The Final Goodbye...

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/11/2009 06:50:00 PM | Comments
Islanders leave Saturday for Saskatoon so that is when both blogs go off-line/private.

I set up the preseason roster, audio blogged or wrote what I think will happen on the ice and gave analysis on latest lighthouse news countless times with a lot of other things.

I got a little busy here for the final few days to send everyone into the season best as I could.

I hope for the best on and off the ice for the New York Islanders moving forward and I do think this team will be in contention. Off the ice I said/wrote everything I thought and not sure how it will end up but feel a compromise will happen at some point to allow the project to be constructed and this team will be here regardless until at least 2015 with no owner moving them away from a 300m dollar cable deal in the NY market whether they play at Coliseum, Queens or across the street from Msg as they have the right to relocate anywhere in New York.

Feel free to google cache, internet archive to keep viewing working links or old entries but I will not be making any more changes.

Nothing else to be done here now, once again Thank You very much.

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Islander News Articles 9/11

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/11/2009 04:18:00 AM | Comments

One final day with a return to our pre 4/17 format of doing daily articles.

Newsday: Katie Strang's Islander preview reports the club will have physicals Saturday and fly to Saskatoon to open camp, she has changes and asks some questions about this years team with an earlier blog entry/training camp preview here.

Star Phoenix: Has an interview with some serious and lighthearted questions/answers from head coach Scott Gordon as the club will travel to Saskatoon on Saturday.

NYIFC Comments:

The Star Phoenix is the paper of record for Saskatoon coverage for those who will be following for the time the Islanders camp there. I'm not sure how in depth the coverage will go because the Blades hockey team is the primary team and it's season is about to begin.

The Islanders for the most part will be playing split squad games including hockeyville game Monday in Terrance, going to Edmonton and Calgary before the team plays it's preseason home games at Saskatoon, then it's on the road again to KC to play the Kings who are the home team.

NY Post: Redesigned it's pages somewhat in a much better format than Newsday but we'll see if Dan Martin or someone has anything from the players before departing.

I would expect the Ct Post will not be sending Mr Fornabaio to Saskatoon but he always seems to find a way to keep his blog updated through camp here regardless and Bridgeport did hire a new media relations coordinator to go with a very nice new look (like Islanders website) and slight logo change to the website here but having written that the lead is Mike Schroeder being hired which I audio blogged on in late July.

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Provisions TOH wants in Nassau's lease

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/11/2009 12:14:00 AM | Comments
We really need another professional media source like LIBN or a Mark Harrington to verify Eden Laikin's reporting because there have been too many omissions in past articles but if all this is true in the above links that hundred foot wall preventing the LH from happening has finally come into view.

So I will work within the landscape provided by these articles and try not to make any mistakes in how I interpret what's being reported.

Sure I could get some of this wrong too nor do I know what's standard practice in such building agreements vs trying to drive away a development.
For Kate Murray/TOH it begins not even with local town issues or environment but Nassau/Tom Suozzi's " 99 percent completed " lease with Charles Wang and Scott Rechler which TOH has no part of but will not prevent them for making their own demands while holding zoning approval for what they want included in any completed lease.

And that would be only the beginning, who knows what else TOH/FPC want before giving approval and none of this has anything to do with environment, water, garbage, schools or electrical or what their outside agency requires once billing issues are settled.

Even worse let's say for argument sake the TOH approves the LH, the next step is the Nassau lease where Kate Murray wants in writing the project will create thousands of construction jobs and generate millions of dollars in tax revenue and is essentially re-writing the lease at this late date.

In short this means TOH can approve the project, Suozzi/Nassau can negotiate lease they want and right at the end, TOH-Murray can reject the project at the building permits hearing or the final step because they don't like the lease Nassau negotiated and approved.

Some of the things asked for are positive but some on paper seem completely unrealistic and a deal breaker for Wang-Rechler or any developer as if it's done to force them to walk away.

And this is only one article.

" Mr Suozzi as usual played his no LH, no Islanders card after he comments. Murray played her, they already knew this card. Charles Wang played the frustration and disappointed card.

So let's dig into the article, I know ten items were listed but things like Coliseum comes first was all in the LH proposal so some of this would not be considered new as presented.
The article reports the following so-called new provisions with even that aspect disputed by both sides:

1. The New York Islanders to play all home games at the coliseum for no less than 30 years after its completion.

NYIFC comments: Wang was only offering a ten year extension until 2025 of the existing Islanders lease. Murray, TOH had to know this so as much as we all want the Isles here long-term beyond 2025 that provision puts Wang-Rechler and Nassau on the hook to keep renovating to play at the Coliseum for at least the next thirty five plus years if current renovation happened. This is something Murray and Suozzi could have negotiated with Wang on for years now.

As an Islander fan you want the club here for the next thirty years so that's a good thing but we all know what Wang offered there and he's not going to own the club forever.

