Monday, December 22, 2008

Dead Last... Almost.

The Tampa Bay Lightning never cease to amaze me. Their level of ineptitude this season is really astonishing, considering the level of offensive talent they have. They have two of the top forwards in the game in Vinny Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis. Yes they made HUGE errors in trading Brad Richards and Danny Boyle but shouldn't they have MORE points than the Islanders, who have not even won a game this month?

Tampa has 7 wins. SEVEN. After spending like a drunken teenager with her daddy's credit card in the off season one would think that Boyle is laughing his ass off playing for the mighty San Jose Sharks who are topping the entire NHL at the moment. If Tampa Bay winds up with John Tavares Gary Bettman should start an investigation.

The focus of this season has changed from a rebuilding year to a "rock bottom" year. Injuries have again decimated the roster and voided any chance the team has to be competitive. Head coach Scott Gordon's system has come under fire in recent weeks and was even criticized by his own players.

If what we saw in Newsday with Witt was quoted just imagine what is being said behind the scenes out of ear shot of Greg Logan from Newsday.

When id the right time to sell of veterans to the highest bidder? I would say wait as long as you can for two reasons. One being the obvious injury. Weight, Sillinger, Sutton and Martnek are all out.

Two would be that teams will pay more when the trade deadline is near. If Doug Weight isn't hurt and has 55 points at the deadline, then he could net us a 2nd round pick. Same goes for Guerin.

Names that should go if and when they do go into sell mode - Mike Comrie, Mike Sillinger, Andy Sutton, Brendan Witt, Radek Martinek, Bill Guerin and Doug Weight.

Let me know what you think.. the fans must speak.


Monday, December 8, 2008

Random Thoughts - Still No Progress?

Random Thoughts returns to the voice with some thoughts on the state of the Islanders from the fans point of view.

1 - Repeated calls to the Town of Hempstead have revealed no new information and no one is talking. A poll on this web site and most of the people I speak to at Islander games are worried so why can't we get any answers? It is now December 8th.

Are hearings scheduled for January or not?

Is there a chance the Lighthouse group breaks ground in July or not?

All we have is questions and no answers. Do not be surprised if this is the beginning of the end for the New York Islanders.

2 - On the Islanders themselves, each step forward is met with 2 steps back. This is to be expected with a team in the state they are in. With all of the injuries, inconsistencies to be expected with a team of youngsters coupled with the ridiculous level of ineptitude with Jeff Tambelini.

I never thought anyone would challenge Andy Hilbert's level of ineptitude from last season but "Tambo" is making a run.

3 - Whats the word on Rick? Knee injuries usually have a time table of recovery. Rick DiPietro's knee injury (the latest one) does not seem to have a time table of a possible return. Why not? Something is going on with this guy and it isn't good. We all knew he is injury prone, but the team is obviously hiding something more serious.

4 - Scott Gordon gets high marks. Results be damned, Scott Gordon is doing a great job in his first year. Its good to see everyone in the organization seems to be on the same page and it should be great to see how the team progresses over the next few seasons. The only thing that scares me is that the Islanders will be just turning the corner to contention as they are moving off Long Island.

5 - Avery gets 6 games and anger management for using harsh words. Anyone want to compare what Avery did to what Mike Mattou did to Franz Nielsen? No? What about what happened to Patrice Bergeron? Mattou and Randy Jones both got 2 games. Avery got 6. So what your saying is its ok to maim and show depraved indifference to fellow players, but insult an actress and look out baby Gary Bettman and his band of disciplinarians will really come down on you.

I am all for protecting the NHL's image, but this kind of hypocrisy is what makes Gary Bettman the worst commissioner in sports.

Let me know where you stand on these and other issues surrounding the Islanders.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Wins and Losses, What Will it matter?

I am quite surprised at the lack of response and interest from the fans that I speak to as well as my readers on this site as well as my fellow NYI Blog Boxers to the very possible issue that It is a very good possibility that the Islanders days on Long Island are numbered.

Let go back in time to the other areas around the NHL who thought they could get away without building or renovating a new arena, or having a putrid on ice product for extended periods, or asking the fans to swallow major league ticket prices for what amounts to an overall minor league product from top to bottom.

The Winnipeg Jets move to Phoenix... Phoenix? That hockey hotbed. The Winnipeg Jets franchise had a huge following in Winnipeg but wound up being the victim of the NHL playoff structure of the time, and that being in the same division as the Powerhouse Edmonton Oilers franchise in their heyday, and the Calgary Flames meaning that if the Jets were going to make it to the semifinals, they had to go through BOTH of them to do so and my friends, that's simply not going to happen and certainly didn't as Edmonton dispatched Winnipeg 6 times int he playoffs. Winnipeg has since built a new arena for hockey, seating just over 15 thousand fans and are hoping to try and lure an NHL franchise back to Winnipeg. The Jets ownership ran to Phoenix with the promise of American dollars and I think we have all seen that the Coyotes have not exactly lit the world on fire, in the ice or off it.

The Quebec Nordiques go to Colorado. I'm sure all of the fans of the Nords in Quebec, who tried until the last minute to save the franchises move to Denver, all had a collective heart attack when the Avalanche won the Stanley Cup in their FIRST season after leaving Quebec City. Here was a team that had a huge rivalry with its richer larger brothers in Montreal - you may know them as the Canadiens. So why would a team with a built in blood rivalry, immense young talent, coming off their best season in years and the biggest improvement in points in the history of the NHL move AFTER their team announced new uniforms and logos to the press? Money and arena. Quebec refused to build a new arena for their beloved franchise, and the Canadian dollar at the time was so weak that it left team ownership with no other choice but to sell.

The Hartford Whalers become the Hurricanes - The Whalers troubles were simple. They needed a new arena. Then Owner Peter Karamnos engaged in a game of chicken with then Connecticut Governor John Rowland demanding the 45 million in losses he incurred over the time of his ownership. A most puzzling move being that the deal for the new arena was imminent. the deal falls through and the Whalers announce they are moving. The Whalers had other problems also in horrendous trades, Larger market fans swamping their arena for when their teams came to Hartford and the arena issue. Sound familiar Islander fans?

This is just 3 examples of teams fleeing for greener pastures and please for one second do not think the Islanders are exempt from this. The only reason the team is still here is because of its very lucrative cable contract. The Lighthouse project is an over bloated project everyone knows that. But its not our money and if Charles Wang wants to use the Islanders as a pawn in his chess game to get his legacy project built then so be it. The area is dilapidated. The Coliseum is a joke. The area does nothing but enhance the notion that the Islanders are a second rate franchise in the shadows of the Rangers. No one of any marketability wants to play here, and no one is showing up to the games.

It all sounds like a swan song to me. for the first time I actually believe that moving the team could be a reality. Gary Bettman has even spoken in favor of getting the deal for the arena in place. All we hear from The town of Hempstead is... nothing. The ball is in their court and it is their turn. The fans have spoken. Can someone please give the Town of Hempstead a swift kick in the ass because quite frankly if this deal does not go by this summer we can all start looking for a new NHL franchise to root for. How does the Kansas City Scouts sound? The Seattle Storm? The Winnipeg Jets? Or you can go root for the Devils or Rangers... hows that for a thought.

Don't think for a second that it cannot happen because there are some people in Winnipeg, Hartford and Quebec that can tell you what its like to lose your franchise after mismanagement, horrid trades, expensive games of chicken and poor facilities.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Islanders to Move? The Threat is REAL.

Plans for the approval of the Lighthouse project sit in the Town of Hempstead's office waiting for review. Why is this? Why isn't Charles Wang screaming at the top of his lungs and using every weapon in his arsenal to basically tell the people this. If Mr. Wang does not get this project off the ground then two things will happen. He will sell and the team will move.

He will sell the team and this time it wont go to someone who is willing to deal with insane amounts of red tape and political delay after political delay. Every elected official on Long Island is looking to put his personal stamp on the project and use it to get his or her meaningless name in the paper. I am so sick and tired of hearing some elected official from Nassau County who has his job because he managed to hand out more fliers than his or her opponent tell me that they know better than me what is good for the county. The county is bleeding money. The Islanders are bleeding money. The coliseum is a wreck. The surrounding area is a rotting parking lot. Either let the man build his project or just say no and let the team move already because all of this unknown is driving the fan base insane whether they are for or against the project. Mark my words today - If the deal does not get done there is a very good chance the Islanders will move to Kansas City, who has been eyeing the Islanders as a target for years and guess what, they already have a nice new arena for hockey.

Gary Bettman in his usual "well i cant really say whats going to happen" voice is going around telling anyone who cares that the county better get the deal done. Bettman wants the team on Long Island because of the rivalries the Islander shave with some of his favorite franchises.

It is time to open our eyes people. Either get he damn thing built or kiss the Islanders goodbye.

This time the threat is real.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Don't get to Excited - A Deeper Look at 2 Wins.

I wouldn't be making any plans for the Islanders trip to the Stanley Cup Playoffs any time soon people. While the 4-3 victory over the depleted Blue Jackets and the 2-1 victory over the blue shirts are fine and dandy, the circumstances of both victories still paint the same picture.

The Islanders were up 3-0 to Columbus who were playing without a litany of their best players and their top goaltender when they imploded again and allowed 3 goals in the third period blowing a 3 goal lead twice in two games. The only thing that saved them was Chris Campoli's overtime winners.

The Islanders locked in a 0-0 tie at the Garden after two periods has all the indications of a competitive game. The problem is, it wasn't.

The Rangers dominated the Islanders for two periods and the Joey McDonald absolutely stood on his head earning the Islanders the 2-1 victory only because of two Ranger mistakes on the power play resulting in two shorties.

