New York Islander Fan Central | 6/30/2010 08:42:00 PM | Comments

One Final Entry On Front-Loaded Contracts

New York Islander Fan Central | 6/30/2010 03:15:00 PM | Comments
I have done this blog entry several times the last few years, I don't like writing it, however someone has to.

This is usually when we start reading free agents won's sign with New York, the Coliseum is this and that.

It's complete non-sense.

The media fans of other teams don't write that about their own buildings or teams because it's bad for business, the local papers that need the clubs advertising dollars, who need a good relationship with the teams turn into designated salesman in too many instances.

You think it helps the Detroit News/Free Press to write Joe Louis Arena is a dump when Little Caesars Pizza advertises Red Wing hockey in their newspapers, and owns the Detroit Tigers?

Example: Look at the Manhattan papers selling the laughingstock Knicks and a building that is as big a dump as the Coliseum.

Of course it's the exact opposite here, the local paper (even before owned by another NHL franchise) could care less about the New York Islanders and their print media writers are not fans, but people on assignment.

Garth Snow a few years ago said the Coliseum was one thing brought up in some negotiations, and the media has run with it ever since. His job then as now is to sell the LightHouse for his boss when required, but that was a mistake on his part at the time, which was overblown.

Greg Logan at the time was also too busy selling Msg/Cablevision to bother reporting whether the Isles offered Chris Drury, the same front loaded contract Msg/Cablevision offered or what kind of contract Ryan Smyth was offered by Charles Wang vs Colorado.

We all found out later on, Smyth's deal was front loaded.

The age of the Nassau Coliseum is not the real issue (compared to dumps like Detroit, Edmonton, formerly Pittsburgh/Meadowlands and of course Msg which will become the league's oldest building next season) but the front-loaded contracts so players can control their money themselves, as opposed to later when escrow, or a new CBA/lockout could take some of it from them.

Detroit, a franchise that had to give away cars before New York owned the Stanley Cup in the eighties, became a big draw by spending close to eighty million dollars a year pre lockout, before handing out tons of long-term front-loaded deals.

Marian Hossa (a nine million dollar one year contract in Detroit), Duncan Keith, Huet, Campbell, and the front-loaded deals is why these players selected Chicago, a franchise that had three thousand season ticket holders a few years ago.

Wang/most non-corporate owners cannot afford that kind of huge, short-term loss, this is biggest reason star UFA do not sign here.

The rhetoric of winning or x franchises history sounds nice for the press conference, the writers/fans in the professional media selling tickets for those teams indirectly with their articles, but for many when all things are even (family) it comes down to salary.

Billion dollar corporations that own hockey teams can afford to take a twenty million dollar hit the first two years of one contract, or lose money on hockey operations for a few years to afford such a contract, Charles Wang and many other owners cannot.

This is also why you see a Scott Gomez, Ryan Smyth or others moved after a few seasons. The front-loaded portions of the contracts have been paid out. The player may have struggled, but that contract is now less of a financial risk, so they can be traded hoping their former team was just the wrong fit for them.

Someone signs in New York, they also pay much more in taxes and cost of living. No big hockey endorsement money available in baseball/NJ football's biggest city.

I'm not signing sad songs here for Alexei Yashin, but look at how much money he lost in his contract, which was one of the huge pre lockout contracts not front loaded?

Twenty four percent of his contract, a full-year's pay lost, 1/3 of his contract lost in a buyout, paid out over double the time.

Players and agents don't want any chance of their clients losing their money, so it's front-loaded or no deal.

Even Jason Blake received a front-loaded contract with Toronto, as soon as he got a large percentage of his money, he was traded.

I suppose it's easy for us to ask Charles Wang to lose even more money starting Thursday by front-loading some contracts, however it's not our money and not realistic.

It's also not realistic for most non-corporate teams, even those in new buildings where they make all revenue.

Bottom line, without a front-loaded contract, star players, and even most upper tier players don't sign anywhere anymore.

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Bergenheim, Tambellini, Bentivoglio & Hughes Not Qualified

New York Islander Fan Central | 6/29/2010 07:48:00 AM | Comments
Islanders website: Reported the team tendered qualifying offers to Matt Moulson, Rob Schremp, Dustin Kohn, Dylan Reese and Nathan Lawson, but not Sean Bergenheim or Jeff Tambellini.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio reports Sean Bentivoglio was also not tendered a qualifying offer, after being told by the club he would be, so he is now a free agent as well.

Bobby Hughes, also was not tendered a qualifying offer.

2004 First Round selection, Petteri Nokelainen was placed on waivers, who does have a contract with Phoenix.

NYIFC Comments:
To be fair this is a trend we are seeing more and more around the NHL, in a league with a salary cap, however the Islanders are not up against the cap.

Having written this a tough day for those who have seen something special from Sean Bergenheim since he was signed out of the WJC. Bergenheim, made his debut with Steve Stirling's Islanders before the lockout. His hustle, speed, offensive ability and an edge to his game was something which stood out, I felt would develop and become a productive NHL player.

We can talk about the NHL lockout or his holdout or two years lost, but he came back and received more than a fair chance.

In 2008-09 it seemed Bergenheim and Scott Gordon had hit a wall, and reports were things could have gone either way. He started producing and both were finally on the same page with things looking good going into 2009-10.

Whether it be injuries or something else when Bergenheim got chances on the top lines (on a club without a veteran top line) last season his play was uneven and at times struggled, beyond the aggressive penalties.

Absolutely, he has not been the most durable player.

Bottom line, a year ago he was worried about his production and was told not to worry about numbers, in print by Scott Gordon at the time. Reality was the numbers were not there, and by the end of last season he was back in the same fourth line he began with.

I thought a trade was coming involving him, and he had some value, only management knows if they tried to include him in a deal.

I do think he will find the right situation on another NHL team. There is also a long shot he could be signed here again as an UFA, however with left wing depth in the organization, I would not count on it.
As for Jeff Tambellini, I absolutely felt he did not get a fair chance from Scott Gordon, and Ted Nolan before that. He has hands, offensive skills, skating skills that are not present on the current roster.

Forgetting his numbers he did get to the net and played physical, he deserved much better than to sit for weeks on end without playing, and he took a very low contract for the last years to receive a chance.

