Okposo & Bailey vs Coaching/Development/Winning

New York Islander Fan Central | 2/29/2012 07:02:00 PM | |||||Comments
For those who recall, Kyle Okposo, did not play a game under Scott Gordon a year ago.

He did play briefly under Jack Capuano in Bridgeport here  and no doubt worked under Capuano in summer or training camps.

The point is Capuano and Okposo were familiar with one another when he returned from his shoulder injury in January 2011.

Kyle Okposo is a young player, he's had success and shown he has first line potential. 

Jack Capuano is in a tough spot here. He's benched Okposo, put him on the top line where a pick of his potential should thrive with Tavares, however now again is off that line for Parenteau.

Okposo's been used with Nielsen most of the time since his return in 2011, that produced five goals, but did not get a lot of notice because of Grabner's success on that line combined with his injury. 

Seems the only thing that brought immediate improvement for a short-time was Okposo's benching this season, and not just the two quick goals against the Flyers, but his dive to the net returned.

Of course the numbers are important, however he's simply not generating chances, skating well, and visible in games for all the wrong reasons.

There are no easy answer here, this is not the same player before his injury.

The Milbury plan and a trade should not even be a thought.

The only acceptable plan is the staff does everything possible to get Okposo back to the player he used to be.

That's part of what the staff is paid to do, that's why the player got a five year contract extension. 
As for Josh Bailey, many have read our 8/25/11 entry about him being mismanaged by the club.

Bailey dismissed returning to play his third forward position (RW) against Washington.

Despite scoring this blog feels players who teams use first round picks to draft, must play their natural position.

Bailey's been different than Okposo, he's had very visible games with a lot of unproductive wingers.

The answer is not to make Bailey a full time wing again. 
The facts are the players here all praise this organization, that's a reflection of the head coach.

Blake Comeau went both ways first crediting his work with Capuano in Bridgeport, then praising Scott Gordon, who picked Nate Thompson over him and played the communication with Capuano card.

Rolston also had some comments that seemed odd considering the minutes and role he was given on the club's powerplay. 

One reason Jack Capuano was given a contract to return in 2011-12 was familiarity with the Isles prospects.

Garth Snow made clear recently he's very happy with his head coach.

Should he be satisfied getting nothing statistically from most of the veterans, or little aside from the natural progression Tavares has made with Parenteau?

The kind of natural progress you expect from Okposo and Bailey at this point, even without the statistics? 

Or is the reality no coach was going to make some of these veterans more productive, and this collectively hurt the ability of many forwards to do better?

Reasoner/Rolston second half numbers a year ago would suggest one thing.

Parenteau, Moulson progress/improvement says that works both ways.

Washington Loss:
Little to add from twitter comments.

Steve Staios does his absolute best in a role he should never have been entrusted with.

This team came out and should have been down four goals in the first period, even if they won 2-0 it was a terrible response to Sunday's game.

How they won the previous game in Washington is how they needed to play Monday, the scoreboard never reflected the disparity in skating most of that game. 

Upcoming Games:
Flyers come limping home after having a very tough trip to the west coast where they should be tired, it will make no difference if the Isles continue to struggle in games.

Will we see the Islander team that went into Philadelphia and earned a 5-2 win with excellent skating or the game where they looked shorthanded for sixty five minutes and Nabokov stole a shootout?

What's also is clear very soon, someone's going to have to start a game besides Nabokov.

Our new twitter box has it's first update on that front. 

NYIFC Update

New York Islander Fan Central | 2/29/2012 10:00:00 AM | Comments
As many know this blog has never been a fan of doing these kind of updates, however folks ask questions via e-mail, so it's respectful to keep everyone informed on rare occasions.

The official name of this blog is New York Islander Fan Central. Abbreviations (NYIFC), or (nyifancentral), or (NYI Fan Central), are so the words fit some of the sites/gadgets like twitter that do not accept the full version.

Personally it makes no difference, as our long-time readers know, this has never been a blog about advertising, the name on the front of the jersey axiom would apply.

Updated Changes:
1. The fonts were made larger for folks to read blog entries, and to do a better job writing them.

1a. The social networking tags have mostly been removed from entries, it's now on the sidebar for less clutter.

1b. Tagging entries has been terrible here since the 2010 full time closing. Will attempt to do better.

2a. A new area only for the latest blog entries was created on the right sidebar.

3. Recently the archives were made easier to access/find.

4. The @nyifancentral twitter box on left sidebar for responses/discussions from readers has been removed because of too much spam that cannot be deleted from this specific feature. The decision to continue not protecting tweets makes this necessary.

4a @nyifancentral twitter tab at top of page will lead you to the exact same page on twitter where spammers are blocked/removed.

4b. No changes to the general twitter box here with NYIFC updates.

