GM Garth Snow's Plan, Has He Really Learned Anything?

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/30/2010 07:36:00 AM | Comments

I remembered this from April 2008, the Islanders website still has a link to it.

"Average is as close to the top as it is to the bottom, and I'm sick of being average," said Snow. "We've developed a strategy to become competitive every year, which is the key to winning the Stanley Cup. It's called "The Plan." And it involved three parts: drafting wisely, developing prospects and sprinkling in free agents. We're putting in all the resources to bringing home a Stanley Cup. We need you the fans to help make this happen. We want you to continue to be the great fans that you are and we'll make this happen together."

Snow was asked about his working relationship with Nolan.

"I think it's good," said Snow, smiling to Nolan before answering seriously. "We have a great working relationship. The key is communication and we communicate on a daily basis. I get taken aback when I get asked that question."

Since that interesting evening, we have see our GM keep referring to one part of his quotes, while the other part may have been true about daily communication, but absolutely did not prove out to be a great working relationship.

Bottom line is I have no problem with Garth Snow not speaking or being guarded when he does. Many general managers/owners rarely speak and it's also usually guarded at best.

Having written this, if he decides to say something definitive it has to be honest or don't waste our time. If he wants to interview and be cryptic in responses that is also fine.

Since that day Snow has kept to his words about his plan, no doubt folks would have liked him to go heavier on the sprinkles, but on the ice his team has been sidetracked severely by injuries.

I would also suspect we will see by action if the Atlantic Division's longest tenured coach does have a good working relationship with his boss.

For those scoring at home this was the opening night lineup for game one of the Snow-Gordon era at New Jersey in 2008, many others injured/scratched that night or backups are long gone.

35 Joey MacDonald *
39 Rick DiPietro **

32 Brendan Witt * 24 Radek Martinek **
38 Jack Hillen – 2 Mark Streit
44 Freddy Meyer * – 8 Bruno Gervais **

16 Jon Sim + - 93 Doug Weight ** – 13 Bill Guerin *
15 Jeff Tambellini * – 51 Frans Nielsen ** – 7 Trent Hunter **
89 Mike Comrie * – 10 Richard Park * – 11 Andy Hilbert +
20 Sean Bergenheim * – 45 Nate Thompson * – 21 Kyle Okposo

+ Waived/Resigned AHL
** Long Term Injuries in parts of seasons
* No longer on team

Many will recall that was Jon Sim's first game after almost a full seasons absence and the start of a nightmare season that produced 582 man games lost, after league leading 402 in 2007-08. Brendan Witt played 65 games (-34) on guts with knee problems, Kyle Okposo also played 65 games but to call him completely healthy missing seventeen games is pushing it.

Frans Nielsen played hurt into 2009-10 for his 55 games that season which also concluded Mike Sillinger's career. Mike Comrie to this day has not proven durable.

Hillen/Comeau saw a large part of 08-09 in Bridgeport.

2009-10 saw man games drop to 250+ and 21st overall in the NHL which by this teams post-lockout numbers was a dramatic improvement, but indicates an underlying problem that has yet to be solved which goes well beyond only Rick DiPietro.

This will be the year we start to get some hard answers about Garth Snow's plan unless the injuries start piling up early and often again. No gang, he get's a full pass on Rechlicz, Hennigar minor signings that obviously did not pan out, his early contract to Brendan Witt did not pay off, but also no criticism to lock up a character veteran.

The trades of Mike Milbury's former first rounders in Nokelainen, Nilsson and Ryan O'Marra have not proven to be bad decisions, it remains to be seen if Garth Snow's Islanders got the most out of Jeff Tambellini and former Milbury selection, Sean Bergenheim.

For what's it's worth Snow likely could have sprinkled in Guerin, Comrie, Satan or Richard Park by now if he wanted to sign them, along with some others.

That to me would be a clear sign Snow is not sticking to his plan. If Hilbert or Sim beat out some prospect at this point it's fair to say his plan is failing in some significant spots also.

As I have written often, I see trades coming and moves made which may go right down to opening night.

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Besides Selective Media Spin What's Really Different?

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/29/2010 06:26:00 AM | Comments

Fun topic for a slow time, but one I have wanted to write about for a while.

A picture is worth a thousand words.

In the end, when you get past all the overt negative articles on the Nassau Coliseum (usually from media in other markets) who's employers have a vested business/advertising interest in selling their favorite teams meaning they don't call their own building dumps, it begs the question what's the real difference beyond the selective spin?

