Capuano Should Be Feeling Pressure For His Job

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/28/2013 10:49:00 PM | ||Comments
As coaches like to say you can always control your effort win or lose.

The New York Islanders are a losing hockey team, expect things to get even far worse in December with the competitive part of the season coming to an end in terms of any playoff expectations. 

A coaching change does not alter that reality. 

Is Jack Capuano responsible for the holes on defense costing them most games? No.
The collective weaknesses on the roster? No.
The injuries? No.
The lack of production from Regin, Bouchard? No, because they did not come here as consistent players who produced for Ottawa/Minnesota.

The handling of the lineup, of who dresses vs who sits? Absolutely.
The obvious drop in performance of some of his top players? (Grabner, Bailey) No doubt.
Penalty killing? No.
Faceoffs? Mixed, because some of the centers who took face offs are no longer here.   
Is this overall roster working hard for this coaching staff? Yes.
Does the work reflect a direction where something is being built to sustain a winning team? No. 

Of course you look at the Devils collective defenders, who is out for them, but play consistent low scoring games against top teams it's not unreasonable to ask why this  defense has struggled since the season opener?  The Devils lost Bryce Salvador, Anton Volchenkov, and their team with a younger defense play/win many low scoring games.

That's how you survive eighty two games. (granted it collapsed a year ago for the Devils)

Jack Capuano should be feeling  pressure on that small fact alone.

Most opposing coaches don't even feel the need to play their top goaltender against this roster.

Who Sent Down Matt Donovan?
That could have been the coach or general manager, but going by game reaction that seems to be on Capuano, who is always rolling out Matt Carkner for mistakes above his ability, that lead to goals against without the exact same reaction from management. 

Capuano was not Donovan's coach in Bridgeport, the players that come up are no longer his past prospects. 
Too bad Capuano has not seemed to notice Donovan was paired with Aaron Ness last season, and despite the 2012-13 Sound Tigers being  twenty ninth in goals against, Donovan was a plus fourteen with solid offensive numbers. (Ness minus ten)

Why not just dress both together for a bunch of games when it's obvious Carkner will keep making the same mistakes? Carkner's not a physical player clearing the crease or can do much beyond a fight by appointment?  

Capuano tried Donovan with Hickey often, with Carkner far too often. 

Martinek now makes a bad read or two a game, it's obvious why management was so reluctant to bring him back or sign in a league desperate for defenders.   

Either way it's a huge mistake sending down  Donovan given the breakdowns that lead to goals behind MacDonald/Hamonic, as they constantly wear down in games with all these extra minutes.

Both are making several mistakes of their own, and looking dangerously close to getting hurt far too often.
Hamonic has concussion issues, MacDonald is always playing off blocking a shot where he's hurting. 

Capuano must feel enormous pressure extending their minutes.

Donovan's demotion reflects very poorly on Jack Capuano, who's going to have many more prospects coming if he remains head coach. 

So What's The Answer? 
There is no real answer until Reinhart, Pulock, Donovan or the other defensive prospects in Bridgeport get at least three years of NHL experience. There was a problem here from day one defensively with Visnovsky, Strait healthy on this defense. The defenders they need now are not available in trade for any NHL franchise beyond being a rental at an enormous price.

The answer for now is who's obviously not part of the solution which begins with Martinek/Carkner mistakes. One should be the seventh defender/spot starter, nothing else.

The other should go on waivers/become the veteran in Bridgeport. 

The best current alternative would be the following:

At least you put six skating defenders together with some offensive/defensively ability who will make mistakes, but gain experience as a unit.

It worked a few years ago for a few months with an excellent second half.

I'm skeptical Visnovsky can return the same player if at all off a concussion at his age. Brian Strait will help this defense when healthy. 

Calvin deHaan:
Absolutely time for a long look after he's finally stayed healthy for over a month.

The New York Islanders Cannot Win With This Defense

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/22/2013 11:01:00 PM | Comments
It's pointless to keep repeating the same items. 

The team is above my November projection of three wins with four. 

The loss of Mark Streit was the beginning, it took away scoring (at five on five/powerplay) that was critical.

