Monday, October 19, 2009

New York Islanders - 5 Random Thoughts

1 - Under performing? Or Right on Schedule? - The Islanders are win-less. Is anyone surprised? I know I am. Now I didn't think they would come in and blow the doors off but I expected slightly better results. There are two things that are a big concern.

The wild inconsistency in the level of play and the seemingly porous 2 new goaltenders.

The Islanders have shown entire periods or two what they are capable of. Then they how how fast they can make a great game into a poor one. This is something I thought Head Coach Scott Gordon would have a better handle on with his young team but lets take a step back and realize that we are dealing with a very young team learning a system they may not be accustomed to.

The more alarming concern is the goaltending. Dwayne Roloson can be as hard to beat as anyone when he gets hot. My question is he capable of stopping anyone on a penalty shot or a breakaway?

Martin Biron has not been much better if at all.

Both of their save percentages are an abysmal .891 and .881. I don't care what team you are your not going to win many games with numbers like that.

These are things that can all be rectified. Once the goaltending starts playing to their abilities and Gordon can hammer out the inconsistency in the games we should see a turn around of sorts.

2) John Tavares = The Real Deal. The kid is good. Very good. He has 7 points in 6 games (3 goals and 4 assists.) The Okposo-Moulson-Tavares line has been better than we could have hoped.

The problem is no one else is doing much of anything. Josh Bailey, Doug Weight, Blake Comeau, Rob Schremp and Sean Bergenheim all have no goals and have been pretty invisible and need to start chipping in because we cannot expect the Tavares line to carry the load all season.

Speaking of JOhn Tavares.

3) "HI. I'll take a John Tavares Jersey please." - This is puzzling. I go to a New York Islanders team store this weekend with money in hand looking to buy a nice royal blue John Tavares New York Islanders jersey in XXL. The thing is the one I see hanging on display in the store IS THE ONLY ONE THEY HAVE.

Excuse me? I know you can buy them on the web site or order the jersey I want but c'mon people. How does every Islander store not have 150 Tavares jerseys in every color shape and size they make?

I asked the sales guy in the store why they had only one Tavares jerseys expecting to hear "we are sold out." He told me well the Islanders change players so often its tough to know who is going to be here and we don't want to be stuck with jerseys of players who aren't here.

Excuse me? I understand not ordering Jeff Tambellini jerseys or Doug Weight jerseys. But John Tavares is the next big thing in the NHL and he is not going anywhere in the worst case scenario 7 years. Every Islander team store should be loaded with Tavares, Okposo, Streit, DiPietro, Bailey and Hunter jerseys at the very least.

Hey I can get a Tavares T shirt though. The thing is, I don't WANT a Tavares T shirt. I want a royal blue John Tavares jersey and the only way to get one is order it and wait.

Sorry, Ill wait until you have them in stock.

4) Lighthouse Update - The Long Island Press said Charles Wang was pulling the plug. The Charles Wang said he wasn't ans the story is false.

Charles Wang was supposed to have a meeting with head roadblock Town of Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray last week. What came out of this meeting? What did they discuss?

Only a few people know and they aren't talking. I have a strong suspicion we will not hear anything new until after election day.

So in the mean time we wait. Wondering what the fate of this franchise and in the long run the fate of Long Island will be.

5) Tough Guys? Where?- I like Tim Jackman. Let me start off by saying that. The guy scares no one especially after getting pounded by the super heavyweight known as.. Ryan Clowe? Please don't put any faith that Joel Rechlicz can do much better than Jackman.

Hey Garth Snow!! I am sure there is a heavyweight out there that can strike some fear into the opposition. Go get one.

Post some of your thoughts on these subjects or any subjects below.

Monday, October 12, 2009

NY Islanders: That One Hurt and Why It Was Good

Expectations. That is something that seems to change an awful lot around New York sports.

3 Games and the Islanders have 3 points. Positive or Negative.

Put me in the positive column.

Lets Ignore the negativity of blowing a 3 goal lead in less than 5 minutes which consisted of pure bad luck of 2 late deflection goals that no one could stop and not the usual culprit - a blatant loss of composure.

They lost the game because one - they could not win a defensive zone faceoff and two - bad luck deflections on two of Boston's three goals.

One of those two will be rectified if Doug Weight can stop getting injured and bad luck goals against simply aren't going to happen every day.

This wasn't so much the Islanders scrambling around like an out classed team who got lucky with a 3 goal lead.

This team expects to perform and did not surprise themselves by a dominating 54 minutes of hockey played against one of the supposed top teams in the NHL.

Some people will say well they are a young team and they collapsed under the pressure. That is not what I saw. I saw bad luck.

How about some more positives?

John Tavares scored a goal that we all dreamed about when he was drafted firing a bullet in the smallest of openings to score his second goal of the season and give him his 5th point in 3 games.
I haven't seen anyone in an Islanders uniform score that kind of goal in a long time. It was a snipers goal. It was a sharp shooters goal. It was beautiful.

3 games and John Tavares has to put it mildly impressed the hell out of Islander fans.

3 games and the Islanders are already beginning to show their fans they are capable of competing with anyone in the NHL.

If not for bad luck of deflecting goals off of their own defensemen they would have two victories against Boston and Pittsburgh.

That simply is not going to happen every game. Sooner or later the knock hockey goals against will cease and these 1 point games will be 2 point games.

That my friends is good news and we should be excited about what this season will bring.

For the first time in a long time, I was hurt by an Islanders regular season loss and you know what? It felt good to care that much about the Islanders like that again.

In that moment, I wasn't worried about Lighthouses or draft positions or who is injured or anything but the outcome of the game.

I did not get the sense of that "Here we go again" when Boston upped the pressure.

Despite the nature of the loss with the Bruins coming back the way they did it was pure and unadulterated luck.

That is also a good sign. They are making me and the many fans I have spoken to care about them again in ways we haven't in a good while and it could not come at a better time for the organization.

I look forward to the next Islander game to see what the team can do and when I say that its not to see how they can blow this game, its to see what they can do to win it.

Positive signs? They are everywhere. Look around. You'll see them also.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

First Impressions and What Would You Do?

The first real game played by the latest NHL first overall pick are in and most are in aggreement that it was a smashing success despite the OT Loss to the Stanley Cup Champions.

I for one cannot wait to see what else John Tavares and the Islanders have up their sleeves and 5 days was to long to wait for game number two.

How about that.

I am excited to see the Islanders play. A Lot of fans are excited to see the Islanders play.

When was the last time anyone heard a statement like that?

The New York Islanders went toe to toe with the Gold Standard in the NHL and had to come away feeling pretty good.

The Islanders had solid goaltending, team toughness, smart play, quick skating and fun to watch.

When was the last time anyone heard a statement like that?

Hockey fans all over Canada and the US wanted to see what the Islanders new prospect could do in his first NHL game.

When was the last time anyone heard a statement like that?

The point I am trying to make is - the Islanders for the first time in years have a buzz around them. They have the foundation for something that could become really special if nurtured in the right way.

Garth Snow is trying to build a winner, much like the progress we have seen in Pittsburgh, Chicago, Buffalo (before the Briere/Drury/Campell defections) and Detroit.

The message is build now, reap the benefits later.

Much like everything else in Islander land the shiny optimism is smudged by the prospect of the Islanders moving off Long Island to another destination.

Veiled threat? Maybe.

Can it happen? You bet.

What do we do then?

I have heard a lot of people talk on the side of the team will never move and I have heard arguments to the contrary.

The question is assuming the bottom falls out and the Islanders move what would you do?

There are a few options and not many of them are ideal if you are an Islander fan.

1 - Follow the team wherever it goes. This is one option that sure they would not be the New York Islanders anymore. They would be the Islanders not in name, but in personnel and the closest thing to the Islanders we could possibly get.

With the advent of hockey packages and out of market games as well as the Internet being available to anyone we would be able to follow the team as if it were here with the exception of needing a plane ticket to actually go to a game. To me, this option makes the most sense but that is just my opinion.

2 - Root for the Devils or Rangers. Could an Islander fan so scorned by the teams departure be so scared and broken be convinced to pull the colors of the Devils or Rangers over their head? My guess is sure, but not many.

Did fans of the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants suddenly become fans of the hated Yankees? I'm sure some did but die hard fans would not be able to stomach chanting "Potvin Sucks".

3 - Give up hockey altogether. There are a lot of options for winter sports out there and a lot of competition for the entertainment dollars and time we have to spend on hockey.

Could hockey fans suddenly give up the sport? I'm sure there are some who would swear off the NHL for allowing the Islanders to leave.

4 - Move off Long Island and root for the local team where you land. - Could fans so passionate about the Islanders actually uproot their families and move somewhere else?

Well to be honest most Long Islanders are already looking to see what lies beyond the shores of Long Island. Recent surveys have the population of Long Island in the majority range of up to 80% considering a move to greener pastures across the nation.

This is one of the reasons the Lighthouse Project is so important to the continued existence of Long Island as we know it. Drive around and see all the empty storefronts. Drive around and look at all of the houses for sale. Take a look at your last tax bill or electric bill and realize that you could be paying one quarter of what we are paying here somewhere else.