Part of the negotiating or compromise? Sure, nothing wrong there or that Wang must get everything he wants and he can still sell any time he wants but it seems this was put in at this late date to stall things when Nassau/TOH should have put that out day one. Ten years for a renovation of this size is not a long time but that should have been negotiated years ago, now it seems thrown in for leverage by TOH specifically to drive Wang away.

It's also been common knowledge the Coliseum renovation comes first as Wang has said on several occasions with a lease extension until 2025. I have no idea why Murray is quoted as saying the Isles can move after rezoning when they cannot move until 2025 as part of a new lease?

2. The developer cannot:

Apply for tax breaks

NYIFC comments: So apparently every baseball team can get tax credits or free bonds, full ownership of their new stadiums and who knows what plus NJ-Newark paid for part of Prudential Center but Wang-Rechler cannot get a tax break and to date no one has explained how Smg will have it's lease condemned without a lawsuit from their side?

Is this how TOH works with businesses or makes sure a project is killed?

3. Leave any building in mid-construction

NYIFC comments: That one seems reasonable if a building is under construction but designed to keep up the pressure on a developer to have all financing in place before any shovel goes in the ground to construct anything and this rezoning commits Wang-Rechler to build everything approved as per final plan where x building goes on x spot.

4. Sell the developer's rights to, or change ownership of, the property without town consent

NYIFC comments: That also seems unreasonable because Wang will have to co-own the property into his nineties with Mr Rechler approaching his seventies so ownership will change hands in the future or sold to an outside party. It's not unreasonable TOH is consented when a change is made.

5. The developer must:

Seek building permits from the town for any construction on the county-owned site.

NYIFC comments: This seems in line with current approval process because there will be building permits hearings as the final step before the shovel goes in the ground unless TOH wants to do that step a second time in some manner when it's time to begin actual construction.

This could also mean some buildings are altered in the future for whatever reasons but why have a final draft if that's the case?

6. Hire local residents for all construction jobs, pay prevailing wages and offer state-approved apprenticeships.

NYIFC comments: This from the same TOH that hires Frederick P. Clark from Rye New York to do county business for a project of this magnitude when they could have hired local businesses? I don't even want to touch the reports about Kate Murray's father beyond writing what was in the newspapers when they add in who must be hired for construction jobs?

7. Make the town a third party beneficiary of the lease - a move that would give the town the right to sue for any breaches of the agreement.

NYIFC comments: So basically TOH wants ownership of this lease in the future knowing Wang-Rechler will not be around forever and TOH has to approve anyone they may want/have to sell to so they can take control of the completed LH at some point and have rights to sue them for any breaches of the agreement?

I keep thinking of Tom Gulotta's infamous " Pigs at the trough " quote about Howard Milstein a decade ago applies to the TOH here.

All this basically means the TOH wants to re-write Nassau's lease agreement which is a step they have no vote in. Nassau county will approve or reject whatever lease Wang-Rechler-Suozzi negotiate which is the out in the current lease but TOH/Murray want their say in that as well to the point they will not approve the project?

Is TOH/Kate Murray ready to pay to renovate the Coliseum or buyout Smg's lease on the taxpayers dime because that's the alternative with or without the hockey team after 2015. She wants TOH to have a say in the lease they should also be on the hook to pay for the ramifications if this project is not approved or they force Wang-Rechler away.

Meanwhile Wang-Rechler still own the Marriott hotel on that property.

Bottom line: TOH does not trust Wang, Rechler to complete the project or come up with the financing and feel Wang or Rechler could sell development rights while Wang can also sell the hockey team which will happen some day whether the lease ends in 2025 or it's included the Islanders play at the Coliseum until 2045. TOH also wants some financial interest as a third party and the right to sue the developers with guarantees of local permanent jobs and long-term profits.

Un-official New York Training Camp Roster

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/10/2009 09:32:00 AM | Comments
In what may be the final entry here is as much of the training camp roster as I could put together.

For those scoring at home it appears Nate Thompson changed uniform numbers to Wayne Merrick's old number eleven.

Not a sign he's about to be sent down with his two-way contract?

I'm not sure when this was written/posted by Islanders website or how updated because the article I linked yesterday has comments from London Knights general manager Mark Hunter that Islander draft pick Anton Klementyev will be attending training camp but in the ad for the Devils Coliseum game the Islanders website added in a training camp roster some players apparently invited are not listed yet.

For comparisons to the 2008 Training Camp roster which included Jared Spurgeon currently coming off shoulder surgery as of 8/31/09 and Jyri Niemi here in Moncton last season.

Jyri Niemi plays for the Saskatoon Blades which is where the Islanders will hold camp.

The Western Hockey League also released a full list of all the players attending NHL training camps on Tuesday 9/8.

Travis Hamonic, Niemi are listed as attending Islanders training camp and Hamonic is also listed in another article as leaving his team for camp this weekend here.