Two victories is a good start but I remain un-impressed at the teams play this season. The Islanders have looked over-matched in almost every game this season despite the 4 victories they have.

What does this mean?

It means that the long term prospects of a team that is 30th in every NHL power rankings of every major web site and hockey publication that cares to write about hockey have not changed much because of a couple of hollow victories.

Like it or not, this is still shaping up to be a long season.


Saturday, November 1, 2008

Finding Ways to Lose - The Story of the Islanders Young Season

I grew up an Islander fan and have been a fan of the team from the earliest point I can remember which was the 1975-76 season. My father, who became an Islander fan when the team was granted entry into the NHL in 1972, told me all about that season when the Islanders started dominating the NHL in the late 1970's. He tole me the team was so bad that it just found ways to lose. He said one game they would look better, then lose 2-1. Then they would look even better, score a couple of goals and lose 3-2. Sometimes they would get their doors blown off and lose 9-1. Then they would be up 4-1 and blow that lead and lose 5-4. See any parallels here?

Maybe the Islanders picked the wrong season to introduce throwback jerseys to their first season in the NHL. It took the Montreal Canadiens 7:31 to score 4 goals on the Islanders sending the thousands of Montreal fans who were in attendance on their 350 mile trek home extremely happy. I expected the Islanders to at the very least compete on their route to another losing season and this has the makings to get ugly, and ugly very quickly. This team, unless it starts to gel VERY quickly will be out of any possible playoff hunt by Thanksgiving, already last in the NHL with 5 points and a 2-7-1 record.

The Nassau Coliseum isn't the Islander home arena this season. Let me explain this one. Usually, an NHL franchise can count on 41 games per season to have their home faithful, no matter how many actually show up cheer them on. Something disturbing is happening this season. Ranger fans are outnumbering Islander fans in the old barn. Montreal fans numbered probably somewhere near 4,000 tonight. Devils fans, Flyer fans, Penguin fans, Buffalo fans Toronto fans are making the trek to Nassau Coliseum because they cant get tickets in their own home arenas and they KNOW they can get tickets at the Coliseum very easily or cheaper. Think of the message it sends to the players when they hear chants of GO HABS GO, or GO LEAFS GO, or LETS GO RANGERS, or LETS GO FLYERS at every home game. Think of how it feels when the opposition is to far away for their fans to take a bus ride to the Island, there are 8,000 empty seats glaring at them. It has got to wear on a player, on a team, on a coach, and on an owner. I know it has gotten REALLY old for me. The Islanders are playing what amounts to 65 road games per season now and a lot of them in their own arena.

All this being said with all of the negatives around the team right now there are a few glimmers of hope. the younger players save Jeff Tambelini are playing better. Doug Weight is enjoying a renaissance of sorts, and Mark Streit is more than earning his pay check. Most importantly if this trend of futility continues there is John Tavares looming as this years number one overall pick. At the very least we will have a shot at him. THAT is something to look forward to.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Islanders to Introduce 3rd Jersey..... Anyone nervous?

People get so excited about uniform changes. No other team in pro sports has created an uproar with their fan base like our very own New York Islanders. We all gritted out teeth and smiled at those horrendous Islander Logos when they were introduced in 1996. I had less of a problem with the "wave" design than I did that horrendous idea for a logo, which was so bad that before the jersey was even shown to the fans the team was looking for a way to change it. Other teams fans had it to easy on us. Easier than it usually is when half of the fans that show up to Ranger-Islander games are Ranger fans. Easier than it is when people look upon the Nassau Coliseum as a pariah and let us know it.

I always have a bit of trepidation when the Islanders announce a uniform change in any way. I have nightmares of being attacked by a maniac in a slicker with a hockey stick. That wouldn't be so bad if Jennifer Love Hewitt were in the dream also but that is another maniac in a slicker story. This one is much more scary and disturbing. The good news is that the 3rd jersey this time will actually be something that myself and many fans have been clamoring for - a return of the jerseys the team wore in its inaugural season. I am thrilled that this will be the choice of the team for its 3rd jersey and you should be thrilled that the team isn't employing some ridiculous caricature of what an Islander is supposed to be.

I see a parallel here. The 1972-73 Islanders finished with a record of 12-60-6 wearing those jerseys. As it stands right now the team is 2-5. I am not saying the current Islanders could challenge the 1972 team for futility but challenging for last in the league is not out of the question. I have said before that the team needs to go for a total rebuild. Trade veterans while they have value and hand the team to the kids entirely. Our young players need to sink or swim and we are not getting a full look at their potential with Weight, Guerin and Comrie eating up valued minutes.

John Tavares will be the prize of the draft next year. Would finishing last in the league be worth a shot at the next great young player? now I don't want to project that far in the future, and with the luck the Islanders have they probably will get the 2nd overall pick next year. If the perfect storm happens the Islanders will have a shot at the next Sydney Crosby type player. Put that together with the beginning of the renovation of the Coliseum, and you have really got a chance to turn this thing around for good.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Learning Curve - The Ups and Downs.

Don't look now but the Islanders are in learning mode... No Really. Head Coach Scott Gordon's new system, highlighted in victories against Tampa Bay and St. Louis and low-lighted in losses to Buffalo and Florida is the topic of much discussion these days.

This is going to be the norm for the Islanders over the next month. One game on and one game off. The system works. We have all seen what the system can do when implemented and carried out. Yes that was the same team that forced the issue on the Blues and pressured their defenseman into coughing up the puck that showed up in Florida and could not apply enough of a pressure forecheck to juice an orange.

The question that is to be asked is whether the Islanders have enough talent to carry the system successfully over the long haul and the answer is yes and no. This is a system for kids. skating skating skating is what it takes to pull this off. If they do not skate the forwards get pinned down low and we all know that leads to odd man rushes the other way. Its not time yet, but I can foresee the team unloading its remaining veterans Guerin, Weight and Sillinger to let he kids run wild if they fall to many games under .500. Its way to early for that now as the team has to put forward the face that they are trying to compete. I am a fan and I will never root against the Islanders but John Tavares has 13 goals in 14 games in the OHL.

Everyone and his mother knows the NHL wants Tavares on the Maple Leafs. Let the conspiracy theorists work on that one but if you buy into that kind of thinking it makes perfect sense. The Leafs are the Yankees of the NHL. I'm sorry but I do not buy them signing Jeff Finger as trying to compete in the same off season you lose Mats Sundin. The Leafs are tanking the season in a bid to get the next great young player to enter the NHL, thats a fact.

In closing let me just say this. The players will determine the fate of the last remaining veterans on the team. What happened last year cannot happen again. Either your in playoff position, or your a seller. Enough of this 5 points out of 8th so we will stand pat. The team lost out on that by not trading Satan, Fedotenko and a couple others last season. Your either competing by the trade deadline or you are not.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Fragile Thing Called Life.

Every once in a while we are reminded how fragile it all is. Just like that we can be taken from this world and it does not matter what age, race, creed, religion, sexual orientation or gender you are.

Alexei Cherapanov, NY Rangers prospect and 19 years of age collapsed during a hockey game and passed away. Let me write that one more time. 19 years old. I could go into a rant about the fact that there was a problem with the defibrillator on the ambulance he was placed in. I could go into a rant about the fact that they did not have a defibrillator in the locker room at the trainer's disposal. I could also go into a rant about how a 19 year old kid goes through his entire hockey career probably playing since he was a 6 year old and never gets diagnosed with the problem that eventually took his life playing the sport he loved. I could rant all day and what would it change?

Now its up to the powers that be in the KHL to make sure this kid did not die for no reason. How about putting measures in place to make sure trainers and EMT's have the proper equipment in place to save some one's life when they need it. We are talking about a world class athlete and a child here. We will never know if a defibrillator in the locker room would have saved his life. I do know that if such a device if on hand would have had a good chance to save a 19 year old's life. I also know that one can be purchased for under $1,400.00. Think about that for a minute and then think about it again after the nauseous feeling in your gut creeps in.

We always look for someone to blame in situations like this and in this case the list is rather long. All that can be done is to put measures in place to make sure nothing like this happens again. Let us all hope and pray that the KHL takes those measures so we do not have to experience a loss like this again. Let me rephrase that - Let us all hope and pray that the KHL puts measure in place to make sure families, team mates and friends do not have to lose another kid this way.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Early Returns Are In.

The curtain has risen on the 36th season of Islanders hockey. This season will be the most important season in the teams last 25 years. This we all know. What we do know know is how the season will play out and in the most early returns the news is positive. Scott Gordon's new system has been implemented and accepted by the players. They have much work to do to perfect it but it seemed to work against the St. Louis Blues and created some scoring chances while being muffled by Martin Brodeur on opening night.

The team scored 4 goals in the first period in an offensive explosion that Islander fans have been dreaming of. 2 of the 4 goals were a direct result of Gordon's puck pursuit system. Having seen the system up close you really do notice a difference. The team is on the puck in the offensive zone and were rarely caught flat footed coming back on the back check. Turnovers in the offensive zone often result in scoring opportunities because they take the defense out of their rhythm. More goals are scored off of turnovers than off the rush when your dealing with a team that doesn't have a high powered offense. No one will mistake the Islanders for the Red Wings or Penguins any time soon so the more turnovers the team can create in the offensive zone will more than likely result in more goals.

Injuries are taking their toll on the team already as already on the shelf Mike Sillinger are joined on IR by Campoli, Bailey, Sutton, DiPietro and Martinek. I know what you are thinking reading this, Martinek and DP hurt? Your shocked.. appalled that these 2 guys are hurt. We should see Josh Bailey's debut sometime in late October as all Islander fans want to see the kid on the ice. He was given a nice ovation on opening night when he was introduced putting to rest the thought of the fans holding him responsible for Garth Snow's decisions on draft night. It is not his fault and its good to see the fans aren't holding him accountable... YET.

