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 http://www.townofhempstead.org/content/home/contact.html
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.