2011-12 New York Islanders Final Review

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/12/2012 10:00:00 AM |
Overall the New York Islanders won four more games than a year ago, improved by six points, and again tied their highest point total (79) in the last five years.

It was a terrible season from opening night to the final game.

No excuses about injuries can be given.

The statistical trends/issues were written about last week:
Among bottom in goals scored/allowed.
Terrible team plus/minus.
Blown leads/terrible pressure team.
Lack of easier games they won going away. (5-1 Tampa games)
High shots blocked means most games played in defensive zone.
No win streaks of more than three games.

There were other items on the list.

Compared to the second half of last season, where it looked like this team had finally found a long-term formula that could work in 2011-12, it was a lost season beyond the individual or continued progression of John Tavares, Matt Moulson, PA Parenteau, Travis Hamonic and Andrew MacDonald.

The flaws of the 2011-12 club were written about here from October to April.

Most of the middling veterans played exactly to their career trends with the exception of Marty Reasoner, or Brian Rolston's second half a year ago.

They were acceptable statistical gambles acquiring them to address scoring.

It did not work.

This blog looked hard at the coaching, general manager, owner, in many entries and support all three for the reasons given.

Garth Snow's UFA choices/players brought in on tryouts were a mistake.

The UFA market last summer had the same downside as the injured, returning veterans on defense from Oct-Dec 2010, who still had another year on their contracts.

The rest were signed for ten/twenty million dollars up front for the 2011-12 season on massive front-loaded deals before this CBA ends.

Those signings did not work for their respective teams.

The free agent market with Kaberle, McCabe, was not going to make this team any better. Pitkanan did not help Carolina. Sheldon Souray's six goals did not take Dallas to a playoff spot.

It looks good now with Florida in the playoffs, but did you want Garth Snow to give an over thirty five free agent, Ed Jovanovski, 16.5 million over four years, or to trade for Brian Campbell's massive contract with his NTC?

Tampa Bay moved on from Bergenheim, despite his playoffs for them. He got the same money/term in Florida as Frans Nielsen when he resigned this year. (11m/4yrs).

Dale Tallon got a lot of criticism for his summer moves, even more in Chicago when he failed to file paperwork on time in signing his restricted free agents.

I made the point many of the veterans here played to the maximum of their ability, it was not close to good enough. Al Arbour would not have gotten more out some of those veterans, so how can there be fair criticism of Jack Capuano?

Mark Streit returned as captain after a year out, Steve Staios was his partner.

The blame that can be assigned was Garth Snow should have taken a longer look at what worked in the second half on defense in 2010-11 before moving on from Hillen, Martinek, Wishart.

My impression was Mark Katic was supposed to be part of the NHL plan before his injury.

If you cannot improve, you stick with what worked in the second half.

The trade market was not there for twenty nine other teams looking for the same kind of defender.

The size, speed, physical and offensive numbers on defense were missing from day one, that's a lot to burden younger forwards with, who have enough problems of their own developing.

It was alarming seeing the disparity between many teams size/physical play or speed vs the New York Islanders. Columbus looked huge and their defense (with Wisniewski) scored like the Isles defense has failed to produce all season, and made it look very easy.

From the Florida game opening night, with their speed, to the Colorado game where a big team down 3-0 ran over or through a small team to come back and win was a very disturbing common theme.

The decision on Blake Comeau to change his position for Rolston was a mistake, he might have been unproductive anyway as he usually was in first half. Michael Grabner was never the same player after his December groin injury, so there goes the secondary scoring.

Nino Niederreiter never got started with his injury, but created some chances and threw some hits. Enough foolishness about the cap floor when Calvin deHaan with his ELC could have been here from day one, who almost made the team as a rookie three years ago.

Jay Pandolfo blocked shots very well, but played to his offensive resume.

Frans Nielsen scored a few more even strength goals, not nearly enough. He produced better after he resigned. Kyle Okposo, despite the late numbers had a poor season where he was outskated/outworked/outmuscled often.

Was Okposo's finish another Blake Comeau late season charge, or does the club have back the player before his shoulder injury?

Isles are doing a terrible job in making a top ten drafted center a confused player in Josh Bailey with no real position at all, he bounced from center, to right wing, to left wing.

