Thank You So Much For Everything....Goodbye

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/17/2009 02:00:00 PM | Comments

No extra long speech today, especially after I starting writing this back on 3/31 and I posted it there by mistake

It all began at a place called yahoo with New York Islanders @ one-list back on October 7th 1999, our first post was Mark Lawrence takes questions from Islander fans.

Today after almost ten full years it all comes to an end with the closing of New York Islander Fan Central after two thousand plus entries since late July 2007.

I did my absolute best and feel this is the right time to stop.

From July 2007 NYIFC had something from every preseason game to the finale with articles and updates year-round.

I took a great deal of pride in doing this and depart at this time knowing I have done everything I could.

I'm very proud of New York Islander Fan Central but the credit for it's success goes to you.

All of you kept me going with your support on a lot of days I did not wish to write anything or after a tough game or one I was simply tired but it was very important to me that I did not let folks down who wanted to read about the game or the articles/personal contribution.

I had a great time writing NYIFC and I will miss it a lot. I depart with a life-time of great memories looking back. Only regret is we did not bring the Stanley Cup home together here.

I will always be a New York Islander Fan.

I have no doubt our hockey team will be very good again very soon, the quality of the talent in the system and prospect depth is excellent and only getting better, but I know you have read that before.

If our team can finally stay healthy, add some NHL scoring depth as young players start producing even more this franchise will turn many of those thirty two one goal losses last season into wins as soon as next year.

My Thanks again to the New York Islanders organization and everyone behind the scenes for being first-class both seasons with NYIFC and congratulations to Mr Botta for such a great job not only for his outstanding Point Blank Blog the last two years but for the twenty plus years he gave the New York Islanders organization.

I sincerely hope Mr Wang/Rechler do get the Lighthouse approved because no owner has done more for this franchise in it's history and it's a beautiful vision.

Congratulations to everyone who writes blogs on the New York Islanders from those in the current blog box program, who worked so very hard for our fans again this season to everyone writing for their dedication and commitment to our team.

My Thanks to the media who have reached out and contacted me from Kevin Allen, Dan Martin, Peter Botte, Elliot Olshansky among several including our own legendary Hall of Famer Jiggs McDonald for his gracious and unexpected very kind note when he returned home, who in my estimation this franchise cannot honor in their Islander Hall of Fame soon enough.

My Thanks also to Alex and Steve from Hockey Night on LI who do an outstanding Blog Talk radio program and during the first year IslesNation with Tony Stabile and Steven Herrmann for inviting me as a guest on countless occasions.

Finally, I would like to thank all of you who stopped by and paid a visited or for your kind e-mails/responses not only here but everywhere for the last ten years.

It's been an amazing ride.

Take Care.

Islander-Sound Tiger Notables

Aside from some minor tweaking to the sidebars on occasion for the WC and Bridgeport playoffs, the final hockey update.

The active page crawl on top has been removed.

Islanders Website: Has General Manager Garth Snow's XM Radio appearance from 4/16 archived for those who wish to listen. Scott Cullen has the off-season game plan for the Islanders where he does a complete look at the organization, the draft and their needs moving forward as he speculates fowards like Marty Reasoner or Radek Dvorak might be of some interest and it could also be worth taking a shot at Tomas Kopecky or Maxim Afinogenov with Johnny Oduya, Ville Koistinen, Dennis Seidenberg or Francois Beauchemin on the backline with Mikael Tellqvist, Scott Clemmensen, Stephen Valiquette or Martin Gerber as possible backups/alternatives to Rick DiPietro if they choose to look outside the organization in goal.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Aside from not listing the man games lost to injury this was done reasonably well but did skip some prospects in Bridgeport or any of the recent signings out of Sarnia.

Good timing to close out NYIFC Islander coverage.

Swiss Has the roster for Team Switzerland which includes Mark Streit of the Islanders.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Links to this papers WC coverage and the Swiss Hockey Federation who are the host county this year have been added to the WC section on the sidebar.

Columbus Dispatch: Bob Hunter reports Islander assistant coach, Gerard Gallant who is currently an assistant to gm Garth Snow, is a candidate to become coach and general manager of the Saint John's Sea Dogs who play in the QMJHL. Jim Kelley in an article on several subjects that is mostly about the Dallas Stars financial problems for some reason throws in his thoughts the Leafs could provide the Isles (or Tampa Bay) cap relief in a possible Tavares/Hedman trade.

NYI Fan Central Comments:

Obviously that makes little sense because to make such a trade would cost Charles Wang countless millions in ticket sales and publicity from signing Tavares or Hedman combined with the fact the Islanders still have some work to reach the cap floor with contracts like Comrie, Guerin off the teams books. Last I read on this about a million dollars can change hands in any trade.

The Isles cannot trade Alexei Yashin's cap-hit for those wondering now that he's been bought out.

What are the Leafs going to do with Rick DiPietro's contract other than play a franchise goaltender when he finally is healthy and win at a bargain price? To cash-in that contract in Tavares trade would again cost Charles Wang millions in several directions.

Obviously one look at Dallas or Colorado these days and most astute fans know, a building alone does not make a hockey team profitable or even self-sustaining.

The Hour: Mike Madar has an overview of Bridgeport's playoffs starting tonight against WBS Pens.

NYI Fan Central Comments:

The Hour-On line/Norwalk News reports infrequently on the Bridgeport Sound Tigers but I have added their link to the Bridgeport playoff section on the sidebar.

Point Blank/Mr Botta: Previews tonight's game against WBS and will have coverage of the series.

NYI Fan Central Comments:

For the final time, please visit Point Blank for the preview.

Mr Botta also reports Point Blank will update through at least Memorial Day which is great news for our fans. Hopefully the Islanders can reach into the professional hockey writers association free agent prospect pool and sign a few more independent but established NNL newspaper writers to offset the lack of print coverage and perhaps place less burden on Mr Botta who works very hard at this for us.

Citizen's Voice: Jonathan Bombulie has comment from WBS Pens coach Todd Reirden, who is honored to have his team play at the Nassau Coliseum and has memories of the Islanders when they were Stanley Cup Championships. Goaltender John Curry discusses his debut earlier this year at the Coliseum among other pre-game items.

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On Paper Isles Plan Looks Good But Takes Time

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/17/2009 10:00:00 AM | Comments
Just want to remind everyone that it's going to take some time for some of these prospects to develop all the way into NHL players.

Okposo, Bailey and if the Isles take Tavares, Hedman or another one of these prospects there is a long road in front of most of them.

Some will get there quickly, others will take longer and some will never make it at all.

Sean Bergenheim, Frans Nielsen were drafted in 2002 and for the first time this year finally got a real look and that took time between injuries and Bergenheim being placed on the fourth line. Jeremy Colliton was selected in 2003 has only made cameo appearances.

Blake Comeau was selected in 2004 and could not win over Ted Nolan or Scott Gordon out of his last two camps, Dustin Kohn was selected in 2005.

We all know Jeff Tambellini's story by now who was also drafted in 2003.

Bruno Gervais by contrast was drafted in 2003 and has been on this teams blueline for years, Chris Campoli in 2004 was a mainstay when healthy before his trade.

Rob Hennigar was signed out of UNB at twenty five last summer.

Some of the prospects coming in will win spots from longer-tenured prospects, others will not.

You can put Marcinko, Figren, all the Sarnia players signed and likely Max Gratchev into that mix in Bridgeport with Marcinko already finishing his first AHL season.