His loss on defense moving the puck away from the net in transition was noticeable from game one.

After that you take away Visnovsky on a defense already struggling with him most games, finally Brian Strait.

Management seems determined to win or lose with some veterans despite the prospects (Ness, Nelson) showing more. There was a reason Radek Martinek was unsigned at Iceworks waiting for a chance. 

Do I really need to write it again about the mistake(s) every game Matt Carkner makes that always wind up in the net any longer?

When a team is this fragile on defense, it's a matter of when before another team can make a play to beat them, especially in a conference where virtually all the teams can put together long stretches of two goals or less allowed.

Other teams see the exact same thing.

MacDonald/Hamonic have been worn down by so much work, they are not scoring defenders at this point, hard as they try, Mark Streit was. 

Sure the penalty kill is about the defenders, but the forwards as well. The faceoffs have to go on the coaching, along with some players (especially Bailey/Grabner) very quiet recent games.

Thomas Vanek outscored Matt Moulson's entire season with the Islanders on Friday at five on five.

They also went 0-6 on the powerplay which is where Moulson did his best work here.

Bottom line until this team learns to play some defense it has no chance of winning with any regularity, they do not have the players at this time to win on defense.

"It's Different Here"......Staple vs Zipay

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/21/2013 11:27:00 PM | ||Comments
Cute play of words for the more astute readers, but simply how things have always been at New York Islander Fan Central.

Let's begin by being clear the New York Islanders deserve  media criticism for the 2013-14 season along with many past seasons despite injuries.

Exactly the same as other teams with/near/worse/same record in newspapers. 

Let's also be clear our fans are the only thing that matters. The media in newspapers are the "only" professional media, not myself or other amateur fan blogs/websites.

You visit this site as a substitute you have come to the wrong place.  The professional media is the standard, they are what counts, not here. 

Did anyone really think since 2007, or even back to the mailing list, I was critical of  media  for my own gain? Do some of you understand how easy it would have been simply go along with anything written like most others do?


Don't you see enough self-serving individuals do this to the point you cannot even tell what's professional anymore?

If folks saw this website critical of media for not covering our team well or with a bias considered unfair, the harder path was taken, especially when it meant a backlash directed toward me which is very easy with a last place team struggling most of the time while I have consistently defended the position Charles Wang has been placed in.

Example: Arthur Staple of Newsday is outworked, out-blogged, and does thousands of less twitter updates vs the usual middling or worse Knicks/Rangers, who are covered by Steve Zipay.

I look at the numbers, post them on twitter, asking why...........and more. I do not pull punches on the former self-admitted former Ranger fan/full time beat-writer. 

Here comes the backlash----- my favorite response being: "The Islanders deserve it" despite the Knicks being worse than the Islanders over a decade, the Rangers eight years without playoffs, and middling play. 

Funny how George Richards covering the Florida Panthers, or the Columbus Dispatch selling the Blue Jackets have no problems working much harder than Mr Staple/Newsday staff covering New York Islander hockey, those organizations have been far worse, so have many others at different times.

Those professional writers treat those teams great win or lose......beatwriters work hard. 

No. I'm not playing the Dolan card (although the drop in coverage/pay-wall happened when they bought Newsday)  much of what I'm writing about  was going on when the Tribune company owned Newsday, and the Islanders were making the playoffs in 02,03,04,07.

Steve Zipay's newspaper blog back then outright advertised: "If you think Long Island is really Ranger Country prove it by visiting my Rangers blog." 

Last I looked the Rangers were one (11/21)  point ahead of the Islanders, the Knicks well below five hundred and a non-playoff team for close to a decade. 

On 10/29 a Newsday extra writer did a blog entry titled: Rangers have been here before at 3-7.

Our team did not get that entry from Mr Staple or a secondary writer. How come?

This season Frans Nielsen has had not one entry from Mr Staple? Three scorers on this team top ten in NHL scoring. Nothing?

The Numbers:
Blog Entries/Twitter 2013-14:
Arthur Staple vs Steve Zipay:

November 2013:
Zipay 23 entries, mostly positive updates.
Staple 18 entries: 12 mostly negative since 11/6 what's wrong with Islanders.