People that are here want to leave and people that aren't here would not consider Long Island as a place to relocate to.

Could the move of the Islanders be the straw that broke the camels back and send thousands packing for real?

Let me know which option you would take if the unthinkable came true and the Islanders moved away.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

NY Islanders and thier Lighthouse - A Tragedy in the Making

The Islanders are either a franchise in grave trouble or an organization on the rise. Which one is actually realized hinges on one thing - The Lighthouse Project.

People with sensible minds who actually use the lump of gray matter between their ears can see the big picture.

Do you see it?

First things First - Playing Devil's advocate and to show that I am not simply a one sided "just build it" proponent I will say that Charles Wang is using the Islanders.

There I said it. Charles Wang is using the Islanders to get his legacy project built. He bought the Islanders when the fact of the matter is no one, and I do mean no one wanted them. Why did he see value in the team when no one else did?

The Milstien/Gluckstern ownership group drove a young, promising team into the ground and they slapped the Islanders fan base directly in the face, which at the time was like slapping an abused wife after rescuing her from OJ Simpson.

Charles Wang came in and immediately gave the organization a breath of fresh air for the first time in many years. He spent inordinate amounts of money bringing in proven NHL talent. He has gone on to lose an average of 20 million dollars a season since he took over.

Why would he do that? Because hes a great guy who made his billions by just writing personal checks to make up for the losses on his hockey team every year?


Charles Wang bought the Islanders, The Marriott Hotel, The Omni building and all the surrounding real estate and brought in a partner, only the largest builder on the Island in Scott Rechler because he wants to build the Lighthouse project.

Along the way, I think Mr. Wang has taken a strong liking to his hockey team, but make no mistake Charles Wang bought the Islanders so he could use them to get his dream project off the ground.

That being said lets ask ourselves the following question - Why not let a man who wants to spend over 3.5 billion dollars putting up new buildings, housing units, retail space, hotels and condos and oh yeah, a nice new arena in what can only be described as a suburban oasis?

While we are thinking about that question, lets consider what the opposition is saying and we all know who the opposition is.

The Town of Hempstead and your local elected officials are the number one reason we don't know what is going to happen. They wont say no, but they wont say yes. They say.... nothing. They ask questions. They ask for more studies. They ask for delays. They make off handed comments about how the designs "looks like a city". They talk about traffic and waste water.

You know what they never talk about? They never talk about the positives. Ever.

The local politicians all want to be able to say "Look what I got for my voters" by questioning The Lighthouse Group at a public hearing when they already know the answers to the questions. They all claim to be looking out for their constituents.

The amount of BS that represents is taller then the highest building Charles Wang wants to build.

The fact they all want to make a name for themselves on the backs and at the expense of Charles Wang.

These politicians are looking out for themselves. That is what they do. They live term to term with their little insignificant little jobs and put their little signs up on Hempstead Turnpike right in front of the rotting site that is the Nassau Coliseum Parking Lot.

Now people are talking about Scaling Down.

Why should he scale anything down? Did Jerry Jones have to scale down his plans for a stadium that hosts EIGHT football games a year? Did the Yankees have to scale down their new palace of baseball? The Mets? The Giants and Jets?

The man wants to spend his money building a new suburban center the likes many of us hasn't seen in our lifetimes.

The questions are being answered. the concerns are mostly unfounded and the facts are clear.

The real issue here goes way beyond the New York Islanders.

The Islanders are a microcosm of what is happening on Long Island. No one wants to live here except those who make seven figures and live comfortably above the pay grade where higher taxes, ridiculous electric rates and selfish elected officials cant affect them.

People are moving to new suburban centers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Upstate New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Entire families are abandoning Long Island because of living expenses and most importantly school taxes and property taxes.

Young single professionals would be insane to choose Long Island as a spot to build their careers here when they can live in a revitalized Brooklyn and Manhattan.

There was recently a study done that was published in Newsday last year. Of the people currently living on Long Island, 55% of Long Island residents were either considering a move off Long Island or were actively pursuing a move off Long Island.

The average age of residents on Long Island goes up every year because young people starting careers and young married couples simply cannot afford to live here so instead of building their lives here like their parents did, they choose to build their lives elsewhere.

There is nothing - no incentive nothing exciting about Long Island to keep people here.

If that is the case, if you were in another area of the country and looking to move to the New York area and wanted to move to a suburb of New York, why would anyone in their right mind choose Long Island or if they did, Nassau County?

We can estimate how many people want to move OUT of Nassau County and Long Island. Can we estimate how many people have an interest in moving INTO Long Island?

I would not be far off If I said the number was close to ZERO.

Is the Lighthouse Project the answer? No one can know that. But it sure would ignite excitement and new possibilities around Long Island we haven't seen since Levitown was built.

What we do know is something has to be done. Charles Wang is not looking to displace businesses or residents like the Brooklyn Yards project, which in my mind should be built also.

Charles Wang is trying to spend his own money building something that can entice people to think about actually staying on Long Island, or make people interested in moving choose Long Island as a destination.

If Charles Wang doe snot get his project there is the real possibility that he will abandon it if he does he will sell the Islanders or move them.

What happens then? What will be built on that site then? The real estate is to valuable and something will be built there. I am frightened at the prospect of what could wind up there in that scenario and you should be also.

The Islanders are just a microcosm of the real issues surrounding Long Island. No one wants to play here, no one wants to stay here. The people that do stay here are forced to stay here until a time when they can leave where make no mistakes, they WILL leave.

What good is having our shining new prospect John Tavares if he plays 6 losing seasons in a rotting arena with no fans? What is he going to do? Stick around?

He will do what a graduate of Hofstra with a 4.0 degree on his way to a bright career will do, leave Long Island.

It is time for the opposition to accept the fact that we need a project like this to have a shot at saving Long Island from the true enemy, and that is the mass exodus of its residents to greener pastures and the absolute non existence of a motive to bring people to Long Island as a destination.

Think about it.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

DP Speaks - Predictions for the 09-10 season

The Islanders goaltender who only has been seen on crutches at a couple of on ice workouts over the summer, has spoken!

Rick said his rehab is on schedule and he is not going to rush back like he did last season.


I know as you the reader must be absolutely stunned at this turn of events.


Now that he has gotten the ridiculously obvious out the of the way its time to look at the Islanders upcoming season that is sure to be filled with lofty expectations if not for the team, for some of its young players.

Islanders leading scorers - 2009-10 season

1 - Josh Bailey 74GP 14g 42a 56p
2 - Mark Streit 80GP 12g 40a 52p
3 - Kyle Okposo 72GP 26g 20a 46p
4 - John Tavares 78GP 27g 18a 45p
5 - Doug Weight 49GP 10g 22a 32p

I am obviously going out on a bit of a limb here but i think Bailey is poised to be the breakout player from this season. Also on my watch this year radar are Jeff Tambelini, Sean Bergenhiem and Frans Nielson mostly because its make or break time for all of them. Either they become mainstays on the team and contributors or they are out of here.

If it were up to me, and obviously its not Tambs would be in Bridgeport and Alex Tanguay would be here in his place who is inexplicably still a free agent.

Go Get Tanguay Garth!

Tavares is going to have every Islander fan and most of the NHL watching him and a typical slow start followed by a hot end of the season is what seems to be typical with players coming into the NHL. Very few have an impact immediately.

Bailey has come this season to turn heads. Just watch.

Okposo will be expected to improve on his numbers this season. Another 15 goal season will be a disappointment. He has all the tools. 25 goals is not to much to ask.

I don't see how anyone can expect Doug Weight to play more than 50 games. Hes still got the talent that much is evident, but his injuries over the last 3 seasons have cost him way to many games to be penciled in for anything more than 50 games.

Mark Streit will be expected to be exactly what he was last season.

On how the team will perform as a whole this season?
I think the team will challenge and fall short of a payoff spot this year.

They have a lot of growing to do but they have excellent goaltending and good defenseman. The Islanders will hustle and out skate a lot of teams this season. They will work hard and start to make us believe there is something there.

They have a young group of forwards that if all breaks right can be the starting of a Blackhawk like resurgence in the NHL.

The Islanders will play meaningful hockey games this season and that is the best we can hope for right now but for the first time in a long time that's a good thing.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Hockeybuzz = The Weekly World News?

Dany Heatley is still a member of the Ottawa Senators.

It seems all other business is on hold waiting to see what happens with the talented Left Winger.

According to, the Hockey's equivalent to the Weekly World News, Heatley is going to be involved in a 3 way deal to San Jose then Montreal will be involved and Phil Kessel is somehow involved, Jonathan Cheechoo is involved and a 3 way trade will happen and the Blackhawks and Flames and and and....

You know I cannot keep up with all of Eklund's crap. I think his dog knows just as much as to where the next free agent is going to sign or where the next player that will be traded as he does.

He has had Alex Tanguay signed to about 7 different teams on his website, when everyone in the world knows that Tanguay is most likely waiting out the Heatley shenanigans.

The popularity of amazes me. All it is is a glorified blog that has somehow caught the eye of NHL fans who think Eklund has some sort of inside information.

