Without Team Defense, Penalty Kill, Goaltending, Fast Start Means Nothing

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/27/2014 09:15:00 AM | Comments
Yes, I would happily accept the teams current record based on the October schedule any way they could get there.

Having written this no one should be happy with this teams defense,  five on five play or penalty killing. No one should be satisfied with soft goals finding Halak in almost every game or the first goal Johnson allowed against Dallas.

It does matter, anyone who feels people should just be happy will understand very soon unless things change dramatically. 

I wonder if they would have a single win without lucking into the Boychuk/Leddy forced salary dumps who are hardly top two defenders? This was not some act of brilliance from Snow.

Yes, the scoring from the defense is a huge factor in the teams record, the one true positive improvement, but the career resume's of those players say it's not built to last beyond Nick Leddy's potential. 

The best upcoming teams always learn to become better as a season progresses, so far on defense as a team they has not progressed at all with spotty goaltending.

Honestly I saw this team play better team defense last April, scrambling to fill out a lineup card with AHL players. Anders Nilsson/Nabokov were not under this much pressure, some games they won we only saw them allow 20-25 shots without sustained pressure against. 

It's a very small group of forwards, which explains why three of the more physical forwards in Martin, Cizikas, and Clutterbuck are seeing so many extra minutes not to score. 

Bottom line until they learn to win 3-2 (not the game in Boston they were under attack and Johnson stole the last five minutes) or 2-1, 1-0 as they did in April 2013 with low shot totals against, this is not how you become a successful team long term.

It's not how you make the playoffs and win.

A year ago everyone was writing about the Islanders thirty percent power-play. Guess what? It's not the 1980's and teams cannot sustain that any longer.

When the scoring dries up, the 5-3 wins become 3-1 losses which is why we have seen so many average or fair at best Octobers become season ending Novembers.

It's not a good five on five team so far, that rarely sustains a forecheck in the other teams zone. 

This team has no first line left wing, and nothing remaining to trade for one. This roster is always injured like few in the NHL, and every single coach is telling his players hit Tavares all night, double team him if necessary, just don't let him beat us.

What I do know is beating a tired Dallas team that got lazy, took shortcuts, started gambling to risk odd man rushes, with many shots that went through their goalie is not how you sustain anything.

It was like beating the Coyotes last October 6-2, where they broke the game open in the third period.

That 20-6-2 road record in last 28 games with no back to back regulation losses since Dec 7th 2013, is about to be tested. Before that they lost eleven games in a row on the road.

Unless they become a team that can play defense, keep pressure off goaltenders and kill penalties, this fast start will be only a memory. 

Ledecky-Malkin Press Conference Video

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/22/2014 04:30:00 PM | |||Comments

New York Islanders 2014-15: A Flawed Mediocre Team That Works Hard

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/22/2014 07:58:00 AM | Comments
A small sampling only six games, however this is what I see on all fronts.

No pulling punches.

Many similarities to October 2013, where the club could only score on the Matt Moulson-led powerplay, but were frankly terrible at five on five, a team when pressured collapses in their own defensive zone, and could not keep the puck out of their own net, with the opposition getting three goals every game.

For this group to have any chance this team must play defense and allow goals as it did in April 2013. 

And this is a very small team. Snow did nothing in that area bringing in smaller forwards, who take big hits. 

Of course Greg Cronin replaces Brent Thompson, and the penalty kill looks just as it did a year ago at it's worst.

Halak is even more mistake prone than Nabokov with a lot of holes in his game, he's also faster laterally. To write his play has been spotty would be generous.

The only true surprise is a defense scoring miles above their career resumes, which is overdue to catch up with them same as the 2013-14 October powerplay did come November.

Those excuse-me shots going in from a twenty three point defender in Boychuk cannot be expected to find the net. 

Jack Capuano seems to love extending time for a fourth line that simply eats minutes and produces nothing whether it's Clutterbuck or Colin McDonald.