The OHL AND QMJHL websites at this time do not have a list but for what this is worth the Islanders prospect site has assigned numbers here for Calvin DeHaan (3), Casey Cizikas (53), Hamonic (36), Niemi (49), Klementyev (48), Jared Spurgeon (61) and goaltender Kevin Poulin. (60)

deHaan wore #24 with Oshawa so obviously these updates are not old despite 2002 pick Alexei Stonkus still on the prospect list.

This is the list off the Islanders ad for the Devils Coliseum game where it's listed as training camp roster.

12 Josh Bailey
67 Sean Bentivoglio
20 Sean Bergenheim
57 Blake Comeau
81 Justin DiBenedetto
41 Robin Figren
59 Micheal Haley
68 Bobby Hughes
7 Trent Hunter
28 Tim Jackman
58 Jesse Joensuu
50 Tomas Marcinko
46 Matt Martin
62 Greg Mauldin
27 Greg Moore
26 Matt Moulson
51 Frans Nielsen
21 Kyle Okposo
10 Richard Park "A"
40 Joel Rechlicz
17 Jeremy Reich
54 Tony Romano
16 Jon Sim
77 Trevor Smith
15 Jeff Tambellini
91 John Tavares
11 Nate Thompson
93 Doug Weight

4 Mark Flood
8 Bruno Gervais
38 Jack Hillen
71 Mark Katic
56 Dustin Kohn
47 Andrew MacDonald
24 Radek Martinek
44 Freddy Meyer
2 Mark Streit
25 Andy Sutton
42 Brett Westgarth
32 Brendan Witt "A"

43 Martin Biron
39 Rick DiPietro
1 Mikko Koskinen
52 Nathan Lawson
33 Scott Munroe
30 Dwayne Roloson

For those who wonder how you divide five into four Utah signed two goaltenders over the summer so a home has to be found for Mikko Koskinen or someone out of Lawson/Munroe who both just signed or resigned and carried the bulk of their AHL teams games last season have to find another team.

Michael Fornabaio in the Ct Post Sound Tigers blog also has his updated roster of signings and invites with both Utah goaltenders.

At this time unsigned former prospect Max Gratchev is not with Lewiston for their preseason, is not on any Islander or European transfer list (or KHL) nor is he listed as invited to any teams camp or at least one that made a large newspaper. If you recall he signed a late season ATO contract with Bridgeport and played in one game but the June deadline came and went so he could re-enter the draft but to my knowledge was not selected a second time.

Not the first time Maxim Gratchev has been lost according to 2007 Boston Globe pre-draft feature but this time hopefully only in terms of hockey status temporarily.

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Quick Hits

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/09/2009 11:00:00 PM | Comments

Not to hit any of this stuff too hard....................however.

It seems a few years ago the New York Islanders were one of the first clubs to go all out on the camp invites and folks were critical then as Park, Dunham were brought into camp without an NHL contract and tried out to make the club.

Now it seems unless a bunch of players are invited it's a mistake again?

Times sure have changed.

Anyone ever think all these prospects need the best chance to win a spot over someone with a one-way deal and perhaps between waivers/ possible trades the Islanders already have their plan?

They still have first call on all players placed on waivers based on last seasons standings and with clubs against or over the cap Garth Snow if he wants holds the cards.
Regarding informal workouts Michael Peca still skates in Buffalo, it does not mean he's about to become a Sabre but as the Buffalo News article I posted stated this is one venue former players gather to skate before a season contract or not.

How many McCabe to the Islanders rumors surfaced because he spent part of his summers working out here?

Benoit Hogue worked out here also, it never meant he's about to be resigned by the Islanders.
If Mr Botta wants to report he has sources where the Islanders could relocate just give us all the locations interested (plus who) and please spare us the teasers.

It would also not hurt to report once again the team has a binding lease with Nassau/Smg for the next six years so maybe folks can concentrate on this season and not have them thinking Charles Wang can relocate by next summer or next week?

At the very least start being as critical of the newspapers for not covering the club as you used to be in your old job and put the blame on the papers/editors where it belongs. It would not have been a bad idea to call out the Times who had space to talk with you about Point Blank but not New York Islander hockey print coverage in their newspaper/blogs?

Bottom line here if you are going to correctly write the Isles website is 80/20 ads vs hockey content you have to blame everyone or why bother at all because the Knicks are going to be covered regardless of how brutal they have been so it's not about games and results?

I don't recall the Post spending more than a day in
Moncton the last few years if that and the News/Times did not go at all.

We all get the coverage is poor and involves only part of one newspaper.

The other bottom line is Mr Botta is no longer obligated to write about the New York Islanders yet still provides excellent interviews like the one we got with Bergenheim.
As for the New York Islanders website if an amateur blog like NYIFC can have Steve Webb's update four or five days ago they are not giving the fans enough new information.

