Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The GOOD and the BAD Part VIII - Making the Playoffs.

The GOOD and the BAD return to the voice, and this discussion will be about making the playoffs. I know what you are thinking. How could it possibly be BAD to make the playoffs? Well read on and find out!!


1 - In order to win the Cup, you have to be IN the playoffs. Its quite obvious isn't it. Make the playoffs and the records are wiped clean. Everyone is 0-0 and has an equal shot at Lord Stanley's cup. Making the playoffs is the goal of every team in the league and history teaches us that anyone can emerge victorious from one series to the next.

2 - More revenue for the team that is bleeding cash. Charles Wang says the Islanders lose between 15 and 20 million a season. While some may dispute the validity of this claim, look around that wretched building and tell me how the team makes any money. The playoffs are a shot in the arm for any franchise and can turn a season that is in the red into a season in the black.

3 - Free Agents are more likely to come here if the team is always in the playoffs and think they can take the team to the next level. Yeah I know the team lost all those players to free agency, but they were all replaced by talented NHLers that any team would have liked to have on their team. Showing the NHL your always in the playoffs is a great to lure more talent to put us over the top.

And now the moment you have been waiting for -


1 - Getting bounced early is no fun - Making the playoffs is fine, but getting your tail kicked in 5 or less games isn't. Whether its Buffalo or Ottawa or Tampa Bay it really doesn't matter. History teaches us if our going to face a top seeded team you are more likely to beat them after the 1st round. The 8 beats 1 scenario is a rarity in the NHL. Maybe is the team tanked a season and let the kids take over, and fortified with some top tier draft picks we could BE the Ottawa and Tampa Bay and kick some tail in the 1st round for a change.

2 - Making the playoffs is good...... or is it? While this is fundamentally true, it is also a reason the team has been devoid of any chance at a game breaking young gun. (Okposo is still a prospect, if he were Patrick Kane, he would be on the team already.) The team is good enough to make the playoff, but will we ever be good enough to do some damage? Finishing 8th in the conference is usually a death knell for any franchise in the 8th spot. This will be no different this season when the 8th seed will have the honor of facing the machine known as the Ottawa Senators. So which is better? To be bounced from the playoffs in the first round every single time as the 8th seed is getting really old really fast and it will not attract any talent to the team. When was the last time the Islanders drafted and kept a young player that became an impact player who name is not Rick DiPietro? Keep thinking because its gonna take a while. Its time to stop blaming Milbury and move on.

3- Getting bounced in the 1st round will get you... What? Hey I like Mike Comrie. I like Bill Guerin. I like Andy Sutton. I hope you like them to. You know what I would have loved? Chris Drury. Ryan Smyth. Sheldon Souray. If its cash its one thing and I can understand that. I do not believe the Islanders can seriously expect superstar talent to come here over anywhere else based on the chance they might finish 8th. The Isles (and rightfully so) will never hand out ridiculous contracts like the one our rivals threw at Scott Gomez. The team HAS to make itself more attractive to free agents in other ways. Maybe it is time to strip the team down take our lumps and KEEP our young players and give them a chance to prove what they can do. When a few of them prove themselves THEN add the free agent or two in. Who is going to be on this team next year with everyone on 1 year deals?

I'm sure this one will cause some discussion and the voice welcomes all opinions. Remember these opinions are not necessarily MY opinions, just opinions I have heard from the fan base. Let your voice be heard!!


Monday, January 21, 2008


Please respond to the "Other" non DP MVP in a response to this post.

Greeting and salutations. I am still reeling from the roller coaster NFC championship game last night. The emotions you have to block out to be a kicker at that level has to be insane. Think about it. You have 65 Humongous guys depending on your scrawny behind to kick as Prince Akeem says "The Giants of New York triumphed over the Packers of Green Bay by kicking an oblong ball of pigskin through a big H." Could you imagine what it would be like sitting in that locker room if the Packers won the game?

Ok enough football. Back to why we are here, Islanders hockey. Alex Tanguay may be available and the Islanders supposedly have been in talks with the Flames. This is a guy that has spent his career out west and despite that fact that burned us when another guy from out west came to play here I say get him. The guy is a play maker and we need offense. Calgary needs to clear room for Phanuef and 2 other free agents to be and Tanguay appears to be the odd man out. Problem... He has a no trade clause. He would have to waive it to come here. Other teams on the hunt for him are Montreal (if he goes this is where I believe he will land) and New Jersey. We need offense and Snow knows it. This would be a good start.