5. A new twitter box has been added replacing (4). This new twitter box is for, Important Team News, Injury Updates, Gameday Lineups, Transactions.

These updates will only be visible for the time they are important, then deleted.

5a. In twitter language they will be Favorites for the time they are important, then unfavored and disappear from the box.

6. If New York or Bridgeport do make the NHL/AHL playoffs, there will no daily blog updates.

Future of New York Islander Fan Central: 
I receive many e-mails on this subject, and appreciate the very kind words.

As written in every one of these updates, the next entry could always be the final one.

There will be no closing announcement, this was done once already in April 2010, before a twitter format was discovered to add here which unexpectedly kept things going.

Our thoughts on closing NYIFC from April 2010 are unchanged with the same thanks and appreciation.

No decision on the future of NYIFC will ever be decided based upon the team or it's lease.

The promise moving forward is the same one made every year when the domain is renewed each October.

NYIFC will remain visible for the full term of it's domain registration which expires October 2012.

Trade Deadline Concluded For New York

New York Islander Fan Central | 2/27/2012 06:03:00 PM | Comments
The trade deadline has passed, the players who are pending UFA will be signed here before 7/1 or move on to another club.

Our speculation on Evgeny Nabokov is Kevin Poulin (and Anders Nilsson) would be best served playing in Bridgeport's playoff run, one may well have to come up and replace Al Montoya.

Nabokov, if unsigned will have a market for his services, but his age, level of play will not make him nearly the attractive UFA prospect he was a few years ago come 7/1. Nabokov still has another twenty games with this team, a lot is riding on his performance for all sides.

Parenteau made clear he's done talking contract for the remainder of the season, how he performs will determine the direction things go.

NYIFC Comments:
The good news of this day is Mark Katic is finally off IR, and loaned to Bridgeport, he's been out since the preseason opener.

Overall the trade made was an odd one by Boston. 

Brian Rolston cleared waivers, Boston all of a sudden wants Mike Mottau so badly they took Rolston with him and included two minor league players? New York may see one or both come Saturday.

One look at the Isles roster/depth chart suggests they simply could not start unloading veterans.

It sounds nice and reads well to move Eaton, Staios, Pandolfo, Reasoner (signed for next season) or others, however a big part of Bridgeport's roster is here now. Dylan Reese is not ready to return, we don't know for sure if Staios will be ready Tuesday.

Calvin deHaan just started playing this weekend. Ness is there as is Wishart/Donovan.

NHL Deadline:
Deadline day between No Movement/Trade clauses, massive front-loading of contract's is not what it used to be. About what was expected in trade market.

Former Islander, Scott (one-shot) Howson's tenure as GM in Columbus unofficially ended today disclosing Rick Nash requested a trade which was unprofessional. Expect Nash to be traded or retained by Howson's successor in the future.

Mike Mottau/Brian Rolston Traded To Boston

New York Islander Fan Central | 2/27/2012 03:05:00 PM | Comments
Mike Mottau and Brian Rolston (after clearing waivers) have been traded to the Boston Bruins for Defenseman Marc Cantin. (ECHL Reading Affiliate) & RW Yannick Riendeau. (AHL Providence Bruins)

Confirmed by Islanders twitter Cantin and Riendeau will be assigned to Bridgeport.

NYIFC Comments:
Best of luck to Brian Rolston and Mike Mottau.  New York is better served with it's prospects at Bridgeport than these players at this time.

New York At Deadline/Rolston Clears Waivers

New York Islander Fan Central | 2/27/2012 12:13:00 PM | Comments
Brian Rolston has cleared NHL waivers. The Islanders website is showing the NHL/Tsn trade deadline show as the club practices at the  Kettler Iceplex in Washington.

NYIFC will have blog entries for transactions related to New York if any happen, the trade deadline marker on sidebar has latest. Transactions tab links to Isles website page.

Ottawa Loss Microcosm of Season:
Sunday's loss in Ottawa was one of the most frustrating of the season. 

New York faced a tired team, with an AHL goaltender, who let up a poor first goal.

They needed to come out of that first period up two or three goals, and had plenty of chances.

The usual suspects, eating minutes, producing nothing, could not finish.

Marty Reasoner finally has to finish a play, these outside shots from Eaton, Mottau, Jurcina have to produce some goals from the defense.

Why play Matt Martin out of position, when Jay Pandolfo can move back to his natural position of right wing and move up Niederreiter with Cizikas and Ullstrom/Martin at left wing? Don't understand.

I completely understand the club wants to develop it's prospects, no one is going to convince us, Ty Wishart who played twenty games here last season five years into his career or Aaron Ness with two goals Sunday is going to make a mistake any worse than Mike Mottau did Sunday.