No one is asking for infomercials daily from Snow, Gordon or even the players but how about a crummy list of who is attending camp like so many other clubs have already released on their website?

It's not a state secret to do a pdf file of who is attending and post a link? Isn't the idea to get folks excited about camp and the start of hockey with a televised game in a few days?

The Ct Post Michael Fornabaio tonight had the list of Bridgeport invites so we have that, if the Islanders are not inviting anyone it should only make it easier to release the full camp list now.

The Islanders on the website for the Coliseum preseason game against NJ have the camp roster listed so perhaps I was wrong on that. Still announcing the complete roster in a separate update would not have hurt.

Bottom line Mr Wang-Rechler will get their vote/certainty (or not) at some point and it still may happen by opening night. If TOH hired agency does not do it's job over a disagreement on billing and slow the process the TOH will suffer the fallout for their part if Wang-Rechler walk away from the project after opening night.

Charles Wang is stuck in his Islander lease certainty or not unless Suozzi cannot get him a new lease agreement after a TOH approval regardless who is interested.

Mr Suozzi sure has been quiet lately, just as he was for two years after the MOU.
I'm getting interested to see how many owners still want to turn down Jim Basillie over spending 140m of their own money to carry the Coyotes under the NHL umbrella and forfeit his 200 plus million bid and relocation fee.

For those scoring at home that's about a 400m dollar swing with a relocation fee included vs owners spending out of their own pocket to run the franchise through the league.

Character has it's price too.

I'm also fascinated to see Richard Peddie and the Leafs teachers pension fund make a case for keeping a team out of Canada while the same media lobbied for another team in Canada all these years who will wrap themselves in the Leafs media flag if it comes down to a relocation vote.

I guess for them a team can only relocate to Winnipeg.

You can bet Buffalo does not want another team near them also.

By my count (or the media articles at the time) the Coyotes lose as much as the Rangers did heading into the lockout in a far more modern building so why shouldn't they stay and see if a winning club changes the financial dynamic?
So the International Ice Hockey Federation approved the disputed transfer of Jiri Hudler from the Detroit Red Wings to Dynamo Moscow on Wednesday even though he was Wings property as Radulov was a year ago?

I'm curious what can any of these organizations/leagues do to stop anyone from doing anything?

Was Rene Fasel going to call the KHL police and haul Hudler off the ice during a game for playing in the KHL or if Alexei Yashin wanted to sign with an NHL team tomorrow was the league going to lock him out of an NHL facility with league security once he came to terms with someone?

Nikita Filatov last week pretty much said (if not misquoted or misinterpreted) that if he does not get NHL ice time he could have signed in the KHL despite his NHL contract with Columbus like he was doing the Jackets a favor.

Twenty years ago we had players in Europe escaping countries to come play in the NHL, it feels in terms of contracts the same thing is still happening with no apparent hope or even discussion of a transfer agreement.

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Tavares natural position and the depth chart

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/09/2009 10:11:00 AM | |Comments

Simply put you do not draft a franchise talent first overall, bring him from junior hockey all the way to the NHL with no veteran first line (or second line) players in terms of age/production and change that players position.

John Tavares is a center, that's where he should be playing if he's going to be in the NHL this season.

I have read some of Scott Gordon's comments about Tavares perhaps playing wing and the question is why?

So Doug Weight or Richard Park can be his center?

On my depth chart down the middle it's Tavares, Bailey, Nielsen for better or worse.

It appears the only opening is for Doug Weight to slide to the right side (Guerin's spot) to be his winger because Bergenheim, Comeau and Tambellini are all left wings but that means Okposo does not skate on his line because he is a right wing.

Let me set the NHL on paper depth chart and no I'm not including prospect signings.




Only Nate Thompson has a two way contract and he likely has to clear waivers, all seven defenders have one-way contracts.

I can blog about Joensuu, Figren, Smith, Bentivoglio, some of the AHL signings and the Sarnia connection in Bridgeport with Kohn, Katic and MacDonald all week and even talk about deHaan winning a job but this is where things stand right now regardless if Garth Snow invites someone or signs a fighter or a Satan/whoever or makes a trade.

How many times this summer did I say in audio blogs if you want to add you have to subtract?

Why change Tavares position when it's going to be all he can do to play his natural position at this level?

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If Intangibles go Isles way they make playoffs

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/08/2009 02:00:00 PM | Comments

What can I write that I have not written before before departing?

How about the Intangibles.

This is around the time so many worthless previews come put that don't even know the Isles lost close to a thousand games to injury mostly since January of 2008 or even report it. Do you really think they care about all the one-goal losses or blown leads?

Many of these writers don't write about four playoffs in five years before that and frankly don't care about that mediocre result (nor should it overplayed either) but will them portray them as a basement dwelling club as if they have not seen a playoff series as long as some other clubs in this league.

Many of these professional projections begin with the Milbury era or things of little/no consequence to the 09-10 season and it's because they don't follow our team enough to give us anything of relevance but have to write something.