Poll Results. The question this week dealt with where fans believe Kyle Okposo should play this season. This was the closest vote on a poll in a while with 47% of voters saying let him start in Bridgeport and move him in if he shows he is ready. 31% said keep him in Bridgeport no matter what, and 21% said get him on the Islanders now. This is one of the first times I do not agree with the majority. Look at all of the 18-21 year olds making an impact around the league. If this kid is as good as we all think he is, then let him prove it here. The team needs offense and it does not cost anything to get him here unlike it would cost to get Tanguay. The time is now lets see what the kid can do.

Today the Islander will try and bounce back from a blown opportunity Saturday and it will be this blogger's joy to see number 32 back in the lineup. The Islanders have covered for him fairly well and it did not appear to be a problem until Saturday when the team was exposed defensively without him. Welcome back Brendan Witt.

See you at the Coliseum


Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Good and the Bad Part VII - Rick DiPietro

Yes Its true The Good and the Bad has returned to the Voice. Three points for and against an issue as it relates to the New York Islanders. After witnessing Rick Dipietro's superman act last night against the Devils and his superhuman saves off of Elias and Zubrus we will deal with the face of the Islanders, the Franchise, the 15 year man, the master of disaster, the king of sting, the mountain of molten lust, the count of monte fisto... the one and only Apollooooo Cree... No I mean Rick DiPietro. What could be bad about Rick Dipietro you ask? Well read on and keep in mind these opinions do not necessarily represent my opinions, but opinions shared by the masses.

Lets start with the easy -

1 - 15 Year Deal - Rick has obviously turned into what Charles Wang and Garth Snow envisioned when they gave him that 15 year contract. After a few seasons the way the pay scale is rising (thank you Rangers) he will be the most underpaid goaltender in hockey and a relative bargain.
2 - All Star - After not even being on the all star ballot last season Rick seems to have opened the eyes of the rest of the hockey world and recognized him as the superstar he is. Let me honest, a lot of what Martin Brodeur said about the team is true and the biggest reason the Islanders are where they are right now is directly because of DiPietro. We have a franchise player too, and not the rest of the NHL knows it.
3 - Workhorse/General Attitude- DiPietro has shown the ability that only the elite net minders in the NHL have the capability to do and that is play game after game. So much for letting that 15 year deal eat at his competitive nature. The guy comes to play and win every game and this blogger has seen that he HATES to lose, whether its a playoff series against the top rated NHL team, or a breakdown in OT against the Florida Panthers the guy takes the teams fortune to heart. He realizes he is married to the Islanders for life and one day his No 39 could be hanging in the rafters next to the greats of the team. Don't think he doesn't respect that and want to earn every part of it, because it is what he wants.

Here's the hard part -

1 - 15 Year deal - I don't care how good he is playing now. when he is 36 and there are 4 years left on his contract tell me how much you love him. Sooner or later his contract will become an albatross for the team and have to be bought out like Yashin's 10 year mistake. Another issue is Rick seems to be injury prone with problems with groin and concussions. Never a good combo when mixed with a 15 year deal.

2 - Shooting Gallery - The amount of shots he is facing cannot be a good thing. Rick is masking just how bad this team's defense is. Without Witt they were bullied when Sutton was not on the ice, and if Campoli is out for an extended time it could spell doom and hurt Rick's confidence. The team needs to improve its defense and until it does how long can we expect before it starts getting to Rick?

3 - Puck Handling - We all know his puck handling skills can be a real positive, but they can also more often than not get him into trouble. How many times has the crowd audible groaned when he ventures out of net to play the puck resulting in a scoring chance against? The puck handling is a major positive, but the results sometimes can be disastrous.

So there you have it. Please post any thoughts you have on the matter and let me know what points are off base and which ones you agree with. Thanks for reading and I'll see you at the Coliseum.


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Random Thoughts Returns - Poll Results

The Voice Presents - RANDOM THOUGHTS. 5 Thoughts as it pertains to the current state of the New York Islanders. The Islanders are currently on a Western Canadian swing and we are all tired from that shootout game last night won by the Canucks. What better time to shake off the cobwebs with another edition of the popular RANDOM THOUGHTS??