Then there are the older players signed as undrafted free agents like Trevor Smith and Sean Bentivoglio or even Jack Hillen last year to say nothing of all the drafted college players who are getting closer like Rhett Rakhshani or Blake Kessel, David Toews.

The fun part will be when a bunch of them all hit at the same time which is usually how it finally works and you have a very good problem.

One I think this franchise will have sooner than later now after years of waiting.

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Islander News Articles: 4/17 THE FINAL DAY


Newsday: Greg Logan basically repeated his Thursday blog entry that Matt Gilroy will not be signing with the Islanders and all indications are that they are out of the running for the BU Hobey Baker Award Winner, who likely is headed for a larger hockey market according to the beatwriter.

His agent, Kent Hughes, who felt Gilroy would sign in the next week at the latest had the following:

"He's sorting through the interest and trying to figure out what his next step is."

"I don't want to comment on the Islanders, and as far as the teams it's down to, until he's made a decision, I'd rather leave it."

Toronto Sun: Mike Zeisberger had Matt Gilroy's comments on the Toronto market and their organization/media as he was in Boston for the Bruins playoff opener and could decide by the weekend but will take his time before making up his mind.

NYI Fan Central Comments:

I guess this is the anti-Greg Logan approach with Mr Zeisberger selling Leafs like he is on the payroll, meanwhile our beatwriter goes exactly the opposite way even though the Islanders play in the New York market which for the other sports here is a very big market.

Mr Zeisberger also reported Maple Leaf GM Brian Burke would not grant the Wild permission to let Dave Nonis, the Leafs' senior vice-president of hockey operations who is the man in charge of the negotiations with Gilroy interview for the Wild position of general manager here.

NYI Fan Central Comments:

For those who recall Burke and Nonis worked together in both Vancouver and Anaheim before joining the Leafs this past season. Jeremy Walsh reports the United States Tennis Association has sent out a request for proposals from architects with the intention of possibly building a roof on the Arthur Ashe Tennis Stadium in Flushing but the group’s ambitions do not currently include enticing the New York Islanders to move in, officials said and last weeks report that USTA Director Danny Zausner was interested in attracting an NBA or NHL team like the New York Islanders to the stadium, but USTA spokesman Chris Wittmeier said Zausner was misquoted.

“That’s other people’s speculation,” Wittmeier said. “It’s not even on our wish list. The way that Arthur Ashe is engineered and configured, it wouldn’t work for hockey.”

“ The Parks department has not been approached by the Islanders, but we are open to the idea of looking at options for having the team in a Queens park,” said Parks spokeswoman Trish Bertuccio.

The Islanders did not respond to requests for comment by press time Tuesday for this late Thursday article.
Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio has comments from head coach Jack Capuano on some of his team's injuries but extra bodies without being specific as he felt this was a close knit-group. Andrew MacDonald also was quoted in the article.

Ct Post: Mr Fornabaio also had the game preview.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers
WHAT -- Game 1, East Division Semifinals (best-of-7)
WHEN -- Friday, 7:30, Saturday 7pm
WHERE -- Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, N.Y.
ON THE AIR -- Webcast and Internet pay-per-view at
REGULAR-SEASON RECORDS -- Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 49-25-3-3; Bridgeport 49-23-3-5

Newsday: Greg Logan previews Friday's game against WBS Pens with head coach Jack Capuano's comments who says Kyle Okposo is going to play a lot of minutes in these two games before he heads to the World Championships and talked about WBS Pens speed, transition and down low play. Mr Logan was a bit off on Jon Sim's AHL stats stats or did not have numbers from the final Bridgeport weekend who returns to the Coliseum at least in the early article but went through the roster including prospects who could see action including Max Gratchev, Robin Figren, Justin DiBenedetto among others with Ryan Duncan.

Times Leader: Tom Venesky had the latest from WBS Pens practice with head coach Todd Reirden's comments.

Citizen's Voice: Jonathan Bombulie has a full preview of the series and Thursday's practice with comments from WBS Pens goaltender John Curry who made his debut in a game against the Islanders this season in relief and made one of his other two appearances against New York.

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Pending UFA/RFA for Islanders

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/16/2009 06:13:00 PM | |Comments
For those looking ahead at who general manager Garth Snow has to resign or make a qualifying off to I thought would provide a list to the best of my knowledge. Until there is a transfer agreement I cannot list anyone from Europe beyond what I wrote in the prospect blog last summer in player profiles.

Restricted Free Agents:
Jack Hillen D 23 $875,000
Blake Comeau RW 23 $735,000
Trevor Smith C 24 $685,000
Jeremy Colliton C 24 $605,000
Joe Callahan D 26 $575,000
Peter Mannino G 25 $550,000-Signed one year/two way contract.
Ben Walter C 25 $550,000
Nate Thompson C 24 $500,000
Jamie Fraser D 23 $475,000
Jason Pitton LW 23 $475,000
Unrestricted Free Agents:
Mike Sillinger $2,300,000
Mike Iggulden $525,000
Kurtis McLean $550,000
Andy Hilbert $700,000
Mitchell Fritz $500,000
Thomas Pock $685,000
Chris Lee $500,000
Yann Danis $550,000
Joey MacDonald $500,000

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So What's Next For New York Islanders/NYIFC?

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/16/2009 05:50:00 PM | Comments
I actually deleted my earlier entry by mistake, so I re-wrote most of it.

The curtain closes on NYIFC Friday for good but for New York Islander fans there is always something happening.

Like several NHL teams in or out of the playoffs, the Islanders this year have their AHL team involved for the first time in two years.

There is also the World Championships for at least Streit, Okposo, Scott Gordon with perhaps Bergenheim and who knows among the prospects in Europe?

Between all the pre-draft articles/combines, contract negotiations with CHL prospects who could re-enter the draft from 2007 if not signed by June 1st, Islander player contract decisions, the restocking of the AHL roster this summer as I wrote a while back summer is going to go very quickly, especially in an Olympic year.

Of course there will a lot of Lighthouse sprinkled in with every twist and turn with the draft itself and 7/1 decisions to be made. No doubt there will be a ton of media drama with the Islanders first round pick.

And there is prospect camp which is always a big event.

Not even five months, more like four months and two weeks.

As for NYIFC:

I intend to hit the ground running as I did here, the things I have planned will keep me very busy.

NYIFC itself will be available to everyone for the entire Bridgeport playoff run and WC.

I have decided not to delete the blog entirely so at the very least I can read things when I want to moving forward with so many feeders and crawls set up to provide information top to bottom, it's a great resource for information even without blog entries any longer.

I will still most likely set the blog to private when WC-Bridgeport playoffs end.

As for coming back to write at NYIFC in the future at some point you can put me down as 99.99 percent that will not be happening ever again.

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Islander-Sound Tiger-NHL Notables/Quick Hits

Newsday: Greg Logan in the Islanders Newsday blog reports indications are BU defenseman Matt Gilroy is expected to sign with another team or what the writer refers to as " one of the larger markets " despite his agent Ken Hughes being quoted as saying "I don't want to comment on the Islanders, and as far as the teams it's down to, until he's made a decision, I'd rather leave it but a decision should be made by next week at the latest."

NYI Fan Central Comments:

Nothing like Mr Logan telling us the New York Islanders are not one of the larger markets despite playing in New York. Jim Kelley who also writes for SI has more theories on the Islanders-Tampa, possible trades where he gave his slant on general manager Garth Snow's Toronto radio appearances and felt Tampa may have to shed salary and has made past deals with the Leafs.