You think most of these writers care DiPietro played sixty plus games the previous two years when they want to write about his contract?

It's not a knock on many writers either in some cases, they don't get enough space to follow their own local teams much less preview clubs they don't see play some years and sure in some cases the coverage is poor for a lot of reasons but that's old news.

If I had to do a Coyote preview I would be writing about Bob Francis or Winnipeg, how many years did Gretzky go before visiting the Coliseum as a head coach two season ago?

Rick DiPietro never went back to the city he was drafted in until 2008 to play a hockey game.

Scary how so many media folks and fans associate winning a playoff series with a successful season these days? Call me an older fan but winning a playoff series here never used to be any cause for celebration without a Stanley Cup.

But this is old news you know, time to move on.
I think on paper this team will be better than most will project, I see them in the playoff mix all the way if they are healthy if not qualifying outright.

But I wrote that last year which was a lost season before it even started.

For all sports some intangibles have to happen to be successful, the New York Islanders are frankly overdue in this department.

Last year only one intangible went huge in this teams favor and that was Mark Streit's defense and overall play.

Okposo drifting to left wing/center and his production was acceptable for a first full season as was Bergenheim's play after he and Scott Gordon got on the same page but I felt at times Okposo was cheating his natural right wing position by drifting to his left and center so much to get chances off his forehand, Scott Gordon after the season discussed why he was moved him to the left wing for a time and also had him on the left powerplay point.

Okposo has to score off his natural right wing side and what made him a top pick.

Aside from these things and maybe Witt getting back his full mobility after December, no single intangible really went the New York Islanders way all of last season unless you want to add some moderate progression from Bruno Gervais in how he played bigger and was more involved.

This time the intangibles have to be different, this time Bergenheim, Comeau, Nielsen and Jeff Tambellini have to carry their offensive weight after all the time they have gotten in the NHL despite Tambellini's benchings or Comeau being sent down. The veterans on the backline have to stay healthy or Jack Hillen/Andrew MacDonald/Calvin deHaan (if signed) or Mark Katic have to take their spots from them.

Yes, it starts with a mostly healthy roster or a manageable amount of injuries.

Yes, Trent Hunter has to get his twenty five goals and skate much better, Doug Weight has to produce at even strength and at times accept a lesser role, Richard Park has to have his hot streaks with a lesser role. Tim Jackman has to use that twenty goal ability he showed in Bridgeport and finish some of those chances his hard work created.

Yes, a Trevor Smith, Jesse Joensuu, Robin Figren, Matt Martin, Tomas Marcinko, Justin DiBenedetto or someone else does have to break through and make an unexpected impact if the chance comes for them or even Jon Sim if those forwards cannot produce.

Yes, Scott Gordon has to prove his system and methods can work with a healthy team at this level, break in a new coaching staff and somehow not put too much pressure on so many young players and has a huge task in front of him. I loved the coaches comments Bergenheim should not be worrying about scoring but when someone is drafted with a first pick in 2002 and your team is 29th is scoring of course you are going to worry about it and press.

Yes, the pressure on Tavares and to a lesser degree Josh Bailey without a prime scoring forward will be enormous especially if the club does not have a breakout offensive game.

Yes, Garth Snow is going to have to learn there are times where you have to make changes when some things simply are not working or holding back other players whether it be come waiver time before the season or to get his team out of a slump.

Yes, a lot of intangibles for this to work and for this club to be in contention. About a good seven out of every ten intangibles have to go in the Islanders favor this season with some surprises.

Last year one intangible worked out in the Islanders favor.

I know in sports sometimes you make your own breaks/intangibles.

Last year was not that time.

This time it not only has to happen but in many cases it should happen.

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Hockey in Seven Days...Final Closing at NYIFC

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/07/2009 06:35:00 PM | Comments

I guess to a degree I have been sending mixed signals about New York Islander Fan Central since last season ended, this was never my intention.

The New York Islanders have a hockey game in seven days against the Vancouver Canucks on September 14th with the club traveling to Saskatoon on 9/12.

Shockingly it will be televised on Time Warner at 10pm and repeated but will be the only pre-season game televised or at least scheduled at this time.

The Islanders half hour season preview debuts around 9/21-22 and runs only a half hour.

New York Islander Fan Central will not be covering the 2009-10 season.

If I wanted to keep things going here or even do this part-time I obviously could but I made my decision during last season and despite some blogging since 4/17, during the WC/NHL draft and some unexpected things happening like going audio for a brief time as an experiment (did not see that coming) I never changed my mind from what I decided in February.

Back on 7/29 I said it would be unfair to stop just before camp but I did extend things, left the blog viewable and the time went very quickly.

NYIFC did help what was a very quick summer go by even faster so it served a good purpose for everyone.
I have done everything I wanted to test here in the last month and no longer have any need to do any more written blog entries and I got a great deal accomplished.

