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.