Another NHL team with some size and NHL veterans with skill, likely do take a chance but from there it's up to him to earn a full-time spot.
Overall the Islanders on paper hopefully now get a little bigger going into next season with these decisions. In the end, how do you justify using a second rounder on Jesse Joensuu, paying him, then after having him play 140+ games, not give him a real chance at earning an NHL spot?

I'm not sure if these decisions slide Blake Comeau back to the left wing, which is the spot he had played most of his first two seasons at.

Times Transcript: Moncton Wildcats head coach, Danny Flynn says Kirill Kabanov will be protected by the team in Tuesday 6/29 CHL Import Draft, and are having discussions about having him again play for the Wildcats next season, if he does not make the NHL.

NYIFC Comments:
Consider this like Tavares, deHaan, Bailey and other past picks in terms of where he can play, and he first has to earn an NHL contract.

Watertown Daily Times: Cap Carey has more from Isles seventh rounder, Cody Rosen, who thought the call from Garth Snow was a prank from a friend, before his father read NYIFC, his coach at Clarkson, also was surprised at the Isles selection, and comments.

NYIFC Comments:
Kidding about the NYIFC part, but it would have been priceless to listen to the call between Snow trying to convince Rosen, who he was, and that he was selected.

Still working on something/somewhere from deHart, who is the only pick, who has not had a newspaper comment somewhere.

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Islander News Articles 6/28

New York Islander Fan Central | 6/28/2010 09:20:00 AM | ||||Comments
Espn.com: Joe McDonald has an in-depth conversation with Islanders Head Coach Scott Gordon, regarding John Tavares about his first season in the NHL.

NYIFC Comments:
The best commentary from Scott Gordon since he was hired as he goes through the details of how the staff worked with Tavares during the 2009-10 season.

If you read one article about Tavares-Gordon this is the one. Great insights from the coach on how he will forget that Tavares is nineteen, what happened when Tavares struggled, and looking ahead for the 2009 first round selection.

Kingston Whig Standard: Mike Koreen has the first comments from seventh round selection, goaltender, Cody Rosen on being selected by New York with the club's final pick in the draft, and his conversations with general manager, Garth Snow.

Moncton Telegraph: Neil Hodge has some quotes from Wildcats, head coach Danny Flynn, on Brandon Gormley (winner of Michael Bossy Trophy this past season as the QMJHL's top professional prospect) while the writer gives some background on Kirill Kabanov.

Times and Transcript: Chris Johnston has many repeat comments from Kabanov's press conference Saturday.

Sault St Marie Evening News: Rob Roos reports on Doug Weight being inducted into the Lake Superior Athletic Sports Hall of Fame Saturday night, during a banquet at the LSSU Arts Center, as he discusses his injury status, how it hampered him a year ago, and returning to the Islanders as captain in 2010-11.

Wilon Patch: Bob Birge reports on the Danbury Whalers' franchise that will debut in the new Federal League this fall, with Sound Tiger assistant, Pat Bingham's comments.

The free agency section has been created, the twitter box will be back as a blog entry around 5pm, as full time coverage for the draft weekend comes to an end at NYIFC.

Prospect blog now has all 2010 draft picks, draft links moved to prospect section of this page.

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New York Islander Fan Central | 6/27/2010 07:32:00 PM | Comments
I seem to write this every summer, but it absolutely applies when 7/1 begins, if you want to add, you have to subtract.

For those expecting five UFA to be signed on 7/1, that's not realistic because of the front-loaded contracts required, and the roster depth currently in place.

Many of the possible replacements for Jon Sim, Richard Park, Tim Jackman and Freddy Meyer, have already played here.

I would expect all of last years Islanders will be qualified aside from Jeff Tambellini.

Updated 6/29:
Add Bergenheim to list of not qualified.

Bottom line, depth chart does lie, not many spots available.

You want to make the case, it's time to move Nielsen, Hunter Comeau, Martinek, or Bruno Gervais, fair enough.

But you cannot sign their replacements first.

If they follow same strategy with Niederreiter as Bailey or Tavares, and bring him directly into the NHL that extra right wing spot is locked.

Depth Chart

xxxxxx-Schremp-Weight (if agreement in principal becomes contract)

Martin, Gillies, Joensuu, Figren, Marcinko, Rakhshani, Petrov, Kabanov, Niederreiter, Rechlicz, Trevor Smith, David Ullstrom. (did I miss anyone?)


Katic, Kohn, Reese, deHaan, Harmonic, Witt, Klementyev, Flood, DeHart, Wotton.

Dustin Kohn requires a one-way contract to retain his rights, he's a 2nd round pick.


Hopefully a few folks read this and understand five big dollar UFA are not being signed here (unless there are trades first) because there is no place for them, and it has nothing to do with money (even front-loaded) or the age of the Coliseum.

If they want to add from outside they have to subtract, if Garth Snow is going to make a trade so he can add or sign someone, this week is the time he likely has to do so.

Absolutely his roster has to get bigger, with more speed and production, but that may come down to some very tough choices or he does it from within.

They did not sign all these prospects, not to give them a real chance to play here, players like Figren, Marcinko, Joensuu were high selections.

You want to pay a Mark Eaton, Anton Volchenkov (at five million) or bring back Andy Sutton so Travis Harmonic or Calvin deHaan, have no shot to make this team out of camp?

I do not.

How about the next Guerin, Satan so Niederreiter, or one of the players listed above have no shot?

Only spots that should be made for veterans are ones who can put the puck in the net, and bring skills/size/speed lacking.

I moved the draft section down the page, updated the prospect blog, and created an UFA section. At this time, I'm not sure I will be blogging on 7/1 or even using twitter.

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Islander News Articles 6/27

New York Islander Fan Central | 6/27/2010 11:43:00 AM | Comments
One of my favorite days of the year.

Today/tomorrow some professional media needing page views must do an eye-candy, winners/losers draft article for something it could take five to ten years to determine, about kids most know absolutely nothing about, and in most cases likely never even saw them play one minute of hockey in person.

The writers who do these kind of articles are the only real losers, take the day off or just go make some calls, provide some background information on these young players because that's what winners do with their space for the fans.

