Friday, December 31, 2010

NY Islanders: Do Or Die December Over. Whats Next?

December is almost over. The Islanders are 5-7-1 in December, far below what they needed to be to return to any assemblance of a playoff race.

There is one game left tonight in Detroit. Win or lose December has not been good enough.

The Islanders front office has seemingly written off this season by trading James Wisniewski to the Montreal Canadiens for draft picks.

I appreciate the rebuild an the commitment to stockpiling draft picks.

The question is when does the rebuild start to show progress?

Wisniewski is 26 years old and was leading the defense corps in every way.

Why trade him at this point? Why not try and sign the guy? Why not wait until the deadline?

It sends a clear message to the fans and the players. This season is over and has become a 40+ game training camp for next season.

The Islanders are 16 points out of a playoff spot with 45 games to play. That's over half a season and trading your best defenseman at this point does not make a whole lot of sense. Striet and Okposo could be back very soon and the team would have looked better with "The Wiz" in the lineup instead of in Montreal.

The focus would now seem to turn to the teams many prospects.

Travis Hamonic and Andrew MacDonald have impressed a lot of people with their steady play as of late.

Jesse Joensuu will get the long look at the NHL level that so many have been waiting for.

It is time to bring everyone up and have a look at what the Islanders have.

If the team is not going to make a serious run for the playoffs then see what you have prospect wise and try to turn your prospects into players.

Its also time to get Krill Petrov over here from Russia. Have his buddy and fellow Islander prospect Krill Kabanov get him on the phone and get them both on the Islanders and lets see what the Islanders have here.

The Islanders last game against the Penguins had a lot of things. Excitement, drama, a decent crowd at the Coliseum and exactly what the people needed to see. The Islanders win a game at home and Sydney Crosby's point streak snapped.

Hopefully Crosby will now abandon his horribly hysterical attempt at a mustache.

I will look forward to seeing the Islanders on 24/7 on HBO.

If Striet comes back healthy, do the Islanders trade him before the deadline?

Mark is 33 years old and has two years left on his deal after this season so that is very unlikely.

Fun Fact - Alexei Yashin is the Islanders highest plaid player this season.

Who will the Islanders trade and what is the likelihood of it happening?

1 - Matt Moulson - He is an unrestricted free agent and is great around the net. He has proven that last season was not a fluke and could help any number of teams.

Would the Islanders trade John Tavares' best friend?

Sign him now or watch him walk for nothing.

Odds: 3-1 - I'm sure there are a number of teams that will make offers.

2 - P.A. Parenteau - He has carved out a nice little season so far playing with Moulson and Tavares with 21 points in 34 games. Could he help someone? Probably.

Odds: 7-1. After all, it is P.A. Parenteau.

3 - Mark Striet - Coming back from major surgery mid season is never easy and he would have to prove healthy before any team would take on 8.2 million in salary for the next two seasons.

Plus the Islanders have a salary cap floor to meet.

Odds: 15-1 - Is not happening. He will be back.

4 - Radek Martinek - He is an unrestricted free agent also. In my mind the guy is over rated and injury prone and the entire league knows it. He is Europe bound next season.

Odds: 25-1 because i don't think anyone wants him.

5 - Milan Jurcina - The guy has been a force when in the lineup and is the best trade chip the Islanders have if they are not going to sign him. I would not let him walk and give him a 3 year contract for around 5 million total value.

Odds: 7-5 - He nets the Islanders another 3rd round pick.

Who do you think could be next on the Islanders trade list?

Post your comments below.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

New York Islanders Season Goes from Bad to Worse

This was the year the Islanders were supposed to take a step forward. Instead, they have taken 2 steps back. Maybe 3.

Granted no one can predict injury but what has happened this season is like a kick in the rear after someone burned your house down and shot your dog.

The Injury Train has decimated the Islanders starting with Streit and Okposo and has not stopped even to blink plowing through every defenseman on the team except James Wisniewski.

I dont care what team you are that is going to kill your chances at being competitive.

I stated in my last article that the Islanders had to go 10-4 in December to save the season. They have started the month 0-6 and have found ways to lose games ranging from the bizarre against Atlanta to blowouts like the one suffered against Nashville.