That's the theme, old, slower defenders, big mistakes, not able to produce by their career resumes, lot's of outside/low percentage shots, not physical.

Play That Defines Season:
Then comes the biggest microcosm of this season for NYIFC.

Isles cut the deficit to one, apply pressure and have momentum. Okposo lumbering to puck, with numbers, not able to create a play or move well, stops, waits forever, passes back to Mark Streit, stick breaks, transition ends up with a redirected tip-in goal to finish the club Sunday.

Okposo is skating like Trent Hunter far too many games, the one time he was moving well was after his benching, he needed to make a play there. 

Steps forward, steps backward.

Sure Nabokov needed to stop shot off Mottau turnover, that's not the point.

The weaknesses that have defined this club since day one are what beat them in Ottawa.

New York Not Sellers Based Depth At Foward. Ullstrom/Rolston

New York Islander Fan Central | 2/25/2012 04:34:00 PM | Comments
If the New York Islanders are going to be sellers by Monday, a trade likely has to come from the defense or goaltending unless players come back in return who can play forward.

Brian Rolston was placed on waivers Saturday. David Ullstrom was recalled.

If Rolston clears (which he did a year ago/also on re-entry waivers) he could remain with the club, report to Bridgeport or retire.  Either way Rolston counts against the Isles cap unless claimed. 

Tim Wallace claimed by Tampa, Rolston on waivers, plus Bailey's injury extends the depth at forward down to virtually nothing in the organization in terms of scoring because of injury/suspension.

As written many times, Rolston was a good gamble for Trent Hunter (who was placed on waivers a week ago and currently playing for Manchester AHL), Rolston had a productive second half with the Devils a year ago with twenty nine points from Jan 9th to the end of the season.

The Isles statistically got the version of Rolston from the first half of 2010-11, who we specifically singled out as a player you do not claim. 

For some reason it never clicked here between injuries and other things in games for Rolston, it seemed he needed to play left wing more, which did Blake Comeau no favors. 

Ullstrom-Cizikas-Niederreiter as a line with Pandolfo returning to his natural RW side, LW Martin and C Reasoner make sense in terms of position, but all that's up to the coach. 

Moving Forward/What's Next?
Plenty of twitter updates on Friday's game, no point looking back. Two points were needed and now they must repeat what they did earlier winning in Ottawa, Washington and Philadelphia.

Having written this New York is officially now on a four game road trip with no healthy forwards or defenders to scratch unless Rolston went with them or Bailey can play.

Of course, a seventh defender could be recalled, the one area Bridgeport will have some depth at in the near future. 

There is no game Monday at the trade deadline.

Seven Teams/Seven Points One Playoff Spot For New York

New York Islander Fan Central | 2/23/2012 12:43:00 PM | Comments

Tim Wallace was claimed off waivers by Tampa Bay, Aaron Ness was returned to Bridgeport. 

Casey Cizikas was recalled, Travis Hamonic has been removed from IR.

Seven teams/seven points (eight with Carolina), that's playoff reality for the the 2011-12 New York Islanders if you consider this realistic.

Ironically the club seemed to lose more ground winning a while back, than losing, however that's misleading.

It's highly unlikely Ottawa or another team will fall back as far as the 8th seed.

As for the New York Islanders, as written many times here, when they win ten games in a row, we can start having a realistic discussion about a playoff spot, not before.

We're not even close to starting such a discussion.

What is realistic will be a team in that mix of seven-eight clubs is going get on a winning streak, even if the Isles go on a run to match, it may only be enough to keep them on the outside or where they are now.

John Tavares went from NHL player of the month, to scoring in one game over three weeks.

Doug Weight moving Matt Martin to right wing to open the game in Buffalo cost them the opening goal after a defensive turnover by MacDonald/Streit. Martin as a RW did not react to Myers coming down the slot with LW Grabner playing his usual spot. 

A bad change cost the Isles the 2-0 goal with Rolston involved.

The scoring problems also make any kind of winning streak not realistic.

Watching Rolston shoot from everywhere (he also had a shot or two from quality areas) is a lot like watching Eaton, Staios, Jurcina throw pucks at the net from bad angles. Low percentage.

Of course Nielsen's goal was a low percentage shot.

Injuries/Illness/Instant Chemistry/What's Ahead?
The New York Islanders have no time for anything but winning hockey games whether it be Rangers, Senators, Flyers, Bruins, or three games with Devils. 

What's realistic is when players are injured/out for a while with illness, they likely come back and struggle.

Hamonic has to use a cage, his view is different. Nabokov has not played since Winnipeg, who knows what the flu and lack of work mean in games?

Al Montoya looks completely unplayable, ironically he came here looking like this a year ago.

Mike Mottau is also skating, but he could have been skating for a while.  

Trade Deadline:
As written in our last entry the depth is not there to make trades unless players come in return for them.

