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.