The season is most probably lost. The Islanders record is 5-18-5 and they have 15 points. the only team even close to them in futility is remarkably the New Jersey Devils with 18 points.

Being 21 points out of a playoff spot before Christmas is simply unfathomable to think about turning the season around and making a run at the playoffs.

Is it impossible? No.

Is it probable? No.

So where do we go from here?

It is to early to think about who the Islanders could draft this off season but the Islanders will add another top prospect to their roster on the upcoming off season.

That is not going to help matters much.

Just when you think it can't get any worse it does. Every fan base has a breaking point and the Islander fans have reached theirs. Very few people want to go see the team at this point and barring a remarkable mid season turn around the Islanders have another 25 plus home games to try and sell seats to.

New York is a hard market as it is and if you don't win it gets harder.

Add to the mix just how awful the team's record is to this point and you have a perfect storm of negativity.

Winning would solve most of the teams problems and most around the team believed this was the season it would happen but that is something that the Islanders just cannot seem to do with any regularity.

It has been said that if new coach Jack Capuano could not wave a magic wand and heal the injured that Garth Snow should be the next to go.

In firing a coach the GM basically says its your fault we are losing to the outgoing coach. When the incoming coach does no better the blame falls squarely on the GM.

Assuming a house cleaning is coming, and that is a big assumption what established NHL executive would want to come on in and run this franchise? The worst move would be to fire Snow and then hire another unproven NHL executive.

I do not think Garth Snow has done a bad job. I think he has been hit with more bad luck than most other GM's but SOMEONE has to be held accountable for the teams current record.

The last time the Islanders hired an established NHL executive he was fired in 40 days for disagreeing with ownership on Rick Dipietro's 15 year contract.

I will not state the obvious and tell you who was right about that one.

That would make any established GM think twice about wanting to work for Charles Wang.

I am a Charles Wang fan. What he has done is nothing short of saving this team and has invested tens of - probably hundreds of millions of dollars of his own money into trying to turn the team around as well as develop the area around the Coliseum.

It has not worked. The reins of this team need to be handed to someone who has a pedigree in the NHL and experience of building a winner - quickly.

Who that could possibly be is anyones guess.

No one on this island deserves a winning successful Islanders franchise than its current owner after what he has invested and what he continues to invest.

Do you think Garth Snow should get the pass he didn't give Scott Gordon and get the benefit of the doubt because of the teams injury woes?

Please place your thoughts below.

Monday, November 29, 2010

New York Islanders: Capuano Results Mixed & Attendance

Jack Capuano has coached 5 games for the Islanders and while the effort has been there for the most part the results have been mixed.

The Islanders are injury riddled. Out right now -

Mark Streit
Kyle Okposo
Milan Jurcina
Andrew MacDonald
Jack Hillen

Also, Trent Hunter, Doug Weight and Mike Mottau are all dinged up.

Capuano so far has "simplified" the Gordon system which was said was high on situational coaching and given the team more freedom to be creative.

What exactly this means is a matter of opinion. Capuano has been called a players coach while Gordon is an X's and O's coach. That's the best way it can be explained.

Under Gordon the Islanders were not getting out shot by wide margins like they are now but that issue can be traced to the expanded responsibilities of two players - Bruno Gervais and Radek Martinek.

Both players came through the Islanders system and seem to be able to keep their jobs despite their porous defensive play.

You can put Columbus' overtime winner directly on Martinek's shoulders who was faked out so bad on the rush that his pants and jockstrap were in the opposite corner while he sat there wondering what just happened as the Jackets celebrated around him.

Sitting in the press box makes it easier to see who is in the right and wrong positions and who is hurting the team.

Gervais and Martinek are hurting the team and need to go. Who takes their place?

There has to be someone better in Bridgeport that has more sense defensively.

Mark Katic? Dustin Kohn? They cannot be any worse and should fill those gaps until Jurcina and MacDonald get back.

Dylan Reese has not embarrassed himself in his call up and Travis Hamonic has played brilliantly in his own end and came within a whisker of winning the Columbus game.

When Jurcina and MacDonald get back they should not replace Reese and Hamonic, they should replace Gervais and Martinek.

They can't get back soon enough.

Rick Dipetro has stepped up his game and is showing that he has something left other than befuddled looks and poor positioning.