Only thing that changes this is if deHaan, Katic can play hockey games in Bridgeport which could happen perhaps as soon as Friday.

The Isles need to be extra careful with Katic and deHaan and their history with shoulder injuries. 

Tim Wallace was claimed on waivers by Tampa Bay.

Jay Pandolfo continues to play his off wing on the left with Reasoner and Niederreiter.

Eventually we'll see about Bailey, Cizikas recall indicates Bailey could be out.

Our guess is Garth Snow is going to make sure he has depth in the NHL/AHL to finish out the season.

Bridgeport at 16-1-1 gained enough ground to put them in the playoffs but that spot is tenuous.

Winning Ugly Not A Long Term Strategy For New York

New York Islander Fan Central | 2/19/2012 10:16:00 AM | Comments

No one's complaining about a win, by the end of the season few remember anything but the final standings.

Over eighty two games a few wins are very ugly as was the game against Carolina.

It also has to be written the New York Islanders should be a tired hockey team based on schedule alone, add to that a lot of younger players, too many unproductive older players is a tough mix when the scoring is not evenly distributed, plus your defense gives you nothing in terms of goals at even strength.  

Anyone following closely would have to know Tavares was due to hit a wall and did, he looked exhausted/frustrated against the Blues and was hardly smiling when Spacek went to sleep and he beat Ward, who was also slow to react.

Having written that, a tired Carolina team on their own winning streak had the Isles scrambling for a good part of the game, and did everything but tie the game in the closing seconds.

Cam Ward was injured and did not return for the third period, the Canes also seemed very willing to trade chances.

Bottom line the scoring is mostly about one line, the defense is not going to generate goals,  the players not producing all season are highly unlikely to start doing so now as they eat minutes and produce at best an even shift. 

Built To Last?
Statistically things are all over the map in that department so it's not a reliable barometer. 

Of course you can write a year ago this was a team buried below five hundred, now it's come back from five and six under to reach break even, it's also been a healthier group.

However that's also misleading. 

Good special teams vs team scoring dramatically down, vs great blocked shots totals (a reflection of pressure against/slow defense) with very poor team scoring from it's defense.

Last year's team was a high scoring club for most of the second half. There is no Blake Comeau getting hot or Micheal Grabner on a thirty goal clip this time. Nielsen's picked it up a bit, however that's not reliable based on his history.

It's not happening for Okposo most games at five on five and he's not visible or dominating beyond the few games after his benching. It's troubling he struggled with Tavares because Okposo is the top draft pick expected to be a scoring power forward, to take the pressure off Tavares and Moulson with a big game himself where he carries the line.

Bailey seems most noticeable short-handed as does Martin which are not good signs, sure they skate hard and generate chances at five on five. 

Niederreiter's throwing some big hits, he's coming close but not with the right line-mates to score.

Rolston's been invisible. Reasoner's been hurt or ineffective since camp. Pandolfo blocks shots, but provides no offensive game.  Tim Wallace is not a scorer.

Until the Montreal game, Mark Streit led the defenders in goals with three. For a little reference, Marc-Andre Bergeron, had nine goals in forty six games when he came here in a trade during the end of his first season.

That's a huge problem. 

Eaton, Staios, Jurcina point shots are not likely to produce goals. MacDonald/Hamonic have this ability but has not progressed this season in that area.

Let's also give Nabokov his due, where would this team be without him stealing some games?

For what this is worth it seems the second goalie whether it be Montoya, Poulin against Nashville are not ready when called upon.

Bottom Line here is this defense needs progression and changes before we can write anything happening now is built to last. A year ago there were reasons to believe a returning Streit, with Hamonic, MacDonald, Hillen, Wishart, Martinek could be faster and more productive based on the second half.

The current group is too old/slow/non-scoring/not-physical, that's a big reason why what's happened in 2011-12 cannot be considered team progression, despite Tavares natural individual progress.

Of course the answers could be in the system, who can be added to Hamonic, MacDonald, Streit, but for now what's here is very limited and it shows.

Moving Forward:
It's game by game now. This team plays like it did against Carolina, Ottawa will defeat them handily as will most teams in playoff spots desperate for points. Tavares has to again put the club on his back far too early in his young career. 

If the clubs around them are in sell-mode, the New York Islanders need to have the same mindset because the standings do not lie, nor do the weaknesses.

Sure you can be a seller and work just as hard toward a playoff spot. 

Of course the depth is so thin management likely needs these players just to finish out the schedule while Bridgeport's prospects work toward a playoff spot and an experience they need. 


New York Notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 2/17/2012 06:05:00 AM | Comments

Not much to write on New York's loss to St Louis.

A makeshift defense, a goaltender obviously who did not steal anything and a team that's played a lot of hockey (but did not look exhausted) against a club almost unbeatable club at home. Montoya had a lot of shots re-directed in front of him to be fair.

