Thursday, November 29, 2007


Hello Fans and readers of the Voice. Let me first thank the people that come here to read and share thoughts on the Islanders. This has been so far a great experience for me and I look forward to continuing to bring a fans perspective to the world of reporting on the team. Poll Results - A Whopping 75% of those that voted expect the Islanders to finish 1-6th on the conference. 97% of you think the Islanders will make the playoffs. My how expectations have changed since the season began.

To last nights event I was thinking about one thing and the fans that were there were the amount of empty seats at the Coliseum last night. I'll be honest, I was embarrassed. I was angry. I shook my head numerous times at what the players must think when they see so many empty seats to see a winning team. I know the economy is in a down turn. I know the cost of living has gone up. It has effected me also, trust me. All that being said, it didn't stop people from spending record amounts of money on Black Friday. I actually heard someone last night use the excuse that it "was cold outside". Excuse me... COLD? After last weekends game with Boston, which was announced as a sell out, the crowd was announced at around 8,100 for Dallas. Last night, with the conference leading Senators in town they announced a crowd of around 9,200. WHAT HAPPENED? The attendance was up a league high 34% over the 1st 20 games. I shudder to think what these 2 games have done to that average.

Those that were there were loud. Those that were there were treated to an excellent game of hockey culminating in a thrilling shootout victory. I wonder how many fans sat at home wondering why there were so many empty seats. What is a team to do to draw fans? Do we have to traipse out one of our 80's legends every game? Do they have to start giving tickets away? There is no one out there who will say the Islanders simply do not have fans. How can the crowds fluctuate so wildly from game to game? Simply, and very quite simply, this team needs to do one thing. All of the 80's legends can come back over and over again, they can have a special night every Saturday the bottom line is this team needs to win. They have to win and win in the playoffs. There is no louder building in the NHL when the Islanders are in the playoffs. The fans are there, the fans are passionate and one nice run into the playoffs in this writer's humble opinion would be enough to send the Island into a hockey frenzy once again and expand the season ticket base. This team is winning. They are doing their part. The big question is how long will they have to prove themselves before fans start coming to the games again. This is not the same team we have seen over the last 20 years here. They play for the team, not for the name on the back. They have all bought into Ted Nolan's system whole heartedly. Now it is time for the fans to buy back into the team. There were times when I expected to see 6,000 at the games, when Travis Green was the top center. Tommy Soderstrom was the No 1 goalie. They lost games in every possible way. This is not that team. This is the new Islanders. Come out and see them and win lose or shootout loss they will work hard and entertain and that is all we can ask for as hockey fans. I am tired of hearing people say the building is what keeps people away. Its total and utter BS. Look at how many people went to Yankee and Shea stadium last season, two stadiums that rival the coliseum in their obsolete stature. Come on out and be entertained.

I welcome everyone to voice their opinions on this matter.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Good and the Bad Part V - Offensive Offense?

Happy belated Thanksgiving to everyone. The Islanders have been mostly treading water lately with a 4-4-1 record in their past nine. The next two games will be no picnic in league Juggernaut Ottawa and Round 4 against our neighbors from the West. This weeks Good and the Bad will talk about the Islanders offense, or lack thereof.

1) Offense does not win playoff series, defense and goal tending do and that is what the teams focus should be.
2) The team has been scoring just enough to win games and are in every game. Its just a matter of getting the guys we have to produce a little bit more, and the Islanders will be fine.
3) Even if the team were to acquire another scoring forward, is it going to be enough of a talent to warrant trading some prospects and a high value draft pick to get him?

1) At the end of the day, scoring wins games and the team does not have enough.
2) They are putting to much pressure on DiPietro and the defense to play perfect games which is fine against lesser teams, but to compete with the powers of the league the Islanders need a game breaker.
3) The added pressure on the defense and goal tending will be a cumulative effect as the season goes along, and that will spell doom when the grind of the season starts to wear on them.

Let me know what your opinions are on this subject. We will know more about what the Islanders are about after the Ottawa game. If they go up there and get blown away it does not bode well as another beating from a quality team would have to eat at a teams confidence.