NYI Fan Central Comments:

Yes folks, the same Jim Kelley of SI who also wrote last summer coaches don't object to being passed over for the Islander coaching job here without producing a quote from a candidate who interviewed and was later critical of the club for not giving what he wrote was legitimate information regarding injuries back in November here despite the Islanders going by league adopted injury policy which many clubs did follow the entire season.

It sure would be nice if one of these writers would simply write we have no star player to cover where we mostly report, so we need yours to make our jobs more fun.

Globe & Mail: Eric Duhatschek has comments from former Islander Adrian Aucoin about how the Islanders were confident playing Tampa in 03-04 in the opening round based on the season series but things were far different come playoff time.

Minneaota Wild: Owner Craig Leipold announced Thursday General Manager Doug Risebrough’s contract will not be renewed as the Wild now have to find a new gm and head coach.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Even though the Wild did not win a championship that was a heck of a nine year run, I wonder if this changes the status of Marian Gaborik who is an UFA?

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio had the practice report from Thursday before the Sound Tigers head to the Coliseum for the Friday-Saturday games.

In the Quick Hits Department:

Not much to write (I don't think any articles were missed here) about all the spin from Toronto/Canadian Media on Tavares-Hedman-Snow-Burke-Lawton beyond what I been writing here since day one.

Drop the Long Island tag on virtually every single aspect of this franchise and maybe, just maybe the New York City media will have more to write about the hockey team and stop treating the team like outsiders?

It never used to be this way.

All I can write is the New York Islanders are making it every easy for NYC sports editors to tune out your product in a market no hockey team can compete with baseball, football or basketball.

The New York Islanders create many of their own problems here and do a good job shutting out their fans all over the NYC area or make them feel like they are rooting for the wrong hockey team if someone is interested in the sport. It's the equivalent of the Giants and Jets forcing New Jersey into every single press release and making potential customers tune out.

New York Islanders means all of New York and the Islander fan support at Msg and New Jersey for decades has been great, for the final time start acting like you play in New York.

Toronto? I was in Maple Leaf Gardens 3/3/84 the night when Pat Lafontaine had his hat-trick in his debut as a rookie in what was an 11-6 win a few hundred Islander fans were sitting center ice cheering for the New York team when they were hockey's most important team in it's greatest sustained period ever for popularity at least in the New York market and arguably in league history.

Why would I write that? Because in those days I could purchase the Daily News, NY Post and see the New York Islanders on the backpage for any game against any team during the regular season the next day with a lot of coverage.

Now it would take a virtual miracle for any New York Hockey team to receive a backpage during the regular season.

For the New York Islanders the question coming is how long before the City media tunes out for good?

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Islander News Articles 4/16

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/16/2009 12:34:00 AM | |||Comments
Globe & Mail: David Shoalts had the media game with comments from Leafs gm Brian Burke & Tampa GM Brian Lawton while some of Garth Snow's comments during radio interviews were picked over with the infamous un-named NHL gm being quoted.

NYI Fan Central Comments:

Seventy more days of articles like this one.

I read an interesting one from Mike Brophy where he says the Isles cupboards are bare Sportsnet for veterans and they could use the pick to gain them and keep a high pick but he completely ignores the depth chart on the roster and did not list the man games lost to injury which was a critical part of this seasons story even if it's boring for some media to repeat it.

What team would not be terrible with almost six hundred man games lost to injury?

In terms of veterans between Park, Weight, Witt, Sutton, Martinek, Streit it seems the Islanders have plenty of veterans over thirty.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio has comments from Kyle Okposo from Wednesday's practice for Bridgeport with head coach Jack Capuano.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Okposo is only playing the two Coliseum games unless Bridgeport advances and he returns after the WC but one thing to watch for is if Jack Capuano sets up his game to make most of his plays off the left wing side as we see here. A year ago when he played in Bridgport he was creating the bulk of his chances off the his natural right wing side which was virtually absent all season under Scott Gordon.

Times Leader: Tom Venesky has the update from WBS Pens practice where they have thirteen roster players who went to the Calder Cup finals with this team a year ago.

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Final Poll Updated

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/15/2009 07:57:00 PM | Comments
I moved up the date this poll will close by one day. It has been up for a while and with the lottery over there is not too much further we can go with this before NYIFC closes for good on Friday and I want to set the sidebars for the WC and Bridgeport's playoffs.

Here are the results heading into the last day:
John Tavares 82
Victor Hedman 6
Other 3

Such strong support for the scorer here.
Thanks as always for a great turnout on the polls.

I selected John Tavares also.

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Notables/Quick Hits

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/15/2009 05:03:00 PM | |||||Comments
I posted two webcasted interviews today with general manager Garth Snow on Toronto Radio on Wednesday along with Mr Wang on WFAN in New York.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio had the latest from Sound Tigers practice on Wednesday which includes Kyle Okposo going back to number twelve and Jack Capuano not naming his starter for Friday. Darren Dreger reports Toronto General Manager Brian Burke contacted both the Islanders and Tampa Bay with regard to their number one picks on Wednesday with the writer throwing Luke Schenn who Garth Snow could have drafted outright last year into the discussion.

Newsday: Greg Logan in the Islanders Newsday blog confirms Team USA's report (see sidebar) Kyle Okposo will be playing for the US with a few words on Radek Martinek, Frans Nielsen and Sean Bergenheim who will not participate or who's status at this time is questionable because of injury.

NYI Fan Central Comments:

At this point you would be best served checking out as they release potential rosters for each country. For now we know Streit-Okposo-Gordon, Bergenheim usually participates but had to shut it down during last year's tournament.

It's also possible a prospect or two is named to a squad. There are no Islanders on team Canada's roster which was released.
* I would list the odds of about a million to one Msg+ puts Bridgeport playoff games on television, even from the Coliseum.
* Let the games begin in the media who say Snow should look to trade for immediately help vs those claiming keep the pick. I would venture to guess the Canadian media which does the bulk of these kinds of articles will be pushing to get Tavares or Hedman to a Canadian team.
* Charles Wang defended Kate Murray on WFAN today in front of the Ranger fans who interviewed him for WFAN. I felt a lack of class was shown playing a KC song and guarantee if New Jersey songs were played in the early 80's when the Rangers were on the verge of relocation it would not have been met well. Aside from that it was very lighthearted on Wang's part who did touch a bit on his hockey team and the injuries/draft a bit but mostly more of the same on the Lighthouse.

I read nothing into this where he was dissatisfied with his general manager or his performance in any way.

The Coliseum is a dump? So is Msg, so was MapleLeaf Gardens and the Forum in Montreal and so is the building in Detroit that has problems selling out playoff games.
* So according to Steve Zipay four writers and even Greg Logan will be covering Ranger hockey in Newsday who apparently is out of comp days. That's kind of the equivalent of a Manhattan paper adding five writers to New York Islander coverage if they made the playoffs when at best if the Isles qualified they would hardly receive any more than the brief home game article and no road coverage.

Unless Charles Wang bought the Daily News or NY Post.
Nothing like when a team buys a Newspaper to regulate coverage.

* No shock at all Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish was fired as Oilers coach today here by former Islander Steve Tambellini who may have made this decision or Team President Kevin Lowe had a big part in it.

For my money I expect management/coaching changes coming in Florida, Ottawa, and I suspect Brent Sutter may decide to go back home. Apparently Brett Hull for now is bullet-proof in a co-gm role that would have eaten Garth Snow alive in the media if he made similar decisions.

I tend to expect changes behind Phoenix bench also and think without a deep playoff run the Dolan's will send Glen Sather into retirement.

