, veterans who are all fighting for jobs and careers can do well, but not too well. A reality check for everyone should be these players could care less about next season and want to win as many hockey games as possible right now. This starts with head coach Scott Gordon who I would guess is having the longest coaching year of his life in his NHL debut.

Gordon has another thirty plus games with an injured roster that is not scoring, too small and with a lot of basic flaws. The lack of size, scoring and toughness is dramatic vs many other NHL clubs. A lot of the frustration that boiled over at the end of last season against Ted Nolan will only be natural to surface again because these are people with a lot or pride who want to win.

However frustrated you may be as a fan, it's worse for the players.

It means some already very frustrated players because of the losing may have to sit so prospects can play.

This is also the background music Garth Snow will face come the trade deadline as he makes critical decisions who stays vs who goes while some will expect him to land first or even second rounders for fringe veterans which is a long shot, he also has the cap to deal with and some players with a NTC.

The undercurrent from the preseason game in KC will be non-stop in the media with any updated news, sooner if not already it will effect the players who will be asked the question more and more as we move ahead.

So what can we do? Watch the games, hope the team puts in a good effort and we see some real signs Okposo, Comeau, Bergenheim, Bailey, Tambellini, Nielsen and others will be ready to carry an offensive load for this team.

Bottom line is they have to, a foundation has to be built over these next thirty odd games with some groundwork for 09-10.

Make no mistake with a few players the clock is ticking very loud right now, they have to show more or someone needs to come up and get their opportunity. This is why you sign prospects.

Tough times, we'll get through them together.

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Islander News Articles 1/27

New York Islander Fan Central | 1/27/2009 03:04:00 AM | |||Comments
Newsday: Greg Logan's article has comments from head coach Scott Gordon on injured players who could play Thursday along with Andy Hilbert, Trent Hunter, who praised Frans Nielsen and Chris Campoli.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio recapped the AHL all-star game on Monday.

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Islander-Sound Tiger Notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 1/26/2009 08:11:00 PM | Comments
Islanders website: Reports the clubs injuries for the second time in about a week with Andy Hilbert expected to return against Atlanta.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Not the man games lost to injury included I would have liked but it will have to do, obviously the club a long while back made a decision to fore go the league policy. Is live updating the all-star game with Sound Tiger Andy MacDonald having an early assist.

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Islander News Articles 1/26

New York Islander Fan Central | 1/26/2009 12:38:00 AM | |||Comments
USA A.J Perez has a feature on Islanders defenseman Mark Streit who talks about his all-star experience and that he never expected the Islanders to be a last place team.

AP: Mark Streit comments on the game and the naming of former teammate Alexei Kovalev being named MVP.

Columbus Dispatch: Tom Reed has an interview with former Islander goaltender x2 Wade Dubielewicz about his experience in Russia and a few words on the Islanders 2006-07 playoff run.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio recaps the skills competition for the AHL and how Sound Tigers Mike Iggulden and Andrew MacDonald did.

AHL All-Star Game, today at Worcester, 7 p.m. (NESN, MSG Plus,

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East 12, West 11 shootout: Streit two assist:

New York Islander Fan Central | 1/25/2009 09:05:00 PM | |Comments

 Reported Mark Streit lead all players at the all-star game during regulation for time on ice with over twenty one minutes.

(Chara/Komisarek led after overtime by a few seconds because of the first penalty call in about eight years during ot against the East)

Streit had two assist, one shot and was a plus three with 22:29 TOI.

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Sunday Notables/Quick Hits

New York Islander Fan Central | 1/25/2009 12:43:00 PM | |||Comments
Ct Post: Bridgeport lost in overtime at Portland after taking a 1-0 lead into the third. Sean Bentivoglio and head coach Jack Capuano commented who praised the teams effort.

Point Blank: Mr Botta had a few updates from Mark Streit who was not hurt after falling on his breakaway attempt in the skills competition Saturday.

* Passed on posting about the misrepresentations in Forbes and the LIBN on the Islanders but did sent David Reich-Hale the author of the LIBN article an e-mail to clarify his mistakes and omissions.

Forbes simply takes sports items this with no documentation and throws claims against the wall because teams do not supply them information. Other businesses are a different matter but Forbes has no place reporting on sports until teams and leagues decide to provide them actual numbers so they stop making estimates.