Rick may never be as acrobatic as he once was and that's probably a good thing as his acrobatics no doubt contributed to his injuries. The last few games he has rarely been caught out of position. Its amazing the saves you can make when you don't have to dive across the crease every other shot.

Dipetro has seemingly shaken off the 2 years worth of rust and settled into a nice groove here and I look forward to seeing him continue his resurgence.

The fans have had doubts about Rick but at the same time most Islander fans are rooting hard for him.

The offense continues to struggle. That is not going to change unless the Islanders can trade Gervais and Martinek for Malkin and Ovechkin.

They will have to continue to throw the puck at the net and see what happens. Okposo is still 2 weeks away and how much he helps when he returns is a huge question mark.

The biggest thing the Islanders have to do is get healthy to fill the monstrous holes on defense and try to find ways to score goals. The goaltending has to remain solid.

The attendance at the Coliseum against the Blue Jackets was announced at over 8,000.

If there were over 3,500 people there I would be shocked. Support has always been a hard thing to attain for any team that isn't performing.

Look at Yankee Stadium in the late 80's and early 90's. They were drawing 15,000 a game and everyone was talking about how the area and stadium would never draw big crowds back to the Bronx.

Look what success brings and it shows that no matter where you play, if you win people will come.

Teams that don't win do not get crowds especially in New York. Not in this economy or in any economy.

Unless the Islanders start winning hockey games they will play in front of empty seats.

Its an ugly cycle isn't it?

You don't win, people don't go, the politicians see no one and wont budge on the building, so you can't improve the team through free agency.

There is one cure for all of the Islanders ills. Winning. Can they save this season and still challenge for that playoff spot?

They have 14 games before new years. I do not think that its crazy to say the team needs at least 20 points out of those 14 games. Some of the Injured Islanders including Okposo will return in December.

The season isn't over but the Islanders have to turn it around NOW. December is the Islanders chance to turn it around starting with 2 games against the Rangers. If at the end of the month the teams record is 15-16-5 or better the team will be in business for an exciting second half.

Leave your comments below.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

New York Islanders: Scott Gordon is Fall Guy - For Now

The Islanders fired coach Scott Gordon Monday.

I only ask one question: What difference is this going to make?

Does Jack Capuano have a magic wand that is going to heal the Islanders injury problems?

Is he going to make Rick DiPietro regain the ability to stop a puck?

Is he going to make the Islanders a puck moving goal scoring sensation?

I can give you those answers right now. No, no and no.

This may have been the most pointless firing in the history of the NHL. If the Islanders are going to go somewhere this season its not because Scott Gordon failed the team and Jack Capuano is the answer.

There is no coach short of some Al Arbour - Scotty Bowman - Dick Irvin - Toe Blake mashed together super coach that can by himself make players score more goals, play better between the pipes and play better defense.

Scott Gordon did nothing wrong except maybe set a record for coaching a team with the most man games lost to injury during his tenure.

I am so sick and tired of people saying injuries can't be used as an excuse for poor play.

When you lose 3 of your best defenseman - news flash - its going to effect your defense.

When you lose your top winger - news flash - its going to effect your offense.

When Josh Bailey and Blake Comeau suffer injuries and come back and play half the game they did then before they got hurt - news flash its going to effect your play.

When Rick DiPietro has two hip operations and three knee surgeries - news flash - its going to effect your play.

Get the point? Injuries are a part of the game this is true and as long as players get hurt their absence will effect whatever team they play for negatively.

It would serve me great pleasure for Scott Gordon to leave the Islanders with his dignity in tact and become the next Peter Laviolette.

I like Scott Gordon and I think he will be a successful coach in this league if given another opportunity. The only problem for him is it looks like he is taking the token "assistant to Garth Snow" job.

What happens if the negative trend continues and the Islanders finish at or near the bottom of the NHL again? Does Garth Snow come out un-scathed or does he follow Gordon to the unemployment line?

This reeks of desperation. This stinks of placing blame. There is no one at fault except fate and if there is some sort of evil injury fairy cursing the Islanders.

Two weeks ago the Islanders were 4-1-2 and playing excellent hockey. Now they are at the bottom of the league and looking really bad doing it.