Thursday, November 15, 2007


Hello fans. OK now that I have done my commercial for the Lighthouse project lets get back to hockey. This weeks poll results are in my mind an upset, as the 1993 Shocking upset of the Pittsburgh Penguins is well, a shocking upset. Garnering 29% of the vote is in my mind the biggest upset in NHL history the 1993 upset of the Penguins. With 23% of the vote is the Islanders defeat of the Oilers to win their 4th cup. Then with 17% is Nystrom's goal to secure the 1st Cup in another moment that I will never forget. This weeks poll will be on the early season success that the Islanders have enjoyed. Will it continue? Will they level off? Voice your opinions here!!

Lets Go Islanders!!


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Lighthouse Project in the Headlines!!

After news articles all over Newsday today about the Lighthouse project this blogger is starting to think that Newsday is getting its ideas for posts off of the Voice!! Seriously though, Charles Wang and Scot Rechler yesterday formally filed their application and plans for the vast sweeping Lighthouse Project to develop the 77 acres surrounding the dilapidated Nassau Coliseum and its rotting infrastructure. In a Newsday Poll, currently 89% of the people who voted support the project and this Nassau County resident is 100% behind the project. Long Island needs something. It needs a center. It need s place where people can go and enjoy a concert, and make a night of it and not have to get into your car and drive somewhere else to cap the night off. It needs a place where you can go see a hockey game and not have to wonder what the visiting team thinks of the outdated arena they are playing in, especially seeing the jewels of arenas that are around the league. Long Island needs, in case anyone was asking, a place for tourists to come and not remark about how they need to go to the city to have a "night out". We need affordable housing on Long Island. We need jobs on Long Island, we need tax revenue on Long Island. Long Island needs something that makes us feel we are getting our monies worth for paying the highest per capita taxes in the entire United States of America. We NEED this project to go forward not just for the Coliseum, but for the benefit of LONG ISLAND and all of its residents. The benefits are endless. The criticism is unfounded. Don't just read flashy headlines, read about the project and not just the Coliseum portion, which represents 15% of the total project.

Kate Murray, who is the Town of Hempstead supervisor will have a lot of say on whether this project moves forward, has already complained of possible traffic woes. This is the same person who apparently thinks that the Roosevelt Field mall is an easy place to get in and out, with our without a car. Are we really going to let her decided for us? Then there is Minority Leader Legis. Peter Schmitt (R) of Massapequa. You can bet he will be sick of hearing from me by the time this project is rejected or approved. Other than your local Legislators you can contact, you can start with the organizations that say they represent the people of Long Island like the Smart Growth Organization Vision of Long Island Executive Director Eric Alexander. I am sure he will say all he needs to say to get his name in the headlines. The bottom line is when a project like this is in the approval status politicians and lobbyists are going to use it to the bone to get themselves in the good graces of the public eye. What we have to do not as Islander fans, but as Long Island residents let these and your local legislature know that if they stand in the way of this project then they will lose the votes of the people who support it. I don't choose to stand and wait to see what happens I plan to let our politicians, lobbyists and anyone else know exactly how much we need this project done so we can have something we can be proud of on Long Island other than having the highest taxes, gas prices, electric bills, home prices to "boast" about. Instead we can have Wang and Rechler's vision of future suburbia be OUR vision suburbia because thorugh and through it is a great vision and an oasis needed in the center of a County where its residents are losing faith in thier ability to stay and live here.

Thanks for Reading and Support the Lighthouse project by contacting your local legislature, lobbyist, Town of Hempstead and Nassau County officials.

Check out this video and tell me this would not make you proud to be a Long Islander -


Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Good and the Bad Part IV - 1 Year Contracts

Hello again fans. This is Part IV of the Voice's ongoing debate on what is good and what is no so good about a particular subject on the New York Islanders. I will present 3 points supporting and 3 points dissenting a particular statement about the team and why. I invite all of you to "voice" your own opinions on what you agree and disagree with.