Winners/Losers articles are for players you see play each game, and for trades/upcoming UFA, not this, and many of them turn out wrong.

But this is done now because it's necessary so some can get their page views.

The CHL Import Draft is Tuesday at 9am, but most of the Islander current selections are committed to school. It could be a possibility Kirill Kabanov's CHL rights are moved here to another team.

AP: Recaps many of the trades made during the weekend.

NY Daily News: Ranger beatwriter Michael Obernaure actually had to use his Ranger blog to to discuss, Kirill Kabanov, giving us some stories from former Islander, Gordie Clark, about the Isles pick.

NYIFC Comments:
Imagine if Peter Botte was sent, given a full-time New York Islander blog, and the proper space each day to cover the team? Always great listening to the newly drafted players correctly call our team, New York.

In the comedy department, Larry Brooks writes the Hall Of Fame selection process is tainted by personal agendas and long-standing grudges because Pat Burns was not selected, adding they have no accountability, credibility, or heart.

NYIC Comments:
Kind of like Mr Brooks and the writers, who constantly snubs players, coaches, or league executives because of long-standing grudges in the many things they control the voting for?

Make no mistake, I have a lot of respect for Pat Burns and what he's going through is beyond terrible. His hockey record, for me, does not indicate he should be inducted the first time around as a coach.

Oh yes, the same 2003 Devils that won the Stanley Cup under Pat Burns, that Mr Brooks writes is comparatively weak, gave the MVP to the goalie from the losing Ducks team that year, snubbing Martin Brodeur.

After three articles selling Rangers (likely written only to keep the Post from making him go cover Yankees-Dodger baseball as an extra) he devoted one Kabanov quote, to the Islander draft Sunday.

Montreal Gazette via Edmonton Journal: Jim Matheson repeats many of Kirill Kabanov's comments from Saturday, then surprisingly claims the general consensus is the Islanders sold junior hotshot John Tavares to their fans so he had to be selected him when they had second thoughts before the draft and seriously considered taking Matt Duchene instead, also that Duchene looks like a more well-rounded center with the Colorado Avalanche.

NYIFC Comments:
Mr Mathewson usually seems to have it in for the Islanders in his shock-jock column and today was no different. I have no doubt if Kabanov was drafted by Edmonton, he would not have made claims about where anyone supposedly slinked, because his job as an Edmonton Oilers salesman is to sell the home team, that just fired/retired it's head coach.

As for John Tavares vs Matt Duchene, the Islanders did not have to sell anything to anyone, because this was done by Canadian media for years.

I have no doubt a year from now if Tyler Seguin is doing better than Taylor Hall, considering the disparity in talent between Edmonton and Boston, Mr Mathewson will be among the first to point out that Seqiun's supporting cast is why he seems the more well-rounded player vs the new home-town media ticket for the Edmonton Journal.

I hope Mr Mathewson understands there was a talent disparity between Colorado and New York last season from day one, just as there is in Tampa Bay who had LeCavalier, StLouis, and others to mentor Steven Stamkos the year before.

Make no mistake, Matt Duchene is an outstanding your talent, as is Taylor Hall, and Tyler Sequin, but to claim after a single season anyone is more well-rounded than the other and what Islander management was doing last summer is a poor job.

As for Islander management, Edmonton is paying Robert Nilsson and Ryan O'Marra.

Fox Sports: Reports a record twenty two players out of high school were drafted which is a new record, and has a few words from Islander draft pick, Ben Nelson, about his selection.

NYIFC Comments:
It's great this many high school prospects were drafted. Having written this between the salary cap, cost of employing scouts with travel expenses, the problems with transfer agreements/KHL, the two year rule with regard to signing North American drafted prospects, it's a safer cost-effective strategy to draft out of high school.

What's next for the Islanders is we see who they qualify, I have read two items from professional media that claim 6/28, I have now seen two others write 6/30, so I give up.

Try to remember the Islanders can only have fifty contracts and look at the roster going into Thursday knowing there are very few spots available for UFA, unless the general manager subtracts someone. If I am correct, Dustin Kohn has to be brought to the NHL, and that may apply to Dylan Reese.

Add that to MacDonald, Streit, Gervais, Martinek, Hillen plus perhaps a spot left open for deHaan, Harmonic and there is no room to give Andy Sutton or Anton Volchenkov (insert x defender) a multi-million dollar contract.

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New York Islander Fan Central | 6/26/2010 10:22:00 AM | |||Comments
New York got the wild card at 65 in Kirill Kabanov, with his ITV Interview from Los Angeles.

Tsn.ca: Have comments from Kirill Kabanov and general manager, Garth Snow.

NHL.com: Adam Kimelman, ahas comments from Islanders Quebec scout, Mario Saraceno, the Islanders' Quebec scout who advocated for Kabanov at the draft table on the club looking this year for top-six skill level with some size, along with the two first rounders. This article also includes Garth Snow, and Kirill Kabanov's comments.

New York Draft Picks:
65-Kirill Kabanov
82-Jason Clark with his ITV interview at the draft.
95-TRADED TO COLUMBUS (Isles trade #95 pick to Colorado or Columbus for 2011 third round pick)
125-D Tony DeHart.
155-160: TRADED TO ATLANTA (Islanders trade #155 and #160 to Atlanta for a 2011 fifth round pick)
185-Cody Rosen, goaltender, Clarkson ECAC.

The Islander website now has interviews and recap of selections being made from day, so I took down video from Friday night.

NYIFC Comments:
Once again, I will not attempt to play draft expert.

It takes years find out if the right selections were made. Indirectly or inadvertently perhaps, they sent a little message to Kirill Petrov/agent with this pick, even though he is coming to summer camp.

Regardless Kabanov is an excellent gamble in round three, and not tied to another KHL team.

I will add perhaps, Garth Snow/staff had a few words with former assistant, Danny Flynn before making this pick, but from here it's up to Kabanov.

I'm not going to mislead anyone, I did not really follow his story so I don't know, all I can write is he has now been drafted by an NHL organization. If he wants to earn a professional contract, part of his learning process will be to conduct himself with professionalism.

Aside from that some felt the club, needed a top defenseman, they only got one later and moved three other selections, for picks next summer or a possible trade in the coming days/weeks.