* I find it hard to believe if Ted Nolan wants to interview somewhere the Isles would not grant permission before his contract expires 7/1, if true that's a very poor reflection of Islander management.

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Bridgeport Playoff and WC Sections Available

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/15/2009 01:00:00 PM | Comments
With things officially ending here Friday for good, I have set up NYIFC for everyone for Bridgeport's playoffs and the World Championships which begin 4/24.

Any suggestions for professional media websites that will help make things easier to follow things here of course let me know and I will add it to the sidebars.

When Bridgeport playoffs conclude or the World Championships ends whatever happens last NYIFC will be set to private shortly afterward. I will tweak things a bit to add links when necessary but that's it.

I requested before the season ended the Islanders remove my link in the blog box on their website after 4/17 so if you want to access NYIFC you may have to bookmark directly after that.

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Snow's Chance To Prove Here He's Not Milbury

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/15/2009 08:55:00 AM | |||Comments
Seventy Days of Waiting for General Manager Garth Snow to select.

This pick will determine Garth Snow's legacy as New York Islander General Manager.

When it's all over we will get a lot of answers as to whether Charles Wang picked the right general manager, someone who is absolutely interested in building a team through the draft with top level prospects when available.

Sit back, relax and take a nap because about seventy days of twists and turns with a ton of articles how the Islanders may/may not, could/could not, would/would not trade their top overall pick are coming before the Isles staff hits that stage come late June.

Get ready for a lot more articles about the late nineties, a ton of misleading ones and few Steve Simmons shots for a lot of fans who in the end will see this as the crossroads as to whether things have really changed in the front office.

Those fans would be correct in my estimation, this is the crossroads and what Snow will be remembered for.

I understand where Garth Snow is coming from even if I disagree and liked what Tampa did a year ago by outright saying they were drafting Steve Stamkos (and that was done without a gm in place) but what if John Tavares or Victor Hedman did get hurt before the draft or their agents had contract demands so extreme it was meant to drive management to select someone else?

What Tampa did last year was unconventional and given how their ownership/management did not have a gm/coach in place (or present) for the draft that is not a template to follow.

John Tavares and Victor Hedman both have said the right things, Tavares for longer about the Islanders.

I understand there is a rookie cap but after Tavares agent recent comments that was not a good thing for Garth Snow or the Islanders.

Do I see a trade here short of Ovechkin or Crosby that mandates trading this pick?

What soon to be veteran expiring contact (Ilya Kovalchuk) for a franchise pick is worth trading a good six-seven years of a franchise changing prospect on and off the ice?

I would not mind Vincent LeCavalier in an Islander uniform but he's not a bargain contract at eighty plus million for the next decade and he's coming off injuries, if Tampa cannot afford to keep him, I would make a package but that pick cannot be part of it. Maybe a future number one can be for a player like that with even some of the Isles youth but right now I would not trade Okposo or Bailey for Vinnie LeCavalier.

Thanks but no Thanks.

I understand last year Cliff Fletcher got the Isles number five pick and it did not come cheap. What does Brian Burke have anywhere in his system besides Luke Schenn who Garth Snow passed on a year ago that would make it even conceivable to trade this pick to the MapleLeafs for anything in their organization. Not even future number one selections from Toronto would be worth it for a franchise that has that kind of player ready to be selected right now for maybe a future top ten or lower but not likely a number one.

Is Burke's grand plan to sign Matt Gilroy and trade him to the Islanders as part of the package? We'll see if that's the case but you can bet Gilroy and his agent would not like that one bit.

Is Colorado ready to offer back Ryan Smyth with his huge contract (NTC) who is only getting older and somewhat less productive with a third overall pick which is not the right move?

Los Angeles Kings have a lot of good young talent, how long before some/most of them are heading for UFA?

It's time to be conventional, keep the pick and draft Tavares or Hedman and after that you can be as creative as you care to be with the other top picks. Anything short of that this is not the right general manager for this franchise or the right direction.

Seventy days of questions and waiting.

Bill Torrey took the consensus top pick in David Chyzowski a long time ago and was wrong, but it was the conventional strategy at the time and the correct one.

That's what this fan is looking for this general manager to do now, be conventional and play the percentages.

If Garth Snow drafts John Tavares or Victor Hedman and they turn out to be a bust, he still made the right call on draft day.

Just as Bill Torrey did at that time.

Espn: E.J Hradek's last line in this article says it all.

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Islander News Articles 4/15

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/15/2009 05:00:00 AM | |||||Comments
Newsday: Greg Logan had general manager Garth Snow's comments/reaction on winning the lottery but said he is not going to make bold statements in the media with regard to trades.

Newsday: Mark Herrmann had reaction also from Garth Snow and Director of Player Personnel Kenny Morrow as the columnist wrote about what John Tavares would mean to the Lighthouse and the franchise.

NY Times: Dave Caldwell had reaction from general manager Garth Snow in a NY Times blog entry Tuesday night.

NY Post: Dan Martin had general manager Garth Snow's comments from his press conference.

Toronto Sun: Ryan Pyette has John Tavares comments that he has never been to New York and had reaction to Brian Burke of the Maple Leafs praise for him as he discussed what his upcoming playoff series will mean for him.

The Star: Damien Cox in an article where the writer incorrectly reports Charles Wang is threatening to move if he can't get public money to build a new arena discusses gm Brian Burke's ability to land franchise talent as he listed Burke got the right to draft Pronger 16 years ago from San Jose for a package that included Sergei Makarov, the sixth overall pick, a second rounder and a third rounder but understands it would take a lot more to land the top overall pick.

Gazette On-Line: Jeff Johnson reports Islander prospect Matt Donovan will play next year for the University of Denver.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio had Tuesday's practice report which included comments from defenseman Jack Hillen and head coach Jack Capuano on the defender and Kyle Okposo playing the opening two games for Bridgeport this weekend to open the playoffs.

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New York Islander Fan Central | 4/14/2009 07:47:00 PM | |||Comments

 Video of the draft lottery for those who would like to watch it again. Has the final results of tonight's NHL Draft Lottery with New York winning the first overall pick in the June entry draft.

1 New York Islanders
2 Tampa Bay Lightning
3 Colorado Avalanche
4 Atlanta Thrashers
5 Los Angeles Kings
6 Phoenix Coyotes
7 Toronto Maple Leafs
8 Dallas Stars
9 Ottawa Senators
10 Edmonton Oilers
11 Nashville Predators
12 Minnesota Wild
13 Buffalo Sabres
14 Florida Panthers

NYI Fan Central Comments:

What can I write folks?

It's been a very long, tough year for this team and it's fans. Enjoy tonight and something good happening for this franchise because you sure have earned it. Brian Compton had comments from General Manager Garth Snow and Director of Pro Scouting Kenny Morrow shortly after the lottery ended along with John Tavares and Victor Hedman.

"It was obviously something that was very well-publicized and something people were looking forward to, but being a goalie as long as I was, there's a lot of things you can't control," Islanders General Manager Garth Snow told "We hoped for the best and probably didn't sweat it out, knowing that I really didn't have any control over the situation."

"I'm thrilled for our fans," said Director of Pro Scouting Ken Morrow, who won four straight Stanley Cups with the club. "I'm thrilled for our organization. It's a great moment. We're going to take full advantage of this."

"It would obviously be a great opportunity," Tavares said of being drafted by the Islanders. "It's a very historic franchise. There's a great tradition there, so it would be a great honor and a special feeling. I'd be glad to be a part of the organization. Hopefully to win a Stanley Cup would be amazing."