DP or not DP. If Rick is healthy enough to be on the bench then why isn't he in net? Is it a ruse to get him more playing time in practice because he missed most of camp and looked horrid against the Panthers in pre season? Everyone around the team is tight lipped as they do their best impression of Bill Parcells when discussing the injured. I do not know what the team is attempting to gain by taking this tact but it appears for the time being this is the direction they are going. The only thing I know is that when Rick was in the crease for warm-ups before the Blues game he looked very delicate. That is my observation only but he looked VERY cautious and didn't move from side to side and only went to his knees once. Is there something more serious going on with Rick? Time will tell.

The first 2 games of the season has got the fans attention. In conversations with the fans on opening night they are cautiously optimistic of the teams new direction but still do not expect much in the way of overall season results. Most realize it is a work in progress and are tempering their expectations. I did not hear one comment about Ted Nolan or Nikita Filitov and heard mostly positive comments about Gordon and Bailey. I am looking forward to today's game to see chapter 3 of the season. Voice your opinion here!


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Good and the Bad - Its in the Hands of the Kids.

The kids are here, and most of them are here to stay. 8 Players who were born in or after 1984 will be on the main roster to start the season. The "dead wood" veterans are gone and the Islanders hav committed themselves toa full fledged rebuilding period. I presend 3 arguments for and 3 arguments against how the Islanders are currently doing business. Lets get started with -


1 - Can They or Cant They? The only way the Islanders are ever going to figure out someones value is to throw them into the deep end of the pool and see how they swim. It is time for Blake Comeau, Sean Bergenhiem, Jeff Tambellini, Bruno Gervais, Chris Campoli and Frans Nielsen to show what they can really do. They have all be given central roles with the team this season and lets face it and if nothing else this will show the team exactly what they have here. Can Campoli be the main man on defense? Can Tambellini score at this level? Can Bergenhiem build on the flashes of brilliance he showed last season? We will all know the answers to these questions. Oh and yes, we will all get a good look at Josh Bailey and Kyle Okposo will also be here for his follow up to his promising 9 game stint last season.

2 - Don't waste money on mercenaries - The Islanders did the right thing in free agency. You want guys to be here because they want to be here, because they like the community and know there is more to the coliseum and the Islanders than a crappy old arena and a crappy parking lot. You want guys that will grow along with this Lighthouse project that should begin construction this June. You revitalize the area, and grow some home grown stars as opposed to guys who strictly come here for money and you have the chance to build something truly special. Sure its taking a while, but we could all be better off in the end.

3 - The team needs more faces than just Rick, home grown ones. - Sure you could go out and buy a poster boy for the Islanders and what would that do? The team successes of the past were always built on building from within and the only way we are going to get out of the doldrums is to build from within. By the time the Islanders start ascending to power in the NHL we will have the infastructure in place as far as arena and facilities to attract the marquee player to play here. Its fairly simple. Build a strong base, dress it with a new arena and surrounding area and watch the team develop into a league power again. The Islanders have to become a destination for free agents, not the last stop on the way out of the NHL.

Time to Switch to -


1 - Highlighting weakness is not a good thing - An organization with the problems the Islanders do should spend a little less time highlighting its weaknesses. If you are going to go with a youth movement they why bring in Doug Weight? Why resign Mike Comrie? Why sign Mark Streit? It all makes little sense. Either you go with youth or you go for free agents. The Islanders seem to be stuck somewhere in the middle.

2 - No one wants to come here - All the free agent period proved is you have to be contractually obligated to play here or no one else wants you. The second an Islander player becomes a free agent he seems to be looking elsewhere. Would any quality free agent ever consider signing here? The Islanders had better find a way to make themselves attractive to NHL players or they will be the NHL's version of the Pittsburgh Pirates, except they have a nice place to play and tend to get something before they lose their players via free agency. The team is going with a youth movement because its the right thing to do, its going with a youth movement because it has no choice.

3 - Islanders Farm System a positive? - Why is the only group of people who seem to laud the Islanders farm system with praise draw paychecks from the team or fans of the team. Looking objectively the farm system and what the "experts" say about it it is not promising and extremely over rated by the team itself.

Three for and Three against. Let me know where you stand on this subject.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Random Thoughts - Pre Season Version

The NHL season is upon us. After a month plus with little to talk about after the Islanders hired Scott Gordon as their new coach a lot of conjecture is being made about the Islanders opening night roster and who may be on it with significant roles. The Voice presents Random thoughts - 5 random thoughts on the current state of the New York Islanders.

1 - Josh Bailey, 2nd line center? Everyone who reads this column knows the disdain I had for the choice to pass up Nikita Filitov and trade down to take a guy who was ranked 14th in the world. However the early buzz on the kid has been all positive. With all of the 18-19 year olds making strong impacts in the NHL there is no reason that if this kid can play at this level that he should not be playing on the Islanders in a significant role. What cannot happen is he plays well enough in the 9 game experiment before he either must remain with the team or be sent back to juniors. If he makes the team out of camp which seems rather likely at this point they will have 9 games to decide whether to keep him with the team or send him back to juniors. Worst case scenario is he impresses in the short term and then implodes after his spot is assured. I am of the opinion that if you can play in the NHL it should not matter how old you are. If he can play, he can play.

2 - Bill Guerin and Doug Weight have something to prove. You would think that with all they have accomplished in their long careers in the NHL these two USA Hockey veterans would feel a little complacency in their positions. I have not gotten that vibe from either of them. They have pretty much done it all in hockey with Olympic medals, a World Cup championship, Stanley Cups, all star teams and numerous other achievements. We all found out that Bill Guerin played hurt last season and Doug Weight also lost most of the season to injury. They both want to prove that they can still play at this level and if (that's a BIG IF) they can stay healthy there is no reason to think they cannot contribute at a high level. I don't think that 70 points for Weight and 30 Goals for Guerin is expecting to much.

3 - DP taking it slow. Unless you have been living on that mystery island with Jack Shepard and Sayid Jarrah the last few years you know who the number one goalie on the Islanders is going to be. DiPietro is coming off multiple surgeries in the off season and the number one goal this season for him should be to prove that he can play an ENTIRE season without injuring himself. His style of play may make that next to impossible however and the biggest issue this season besides the development of younger players should be on keeping him healthy.

4 - No Lighthouse News - There is nothing new to report here other than to say the review process is still on going with the Town of Hempstead. It is now late September and construction is supposed to begin in June. Thats 9 months away which puts us around half way through the review process with the town. The early buzz was positive and multiple calls to the town to try and find something out have been fruitless. Lets hope we can avoid further delays and get Long Island and Nassau County something it so desperately needs - Improvement. Show yourt support fo rthe project by calling the Town of Hempstead at 516-489-6000 or at

5 - The Defense Team. The Islanders defense core is something that is not talked about a lot and I wonder why. There is a lot of young talent there along with big money free agent Mark Streit. The first power play unit will consist of Streit and Campoli which should in of itself improve the putrid power play exhibited last season. We have the rugged duo of Andy Sutton and Brendan Witt along with returnees Radek Martinek, Bruno Gervais and Freddy Meyer. As we all know it is just a matter of time before Martinek gets hurt and if last season is any indication injuries always play a much bigger role than anyone would imagine. That leaves an opening for promising rookie Jack Hillen and prospect Dustin Kohn. I for one would love to see Hillen with the Islanders but only if he can get top 4 minutes as to not hinder his development. If your going to go with young players they HAVE to be given significant roles.

Let everyone know where you stand on these matters and lets start a dialogue. The Blog Box is all about opinions and everyone has one so let your Voice be heard.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Good and the Bad - Scott Gordon is in.

Finally a decision has been made. Former Providence Bruin Coach and AHL coach of the year Scott Gordon has been named the 14th head coach of the New York Islanders. Let us dive right in and explore this revelation from all perspectives in - The Good and the Bad.


1) AHL Experience does not equal NHL Experience - There is no doubt that Gordon has had coaching success. The biggest problem is that he has no experience coaching in the NHL. Anyone that thinks that the AHL and the NHL game are one in the same has never tried to make the jump between leagues. It is not the same game as the best players in the world are in the NHL and every team has a very separate identity and style of play. This is just another way for the Islanders to prepare another guy for success by giving him his first NHL job.

2) Gordon better than Maurice, Tortorella and others? - Do this math for me. You have guys that have won cups, built teams from nothing into contenders and champions in the NHL and you pick the minor league guy? It seems that this was not the best coach chosen but the guy Garth Snow liked the best. Again Snow puts his "reputation" on the line.

3) Scott Gordon, Placeholder? - This kind of a move is indicative of a move that says if it works out I will look like a genius. If it doesn't well then its his own fault for not being ready for the challenge. The Islanders are a couple of years away from trying to contend and that seems enough time for Gordon to compile a losing record and an excuse for Garth to show him the door in favor of a more seasoned and successful coach when the younger players begin to mature.

Time to Switch to -


1) Hockey is Hockey - There I said it. Either you are capable of coaching or you are not. Whether its the NHL, the AHL, the QMJHL, the IHL, the KHL, the Swedish Elite League, the OHL, the WHL or whatever league if you can instill your system into a group of players and make them believe in it and play hard for it then you are quite simply a good coach. Gordon has proved that and it is time for him to show the NHL what he can do.

2) He is with the program, not against it - Coming to the Island Gordon knows exactly what he is getting into. He knows the negatives that are inherent with the Islanders. Other coaches who have come from more successful franchises with brand spanking new arenas might be a little disheartened when they come into the Coliseum and see the state of the facilities. With a guy like Gordon he hasn't been spoiled with the luxuries of other NHL franchises. Do not think things like this do not matter because I guarantee you they matter.