A month ago when the blog went private for a part of a week I got a bunch of very kind e-mails asking me to keep NYIFC visible or to keep doing the blog as I did at the end of last season knowing it would be tougher to stop just as hockey begins.

I have tried to be extra generous posting preview links with the articles lately to set everyone up as best as I could for 2009-10 because you have been so great here.

Sadly, having written this when the New York Islanders leave for Saskatoon to officially begin the 2009-10 season NYIFC is finished entirely.

I have written additional blog entries after this one here in the interim that will be released before Friday because hockey is always the story but when the team departs for Saskatoon that will be the official end of NYIFC.

At that time I will also be setting both blogs to private permanently.

I do not intend to update these pages or the sidebars any longer so to leave NYIFC visible is to present something that is sloppy and not fair to anyone.

You can always visit what these pages looked like with internet archives or Google cache old entries if you want to keep finding links from these pages.

That's about it, as I have written a few times (or said by audio) the 4/17 entry was our real goodbye and one I cannot improve upon.

Of course, when the Minnesota Vikings come calling offering me twenty five million to do NYIFC over two years we'll be right back at it next week from Saskatoon.

What will I tell you? I took the money.

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NY Times is the problem, not New York Hockey

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/05/2009 05:34:00 PM | ||Comments

All the News that's fit to print?

Long time since we saw that mantra at the Times.

Amazing what you get on a labor day weekend for stories from papers who rarely attempt to cover home games, fail to come out to cover press conferences when coaches are hired or even when franchise players drafted have their initial press conference after 10,000 attend a draft party.

It sure does not apply to New York hockey any longer at this paper. Since Ron Dicker left the Isles beat rare Dave Caldwell game coverage and mostly hit and run articles all negative beyond the Sugden feature last year is about all we have seen unless you are counting that Mandarin broadcast feature by the Times.

The Times even had legendary dynasty writer George Vecesy surface on 5/23 to tell us it may just be hockey has come and gone on Long Island here while claiming the league's biggest money loser at the Garden going into the lockout in 2004 cutting back here is a money machine despite the same paper contradicting him and as late as August 2009 the NY Times is still reporting Msg losses from it's sports division here.

But on this day the Times came out of it's New York Islander coverage cave here here to do a feature about the Isles dwindling coverage written by Mark Messier's biographer Jeff Z. Klein.

His content included an insulting old quote from Jaromir Jagr but he did fairly recap what Mr Botta saw in his tenure with the club over twenty years and noted the draft turnout showed there were a lot more loyal Islanders supporters than most outside observers realized.

And the NY Times are outsiders now, by their own choice and this is where the problem lies.

An expert was brought in to question blog coverage content hired by a team but none of that applied to Chris Botta who won over folks with his honestly and viewpoint regardless if we agreed every day or not as he told his story about Point Blank along with team President Chris Dey who gave his side of why a former team employee was hired to write about the club and in the biggest news out of this article was quoted as saying:

" There might be an opportunity for another entrepreneur to cover the Islanders in a similar manner " which was really the only thing new from the article beyond Mr Botta's efforts to find a new home for Point Blank which he has discussed a few times recently.

Mr Botta and Mr Dey as expected did a very good job here and Mr Dey put it out there about the lack of media coverage as he needed to.

Bottom line here folks is the problem has never been the New York Islanders and it's not about any clubs record or what uniform they wore in 1996 because the Devils receive the same poor coverage regardless of how many Atlantic Division titles they win.

The Rangers have had coverage cuts also, but not nearly to the same degree.

Rangers-Islanders at Msg received only AP coverage this year from the Times (for at least one Msg game) and most Ranger road games were not covered, but the budget has been there for Mr Klein, Stu Heckel and Lynn Zinser to do many Ranger game articles and blog updates plus keep an updated European league page.

If that is the case there should be plenty of resources to cover all the local New York hockey teams regardless of record by blog or print.

This problem goes on the Times editor and their staff, a small part of it goes on a lot of Ranger fans on the print side controlling spin but all of this is old news.

This problem with the Times (and you can absolutely include Newsday, Daily News, Post and the Journal News, SI Advance) is all about selective coverage that says a lot more about their business practice and not the teams they cover.

Mr Botta's Point Blank proved the fan interest is there in New York Islander hockey so excuses by editors and sometimes the writers are about them and their own lack of knowledge.

The Times supposedly went to an SI format for all hockey teams not playing at Msg (likely because they need the Knick ad revenue) but again this goes to their judgment and not how a team performs or the Knicks would not be covered by anyone.

As for the Times, go back to a traditional format, cover all eighty two games from all three local teams and forget Europe.

New York hockey comes first and this is what New York hockey needs.