You know going in, I felt they needed a draft with some big forwards and I explained why, but what I think means absolutely nothing because again I'm not in Bridgeport watching the prospects develop or what management thinks of the progress of some players.

Tony DeHart is an overage player from OHL, who played two games in Springfield, so he may have to be signed and brought immediately to Bridgeport on a roster with several players locked into spots, including Anton Klementyev, he seems to be out of options in the CHL.

Garth Snow did not have a lot of luck out of Clarkson with his other two selections, and who knows why another goaltender given depth but it is a seventh rounder, who likely on paper replaces Jase Weslosky.

They did draft some taller players on a depth chart that needed them.

Aside from that, ask me in five years for most of these selections, we're still wondering about Bergenheim, Comeau, Nielsen, Tambellini.

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Islander News Articles 6/26

New York Islander Fan Central | 6/26/2010 09:53:00 AM | Comments
AP: Ira Podell, always one to keep the glass half-filled on the New York Islanders, does the AP report with comments from General Manager Garth Snow, and Nino Niederreiter.

NYIFC Comments:
In the hot air department that is not worthy of a link, Larry Brooks only notes the Islanders passed on Cam Fowler and Brandon Gormley, with some quotes from Garth Snow, but did not ask the same question of Cablevision management at the draft.

University of North Dakota: Issued a release with some additional background information on Brock Nelson.

Montreal Gazette: Pat Hickey questions the omission of Pat Burns from being elected to the Hall of Fame, and feels this slight was compounded by Jim Devellano's candidacy which he writes was pushed by former Islander President/GM Bill Torrey. Mr Hickey goes on to question his role in New York and Detroit's success.

NYIFC Comments:
I'm going to write this as Mr Hickey did, that Pat Burns struggling badly with cancer does not matter, his election should be based on his record.

But on one hand Mr Hickey writes, Pat Burns health should not be a consideration because he belongs in the Hall of Fame, while on the other he writes, it will be too late for Pat Burns if or when he receives the honor he deserves.

Seems like a contradiction, and that it does matter to him.

If he does not believe Jim Devellano belongs in the Hall of Fame that is his viewpoint, however he should not question's anyone role in a teams successes or that others pushed someone into the Hall of Fame, much less Bill Torrey.

Again forgetting Mr Burns failing health, just because he was a popular coach in Montreal and Toronto, does he absolutely merit induction based on his record? He won his Stanley Cup in New Jersey with the Devils, I seriously doubt Mr Hickey would be pushing this hard for his induction if he did not coach in Montreal or Toronto where he was popular.

Philadelphia Daily News: Reported Dan Hamhuis negotiating rights, whom the Flyers acquired last Saturday from Nashville for defenseman Ryan Parent were traded to Pittsburgh for a third-round pick in next year's draft.

NYIFC Comments:
So Ryan Parent for a third, and the Nashville-Philadelphia connection for dumping players looking for big money apparently fails. I guess Comcast decided not to front load this contract or overpay.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio late last night in his blog reported initial word out of Bridgeport is that Sean Bentivoglio, Dustin Kohn, Nate Lawson and Dylan Reese should be given qualifying offers making them RFA.

NYIFC Comments:
Despite a conflicting report out of Chicago, 6/28 is the deadline for qualifying potential restricted free agents, that include Jeff Tambellini.

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New York Trades Both Second Rd Picks To Chicago Blackhawks For Brock Nelson at 30

New York Islander Fan Central | 6/25/2010 11:03:00 PM | Comments

The Islanders traded 35th/58th overall selections to the Chicago BlackHawks for the 30th selection, where they have drafted center, Brock Nelson.

NHL.com: Has a profile of Nelson, who will attend North Dakota next year.

Islanders website: Has comments from the Islanders selection.

NYIFC Comments:
Perhaps a prelude to a future trade for Kris Versteeg, or not. The Islanders no longer have a second round selection, but added a 6'3, 205 lb player.

Video of both selections, and their interviews are posted at top of NYIFC.

USA Today: Kyle Woodlief, who follows prospects year round wrote the following on 6/1.

Nelson plays for tiny, but legendary, Warroad High School, the alma mater of several former NHL stars. He's a legitimate power center with soft hands and scoring touch around the net. He's very dangerous from the circles in and is still very raw — he could get a whole lot better as he figures things out. Lots of teams are lying in the weeds on this kid, and somebody will get an itchy trigger finger late in the first or early in the second round for fear that another club will jump up and grab him.

NYIFC Comments:
This is why folks should follow the work of Mr Woodlief, who reports on prospects year-round.

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New York Selects Nino Niederreiter

New York Islander Fan Central | 6/25/2010 08:03:00 PM | Comments

NHL.com: Report New York selects, RW Nino Niederreiter with the fifth overall selection.

Islanders website: Has General Manager, Garth Snow's comments on the selection.

NYIFC Comments:
Will not play prospect expert as promised. I felt a scoring winger was needed, and that's what was drafted, with some size who has been playing in North America.

Seems Columbus could not trade back on Ryan Johansen, and perhaps Garth Snow found the same problem if the staff had settled absolutely on Nino Niederreiter, both were rated lower than where they were taken.

Tampa jumped right on Brett Connolly and Cam Fowler was there too, so those and a few others will be the comparative players moving forward.

Rick DiPietro was at the Islander draft table.

ITV: Did post a brief video with comments from owner, Charles Wang, and General Manager, Garth Snow. The ITV/NHL feeds have had problems all night and Snow was very tough to hear.

Additional video with Head Coach, Scott Gordon, who also are interviewed.

Islanders website: Has comments from John Tavares, who contacted Niederreiter, with advise.

According to Katie Strang's twitter, Snow wanted to move back a few spots, but was not able to, nor could he do anything to move up when Fowler-Gormley started dropping with his 35th selection.

Updated Comments From Nino Niederreiter:
Islanders website: Has comments from Niederreiter on his selection, with more from, Garth Snow.
Tons of twitter updates from draft as well by myself, tonight.

The new jersey has an orange circle on the outer logo, so it is different from core of four jersey.

More updates, and blog entries Saturday.

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New York Islander Fan Central | 6/24/2010 12:05:00 PM |
NYIFC will have full coverage of the 2010 entry draft for the New York Islanders this weekend.