I do not need to get into specifics. All i need to do it to point to his ridiculous rating system of rumors and state that he has scooped no one nor has he been right on many if any predictions this off season. His "E4" rumor is batting around .089 this season. Not good for a guy who has the sources he says he does.

I am all for capitalism and I am sure Eklund has done very well with his site but I am also for responsibility with your readers. The site is built mostly on the backs of other bloggers who are linked to his site and some of them are very talented writers. If you go to the site for rumors look elsewhere because all you are likely to be is let down on Hockeybuzz.

I really hope there is some real news around hockey soon because it has been a slow month.

The Islanders are making progress towards their lighthouse project and that is great news. Will Charles Wang have his answer before or on his self imposed deadline? That is the single biggest story around the Islanders at the moment.

Once John Tavares takes the ice this all will change but the Lighthouse Project will dominate the news for the Islanders over this coming season and rightfully so. If Wang can get his approval he will have the Islanders a player in the NHL again.

This season's results really don't matter in that regard because no one expects anything out of the Islanders even though I think the team has a a shot to make some noise.

That my friends is an (e3).


Monday, August 10, 2009

Baseball Players Think we are Stupid

David Ortiz held a press conference at Yankee Stadium on Saturday.

He proceeded to feign ignorance and wonder allowed that his positive test was probably because of some supplements and vitamins he took carelessly.

We have seen angry denials from Rafael Palmeiro, pointing his finger and angrily denying use only to be outed as a steroid user.

We have seen blank ignorance from Mark McGwire vowing to not talk about "the past".

We have seen Sammy Sosa forget the English language when questions by authorities.

Barry Bonds? Manny Ramirez? Roger Clemens?

The list goes on and on, and these are only the ones we know about.

David Ortiz was one of the players who lined up to take pop shots at Alex Rodriguez when he admitted his steroid use, even though his excuse was laughable at least he came forward and admitted he understood what the substance was he was putting into his body.

Then Big Papi was outed along with his fearsome Red Sox team mate Manny Ramirez as one of the players on the 2003 substance list. You think Papi wishes he kept his rather large mouth shut now?

Micheal Wiener, the latest long winded spin doctor that runs the MLB Players union got in front of the microphone and spoke to baseball fans and the media like we were 7 year old children explaining about how the number of positives could have been less that what was reported because more violators may have been tested twice.

Just how stupid does this guy think we are? As I listened to Wiener spout this inane dribble at the press conference and lauded Ortiz for speaking I wondered how can this guy think that this is going to placate the baseball fans who just want their game to be clean?

I gotta be honest, It made me very angry the more times he basically stated the drug problem in baseball is less that it is, stating that the 108 number was probably around 96, or as little as 83.

I have a statement Mr. Wiener - No one cares about anything you have to say, unless you are going to be honest and forthright.

Stop trying to tell the baseball fans and sports fans in general that drugs are not a big deal in sports.

Stop downplaying the role drugs have played in baseball not only over the last 20 years, but the last 50 years when the drugs of choice were pain killers and amphetamines instead of HGH and steroids.

Shut up or tell the truth because unless your going to present the list of 2003 to the public, ending the controversy and putting the speculation to rest no one really cares.

We as fans are sick of lawyers preparing statements for players who they wont let answer any real questions.

We are sick of holier than thou players bashing other players only to be outed as users themselves.

We are sick of spin control and endless legal babble coming from union officials who know nothing of the pressure these guys feel to succeed.

We are sick of over bloated players and records that mean nothing in terms of who has the most skill and more about who had the best drugs.

I for one am sick of fans who stand and cheer their steroid violators and vociferously boo and taunt opposing players who are outed.

This is not just a baseball issue it is a human issue. Look at the NFL today and how many 300+ pound lineman there are in the league. Now go and see 30 years ago and see how many there were then.

Now lets check the health of these guys when they hit 35 and find that they have 70 year old knees and 80 year old backs and tell me you don't care.

Do you think Ken Caminiti would have done things differently if given a choice to go back in time?

These guys are killing themselves for their sport. That makes them no different from professional wrestlers who for years died young or crippled themselves trying to compete.

The steroid issue is not just cheating in terms of cheating at a game. Its cheating these guys out of their own lives and quality of life.

People may say its their own fault, they are adults and they knew what they were doing.

That is a silly argument for this reason -

How many players do you think are out there that haven't made millions of dollars have destroyed their bodies with drugs in the effort to get to where guys like David Ortiz, Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez and Jason Giambi are at?

Who is cheering for these guys? Who will take care of their families if they cant provide for them?

That my friends is the real crime of it all.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

NY IslandersSign Martin Biron, What Gives?

Islanders GM Garth Snow is playing Poker again and he is not showing his hand again.

The Islanders have signed former Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Martin Biron. That my friends is a good thing, not a bad thing.

On the surface there are no negatives about the signing. What lies underneath however is another story.

Lets look at the surface then we will delve into what lies beneath.

First of all if Biron is on the Islanders he is obviously not on the Flyers. Everything I have read about Biron is that he is excellent in the locker room and a real team player that other players want to be around.

Why in God's name the Flyers did not try to work something out with Biron is beyond me. They sign Ray Emery who could not even get a job in the NHL last season and Brian Boucher and left Biron to twist.

There is no way Biron would have signed with the Flyers for the same offer and what he has done is make himself very attractive to possible trade teams if Rick DiPietro manages to come back to the Islanders healthy.

Fans of the Orange Crud do not agree and they are angry and I cannot blame them. They did not replace Biron with Patrick Roy, they replaced him with Ray Emery which is a roll of the dice on its best day.

Islander fans were concerned about the age of Dwayne Roloson. Well those concerns have been silenced by this signing.

Now lets get to what lies beneath.

There are only a few reasons for this deal to be made. Any one of them could be true.

1 - Despite what all are saying Rick Dipietro's health is obviously not what they are saying and his multiple knee and hip surgeries as well as his multiple concussions have taken their toll on Rick. If he cannot come back strong and healthy from this latest of three knee surgeries Rick will call it a career and retire.

Rick also just got married and as all married guys know I am sure his new bride does not want to see him risk further serious injury if his body cannot handle the rigors of the NHL.

DP would not be the first big NHL star to have to retire well before his time because of multiple serious injuries.

2 - Garth Snow wants to show DP who is running the show. Make no mistake. Garth Snow and Company were not happy with him last season when he insisted he was healthy and sat on the bench at the start of the season. It made them look bad like they could not or would not stand up to their biggest star and tell him to shut up and sit down.

Well, he came back way to early and injured himself again and would up in the operating room again, twice.

Rick is under contract for another 12 seasons for 54 million. No matter what you say that contract alone can make you feel as if you run the place. He can't be traded. He can't be bought out. The Islanders have another 4 years left to pay off their last long term buy out in Alexei Yashin.

What the Islanders can do is remind him who is boss by flexing their muscles and showing Rick who runs the show.

He can be put on waivers. He can be sent to the minors. They can make it a very long 12 years for Rick and now he knows it.

3 - Garth and Company already know DiPietro isn't coming back or if he does only has a year or two left in him.

This is all speculation but what if doctors have already told Rick that he cannot count on his knees and/or hips holding out long term? What if they told him he only has a couple of years at best with all of the surgeries he has had?

We all love the way DP plays with fire and passion. He made a commitment to the Islanders long term. He loves it on Long Island and wants to be a part of a winner. He throws his legs and arms and body around with reckless abandon in positions that quite frankly would put any one of us in the hospital if we attempted.

What if all of this has taken its toll on DP and severely shortened his career?

Why else do you sign two NHL veterans and draft 2 more goaltenders?

4 - It makes the rest of the available free agents - Hello Alex Tanguay realize the Islanders are in it seriously to become a winner sooner than later.

You know the Islanders are set in goal. if you are a free agent looking at the team, you see perhaps the next great phenom in John Tavares, you see very solid goal tending, you see an organization that seems to finally have its on ice agenda in place and sticking with it and you also see a plan in place for a sparkling new arena that appears to be imminent.

Maybe that pushes you towards the Islanders and away from Florida and Phoenix.

Which of the above do you think are true?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Looking Ahead: Free Agency and Beyond

The draft is behind us and so is the initial surge in free agent signings. There has been a lull in the free agent market and a few names that could really help the Islanders in the short and long term.

Who is left worth taking a shot on?

Todd Bertuzzi, LW - Why? Size, strength, goal scoring ability and he should come cheap given his penchant for injuries.
What would it take? - 1 year 3 Million.

Alex Tanguay, LW- Here is a guy that I cannot believe is still available. Either his agent is asking for stupid high money or general managers are scared of his injuries the last two seasons. Tanguay is still young at 29 has great play making ability and can score. Snow should go after him.
What would it take? - 5 years 24 million.

Travis Moen, LW/RW - Banging forward that can skate. Energy guy with an edge. What would it take?
2 years 2.2 million.

Nick Boynton, D - The Islanders have some depth at D but Boynton may be coming into his own at 29. Eats minutes and is reliable in his own end.

Beyond these guys, there isn't much that's attractive out there or should I say suits the Islanders. Playing GM for a minute I would offer contracts to Bertuzzi and Moen and test the water with Tanguay.