This weeks subject are the 1 year contracts now being played out by Mike Comrie, Trent Hunter, Ruslan Fedotenko, Bryan Berard and Sean Bergenhiem. The Islanders after buying out Alexei Yashin's remaining contract at a cost of 17 million dollars, signed 4 free agent players to 1 year deals, 3 from outside the organization. Lets get right to the bad -

1) It shows an unwillingness on the part of players to make a long time commitment to Long Island as a hockey destination. The constant complaints about the state of the facilities, the previous problems with ownership and the lack of competitiveness of the team itself are some of the reasons why.
2) It creates all of the same problems we had this past off season - that despite the state of the teams won loss record at this point the team could lose a good portion of its roster to free agency once again. If they don't sign them to extensions, they risk losing them to richer teams again.
3) It in the future will tempt players who want to use the team to get their careers on track instead of wanting to be a part of building a stronger franchise for Long Island.

1) Retains cost flexibility in case of injury or non performance. We all saw what happens with long term contracts coupled with complacency and injury (Peca & Yashin)
2) Makes these players more attractive to other teams looking to bolster their lineups in the event of a catastrophic drop in team performance.
3) Motivates the players to perform at their highest levels to earn a multi year deal and have the satisfaction of earning it from the team that they helped build into a playoff contender.

Please offer your thoughts on these Good and Bad points and feel free to add your own to the mix. Thanks for reading as the Voice moves towards 1000 hits. Thank You!!


Sunday, November 4, 2007

BLOG BOX REPORT - NYI 3, PIT 2 Al Arbour gets No.740

I have been thinking about what to write about seeing "Radar" behind the bench at Nassau Coliseum last night and I have come up with this. Memories. Plain and simple memories are what came to the forefront of my mind. Memories of Arbour drinking from Lord Stanley's cup. Memories of Arbour holding the cup up high and drinking much deserved champagne after a cup victory. Hearing about how Arbour held a little practice session with himself and a rookie named Denis Potvin for missing a team bus. Arbour wringing every bit of performance he could out of the players he coached. Make no mistake people, coaching in hockey is not like managing in baseball. A coach can and does effect the outcome of games, seasons, and playoff series. Arbour you can make a case was as important to the amazing run the Islanders had than anyone else. That is why his brand spanking new "1500" banner now hangs from the rafters of the Coliseum. Lets get into the behind the scenes happenings shall we?

I made sure I was early to avoid missing any of Arbour's walk to the bench. Glancing at the media notes its a thrill to see "Head Coach - Al Arbour". The crowd tonight is especially pumped. Chants of "Ar-Bour" are heard throughout the arena which is great to hear because it has been 14 years since Al was behind the bench. Announced as a sell out crowd saves me from having to bash the Islanders fan base. Tribute video later, and the red carpet is rolled out here he comes the man himself. Crowd erupts and Al looks genuinely touched. Arbour has his note pad and pen and keeps in his left inside jacket pocket as he always did. Ceremonial puck drop and here comes... SCOTTY BOWMAN? Arbour is especially happy to see Bowman and the fans show Bowman the respect he deserves as the two greatest coaches in the history of hockey shake hands at the bench. Following Bowman out is BILL TORREY. Ceremonial puck drop is complete and the national anthem is sung, and were ready for the puck to drop. I usually do not get into the happenings of the game but I will now because of the way the game unfolds and how fitting the outcome was.

Al Arbour coached the Islanders to three of the most amazing playoff series victories against the Pittsburgh Penguins. We have all heard about the seven game series won when down 3 games to none. We have heard about coming back after being down 3-1 with 6 minutes to play and storming back to win not only the game but the series, propelled by Arbours goalie change that gave the top Power Play unit time to rest. But the one that I will remember perhaps just as if not more fondly than the others is quite honestly the biggest upset in NHL history. The Pittsburgh Penguins in 1992-93 were by so far and away the best team in hockey everyone, and I do mean everyone had them written in as the 1993 Stanley Cup Champions and who could blame them? They finished the season with 119 points. 367 goals for. A record setting 17 game winning streak AND oh yeah, they were the two time defending Cup Champion. They had Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr, Ron Francis, Larry Murphy, Tom Barrasso, Rick Tochett, Kevin Stevens, Martin Straka among others. Their coach? Some guy named SCOTTY BOWMAN. Don't forget that Pierre Turgeon, the best offensive player on the Islanders as the time was out because of that infamous Dale Hunter cheap shot. It was a slam dunk right? There was no chance the Islanders could win one game in this series let a long the series itself. Well don't tell Al Arbour that. He challenged his players not to be intimidated. He willed that team to a remarkable 7 game overtime victory! Listen ...err read to how this happened. The Islanders were up 3-1 in game number 7 - A remarkable feat being everyone and his mother has the Islanders getting swept. Pittsburgh, was not about to let their championship run go without a fight, scored two late goals to tie the game and send it to overtime. It was Arbour that got his Islanders to hold their heads up and realize that they still had just as much of a chance to win the game as the Penguins did and not to let what just transpired get the best of them. So what happens? History does NOT reverse itself and give the Penguins the win, David Volek, who spent a LOT of time in the vaunted Arbour dog house scores the winning goal and sends the Islanders to the Semi Finals. You can talk about Glenn Healy standing on his head, you can talk about Volek's heroics, you can talk about all of that but what the one guy that deserved the most credit for the victory was Al Arbour.