The bulk of the entries will be on Saturday because the club has nine selections at this time, unless a trade/transaction is made on Thursday or Friday.

The crawl has been temporarily added back to the blog during this time w/updated selections, as they are made. The prospect blog will be updated with profiles on new selections at some point next week. Links to major draft sites and live sites to follow draft are added to sidebar.

No point linking to a lot of worthless, professional media speculation who's projections have the club picking among at least four players, unless General Manager Garth Snow or Asst Gm, Ryan Jankowski are quoted, it's of little value.

As I wrote a while back, despite always subscribing to the best player available thinking, this singular year I do feel the club needs to settle on another forward given prospect depth on back-line, combined with a lack of "statistical" progression from Robin Figren, Tomas Marcinko, Jesse Joensuu, Justin DiBenedetto, Matt Martin, along with the other forward prospect depth currently in Bridgeport.

This can change very quickly, and progression can be measured many different ways, by professionals working with these players, not by fans like myself watching game, or reading articles.

The twitter feed for professional media here, has added a lot of coverage. I will try and filter out those feeds less hockey-centric, or writers assigned other sports. Non hockey centric ads or amateur fan updates from Islanders twitter will no longer be included on right sidebar of NYIFC.

As written recently, I will not attempt to become a prospect expert. I will give you links to professional media on the players drafted, with quotes from New York Islander professional scouting staff on each selection, along with some past background articles. The CSB/Tsn/Kyle Woodlief/professional services have been available for a while, with special link to Isles Draft Central page.

As always, the professional media is the only standard for coverage here.

Early next week, I will be unavailable for most of Monday and likely for a good part of Tuesday and this could extend longer. If the Islanders do not release a list of players qualified before the 6/28 deadline, I will have to catch up at a later time, it should be noted one paper now list this deadline as 6/30, however that's not what Tampa Bay website listed.

During the weekend, I will also attempt to put together a free agent section for 7/1 on the sidebar, and will try and add something with live free agent updates.

It should be noted because NYIFC is no longer a full-time, year-round blog, we are not accepting comments beyond e-mails. NYIFC twitter feed is active, usually daily, and folks are always welcome for respectful hockey discussion.

As written previously there will be no announcement with regard to the future of this blog, regardless of what is eventually decided for 2010-11.

Thanks to everyone for their outstanding support of New York Islander Fan Central.

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Kate Murray: "Lighthouse Zoning Blueprint "

New York Islander Fan Central | 6/23/2010 09:52:00 PM | Comments
LI Herald: Reports within the next two weeks, the TOH plans to unveil a special zoning blueprint that could make way for a “scaled-down” version of the Lighthouse with Supervisor Kate Murray's comments, who confirmed that the Lighthouse group have not seen plans for the new zoning.
“We have been working really diligently since we made our announcement in January that we would be coming up with a smaller-scale version of the developers’ plans.”

“We certainly hope those developers embrace [the new zoning] and we ultimately build it because we want to create jobs,” Murray said. “We want to have an economic shot in the arm in the Coliseum area.”

Kate Murray also confirmed, any plan for the Coliseum property that involved a Shinnecock Nation Casino would go beyond the town’s jurisdiction, and has yet to review any details for such a plan.

“We haven’t seen any documents or proposals, so it would really be premature at this point to comment on any potential siting of a gambling casino,” she said.

NYIFC Comments:
This is just the special zoning blueprint, this is not even the scaled down version yet.

So in short, when the fan/hockey focus will be on the general manager building his team through free agency, with some pressure on Charles Wang to spend money on free agents, the TOH will take the spotlight with some zoning, they designed, however expect Charles Wang and/or Scott Rechler to pay for.

On the Nassau front, Ed Mangano, is doing his own planning.

TOH/Kate Murray have also apparently not seen those concepts, nor do they have any control over what is built, which could contradict any scaled down version of a LH project, regardless if Wang and/or Rechler had any interest.

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New York Islanders 2010-11 Schedule Released

New York Islander Fan Central | 6/22/2010 12:13:00 PM | Comments
NHL 2010-2011 SCHEDULE (AS OF 6/22/10) (All Times Local)


Oct. 9 Dallas, 7:00 p.m.
Oct. 11 Rangers, 1:00 p.m.
Oct. 13 at Washington, 7:00 p.m.
Oct. 15 at Pittsburgh, 7:00 p.m.
Oct. 16 Colorado, 7:00 p.m.
Oct. 18 at Toronto, 7:00 p.m.
Oct. 21 at Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 23 at Florida, 7:00 p.m.
Oct. 27 at Montreal, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 29 Montreal, 7:00 p.m.
Oct. 30 at Philadelphia, 7:00 p.m.

Nov. 3 at Carolina, 7:00 p.m.
Nov. 4 at Ottawa, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 6 Philadelphia, 7:00 p.m.
Nov. 10 at Anaheim, 7:00 p.m.
Nov. 11 at San Jose, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 13 at Los Angeles, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 17 Tampa Bay, 7:00 p.m.
Nov. 20 Florida, 7:00 p.m.
Nov. 21 at Atlanta, 5:00 p.m.
Nov. 24 Columbus, 7:00 p.m.
Nov. 26 New Jersey, 1:00 p.m.

Dec. 2 Rangers, 7:00 p.m.
Dec. 3 at Rangers, 7:00 p.m.
Dec. 5 Philadelphia, 1:00 p.m.
Dec. 9 at Boston, 7:00 p.m.
Dec. 11 Atlanta, 7:00 p.m.
Dec. 13 at Nashville, 7:00 p.m.
Dec. 16 Anaheim, 7:00 p.m.
Dec. 18 Phoenix, 7:00 p.m.
Dec. 22 Tampa Bay, 7:00 p.m.
Dec. 23 at New Jersey, 7:00 p.m.
Dec. 26 Montreal, 7:00 p.m.
Dec. 27 at Rangers, 7:00 p.m.
Dec. 29 Pittsburgh, 7:00 p.m.
Dec. 31 at Detroit, 7:00 p.m.