This plan was tried his rookie season, it failed to help him.

His exit interview on ITV indicated he likes the wing, but that does not matter, because the professional are to make these decisions, not the player.

If this continues center Ryan Strome, Brock Nelson, Casey Cizikas or another natural forward prospect will be taking his spot.

Bailey had moments in games where he showed star potential.

This is mismanagement. It goes on the coach/general manager, this blog pointed to it countless times. You draft a center in the top ten, he must play center.

Matt Martin needed to produce more than hits, as he did in Sarnia, or the game in Philadelphia where he scored two goals.

The club survived eighty two games where five goaltenders cost them no more games than most other teams.

Evgeny Nabokov when healthy played like a #1.

Poulin/Nilsson both look like they can play at this level, there is also Mikko Koskinen, the first goaltender selected in his draft class.

Rick DiPietro should play elsewhere until he proves himself healthy, but that's not how camp will start. Al Montoya injured or not was showing signs of struggling before his concussion, reverting to his career trends.

Given the depth in the organization, it's time to move on.

Moving Forward:
The pressure is absolutely on to win next season but we have read that many times already.

Mr Snow said two years ago everyone has to be better. His UFA choices have to be much better, not players who eat minutes and at best provide an even shift.

Some will claim the Isles are getting closer, I cannot write that or agree with such a statement until it translates to wins on the ice or points in the standings.

This was a year for the standings/games to do the talking for them, and it did.

They were a weak team at best. All that can be written is they had the ability to avoid a free fall playing in a box between five hundred and six under.

You tell me if a smaller, slower team absolutely should resign PA Parenteau and lock up another roster spot where few are available?

I have questions/doubts beyond salary/numbers.

There is nothing apparent in place at the prospect level ready to solve the loss of Parenteau's numbers on the current roster. It could take years for the impressive names in the system to be part of helping to win games at this level.

Twenty nine other teams also have the same prospects (some better) with upside.

David Ullstrom, Casey Cizikas, Rhett Rakhshani, Calvin deHaan, Matt Donovan, Aaron Ness, Mark Katic by themselves will not fix the weaknesses in 2012-13.

Garth Snow is not going to break up his core, nor should he.

The prospect blog is updated on the contract status of everyone.

At this time, there is an excellent chance there will not be a 2012-13 season beyond the business as usual 2012 summer events leading up to September when the CBA expires.

The top free agents are going to want cash up-front as in ten/twenty/thirty million in advance so they don't lose another twenty four percent of their future earnings before the ink dries on the next CBA.

Garth Snow, twenty plus other general managers do not make those kind of offers.

Toronto/Montreal have not made those kinds of offers.

I was wrong about Glendale writing the NHL another twenty five million dollar check a year ago, that does not seem like a viable alternative based on recent comments by local government vs the NHL.

The NHL losses money even with Glendale's payment.

It would seem to make financial sense for the owners to want another franchise relocation fee, and to get out of the business of operating the Phoenix Coyotes at a reported loss after two years.

Who knows? By June, a decision has to be made.

The NHLPA did not hire Donald Fehr to go back to a forty million ceiling.

That game in Brooklyn very likely is never going to happen.

Over twenty teams are/have/had claimed or reportedly are losing huge money.

The concept this league should have a 50-60-70m dollar ceiling, front-loaded contracts, plus hiding bad contract in the AHL is comical unless the plan is the corporate teams willing to write off their losses/red ink is some kind of successful business model for everyone else to go bankrupt?

Revenue is not profit or a workable solution, if you make one hundred million in revenue, but spend one hundred thirty million in revenue, you lose thirty million.

It's not something that can be sustained unless you are a billion dollar business, willing to absorb such red ink.

New arena/playoff success does not solve it. Not here, in Newark, Minnesota, Chicago, Washington or at Cablevision/Comcast/Little Ceasar-Amway sponsored, Detroit Red Wings beyond red ink on corporate books.
The New York Islander media locally/nationally and at NHL.com, lived down to it's reputation as the worst of any team in professional sports.

The damage has been done, the fan-base eroded.

It has little to do with the New York Islanders record.

Nothing presented was any real surprise.

Enough entries have been done on this subject, the archives speak for themselves.