His team is mostly working hard or doing the best they seem capable of doing.  The San Jose game was the only thing close to a full sixty-minute effort, and that took winning a skills competition.

Nielsen's back to being the non-scorer he's been the majority of his career on a team with Kulemin, who is no scorer, then you bring in Conacher, who aside from a home opener tap-in has produced what again?

Write what you want about Vanek but losing his 44 points in 47 games is huge for Tavares/Okposo.

Strome's getting his point a game but does little at five on five to be noticed over sixty minutes, Nelson's done well with point shots hitting him, he cannot be a no-show player.

For this to have any hope of working these players must produce five on five goals.

Without Bailey this team is win less at home.

When Tavares and Okposo are not scoring, who can be counted on to produce?

This team is again proving it's not capable of sustaining any sustained forecheck on offense most games.

The usual words from management to Tavares down the line, about being ready to win now, improved performance seem like only words.

I did not see it before the season, do not see it now. It's going to take a major surprise to avoid a free fall with the schedule they have as players are getting hurt here to their career trends.

Nick Leddy's skating alone is a huge upgrade, and he can score.

No folks, after Anders Lee there is no-one to call up.

They are out of offensive prospect depth and Snow is out of draft picks to trade for a few years.

The waiver wire is not bringing them a first line, twenty goal forward.

And of course the NHL's worst fan base is only good for showing up to the home opener and never on weeknights unless the game is at Msg.

11,000 announced that's really like 6,000 with 3,000 of that kids under sixteen as the tickets cannot be given away despite the increased payroll.

Sure Wang and his new owners cannot wait to get out of the Barclay's deal to back to a renovated Coliseum to play in front of this many unsold seats on Ticketmaster vs Toronto for people who will not go under any circumstances since 1989?

What excuse is going to be used this time, since 1989 I have read them all.

My thoughts are Wang ask Dolan to black out any home game unless ticket sales are over 10,000 two days in advance, and sell the +2 road games to WOR (whatever ch9 is these days) so more people can see them.

If it were my team that number would be 14,000.

This is how people started attending games in the seventies before home games were televised. If I could not attend I listened on the radio. My loss.

Of course Boychuck wants to play his career in front of thousands of empty seats and will resign.  Tavares and Okposo are likely counting the days to UFA.

 That's why this team is far worse at home than on the road.
The Long Island Fan Base Proves Again Since 1989 It's Not Capable Of Supporting An NHL Team Even With No Obstructed Seats, A Higher Payroll, & Low Ticket Prices. 
With Bruce Ratner selling Barclay's why does he want to renovate the Coliseum again?  Expect to see that folly ending soon which he can pull out of at any time, and is close to a year behind on all Coliseum promises and has not kept his word about the time line of submitting his plans. 

Meanwhile Kate Murray approval is coming on time?

And of course you have the Islanders Plainview operations defiantly doing their Long Island Mantra to the bitter end, and Mr Yormark (via Chicago's Tom O'Grady) is doing the Brooklyn Mantra all pulling in different directions who cannot figure out this is a New York team which even teams in New Jersey understand to sell more tickets.

Is it really that hard to figure this out here? 

Is there footage of the gang of four becoming minority owners, a press conference is really needed 10/22 for this?

Charles Wang is the majority owner, beyond being interested in his comments and if Mr Ledecky's former gm (George McPhee) is lurking as Snow's successor, what is there to really see?

If Ledecky and Malikin ever were to purchase the Barclay's center as majority owners they would own the iron-clad agreement which means the team can be moved like Atlanta.

Folks asked what I think, there it is. 

What's Next For New York?

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/08/2014 11:57:00 PM | Comments
Our team begins to play hockey games, we see what works or fails to work, that's always a mixed bag.

Best thing for the extended future is sit back, watch, and see how things play out. My plan is to enjoy the last 42 game regular season at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum to the fullest regardless of results.

Far more than expected has been written here to set everyone up for this season as best as I could.

The off-ice peripheral things will also play themselves out one way or another.