3) First time coaches = success - Look at all of the first year coaches in the NHL making big splashes. They bring fresh perspectives and new vigor to the rink. They bring an ambition and a zest for the game that maybe some other more seasoned coaches may take for granted. NHL teams are giving more head coaching jobs to coaches with no NHL experience and it has paid off for most of them in spades.

I welcome all feedback on this and any other subject you wish to discuss here. Please leave any comment you wish and let me know what side of the fence you fall on.


Monday, August 11, 2008

Random Thoughts - We are Down to Three...

Welcome to the recurring "Random Thoughts" column on the voice where we will discuss 5 points surrounding the New York Islanders professional Ice Hockey franchise. Let us dive right in!

1 - The field is shrinking. As was previously reported our beloved GM Garth Snow has the choice of the next coach down to a field of three. The next Islanders coach will be one of three gentlemen, Scott Gordon, Bob Hartley or Paul Maurice. I would be willing to bet that it will be Paul Maurice and here is why short and sweet.

Scott Gordon has had success coaching pro hockey. The only problem with that it his success has been in the AHL. Its a different game people and we need someone that has experience dealing with the overall grind that the NHL season is especially for the young players who will be going through it for the first or second times.

Bob Hartley got fired after 6 games for apparently "losing his team". By all rights Hartley should have been fired the previous season because the Thrashers absolutely shut down at the end of the season and got blown away and embarrased in the playoffs. Im not sure I would trust him with our young players.

Paul Maurice has had a lot of experience at the NHL level and a some of it was bringing teams along from mediocrity into prominence featuring some budding players. No one is trying to compare Maurice to Bill Parcells here but his fingerprints were all over the Canes Stanley Cup victory, AND he got them to the Stanley Cup Finals. Maurice seems to be what Snow is looking for but the problem is does anyone truly know what Snow is looking for? Does anyone truly know what GM savant Garth Snow has up his sleeve? Anyone?

2 - Doug Weight speaks - Doug Weight is anxious to show us all he can still play at a high level. Good. I am glad that Weight feels he has something to prove and I think he can be a great mentor to Josh Bailey. They seem to be very similar type players (save thier 19 year age difference) and Bailey can do a lot worse than to learn from Weight first hand. Hopefully Weight can stay healthy.

3 - Joey McDonald, Backup - DP has been around long enough now to know that he will be injured at some point this season and now Yoda is playing in Russia. Can McDonald handle the job? He was serviceable in the action he saw last year, but we had a backup that had seen real pressure and delivered and he is cashing KHL paychecks now. Its just one more question mark. The good thing is the only way it will matter in the slightest is if two things happen - The team is competitive and Dipietro gets hurt for an extended period.

Now which one of those two is more likely to happen?

4 - Lighthouse project news - Right now no news is good news. Assuming nothing changes the coliseum renovation is still tentatively scheduled to begin following according to Charles Wang - "The Islanders Stanley Cup win this coming June"

I'm not going to touch that one.

5 - Prospects of this coming season - There are apologists around the Islanders as always and this may be the first year I am not one of them. For this team to have any shot at a playoff berth so many things have to break right. Let us open that topic up for discussion. What do you think has to break right for this team to be successful?

Bye for now.


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Wheres the Coach?

I am not sure what exactly is taking so long for The Islander to name a coach. You would think with pre-season business at a lull the team would want to get their next head coach named so he could have plenty of time to name assistants and put his infrastructure in place. We have some poll results to discuss.

First of all when polled as to what the fans thought of the departure of Ted Nolan the majority (60%) of fans said it was a horrible move and thought it was a horrible mistake to let Nolan go. 35% of the respondents thought it was a great move, souring on the coach after two seasons of marginal success. 5% of the respondents were not sure what to make of the move choosing the wait and see approach. What a shock, Islander fans disagreeing with a major move the team makes.

Out second poll covered who you think the next coach of the Islander should be. Joel Quenneville, who has removed himself from consideration won the vote, netting 30% of the votes. Next in line is John Tortorella who garnished 25% of the vote. Tied for 3rd, or 2nd if you take Quenneville out of the equation were Tom Gordon, Mike Sullivan (20%). Mike Milbury, put in as obviously a joke choice also somehow got 20% of the vote making me wonder if 20% of the people who read my blog are certifiably insane. Bringing up the rear was Paul Maurice with 10%. Out of consideration are Gerard Gallant and Bob Hartley who got ZERO votes. All this vote means is that Gallant or Hartley will probably be the next Islanders coach.

Now the moment you have been waiting for. My opinion of the Ted Nolan fiasco aside, I think Mike Sullivan is the best choice for the job. The Islander need someone who can as a number one priority deal with the young players in the organization and in my humble opinion is the guy for the job. There are bigger names out there like Tortorella and Maurice. Torts has a reputation of being akin to a drill sergeant which may not be the best environment for young players. Paul Maurice has had checkered success in the NHL, and some also question his long term prospects of building a young team.

Snow has said he wants to hire someone who is going to be in this for the long haul. Someone who would make a long term commitment to the team so they could grow with the Islanders as an organization. Snow is certainly taking his time with the choice and lets hope this time he makes the right decision.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Random Thoughts - The Next Coach of the Islanders

After my failed attempt at humor in my last column we will turn back the business at hand and that is who will coach the Islanders. Snow has interviewed or will interview at least 6 possible candidates "competing" for the "privilege" of coaching the New York Islanders. The list has some big names on it -

Bob Hartley - He lost his players last season and that is never a good sign. You could make the argument that eventually a coach ALWAYS wears out his welcome over time with players but Atlanta was a team on the rise that took a nose dive.

John Tortorella - Has a hard edge to him that could be a problem with dealing with young players. He would have to realize that the same demeanor he had in Tampa could damage young players.

Joel Quenneville - He would be a good choice, but when was the last time the team did the over obvious right thing?

Mike Sullivan - Also a very good candidate that would seem to fit the kind of guy Snow would want. Has 2 years of NHL coaching experience and my money is on him.

Scott Gordon - This guy is not exciting anyone. Sorry Scott is your among the MILLIONS of readers of The Voice.

Gerard Gallant - He knows the players but he worked with Nolan and when the head is cut off the body usually goes with it.

Paul Maurice - I would love to see this guy behind the bench. I would also like to have seen Filatov on the podium on draft day. The team never does anything that falls along the lines of normal.

Mike Sullivan, Joel Quenneville or Paul Maurice are in my mind the best choices for the job.
Let me know who you think is the best choice for the job but keep in mind the following -

This next coach is going to have a dramatic effect on a great many things. One of them are the many number of prospects the Islanders have. Sooner or later this coach is going to decide when and how much these kids will join the Islanders and once they are here will shape them as players. That added to the very young players that are already here and this next coach will have massive input into how these players develop. He will have the responsibility of dealing with Rick DiPietro, a strong minded sometimes reckless All Star goaltender who would throw himself in front of a train to stop a puck. Make no mistake about it this may be the most important hiring this franchise has seen in the last 30 years.

Dealing with the players themselves is like the care of a fledgling apple tree. You provide the right nurturing to that tree and it will develop into a strong fruit bearing tree for years. You provide the wrong care for it and it will stunt growth, the fruit will sour and die off and one day you will wake up and wonder what happened to that apple tree you planted. Lets all hope we do not see Garth Snow and Charles Wang standing over the spot when their apple tree used to be wondering what they could have done differently.

This coaching hire could be the difference between a strong fruit bearing tree or a spot of dry soil and the same sour fruit we have been eating for years.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Islanders Tapping new resource for possible players?

It was a banner weekend for me this past weekend getting to go to the Billy Joel concert on Friday and the Great American Bash WWE Event on Sunday. I was not alone at the WWE Event as many of you may know Rick Dipietro was at the event schmoozing with a lot of the WWE Stars. This next story is a work. Whats not known is that GM Garth Snow was looking for new faces for the Islanders organization. The results of his meeting will astound you.

Pictured at right is the newest member of the New York Islanders, Former World Heavyweight Champion John Cena!! From West Newbury, Massachusetts, Cena brings an arrogance and aggressiveness as well as that "do anything to win" mentality that is so lacking up and down the Islanders lineup. It was not immediately know what position Cena will play but in a interview he said this " I am coming to the NHL to do what it is that I do, and that's dominate like only John Cena can." While this may be the first time in a long time an athlete in the NHL referred to himself in the third person, the shot of attitude may be just what the Islanders need headed into this coming season. When approached by GM Garth Snow about his contract demands Cena responded the only way he knows how and that is with a finely tuned chair shot right to the GM's head. When Chris Dey explained to Cena that that type of behaviour is not acceptable in the NHL Cena responded with one of his trademark "FU" wrestling maneuvers driving the unfortunate soul into the concrete back first. When told of the actions of his new superstar player, owner Charles Wang simply smirked and said "The guy's got spirit, and hes a true friend."

Hey at least it would not be boring.


Monday, July 14, 2008

The Good and the Bad - Ted Nolan is Out

Garth Snow and Ted Nolan got together and managed to agree on one thing this off season. The problem is that the one thing they agree on is that Nolan should not coach the Islanders any more. It seems amicable and this blogger wishes the coach the best and I hope to see him do the same thing so many former Islander players and coaches have done after leaving the team. Win. Here are 3 points for and against Nolan leaving the Islanders.


1 - Nolan brought the respectability, and he was the only one - Make no mistake Ted Nolan brought an air of respectability to the New York Islanders franchise. A team that has an owner who a lot of people think is in this for the real estate, a GM who almost no one takes seriously, an arena that most college franchises would laugh at, a player roster that impresses no one, a legacy for the last 25 years of bad moves, embarrassing fiascoes and failure after failure on the ice. People will argue that Charles Wang is a rock as the Islanders owner but he is not in this for hockey, he is in it for the Lighthouse Project.