"Obviously, it would be a great feeling to go first overall," Hedman said. "The Islanders have got the first pick, and if I go to them I'd dedicated to doing good work with the team and to help them make the playoffs very soon."

"It's a big moment for the franchise," Snow said. "We just have to go through the process of scouting meetings. We need great players and we need a new building -- there's no doubt about that."

Newsday: Greg Logan had Ken Morrow, director of pro scouting who represented the Islanders on the Versus telecast of the lottery with his comments.

Point Blank/Mr Botta: Recaps the media press conference with general manager Garth Snow's comments.

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Central Scouting Final Draft Rankings Released

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/14/2009 03:13:00 PM | |||Comments Adam Kimmelman had two articles with CSB final draft rankings with NHL Central Scouting Director E.J. McGuire's comments on the top ten skaters in North America & Europe which included NHL Director of European Scouting Goran Stubb's comments. Final North American Skaters & Goaltenders. Final European Skaters & Goaltenders.

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Okposo will start Bridgeport Playoffs/Notables

Islanders/Sound Tigers websites & Point Blank/Mr Botta & Ct Post Michael Fornabaio in the Sound Tigers blog all report Kyle Okposo will play the opening two games for Bridgeport Friday and Saturday at the Coliseum against WBS Pens before likely departing for the World Championships.

Mr Fornabaio's report had details on today's practice.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Some players like Craig Anderson Florida turned down team USA's invitation to participate which winger David Booth also may do here. Scott Gordon is expected to leave Sunday to be on head coach Ron Wilson's staff for team USA and with Bridgeport already having enough injuries (Comeau-McLean-Colliton) on their clear day list they have enough latitude so Kyle Okposo or other players can play for Bridgeport at this time.

Having written that if Jeremy Colliton (or Kurtis McLean for example) did return they would have to play which is the significance of the clear-day list.
Point Blank/Mr Botta: Had an excellent interview with Hall of Fame Islander general manager Bill Torrey on the draft he selected Denis Potvin and the top players in this years class.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
In my estimation the greatest New York sports executive in history for his class, grace and character combined with ability. The chemistry he had with Al Arbour is unmatched anywhere in professional sports.

Having written that Bill Torrey made the wrong call on Dave Chyzowski (and a few other top picks) but he went by the consensus draft board which is what you have to do regardless how it played out.

This is why I would have no problem if Snow drafted John Tavares or Victor Hedman and they did turn out to be a draft bust.

My point is be conventional.
************************************************** Announced today Islander prospect Rob Hennigar was named the CCM ECHL Rookie of the Month for March lead the league with 17 assists and 23 points in 13 games to help Utah qualify for the Kelly Cup Playoffs.

Newsday for now has not had an Islander blog update on Okposo which could bring more fans to Friday-Saturday games as they advertise on the Isles website but Jim Baumbach here has his latest reason to write the Islanders are a joke on his own behalf while the Cablevision owned team does not even give Steve Zipay any information at all here when they suffer an injury.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Call me cynical but I do not respect coverage double-standards. If the paper covers both teams exactly the same there is no problem here and if Mr Baumbach wrote the Rangers were a joke for announcing nothing on Drury I would respect that standard.

Lets see Jim Baumbach call out his employers teams for doing far less than Charles Wang or Garth Snow who has been far more accessible to Greg Logan and Newsday staff than James Dolan or Glen Sather has been to Newsday for years.

Updated 6:04pm:

Newsday: Mr Logan in the Islanders Newsday blog had player reaction on what they think the team needs in the draft as Trent Hunter, Mark Streit & Brendan Witt comments on that and the clubs needs. Head coach Scott Gordon also comments on the injuries and the lack of scoring while general manager Garth Snow was quoted on those subjects as he talked about what his priority is as general manager.

Mr Logan said he will have more from the general manager after tonight's lottery in a 9pm press conference among several items included in this entry.

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It's Lottery Day For New York

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/14/2009 12:00:00 PM | Comments

Not much to write here about the bouncing ping-pong balls. Islanders will have the first pick or the second pick coming out of this. I'm not sure if that means if the Isles envelope is the first drawn (fifth) they are immediately given the second slot and the others battle for first.

Everyone can only fall back one spot, but five can move as high as one. I know there is a formula that if you hear x team in x spot as the lottery progresses it means another team won or moved up or back, call me lazy but it's not worth the time for the five minutes it takes to explain it vs when it actually happens.

I will have more AFTER the lottery but if you read NYIFC on 3/16 no sense repeating where I stand if they actually do win here.

Obviously based on Garth Snow's comments Monday the general manager is not going with my idea.

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Update/Recap on Rick DiPietro

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/14/2009 10:01:00 AM | Comments
Around the early portion of March I was wondering if anything new was going to be announced on Rick DiPietro because his six weeks-eight weeks of doing nothing but resting was up.

The Isles issued a brief release in March that was very much like the one Garth Snow said Monday.

Mr Logan had the DiPietro story in Newsday's coverage late Sunday, Dan Martin of the NY Post also reported this and had comments

NYI Fan Central Comments:
I'm not a doctor and only know what's reported or announced by the Islanders and the general manager and we got our answer.

It's fair to speculate that unless DiPietro suffered a new injury at some point in it was determined he did need that additional surgery which would explain him being on crutches now. This was all on the table when it was announced in January even if surgery was something the doctor thought could be avoided.

In the end actions will speak louder than words but from day one the idea is to get him a hundred percent healthy regardless how long it takes. If the Islanders sign a number one goaltender from outside the organization this summer, it's obvious there are doubts about him being ready for camp and beyond.

As of now the gm says he is on target and will start skating in August, so we'll see.

One thing that can be written is between working his way back from injury and a year without pucks on almost a daily basis this is not going to be easy for any player to return from much less be a franchise goaltender from day one of camp.
Just to recap what was reported by the teams doctor and the club on his rehab at the time back on January 20th for those who see this as some kind of new and major setback.

Sorry but surgery (if it happened) was reported as possible back on 1/20.

On January 20th the Islanders announced Rick DiPietro's season was over and team doctor Elliott Hershman NY Times NY Daily News & Newsday.

Dr. Elliott Hershman, the team orthopedist, said that the 27-year-old DiPietro, who has played in only five games this season, would rest for six to eight weeks before doctors decided if he needed additional surgery.

According to Hershman, that process will take 6-8 weeks. At that point, a decision will be made regarding the next step. Since there is no ligament damage, Hershman said reconstructive surgery won't be necessary. But further surgery on the meniscus remains a possibility.

"At this time, we're not anticipating any further surgery but we're certainly following this knee to make sure that the inflammation and swelling does resolve on a more permanent basis so he is able to return fully".

It should also be noted it was reported DiPietro in January was sent to Dr. James Andrews, a noted orthopedist in Birmingham, Ala where he was in on the decision to shut him down for the season.

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Islander News Articles 4/14

Will add in more articles later tonight or tomorrow morning to this entry.

Newsday: Greg Logan has general manager Garth Snow's comments that he is considering several options with his draft pick regardless what happens tomorrow and will not rule out a possible trade, head coach Scott Gordon comments on his goaltending and what could be done with the pick.

"We can't control what unfolds," Snow said, "but I do know, whichever scenario it is, we'll get a good hockey player."

"There's five or six that are good players that I think will be selected in that range. There's a process we're going to go through, and we're going to have our meetings and have some really good debates on what decision we ultimately end up making."

"It's a desirable situation to be in leading up to the draft," Snow said. "I would be crazy not to take [trade] calls. It's part of my duties as general manager to look at all options."