I have never read Maple Leaf Gardens, Montreal Forum, Chicago Stadium or Boston Garden take these kind of beatings from their local or national media and those facilities were horrible toward the end of their time.

The Buffalo Aud was finally demolished a year ago, it was not constantly ripped by opposing writers in it's final years as an active facility for the Sabres, who's scoreboard came crashing down in the new building.

Is it the plane ride, the LI expressway, the hotel/food/outside entertainment or simply the lack of any relevant media to objectively discuss the Nassau Coliseum?

Absolutely, Charles Wang has had to make his point the Coliseum is outdated, so are all these other facilities, but it's not a sidebar to games or previews about those teams.

Perhaps it's like the NY spin with the NJ football teams? They are entirely NJ in the same parking lot the Devils/Nets played in until they moved, but to tell the truth is not good for media business or teams so sports writers/editors look the other way along with the NFL/Networks.

Never mind NYC did not contribute one penny.

I cannot wait for the day NJ government sues the teams and NFL/Networks to demand they change the name to NJ Giants/Jets, because they are stuck in their 1.7 billion dollar stadium where NJ taxpayers are on the hook for 300m infrastructure here with 1976 Giants Stadium debt still on the books.

For 1.7 billion, it looks like a bad aluminum siding job on a house, with ugly gray speckled seats. It must remain team neutral week by week for it's twenty odd days per year of football use.

Good luck to any sports editor who allows their staff writers to constantly report the home teams facility is a dump or discuss how old or run down their facilities are at every opportunity because it's not a good career move.

Lot's of ad dollars at stake along with newspaper sales.

You think Jim Matheson or his editor at the Edmonton Journal are going to run down Rexall Place every few weeks to the point it drives away Oilers fans/readers from purchasing tickets for a 30th place team?

Daryl Katz demanded a new building a lot louder than Charles Wang ever has recently.

Detroit News: Ted Kulfan waved his Little Caesars Pom Poms a week ago, as he writes with sentiment about Joe Louis Arena, and great moments/while some players with front-loaded corporate contracts are quoted.

Mr Kulfan left out part about empty seats at Wings playoff games over several seasons, while Jobing Arena in Phoenix had better crowds in round one of the playoffs in 2010. A few years ago Mitch Albom called out Detroit Red Wings fans in the Free Press, claiming it's not Nashville.

Mr Albom forgot one minor detail, Nashville had more fans at games than Joe Louis Arena when it opened around the time the Nassau Coliseum was home to the Stanley Cup, and the Wings were offering free cars for people to attend games.

When was the last time a local paper did a similar article on great moments at Nassau Coliseum again like Mr Kulfan did?

New York Islanders problem is they don't have a media to ever defend the Coliseum the way media will defend/downplay the Little Ceasar's Wings (Joe Louis) or Cablevision Garden (Msg), Rexall Place (Edmonton) or former Pens home in Melon Arena.

You may be wondering why former Devils/Nets home is in this picture? Only because Devils owner James Vanderbeek may be purchasing the facility here despite his many disputes over rent/other items at Prudential Center.

Mr Vanderbeek also claimed the Devils were slightly in the red by his own words, in their partly tax-payer funded arena.

I'm not going to insult anyone here by writing the Nassau Coliseum is a great modern arena despite it's outstanding sight lines, but someone better tell me why we don't read the exact same criticisms about the other facilities posted about here just as often because the only dramatic difference I see is in the reporting.

Sports Illustrated In 2008 Michael Farber & Richard Deitsch, headlined knocking the Coliseum among several arena/stadium criticized and even though they included Cablevision Garden-Msg/Izod Center, left out these other facilities.

What makes this article notable was despite making the Coliseum the headline, they never provided a real reason to criticize the facility, where with others they did get specific.

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Islander Notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/27/2010 12:26:00 AM | Comments

I thought it would be nice temporarily to use the New York Islander Hall of Fame plaques as the NYIFC header.

A bit large, but if this blog entry is boring at least you can read the plaques a little.

At least a dozen more names should be added to the New York Islander Hall of Fame, starting with Jiggs McDonald, Ed Westfall.

I don't care if the team does it in a small/private ceremony on a weekday without the press. It's something as important as milestones for Weight, Sillinger the last few years.
Player value changes as summer unfolds, some agents/teams become more desperate to sign client/fill need. For my money I would take Raffi Torres at his one year contract with Vancouver over Milan Jurcin, a hundred times out of a hundred at virtually the same price.