2 - More on Snow's head - As if the draft wasn't enough to let us know who is running the Islanders. Garth Snow all but pushed Nolan out the door at the very least saving Nolan the indignity of being fired after a season who's result was the fault of one thing. That one thing is injuries. Now from top to bottom the teams fate will fall in the lap of its 2nd year GM. I hope he can handle the pressure of not only this year's draft but all but showing the popular coach the door. One more question to consider is who in his right mind would want to coach this team? I hope Snow doesn't hear laughter on the phone if he is smart enough to call John Tortorella.

3 - Bad, Meet Worse - Nolan was commended for getting the Islanders to the playoffs in his first year on the team, then Smyth runs to Colorado and the roster is remade. Amazingly enough the Islander are still competitive. Not only competitive but a mere 3 points behind the Devils for FIRST PLACE in their division. This was roughly 50 games into the season. Ask anyone and they will tell you the Ted Nolan was the reason for the success doing what he does best and that is squeezing every bit of talent out of the players he was given. Eventually the bottom fell out as the team lost over 400 man games to injury last season. It would seem the coach is not at fault but he is left paying the price.


1 - Unhappy coach? No Thank You.- Ted Nolan was not happy and did not want to do 2 things. One was enter the final year of his contract without an extension, and he wanted a steady veteran presence on his team. Unfortunately both of those were going to happen no matter what. Instead of staying and trying to earn more time with the team Nolan chose to push the issue and the result is him leaving the team. The players on this team do not need an unhappy coach, they need a coach who is on board 100% with the plan.

2 - Coach the Kids, Not Bury Them. - Its also no secret that some of the Islanders most promising prospects did not flourish under Nolan, always favoring the veteran over the kid. Jeff Tambelini in one that springs to mind. Everyone wanted the kid to get top 6 minutes. That is everyone except Ted Nolan. You will come to realize that Nolan had every intention of playing the veteran over the kid possibly at the expense of letting said kid get the time he needs to flourish in this league. The new coach will certainly be on board on this policy and hopefully the kids will get the chance they never got under Nolan unless injuries required it.

3 - Everyone on the same page. Make no mistake people. The Islanders are in a rebuild mode. Ted Nolan is a great coach and no one can deny this. That being said he just wasn't right for this team. The Islanders need a coach who will grow with the team and the young players it is committed to for the long haul. 2 years ago Nolan was the perfect guy for the job but our outlook has changed over the last 2 years. Instead of piece mealing a team together the Islanders are trying to grow one and Nolan clearly did not want to be a part of it.

Let me know what you think on this subject as I am sure it will generate a lot of discussion.


Saturday, July 5, 2008

More Random thoughts regarding free agency.

1 - Islanders are done. - Don't look for any more free agents to be signed by the Islanders. They locked up Streit to a 5 year deal and veteran Doug Weight to a 1 year deal. I applaud both moves as they make total sense if you really think about it. The team is going no where and they are years away from even thinking about competing for a cup. This season will be a transition year or a rebuilding year and if you are going to rebuild then you cannot hand out the absolutely silly contracts that have been flying around. If Doug Weight can regain just a small portion of himself after all he is 37, not 47 then we may have a decent 1-2 center position for the 1st time in a long time. The experts will still pick this team to finish dead last in the conference and they would be justified in doing so but they are going the only route they can to establish themselves in this league and that is with a total rebuild.

2 - Silliness is abound. - Let's be honest. Some of the contracts that have been thrown around are just plain silly. I wont go into which ones because we all know what they are. I am glad the Islanders aren't a part of it. In the words of Forest Gump, "Dats all I got to say about thaait".

3 - Jagr goes to Russia - Jagr has signed a letter of intent to go play in Russia and all I have heard from Ranger fans is a remarkable amount of indifference. Come again? If you think "Soft as Carvel" Markus Naslund or Nikolai Zherdev have a ghost of a chance of replacing Jaromir Jagr then I have got some news for you. Its not gonna happen. Jagr does not get replaced that easily. He led the team in scoring last season. Heck he led the Rangers in scoring every year he was on the team. Jagr is a dynamic player and this is one Islander fan that is thrilled he is off the Rangers, but I am upset a talent like Jagr is going to finish his career outside the NHL.

4 - Avery brings show to Dallas - Wow, a lot of Ranger talk on the Voice today. The Rangers have also let their new lord and saviour walk to the big D. You can admit it Islander fans, your glad hes gone, I'm glad he is gone, Martin Broduer is glad he is gone and the entire Eastern Conference is glad he is gone to go play his 8 year old antics in front of Roberto Luongo and Chris Osgood.

More later -


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Quick Thoughts on Free Agency so far...

Just some quick thoughts -

1 - Streit to set the power play straight? Who would have predicted this... the Islanders net themselves arguable the second best defenseman on the free agent market. He can be a liability defensively, but if that is the case we have plenty of defensive defenseman to cover for him.

2 - Avery seeing Stars - So much for the Rangers new messiah. I'm glad hes gone, and all of those Avery jerseys, t shirts are all going to become shoe polish rags now.

3 - Jagr gone? Who are they going to get? I am sure you know who I mean by THEY.. The Rangers are probably scrambling over Hossa shockingly signing with the Red Wings (and for only ONE season?) After paying the highly vanilla and over rated Wade Redden 6.5 million for 6 years if theywant to retain JJ he is going to make them pay, and pay hard too!! I love it when the Rangers spend their money on Canada's over bloated "superstars" - If Redden played his career in the US, he would be considered in the "middle of the road" defense class.

4 - Islanders gaining Weight? Word has it that Guerin is trying to give a big off season assist to the Islanders signing his pal Doug Weight. I think it would be a great move to bridge the gap to when Bailey and Trivino are ready to take over. Weight can dish, we really need someone who can do just that.

More Later -


Monday, June 30, 2008

Free Agency Predictions for the Islanders.

Everyone loves a prediction. Right or wrong or indifferent predictions are all over the place right now. Everyone who thought they knew what the Islanders were planning on Draft Day got a smack in the face. We are in a full fledged rebuild people. Everything that happens from now on out is for the sole purpose of building this once proud franchise from the ground up. The only thing that will be recognizable in the next 3 years on the Island will be our goaltender, Rick Dipietro. Signed for the next 13 seasons and like him or not, he is our goaltender. Everything else is up for grabs people.

For the long term looking beyond this coming season the Islanders have merely and handful of players signed to long term deals that are definitely going to be a part of the team's long term vision. In other words they are signed to this season plus at least one more season. They are in no particular order (with the seasons left under contract in parentheses) Rick Dipetro(13) , Trent Hunter(5), Radek Martinek (3), Kyle Okposo (3), Jon Sim (2), Richard Park (2), Chris Campoli (2), Robin Figren (3), Jesse Joensuu (3), and Freddy Meyer (2). Thats 10 players. The team has 10 UFA's this season NONE of them will be re-signed and thats not including Shawn Bates who has already been let go. After this coming season, Bill Guerin, Brendan Witt, Mike Sillnger, Mike Comrie, Andy Hilbert and Tim Jackman will all probably be gone via Free Agency. The only two players that I believe has a realistic chance of resigning beyond next year are Comrie and Witt, but I would list that as unlikely. By this time in 2011, the team will be almost entirely composed of 2-4 year NHL players hopefully blossoming into an NHL power and the new arena should be nearing completion. THAT is the time to sprinkle in a high priced UFA, not tomorrow.

That being said, the team does have to meet the ridiculous new salary floor of 40.7 million dollars. Here come the predictions. This free agent season the Islanders will let go all of their 10 UFA's without so much as an offer. They will sign the following players -

Georges Laraque - (W) They need toughness to stop other teams from taking liberties with the kids. Snow specifically stated they would look for toughness. They do not get any tougher.

Ron Hainsey- (D) He is one of DP's best friends and a decent puck mover. Hey we have got to take it where we can get it and I'll take it. Now all we need is for DP to go and befriend Sydney Crosby and Joe Thornton.

Jan Hlavac - (W) Useless Filler, perfect for a rebuilding team.

Todd Fedoruk (W) Grind Grind Grind.

That is it. The rest of the roster will fill out with kids. We are in a full rebuild mode people, its time to accept the inevitable and hope that Snow's moves in the 2008 draft are remembered as the day the team turned around for good and not a day of missed opportunities. Hopefully if the team is going to stink, they stink bad enough to get us a shot at a 17 year old named John Tavares. If somehow it happens then happy days will be here again.

"What are your predictions for this fight"
"Yes.. Prediction."


Sunday, June 29, 2008

Free Agency is Coming Part 2 - Pipe Dreams, Defenseman and the troubles of attracting players.

We talked about possible forwards that will be available for the team to sign on July 1, and now we will see who might be available on the defenseman side of the free agent pool. Not nearly as as deep as the forward pool defenseman will be tougher for the team to attain this year. Lets dive right in and see what we come up with.

John Micheal Liles - Only 26 Years old Liles has yet to really come into his own in the NHL as of yet. He has a load of potential and there will be teams lining up for his services so this one is a borderline pipe dream, but hes not quite up to that level yet. He took a step back this season only netting 6 goals after scoring 14 in back to back seasons with the Avalanche. He should be at the top of Snow's priorities if possible. What would it take to get him? 5 years 25 million.

*** EDIT - Liles has signed a contract extension with the Avalanche***

Dick Tarnstrom - Now 30, Tarnstrom is another player who blossomed into a decent NHL puck mover and power play point man the second he left the Islanders netting 16 goals and 52 points for the Penguins in 2004. Injuries have derailed the last 2 seasons for Tarnstrom which may remove him from the radar of the top spenders this year leaving him to return to the team he played his rookie season for. What would it take to get him? 2 years 7 million.