"It's too early in the process," Snow said. "We have our scouts following players and teams now. We have meetings coming up in the next week or so. We have another round of meetings in May and June."

NYI Fan Central Comments:

Obviously the general manager and the staff is going to go through the process which means for Islander fans the drama will continue until they select on draft night whether we agree or not.

Newsday: Mr Logan also had comments from general manager Garth Snow who declined Monday to discuss the Newsday beatwriters late Sunday report about Rick DiPietro seen using crutches recently.

"You're asking about players' rehab and what they've got to do,'' Snow said. "I'm not going to get into all the rehab. What I will say is Rick is progressing nicely. We expect him to be skating in August like he usually does in getting ready for training camp."

"His rehab is going smoothly," Snow said. "We're planning on him starting to skate in August. That's the protocol for his rehabilitation."

NYI Fan Central Comments:
Not going to hit this very hard but Cablevision owned Newsday Ranger beatwriter Steve Zipay Monday was not critical of the team he covers not announcing any update at all on an injury to Chris Drury or had one word of criticism all season for the team the paper owns going with league policy in the extremely rare instances they did sustained an injury while the Islanders took a verbal assault almost on a daily basis in print from Mr Logan and the Newsday staff for the first few months of the season.

In this instance today Mr Logan has a job to report and is obligated to press the general manager for comments on something he writes in the newspaper about a player injury in terms of Rick DiPietro, Snow is not required to be specific by league rules but if he goes beyond upper-lower body is not allowed to make a false statement.

NY Post: Dan Martin also had the general managers comments on the teams season, the lottery, the draft in June and goaltender Rick DiPietro with Mr Martin also reporting DiPietro was seen on crutches.

"I don't think when you're in 30th place, we should be satisfied with any one aspect that transpired this season," Snow said.

Point Blank/Mr Botta: Has an excellent interview with Pierre McGuire of NBC/TSN on the top picks and the NHL draft.

NYI Fan Central Comments:

As always folks should visit Mr Botta's outstanding blog for the information he works to produce for our fans.

Associated Press: Has a brief preview of Tuesday's NHL lottery with teams and percentages to win the top overall pick. Had the release announcing Mark Streit will play for Switzerland at the World Championships.

Globe & Mail: David Shoalts reports Leafs general manager Brian Burke hopes to sign Boston University defenceman Matt Gilroy, the Hobey Baker Memorial Award winner as the top player in U.S. college hockey as early as today while Toronto Sun Steve Buffery reports talks between the Maple Leafs and Gilroy continued Monday, but no deal has been reached with BU spokesman Brian Kelley saying the defenseman is going to take the next couple of days to decide which NHL team to sign with.

Canadian Press: Has Senators general manager Bryan Murray's comments that Mike Comrie did not do enough in his twenty two games with the Senators to warrant a new contract in a season ending review.

Tampa Tribune: Erik Erlensson reports the Lightning will send former captain Dave Andreychuk to represent them during the proceedings after winning last year.

NYI Fan Central Comments:
That means for those scoring at home Garth Snow is not required to be on live television tonight or represent the club on stage.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio has the Sound Tigers Notebook with comments from head coach Jack Capuano

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Islander-NHL Notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/13/2009 04:13:00 PM | |||Comments
Media Blog/Corey Witt: Reported defenseman Mark Streit will play for Switzerland at the World Championship which Mr Logan also reported on in the Islanders Newsday blog here along with what he will have in the paper this week on the lottery, players final thoughts...ect.

Point Blank/Mr Botta: Had some updates on the lottery with an early draft primer.

Colorado The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club announced today that Executive VP/General Manager Francois Giguere has been relieved from his duties. Effective immediately, Avalanche President and Alternate Governor Pierre Lacroix will oversee the franchise until a new management structure is announced.

Minnesota Wild: The National Hockey League’s (NHL) Minnesota Wild announced today that Head Coach Jacques Lemaire, the only coach in franchise history, is stepping down. The announcement was made at a press conference at Xcel Energy Center.

Buffalo News: Lindy Ruff will coach Canada at the World Championships.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio in his Sound Tigers blog reported from practice who is back from the Islanders, updates the injuries with a few words on the schedule and Kyle Okposo.

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Quick Hits

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/13/2009 10:00:00 AM | Comments
* I Have to admit it's tempting and the bait is out there with Bridgeport playing games at the Coliseum the day this blog closes for good but I am going to stick to the closing date Friday despite some very kind e-mails asking me to keep going which was very appreciated.

This is why there are feeders for newspapers and to go through Bridgeport's playoffs means perhaps blogging into June, then the draft and free agency.

Does it feel completely right to cover a team like Bridgeport all season and stop blogging the day the playoffs begin? Absolutely not, but then the question becomes when is the right time to stop?

I suspect Bridgeport is going to win at least a round and it would not shock me if a team that was first overall for a few days makes a very serious run at the Calder Cup into June.

I sure do hope so.

Trust me, I will leave NYIFC setup very well for Bridgeport's playoffs and the World Championships here even without any more blogs entries. I will tweak a few things if necessary here and there to keep things updated.
* I feel bad for our fans who despite any picks they draft this summer and regardless of who they sign will for the first time really have a serious distraction hanging over them with the Lighthouse and Mr Wang's start of season deadline. I'm afraid to write as tough as many have had it this year torn between losing to gain something tomorrow or winning to gain something for the prospects no matter what happens on the ice until the Lighthouse is resolved it will take on a life bigger than the hockey games as it did in other places.

Charles Wang in 2006 fired Neil Smith when he did to avoid a September distraction, this time it will be unavoidable unless the Lighthouse is approved.

Unfortunately if it's not resolved it's going to take over everything.
* I wonder if Tom Suozzi thinks he can let Charles Wang (or anyone who buys the club from him) out of a binding lease before 2015? Just as importantly now I think Gary Bettman's patience is run out waiting for progress even if the Cablevision Garden is older and just as run down as the Coliseum.

All I do know is ticket plans for some involve next season and 2010-2011, a few more years beyond that and all bets beyond a huge cable contract are off with the Isles only gaining more leverage as the lease and Smg agreement wind down.

And we have heard nothing from Smg, who are entitled to their contract and not to say one word until it expires.
* To answer a question I received, the New York Islanders have never contacted me with any criticism either year of the blog box and like Mr Botta were nothing but first class with NYIFC both seasons. If the Islanders continue the program understand going in they let you write whatever you want or at least they did in my case and were a pleasure.

I'm sure the folks who actively participated will have the same praise but my involvement was to blog without sitting in the box or doing interviews because that was not my interest which they knew and understood going in.

In my estimation instead of an amateur blog box they need four more professional media individuals to do what Mr Botta has done so very well for our fans all season with Point Blank. There are many Newspapers folding or limiting hockey coverage and something for the Islanders to consider.
* Interesting how some media despite the Tampa organization saying they would not trade a player who's ten year contract (complete with no trade clause) kicks in come July 1st in Vinnie LeCavalier would move him anyway.
* No shock Miroslav Satan was recalled by Pittsburgh, sad how far he has fallen he had to go through recall waivers to rejoin his own team but if he were claimed he could not play for the team that claimed him until next year and that's after resigning him because he's an UFA.
* Quick, name any player in this organization who can be a top two right wing next season after Kyle Okposo who has a prayer to score twenty five goals and please don't tell me Robin Figren, or Kirill Petrov?

For that matter let's stop calling Trent Hunter a top two right wing until he produces as such.