Having written this he also looks like the struggling AHL goaltender he was when he was traded here, his reactions are poor, he does not look set for shots.

Nabokov misses a week, it may even come down to Kevin Poulin coming up and starting Saturday.

Niederreiter played well, Nielsen is giving them goals lately that are a bonus, they have to win those games he scores. Win one/lose one likely means a lottery pick.

Tavares, Bailey and Okposo have to produce some goals. Grabner's either hurting since his groin injury or it's something else because he's not getting his breakaways or coming close to displaying the speed he consistently showed for over a full year. 
Garth Snow has little to sell unless the plan is make a play for Rick Nash and give up a big part of their youth movement, Nash would have to waive his NTC.

I see no reason why Columbus would deal Nash with a long-term contract for less than equal value when he should be the player to build around.

Tampa, who now lead New York are benching players available for trade. No criticism for Steve Yzerman (unlike Snow/Guerin) because no one knows why? Different media people, different rules.

For Ty Wishart to go back to Bridgeport, he now has to clear waivers. Katic skated, as did deHaan but contact still not part of it.
PA Parenteau:
Obviously Parenteau (now Alan Walsh) have not learned what most UFA here have. The less talking in the media, the better a chance of being resigned. Parenteau had twenty goals a year ago, he has twelve now.

Comeau had 20/24 goal seasons and did not get 3.75m tripling Parenteau's contract will bring which is what he claimed he wants.

Moulson for his 20-30 goals makes three million.

I do not see a dominating play-maker at even strength, his assist totals are a bit inflated by PP. Simply put, I move Parenteau at the deadline if it brings a player who helps this franchise moving forward, unless this club puts together a big winning streak and is at the brink of the 8th seed.
Islanders website does not need ITV feature a year old on Dolan's worthless coverage when our teams games are blacked out for many. The Islanders have worst hockey media in professional sports (NYIFC has done enough on that) but spare us this garbage.

Howie Rose got nominated for an award? Most games missed or something along those lines? 

Comical and frankly pathetic New York Islander Fans are not even a factor in Dolan's latest coverage issues with a carrier. We all know Dolan will not permit Islander hockey to be shown on free television like he allowed for the Sabres.

Funny how the New York Islanders had the same five hundred record as Cablevision's basketball team entering last night's games, but no urgency to put games on television. 

The Sabres people spoke up and are not happy. 
Ed Mangano gave former Wang Lighthouse partner, Scott Rechler, financing last week, for a new building in Plainview where the Isles offices are, but is giving Wang an exclusive window to pay for a new Coliseum himself?

How generous. 

Of course Mangano is too busy celebrating New Jersey Sports teams to be bothered with Nassau Counties only team or show up for some games. Al D'Amato was at one event.

" Isles Want To Stay At Coliseum, Nothing's Changed "

New York Islander Fan Central | 2/14/2012 04:48:00 PM | Comments

NYIFC Twitter has direct quotes from earlier speakers who were all questioned so no creative interpretations or sources required from Tuesday's meeting. 

 " Isles want to stay at the Coliseum, nothing's changed. Nassau County is the first choice, currently talking to Mangano "

-New York Islanders Senior Vice President & Alternate Governor, Michael Picker.

Mr Picker was not on the agenda of speakers, he came in, spoke, was questioned by legislature, received big applause in a mostly empty room.

Rob Walker, spoke for County Executive, Ed Mangano.

Comments/Impressions Based On Live Comments During Webcasted Meeting.
The county desperately needs Albany's financing.  Could be a second round of funding awarded also in 2012 according to Kevin Law.

No taxpayer money will be used, the people have spoken angle from referendum came up early per Walker.

The RFP (Request for Proposals) was filed 2/1/2012.

No RFP cannot go forward before 2015 without the Isles approval as the anchor tenant. 

Nassau Coliseum is still an SMG managed facility, despite sublease.

Kevin Law, representing Gov Cuomo (who was invited), said other projects beat out HUB last year and NYS is ready to approve a " shovel-ready " project at site, but it's about competition and best plan.

A decision needs to be reached by end of Dec 2012 according to Rob Walker.

Mr Picker when he spoke even said earlier than that. 

A lot of talk on Kate Murray's zone hurting developers, a lot of failed past history.

Some discussion of the Oct 2011 plan which was briefly released could be workable. 

99.9 percent of Mr Picker's financial talking points were all based on last summers revenue projections of a new Coliseum/loss of team to area...ect, that would include Mr Wang's Arenco company in a lease agreement. 

Many questions of infrastructure, highways, what Picker would describe as later phases with the first being a new Coliseum that could include some LH elements for foot-traffic. Bottom line he wanted to discuss getting the Coliseum done now.