Jan. 3 at Calgary, 7:00 p.m.
Jan. 6 at Edmonton, 7:00 p.m.
Jan. 8 at Colorado, 1:00 p.m.
Jan. 9 at Chicago, 6:00 p.m.
Jan. 11 Vancouver, 7:00 p.m.
Jan. 13 Ottawa, 7:00 p.m.
Jan. 15 Buffalo, 7:00 p.m.
Jan. 17 New Jersey, 1:00 p.m.
Jan. 20 Washington, 7:00 p.m.
Jan. 21 at Buffalo, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 23 Buffalo, 3:00 p.m.
Jan. 25 at Pittsburgh, 7:00 p.m.
Jan. 26 Carolina, 7:00 p.m.

Feb. 1 at Atlanta, 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 2 at Pittsburgh, 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 5 Ottawa, 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 8 Toronto, 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 10 at Montreal, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 11 Pittsburgh, 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 13 at Buffalo, 3:00 p.m.
Feb. 15 at Ottawa, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 17 Boston, 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 19 Los Angeles, 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 21 Florida, 1:00 p.m.
Feb. 22 at Toronto, 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 24 at Philadelphia, 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 26 Washington, 7:00 p.m.

Mar. 1 at Washington, 7:00 p.m.
Mar. 2 Minnesota, 7:00 p.m.
Mar. 5 St. Louis, 1:00 p.m.
Mar. 6 New Jersey, 1:00 p.m.
Mar. 8 Toronto, 7:00 p.m.
Mar. 11 Boston, 7:00 p.m.
Mar. 12 at New Jersey, 7:00 p.m.
Mar. 15 at Rangers, 7:00 p.m.
Mar. 18 at Carolina, 7:00 p.m.
Mar. 19 at Florida, 7:00 p.m.
Mar. 22 at Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m.
Mar. 24 Atlanta, 7:00 p.m.
Mar. 26 Philadelphia, 7:00 p.m.
Mar. 30 at New Jersey, 7:00 p.m.
Mar. 31 Rangers, 7:00 p.m.

Apr. 2 Carolina, 7:00 p.m.
Apr. 6 at Boston, 7:00 p.m.
Apr. 8 Pittsburgh, 7:00 p.m.
Apr. 9 at Philadelphia, 7:00 p.m.

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Season Opener 10/9, Pre-Season Schedule Announced

New York Islander Fan Central | 6/21/2010 03:17:00 PM | Comments
The Islanders are not making my blogging easy, every time I write something they release a new announcement, but that's good news.

Full Preseason Schedule has been released.

9/29-Saskatoon vs Calgary
9/29-Wachovia Center vs Philadelphia
10/1-Prudential Center vs New Jersey
10/2-Nassau Coliseum vs New Jersey
10/2-Pepsi Coliseum, Quebec vs Montreal.

All split-squad games begin at 7pm Est.

The full NHL schedule will be announced on Tuesday 6/22, according to Katie Strang, the home opener will be Saturday 10/9 against Dallas. To the best of my knowledge, this is also the season opener.

The Islander rookies will play the Bruins rookies at Shelton Ct on 9/14 & 9/15, before training camp officially opens for Boston.

Shelton, Ct is the Sound Tigers practice facility, so consider these home games for rookies.

NYIFC Comments:
This is somewhat different for the Isles, who have the prospects practice at Iceworks before the official camp opens, then they depart for somewhere as a full group. Boston will be going overseas and do not play the Isles as part of their preseason.

No point leaving in prior comments on preseason.

Very unusual for the club to have split-squad games to this degree, over such a short time-frame, and distance. I would guess main training camp will be in New York.

It should be noted several clubs will have split squad games this pre-season, many teams are only playing six games, and we know the club had to change it's preseason plan and would not have played NHL exhibition games if they had traveled to China.
Prospect David Toews is likely expected to leave school and join the Brandon Wheat Kings, the Isles maintain his signing rights until 2012 per Mike Van Ryan changes in new CBA. This was on the menu for quite a while, so do not associate this with his brother in any way.
I'm not sure what I'm doing on Friday or Saturday, but if available I will have full blog entries here, as we have in the past.

Prospect Information/Isles website updates included all over NYIFC.
Qualifying offers due by 6/28 or one week, some teams have released this information already. If you have been following twitter entries here, you have latest.

No doubt, Isles will do another release now that I wrote about it, bring it on.
Speculation on trades/signings/moves? Hunter, Bergenheim, Martinek, Comeau, Nielsen, Gervais, are the likely players Garth Snow would make available, along with draft picks, but little else.

Not as if Bergenhiem's value is high right now, and other team officials saw a lot of the bad goals allowed Comeau was credited with.

We'll see. A lot more (media) talk than action before drafts, outside New York hockey writers have newspapers to sell, here we have baseball.

In the strange but true department, Msg + is showing New York Islanders vs Washington game six in 1993 Monday 6/21 at 8pm, but is not showing the newly branded FoxWoods Liberty WNBA team on their newtwork, owned by Cablevision according to a recent NY Times article which also features poor Red Bull ratings on primary Msg Network.

NYIFC Comments:
Why did I write this? Because Msg coverage controls team ratings which helps it's marketing, which extends beyond New York Islander hockey.

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Qualifying Offers for New York Islanders Deadline 6/28

New York Islander Fan Central | 6/16/2010 10:32:00 PM | Comments
Some teams websites Dallas/Tampa Bay are releasing their lists of players who have been given qualifying offers already. Katie Strang of Newsday, apparently listened to Garth Snow's radio interview, and adds, " the Islanders plan on extending a qualifying offer to Lawson at some point this summer."

NYIFC Comments:
At some point this summer is by the 6/28 deadline, perhaps she asked the gm this question and got a no comment, however she needs to report what the qualifying offer deadline is for the public.

Ct Post: Mr Fornabaio released a list for the organization on 4/22 in terms of Bridgeport and New York.

To the best of my knowledge/Mr Fornabaio's list the only RFA not included is Bobby Hughes, who would also require a qualifying offer.

Sean Bergenheim, Matt Moulson, Rob Schremp, Jeff Tambellini, Sean Bentivoglio, Dustin Kohn, Nathan Lawson, Dylan Reese and Hughes are the complete list.