Mark Streit - Another borderline pipe dream, Streit is 29 years old and is one of the reasons the Canadiens didn't miss a beat losing Sheldon Souray's 26 goals and booming shot from the point last season. Streit netted 13 goals and 62 points last season and will command a huge raise over his 600K salary last season. What would it take to get him? 5 years 20 million.

Branislav Mezei - Remember him? Still only 26 Mezei was one of the Islanders first round picks back in 1999 and has turned into a bruising defenseman, although some say his slow feet cost the Panthers some goals. Who couldn't use a 6'4" 240 pound bruiser on the back line to take some pressure of of Witt? What would it take to get him? 3 years 9 million.

Jason Smith - I am surprised the Flyers are letting him go to free agency considering the improvement the Flyers made last season. A natural leader in the Brendan Witt mold. What would it take to get him? 3 years 15 million.


Lets be realistic Islander fans. No matter how you feel about the teams job on draft day that has most NHL experts praising Snow, this team is still one arena and 2-3 years away from attracting anyone of significance to sign here as a free agent. I am still smiling over Islanders 2nd round pick Corey Trivino calling the Island a "great city to play in". All players know is the Marriott Hotel and a broken down second rate arena. All of the major free agents have submitted "wish lists" of the top ten teams they want to play for to their agents. Guess how many of them listed the Islanders as destinations at all? --Dean Wermer voice-- ZERO... POINT... ZERO... That's what potential free agents think of this organization, the arena and Long Island. None of these players, unless they have lived here know what life is like on Long Island because all they see is that dinosaur of an arena, a parking lot that looks like a bobm hit it and a hotel. All this being said, money talks. Here are the free agent pipe dreams the Islanders have before them this year and what it would take to lure them to come and play in that "arena" we call the Coliseum.

Marian Hossa (W) - He is the class of the free agent pool this year. Perennial all star and 90-100 point man and at the age of 29 will be looking for his huge payday right now. He also erased the thought that he cant play in the playoffs with his outstanding performance in the playoffs this year. He will draw interest from every big money team out there and I think ultimately and unfortunately the Rangers will be the team that gets him. What would it take to get him? 8 years 70 million.

Wade Redden (D) - Remember him too? At 31 he is a very good 2 way defenseman Redden is going to command a huge salary and a raise over his 6.5 million dollar salary last season. I personally believe Redden is over rated and over blown as the Canadian media likes to do with their home town heroes. I do not believe Redden is worth that kind of a commitment. Hes good, but not that good. What would it take to get him? 6 years 48 million.

Peter Forsberg (C) - If there was a category beyond pipe dream, this would be it. Forsberg may be one of the top 5 players in the world. Problem is he is made out of the same material that China Dolls are made out of. He wants to compete for a cup and the Islanders aren't even close. Hes 33 years old, but his body is 55. His stats are as impressive as he is fragile. What it would take to get him? 2 years 15 million.

Sean Avery (W) - I list this as a pipe dream because of what it would mean to all of the Ranger fans who have adopted him as their own son and new messiah of the team. Avery is 27 years old and we all know the type of player and person he is and what he has meant to the Rangers the last 2 seasons. Talk to any Ranger fan, and he is the reason not Jagr, Gomez, Drury or Lundqvist that the Rangers are so competitive. Is that true? Put him in Islander colors and lets find out. What it would take to get him? 5 years 20 million.

Its fun to dream isn't it? That is something that we have gotten used to in Islander country. Here is something to consider for next season. There is another phenom, another "next one" that is coming to the NHL next season. His name is John Tavares. All you have to do is Google that name and you will see that he is breaking some of Wayne Gretzky's OHL records. He is already projected to go first overall in next years draft. If there is any way the team can even get a shot at him then you know what I will take my lumps this year. Let hope that if the Islanders are going to stink, lets hope they stink enough to net us a shot at John Tavares.

"Hope.. is a dangerous thing inside these walls.. Hope can drive a man insane..."
-Red, The Shawshank Redemption

Dont we all know.


Friday, June 27, 2008

Free Agency is Coming - What do Snow & Co. Have in store for us this time?

With the 2008 NHL Draft in the history books, it is time to look to the next big date on the NHL schedule. The Free Agency signing period starts on July 1. As it stands right now the Islanders actually are going to be forced to raise thier payroll to the new league minimum of..(Dr Evil voice) 40.7 million dollars. How is the team going to spend that money? Here is a look at who on the forward position is out there that the Islanders could be looking at via free agency.

1 - Micheal Ryder (W) - He is still only 27 years old and has proven that he can score at this level. He wanted a 3-5 year deal with the Habs last season and they forced him to take a one year deal at around 2.9 million and he responded with the worst season of his pro career. Whether he was either disenchanted with the contract status or the team wanted to bury him for the way the contract negotiations wen't, Ryder's stock plummeted this last season. What will it take to get him? Probably a 3 year deal at around 4 million per season.

2 - Cory Stillman (W) - At 35 years of age Stillman is still a viable scoring threat. His presence on LW could create a decent veteran top line of Stillman, Guerin and Comrie. What it would take to get him? 2 years, 8 million.

3 - Radim Vrbata (W) Also at 27 years of age Vrbata picked a great time to have his career season entering free agency. The question is wether the 27 goals he scored this past season will wind up being a career high or the launching pad to bigger and better things. What would it take to get him? 4 years 18 Million.

4 - Ladislav Nagy (W) He is 31 and more of an enigma than Vrbata. He has the talent to become a solid performer but injuries and inconsistency have him branded as both unmotivated and injury prone. Think Oleg Kvasha with a bit more talent. What would it take to get him? 1 year 3.5 million.

5 - Sergei Samsonov (W) Now 30, Samsonov placed himself back on the map of relevancy after absolutely bombing out in Chicago last season. No goals and 4 points with the Hawks had him thumped out of town and he found a home in Carolina, netting 14 goals and 32 points in 38 games with the Canes. He has offensive ability and has scored over 70 points twice in his career before inuries took a toll on his career. He seems to be healthy again and is producing. What would it take to get him? 3 years 15 million.

6 - Daymond Langkow (C) At 32, Langkow may be the best kept secret in the NHL. He has put together 6 solid seasons of hockey in which he has averaged 27 goals and 62 points with the Flames and Coyotes. Signing him would give the Islanders 2 good centerman and 2 decent lines to generate offense. He has proven he can be a number 1 guy. What would it take to get him? 4 years 20 million.

***EDIT - Langkow resigned with the Flames along with Eric Nystrom. So much for seeing Nystrom in Islander colors again. Todd Bertuzzi is being bought out of the final year of his contract. I doubt he would come to the Islanders at this point, but hes going to be available.***

Coming next - Defenseman free agents, the endless Mcabe rumors, and some pipe dream free agents.


Monday, June 23, 2008

The Good and the Bad - The 2008 NHL Draft.

Another NHL draft is in the books and much to the dismay of the Islander fan base Nikita Filatov could have been but was not chosen by the team. The Voice is here to break down "The Good and the Bad" aspects of what Garth and Company have done this past weekend in Ottawa. If you have read my last column, you already know how I feel. How do the rest of the fans feel? Here is a breakdown of what I have heard from the fan base since Friday night on both sides of the coin.


1 - Increase the Odds. At best Filatov was one player and a good chance at becoming a franchise player, but now the team has a better chance because Snow turned one player into 4. Like it or not the team now has a better chance of getting quality for their picks just because of the sheer number of them and how deep this draft actually is. You cannot just judge the transactions on Filatov vs. Bailey alone. Its Filatov vs Bailey, Ness, Petrov and Toronto's 2009 2nd round pick. Experts say the system is now chock full of blue chip prospects who have a real shot at being big time players for the Islanders and that is a good thing, a very good thing.

2 - Build through the draft = contender. Ask Detroit, New Jersey, Anahiem, Pittsburgh Tampa Bay and Ottawa if they are happy about their team's success. On the same coin, ask Toronto and the Rangers how all of their big ticket free agents are doing the last 10 years. The bottom line people the only way we will break the 25 year long funk the Islanders are in is to build through the draft and this was the right draft to do it in.

3 - The team now has solid direction. - Hear me out on this one. Stability is key in sports. Players are attracted to it, fans are drawn to it, everything looks better when you have stability. Don't look now but the Lighthouse project is imminent. They are projected to start the long overdue renovation of the coliseum after this coming season. By the time this arena is completed we will know what the team has with its current crop of prospects. We have heard over and over again that the arena is the anchor that is holding the team back from generating income necessary to get the free agents to take us to the next level. The plan is now a 2-4 year plan to build a contender. If at that time the team is still struggling to make the playoffs then that is the time to hang Snow out to dry. Everyone wants to win now and turn the ship around overnight, but there is no clear formula to make that happen realistically. The only direction the Islanders can take is the direction they are in and its clearly pointed towards better times even though its tough to see the goal is at hand.

Time to switch sentiment... Here comes


1 - Snow is to Filatov as Milbury is to Heatley - No matter what happens with the Islander prospects they have chosen in lieu of the Russian phenom people will always equate Snow's success with how good of a player Filatov turns into. If he puts up 35 goals next year for the Jackets, Snow will be crucified by the fans and the media. He will have Mike Milburied himself. Filatov's name will go right next to the names we are all trying to forget that are competing for Stanley Cups every year. Names like Spezza, Heatley, Luongo, Bertuzzi, Mcabe, Redden and Chara just to name a few. Its going to be a long time before we find out what we have with the kids chosen in the 2nd round, but we will know right away if Filatov is the real deal or not. If he tanks, then the fans will turn to see how Colin Wilson, Kyle Beach, Cody Hodgson and Mikkel Boedker are doing. This is almost a no win situation for Snow. Sre time will tell but the problem is no one rooting for this team wants to wait.