A lot of discussion of past political football with many legislature member, and that it has to end now, talk of locking doors with principals and hammering out deal. Some late talk of even a small amount of public
funding by one speaker on docket.

Ultimately it seems at this time Charles Wang is happy with the framework of what was agreed to last summer, now Albany or another developer have to come up with money.

It does not seem as if tenant Charles Wang is going to pay his landlord for the privilege of building them a new house which was consistent with what he said last summer when he was asked and said " probably not. "

Opening Night Revisited vs Florida Equals Worse Result

New York Islander Fan Central | 2/12/2012 05:28:00 PM | Comments

Sunday was a little like revisiting opening night, New York playing Florida, five hundred record.

Of course,  no team was 0-0, a big part of the story has already been written.

The 4-1 loss is a part of that story. 

We all know what happened opening night was no fluke. The Panthers turned out to be a good skating team, despite a lot of questionable signings of struggling players, they dominated the Isles top to bottom in the opener and it exposed weakness that showed up many times afterward.

On Sunday Florida was simply more opportunistic, pucks found the net for them, the scoreboard did not reflect the play for the first two periods or the third where New York carried play trailing, the second period was where this game was decided. 

For the moment, New York remains well on the outside of the playoff picture, it's going to take something very special and entirely unlikely from this group for that to change, but considering this blog called it a sixty game exhibition schedule earlier it's hard to have realistic playoff expectations.

The signs clearly show this is not a team hitting on all cylinders. Buffalo, Philadelphia and the Kings outworked the New York Islanders for big parts of games and they got four of six points. Sure the Isles outworked Montreal (to a large degree Florida) and almost got shutout so it evens out.

Still, it's not enough, not close. 

At this time, Nabokov has stepped up his game, however Tavares line has recently struggled to produce, there are injury issues, primary and secondary scoring problems. Despite Mark Streit's overtime game winning goal, his five goals are not nearly enough on a very low scoring defense with the least goals in the NHL.

Aaron Ness has done well, he's not going to carry anything at this stage of his career. Steve Staios for all the negative commentary he has received here has been excellent lately and doing all he can, same for Eaton and Jurcina.

It's not from a lack of effort. 

Next comes the travel/fatigue, except for Howie Rose of course, unless he's going to Florida. 

The kind of games Nabokov won against Philadelphia, and Los Angeles are the kind both goaltenders if called upon will likely need to steal against a high-energy/scoring team at times in Winnipeg, absolutely against the Ken Hitchcock Blues.

Those seven games in eleven days will take it's toll this week. 

No hiding from the standings, the teams between them, or the clubs in playoff position.

Ultimately all of this will be a big part of what Garth Snow decides to do at the deadline, the rest is just a lot of words and speculation.  

New York Notables/Reese Injury

Interesting day for the New York Islanders.

The ITV interviews on Nielsen resigning were very good. Jack Capuano/Nielsen gave a lot of insight on many subjects, including the Coliseum's future.

Islanders website:  Released a summary of the comments.

First time in months/all year ITV had the coach on an off day during practice.

NYIFC Comments: 
Seems a lot of players already here want to stay and seemingly took less money than they could make on the open market. It says everything about the ownership and management. Jack Capuano for his part sounded like a coach who has his own job, and that's not to be the general manager.

Dylan Reese Out:
The Islanders twitter announced Dylan Reese is out 4-6 weeks, his injury looked even worse.

Looking ahead, we know the drill.

Jurcina returns or Mottau returns (no mention of  #10 skating), Donovan, Wishart recalled or Garth Snow brings in a player from another organization.

Moving Forward:
This defense as presently constructed has some major challenges moving forward, they are not going to outright steal many games like they did on Tuesday with goaltending. Aaron Ness for the most part was not noticeable in his debut, which is a good thing. He fell once early, but got some shots.

The Flyers had the ability to out-shoot the Devils 24-1 on Saturday and rally down 6-0 to lose 6-4, so give marks to the struggling Flyers, still it was their third game in four days and as that game played out, the Isles faded, Philadelphia dominated, even when the Isles drew powerplays.

Peter Laviolette had a team meeting Monday, he pushed his team and got a good response. 

Now Jack Capuano has to get the same response from his team, with a defense that looks badly over-matched. Tavares line is getting chances, but has not produced the last three games, his backcheck in the third period, and move to split the Flyer defense late and draw a pp was incredible during one shift.

Josh Bailey was also very good in Philadelphia, his line had early chances. 

Bottom line, NYIFC has been writing about this being an extended pre-season, the standings do not lie on that count, however the team is making things interesting without really closing the gap on the latest 8th seed.

Just getting back to five hundred from five/six under, but only a few points out of fifteenth says a lot about the team/conference.