Reese, Kohn among several with prospects can compete for Jurcina's spot.

Having written this, that's hindsight now.

The market has changed a lot for when Jurcina signed vs Torres, expect to see more of the same.
Do Niederreiter-Kabanov (see tweets to articles) skipping CHL/QMJHL camps mean they are locks to sign here? Tavares-Bailey trends notwithstanding, they have to make the club within the nine game rules before a decision has to be made in place before they must return to juniors.

It's up to how they play in camp/preseason.

Also someone can sign and participate in the WJC, whether they play here or in juniors.
All due respect to Antti Niemi, but at best he is a mediocre goaltender on a good team, who won a final against another team with very mediocre goaltending.

Given a choice even without DiPietro, I would prefer Roloson with one of the Isles prospects starting with Nate Lawson's .920 save percentage the last few years.

The Hawks as long as they place Huet on waivers have every right to let him play in Switzerland, same as the AHL. What they cannot do is keep his contract in the NHL plus let him sign a contract in Europe.

As for Niemi several NHL teams with mediocre goaltending not breaking down the door to sign him. How can Flyers/Caps open with such mediocre players in net or no experience not take a chance?
The source/page view game is getting so bad even the NHLPA is correcting the reports. Too bad the few professional writers simply don't demand a name be put to a quote or tell whoever they speak with the days of anonymous sources in their writing are over.

Unfortunately, that would hurt page views or ability for many to present themselves as the messenger, while they write about what they are doing for us.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

In the end folks, it's up to you to accept/not accept what is professional. My advice is to raise your standards and see through agendas/those selling anything to make a living for themselves above all.

I understand where they are coming from. If they don't produce shock-jock material or throw countless sources into a story to keep folks linking to their work, someone else will be hired who absolutely will.

Seems the best things written are the ones that simply let the players tell the story. Not very exciting, not many page views or retweets, but best quality.

The quality NYIFC still loves to post or tweet about.

Gaylord Times 8/17 had fantastic information on Weight-Tavares who took vacation together, with best quality I read all summer on both players.

On 6/28 The Evening News: Had a feature on Weight being inducted into the Lake Superior State Athletic Hall of Fame, that gave us direct quotes about last season from him about his injuries.

These are the quality updates, too bad the Islanders website did not even give them special recognition. If I can find it, certainly the interns working there producing feature articles can?

Sure the twitter Q/A's with players are fine.
All I really know about IIHF Rene Fasel is the transfer agreements collapsed on his watch for many years, maybe it's not his fault?

The KHL/Russian leagues are a big part of that problem while Sweden/Finland finally pushed through new agreements, but this man is not part of the answer with the decline in European talent being drafted, or seemingly developed. What's happening does filter to every level of development.

In a small way it's like roller hockey no longer being played in most NYC parks, just something that for the most part became less and less visible.

I also learned this week Mr Fasel is a part-time dentist, which makes me wonder how much authority he really has over anything.
Speaking of professional reporting when are the New York Islanders so-called broadcast partners at Cablevison that hide 1/4 games on Msg+2 going to step up and formally issue a press release as to what new Msg employee will replace Billy Jaffe?

Hopefully that person will not have to read promos for their FoxWoods WNBA team, or it will not be a cost-cutting decision to bring in someone already with a contract employed by Cablevision.

Former Islander beatwriter Alan Hahn on Msg the other night selling James Dolan's Knicks after virtually ignoring the Isiah circus or every other publication's criticism of his boss? Where's the current person assigned by Newsday to go discuss the New York Islanders on other outlets?

Note-I did send an e-mail to Bob Raissman of the NY Daily News, who hired a new Ranger fan/beatwriter to replace Michael Obernauer, who did less blog entries than Greg Logan (which is saying a lot) to provide us a professional report on the true circumstances of Jaffe's dismissal.

Howie Rose in 2003 finally received three year contract after many reports he would not return.

Of course, I also requested full time coverage, a professional media blog for the New York Islanders at the NY Daily News.

Might as well get our money's worth and fight for a little coverage.

If an answer is provided it will be posted at NYIFC.

Problem is people like Bob Raissman, Phil Mushnick, Richard Sandomir have far more important media stories to cover. Cablevision's media reporter works for Msg.
Today's news Steve Stirling was hired by the Binghampton Senators as their assistant coach brings a mixed reaction (see twitter entries for links) because he is qualified to be a head coach in the NHL/AHL.