2 - Empty seats will stay empty - Short sighted or not, Filatov would have sold tickets and many of them. Instead fans busting for something to cheer for we are disappointed again by the Islander management. Short term prospects are as dim as they ever have been and is bad for business.

3 - Snow & Company smarter than the world? People do not like to be told that someone else is smarter than you. In passing up Filatov and choosing Bailey, Toews and Petrov and telling us that Bailey was the guy you wanted all along is a total reversal of what we were told going into the draft. We were told that we would get the best player at the position we were in and that at number 5 was either Luke Schenn or Filatov. Snow painted himself into a corner by opening his mouth and stating something he had no intention of doing. If there was at least an idea of what was to come maybe the fans would not have emptied the Coliseum like it was falling down Friday Night. Fact is, Bailey was rated by the scouting experts from the 10th best to the 17th best skater in the draft. Snow said he was the one he wanted. Filatov was rated the 3rd to the 6th best skater in the draft. Luke Schenn was rated the 4th to 5th best skater in the draft. Snow said Bailey was the one he wanted. Snow must know something the rest of the world doesn't. For his sake I hope he is right.

There you have it. Let me know what side of the coin you fall on and leave your comments here. I look forward to hearing what the fans have to say and I will respond to all comments.


Friday, June 20, 2008

And the Islanders select with the 5th,,,, 7th.... er 9th Pick.

This is not going to be pleasant. I have just returned from Nassau Coliseum expecting to see something I have not seen the Islanders do in a LONG time. The Islanders do something right. Everyone wonders why the team has struggled in attendance, cant hold onto or lure big ticket free agents, cant ever finish an NHL season with the prospect of being an NHL team who MAKES the right decisions DOOR MAT. Lets face it people. The first round of this deepest NHL draft in years has ended with our New York Islanders drafting the 15th highest ranked player according to Central Scouting. Nothing against Joshua Bailey because I hope he turns out to be great player for the Islanders and makes us all eat a tremendous pile of crow. My problem is that you had the 2nd highest rated skater in Nikita Filatov in your hands. It was done. Then the dreaded words everyone did not want to hear at that point when maligned and hated Commissioner Gary Bettman made the announcement that there was a trade. Excuse me... WHAT? The Leafs handed the Islanders 2 picks and swapped positions with Toronto, much to the delight of everyone on TSN and in the Toronto area. (I cannot stomach TSN when The Leafs do something because they acted like the Leafs got the incarnate version of God himself on their team) Toronto picked Luke Schenn. Well ok.. we are at 7 now all that has to happen is Columbus doesn't pick Filatov and then we got 2 picks for basically nothing. BOOM. Filatov is picked by Columbus clearing out half of the Coliseum draft party patrons who were just aching to cheer for the sight of Filatov in Islander colors. Well I thought thats ok because there are still 3 outstanding Center prospects left in Colin Wilson, Cody Hodgson and Kyle Beach. Surely at 7 we will get one of them. Right?

Oh My God... The Islanders clear out another half of their draft party by trading down AGAIN to 9 which in my mind is a very good move after making a terrible move trading down the first time. There goes Colin Wilson to Nashville at 7. So much for that theory. Mikkel Boedker goes to Phoenix at 8. He may be as talented as Filatov, and after aquiring Olli Jokinen the Yotes are looking strong for next season. Snow is finally at the podium. Please pick Kyle Beach... of not pick Cody Hodgson. Snow gets up there and picks Josh Bailey. Now dont get me wrong here I have done a bit of reading on the kid and by all accounts he could even play on the Islanders next season. Heres the "but" BUT... Bailey was rated the 15th best player in North America and Snow took him at 9. I really hope this draft is as deep as the Flemish Cap because all Snow did was get more second round picks. Think of it this way - You could have had the 2nd best forward int he draft, but you chose to take the 15th. Great. The bottom line is Snow had better hope that Filatov winds up being the next Sergei Samsonov, and not the next Ilya Kovalchuck.

I said in my column yesterday that if all went as planned and the first 5 picks went as all of the experts had predicted, Filatov would be an Islander. I also said that nothing surrounding the Islanders is ever ordinary other than the talent on the ice. The New York Islanders are currently the NHL punch line. The NHL joke. Every step forward the team has taken over the last 25 years has been met with 3 steps back. Columbus had to laughing their collective tails off when the Islanders traded that pick as they velcroed Filatov's name on their jersey. The Islanders are constantly trying to reinvent the wheel in every capacity from ownership on down. Snow said they would take the best player when 5 came up and what happened? It seems like they are constantly coming up with ways to self destruct, implode and piss off their fan base and they have done that once again by from all accounts blowing another chance at a player that would have put some more people in those empty seats on game nights and bring some excitement back to the old barn. Maybe Josh Bailey and Snow's other 3 new second round picks can do that. The only problem is it will take a few years to find out and judging from the reaction of just about everyone in the arena tonight, they are done waiting.

The Islanders have tested ALL of our devotion to the franchise with horrible move after horrible move. With embarrassment after embarrassment, the franchise has devolved from a dynasty to the laughing stock of the league and after nights like this its not hard to see why. I would love to see my fellow "look forward and not back" Blog Boxers try and put a positive spin on this one. Sorry, but there is not positive spin to this one. This is one mistake that will earn its spot right next to the many other missed opportunities and superstar players around the NHL that either used to be or could have been New York Islanders.

In other news - 2 superstar forwards changed teams today. Mike Camellari and Olli Jokinen were traded. I am sure Snow inquired at some point about what it would take to land either of them, aren't you?

I hope I haven't ended my Blog Box affiliation with this column because right now its how I feel and judging by what I saw at the Coliseum I am in the majority and this, after all is The Voice of the Islander Fans.


The New York Islanders are proud to select with the number 5 pick in the draft........

Draft Day is here and the time for speculation, conjecture and predictions are over. I cannot help but to show my enthusiasm that the Islanders may this once get that player we all seem to think they should. Nikita Filatov, the star Russian winger projected by many to be the Islanders pick in the 5 hole tonight could be an Islander as soon as next season. I am not going to go into why the team should get the kid because there are plenty of sources already around for that. The thing that worries me the most is that around this team the New York Islanders what should happen for the benefit of the team usually doesn't. That highly touted draft pick that goes to someone else or we wind up trading players we have and drafting a new player for the same position, or our top pick has a career ending injury or isn't what the team thought he was.

It seems with sports that its always the thing that isn't rumored, the series of events that nobody saw coming that seems to happen and it happens all the time with big name players as free agents, trades and yes folks at the draft. I can only hope that things for once go as planned in the NHL but seriously when was the last time anything significant surrounding the Islanders went as planned? I don't think I really need to go into details here because anyone taking the time to read this has something in their head that they are laughing or grimacing about just this second. That my friends is what I am worried about. I will go to the Nassau Coliseum and hope to see something go as expected for once.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Random Thoughts Returns... THE DRAFT IS NEAR!

Random Thoughts is one of the most popular columns on The Voice and it returns now that the NHL Draft which means more to us Islander fans than in any NHL City except Tampa Bay. I present 5 Random Thoughts on the current state of the Islanders and then open the discussion up the Millions.... er... Thousands of fans who come here to share your thoughts on our team.

1 - THE DRAFT IS LOOMING, WHO WILL IT BE? - This is it. The most important day in the last 25 years of the Islanders franchise. Am I overstating matters? No I do not believe so because the organization is at a crossroads (again). After a season the Islanders took a huge step backwards after losing Smyth to Colorado and imploding after 60 games and falling out of the race the team needs to (again) reestablish itself in the eyes of the NHL and its free agents to be. Right now, the top 6 players that are going to be chosen in the draft in most mock drafts -

1 - TAM -Steven Stamkos - C
2 - LAK - Drew Doughty - D
3 - ATL - Zack Bogosian - D
4 - STL - Luke Schenn - D
5- NYI - Nikita Filitov - LW
6 - CLB - Alex Pietrangelo - D

If it goes like this I will be one happy Blogger. Filitov has all the gifts to join the team next season, as long as his much ballyhooed immigration problems are straightened out by then. If you ask me this is the way I see the draft actually going, but we are talking about the Islanders here and anything usually will and does happen. Nothing around the Islanders over their years in existence has been ordinary. Lets all keep our fingers crossed that a certain team from a certain city to our immediate west does not trade ahead of us and take him ahead of us as I have heard around the rumor mill in the last week. I will cross everything I can think of June 20th and hope for the best.

2 - Free Agency is next. Is it time to go for the big fish?- After the draft is settled and we are all really pumped about the teams future or we are standing around with that "we just traded Mcabe and Bertuzzi for who?" looks on our faces it will be time for another period of the off season that has not been kind to us.... EVER. When was the last time the Islanders made a free agent acquisition that really turned some heads? Really let the NHL players know The Islanders mean business. Were not just about talk anymore and we WILL spend money when necessary to improve the team. Marian Hossa is a free agent and it will take a boat load of cash to get him here. You get him, and it instantly makes the team look like they are serious. Pipe dreams aside I know its not going to happen, you know its not going to happen... but what if it does? It is not a great year for free agents and the leagues traditional power brokers will be in play for this one BUT...what if this is the year the Islander outbid the Rangers, Red Wings, Penguins, Leafs and Colorado for a player of his caliber?

