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.