Looking forward to the season the Islanders aren't expected to do much. This is where I am going to disagree with the people and there are a lot of them who will predict the Islanders to finish at or near the bottom of the NHL again.

I am not predicting the Islanders to make a miracle playoff run here but I think challenging for one is not out of reach. The main reason for this is simple -

Golatending - Dwayne Roloson. Say what you want about Roloson's age but the fact of the matter is he is an excellent goaltender and does not have a lot of miles on him. He has backstopped Edmonton to respectability in recent years after coming into prominence with the Wild. Roloson will bring stability to the Islanders in net whether Dipietro is ready or not and will play to a 2.80 Goals against and a .915 save percentage.

Yan Danis and Joey McDonald last season were just fill ins in a lost season and this season Roloson changes all that. The Islanders do not have a question mark in net anymore.

Depth at Goaltender -
1. Dwayne Roloson
2. Rick DiPietro
3. Scott Munroe

Defense - When Healthy the Islanders ice a good to very good defense core.

We all marveled at the skills of Mark Streit last season and he will be the centerpiece of the Islanders defense again.

Brendan Witt and Andy Sutton will provide the crease clearing hard nosed presence.

Oft injured Radek Martinek can be a serviceable defenseman if he can manage to stay healthy. It remains to e seen whether Freddy Meyer and Bruno Gervais can hack the NHL level as last year was a step back for Gervais. One more addition through the free agent market would be wise.

Defense Depth Chart -
1 - Mark Streit
2 - Brendan Witt
3 - Andy Sutton
4 - Radek Martinek
5 - Bruno Gervais
6 - Jack Hillen
7 - Freddy Meyer
8 - Andrew McDonald

At Center, the Islander Roster is set. Doug Weight will provide the veteran leadership.

John Tavares and Josh Bailey are the 2nd and 3rd line centers unless someone switches to wing. If someone does switch to wing then another acquisition would be warranted at the center position because the health of Doug Weight is an issue.

Frans Nielson could be the wild card as he has show flashes of offensive skill and only extended ice time will reveal whether he will be a main stay or just another fill in player.

Depth Chart -
1 - Doug Weight
2 - John Tavares
3 - Josh Bailey
4 - Frans Nielsen
5 - Nate Thompson

At Wing, the Islanders have some exciting prospects. Kyle Okposo is still just that, a prospect. This could be the year he blossoms getting a full season playing with natural play makers Josh Bailey or Doug Weight.

Its also make or break time for Sean Bergenheim. Either he turns into the offensive threat he has hinted at or its time to move on.

The same can be said for Jeff Tambelini who has been a major disappointment at the NHL level.

Veteran Trent Hunter, who is a favorite to become the team captain will be back to provide his usual 15-20 goals.

I really liked what I saw out of 6'4" Jesse Joensuu last season and he should start the season on the Islanders unless he tanks in camp.

Trevor Smith, Richard Park and Tim Jackman round out the bangers and grinders.

Joel Rechlicz is Snow's chosen one to be the protector of the future of this team in Bailey, Okposo and Tavares. Hopefully he will be up the task as he will be tested. Tim Jackman can provide support,m but he is not a heavyweight.

Blake Comeau started the season in Scott Gordon's doghouse last year and quickly whipped himself into shape making himself valuable again.

It is the Winger position, take your pick of LW and RW where the Islanders need the most help. Add one or two of the names above in the free agent section and maybe you have got a team that can contend for a playoff spot.

Depth Chart -
1 - Kyle Okposo
2 - Trent Hunter
3 - Sean Bergenhiem
4 - Blake Comeau
5 - Jesse Joensuu
6 - Jeff Tambelini
7 - Richard Park
8 - Tim Jackman
9 - Joel Rechlicz

As you can see the winger position is by far the Islanders weak link. Sign Tanguay and Bertuzzi that gives you play making ability from the wing, goal scoring from the wing and size to clear some room for the skilled centers.

Whether the Islanders can or will do this is any ones guess but I would love to hear the fans thoughts.


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Free Agnecy 2009: New York Islanders - Day 1

As we all expected The Islanders were not huge players in the free agent market but did fill a glaring need and did so with in my mind the best free agent goaltender available.

Dwayne Roloson carried the Oilers at points last season, most notably in the last two months of the season. Yes he is 39, but he is signed for 2 years at an absolute bargain at 2.5m per season. He sported a 2.77 GGA and a .915 save percentage. He is also friends with Rick DiPietro as the two have shared goal tending coaches in the past.

Snow made a great move here.

So after the frenzy yesterday, what is left out there?

Alex Tanguay - Tanguay picked a bad season to get injured because i had him on my fantasy team and he happened to become an unrestricted free agent this year. Snow "overpaid" for Mark Streit and I would love to see him do it again with Tanguay.

Todd Bertuzzi - We all know his story, he will come cheap for a guy with his skill. Its worth a shot.

Andre Roy - The Islanders need toughness to protect the young players. There isn't much out there in the way of toughness unless Snow wants to sign Mike Tyson next week.

Jet Ortmeyer - Would fit perfectly with Scott Gordon's system the only problem is, he can;t score either.

Brendan Morrison - He is a play maker and can play any position. The only problem with this is he is a natural center and may not want to play wing. I would prefer Tanguay but Morrison has got skills.

We will update tomorrow with who else if off the board and update our want list.


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

2009 NHL Free Agency: New York Islanders

The Draft is history, and the Islanders did what they should have done.

John Tavares' name was spoken by Garth Snow sending the 11,000 plus fans in attendance at the draft party into a frenzy.

We as fans knew it was the right move.

The Islander brass, for once agreed.

The 2009 draft also saw the Islanders trade up twice to draft Oshawa Generals defenseman Calvin de Haan at number 12. Snow passed on more highly touted defenseman John Moore, who fell to 21 (CLB) and Dmitry Kulikov who was plucked at 14 by the Panthers.

The one that may have gotten away however is 6'3" power forward Zack Kassian, who was selected 14th to Buffalo.

I was surprised as you can be with the Islanders when Snow selected De Haan, who projects as a 2-4 year project before he gets to the NHL.

Then I was more surprised when his next 2 picks were goaltenders. Mikko Koskinen of Finland projects as a possible franchise goaltender, but again he is a project, and why draft a goaltender or two when you have one under contract for the next 12 years?

Turning to the NHL Free Agency period and looking ahead to this season, there is a real opportunity for the Islanders to improve themselves dramatically this off season if they are so inclined.

Should I go into the myriad of reasons the Islanders should try and sign Jay Bouwmeester if he is available tonight? Calgary would be foolish to let him get the free agency, but stranger things have happened. He is 25 years old and just coming into his own. He could be an elite NHL defenseman for the next 10 seasons, which is exactly the contract length I would offer up.

One pipe dream scenario would have the Islanders try and sign Daniel and Henrik Sedin. They are still young at 28, and have really come into their own the last 3 seasons. They are asking Henrik Zetterberg type money and years, which is patently insane, but maybe 8 years at 42 million apiece gets it done.

Will the Islanders even consider any of the above?

Absolutely not, even though they should with Bouwmeester. Lets have a look at some free agents that may be of interest.

Donald Brashear - He is 37 years old now, but can still go and commands respect. You sign him to a one year deal and tell him - "If anyone touches John Tavares, you know what to do."

Mitch Fritz - We need toughness. He cant skate but he sure as hell can fight.

Trevor Gillies - Just because hes the son of the Islander legend should be enough.

Micheal Komisarek - His troubles last year aside the local guy us a good defensive defenseman, and still young at 27.

Andrew Raycroft - The Islanders need a backup goaltender that can handle starting minutes for when... oops, If DiPietro gets injured again. Raycroft has had success in the NHL and is still relatively young at 29.

Todd Bertuzzi - He has a few things the Islanders need. Size, scoring touch and an attitude.

Chris Niel - He has everything the Islanders need other than goal scoring ability. He will defend teammates and can skate. Think of Richard Park with a tough edge. The fans adore him in Ottawa so I can't see him leaving there but Snow should be calling his agent.

It remains to be seen if the Islanders will play at all in the free agent market. I think they should push heavy for Bouwmeester but the Flames will likely re-sign him and if they do not, he will be courted by at least a dozen teams ready to win now. The Islanders are still a couple if years away, but if Bouwmeester has any foresight he could be a cornerstone of something special on the Island. 10 years and 68 million wouldn't hurt the Islanders case though.

Let me know your thoughts on who the Islanders should or will target in the free agent market.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The 2009 NHL Draft:Voice of the Islander Fans

The 2009 NHL Draft is tonight. At 7:10PM Eastern standard time Garth Snow will finally walk to the podium and thank the City of Montreal for its hospitality. He will acknowledge the Islander fans "at our draft party" who will be 20 thousand strong at Nassau Coliseum. Snow will then thank Gary Bettman and say what an honor it is to have the first overall selection in the draft and thank all of the top prospects.

The next words out of his mouth had better be -

"The New York Islanders are proud to select with the first overall selection.. From the London Knights of the OHL, John Tavares."

Or Else.

Unless you are an Islander fan you simply do not understand.