Here are the rules per CBA, and Dallas Stars Website:
Teams are required to extend a one-year “qualifying offer” to any current restricted free agent by June 28 in order to receive the right of the first refusal or draft choice compensation should that respective player sign an offer sheet with another NHL club. The qualifying offers will expire at 4 p.m. (Central Time) on Thursday, July 15.

Qualifying offers fall into three categories:
1. A player whose prior year salary was equal or less than $660,000 must receive a qualifying offer of 110% of their prior year’s salary.
2. A player whose prior year salary was more than $660,000 and up to $1 million must receive a qualifying offer of 105% of their prior year’s salary (but in no event shall such qualifying offer exceed $1 million).
3. A player whose prior year salary was more than $1 million must receive a qualifying offer at 100% of their prior year’s salary.

If a team does not give a qualifying offer to a restricted free agent, he is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, and can sign with any team with no compensation required to the player’s former club.

NYIFC Comments:
To clarify, if a player is given a qualifying offer by 6/28 and accepts by 7/15 he is signed per above increases. If not, the player/team can elect arbitration, to which a contract will be awarded. Or he can elect to do nothing, and keep negotiating.

In this instance it could mean Charles Wang/a few teams policy to lock out player for season, if not under contract by opening of training camp.

Pittsburgh released it's pre-season list of games, New York is not included on the schedule for those curious. Isles will play in Saskatoon against Calgary 9/29 and will play the Canadians in Quebec on 10/2.

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Highlights of GM Garth Snow's 6/15 Interview

New York Islander Fan Central | 6/15/2010 07:52:00 PM | Comments
New York Islanders General Manager Garth Snow appeared on NHL Live 6/15 with an interview running around from 1:03 mark to 1:15 mark.

Updated: Direct link now posted (above) from Isles website.

Skipping the generic discussion about finals, general NHL discussion, and some of the blanket praise he had for all of his players/prospects.

Paraphrasing a bit, but mostly word for word from the general manager:

Doug Weight-In plans, close to a deal, discussed injuries, and leadership/experience, looking forward to him being in lineup.

Draft-Some things could unfold, will get really good player with fifth pick, discussed recent draft day history/strategy.

Calvin deHaan-Will be at Isles mini camp in July, almost made team last year, expected to be ready for full September camp and attend Canadian camp, but not participate. Also discussed his ability, to read ice, make first pass.

John Tavares-Special player and person who had great year, seamless transition to NHL from juniors.

Rick DiPietro/Goaltending-Will get better read when he steps on ice in summer and is training hard, this will play itself out in terms of how many games he can play.

Discussed Roloson being back, depth with Koskinen, Poulin in Bridgeport. Said he has to send qualifying offer to Nate Lawson, who talked about his save percentage, high level of play who could come up in a pinch and provide quality minutes.

Kyle Okposo-Great job in his transition at such a young age from college to pro, discussed his leadership.

Richard Park-Did not answer question about his return, but about how he can fill any role and will have spot in this league, praising his leadership/contribution whether it be here or somewhere else.

Jeff Tambellini-Will be decided after amateur meetings going into draft, not ready to define roster/limited contracts and roster spots but will make decision when time is right.

Aaron Ness-Will be at July prospect camp, good chance to gauge where he is in development, praised skating, upside, and will have discussions with him.

Lighthouse-Little information, not much to add with focus on hockey ops, working on draft.

NYIFC Comments:
Nothing ground-breaking from the gm, we now know Nate Lawson will be qualified and perhaps three goaltenders who should start and play fifty plus games could be in Bridgeport. I'm not a fan of bringing back Weight because they need a productive scoring veteran forward, but not my decision.

Seems like a no on Jeff Tambellini and Richard Park, but we saw Andy Hilbert enter UFA and resign here.

Not many roster spots available here folks, again we can talk cap and free agents but you need job openings. If Kohn, Reese or other prospects make this defense with Martinek that's about nine plus defenders, not even counting Brendan Witt.


Fill in the blanks from Bridgeport with Joensuu, Figren, Marcinko, Matt Martin, or a college graduated prospect like Rhett Rakhshani, plus who knows if another Matt Moulson or Trevor Smith breaks through from summer signings?

Cannot sign five UFA on 7/1 and go with thirty plus NHL contracts, does not work that way.

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Quick Hits/Notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 6/10/2010 03:05:00 AM | Comments
Congratulations to the Chicago BlackHawks for winning the 2010 Stanley Cup. Islander prospect David Toews brother wins the Conn Smythe, so it should be a fun summer in their home.

As a fan who grew up believing the Stanley cup had a permanent home here, it's always been strange to see other teams with what I felt was the New York Islanders Stanley Cup.

I think it's time the road trip for the cup end, next summer.

All due respect to any of the clubs but the parity in the NHL suggest any team that gets hot can win now, that can change very quickly too.

Yes folks, the Isles did have a top record against the West and beat all the top clubs in the East. No reason it could not have been our team tonight, but there are fans of about twenty eight other teams that can write the same thing.
My guess is things are going to get very busy on restricted free agent front, and perhaps the trade front for Garth Snow, with several other clubs now that finals have concluded.

First class job from Isles website with draft updates/future channel, plus access to prospect game at Coliseum in July.

For older generation no fan got to walk on that floor where Coliseum ice is, or see the lockeroom in the incredible days of this franchise. 50,000 people would have showed up long ago to stand where Nystrom, Morrow, Tonelli scored those memorable goals, or Bossy's 50 in 50.

Something no one today should ever take for granted.
Ironic on this day, after all those NYIFC blog entries that Charles Wang needed an Espn Zone (like Chicago) to down play countless front-office mistakes Disney will be closing several of those Espn-Zone facilities, including New York, Chicago and Washington.
Neil Best of Newsday wrote Wednesday night, after the finals concluded which was edited off Cablevision-owned Newsday mobile site within minutes:

Several markets in addition to Chicago and Philadelphia have seen big ratings increases, topped by an 80 percent rise over last year in Kansas City, which has been mentioned as a possible future home for a certain Long Island-based team.

NYIFC Comments:
Not very classy Mr Best, and completely unnecessary. So much for Editor Debbie Kreneck or sports editor Hank Winnicki's policy on coverage.

Two Florida markets had higher ratings than New York City for the NHL finals as well as several markets without an NHL outlet. Stick to selling Lebron/Garden renovations for your employer.