Good luck finding someone to get a 92 point season out of the 2003-04 Islanders with all those injuries to the playoffs. This coach got a fifty point season out of Oleg Kvasha when he had to produce with Yashin/Parrish out, and one final twenty five goal year out of Czerkawski after being buried in the AHL.

Those 92 points were before the shootout era for those thinking about the 88 point Flyers, who made last year's finals.
If Ed Mangano finally makes Nassau/TOH residents pay for a new/renovated Coliseum through taxes or floating bonds (which Wang suggested years ago) like every other entity in NY/NJ did for their teams (including infrastructure), I will take back every word of my Ed Mangano Memorandum of Understanding with himself entry.

For the moment, I will settle for a public statement this team will never leave Nassau County and are a public trust regardless who owns them from Ed Mangano.

Kate Murray can keep her suburbia, the people who voted for her can now also pay up to provide the New York Islanders a modern facility being that Nassau-TOH over two decades fought every idea any owner ever had to make the team self-sufficient without involving the taxpayers.

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Countdown Begins for 2010-11 New York Islanders

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/23/2010 04:08:00 PM | Comments

A little less than a month now until camp opens, so a blog entry with a some speculation.

Seven defenders on one-way contracts without deHaan, Hamonic, Kohn, Reese, Katic, Klementyev, DeHart, among others not included in that mix.

Garth Snow obviously cannot add a defender to Streit, Martinek, MacDonald, Hillen, Wisniewski, Gervais and Jurcina now without some kind of trade or series of injuries.

A healthy Willie Mitchell sounds great to sign if healthy. Who is Garth Snow going to buyout because other teams can read depth charts just like the fans, they are not going to offer anything of value to help Snow clear a spot.

You don't buyout someone with Radek Martinek's talent nor do you give him away for anything but return equal at his best, which is on a level with Kenny Jonsson when he was at his best.

Upfront seems room at best for one forward spot (likely right wing) and no place for Josh Bailey at his natural position without a trade. Obviously Snow needs one veteran scorer, but that answer may not come until he sees how PA Parenteau actually looks vs Nino Niederreiter or Kirill Kabanov/Petrov or other players.

After Moulson last year, count out no one. The answer could come from Justin DiBenedetto, it could come from a journeyman player.

Only the Islanders know when a Doug Weight signing will be official.

My speculation? Expect someone from Joensuu, Figren, Ullstrom, Martin or especially Rhett Rakhshani to make a serious run at a spot. This is the third year of Joensuu, Figren and Marcinko contracts so pressure is on for them to take a step up after time/investment has been made on them.

Rhett Rakhshani is not an eighteen year old player, this is a player in college circles that has gotten great reviews over four years, who stayed in school and is regarded by many to have NHL level ability. It would not shock me at all to see him win a spot in the Islanders lineup out of camp.

Again unless a player comes via trade up front, this could come down to the end of camp if they have to go outside the organization.

One thing the Islanders cannot do is put themselves in a position where they have too many players, teams are not trading/signing many UFA right now, some agents/players no doubt are getting a little anxious. Players all around the NHL general managers cannot give away or waive.

Why is Lee Stempniak still on the market? Because despite his fourteen goals in Phoenix his career numbers do not lie, even if he signed here today.

Raffi Torres? Because despite his nineteen goals last year, he is a career thirty point player on average and 05-06 was a long time ago.

Paul Kariya, Guerin, Satan (insert veteran) these are support players who need others to get them the puck, the exact opposite of what the young players need here.

Are they a better option then Jon Sim if he is on this roster? Absolutely.

All due respect to Sim, but if he makes the Islanders that is simply based on a failure of some young players stepping up to earn a spot. This is the same Jon Sim who had more goals than Trent Hunter and Frans Nielsen last season.

I have no idea if Garth Snow is going to move anyone. If I had to speculate I would believe Martinek, Gervais and Trent Hunter would be those players. Frans Nielsen is absolutely someone who can be moved in the right circumstances. Rob Schremp could be moved, but after waivers a year ago, he still has too much to do at this level to have real return value.

Look at the market and where Freddy Meyer fits the Thrashers depth chart, despite how solid he was for very long stretches here?

In goal, with or without Rick DiPietro (seems going into camp with) they have more than enough goaltending depth.

Either way the countdown begins for the start of 2010-11 for the New York Islanders season.

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Andy Hilbert and Rob Hisey Sign Two-Way Contracts with New York

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/18/2010 05:46:00 PM | |Comments

Islanders website Announced the team has come to terms with former Islander Andy Hilbert and center Rob Hisey, to one-year, two-way contracts.