Way back on draft lottery day, every Islander fan expected some other team's logo to come out of the envelope that contained the owner of the first pick.

As fans, we all let out a collective YEAHH!! As the shock and happiness came over us like a late 3rd period tying goal.

We all thought in our heads were getting the next great player! A can't miss superstar sniper than the Canadian press and all hockey publications have been clamoring over since he was FOURTEEN.

Then reality came over us like a wave enveloping The Wizard on "Deadliest Catch."

What if they screw this up?

Non Islander fans reading this may wonder what it is that I am talking about. Non Islander fans have not been through what we have. As bad as it has ever been for the team you pull for, It is never as bad as being an Islander fan for the past 15 years.

Non Islander fans make the grave mistake that there are no Islander fans, the base isn't there because no one comes to the games.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The Islanders are expecting over 20,000 fans to come to the draft party at the coliseum ON A FRIDAY NIGHT!

Any time there has been a playoff series in the last 15 years, the Nassau Coliseum has rocked like the old days even if the odds were hopeless against heavily favored top seeds like Tampa Bay, Buffalo and Ottawa.

Anyone who witnessed the last sliver of success the Islanders had in the playoffs, the 2003 7 game series against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The place was electric - jammed full of Islander fans some think do not exist willing the team to victory in game number 6.

Now back to the "Or Else" I wrote above.

The Canadian media has more than done its part. They have managed to convince some people that John Tavares isn't all they said he was for the last 5 years.

They have even gone so far as to compare Tavares to Alexander Daigle.

Canada is sick of its superstars playing on what is conceived to be "their teams." Canada has seen most of its favorite sons of the last 30 years playing for Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Boston, Long Island, Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, New York, Detroit, Chicago, and anywhere else but Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Calgary.

Edmonton is the exception, but they had to break up their dynasty for financial reasons or they may have just ended their run of winning The Stanley Cup.

The Islander fans who have been watching Tavares' career the last little while know the truth. This kid is the real deal. While his stock is not that of Sydney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin or Ecgeni Malkin, would the stock of Vinny Lecavialer be that bad? How about the next Henrik Zetterberg or Pavel Datsuik?

As good as a prospect as Victor Hedman is, as he has been compared to Zdeno Chara in the media in reality he probably has more in common with Kenny Jonsson than Zdeno Chara.

Matt Duchene is a great prospect. The media has compared him to Bryan Trottier and get this.. Steve Yzerman.

All of the negative media that has headed John Tavares' way over the last 12 months is simply laughable and most can see right through it.

We want a guy we can go buy his jersey and not get laughed at.

We want a guy that people will pay to see play hockey.

We want a guy that every arena he plays in, people will watch him and be interested in him.

We want a guy that people will line up for his autograph, no matter where he is.

We want a guy that when you pull his hockey card out of a pack, you don't throw it in the common box.

The scout ranking, NHL GM's, TSN, The Hockey News, Don Cherry and just about everyone agrees that John Tavares should go number one.

If Garth Snow doesn't agree, the Coliseum may burn.

I have heard more fans tell me in comments, conversations, e mail, message boards, responses on this blog and others that if the Islanders do not select Tavares then they are finished with the Islanders.

This is not the "oh if they lose to the Rangers I am done" this is the real deal. I have heard them say they wont watch hockey again, throw their jerseys in the trash and wash their hands of this team once and for all.

This time I believe some of them.

Garth Snow can send 20 thousand of his fans home deliriously happy by simpky doing what he should, or he can burn them again trying to reinvent the wheel once more.

Time will tell and at 7:10 PM tonight, The 2009 Islanders Draft Party will either be just that.. a party or a nightmare.


Monday, June 22, 2009

The 2009 NHL Draft - Predictions.

I have had many fans ask me what the Islanders are going to do, thinking that us blog boxers may have an iota more inside information than the general public.

If we do have more information that the general public, it is just that - an iota.

That iota tells me that the Islanders will walk to the podium on Friday night and do the only thing they should and draft John Tavares with the first overall pick.

We have gone through all the reasons why it should be JT so lets direct our focus elsewhere.

The Islanders have another pick in the first round and its a bit better than where it should be because of the meltdown of the San Jose Sharks in the first round of this years playoffs.

Pick No 26 in the first round will in all likely hood be traded up with one of the Islanders 2 second round picks to try and gain a better position to draft a defenseman that Snow and Company has their eye on.

It would be an absolute dream scenario if Snow managed to net himself Chicago Steel Defenseman John Moore. His stock has rocketed him into the top 10 in some mock drafts, so that seems unlikely unless Snow wants to part with something more enticing to anyone drafting in the 10-15 position.

We can count out Winsor Defenseman Ryan Ellis, as he is not getting past the Edmonton Oilers.

One possibility may be Drummondville defenseman Dmitri Kulikov. He may be a bit of a project but he has already spent one year getting used to the North American game. He may again rise to far for the Islanders to reach.

Past the top 5-7 players, the draft rankings are all over the place so where players like this get drafted is anyones guess.

If I were asked who I would like to see the Islanders come away with on draft day?

I think its obvious that myself and probably 95% of Islanders fans want John Tavares to be pulling the Orange and Blue over his head this Friday.

16,000 tickets have been claimed for the draft party this year. 16,000. Even if half of the people who have tickets show up, thats 8,000 fans there. A large percentage of those people will leave Nassau Coliseum Friday Night swearing off this team if Snow doesn't pick Tavares.

On to the less obvious choices, I would love to see the Islanders come away with one of 5 players with their "other" first round pick. They are - John Moore, Dmitri Kulikov, Zack Kassian, Simon Despres or Carter Ashton.

Its going to be a fun night, but if Tavares is an Islander, it will be a VERY fun night.


Monday, May 11, 2009

The New York Yankees, The New York Mets and the New York Islanders: Same market, different fortunes.

I went and took in a Yankee game on May 1st and could not help marvel at the new Yankee Stadium. The place is truely a sight to behold and a pleasure to watch a game in.

The Great Hall is truly something to behold, especially at night. I think it is safe to say that the New York Yankees are the richest, most successful franchise in baseball and arguable in all of sports worldwide with an estimated value of 1.5 billion dollars.

We all know there is no comparison with NHL teams and MLB teams with the economics of each sport. All of MLB's teams are worth an estimated 18 billion dollars combined. The NHL by comparison its teams are worth an estimated 5.6 billion.

That being said, the Islanders are in the same market than the Yankees. However it isn't fair to compare the two given the Yankees status in the NY sports landscape. After all the Islanders came into the NY sports market second decades after the NY Rangers.

That's eerily similar to the NY Mets. The Mets and the Islanders have a lot in common. They are viewed as the "secondary" NY franchises to the Yankees and Rangers.

The Mets are worth 900 Million dollars and are the 3rd most valuable franchise in baseball.

That's a pretty good 2nd fiddle there wouldnt you say?

The NY Rangers are the 2nd highest valued team at 414 million.

The NY Islanders the 29th most valuable franchise in the NHL.

So what gives?

The economics of the two sports aside the Islanders are a victim of two main problems and the biggest problems are not what you may think so lets rule the obvious out first.

As bad as the Nassau Coliseum is you can't blame the arena for the value of the team. While it certainly doesn't help it stands as far from the prime reason.

Take a look at the stadiums the Yankees and Mets have been playing in up until this season. Shea Stadium and Yankee Stadium were far past their primes 15 years ago and two facilities that both fans and the tenants viewed as far inferior to what was being built around the league over the last 10 years.

No one will say that Madison Square Garden is a great arena.

In spite of that, the Yankees, Mets and Rangers multiplied in value over the last 10 years.

Lets look at those two main reasons a little closer.

1 - Stable Ownership. Go ahead. Admit it. The Wilpons, Dolans and Stienbrenners are three of the best owners in sports. They spend money, the make money they sell tickets and players will play there.

But Shea and Yankee Stadiums as well as the Garden are such old decrepit places to play.

Do you think Carlos Beltran or Pedro Martinez cared about the Shea facilities when they signed those mammoth contracts? Players care about two things. Winning and Money and some not necessarily in that order.

Do you think Scott Gomez and Chris Drury cared about the arena when they signed with the Rangers?

How about A Rod? Giambi? Damon? Think they were worried about playing in that old ball park?

No its all about the money and winning people. Franchises have shown that they can win and build winners without spending like a drunken prom queen but there is always a few players of a high dollar amount kicking around on these winning franchises.

If the Islanders were so inclined, they could go out and offer Marian Hossa and Marian Gaborik a boatload of cash this summer and get both of them. The problem is they cant or a better word is - they wont.

This is not even considering the owners the Islander have had over the last 25 years

To sum it all up the Islanders have 3 past owners that are currently in prison.

That should be enough on that subject.

2 - Results. Plain and simple people. Winning sells. It sells more than anything else. If the Islanders turned around and won 45 games next season, won a couple of playoff series' and looked good doing it the building would be packed every night for the next 3 years minimum. Season tickets would multiply exponentially and merchandise would fly off the shelves.

Want Proof?