Trade Deadline:
NYIFC gave our projection of the likely available players the other day. The next set of games/standings will determine which direction Snow goes in ultimately unless a deal comes along now that makes sense.

Nabokov looks like he's having fun being here, out of the break Poulin got the start in Carolina, Montoya got the Buffalo game after Nabokov did not face huge pressure against Ottawa so that's telling.

Nabokov's second half only proves that a goaltender can struggle or be injured for the better part of a year and a half, but when healthy/with the rust off he can return to top forum. Khabibulin did it in Edmonton this year.

Of course every players circumstances are different.

NYIFC Notables:
The archives of past entries since this blog began in 2007 are now easier to find/read on the sidebar with the drop-down menu altered. Regretfully labels were not used in postings after daily/full time entries stopped in April 2009 often. 
The good news for our readers has been the Time Warner-Cablevision blackout has forced many to watch games on line. Because of that there have had many twitter updates here (sidebar/twitterpage) during most games.

The tribute header to Kenny Jonsson will be posted on Thursday and be up through Sunday afternoon.

Our twitter name for some reason was New York Islanders long before this blog used twitter here, that's been changed to NYI Fan Central.

The twitter wallpaper was redone to accommodate their recent changes.  At this time there is no need for an App for NYIFC, and do not want folks spending money to read a blog.

The historical sections on the sidebars are always a work in progress, but feel it's one of the best anywhere, the prospect blog header has also been updated.

The twitter box will be back at 2pm Thursday. 

New York Resigns Frans Nielsen To Four Year Extension

New York Islander Fan Central | 2/07/2012 07:59:00 PM | Comments

NYIFC has twitter updates on shootout win in Phildelphia on sidebar, or previous blog entry in twitter box, and New York Islander Fan Central Twitter Page.

The win puts New York at five hundred for the first time since October. ***************************************************
Wednesday PM:
ITV.com Had blanket coverage/player comments Nielsen signing, with a long interview with Jack Capuano, where he discusses Nielsen, Parenteau and his team moving forward.

NYIFC Comments:
Capuano's comments give some interesting insights into the working relationship between the coach and gm.

Tsn.Ca    Officially reported the New York Islanders have resigned, Frans Nielsen, to a four year contract extension for eleven million dollars.

NHL.com:  Nielsen comments on resigning leave no doubt he wanted to stay and praised the organization.
Nabokov praises his teammate and discusses the win vs Philadelphia.

NYIFC Comments: 
That's a lot of commitment to a player who is excellent on defense,  brings a lot of positive intangibles to a hockey game and of course everyone should be happy for Frans Nielsen, who was drafted here in 2003.

Having written this the depth chart at center ice does not lie with John Tavares, Josh Bailey, Nielsen and Marty Reasoner all centers signed for next season. The organizational depth chart also has Ryan Strome, Brock Nelson, Casey Cizikas and others in the system as centers.

I suppose arguments could be made he was overpaid or underpaid, depending on your point of view, that alone suggest it was a good signing.

Nielsen signed a four year contract at what was considered a bargain for the club long ago. 

NYIFC very recently wrote on Nielsen being resigned here.

Hamonic Out Two Weeks, New York Notables

New York Islander Fan Central | 2/05/2012 03:47:00 PM | Comments

Injury reality is setting in again for the 2011-12 New York Islanders.

The depth on defense was thin, but holding. That has again changed.

Travis Hamonic is out two weeks (perhaps longer) with a broken nose/surgery, so Jack Capuano has to replace a defender who has not missed a game since joining the club over a year ago.

Hamonic's ability is not replaceable. 

Jurcina's elbow laceration if unable to return, puts them in a place where either Ty Wishart, Matt Donovan or Aaron Ness come up or the team has to make a trade to acquire a player.

According to Brent Thompson, Mark Katic is two weeks away from being cleared for contact, closer than Calvin deHaan to returning from his shoulder injury.

Obviously Katic/deHaan past shoulder injuries mandate the club be even more prudent before clearing them.

New York has seven games in the next eleven days. 

Nothing needs to be added to twitter comments on Buffalo game beyond John Tavares is not going to produce as first star every month or carry the offense to the degree he did in January. (with Moulson/PP).

The special teams are also overdue for some struggles which have carried the club.

New York lost a 3-1 lead (and a point) in a game they were outplayed badly, where the goals all came from secondary scoring/special teams. Now we see what happens with a defense missing a very important player, where Stave Staios will have to be extended (which makes games tougher for Mark Streit as his partner) with goaltending that was shaky with Montoya against Buffalo.

It's a very impressive and notable accomplishment for this club to go up/down from five/six games under five hundred several times to finally one under, unfortunately unless it leads to a playoff spot and something absolutely built to last, it cannot be looked at as it was a year ago.