Mass Live: Reported in a January article, Rob Hisey is a twenty five year old center, listed at 5-foot-8 and 170 pounds.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio has comments from Sound Tigers President, Howard Saffan and Head Coach, Jack Capuano on both players.

NYIFC Comments:
Andy Hilbert did play four games with Minnesota last season and no doubt is a good character player or management would not bring him back to their room to be with their prospects. Bottom line is Andy Hilbert as an AHL veteran will help, but as an NHL player does not bring a single element (scoring, size, speed, physical) that the current lineup needs if a callup were necessary.

Hilbert also only played thirty three games for Houston last year, so this was not the same player who was dominating in terms of goal scoring at Providence long ago, although he did have twenty five points.

This begs the question why not bring in someone never seen here before, whether it be Bridgeport or Kalamazoo, with an element the team lacks?

Rob Hisey is not going to do anything for team's size, however as a center has too many players in front of him at that position. Some obvious skills, but has played in the AHL for a handful of games here so some possible potential.

For those needing to see hockey here is video of New York's Nineteenth Straight Playoff Series Clinching Win against Montreal in 1984. I had not seen this before and of course not the New York home broadcast. That is Jacques LeMaire behind the Canadians bench. New York trailed this series 2-0 before taking the next three. It was not a 2-3-2 format unlike the final.

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New York 2010-11 Previews? Taking Out Trash

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/15/2010 02:32:00 PM | Comments

Soon, if not already those outlets needing early page views/customers will be throwing out their 2010-11 NHL previews, many of them regardless of where they project the New York Islanders will be completely worthless.

One was so lazy/sloppy from Alan Muir of SI, it did not even include the acquisition of James Wisniewski. What made this worse were his comments are based almost entirely on the lack of quality acquisitions to get fans excited/purchase tickets for next season.

Did he do his Islander update in early July, was it that backdated in the rush to throw out anything about all thirty teams? Is the budget that bad at some of these publications they cannot even included basic acquisitions?

Is the disconnect this bad for some hockey outlets in North American to where they cannot even provide complete information about teams in one paragraph on a subject they are writing about?

If Mr Muir wanted to write James Wisniewski is not a quality acquisition and will struggle that's fair enough, but to not include his name at all is sloppy/lazy.

I will pick and choose the fair/detailed previews for NYIFC from professional media, regardless where they project the 2010-11 New York Islanders.

There may not be too many, but we'll try.

Professional media writers who want to do a preview and claim the Islanders cannot stay healthy, that young players will struggle, the defense will not have good chemistry are very fair questions. Those writing Rick DiPietro is too big a health risk, or wonder about Dwayne Roloson's age, special teams, not enough veteran scoring along with pressure on Scott Gordon to give them a low ranking those are also very fair reasons to put in an Islander preview as to why this team cannot win next season.

Those questions should be raised in every preview.

Having written this if it's about ten year old subjects or things over five years old, or the work is outright poor and poorly researched, it's not worth anyone's time.

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New York Plays The Waiting Game

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/13/2010 05:56:00 PM | Comments

Quiet time on the surface for the New York Islanders, but also a waiting game that seems to be a trend around the league.

It's been a very different summer on a lot of levels. The calendar date says 8/13, but in terms of where UFA used to be it would be around 7/13 given the long list of veteran/fringe free agents virtually stuck in limbo with a little more than a month until training camp.

No one is lining up to overpay now that the initial wave of defenders were signed.

The front-loading of contracts combined with salary cap has caught up to the system. It's forced trades, made teams walk away from players in arbitration, and for the Islanders a rare sign & trade helped Garth Snow add a defender.

The landmark arbitration ruling has made Ilya Kovalchuk an UFA again, this changes the CBA landscape in terms of future front-loading until the current CBA expires.

There are a lot of talented players waiting, as many teams are tied up cap-wise or in terms of roster space.

Only Garth Snow knows if he is willing to bring in another forward now, later or not at all, but regardless it seems patience is the best approach. A year ago if the spot designated for Matt Moulson were given to an early veteran signing, there may not have been a spot in camp for him beyond a quick look.

I remember Miroslav Satan working out here for months into last season, how would you feel if the Islanders signed him last September and that landed Moulson in the AHL after a brief look?

I may be the only one but I thought Jeremy Reich before he hurt his wrist was very close to winning a spot.

Do I believe Garth Snow has some trades/signings to make on offense, and especially defense?