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Would I take Heatley on the Isles? Absolutely

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/04/2009 05:27:00 PM | ||Comments

Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson wants the situation with Dany Heatley settled and did not give him a ringing endorsement today so given the captain's comments combined with the Senators management making his trade demand public it's not a question of if but when he will be traded, Ottawa has a lot more money to pay someone who does not wish to play there and will remain a daily distraction until he departs.

I know the fans/management and a few other teams spoke out against having Heatley on their club and no doubt won no fans in Edmonton after refusing to waive his NTC to play for the Oilers.

Would Heatley waive his NTC to come here so the Canadian media and the New York media can bash him as they did Alexei Yashin unless became a Ranger so at least the Ranger fans in the limited New York hockey media can blame the Senators for his problems? Perhaps.

Bottom line Dany Heatley holds all the cards and can hold out for any team he wants and reject any trade, this was part of his contract agreement and he's entitled to force the Senators to trade him where he wants or keep paying him as long as he reports to camp which he says he will do.

As a general manager this is not all about courtesy class or signing good character people, it's about fielding a winning team and filling needs. If you recall I flat out wrote Garth Snow should claim Sean Avery and give him Nate Thompson's spot last year because it's about production and giving your team the best chance at winning.

Character players leave in UFA all the time or simply are not good enough to take a team to the next level.

Has Dany Heatley had enough of Ottawa he would be willing to play with John Tavares and could the Isles and Sens construct the kind of trade where the Isles do not give up anything significant from their future?

I don't know.

For myself, if Bryan Murray wants Heatley off the roster and is willing to deal with the Isles (and Heatley will accept such a trade) Trent Hunter is on the table with Richard Park or an Andy Sutton/Brendan Witt choice or they can have a second round pick or a Jeff Tambellini/Blake Comeau choice or perhaps one of the prospect defenders aside from deHaan but that's about it.

No first rounders or Okposo, Bailey, Tavares and I would even take Bergenheim and Nielsen off the table. If that's what Bryan Murray wants he can find another team to deal with.

If you are on Charles Wang's side of the trade you have to give back salary to balance out such a deal and know going in Heatley could want off his third NHL team at some point in the future.

Would I put Hunter, Sutton or Witt with some combination I mentioned to offset most of Heatley's salary while Bryan Murray can work a deal with Mike Comrie or sign another player? Yes.

I'm well aware of what Garth Snow thinks of Trent Hunter as he said on the NHLPA website late in July and I agree with Snow and Hunter is no doubt a class act and a big time character player who does a lot of things that do not appear on a score sheet to win a hockey game.

Having written that if there is a chance to improve on the ice and fill a need you have to take it, Hunter has had two very poor seasons offensively and off his fast start last season there was no excuse for such a falloff even with Frans Nielsen's injury.

Absolutely know going in Heatley without Alfredsson or Spezza may not be the same player coming to a roster with kids.

If Garth Snow is really interested in a Satan or inviting in Mark Parrish here it should be for Hunter's spot on right wing because that's where they fit best.

Having written this it's a risk I would take for a combination of the players I wrote about.

Would Heatley, Murray and Garth Snow agree? Stay tuned.

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Tsn Isles Preview: Lazy, Sloppy and Lacking

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/03/2009 07:25:00 PM | Comments

Another example of why no one site or individual should preview thirty NHL teams would be the Tsn preview today released on the New York Islanders.

I would not want to attach my name to that either and simply would write staff who released this worthless preview of our club today which at first had the Isles at 15th in the Western Conference?

How much misinformation can a professional hockey website get wrong about New York's " First " hockey team? (could not resist a play on their words)

Did they even write anything of consequence about another player besides Tavares or go down the roster besides the poorly done " Slick Rick " comment about a goaltender who before last season started over sixty games his previous two years and was an all-star?

" Umpteenth knee injuries" would not describe DiPietro's career going into last season to any degree where he has missed any significant portions of a season.

Charles Wang never threatened to move the team to KC or anywhere and has made that clear on several occasions, all they got correct was his WFAN comment.

An article that's supposed to preview a team should include all the changes and man games lost to injury the previous season as a viable reason for it's struggles. I checked the Colorado preview and they did not bother doing this for the Avs either but their preview did tell us how many of their players will be UFA next summer?

Of course the New York Islanders could finish 15th in the East, it's no problem here to make that prediction but to present what was obviously a poorly done article even if the team was projected first is the problem.

That was just brutal and gave us nothing. I feel bad for Scott Cullen having to put his name to a fantasy preview behind that.

Lazy, Sloppy and Lacking performance by Tsn staff.

It will not be the last one either.
Nice interview by Katie Strang with Andy Sutton but to write the Mets debacle at CitiField is truly beyond comprehension with any other team in pro sports in terms of injuries is simply incorrect.

The Mets were not even close to the Islanders injuries problems last season which set a league record 580 plus games lost. (off the 402 games lost which led the NHL the previous year)

The Mets by comparison to the Islanders started the season relatively healthy while DiPietro, Sillinger, Comrie, Bailey could not play or tried to play hurt. The projected top six defenders over the six months played less than five games together as a unit.