Of course, there is always researching the damage to ratings an Msg2 or Msg+2 game has vs an Msg or Msg+ game, so we get a true barometer of local hockey ratings?

Mr Best full comments are in the newsstand version of Thursday's paper.
I lost all respect, and very disappointed NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg, selling Garden (building four years older than Coliseum) with that infomercial for LeBron James?

I cannot improve on Daily News Bob Raissman's comments, despite the sad DN sales campaign for Lebron James themselves, so let me get my NYC 2012 Olympic shirt out.
Now that we know the New York Islanders can relocate anywhere in NYC, I'm hoping developer Steven Roth gives Charles Wang a call NY Times because the NY Americans were the original hockey team at Msg, and like NJ football teams can share facilities.
I received two e-mails on Scott Rechler.

My personal take is what I wrote earlier, only Mr Rechler knows where he stands on the LH/Smg sublease/Marroitt control, or if he is still interested in any version of a LH project. I wrote about his recent purchase in Manhattan, which the NY Times 6/9 notes, it could be a sign he spent his LH money, it could also be completely unrelated.

Bottom line, Mr Rechler is entitled to do whatever he wants, and a vote on full project submitted last fall, he is not a hockey team owner.

Regardless of what happens, like Mr Wang he deserves everyone's thanks for all the meetings and the time/millions he invested to bring the LH vision to the public, and no doubt I am badly understating his effort along with Mr Wang.

My hopes is if there are negotiations or a scaled down LH project being worked on behind the scenes, they are done entirely with no media reports or comments from anyone involved. For the money Mr Wang-Rechler have spent, they should at least respect Mr Wang's request of not doing negotiations in the media.

I hope for the announcement of an agreement to construct a project that works for everyone involved.
To be honest, I only saw the picture in Chicago media of Chris Pronger Wednesday night after game six concluded, because I have not followed the finals that close.

The lack of class and professionalism from folks who are paid to set the example for fans is very disappointing, and not what credible media coverage should represent.

No shock the Flyer professional media fans, fired back.

On a media level this reminds me of same lack of professionalism across the board Pronger showed after his Chris Simon stomp, a few years ago.

Small item and bonus money/clauses in contracts are worded in a way that go beyond articles, however Windsor Star reported Calvin deHaan (12th overall) was signed at 4.5m vs Dmitri Kulikov (14th selection) at 3.975m. from the 2009 draft.

Depending on what you read a year ago, some publications projected deHaan lower.
I'm hoping Bridgeport has thirty four more " Guaranteed " home games to announce.
Finally, despite Garth Snow's comments, I'm still holding out small hope for a trip to China for training camp. Things change quickly in negotiations, and Capital Indoor Stadium absolutely should be acceptable as a facility.

Or not.

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General Manager Garth Snow, Trades and UFA

New York Islander Fan Central | 6/06/2010 02:19:00 PM | Comments
Many folks in media always write, x summer is the biggest one in years for x team to a point where it's over-used.

I do not believe this is the New York Islanders biggest summer in years, but like every summer it is important.

Having written this general manager Garth Snow, is in a position where he has some roster/limited cap flexibility, and frankly some players he can continue with or move on from, and is at a cross roads.

Let's also be clear with Alexi Yashin's big cap hit next summer (4.75m) and the chance of DiPietro again not playing at 4.5m, that's close to ten million in cap space already used. This does not include a possible buyout of Brendan Witt or possible bonus money to Tavares, Okposo, Bailey.

It is to a point where we need to see if this gm can pull off a transaction that improves this club next season in terms of winning hockey games, knowing full well the decisions on Mark Streit, Dwayne Roloson and Matt Moulson, along with Andrew MacDonald, and Jack Hillen were outstanding.

Fair to write, Ryan Jankowski's reflections about drafting high next summer speak for themselves about expectations next year.

I'm not writing about a huge trade where Garth Snow gives up his first draft pick, two other first rounders like the Ryan Smyth trade, but a trade where he can take advantage of a club that may need to make a trade with cap issues and fill a need.

I'm obviously not writing about Weight, Park, Jackman or the current UFA who most likely will go into 7/1 without a contract, but Sean Bergenheim, Jeff Tambellini, Rob Schremp, Trent Hunter, Frans Nielsen or Blake Comeau, which includes Bruno Gervais, and Brendan Witt.

This also extends to Jesse Joensuu, Robin Figren, Tomas Marcinko in the right circumstances.

If Ottawa wants to move on from Jason Spezza, as long as the price is not a first rounder or includes, Tavares, Bailey, Okposo, everyone listed above should be on the table with second rounders.

Sure, there are twenty other clubs that can write the exact same thing, and may have better players/packages to offer.

There is also no flat guarantee Dwayne Roloson will want to continue playing hockey approaching age forty one, regardless of Rick DiPietro's future playing status.

As for the spending, I have written it countless times.

Charles Wang and most NHL owners cannot afford a front-loaded contract because of the huge short-term financial price. That is the ONLY thing preventing a top free agent from signing with about twenty five plus clubs, including this one to go with cost of living here + taxes.

If Mr Wang were willing (not feasible) to give someone fifty million dollars w/twenty million paid the first two years, they would not care what the Coliseum looked like. Same as buildings that are frankly dumps like Msg, Pittsburgh, Detroit or Edmonton. Players saw what happened during last lockout, they want their money in hand, and that plays a huge part in where they sign.

No star player signs anywhere without a front-loaded contract now.

Even Jason Blake got some of his money front-loaded, this is why players who get the bulk of the money early are traded. Colorado paid the bulk of Ryan Smyth's contact, Cablevision the bulk of Scott Gomez deal.

It'a another area Garth Snow can look at, but that's usually a larger risk, those players are available because they have struggled and are not the right fit.

As for Garth Snow's team needs? Everything. Size, speed, offensive skill, scoring, and toughness have to continue be developed or brought in, with a dramatic upgrade in third period play, and special teams performance.

I have written in the past on Snow-Gordon working relationship. After the Boston game the coach was outspoken about the teams size on defense, the coach played Nate Thompson over several players, Garth Snow put him on waivers. Having written this we have no idea what happens behind closed doors in terms of how decisions are made.

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