Absolutely, however it may take until the end of camp for the right deal or player to become available. What if it turns out Nino Niederreiter or another prospect is the best alternative?

For those worried about the cap floor, spare me.

Brendan Witt could have sat on the Islanders bench like Jeff Tambellini at a three million dollar cap hit, if it were only about reaching the salary floor players like Micheal Nylander, who are cap hits on paper only could have been claimed on waivers last month from Washington.

The only thing this team is limited from doing is offering a big front-loaded contract.
The more I read from Lou Lamoriello after Ilya Kovalchuk's press conference, the more it seemed he knew the league would challenge the contract and win. Bottom line both sides agreed to Richard Bloch as arbitrator, he had a record of being fair in these matters.

Owner Jeff Vanderbeek better find more money, and Lou Lamoriello will have to dump some salary if they want to restructure a contract offer.

As for other current deals, the NHL needed one day to reject Kovalchuk contract, it would be unfair to go after other contracts where players have been signed and paid under their agreement for a year or longer.

What happens from here with Kovalchuk comes down to what the Devils can offer in a shorter term, or if Kovalchuk/Jay Grossman are inflexible and decide to look elsewhere? It would be terrible for the NHL to see him sign with any other team after a press conference was permitted.

Still believe teams have not gravitated spending to the cap as was mentioned six years ago when the CBA was signed? That 39m cap is now at 58.4m, with the floor five million more than the original ceiling.

Given all the 2010 reports of Chicago, Ottawa, New Jersey losing money via their owners or representatives, it may take another lockout because this league cannot be about which billion dollar corporation can write off the most yearly losses.

Generating revenue sounds nice and reads well, however no one is writing or talking about extra finances being spent/overspent to that end.

In short, if you need to spend a hundred million to generate eighty million in return, it's not a business plan that works. Simply writing about x team making y million in revenue is not an accurate picture.
The Bruins rookies coming to Shelton Ct in September to play Islander prospects has been changed here with the two contests being moved to Boston.

Islanders website on 8/13 released the list of projected prospects/invites who will participate, that includes KHL signed player, Kirill Petrov.

NYIFC Comments:

Some unsigned draft picks attending, but most notable Kirill Petrov is projected to be in North America for these games at a point the KHL season is underway.

Updated this because did not take a good look at the list earlier.

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* UPDATED * Bridgeport Four AHL/ECHL Signings

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/05/2010 01:27:00 PM | Comments
Bridgeport Sound Tigers: Announced/Updated they have come to terms on one-year, two-way (AHL/ECHL) with defensemen Matt Duffy, Corey Syvret, as well as forwards Justin Taylor and Mike Sellitto.

Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio's viewpoints on the signings note these are not veteran players, updates the status of who was actually signed vs who was not.

NYIFC Comments:
Sorry folks, nothing I can do if the Sound Tigers send out incorrect releases on players signed. Sellitto was at the teams rookie camp.

Scratch Gabriel O'Connor and Jordan Hill.

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Time Running Out For Kirill Petrov Buyout/Contract With Islanders

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/04/2010 11:22:00 AM | Comments
2008 draft pick Kirill Petrov was at prospect camp in July, however unless a deal is worked out very soon between Petrov, his agent and Ak Bars it is unlikely he will be in North America this season with New York or Bridgeport.

In the end Petrov has a signed contract and a guaranteed income, Ak Bars is under no obligation to buy him out, nor are the Islanders obligated to pay a KHL team to release him, and then give him an NHL or AHL contract.

His agent's job is to look out for his client, which may not include walking away from a binding agreement. No doubt Petrov and his agent also have taken a good look at the roster depth on the Islanders, and his realistic chances at winning an opening night roster spot.

Ak Bars owns his rights, like any NHL player under contract they could easily trade him to another KHL club, or demote him to their junior club as their did earlier last season when he was sent to Neftyanik Almetievsk.

Of course, we have no idea if Petrov is paid less in Russian juniors, as many North American players are when sent to the AHL.

There are also a lot of signed prospects in Bridgeport under contract who have played every game of their agreement in the Islanders system, those player agents will be looking closely at any possible negotiations.

Petrov has played only fourteen regular season games the last two years for Ak Bars here, he was sent down to the development team for a short time before the WJC a year ago where he played seven games.

Some folks may recall when Robin Figren signed, the agreement was he would play the first year of his Islander contract in the SEL, before coming to North America last season. It was never announced (to my knowledge) if the Islanders or his SEL team paid his salary for year one of that contract.