Include Bill Guerin coming into camp off surgery and unable to play most of the preseason every single player on the roster sustained some sort or injury including Jeff Tambellini in camp last season.

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Islander-Sound Tiger-NHL Notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 9/02/2009 02:39:00 PM | |||||Comments

What a surprise (not) Roberto Luongo got a huge front-loaded deal that will pay him ten million dollars starting next season after his current contract expires.

What folks do not get is DiPietro's 4.5m deal (much less than Luongo) was not front loaded which is why he did leave a lot of money on the table because an injury, retirement or perhaps a buyout at some point in the future would cost him money that is basically going to be paid to Luongo earlier as he will have the bulk of his money.

Charles Wang and a lot of owners cannot afford front-loaded deals to where players get 10-20 million early in the contract complete with NTC. Many corporations can take that kind of huge loss on the books which was a loophole in the CBA that needs fixing but most individual owners cannot.
Which leads us to Paul Kelly being kicked out as NHLPA leader when that CBA is up in about two years. It will be interesting to see if the next person is militant and will want a league with many franchises losing money to simply absorb even more losses that should have a ceiling of about 40m and a floor of about 30m with no front loaded deals.

Pat Flatley resigned when Kelly was fired, I wonder if Glenn Healy will do the same and is the Heals and Flats show over at the NHLPA. I have no doubt if some players who were always about big money and making their own rules (Eric Lindros) are part of the next NHLPA leadership there will be another lockout.
Here's a real shocker for Islander fans in New York, a market where the media does actually pull for the home team despite a decade of losing had both local writers rip the Luongo deal today because the league questioned the Hossa deal by the hometown Blackhawks in the Chicago Daily Herald & Chicago Tribune.

When the Islanders sign players to long term deals Newsday usually leads the pack with criticism for the home team. Goes to show how some local media in some markets do protect their own team regardless of how long the contract is or for how many years.

What do you want me to write about Katie Strang? She is covering two teams and trying to give blog entries on the Islanders. That's her editor's choice if you are looking to place blame.

Don't worry, we have Mark Herrmann to cover the home team for Newsday (not the Isles) too bad our club does not receive that coverage for a player coming here off a poor season and it sure has been a while since the local paper had a word from John Tavares.
Congratulations and best of luck to Mr Botta for being added to Fanhouse, his feed and new site was added here for as long as NYIFC is visible, when he finds a new home for Point Blank that will be added as well.

Having written that his comments on Rob Hennigar to me were unfair writing his signing was brutally misguided and that he was a non-prospect. At the very least it required a lot more elaboration if he is going to make such claims.

Hennigar was the 2007-08 Canadian College Hockey Player of the Year and signed with an impressive resume here he put up some good numbers in Utah when he got adjusted to the next level and it's obvious another NHL organization had no problem taking a chance on him.

Hennigar deserved better from a man who a year ago at this time was lobbying to get rules changed so Brandon Sugden could play at the professional level and did such a classy job making his case the rules were waived so Sugden could return.

It should also be noted his recent entry on Charles Wang and honoring tradition was also unfair in a lot of ways. Whenever Wang brought back former teams all we got from Newsday was Wang was doing it to sell tickets and Jim Baumbach questioning whether Al Arbour's win should count which if he pulled that in a market with ten writers who were big time fans of the team they would have eaten Baumbach alive faster than Steve Zipay ripped Ranger fans for ignoring the Bathgate and Howell retirements.

Mr Wang tried to make up for a lot of things John Pickett failed to do and this organization has a lot of former Islanders working here. Bob Bourne should not be the only one in the new Islanders Hall of Fame but let's give Wang a little more time because two years ago he took criticism for Core of the Four Weekend which was absurd and now he takes criticism again?
So the Bridgeport Sound Tigers Vice President to Howard Saffan is Luke Milbury, who I would gather is the son of our former general manager being Mike Milbury has a son named Luke, why was this hidden from the public until today's release?

I guess to ask this question is to answer it by writing that may not go over very well at all considering all the cutbacks in the Islanders media department, even if he does an excellent job.
So the public comment period is over for the Lighthouse and it's down to the hearing, adopting a final scope which means x buildings go on x spot and then the zoning is approved or rejected with a vote. What are the fans needed for when they cannot speak or participate?

Especially when the team is basically shutting out any fan who does not live on Long Island?

Believe it or not folks, I actually believe the TOH did not know that was the date of the Kansas City game because most of these people could care less about the hockey team or name five players much less know their preseason schedule. If they really picked the date to bust Wang's chops it just tells me they don't want the project despite all the recent (election year) talk of working together.
Finally I am almost out of things to experiment with and will likely be done by the time the club hits the ice in Saskatoon. I also added Justin Bourne's THN feed to our media blog feed section with his link and many other professional writers added to the sidebar.

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