Content: (only negative themed content)

What's Wrong With Islanders
Fixing the Isles powerplay problems.
Vanek is Garth Snow's gamble
It's about the W's for Nabokov
No talks with MacDonald yet
Islanders having another November swoon
Thoughts after Thursday night's loss
Cizikas has struggled amid high expectations
Faceoffs a problem for Isles
Grabner expected the scratch
Test of leadership for Isles,Tavares
Isles hope to turn it around avoid last place in Metropolitan Division. 

*Yes, Mr Staple's three entries on 11/9 was one short of his entire October total of four. 

October 2013:
Zipay 36 entries
Staple 4 entries (one pre-dated season opener)

Total Newsday Blog Entries: 
Zipay 61 (extra writer cheer-leading 10/29/13-1)
Staple 22

Zipay: 22,855
Staple: 7,934

For those who check the Newsday archives past 2013-14 it's not even close with the disparity around a 10/1 ratio.
Yes, I got the Greg Logan is a different kind of writer than Zipay excuses prior to the summer intern (Katie Strang) getting the beat where Strang outworked Logan/Staple between her Peter Pan/Prince Charming references until she went anonymous sources/friction in the Islanders locker room. (she did not go there with the bickering Tortorella Rangers in 2013 with the players quoted comments but graded only Islander management from afar?)

I have kept my promise of not discussing local media since the season started. and wished to share this only on twitter, but after a while felt it appropriate to explain better here.

Bottom line it's up to you as fans to confront professional the beat-writer (or his/her editor) with these numbers/content disparity, asking why? 

I did this entry because you deserve better/more coverage whether or not the New York Islanders win or lose games.

The professional media does for many other losing teams in New York, and around the NHL. 

Thank You for reading.

Nabokov Injured, Parker Milner Recalled To Bridgeport:

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/17/2013 04:55:00 PM | ||Comments
Stockton Thunder: Stockton Thunder Director of Hockey Operations and Head Coach Rich Kromm has announced that goaltender Parker Milner has been called up to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League, effective immediately.

Milner, 23, has played in five contests as a member of the Stockton Thunder and has posted a 1-4-0-0 record with a 3.22 goals against average and a .902 save percentage.

NYIFC Comments: 
The decision needed to be made today with the Islanders leaving for a road trip by Monday afternoon.

The story is the loss of Nabokov on the ice/around the club, an injury like that can have long-term lingering effects. This is Kevin Poulin's chance with a lot of young defenders around him. As written here often no doubt he can handle the starters role.

Milner's recall likely means Anders Nilsson is recalled to New York with Bridgeport off until Friday even though it's been a rough start for Nilsson who missed most of last season & needs work.

Kenny Reiter is better suited to sit for long stretches than Nilsson, come in and give his team a chance to win, however it's highly unlikely he's called up to the NHL, and would have to sign an NHL contract.

What's Next For New York? More Very Tough Games

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/15/2013 11:23:00 PM | |||||Comments
Bottom Line:
To make the playoffs in a sixteen team conference with only three top seeds guaranteed a spot, it's going to take at least ninety five points.

This means the three games under five hundred New York Islanders from this entry forward must play about eighteen games over.  

The team matched my projected wins for the month, they have played some very competitive hockey although a free falling Nashville Predators team is not the best barometer.

The Kings held a hot Devils team to zero goals on 11/15. They came here 11-6 good for only 9th place in a fourteen team conference.

Aaron Ness had the best finish by a defender this season, tying him for the team lead in five on five goals at one.

I like what I'm seeing from Nelson, Donovan, Ness. Outside of the first Kings goal in the third period, Kevin Poulin's been excellent.

The goaltender overall has not been the problem for this organization in 2013-14. 

Matt Carkner had his usual redirection/screen leading to the tying goal. To constantly put him out in key situations much less shorthanded just gives talented fast scoring forwards on other teams an advantage.

No doubt Carkner's doing his absolute best.  