So.. After all of that history of huge playoff success against the Penguins, the Islanders choose the Penguins as their opponent for number 1500. They fall behind 2-0. The Islanders could really just fold up to the pressure of trying to win one for Arbour, but guess what. 3 Un answered goals, one with 2:41 left in the 3rd gives Arbour his 740th win. Say it isn't so, one more come from behind win against a favored Penguin team. Chants of "Arbour" are replaced with chants of "740" The players congratulate Arbour despite the fact that he gives all credit as he always does to the players. They bring out the entire Arbour family. They bring out the Islander Alumni including all the names you know and a very nice surprise in Pat LaFontaine. They lower the "739" banner, and raise the new "1500" banner. In a very nice touch, the picture you see at the top of the screen shows the current Islanders, the former Islanders and the Arbour family posing for a Kodak moment that Islander fans are sure not to forget any time soon.

After that, this blogger still has a job to do. Walking to the back this time is a surreal experience. Theres Bossy, Trottier, I exchange hellos with Gillies who is always a class act. I turn the wrong way and walk almost directly into Mrs. Arbour, before I can congratulate her some guy cuts in front of me. That guy? SCOTTY BOWMAN~! Theres LaFontaine, Gerry Hart. We go into the coach interview room that is buzzing more than normal as reporters are crowding around the podium. I am flanked by Gillies and Jean Potvin, who is standing on a chair so he can see the guy he respects so much speak. Arbour of course deflects any and all praise for the win to Nolan and the Players. He thanks the fans for staying so long after the game and said he was truly touched by the show of affection after so long. He says that he wasn't sure that anyone would remember him and was touched by his reception by the fans and the respect the players showed him. Gillies and Potvin have smiles on their faces the whole time Arbour speaks. He says he doesn't miss coaching and enjoys what he is doing now the most, nothing. He gets many chuckles from the room as his wit is as sharp as ever. He goes on to say that he likes the current team because they work very hard shift after shift, and when you play like that you will have a chance to win every game you play despite the lack of superstars on the team. Al did say that for 5 minutes in the 2nd period the team played poorly (My words not his). He thanks the fans and the organization one more time and make his way to what I hope was a fun and well deserved after party.

Coach Nolan is up next and he looks happy as a clam. Nolan goes on to talk about the events that led up to Arbour coaching the game. He talks a little more about the game and how the team doesn't give up. He said that DiPietro got hit in the eye with Crosby's stick, but that was refuted later by Chris Botta saying the he got hit around the eye. As it stands he is day to day with a facial contusion. Miro Satan says that the players were thrilled to get the win for Arbour as the magnitude of his presence was not lost on any of them. The players all seemed to have a deep respect for the man as they all repeatedly and rightfully refereed to him as a legend.