Lukas Sutter signed an AHL contract with Bridgeport. Colton Gillies is final remaining decision-Note made the final roster.

New York Announces 23 Man Roster

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/07/2014 02:44:00 PM | |||Comments
Islanders website: Released it's 23-man roster.

“Obviously the biggest reason I picked Aaron is his approach to the game,” Sound Tigers Head Coach Brent Thompson said. “His daily practice habits, his off-ice habits and the way he carries himself on and off the ice show what a great representation of the Islanders organization and the Bridgeport Sound Tigers he is. The biggest thing for him is his work ethic – he comes to work every day and is a true professional.”

“It’s really exciting,” Ness said. “You look at all the names before and it’s a pretty big honor. I know all the guys here, including myself, are excited to get going and get the season started here.”

NYIFC Comments: 
Anders Lee and his agent have fair reason to be very unhappy today, however you don't want him sitting in the stands or playing on the fourth line and yes a strong case can be made he belongs based on last season vs the other left wingers.

When the players on IR are ready to return there will be more changes.

Matt Donovan had to clear waivers which would have been unlikely.

An Improved Playoff Chance For New York But Reality Check Is Team Still Lacking Badly On Paper/Updated Transactions

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/06/2014 03:06:00 PM | |||||Comments
Folks, I do not write entries to make folks unhappy. Not the idea at all nor do I see an Islander uniform and think a player is better now because they wear it.

Boychuk/Leddy gave their ITV interviews, the defense is obviously improved, but let's be clear these were not #1-2 defenders.

I have no doubt what opens the season will be changed often, but for today it's not enough. 

Reality check is what looked like the teams best offensive defender on Friday, who was on their top powerplay unit who was signed 7/1 cleared NHL waivers today. (not even Garth Snow wanted him back)

From Moulson to Vanek to Conacher is not an improvement on paper today, not even close to taking the next step. We all know Snow tried for Vanek, Moulson and Iginla last summer.

No, it's not 2009 in Moulson's first year here, or Tavares rookie year the expectations are higher.

Now a seven goal left wing last season in Cory Conacher, is on his 4th NHL team at age 24, who was on par with Jack Skille entering camp and sent packing by Ted Nolan seemingly has a spot next to John Tavares coming off a knee injury.

Can he be the answer? Yes.
Should he be in that spot? Under no circumstances.

To me that's lacking badly on paper and the equivalent to Mark Streit retuning from a year out, and being given Steve Staios as his defensive partner.

Tavares needs a twenty goal left wing, who can get him the puck. Not the other way around.

Anders Lee who is also 24, and outscored Conacher last year for now will likely not be there which screams why should Conacher be there regardless of one good preseason period vs Boston?

Am I writing Lee should be handed that spot? No. 

Bailey who had 38 points, who just turned twenty five and obviously has the higher potential pick,  was Tavares playoff left wing is also not in that spot for now either.

Bailey's changed positions often and like Blake Comeau it has not helped him.

Bottom line is this not how you take a step forward. 

Grabovski who's a career center for now is getting twenty million dollars to play left wing.

Brock Nelson can and should play his natural center position but again if someone who was just bought out is getting thirty million dollars common sense says he should the position where he's had his best success?

Sure Grabovski is going to say the correct things, Bailey said what position he played did not matter to him a year ago either, but it did. 

Again, I'm not writing these things to make folks unhappy. Sure, lines will change a lot and Grabner needs a spot if he returns which likely means Ryan Strome better rent for now.  (guess he could not play with Tavares vs Conacher)

We'll see.

Jack Skille Claimed Off Waivers, Sound Tiger/Stockton Changes

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/05/2014 02:04:00 PM | Comments
Jack Skille has been claimed off waivers by Columbus.
Poulin, Ness all others have cleared waivers.
Bridgeport has three goaltenders even with Trudeau sent to Stockton.