Unfair? Maybe. Mariusz Czerkawski scored thirty with a lot less help. Alexei Yashin had no excuses made for him when he had to play with Kvasha, Weinhandl and did not score enough to satisfy anyone and got anything but a free pass finishing his career with Jason Blake and Chris Simon as his first line that final year.

Love Hunter's game, but no more excuses, this team needs a prime time scorer up front for these kids which is why I wonder why Doug Weight with his five even strength goals should have been resigned.

And it looks like that spot has to be the one Bill Guerin used to occupy on paper.

One of the announcers Sunday was trying to change Tavares position to right wing to play next to Doug Weight, this is why you cannot bring back Weight.
* All I read about Mike Komisarek is he's struggling and headed for free agency, last time I read this much about a player like that his name was Wade Redden. This is
not Mark Streit who came off a very good year in Montreal offensively.

* I know what Chris Higgins did for the Canadians but this year he's a left wing with less goals than Richard Park. Do you want to move Tambellini, Comeau or Bergenheim to bring in another left winger in Higgins just because he's from Long Island?

For those wondering Jesse Joensuu who could well make next year's team is a left wing.
* I strongly suggest those who want pics of Andy Hilbert in an Islander uniform this Sunday was last chance, tell me where he fits unless it's as a fourth line center with Nate Thompson cut? Could be wrong but I think the numbers suggest I'm right which is tough because he gives everything he has, but on this team he just cannot score enough.

Tomas Pock for all the mistakes he made early did a lot better than anyone will give him credit for once he settled in. I just don't see a spot.

Andy Sutton came into this season reportedly in great shape and still lived up to his reputation of getting hurt, where do you go from here with someone who cannot stay healthy over 82 games?

I'm almost stunned Brendan Witt after three knee injuries out of nowhere was able to remain healthy the rest of the way.
* As for the goaltending don't get down on MacDonald or Danis, they both had a long tough year and despite both looking like they ran out of gas late both proved they can start at this level for a good stretch of games. Not sure what the Isles will do here because MacDonald was picked over Dubielewicz and Danis to start the season and last week Danis was put out for three straight games and even back to back the last weekend.

Obviously management is looking long and hard because with Lawson and Mannino signed this is likely a one or the other game unless DiPietro's future is in doubt.
* You have to wonder if Scott Gordon will want changes behind a bench he inherited when this season ends. His former assistant Rob Murray in Providence did a good job this season, I'm not sure the Bruins will give him permission to leave to be an NHL assistant, they apparently did not give the Isles permission after allowing Scott Gordon to go.

I would guess the assistant coaches from Ted Nolan's staff's contracts are up because Nolan's is up on 7/1.

Nothing that went wrong on the ice from what I saw should go on the assistant coaches, it will all depend on the chemistry between Gordon and how they work together.
* It's never as personal as it's made out to be most of the time. Scott Gordon, the Pens staff and Bill Guerin were all very classy at the end Thursday.

Who can blame Guerin for wanting to win and being frustrated this season? If you are a player/coach and not frustrated with losing you are in the wrong business.
* Always nice to not know down to the bitter end the New York Islanders make fans from inside the city limits feel like they root for the wrong team and slap that Long Island label on everything they can with Richard Park's little speech Sunday.

Sure does wonders for a fan base that needs every fan from all over the tri-state area and the city newspaper coverage tuning out.

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Referendum on Garth Snow and a Flash Back

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/12/2009 10:00:00 PM | |Comments
Deja Vu All Over Again?

A little flash back to Islanders-Sound Tigers and our mailing list archives.

Isles finish 30th losing to Boston the final day of the season with a lottery two days away.

Mike Milbury lost this lottery where he reportedly was all set to take Ilya Kovalchuck and the rest is history.

This summer will be a referendum for General Manger Garth Snow and it a lot of ways his crossroads as general manager.

Thought we would flash back to 4/8/2001 with a few news articles. Isles have more prospects now but had some very good players then also out of the draft.
At Last, It's Over
Loss to Bruins ends last-place Isles' dismal season
by Alan Hahn
Staff Correspondent

BRUINS 4 ISLANDERS 2 Boston-The season last night ended at a
crossroads for two Islanders at opposite ends of their careers.
Veteran defenseman Garry Galley spent most of his time during the pre-
game warmup taking in the atmosphere of what might have been his
final NHL game. Rookie goalie Rick DiPietro spent his time afterward
addressing his immediate future and burning for the chance to prove
that he is indeed ready for the big leagues.

In between, the Islanders closed their terribly disappointing season
with a 4-2 loss to the Bruins before 17,565 fans at the FleetCenter.

When it was over, Galley stayed on the ice and posed for a photo with
his son, Wyatt, who was allowed to stay on the bench for the entire
game to watch his dad.

"Having him here was special for me," said Galley, 37, who has played
17 seasons in the NHL. Galley wouldn't officially say he planned to
retire, but it certainly weighed on his mind. He has a team option
year left on his contract.

Galley said he plans to talk to general manager Mike Milbury about
his future in the next few days.

"We'll see what the future brings," said Galley, who scored his 600th
NHL point with an assist Wednesday against Toronto. "If it's in the
cards for me to continue to move on, and everything plays itself out
right, then it will be great. It'll be a blessing for me. But if it
doesn't, I'll be able to say I finished it the right way." The finish
was spectacular. Galley made two saves-yes, saves-while protecting an
empty net in the game's final seconds. The first stop came against
Joe Thornton, who was going for a hat trick. Galley poked the puck
and blocked the shot on one knee. As the final seconds ticked down,
Galley put his body in front of an attempt by P.J. Axelsson.

"I looked up and he was laughing at me," Galley said of Axelsson, who
took a little off his shot in a show of sportsmanship. "He could have
just teed it up," Galley added. "He didn't and I thank him for that.
I'm sure if this was a regular game, he would have." The game was
hardly regular. The first period was over within 25 minutes real time
and the entire game was completed in two hours and two minutes. Most
of the play stoppages occurred because of goals. Two penalties (one
on each team) were called. Just 26 hits were registered by both teams

The Bruins, who were eliminated from playoff contention Friday night,
took a 3-0 lead in the second period as DiPietro (3-15-1 in 19
appearances this season) was let down by an apathetic defensive

The 19-year-old, who is from nearby Winthrop, Mass., and starred at
Boston University last season, made his hometown debut and had 23
saves. It wasn't one for the scrapbook, but there will be plenty of
time to make up for it.

"Hopefully," he said, "I'll play a lot more games in this building."
It might not come again, however, for another season or two. This
summer the Islanders will need to consider many options to improve
the team, and that might include getting more experience in goal and
allowing DiPietro to develop in the minors. DiPietro, the team's No.
1 overall pick last year, is well aware of his situation.

"This year was a great year for me to come in and get some
experience," he said, "but next year it's going to be all business.
Start with a clean slate and, you know, they're going to be trying to
make the playoffs. So it's going to be tough to get that job. But I'm
going to go into the summer, I'm going to do my best to come into
camp in shape and be mentally and physically ready to go." Notes &
Quotes: Interim coach Lorne Henning finished with a 4-11-2 record
after taking over for the fired Butch Goring March 5. "The guys
worked hard for me," Henning said. "Every day you read about another
coach [candidate] in the paper, so the guys could have basically quit
on me. But they played hard and that's all you can ask." MINUS: The
loss clinched the worst record since the Islanders' inaugural 1972-73
season, when they went 12-60-6. Also, for the first time in team
history, an Islander failed to record a hat trick in a season.