1 - Islanders laying eggs all over Western North America. Colorado, Edmonton and Vancouver have Islander eggs laid by the team that spells the 4th bad performance in a row counting the Florida OT loss. After what seemed a resurgence of confidence, strong play and hard work the wheels have seemed to come off again. Tomorrow the team skates into the Saddledome to face Keenan's crew in Calgary. It is not getting easier and I am tired of hearing the "Hey at least we got a point" side of the story. I heard it after the Panther game, the 'Lanche game and now were seeing it again after last nights poor performance. If it were not for DiPietro, it would have been a 6 goal loss. 8 power plays? Well it was at least 8 after keeping the penalties against to a minimum they had a total breakdown in discipline. Jiggs McDonald must have cringed at seeing what the mighty powers of the 80s have turned into in Edmonton Monday night. This may sound harsh but when the heck is it going to stop being acceptable to people when the team squeaks away from a game stealing a point? They needed 2 points out of Edmonton and laid an absolute and utter egg. They needed to bounce back against the over rated Canucks and laid another (their 4th in a row) egg. We will see what they have as it will not get any easier in the next two games in Ottawa and Calgary. Yes its OK they are getting points where they shouldn't, but its not OK that people seem to be accepting it.

2 - Bergeron bolsters PP. I hate to toot my own horn but Bergeron has bolstered the power play. Keep him out there and deal with his sub par defense. This team needs offense. He produces offense. End of story.

3 - Town of Hempstead Night!! Town supervisor Kate Murray will be on the ice to drop the opening puck when the Islanders return home on the 19th against the Flyers. I would suggest anyone and everyone who has the chance to come into contact with her that night let her now how important the Lighthouse Project is to you. Perhaps the more potential voters that show their support for the project can make a difference.

4 - Satan with Comrie and Guerin, when does the shuffling stop? Its tough to keep track of the Islanders line combos this year. Hey I am not an NHL coach but you would think there would be a comfort level with players staying together for the long haul but maybe the uncertainty is meant to keep everyone working hard to move up on the team's depth chart. Vasicek and Fedotenko seem to have slipped on the depth chart. I'm all for keeping guys honest but I also have to believe that familiarity can breed success.

5 - Where is my sniper? Potential targets. I keep hearing the Islanders have their finger on the pulse of the trade market. There are the "Pipe Dreams" that will simply not happen in Ovechkin, Sundin and Hossa, then there are the more logical targets like Boston's Glen Murray and Minnesota's Pierre-Marc Bouchard. Rumor has it out of Calgary that the Flames may have trouble inking Dion Phaneuf to a contract. If this guy is available the team should explore all options to bring him in as he is one of the best all around defenseman in the NHL. Rumors continue to fly around Ovechkin that he wants to move out of Washington. I do not believe it, but if he is available do I have to say go get him enough? Hossa could be a possibility, but its another "believe it when I see it". Hopefully the team will be active in trying to improve the offense because they need it.

POLL RESULTS - Dealing with how the team has performed this year 56% of the respondents chose the "team has performed how I thought they would" option. 31 % said the team has exceeded expectations this season and coming in with 12% was the mildly disappointed crew. 87% of the respondents seem to be pleased with the teams performance. Impressive... Most impressive. This weeks poll deals with Kyle Okposo and where you think he should start and lay this year. See you around and thanks for reading.


Thursday, January 3, 2008

Winter Classic - Yankee Stadium

After witnessing the best move the NHL as a league has done in quite some time I must reiterate the necessity of staging such a contest at Yankee Stadium between the Islanders and Rangers. The Stadium has one season of baseball left. After it is completed, sometime hopefully late next October there is no reason that It cannot be ready for hockey on Jan 1, 2009. Imagine this setting...

Sitting in the stands at Yankee stadium bundled up with almost 60,000 screaming hockey fans. Think of the Lets Go Rangers, Lets Go Islanders chants. Its to easy. Its so simple. It is a NO BRAINER. Get the Stienbrenners anything they want to get the deal done and sign me up. There is not one hockey player who watched that game on New Year's Day that did not want to be a part of the event. There is nhot one fan of hockey that watched the game that would not want to be there. The players want it, the fans want it, the league wants it. GET IT DONE!!

The NHL has made history out of making the wrong decisions. Strikes, lockouts, toothless salary caps, inept ownership, inept commissioners, corrupt officials, felonies on ice, misuse of its legends, bonehead rule changes, silly "uniform systems", lack of national coverage, poor marketing of its top stars, failure to market the game to a national audience, failure to do anything to take the brightest stars the game has ever seen and turn that into a successful league like the NBA did with Jordan... OK you get the point. The NHL has finally done something right. the Winter classic was a success on every possible level. the atmosphere was incredible. If they do not make this an annual event they are missing another boat and its biggest opportunity to positively market their game to a national audience since Gretzky retired. This HAS to become a annual event and the Islanders and Rangers is the perfect match up. Yankee Stadium with all of its aura would be the perfect setting. Imagine the last event at The house that Ruth Built is a hockey game between the Islanders and Rangers? Its simply to perfect. Its up to the NHL and the Stienbrenners to get it done. 3 Words, GET IT DONE.