The Yankees come to mind. As much as Yankee Stadium was beloved lets face it. When the Yankees stunk, the place drew 15,000 people per game. They said they would never draw 3 million fans a season. They said the South Bronx could not be a successful venue for baseball any more. They said Traffic issues could not be solved.

All the Yankees had to prove all of the above wrong, was win the World Series in 1996. Then again in 1998, 1999 and 2000. 4 Championships in 5 years.

The Yankees are 9 years removed from their last World Series championship, and they drew 4 million fans last year in that same broken down old stadium with no parking and severly dated facilites.

Now they have an absolute palace to play in. Does anyone think that would have happened if not for the teams success on the field?

The Mets got their new 900 million dollar palace also this past season, probably due to the fact the city was not going to build the Yankees a palace, and let the Mets sit in that toilet Shea Stadium and risk losing the money machine the Mets are.

New York City, the biggest red tape producing, construction blocking city green lit not one, but two monstrous stadium projects totaling over 2.5 billion dollars, all in the same year.

That's not even mentioning the Giants and Jets new stadium which costs reportedly are spiraling up to 2 Billion dollars.

These teams all have one thing in common. They range from very successful to moderately successful on the field.

When they stank, there was no talk of any new stadiums, or it was laughed off by the masses and politicians.

The single most important thing the Islanders can do to speed up the process on their Lighthouse Project is win.

In this case its not "If you build it they will come," its "If you build a winner they will come."


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

NY Islanders, John Tavares and Conspiracy Theories.

Oliver Stone will be proud of this article.

The Canadian Media is a funny bunch. While I am sure the vast majority or sports columnists in hockey mad Toronto are fine upstanding journalists.

Then there are the others.

The agenda pushing Canadian writers that are trying to sabotage what should be a celebration, a graduation of Canada's next hockey superstar graduating to the NHL level this time with the New York Islanders.

Let us look at this theory a little closer.

John Tavares is the best player not in the NHL right now. This is a fact that some would have debated back when he was just 16 years old and already a veteran in the OHL. John Tavares is still the top prospect in this years draft despite what some extreme viewpoints have been circling around the web in recent weeks have said especially since the Toronto Maple Leafs dumped their entire season in the laps of Jason Blake, Tomas Kaberle and Vesa Toskala trying tried to obtain the No. 1 Pick using the Pittsburgh Penguin method.

That plan failed and the Leafs wound up with the No. 7 pick.

Now the methods have turned more direct and more nefarious.

The Canadian Media knew long ago that Tavares would not likely go to the Leafs being the Islanders, Lightning and Avalanche were so far below them in the standings.

The efforts to sabotage whoever got that No. 1 Pick came early when a report on TSN stated that The Islanders did not deserve Tavares, and the source for that story tried to start a campaign to get to JT early and convince him not to sign with the Islanders if and when the Islanders select him.

That failed as Tavares has publicly stated that he will not "Eric Lindros" the team that selects him.

Across the board, Tavares has been regarded as the consensus No. 1 pick and it was a no brainer he was going No. 1.

This past season when it became apparent the Leafs had no shot at the No. 1 pick, some scouting reports all of a sudden were spotting holes in Tavares' game. Spotty reports had the gap between Tavares and the rest of the field was getting smaller. Reports abounded that Swedish defenseman Victor Hedman was all of a sudden challenging Tavares for that No. 1 spot and got the "Next Chris Pronger" label attached to him.

Chris Pronger? Seriously? This is coming from a group that said while yes Hedman's size and speed were remarkable for a guy his size he needed to step up the physical aspect of his game because he was to soft. I am not trying to deny Hedman is a fine prospect but the fact of the matter is he probably has more in common with Kenny Jonsson than he does with Chris Pronger.

Now we have to look at the "Red Line Report" which in my mind now has lost all credibility where is states in no uncertain terms that John Tavares is now the third top prospect in the 2009 draft. They called him one dimensional. They called him self entitled. They even called him spoiled.

Here is what else the Red Line Report had to say about the top 3 prospects in this draft, 6 weeks after a February 19th, 2009 USA Today article written by Woodlief had Tavares the No. 1 prospect.

The made the Hedman/Pronger comparison which in my mind is utterly ridiculous. I am surprised they didn't throw in Niklas Lidstrom as a comparative note to him also.

They went on to say that Matt Duchene was a better center prospect than Tavares and went so far as to say that he reminds him of Steve Yzerman, stating that Duchene was unselfish and had was a more complete player.

Excuse me?

I have seen interview upon interview. I have read articles dating back to when Tavares was 15. Not once was it written that any of the above was a concern. The only criticism of his game was his skating, which was remedied when he targeted that in off season work outs. John Tavares has the potential to be an offensive dynamo. 40-50 goals? 110 points? They should be within reach. Woodlief readily admits that even after bashing Tavares.

Now less than 2 months before the draft and 5 years after they changed the rules in the OHL to allow him to be drafted at 14, and a failed attempt to change the NHL rules in 2008 allowing him to be drafted last season he is number 3, according to the Red Line Report.

Sorry, but i can feel this agenda from a mile away. Certain media pundits are trying to drive Tavares' value down!


Because they know the only way the Islanders will either trade the pick, or allow him to go number 2 where Burke can trade a pack of draft picks and Tomas Kaberle to Tampa Bay for the number 2 pick where he can claim the prize he admitted was his target from the beginning.

How else can we explain the sudden decline in a small fraction of opinions in Tavares' value?

Greg Logan and Newsday should be ashamed of themselves by dignifying that report with a full page article and making it seem to the untrained eye that it contains even a iota of merit.

But who is Newsday owned by? Thats right they are owned by Cablevision which you guessed it, owns the New York Rangers.

Think Jim Dolan is above petty tactics? Maybe.. Maybe Not.

Brian Burke is a very smart man. He is going to do everything in his power to try and get John Tavares in the blue and white of the Toronto Maple Leafs this coming June 26th.

The Toronto fans are rabid for a winner. This is arguably the biggest hockey market in the world. The Leafs have been an embarrassment as an organization over the last 40 years. They have all the money any organization could need, they have a sparkling new arena, they have a tremendously passionate fan base and they have media attention that would make Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie feel bad for them.

The media drives the fans trying to sell papers and get web hits. In effect, the media takes advantage of fans in any market in order to "push their product."

Rarely have I seen a writer subject to blatant tampering of a player which make no mistake is what has been attempted.

The Toronto fans and the great city of Toronto are not to blame. I have been to Toronto 3 times on vacation and I will go back gladly. the people are hockey mad, friendly and will talk hockey at any time. Its the Toronto media and to a greater extent the media in general that is to blame.

Who knows, maybe the Toronto Sun has a nice cushy job laid out for Kyle Woodlief if Tavares somehow winds up in Toronto.

Maybe, Maybe Not.


Friday, April 17, 2009

For The Islanders - The Door to Prominence has been set.

All Garth Snow and the New York Islanders have to do is - walk through it.

Any other franchise in sports would not be having this article written about it. Any other franchise in sports aren't the New York Islanders. Other franchises typically either take advantage of the Islanders, or wait for the Islanders shoot themselves in the proverbial foot and trip over themselves trying to re-invent the wheel.

If your an Islander fan right now, about an hour after the high of the Islanders actually winning the draft lottery wore off, we started worrying. That worrying will continue until June 26th when if all is right with the world Garth Snow will thank the city of Montreal for its hospitality, thank the Canadiens for being such gracious hosts and then proceed to draft John Tavares 1st overall.

No trading down to multiply draft picks.

No drafting the defenseman with the huge upside.

No. Its time to take the kid and put Islander colors on a headline player. It is time to put Islander colors on a guy that will make others take notice. Put Islander colors on a guy who's Upper Deck Hockey card you WANT to pull out of a pack. Put Islander colors on a guy that kids across Canada and the United States will stand in line and wait for autographs from.

Finally, lets put Islander colors on the "next" one.

All you have to do is look at all this kid has accomplished over his 18 years. At 16, he was headline news in Canada when they changed the rules and allowed 16 year old players to play in the OHL in "special circumstances".

He has proceeded to break a lot of Wayne Gretzky's OHL offensive records. This past season, he scored 58 goals in 54 games. Yes that's right people, more than a goal a game. He dominated the World Jr. Championships and won the MVP.

No that doesn't mean his offensive prowess will translate to a goal a game rate at the NHL level.

What it does mean that you have an excellent chance to add an elite NHL talent to the New York Islanders.

Bring the kid in he will be the mayor of Long Island. Show him that that crap hole known at the Coliseum will be transformed into the Lighthouse. Show him his next home in Garden City.

Dont bring him in and you have created Milbury like villains out of - Garth Snow, Ken Morrow, Charles Wang, and whoever it is you get for the pick.

I also think its wrong to keep the fan base waiting. Why wait? Why play the game the Lightning chose not to play last season? Tell your fans what your intentions are. Tell them they are going to get someone to really rally around. Tell your fans your going to get the best player not in the NHL right now.

To me not saying what the intentions are is torturing the fan base. All of us are nervous. We should not be nervous, we should be elated.