In the past the European deadline for players to sign or reach agreements was July or August 15th. With no transfer agreement involving KHL, plus given Alexander Radulov left Nashville with a signed NHL contract, there are no enforceable rules beyond a verbal agreement that was not honored, with the IHL having no real authority over an independent league to prohibit anyone from participating.

When Jiri Hudler left Detroit to sign in KHL last summer in early July, Shawn McBride, the KHL's North American spokesman had the following:

"There's been a gentleman's agreement in place to not pursue situations like Radulov but this is a different situation," McBride said. "As a result of there not being a formal transfer agreement there are not bylaws or any binding legal parameters that have been outlined."

Having written this the KHL season opens September 8th, with Petrov's Ak Bars squad.

Training camp will for them likely opens in about two weeks. From what I could understand Ak Bars exhibition schedule opens around August 22nd.

This may well go beyond what the Islanders can do because this player is not a free agent. Only Ak Bars knows what it intends to do.

Bottom line a decision has to be reached soon.
The Telegram: Calvin deHaan, had a few words on his shoulder injury as team Canada's development camp at  Mile One Centre in St. John’s.

Prospect Casey Cizikas is part of roster also.

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New York Resigns Jon Sim

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/03/2010 12:13:00 PM | Comments
Islanders website: Report Jon Sim has been resigned to a one-year contract, but given a two-way deal, which means he could be playing for Bridgeport or New York.

General Manager, Garth Snow comments.

NYIFC Comments:
Surprising, but this is a two-way contract, which means he is no lock to win an NHL roster spot. Bridgeport needed a veteran forward, he carried them two years ago, after being sent down, and would be a good mentor.

Obviously not the veteran scoring forward Islander fans are looking to in UFA, but this is not the contract Andy Hilbert received for two years. An NHL roster spot will have to be earned.

As a fourth line, thirteen goal player, who works very hard, some grit and a good character player it's a reasonable gamble, if Scott Gordon is using him in the top six, it's not the right move to sign him.

My preference would have been Sean Bergenheim was given this offer, or perhaps Asham, who likely would not accept a two-way contract but welcome back to Jon Sim.

To the best of my knowledge Bridgeport did not sign one veteran forward this summer, nor did they have anyone signed at the forward position who would qualify as a veteran. Sean Bentivoglio, Greg Mauldin, Trevor Smith were not retained. Kurtis McLean, Mike Iggulden were not retained last summer.

If Richard Park cannot find an NHL spot, I hope Garth Snow makes a similar move.

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Improved Going Into 2010-11? On Paper Means Nothing

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/03/2010 11:19:00 AM | Comments
There is a long way to go here before we see the finished product for the New York Islanders heading into training camp much less opening night.

I absolutely see a trade coming from the defense with seven one-way contracts, also it appears they need a scoring forward or two, with virtually no spots available up front right now.

I cannot see Calvin deHaan or Travis Hamonic making the NHL together, nor do I see one of them waiting another two years if they show anything in camp. Only management knows if Nino Niederreiter, Kirill Petrov or anyone from class of 2010 will enter camp with a shot at an NHL roster spot.

With European leagues starting soon, plus NHL camps a month away, things will pick up in what's been a very slow market with the salary cap.

You can make a reasonable case the Islanders in some ways are improved on paper, but that means nothing. You are finally improved when you win games that you used to lose.

We don't know what new signing may win a job, or if other veteran forwards are coming in a transaction, Matt Moluson taught us that very well last season, everyone has a chance.

Andy Sutton, Freddy Meyer had outstanding stretches for long periods of the season, a year ago. How much better can James Wisniewski, Mark Eaton or Milan Jurcina do individually?

My point is it's not about individual play.

Team defense is about chemistry in a five man unit, forwards block passing lanes or getting in front of shots. It's about how the defenders clear the puck, breakout passes, or ability to win battles along the boards. The center's defensive play in front of his goalie, and skating the puck out of dangerous areas.

Last year this team struggled in those areas shorthanded and at even strength, allowing too many shots or goals against, with too much pressure on them forcing icings, or uneven play.

In those stretches the parade of penalties would come.

Names mean nothing without chemistry.

For all thirty teams, we will not know who is improved until the puck drops and we see how teams work as a unit.

For myself, the biggest 2010-11 potential improvement will come in the young players coming back, a year older and more developed from Tavares, Bailey, Okposo, MacDonald, Hillen.