If Scott Gordon is going to be fired for this, then if Jack Capuano does not turn the season around and the team make a run at the playoffs then Garth Snow should be fired also.

Add coaching uncertainty to the list of reasons top free agents will not consider the Islanders as a destination.

If the Islanders bomb out and Capuano joins Gordon as a "special assistant" within the organization then that creates a coaching search at the end of the season. Another black eye on the team where free agents are concerned.

This firing was pointless unless the Islanders are over .500 by new years and if that does not happen Garth Snow should follow Gordon out the door.

Place your comments below.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

New York Islanders: What the Heck Happened?

The Islanders were 4-1-2 and could have easily been 7-0 in their first seven games. Seven games later they are 4-8-2 and look like the team that the so called experts predicted we would all see.

What are the reasons the Islanders have taken a seven game nose dive? Let us examine.

1) Injuries.

Who says you cant use injuries as an excuse for losing?

This may be the most stupid, un-true sporting cliche in the history of organized sport.

So if the Indianapolis Colts are 7-0 with Peyton Manning and he gets injured and the Colts then proceed to go 0-7 without him can you blame injuries then?

What if Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Mark Tiexiera, CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte

Yes Injuries are a part of the game and all teams have them but the Islanders seem to be snake bitten and have been at the top or in the top 5 in man games to injury over the last 4 years than any team in the league.

Back to the current Islanders we are not talking about the obvious injuries to Okposo and Streit. No the ones to Andy MacDonald, Milan Jurcina, Josh Bailey and Blake Comeau.

Yes I know Comeau and Bailey are back but has anyone seen the fire in them we saw before they got hurt?

Nope. Neither have I.

It can not be overstated how much the injuries to Jurcina and MacDonald have hurt the team. Mostly because the team has had to depend on the ridiculously over-rated Radek Martinek who seems to be on the ice for every bad goal against and Bruno Gervais who you can sum up in one word - soft.

Martinek and Gervais are left overs from a time in Islanders history where all you had to do is show a little bit of talent on an awful team then that means you belong as a top 4 defenseman.

In both cases they are 6th and 7th defenseman at best and are proving it on a nightly basis.

2) Goaltending.

It was supposed to be a strong point for the team with a healthy Rick DiPietro and a solid back up in Roloson and neither has come close to expectation. I said in an earlier blog article that the biggest thing the Islanders had to do to make themselves a playoff team was improve their horriffic goals against totals froma year ago. This has not happened because of shoddy defense and bad goaltending. The Islanders sit at 29th in Goals Against.

3) Effort.

How did the team go from working hard every shift on the ice to a team that looked like it was skating with shoes on against the Flyers and Hurricanes? You can only blame the coach, but I wont place the blame entirely on the coach.

Play hard or your out has to be the team's mantra. If the team does not improve and the good thing is there is plenty of time for them to straighten it out Gordon will be fired and the team can only look inward for its lack of effort.

The good news is it is really early in the season and the Islanders have plenty of time to right the ship as they say.

Hopefully they will not dig themselves in such a big hole to get out of because playing .500 hockey the rest of the way will not get the team to the playoffs.

Post your comments below.

Monday, November 1, 2010

New York Islanders: Which Team is the Real Islanders

Is it the team that gave the best in the NHL fits or is it the team that got blown away in Philadelphia?

Is it the 4-1-2 Islanders in the first 7 games?

Or is it the 0-4 Islanders of the last 4?

Let's take a look at both side of the coin with the first glance at the 0-4 Islanders:

1) True Colors - The Islanders are young and its showing. Experience is something this team does not have short of its Captain and its something that will only be gained through one thing and thats years playing in the NHL.

2) DiPietro a shell of himself - Rick is back and apparently healthy. That's where the positives end. DP is 2-2-2 with an abysmal 3.75 GAA and an even worse .867 save percentage. Those kind of numbers would get most goaltenders drummed out of the NHL.

3) Inconsistency Kills - The first 7 games the Islanders masked their deficiencies with hard work. Without this aspect of their game more results like the 6-1 drubbing by Philadelphia will not be the last time.

Ladies and Gentlemen here is the case that the 4-1-2 Islanders are the real Islanders -

1) DP will even out - Sure Rick's numbers are sub par but as long as he remains healthy he will shake the rust off. Rick has not played with full health in almost 2 years and it will take him some time to get back to any resemblance of his former self.