Think last years draft party was bad? Imagine sitting in the Coliseum with 4,000+ Islander fans just waiting to chant "JT" "JT" "JT" or "TA VA RES". Then Imagine its draft time, Pierre Maguire is lauding over Tavares, about how he is just what the Islanders need. Then imagine the tension going through the room when it is announced that the Islanders are on the clock. Then go on to imagine Gary Bettman walking to the podium "we have a trade to announce"...

Garth Snow appeared at one of our Blog Box meetings and commented about Josh Bailey and about how "maybe the Coliseum shouldn't have been burned on draft night".

Sorry Garth, but this time the stakes are much higher. We aren't talking about a skinny Russian kid who may wind up being like Alexei Kovalev one day. Now were talking about someone that could be truly special for the Islanders on and off the ice.

This time Garth, The Coliseum will burn.

Do the only thing you should - the only thing you can. Draft John Tavares.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Islander fans - WE GOT IT!!!

The Islanders go the number one pick in the draft and excuse me it is time to roll out the red carpet and get all those number 91 jerseys stitched up BECAUSE JOHN TAVARES IS COMING TO THE NEW YORK ISLANDERS!!!!!!!!!!


For the New York Islanders Tonight is the Night

Tonight is the night. The most important night in Islander franchise history in the last 15- 20 or so seasons is tonight.

No its not a playoff series, a game against the Rangers, or a game they need to win to gain entry into the playoffs.

Its the Draft Lottery. 48.2%. That is the chance the Islanders have to win the number 1 overall pick this June, most certainly to be budding superstar John Tavares.

While this is no Sydney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin type. He could be a Vinny Lecavalier or Dany Heatly. He is a game changer. He very well could be the franchise player the Islanders have not had since the ill fated trade of Zigmund Palffy to the LA Kings.

In short - He is exactly what the doctor ordered.

I just completed reading a disturbing article by Newsday's Greg Logan on this very subject. Garth Snow is not tipping his hand as to who he may be looking at drafting. That there are 5 or 6 players he is considering.


The top two prospects in this draft are John Tavares and Victor Hedman in that order. After that there is a significant drop off. These two are potential franchise players, a term you will not hear tagged with anyone else in this draft.

Yes we all know that there are always lower picks that turn out better which is the gamble that Snow and company took last season by passing over Nikita Filatov and clearing out his own draft party in the process.

Could you imagine if the Islanders interpid GM passes over Hedman or Tavares? Imagine what it will be like, 3,000 Islander fans in the coliseum. They have the number one pick. Tavares and Hedman are biting their nails. Pierre Maguire of TSN is announcing that the Islanders will make their pick.. Wait.. Gary Bettman is walking tot he podium and speaks the words that have become cannon fodder in Islanders lore.

"We have a trade to announce"

Sorry Garth, this time the Coliseum would burn.

The plan should be quite simple. You have the first pick, you draft Tavares. You have the second pick and Tavares is off the board, you draft Hedman.

No trading down. No Hedging the bet. No fancy re-imagining or how to do business.

It is time the Islanders stop trying to re-invent the wheel and do what successful franchises do - and that is draft the best player at your turn in the draft.


Friday, April 10, 2009

Random Thoughts - Mission Accomplished (Almost)

I present 5 random thoughts on the state of the NY Islanders, please share your thoughts below on these or any other matter concerning the NY Islanders.

1 - Last Spot Secure - Well if your gonna to be a bear BE A GRIZZLY. The Islanders picked a good year to finish dead last in the NHL as highly touted 18 year old scoring forward John Tavares is now within our grasp. The only thing we have left to hope for is that 48.2 % chance the Islanders have of actually getting the first pick overall and drafting the stud center.

With just a little bit of luck, we will know where we stand on April 14th at 8PM as the 2009 NHL Draft Lottery which in my mind is the biggest day in Islander franchise history (from an on the ice standpoint) in the last 20 years.

2 - Beatings Aplenty - I don't know what it is, but the Islanders have been getting their tail kicked the past 2 weeks. Maybe the youth and some SIX HUNDRED man games lost to injury this year are finally catching up after the impressive run they had but my goodness things have taken a turn for the worse. In the long run the losing may be a good thing but if the Isles are going to lose, I would much rather see them compete and lose then simply be blown off the ice.

3 - Stars Aligning? - John Tavares knows about the Islanders plan for a new arena. You know about the plans for the Lighthouse project. With that little bit of luck we spoke about John Tavares will be pulling the Orange and Blue over his head on June 26th, 2009.

That being said, by that very date we will know a lot more about what is happening with the Lighthouse Project. Imagine this fans - The Islanders draft Tavares AND The Project moves forward? Hey, You Never Know.

4 - Matt Gilroy - Never heard of him? I had fits coaching against him when he was in youth hockey. Well It turns out that a LOT of coaches have had fits coaching against him over the last 10 years, so much so that he is courting up to 14 NHL franchises that want to sign the un-drafted free agent forward. Will he sign with the team he grew up watching? Keep your ear to the ground people you WILL know who this kid is, and that right soon.

5 - Consolation Prize - Even though its not something I want to personally think about, there is a slightly better than (51.8 % to be exact) that it will be 6' 7" stud defenseman Victor Hedman pulling the Islander jersey over his head on June 26th.

While one or two scouts have had him ranked ahead of Tavares he is still viewed as the second best prospect in the draft. This draft people as upset as myself and some people may be if Tavares winds up somewhere else contains a very nice consolation prize.

That being said, I am tired of consolation prizes and 2nd best. I want the top dog, the big cheese, the head honcho, number one, the king of the hill, the man to be pulling the Orange and Blue over his head on Draft Day.

I will say this now just to get it out of the way, the Islanders will have either the 1 or 2 pick on draft day.

Its as simple as this, you have the 1st pick, you draft Tavares.

If you have the 2nd pick and Tavares is off the board, you pick Hedman.

No trading down, NO fancy multiplying draft picks into 3 3rd rounders I don't care if the Maple Leafs offer the sun the moon AND the Dallas Stars.


Keep your fingers crossed on the 14th people.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

"Lead" down to 3 points. A tale of two teams.

The Islanders are hot. The Tampa Bay Lightning are not. The result has been the Tampa Bay Lightning, 5 seasons after their amazing Stanley Cup Championship and one season after netting themselves ANOTHER 1st overall pick in Steven Stamkos are "challenging" the Islanders for the last spot overall.

I am getting nauseated over the prospect of Tampa Bay again tanking another season to get their hands on coveted youngsters John Tavares or Victor Hedman.

This is a team that spent millions and millions of dollar sin free agency this past off season. This is a team that has one of the greatest players in the world on their team in Vinny Lecavalier. This is a team that has speed, scoring talent, a young talented goaltender and
they have NOT been besieged by injury.

So whats the problem? How can they be only 3 points ahead of the Islanders who have been in the basement all season? Let us examine -

1) Vinny and Marty don't seem to care. - There. I said it. St. Louis and Lecavalier are in it for themselves and you know what? I don't blame them. The organization has done absolutely nothing right in the last 3 seasons to improve themselves. One good move has been met wth 3 horrid moves.

The team and its fans got on the Stamkos bandwagon so heavy that the fans were expecting Mario Lemieux when he debuted. He was buried in the lineup getting 8-12 minutes of ice time per game and doing what most 18 year olds do in the NHL, and that's learn. I am sure St. Louis and Lcavalier have had their problems with that.

The team has a built in cash cow with Vinny, and I think he knows he is being used to keep the organization afloat. Never a good thing when your superstar isn't happy and really who can blame him?

You think the Islanders have been mismanaged? take a look at the Lightning's bizarre course of action over the last couple of seasons.

2) Dan Boyle - San Jose Shark - How do you sign arguably the best offensive defenseman in the game to a 6 year deal in Boyle then ship him off to San Jose for nothing?

The Bolts have been crucified in the local Tampa media over that move and rightfully so. TSN has scalded them every chance Pierre Maguire and others has had and again, rightfully so.

3) Islanders dump all vets and Improve? - Its true. The Islanders are improving. They play hard and they are starting to get it. It all bodes well for next season to see the improvement in the players game.

I have been impressed with Okposo's improvement, along with the progress of Jack Hillen, Blake Comeau, Yan Danis and even Josh Bailey.

Believe it or not, Dean McAmmond has been a positive influence in the locker room. Bottom line is the Islanders have been in every game they have played the past 3 weeks and have looked really good doing it.

It looks as if the Islanders will be challenged for the top overall pick by the amazing amount of ineptness being currently shown by the Lightning. If they finish in the 30th spot this season, which now appears like a very good possibility it is a black eye not only on the Lightning, but the NHL as well. The most marketable star in the NHL not names Ovechkin and Crosby is buried in the grossest mismanagement of talent and a franchise in recent memory.

And yes.. that includes the Islanders.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Random Thoughts - Deadline Deals, Lighthouse, Vets Vs. Gordon

Hello fans, apologies for the lack of posts lately, work, vacations and other issues have been taking up all of my time. I am back now and will continue to present the view of the fans.

1 - Deadline Deal or non deals - Bill Guerin - Pittsburgh Penguin. The trade market must have been very tough yesterday. In my mind only one big time impact player changed teams in Olli Jokinen. Bill Guerin will help the Penguins and maybe provide a little direction to all of that talent. He can still score and assuming he plays wing man with Malkin or Crosby, he will light the lamp more than he did with Josh Bailey & Mike Comrie.