PLUS: Let the Jason Spezza-Ilya Kovalchuk debate begin. The NHL will
do its draft lottery drawing Tuesday. With a last-place overall
finish, the Isles have the best chance (25 percent) to win the first
overall pick. If they don't, they're guaranteed the No. 2 position.
April 8, 2001

Isles Lose to End Season to Forget


Another disappointing Islanders season ended last night, with a 4-2
loss to the Bruins in Boston. Dave Scatchard, the team's feisty
center, said he planned to go home to Alberta and ignore the Stanley
Cup playoffs for the fifth consecutive spring. To watch the games on
television would be torture, he said.

"I know I don't want this to be happening at this time next year," he

Right wing Mark Parrish said, "Hopefully, this year is a one-hit

Parrish has been around for only a year. The Islanders' four Stanley
Cup banners hang in the rafters at the Nassau Coliseum as if they
were won by another franchise.

The Islanders (21-51-7-3) finished with the worst record in the
National Hockey League and missed the playoffs for the seventh
straight year. They finished with 52 points, their lowest total since
1996. They lost 17 games by one goal.

They were shut out 10 times and scored one goal 19 times. Their
record in those 29 games was 0-27-2.

They had a winning record in only one month of the season, October.
The loss last night, in which Joe Thornton scored twice and Byron
Dafoe stopped 29 shots for the Bruins, was the seventh in nine games
for the Islanders.

While General Manager Mike Milbury has refused to comment on any
aspect of his search for a new coach, something happened to the
Islanders in the month since Butch Goring was fired. Although they
won about the same percentage of games, the Islanders played harder
and smarter under Lorne Henning, the interim coach.

"You don't like to lose," Henning said, "but they've been in every
game. They're battling, and they're having some fun."

The Islanders have not necessarily felt as if they were auditioning
for a new coach.

"We don't know who we are auditioning for," Parrish said.

But Milbury's decision to replace Goring gave the Islanders the
feeling they were starting over.

"I think if we would have played with this edge and focus all year,
things would have been a lot different," Scatchard said. "At least
now you can see the light at the end of the tunnel."

The Islanders have a painfully young nucleus, beginning with Rick
DiPietro, their 19-year-old goaltender.

Nine of the 20 players who dressed for Friday's 4-3 loss to Ottawa
were 25 or younger, and three of them — DiPietro, left wing Taylor
Pyatt and center Tim Connolly — are not yet 20. Their biggest need,
as identified by Milbury, is a veteran who can score. He knows it
will not be easy to lure such a player to the Siberia of the N.H.L.

"There's a lot of talent there," said Chris Terreri, the veteran
goaltender who was acquired late in the season from the
Devils. "Maybe they've just got to balance it a little more with
veterans. But they work hard every night, and the attitude's been

Milbury has interviewed at least five coaching candidates — Jim
Schoenfeld, Robbie Ftorek, Bryan Murray, Ted Nolan and Kevin
Constantine. He would like to hire a coach by the June draft, but he
does not want to be held to that, either.

"There's talent there," Milbury said two weeks ago of his
players. "But is there enough character?"

Apparently there is a lot more character than Milbury or anyone else
thought. Henning, an assistant and friend of Goring's, told the team
to play with more passion, and the team responded.

The Islanders were not shut out in Henning's 17-game tenure. In
Friday's loss to Ottawa, the Islanders overcame deficits of 2-0 and 3-
1 before losing on a goal in the third period.

Last night, Boston jumped to a 3-0 lead in the second period, but
Roman Hamrlik and Connolly scored for the Islanders to make it 3-2
with 11 minutes 10 seconds remaining.

The Islanders won only one of 45 games in which they trailed after
two periods.

"Maybe we finally realized that we have to work hard every second
we're on the ice," right wing Mariusz Czerkawski said.

Charles Wang, the Islanders' co- owner, has said that Henning, who
has been with the organization for 22 years, will probably be offered
a job in the organization. At least Henning has discovered there is a
pilot light. At least this team feels as if it has a future.

"Hopefully, we can carry it over, that passion," Czerkawski said.
Struck by Lightning

Nov. defeat set stage for Isles' misery

by Alan Hahn
Staff Writer

One mere bounce of the puck is what derailed the Islanders' season
five months ago.
It was Nov. 3 at Tampa Bay and the Islanders were rolling, riding a
six-game unbeaten streak, on the verge of taking over first place in
the Atlantic Division.

Leading Tampa Bay 3-2 with less than a minute to play and the
Lightning net empty, Brad Isbister charged toward a loose puck and
was about to seal the deal before Vincent Lecavalier made a desperate
lunge for Isbister and pulled him down, drawing a holding penalty.

The Islanders were still in business: 33 seconds left, on the power
play and with the faceoff in the offensive zone. Isbister even won
the draw. The game should have been over.


Isbister dropped it to the point, where Kenny Jonsson retreated into
the neutral zone to control the wobbling puck. But it skipped over
his stick and a hustling Mike Johnson rushed at Jonsson and tipped it
away. He blew by a startled Jonsson, broke in alone and beat goalie
John Vanbiesbrouck to tie it at 3 with 25 seconds left.

It shouldn't have been a fatal blow. The Islanders that night and any
night were a better team than Tampa Bay. But the Islanders seemed to
fold, as if doubled over by one misfortune.

In overtime, when they had the chance to get the win they deserved,
further catastrophe awaited. With Tampa Bay rushing up the ice,
former coach Butch Goring inexplicably held back Mariusz Czerkawski
as he was halfway over the boards for a change and tapped Mark
Parrish to take his place. Parrish was too late as Craig Millar
completed the rush by scoring the game-winner with the Islanders
outmanned in their own end.

It was a nightmare that played over and over in the heads of many of
the players for a long time. And it was no coincidence that after
that game, the Islanders lost 48 of 72 games. They went from having
their best October (4-3-2) since 1992-93 to their worst season (21-51-
7-3) since 1972-73.

Here are the main reasons why:

1. Coaching. Mike Milbury made perhaps the biggest blunder of his
tenure as GM by not making a coaching change earlier in the season.
The truth -- Goring's own admission after he was fired that he never
had the team -- came out way too late.

2. Lack of leadership. The team was without a captain after Jonsson
relinquished the "C" in November. The team downplayed it all season,
but there is a reason why this sport designates a captain. It is a
crucial position.

3. Injuries. All but one member (Zdeno Chara) of the revamped defense
was felled for an extended period of time because of an injury. Free-
agent acquisition Kevin Haller missed 62 games. Offensively, Isbister
missed 31 games because of various injuries. All told, the Islanders
recorded 362 man-games lost, which was the fourth-highest total in
the league.

4. Goaltending. Neither veteran Vanbiesbrouck nor rookie Rick
DiPietro could do what the Islanders desperately needed him to do,
and that was steal games. Both also fell well short of what erstwhile
Islander Roberto Luongo would have been, at least for the short term,
had he not been traded last summer.

5. Centers. Without a true No. 1 center, the offense struggled
mightily, especially early in the season. Tim Connolly, 19, and Oleg
Kvasha, 22, both failed to meet unreasonably high expectations.

Milbury stated the obvious last week when he said the team needed a
culture change. The Islanders have been losers for so many years,
there is an expectation and acceptance of mediocrity. Using the
words "building" and "growing" and "developing" when describing a
team generally allows that attitude to linger.

But too many nights this season, the team seemed content with simply
competing in games and almost wanted credit for it. What it failed to
realize was that competing was something that was expected of them.

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