Looking ahead, this defense requires changes, the fourth line has questions. Nielsen-Parenteau pending UFA are huge issues. The secondary scoring has not been there.

Garth Snow being " bullish " on his goaltending still means someone has to emerge as a # 1. 

Garth Snow Now Openly Using Rebuilding Word

New York Islander Fan Central | 2/03/2012 04:22:00 PM | Comments

Twitter comments post Senators game will be strictly on sidebar Friday night, the box will return Saturday afternoon. Congratulations to Mark Eaton on GWG in 600th game.

I do not like double-talk from my teams general manger because it's a waste of our time.

This blog has a long memory and feels it's important that words have meaning or should not be used. NYIFC was very rough on Snow, Ted Nolan following their meetings with the fans following the 2007-08 season where Snow discussed a working relationship/daily communication with his coach before they parted company. 

Nov 27th 2009  Garth Snow had the following:

Is the success a sign, though, that your rebuilding strategy may be ahead of schedule?
Snow: “I don’t use that word rebuild. We’re trying to make the playoffs and win a Stanley Cup like every other team. We don’t go in with the mindset that losing is acceptable, and when that word is used, sometimes winning doesn’t matter. I don’t think I’ve used that word too much and if I have, it’s been very limited. We’re trying to win every hockey game we play in. The group that we have in that locker room, it may be young, but that doesn’t make it can’t have success.”

Going into 2010-11, Snow made clear in pre-season everyone had to be better and this team must be making a run at a playoff spot before 620 man games lost to injury happened, and the club improved with many of those players sidelines in the second half.

NYIFC noted in his Dec 2010 ITV Interview With Chris King he started using the rebuild word. 

Last night Snow called into Gary Bettman on NHL Live and used the rebuilding word twice (6:54/12:40) that he claimed he does not use?

Our point is words and philosophies either have meaning or they do not.  The gm can talk about the massive past injuries for some Islander clubs falling short as reasonable, he can defend his signings that were good percentage moves whether they worked out or not.

He can be guarded/cryptic about his upcoming moves which is fine and all part of it.

What he cannot do or receive a pass from is to start using a word that he did not like to cover his team being eleven points out of a playoff spot.

That's a waste of the fans time and an insult to our intelligence.

Updated post game vs Ottawa:
Snow also did an interview Friday night.   Sorry, folks Time Warner/Cablevision victim. Snow used the rebuild word again at 7:12 in video.

NYIFC Comments:
As for Mr Bettman, Mr Snow their job is to help Charles Wang, get a new or renovated facility and push an issue that has been dragging for decades. I understand that part of it.  Having written that enough rhetoric about a forty year old building because Mr Bettman when he took the job as commissioner never used those terms on fifty and sixty year old facilities far more outdated than the current Nassau Coliseum.

There's a right way vs the wrong way. Bettman may be frustrated, as most are with this politics, but stop telling us a forty year old facility is unable to a house an NHL franchise.

 Snow had blanket praise for Jack Capuano. 

Not much to write on Anton Klementyev going on the kind of waivers to where he will not be coming back, his  prospect spot has to be replaced in the organization's depth chart.

Win a game, take step back in playoff race, standings do not lie.

Not sure what Nabokov will be like with thirteen day rest, obviously not thrilled Staios remains in for Reese with another very fast team in Ottawa.

I saw more from Rhett Rakhshani in two periods than Brian Rolston in two months and have followed his career since Denver, he's always progressed at every level and we saw that a year ago and expect he will be a productive NHL player.

John Tavares First Star Of the Month In January

New York Islander Fan Central | 2/01/2012 12:22:00 PM | Comments

Reports John Tavares has been named the first star of the month of January 2011 in the NHL  with his comments.

NYIFC Comments:
Nothing to really add beyond our recent entries on his play and improvement is approaching super-star status, you see the one on one moves, the acceleration, his vision to find his teammates.

The best example of this was the game I saw in Philadelphia where I wrote it was best career game. A contest where he did not score, Nabokov was credited with forty saves and John Tavares was awarded the number one star because he was a threat to score virtually every time a puck came near him.

Well deserved honor, not just by statistics, but overall play.

Joey MacDonald was named third star of the month in November 2009, Rick DiPietro the second star in Feb 2007 here.

Our guess (could be incorrect) is Chris Osgood in October 2001 was the last New York Islander to win first a star of the month honor here.

Kevin Poulin has been returned to Bridgeport per the Isles twitter feed.

NYIFC Comments:
That thud may well have been the trade in place that fell through or this is a paper transaction. New York and Bridgeport have games Friday.

The bottom line to all this is the standings and contract status, despite what fan bloggers (NYIFC) feel about Nabokov's play and recent durability and that he should have started in Carolina, the head coach has never named a #1 goaltender.