* No shock Larry Brooks had a cheap shot for Garth Snow and the Islanders, he's been overdue for a while now. Maybe Garth Snow should have put Islander training camp in NYC and really given Mr Brooks something to crow about.

Expanding the Islander fan base were some of the past reasons given for training camps in Lake Placid, Wheeling, Yarmouth, and Moncton.

Funny Larry Brooks did not write it was an insult to long suffering Ranger fans going to San Juan to play pre-season games in 2006 here which failed miserably here.

* Seems eliminating that highlight move goal competition from last year protected the goaltenders better this time. No way DiPietro has to go post to post on a wrap around which is how he got hurt.

I tend to agree with Gary Bettman if a player opts out of the ASG because of injury he should sit his next teams game unless he attends or at least represents his club off the ice.

That's a new rule that I did not know about.

The counter rule needing to be added to protect the players interest should be anyone who wants the time off all-star weekend must inform the league at the start of training camp. In that instance they should not have to miss any time when the season resumes.

Newsday: Greg Logan in the Islanders Newsday blog wonders if the urbanization of the area of the Coliseum is enough to make it worth keeping the Islanders as he writes " In the larger picture, 100 acres hardly compares to the downtown area of the major cities where most major-league franchises are located " as he introduced earlier articles and interviews as he gives us his view of Tim Leiweke with a few words from Kate Murray about local business reaction/concerns about the project.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
It's kind of funny every Sunday during football season we watch games from New Jersey which has no cityscape to identify the location to a point everyone simply calls the teams New York or they show the New York skyline.

That view from Queens and the Bronx for baseball has been less than flattering for a long time also looking out at a junk yard or what the Bronx looked like decades ago.

A lot of pro sports teams play outside their primary city area. The Caps played in Landover for a long time and I never saw the local media treat them like the media does our team slapping the LI label on every facet of the franchise.

The Islanders themselves are just as guilty of this far too often.

This all begs the question why would the Islanders need a signature shot and why not just show the Manhattan skyline. This is a New York based team even if some Ranger media likes to push them outside of that.

A lot of city-based teams move also, Mr Logan should know and have pointed out the Rangers in the early eighties were about to be one of the teams moved before NYC bailed out the Garden with it's tax exemptions because the building was not viable by itself.

Anything can happen here with this project, including Nassau County/Town of Hempstead getting the Islanders out of this Smg lease. That's the part of this the media folks stopped talking about (thanks to Charles Wang) with even part of the gate going to this company with parking, concessions for hockey games.

Lighthouse or no Lighthouse that is the primary reason Islander owners lose money operating this franchise. If the Lighthouse is the tradeoff to supplement that revenue for Charles Wang then it makes sense.

But there are a lot of alternatives.

I find it kind of funny a Long-Island based company that operates a Newspaper and sells it within NYC limits (for a time in NYC) fails to present content about it's primary sports team in the area exactly the same way to the New York readership?

They sure have no problem marketing New Jersey football as New York City so why not a team called the New York Islanders that actually plays in New York?

Again this goes back to an old question, why has Newsday bent over backwards to present Ranger coverage at all in Long Island based Newsday?

Someone named Matt Gagne wrote the Islanders game story after the win against Anaheim for the Daily News, not Peter Botte.

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Islander News Articles 1/24

New York Islander Fan Central | 1/24/2009 12:24:00 AM | |Comments
AP: Has a few words from Islanders defenseman Mark Streit at the NHL all-star weekend.

NY Post: Dan Martin has a full interview with Mark Streit where he talks about making the all-star team and his first half of the season with the Islanders.

Toronto Sun: Joe Warmington has a great story about how Kurtis McLean's family got to New York on short notice to see him play his NHL debut against Washington.

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Portland 1, Bridgeport 0

New York Islander Fan Central | 1/23/2009 09:13:00 PM | |Comments Reports Bridgeport lost 1-0 in Portland against the Pirates on Friday.

Nate Lawson had twenty two saves and was second star. Hillen, McLean and Mannino all dressed for Bridgeport.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio has postgame from head coach Jack Capuano who credited his goaltending but not his offense because they did not generate a forecheck until the second period and were in penalty trouble in the third which never allowed them to take momentum.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio had a live blog but apparently will not be in Portland until Saturday to cover the second game of this back to back against the Pirates.

Portland Press Herald & Maine Sunday Telegram: Cover the Portland Pirates.

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