As long as he remains healthy he will improve. Rick is better than this everyone knows it.

2) Defense still strong despite bad game - The Islanders defense was not good against Philadelphia. Everyone has bad games. The Red Wings have allowed 6 goals in a game from time to time. Against Montreal the Islanders ran into a buzz saw. The Habs are playing excellent hockey right now and all it will take to turn it around is one win.

3) Philly game was not nearly as bad as score indicated - Sergei Bobrovsky had an excellent game for the Flyers or the score would have been a lot closer. The Islanders probably would not have won but he made 3 or 4 saves that easily could have made the TSN highlight reels.

Which Islanders team is the real Islanders team? Leave your comments below.

Friday, October 29, 2010

New York Islanders: Lighthouse Project Still Dark

It has been 4 months since Kate Murray essentially blew up Charles Wang's plans for his mega project in Uniondale.

See -

Since then we have heard the following.


Absolutely nothing.

For 5 years Charles Wang waited for an answer. He did all of the public relations, open town hall meetings started an entire corporation around his dream project.

One obstacle has brought any plans he had to a screeching halt. The Town of Hempstead and its grand leader Kate Murray.

So whats next?

Charles Wang made news this week when he entered into a contract partnering with developer Michael Dubb on his 144 acre property in Plainview.

Both Wang and Dubb have said nothing about relocating Mr. Wang's Lighthouse project to this site. All they have said is the want to "Create a Lifestyle community that will be an asset to the neighborhood."

Interesting words that mean essentially nothing.

Its no secret that this site is one of the handful that the Shinnecock Nation Indian Tribe was looking at as a possible Casino site.

Its also no secret that the Coliseum site was another high on the Shinnecock's wish list.

Maybe this site in Plainview will be what it appears. Or maybe its Charles Wang's Plan B.

Partnering with the Shinnecock Nation would allow any developer to bypass any local Town boards authority over the project. That prospect in of itself has to have Mr. Wang interested in a possible partnership with the tribe.

The Islanders lease is up in 2015. You can no longer say "well they have a long term lease, so they can't go anywhere."

Every year that goes by the lease gets less and less expensive for a possible buy out.

This does not mean the Islanders are bolting for Kansas City because no one would walk away from the Islanders cable contract unless absolutely necessary.

What it means is Charles Wang no longer has all his eggs in Kate Murray's basket.

You don't think the Town of Oyster Bay's Supervisor John Venditto would want the Islanders in his Town?

It would take 2-3 years to actually build an arena start to finish. Add planning to that, engineering, political red tape, union problems, protests, hearings, zoning problems, variances and government approvals could push this whole process if started today to 4-5 years.

Which means that if the Lighthouse project is in fact dead Mr. Wang has to be looking at alternate plans. Is this site in Plainview Plan B?

Charles Wang tried the public route to get his Lighthouse and ultimately failed because of the Town of Hempstead's road blocks.

Maybe he is trying the subtle route this time. Maybe he is waiting for the Shinnecock Nation to finally get its federal recognition.

Charles Wang has a plan. The Long Island community and the New York Islander fans would love to know what it is.

Only time will tell.

Post Your comments below.

Monday, October 25, 2010

NY Islanders: First 8 Games a Good Start - Come and See

First of all for those of you who like to follow athletes on twitter there are currently four New York Islander players who are actually on Twitter. They are -

Matt Moulson -
Rob Schremp -
Michael Grabner -
Bruno Gervais -

Anyone else is simply not who you think it is.

With that out of the way let us get to the business at hand.

Islander fans have been talking about the play this season of the Islanders and how exciting all of the games have been so far this season.

The record stands at the moment at 4-2-2. The two regulation losses to the Capitals and Panthers the Islanders were outplayed in very small periods of time in those two games.

One bad bounce and the either or both of the games could be in the win column.

The Islanders are showing that they may be in a rebuilding phase but the rebuilding phase is starting to show progress to make the hockey world take notice.

Let's not get ahead of ourselves and proclaim the Islanders as a contender however if you look at the body of work over the eight games this season you can tell two things.

1) The Islanders themselves believe they can win every game they play and will not be intimidated by the best the league has to offer.