You can say whatever you want about the Islanders franchise. You can say this was a publicity stunt. You can say it was a ploy to get people in the stands. You can say whatever you want, but the fact of the matter is that this organization, and I mean the one owned by Charles Wang knows how to treat the teams rich history and the people who are responsible for it. Previous owners have and the alumni have been quoted as saying that they have felt used and mistreated. They never involved the alumni's families in any of the festivities. They wouldn't cover hotel rooms and travel expenses for the families. Now all of that bad feeling is gone. I have heard the Alumni comment positively on the changes in how the organization treats them. The ceremonies under Charles Wang's watch have been dignified, appropriate, and never overblown. Charles Wang understand the history of the team and has brought back Bryan Trottier and Mike Bossy to the good graces of the Islander name. Last nights ceremonies were quite simply the perfect way for the fans and the Islander organization to give Al Arbour one great big thank you for the memories.

Please share your fondest memories of Al Arbour.


Friday, November 2, 2007


The impostors that kidnapped the Islanders at the last game last month against Carolina seemed to have been exorcised, hopefully for good. Solid D, taking advantage of the other teams mistakes, solid goal tending, and a bit of an assist from the goal posts and the Islanders have a 4-0 shutout victory. Oh.. and poor Andy Hilbert, he is the definition of Snake Bit and at this point can't even seem to be able to shoot the puck in the Atlantic Ocean. Hopefully one will bounce in off someones leg as he is overdue to have one bounce his way.

First of all, congratulations are due to Mike Sillinger. Playing in the NHL by itself is a tremendous accomplishment. Playing well enough to last 1000 games is something that should be honored and the Islanders did a fine job with it last night. The attendance I will say was disappointing. An announced crowd liberally announced at 11,008 was all the fans could muster despite the team offering a 40% off promotion. I have said it before, empty seats bug me. Hopefully on Saturday the place will be packed rightfully so as that game has an awful lot going for it. Anything short of the capacity of 16,234 would be a disappointment as Al Arbour will be behind the bench one more time. Oh, and there is that Penguin team has a couple of pretty good players on it... Some kids named Crosby and Malkin have made some sort of a splash. Ill have to keep an eye on them Saturday, see if they have anything to bring to the game.

Locker Room Report - After being shuttled down past the security hopefully getting a glimpse of Al Arbour who was in the building, waiting in the interview room and this time Coach Nolan was up first. Looking a heck of a lot more comfortable than he did last year.. err..month err week, at the last press conference he speaks positively about what the Islanders had to do to try and recover from the beating they took last week. They tried to put DiPietro in as many game situations as they could, scrimmages with lots of traffic in front, clogging the middle and shots through traffic to get him the work he was missing through the teams inactivity. He also said the Islanders are looking forward to getting past this hiccup and getting back into a schedule that resembles the NHL and not the NFL (My words not his). Nolan speaks fondly of Sillinger and the hard works it takes not only to make it to this level but to stay here as long as he has. Nolan also speaks about Arbour and what a joy and an honor it will be for him to stand next to the Hall of Famer behind the bench.

After Nolan was shuffled off to the Locker Room on the Blogger hot seat was Josef Vasicek. I'm a tall guy but this guy is big. When asked he speaks about the lapse in the schedule and the fact that the team had 6 games in 9 days, and then 2 games in 11 days saying it is tough to start the season with such a flurry of action to sit and wait to play for so long when all you want to do is play games, especially after a game like the Carolina game which probably had to be tough for him as it is his former team. I ask Josef about any special drills or practices the team went through and he says that Nolan tried to put them through as many real game situations that he could, using a 5 minute 4 on 4 structure simulating overtime to keep them skating. He says that helped but there is nothing like real game activity. I asked him about Saturdays game against the Penguins and anything they do to watch guys like Crosby. He says with a guy like that you always have to be aware when he is on the ice and try to contain him as best you can because he is a guy that every time he is on the ice he can make an impact, so you try and minimize his opportunities. He also speaks fondly of Arbour looking forward to having him on the bench for the game Saturday night.

The Team and its coach seems really pleased they are passed this stretch of the schedule because despite what they said to the contrary this blogger's opinion is is bothered the hell out of them as a team. So its back to business and a somewhat normal schedule. The Islanders stand at 6-4 and well beyond what anyone with a NHL column or show thought they would be.

We will see (hopefully) a FULL HOUSE on Saturday and welcome back for a night a huge part of the Islanders history as Al Arbour returns to the bench for his 1,500th game as coach. Hopefully that 739 banner that is hanging from the rafters will become outdated.