Frans Nielsen has to return and produce, Matt Moulson has to score his goals, Comeau has to produce over 82 games and not soft goals he was credited with down the stretch. If Trent Hunter is not traded, he must produce consistently over eighty two games.

As for the next month we'll see, I'm expecting changes.

Perhaps Jesse Joensuu, Robin Figren, David Ullstrom, or Matt Martin (or another prospect) comes in and earns a spot or Garth Snow wants to give them a full chance before going in another direction.

This is why you draft players, sign them, and develop them.

I would not expect an Eastern conference again where Philadelphia, Boston, Montreal and Ottawa qualified for the playoffs with brutal stretches of uneven play in 2009-10.

Right now, things are only on paper, that means nothing.

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Brendan Witt Bought Out By New York

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/01/2010 10:56:00 PM | Comments Reports Brendan Witt has officially been bought out by the New York Islanders.

NYIFC Comments:
I'm a little disappointed he did not receive the same opportunity to win back a spot as Jon Sim did, but the current depth chart speaks for itself.

Despite how things worked out, I'm glad the Islanders approached him early before they had to give him a contract a few years ago.

At the time Witt was surprised he was offered a contract extension, thought the team would wait before making a decision, and acknowledged that they could have traded him.

Witt struggled with a lot of knee problems his final years here, and played hurt for long stretches. He seemed to finally gain mobility back in December 2008, and played out the season, but he got hurt in early 2009.

Unfortunately, last season his plus minus did reflect his play at times, and he was knocked around by opposing players.

Is was reported months ago that Garth Snow would not place Witt on re-entry waivers, but having written this are unconditional waivers the same thing, did those comments apply beyond the 2009-10 regular season?

Perhaps Witt's agent requested this, or the team wanted to move on and not hold him in Bridgeport which would be the fair thing to do, if Witt felt he could make another NHL team, or a trade could not be worked out?

I do believe Snow went easy on Witt with his comments when he was placed on waivers in February, he was not going to knock a player hurting/struggling unless the player puts him that position.

Witt went down to Bridgeport at a time he seemed to be hurt, but out of nowhere he was able to play three games in three days. When he arrived, I read nothing but blanket praise from Bridgeport management, his new teammates, and Witt played virtually every game before he has to leave the club for the playoffs because of family circumstances.

His play helped Bridgeport qualify for a playoff spot.

He did a solid job by all reports. Witt was classy in his interviews with Ct Post.

Did it seem appropriate, Anton Klementyev got called up over Witt, who was sitting for weeks before that one game? No, however Dylan Reese was more effective here than Witt, as was Andrew MacDonald.

I hope another NHL team gives Witt a chance. I do not believe this is the end for him, more a matter of him regaining his mobility and receiving a fresh start at full strength. He did not play often on a healthy Islander defense or team his last few years, he did seemingly play hurt far too often.

Of course, I remember him being hit by an SUV on 12/8, plus media attention from it.

But that night on the ice the Islanders lost another game they needed to win 6-2, which is what I remembered more. Witt had a second period penalty, the Flyers scored a pp goal within eight seconds. Philadelphia had three pp goals, and a shorthanded goal that night, after a 4-0 loss to Tampa, and the Flyer game, they traveled to Toronto, losing 3-2, the next day.

That key loss was at a point Philadelphia was struggling badly.

Overall it was great to have Brendan Witt on the New York Islanders, his early days with the team he was outstanding, and dominated several games in the physical department. He really re-invented his game coming out of the lockout, and put his body in front of any shot he could. A warrior in every hockey sense of the word.

Opening night last year he crushed Ruslan Fedotenko, no doubt many remember how he leveled Malkin long ago, or dominated Jagr in others. He even had the two goal game against Edmonton.

Classy man, a lot of fun to watch play hockey, who no doubt will be missed, and a great interview. Witt did a lot of excellent things for charity, not only here but in Washington.

Walking definition of what a hockey player should represent.

Here were Witt's comments when he was placed on waivers:
"I guess I'll find out tomorrow at noon if I get picked up or if not, I guess see if I go to Bridgeport or stay here," Witt said. " I guess we'll discuss that tomorrow."

"I'm sure he's disappointed," coach Scott Gordon said. "But we're a team in transition."

"I played with my knee for awhile, but I'm not one to complain about injuries. More than anything I'm just kind of shocked," Witt said. "Now I'll just sit and wait."

Did he feel like he got a fair shot this year?

"I think so," Witt said. "I think I could've played better, but it is what it is. Did it deserve this? I don't know, but it's just the way the business is and I'll try not to take it personal."