3 - Now that we have all come back from dream land lets look at some other forward options. There are some other offensive options out there and some of them make good sense. Some are Micheal Ryder who I would love to see here, Cory Stillman, a left wing who brings a world of experience and would fit nicely next to Guerin and Comrie. Avery... don't laugh now... he got skills and a little.. well ok a LOT of attitude to help this team. Picture Avery donning an Islander uniform and then picture what all of the Ranger fans with "16" jerseys and T shirts would feel for that time they realized their new hero was an Islander. How about Pavol Dimetra? Radim Vrbata? Brian Rolston? As you can see, there are some gems out there that can help this team. Getting a few of them, thats the hard part.

4 - Hey FCT, What about our defense? - Good question. There are a few of those gems out there also. Wade Redden.. Remember him? There is your Defense pipe dream. Let's be honest people thats not happening either but how about some other options. Like Dick Tarnstrom, John-Micheal Liles, Brian Campell and Jason Smith. There are options even though its not a dire team need. Lets hope we can land one of them as I would love to see Liles in our colors.

5 - Goodbye Dubie. Its been fun. Hes going to go elsewhere and all I can say is I wish him well, unless he is playing against us.

Let me hear your thoughts on these and any other matters that need to be discussed. Take care and keep on hoping for the best.


Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Sound the trumpets, play the fanfare, rejoice fans because the Voice of the Islander fans Blog Box will be returning as part of the official Islanders Blog Box again for the coming season! Let the world rejoice!!

OK now that that is out of the way, let's get to some pressing Islanders business, as the business has been slow since the team got the 5th overall pick in this draft. 6 out of the top 10 prospects are defenseman. Let me say this right now - if we choose a defenseman in this draft, This Blog Boxer will be royally annoyed. I want one of two players - either Nikita Filitov or Kyle Beach. Both players have HUGE upsides. Beach has taken a major hit over the last 3 months because it is believed he is a loose cannon. I say a little attitude is what this team needs. A little in your face attitude. Now I can scream and rant and cry all I want about what it is that I want, and its going to get me nothing but upset and a hoarse voice. We need to get behind this and let the team know we need some forwards that not only can help the team in the future but RIGHT NOW!

In other team news Wade Dublewicz will not be returning to the Islanders next season. It was obvious last season that Wade had proven himself at this level and there is nothing more to prove to the Islanders. Any contract offered to him at this point would be nothing more than a backup role to our lifetime goaltender. Any professional in his position would jump at ANY chance to be a number one goaltender and there are a handful of NHL teams that will give him a chance. Look for the Blackhawks, Kings or even Ottawa to give him a shot at winning their number 1 spot. Good luck Wade and who knows, maybe another Islander cast off like Osgood will be competing for a Stanley Cup next season.

Rick Dipetro announced on the Bubba the Love Sponge show yesterday that he had ANOTHER surgery this off season this time to have some damage to his knee repaired. It was minor, but this is the third surgery he has had in the last 2 seasons on top of the concussions. No one will doubt the talent he has but you as an Islander fan HAVE to be concerned about the health of our goaltender. His play is sometimes reckless and opens him up to these types of injuries. He has 13 years left on his contract. How many more games will he miss in that time when we need him to be at his best to compete?

While you are thinking about that let me bid adieu and I will be back to my columns on a regular basis. Please let me know what your opinions are on this matter and lets talk some Islanders Hockey.


Monday, April 7, 2008


The Islanders have the fifth overall pick in the draft, just good enough to risk not getting one of the top 4 offensive prospects in the draft. The Lightning, yeah the Tampa Bay Lightning who won the Stanley Cup 3 years ago have the Number One pick and will most certainly add phenom Steven Stamkos to their roster. What is wrong with this picture? The team has one of the most dynamic players in the NHL in Vinny Lecavalier and now they get to add this kid to their roster after they absolutely tanked the season. How do you think the LA Kings feel after dwelling in the basement all season only to have the pick pulled from them at the last second. It just sticks in my craw that Tampa wins the lottery after so blatantly tanking the season. I guess losing does pay sometimes.

Turning to the Islanders prospects, they still will have an excellent chance at getting one of the other top forwards in the draft. I would absolutely love to see them get Kyle Beach. Hes big, hes a great play maker and has an attitude. I can see Beach falling to the Islanders because if the baggage that supposedly comes with him. Then there is Corey Hodgson who many web sites are already predicting the Islanders will have on draft day. He is on the small side a 5'11", but he has all of the tools to become great player but he is more of a project along with Colin Wilson. The sleeper here is Nikita Filitov who has already drawn comparisons to Ilya Kovalchuck and it seems that most mock drafts out of Canada have him going to the Toronto Maple Leafs.... REALLY??!! I cant see him falling all the way to 8th but stranger things have happened. As it stands tight now the top 5 picks will probably go like this
1 - Tampa Bay - Steven Stamkos - C
2 - LA Kings - Drew Doughty - D
3 - St. Louis - Alex Pietrangelo - D
4 - Atlanta - Kyle Beach - C
5 - NY Islanders - Corey Hodgson - C

Now.. There is a slight chance that Tampa will swing a deal to swap picks with LA bu tthe thing is LA AND Tampa are in the market for defenseman. Is there a chance Stankos goes 3rd? I doubt it because of the monster year hes had but you never know. Like I said, I would love to see Beach fall to 5. If Beach and Stamkos are off the board I would go with Filitov as his upside is much highher than Hodgson and Wilson. We Shall see. Whatever happens it sure could be interesting. Maybe Garth can swing a trade to get the number one pick? How about - Radek Martinek and the fifth pick along with a 3rd round pick for the 1st pick?


Sunday, April 6, 2008

Random Thoughts - My Off season wish list.

We as Islander fans got our end of the year smile beating the Rangers and having some of the kids shine in doing so. Now the attention must turn to off season business. We can all whine and cry about how the team should send a rocket ship up to the moon and bring a chunk of it back for Marian Hossa but let us all be realistic people it simply isn't going to happen What will happen is a totally other thing. Here is my REALISTIC wish list for the off season.

1 - Big Draft Day - What the team has qualified for this off season will be answered tomorrow night at 8 PM on Versus. 8.1 %. That is the chance the Islanders have of winning the draft lottery and securing the number one overall pick virtually guaranteed to be Steven Stamkos. Stamkos is not the only jewel in this draft which is what makes this draft so monumental. Remember these names because if you see any one of them in an Islander cap on draft day we have scored, and scored big time.

1 - Steven Stamkos
2 - Kyle Beach
3 - Cody Hodgson
4 - Colin Wilson
SLEEPER - Nikita Filitov

The Islanders will have one of the 4 kids listed above on their roster after draft day, unless something catastrophic happens, like Snow picking one of the many defensive prospects projected to go in the top 10. There are a LOT of highly rated defense prospects which will only help the Islanders cause of picking one of the top 4 prospects and gives them a pretty good shot at Beach, even if they stay in the 5 spot. Past Stamkos, the number 2 offensive prospect is Kyle Beach, whom I believe is who the Islanders should select if he is on the board when their number is up on draft day with Hodgson, Wilson and Filitov as backups if they fall back in position.

2 - Bryan Mcabe. Yes I know the team needs scoring. The team also needs a stud on defense. Mcabe seems to want to leave Toronto, and Toronto would still love to unload his contract. Can they put together a trade? It was bandied about on deadline day but they couldn't come to an agreement. Now with the whole off season maybe the time needed to work out the particulars of a deal can be done and get the Islanders the defensive workhorse and power play point man every team needs.

3 - Free Agents - As was stated above, Marian Hossa is the jewel of the free agent market this season. It would be an absolute pipe dream to get him in the Orange and Blue but we can all dream and that is what it will likely stay, a dream. There are however other players out there who could help offensivley and come at a much cheaper price than Hossa, who will command a 6-8 year, 70-90 million dollar contract. Some of them are - Vaclav Prospal, Corey Stillman, Sergei Samsonov, Micheal Ryder, Pavol Dimetra, Brian Rolston and I may get some flack for saying this - Avery. Out of the names above I would put Micheal Ryder at the top of it because he is 27 and was absolutely buried in Montreal after his rocky contract negotiations with the Habs last off season. The free agents available on defense the team should pursue? Remember a guy named Wade Redden? Well lets be honest were not going to get him either. One name the Islanders could conceivably have a shot at.. how about John-Micheal Liles?

4 - New York Islanders 2008-09 Roster - The Voice of the Islander fan REALISTIC wish list -

LW - Blake Comeau, Jon Sim, Corey Stillman, Richard Park
RW - Bill Guerin, Kyle Okposo, Trent Hunter, Micheal Ryder
C - Kyle Beach, Mike Comrie, Jeremy Colliton, Mike Sillinger
Extra Forwards - Andy Hilbert, Jeff Tambelini, Sean Bergenhiem
Sprinkle in some more veteran presence and it could be a very nice mix. Some of you are thinking - No Vasicek? No people No Vasicek unless you want to send Mike Sillinger packing.

Defense - Brendan Witt, Chris Campoli, Bruno Gervais, Andy Sutton, Bryan MCabe, Radek Martinek.
Extra defenseman - Matt Spiller.
No Real surprises here I wouldn't trade anything but a middling prospect for Caber because of his bloated contract. I don't think you would have to given his status in Toronto these days. Hillen needs to prove himself in Bridgeport but he seems to have the tools.

Goaltenders - Rick DiPietro, Joey McDonald.

I would love to keep Doobie here but I have this feeling that he has impressed another team who needs a goaltender (LA, Chicago) to give him at least a shot at the number one spot, something he will never ever get here.

The road to next season is an exciting one my friends and it all begins tomorrow nights NHL Draft Lottery. Lets all hope as Islander fans that all of out bad karma with injuries comes back and nets us the number one overall pick. Sprinkle in a couple of free agents, a power play QB, and I will go into the 2008-09 season a happy blogger. In the mean time, everyone keep your fingers crossed and come on back to The Voice tomorrow for my thoughts on the draft lottery.