Doug Weight is still an Islander. Brendan Witt is still an Islander and I have to ask.. WHY? Weight is injured so thats the easy one to explain. Even though he should be back next week and could have helped any of the contenders looking for a playmaker. I have a lot of trouble beliving two things, one being that no team was willing to get a bruising, experienced, shot blocking defensive defenseman like Witt and the other being Witt being happy he is still here. He has openly criticized Gordon and hsi system. The troubles between Gordon and his veterans have been well documented. So why is he still here?

2 - A Flicker of hope? The Lighthouse has passed step 15,349 of the approval process with the Town of Hempstead. The next step was the Lighthouse Development Group submitting the 6,000 page environmental study. Hopefully by the time we reach step 28,435 which is the shovel in the ground there will still be an NHL team on Long Island. There is language in all of the papers filed that says if they do not get the Lighthouse project approved, and approved soon, The Islanders will leave Long Island.

If your still sitting there reading this saying "they will never move" then there is nothing that I am going to say to convince you by now that it can happen. The Islanders leaving the Island WILL happen if they do not get this deal. Its no longer a possibility or a threat it is a FACT.

3 - John Tavares or Bust - Talk all you want about Victor Hedman. Tell me he is the second coming. Tell me he is Niklas Lidstrom and I will tell you he is probably more like Kenny Jonsson than Lidstrom. John Tavares is a special player. This kid is the real deal. We have a very good chance of getting this kid in the draft if the team finishes 30th in the standings. If the Islanders get the 1st overall pick and do not select him, then Snow and all of his scouts should be fired immediately and on the spot. Thats all I have to say about that.

4 - Kids Progress Report - I have to say I am having fun watching this team. Jack Hillen, Kyle Okposo, Blake Comeau are among some that I look forward to seeing play from game to game. Keep them on the ice and see what you have, and it would appear we have the groundwork for some future success.

5 - Draft Lottery, MVP - After the Trade Deadline produced almost nothing for the Islanders all of our attention should be on two things, the standings and the Draft Lottery. The Islanders have been playing pretty well but are still entrenched in last place. I will have no problem if they stay there giving them a 25% chance of winning the draft lottery. Also, if the team finishes 30th, they will only lose the number one pick if one of the 4 teams immediately ahead of them wins the draft lottery something that is not likely to happen unless one of those teams is the Maple Leafs.

Long story short, our goal should be to finish 30th, win the draft lottery and go into next season with some renewed hope and blue chip prospects.

Let me know where your thoughts lie on these subjects.


Monday, January 26, 2009

Islanders Sell Out Home Arena in 30 Minutes!

Great news Islander fans. The Islanders have sold 2 home dates already in the 2009 pre-season in 30 minutes.

The only bad news is they are in Saskatoon.

Process that for a second....

This story is not going away Islander fans. The Islanders are at risk. The longer Kate Murray and her beleaguered Town of Hempstead hold up the process, the greater the risk Charles Wang throws his hands up in the air and puts the big FOR SALE sign on the Islanders.

Don't think the Islanders have any value? You would be grossly mistaken. What other NHL franchise is going to move? Expansion is a dead issue as the league has rightfully maxed out at 30 teams. The only way the cities that are hungry for hockey are going to get it is through relocation. That in of itself makes the market for a hockey team in the 5 possible landing sites of Kansas City, Saskatoon, Hamilton Seattle and Las Vegas a strong one AND could create a bidding war for the team.

Don't think the NHL would let a 4 time Stanley Cup Champion and a team with the history of the Islanders move? You would be grossly mistaken. If History tells us anything its that most any team can move. Don't believe me? The name Indianapolis Colts still doesn't sound right. St. Louis Rams? Loas Angeles Raiders? It can happen. It will happen if they don't get this project off the ground. Bank on it.

Don't think Cablevision would let the Islanders out of their contract? You would be grossly mistaken. Cablevision owes the Islanders around 567 million over the next 20 seasons. In the state the team is in, do you really believe that the Dolan's would not dance the Irish jig if the Islanders broke their contract?

Don't think the Islanders can get out of their lease with the County? You would be grossly mistaken. The Islanders have 5 seasons left n their lease with the County. That lease is a contract. Any fan of the Islanders knows that contracts can be bought out. Any purchase of the team will have to include compensation to the County for the lease.

January has one week left. The hearings on the Lighthouse project were supposed to happen this month. Any more delays will result in the scuttling of the plans for a July groundbreaking. That may be enough for Mr. Wang to break out those "For Sale" signs.


Town of Hempstead - 516-538-8500

Get in touch with your State Assembly - go to

Enter your zip code and contact your local assembly and make sure they see things our way.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Islanders on the Move - Now its Mainstream

No one ever said Charles Wang isn't a brilliant man and this latest move proves it. This blogger has been warning of a possible move for the team for a long time and now, its back cover huge story material.

There is no doubt those who like to sit back with their Sunday paper thumbing through the Newsday today saw the back page headlines and 5 major articles concerning the people who would all love to see the NY Islanders become the Kansas City Scouts or the Saskatoon Icelanders.

The Islanders are going to play a preseason home game at a glistening new arena. No, not the new Nassau Coliseum, but the Sprint Center in downtown Kansas City. Yes you read that right. Also... yes there is more - they are moving their training camp to Saskatoon. Why is that significant? Well they have been trying to get an NHL team there since their failed attempt to lure the St. Louis Blues in 1983.

Back to Charles Wang - he knows hes not going to win a war if he starts one with the Town of Hempstead supervisor and current bane to the Lighthouse Project Kate Murray. He also knows that if he would have renovated the Coliseum without the Lighthouse approval he could kiss his legacy project goodbye because they will never approve it in its current plans, which ARE grand.

So what does Mr. Wang do? He says nothing. He acts. Lets play an exhibition game in the primary landing spot for the Islanders. Sports mogul Tim Leiweke I am sure had no problems with that because he is the one who has been trying to get a team in his glistening new arena.

If that wasn't enough of a sign from Mr. Wang then the Islanders go and move their training camp from Moncton to another possible landing site, Saskatoon.

Make no mistake readers this is a shot across the bow of the Town of Hempstead as to what will happen if Wang does not get how approval he has been waiting on for so long. The man has lost 20+ million every season he has owned the team. He has not done this because he is a great guy and doesn't care about losing money. He views the losses as a down payment on his grand project. He allows the arena project to move forward and there goes all of his leverage in negotiations.

Back to Kate Murray - In November after Mr. Useless Gary Bettman started going to the media with his "The Islanders need a new arena" rhetoric. Kate Murray was quoted as refering to Bettman as "that hockey guy" in saying and this is a direct quote - "That hockey guy can wax poetic all he wants" before totally dismissing anything he said. Believe me, I usally dismiss everything Gary Bettman says also, but in this case maybe we should all listen when he states the ridiculously obvious.

Worried yet? Well I am, and so are most of my readers and the fans I speak to at Islander games. Those in the organization will not comment on a move for obvious reasons but please Islander fans - Do not take these threats as empty. They are real and have been around before Johnny Come Latelies like Newsday and TSN reported them. Myself and other bloggers have been WAY ahead of the curve on this one and now the mainstream media has decided to chime in. Hey - better late than never boys.

Whats happening on the ice is not the concern anymore. Whats happening on the ice is secondary. The Islanders have that "Hartford Whaler" look right now. They have that "Quebec Nordique" look. That is very disturbing to me because no matter how bad the team ever was there was always that "well get 'em next year" mentality. Now? there may be no tomorrow.

I have been urging my readers to contact the Town of Hempstead and let them know you want an answer NOW, and not after their ridiculously long review period. Every study has been done and redone many times. Now is caught up in that bureaucratic black hole known as the Town of Hempstead and this is all I have to say. How dare they make anyone willing to turn a decrepit are into something special wait so long.

Kate Murray - The answer is YES. If your Town scuttles the Lighthouse project and the Islanders wind up the Kansas City Scouts just think of what will happen to that area. Long Island will be down to one pro sports team in the Mets and that's if you qualify Queens as Long Island. I guarantee you this Ms. Murray there are thousands upon thousands of people that will make sure you never keep that cushy job as Town Supervisor, and that goes for all of the people at the Town, all the little self righteous elected officials holding things up so they can do nothing but have their insignificant voice heard to people who would normally not listen.

Islander Nation and its hundreds of thousands of fans are all watching now Town of Hempstead. We are all aware. We know whats going on. You have had long enough. Approve the deal so the improvements can move on, or deny it so the team can go where its elected officials actually care about what its people really want instead of their own little petty agendas.

Its crunch time people - Call the Town of Hempstead and put the pressure on them. Let them know where you stand -

Town of Hempstead - 516-538-8500

Get in touch with your State Assembly - go to

Enter your zip code and contact your local assembly and make sure they see things our way.

Don't wait Islander fans. You wait and you ll need a satellite dish to see if Kyle Okoposo and Josh Bailey ever become the players we all hope they will.

The time for talk is over. Its time for action.