Bridgeport Sound Tigers announced their complete camp roster which opens Monday with who has been assigned to Stockton, and who has been released.
The following players have been assigned by the New York Islanders to Sound Tigers camp, which continues Monday, Oct. 6 in Bridgeport:
Sebastian Collberg
Brett Gallant
Mike Halmo
David Leggio
Scott Mayfield
Kael Mouillierat
Andrey Pedan
Adam Pelech
John Persson
Kevin Poulin
Alan Quine
Kent Simpson
Johan Sundstrom
Harry Zolnierczyk
Those 14 players join the following 11 already in Sound Tigers camp:
Justin Courtnall
Colton Gillies
Jesse Graham
Chris Langkow
Loic Leduc
Mark Nemec
Andrew Rowe
Tyler Shattock
CJ Stretch
Lukas Sutter
Scooter Vaughan
The following players have been reassigned by the Sound Tigers to the Stockton Thunder:
Mike Pereira
Adam Phillips
Keith Seabrook
Peter Sivak
Philippe Trudeau
The following players have been released from their American Hockey League Tryouts:
Jessey Astles
Shawn Boutin
Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers
Ryan Hayes
Ryan Hegarty
Andy Iles
Jack MacLellan
Tyler Maxwell    
Shane Owen
Bennet Schneider
Brad Stebner
Alex Vasiliev

Snow Fighting For His Future Goes All In Acquires Boychuk, Leddy/Ho-Sang ELC/Roster Cuts

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/04/2014 03:36:00 PM | ||||||Comments
I did write it's never been a busier time.


NYIFC Comments:
Obviously it's win now or go home for Garth Snow who's successor will not have many draft picks. Snow traded with teams who had to trade and used the system to his advantage.

Brennan gone after signing him in July and no doubt he has every right to be very angry with his agent.

Pokka gone, with a slew of draft picks, the price for one likely rental was not cheap.

Without a doubt Snow improved his 2014-15 defense today. I know Friday was preseason but his team looked completely lost and were dominated and that included Tavares and Okposo. 

New York keeps Nick Leddy because he's an RFA. Boychuk has a year to learn to love it here or moves at the trade deadline.

Anders Nilsson's rights gone. 

Ho-Sang got his ELC early.

Chemistry does not happen on paper, it's going to take some time, but the idea of hoping deHaan stayed healthy with Visnovsky or were going to step back into the top four at their best is just not the history here. These injuries always linger. 

Is Snow done? He has more players to move to get under the limit. Maybe he goes in for a first line left wing?

Hopefully our new players want to be part of this. 

Despite Deceptive Preseason Record NYI Not Good Enough/Busiest Time Off Ice/Barroway Drops Lawsuit

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/03/2014 11:33:00 AM | Comments
I honestly cannot recall a time when this many things have been happening at once.

Well, the injury bug has bitten our team again, it seems a given virtually every year.

The count is up to five players with the injuries no doubt lingering when the players return. Hopefully they escape Bridgeport healthy.
 Boston has another game on Saturday.

A sold out Webster Bank Arena filled with Bruins fans should produce a Nassau Coliseum effort where the team comes out energized from opposing fan support in their own affiliate as opposed to empty seats in Uniondale taking energy from the team.

Anyone expecting Calvin deHaan to step in off his latest injury and immediately be a top defender, or Visnovsky at this point in their careers? Really?

Go look at the October schedule, this defense has to be at it's absolute best, and so does the offense/special teams. It's not even close.

The NYI have had a few nice surprises surface on defense, some who were helping the team win with all the injuries at the end of 2013-14 in Scott Mayfield.

Matt Donovan despite getting picked in Boston, or having one bounce in off of him had some great shots at the net in the third period, but his mistakes are very noticeable.

Reinhart had his best game against Devils, but has struggled with a big step up as he should.

Is this really enough to become a playoff team now? No, and again not with this October/November schedule.

Healthy or not the same goes for Ryan Pulock.