Still despite the competitive play reality does not lie. Three games under, few regulation wins, so many weaknesses from penalty kill to faceoffs.

This is with three players in the top ten in NHL scoring. One (Okposo) who had four goals in forty eight games in 2013. Another (Nielsen) having a career year.  

It only get's much tougher from here. One look at the rest of this month with the December schedule likely spells the end.

The criticism will be brutal, some of it will be justified, others well over the top. A lot of it from the professional ranks will come from a place of ignorance from afar, but you know that.

No one wants this franchise to prove me wrong more than myself. 

Pat Lafontaine's Hiring: Old/New/Selective/Rules For Inexperienced Candidates/Owners/Media? Bridgeport Changes

Other than being very disappointed at one of Bill Torrey's proteges in Darcy Regier's, sixteen year tenure ending with Buffalo, I'm thrilled for Pat Lafontaine/Ted Nolan, and wish them the best of luck.

However what happened reaffirmed a lot of things, the biggest being NHL owners really have no clue on hiring executives which explains why most of them hate making a change in the first place.

Also that hockey media have the same selective standards as owners depending on the individual hired regardless of experience.

Prospect Blog New Name:

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/11/2013 07:04:00 PM | Comments

For those interested please change how you visit the prospect blog.
The old link will no longer work.

My apologies for any inconvenience. 

Win Or Lose New York Must Work In "Some" Prospects

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/11/2013 01:17:00 PM | |||||Comments
Some prospects does not mean all.

Ryan Strome, Anders Lee, and some rookie defenders have to be managed very carefully in their first professional season. 

Of course the same folks who complained about Niederreiter/Bailey being rushed will be the first demanding Strome/Lee be called up claiming the team will not give them a chance. 

As for the 2013-14 New York Islanders, I wish this was a slump where it's clear things would even out eventually because there is too much talent on this roster.

It's not the case, not even close.

This group collectively is doing their absolute best. They have gotten a lot of unexpected production from different players already which makes the overall record even more troubling.

Still they have had chances to win/earn point(s) in most games. 

The problems go far beyond coaching, or a tendency to play unproductive struggling veterans.

They have been there since preseason.

Expecting Nothing Special From New York

I kind of laugh when some are complaining about the Islanders power-play going 0-30/something.  

This is not the 1980's. 

A power play at thirty percent levels off, which was never a good mix of distributed scoring that was sustainable to begin with. Even successful teams don't operate at that number any longer for a season with the equipment goaltenders/players wear. 

Entering Matt Moulson's final game against Philadelphia the unit had ten goals (one 5-3 perimeter goal against Phoenix from Tavares) but was operating at 30.3 percent, while getting virtually nothing from it's defenders.  

Overall the numbers were more anomaly then fact, nothing built to last. Expecting Nielsen or Okposo to keep up their offensive pace was/is not realistic based on their career trends.

Bottom line until this team leans how to win low scoring games, and play some defense, it has no chance. 

Twenty nine other teams are always looking for quality defenders. That kind of player is only available as a pending UFA rental if they waive a NTC/NVC because all of them have this clause.  

Garth Snow's experienced enough by now, and has seen this movie here with Steve Staios, Mike Mottau, Mark Eaton & Milan Jurcina. The team played better without them  because the defense was faster.

3-12 Season Ending Stretch Starts 2-0? Bridgeport Breakthrough?

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/03/2013 12:03:00 AM | ||||||Comments
I would like nothing more than this team making my last entry look very bad.

The April 2013 New York Islanders returned for two games.
2-0? Thrilled.

That is how Jack Capuano's team must play win or lose.
It's the only way they have a chance. 

Fifteen Games/Thirty Days/Struggling Defense: Does Capuano Survive?

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/01/2013 08:21:00 AM | Comments
I absolutely see this becoming a 3-12 season ending month, the problems on defense are beyond coaching.

When a general manager is not satisfied, coaches do lose their jobs so it's problematic, Jack Capuano, survives even if it's not his fault in any way.

The upcoming schedule does not lie, nor do the defensive weaknesses (at both ends of the ice) which cannot be fixed internally within the organization as has been obvious since opening night in Newark.