Scott Mayfield looks like he did last season at the end, he does not get beaten and is cool under pressure. Same for Kevin Czuczman. Has Ness really hurt himself in these games?

Either Snow trades for a replacement defender at a high cost who's struggling elsewhere or he gives one or two of these kids a chance. Do I think it's enough? No, they have no scoring on the back end right now even if the defense holds.

Anyone's who has watched/listened to preseason sees the Islanders also need a good part of a game to start skating, once they do they gain some confidence or score a goal they look fine.

I'm not sure what's going to happen next Tuesday.

Frankly Strome has not done enough at five on five, neither has Lee.

Are they more talented than the players brought in? Absolutely. But do you want them playing on lower lines? Absolutely not.

Final preseason game and Brock Nelson seemingly get's the final cameo with Tavares/Okposo.

Any real answer emerge from that question? Not close.

Was there some reason Dal Colle/Ho-Sang could not play another preseason game before departing and a real look here on the top two lines?
Note-Both will play in Bridgeport against Bruins.
Barroway withdraw his lawsuit vs Charles Wang on Friday.
I guess Gary Bettman/BOG had their plan all set which was why we saw an Islander ownership vote for a sale not finalized.

Now we know why Mr Barroway did not sue the NHL with Wang.
He wants a team.

Funny but now Andrew Barroway needs Charles Wang's vote to approve him if he closes a sale, and you don't sue an organization you want to join.

Wang-Barroway in court was pushed back to 12/16/14 this week, that's now gone for good.

Next week we may see some feel good press conferences from potential new owners/while some very unhappy players depart, and their agents speak for them.

Hopefully it will not be scripted. Speak you're mind for better or worse. 

It's going to be incredibly busy. 

After that some hockey games, most against the top teams in this league, the kind of stretch that will get a coach/gm fired under new ownership to send a perception change message that will likely happen unless this team makes a serious run at a Stanley Cup this year.

It could happen regardless.

I do not see Garth Snow here when this team opens at Barclay's win or lose.

Despite great negotiations, identifying talents like Streit, Molson, Grabner, Parenteau, earning respect among players/agents and the ridiculous amount of injuries he's paid to win and overcome the Nassau County revenue steams that gave him fewer spending options.

It that fair? Not at all, but fair or not he's had eight years and has not won.

No, Clutterbuck for Niederreiter will never be a good trade.
No, Moulson/Vanek/1st round pick for Collberg will never be a good trade.

And it is about name recognition/perception.

Half the team President's are no more qualified than Snow was in 2006, but they were top players which brings them media bias/support/respect Snow will never have for a team with the worst media anywhere.

That's why Brett Hull can become a half gm in Dallas, and fail with no big attention. Its why John Davidson can be a team president, the media having his back because he was a color commentator.

By that logic Jiggs McDonald can be a great team president/general manager, and maybe he could have. 

Ok, once the song and dances end with incoming owners, and they say the right things, we see who's checks clear, who grows tired of losing money or changes their mind in the next two years? Is Wang prepared to throw Snow out the door for a perception change win or lose as he becomes a minority owner?

He's going to have no choice or lose his new partners/and their resources. 

Playoffs or not Wang hurt himself keeping Milbury. Don't count on that kind of loyalty again.

On top of that there is the Nets growing ownership circus which effects the Coliseum plans with Ratner, who's well behind on his promises made a year ago, plus he's selling his stake in the Nets.

Anyone want to guess where all this leaves that iron-clad lease?

Funny but for me if the Bruins, Sabres, Wings many past teams can play in smaller rinks why can't the NYI make the rink 191 x 83  like Boston Garden and make all those obstructed view seats unobstructed at Barclay's?

Our team had to play in those buildings 25 plus years against those dimensions at a disadvantage to win Stanley Cups.

Plus Wang no longer owns the Marriott and not one major paper reported on it.

And Dolan's media people are chirping about buying the Devils former home and moving in the Wolfpack, finally something not our problem. Pass the popcorn. 

Like I wrote, cannot recall a busier time.