2) Playing the Islanders is no longer an easy two points. Other teams are going to have to battle the Islanders every step of the way. This team will not take a night off.

Now what the team has to start doing is to make its fan base believe what they already know. The Islanders are competitive, young and exciting.

If you buy a ticket to watch this team you will no longer feel as though you would have been better off watching Avatar at home for the 6th time.

What you will see if a healthy Rick Dipietro, or is steady as oak back-up Dwayne Roloson.

You will see a defense corp. that will not wilt before your eyes in the 3rd period but a group that can and will stand tall and hold leads. One or two injuries will not cripple team defense as it has in seasons past.

You will see a very young and very fast group of forwards all on the upswing and one 39 year old who is keeping up with them in Doug Weight.

You will see a 21 year old sniper John Tavares coming into his own in the NHL beginning to carve out his place in the NHL along side its elite players.

You will see last years success story in Matt Moulson prove he is no one hit wonder.

You will see young forwards making the progress Islander fans have hoped they would.

What you will not see if you buy a ticket in the old barn to see the Islanders play is the home team embarrass itself on the ice, putting a 3rd rate product out there with coaches and management who don't seem to care.

What you wont see is visiting teams come in and treat the Coliseum ice as if they own it.

What the Islanders need to see is more Blue, Orange and White in the stands instead of blue and green empty seats.

Islander fans you are out there. I know there are tens of thousands of Islander fans who still remember the early 80's or younger fans have had their fathers tell them about the great Islander teams of the period.

For the fans who have written this franchise off I say this - It is time to come back to the team. It is time to fill the stands of the Coliseum again and breathe life back into that arena.

Sure its an old outdated arena. Fill it with 15,000 plus fans and no one is going to care.

If you remember the glory days of the Islanders and how much fun it was to go to the Coliseum come on back.

If you remember the Islanders playoff series against the Toronto Maple Leafs then come on back.

You will not be disappointed at the effort and skill this young team is putting on the ice.

Post your thoughts in the comment section below.

Monday, October 18, 2010

New York Islanders: TV Coverage is a Joke

We are 5 games into the NHL 2010-2011 season and there are many surprises around the NHL.

Some of them are:

1) The remarkable 4-0 start of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
2) Martin Brodeur's and Robert Luongo's sudden inability to stop pucks.
3) The hot start of the NY Islanders and more specifically Josh Bailey.

These are just some of the stories around the NHL right now and one that is bugging all Islander fans is the mockery of TV coverage that MSG+ provides.

Islander fans have no problems with Howie Rose (other than him being a Rangers fan) and Butch Goring who as a former player and coach brings a very nice perspective of the games. Butch has done an phenomenal job so far providing insights that Billy Jaffe didn't or couldn't or both.

The fans are speaking of something more subtle. Is it lost on no one that the Islanders have every one of their games broadcast on a network that owned and has the initials of where their blood rivals play?

It would be like the Red Sox being broadcast on YES2 or The Phillies being on SNY2.

If the Islanders received equally as slick production values as the top channel of the bunch, MSG network this would not be as big an issue as it is.

MSG+ is a joke. The name is a joke, the production values are a joke and whoever has been the director for the Islander games so far should be fired. Why?

I turned on the Islanders home opener and watched the pre-game show. Everything looked good. Then something happened. The color hue turned and everyone looked like a smurf with blue toned skin that made Avatar's Na'vi look pale.

It was not something that lasted for a minute and went back to normal, this was something that lasted for over 25 minutes.

I called my TV provider, DirecTV already knowing that it was not their feed causing the problem. I explained to the customer service representative what i saw and told him i don't think its you, its the feed from Cablevision. He proceeded to put me on hold and checked the TV they have in the office and came back laughing saying yes, i see the same thing the color is off and everyone looks like the smurfs.

He thanked me for reporting the problem and said he would contact the source of the feed.

The rest of the game went off O.K. except for the usual MSG+ issues of lingering on the announcers for uncomfortable lengths of time after they were done speaking or going to a shot to fast before someone was ready to speak.

Then there was the game against Pittsburgh. I turned on my new 63" HDTV to watch the Islanders take on Crosby and Company and what do i see? shadows around every player and advertisement along the boards giving me the look like the contrast was turned way to high. This lasted most of the game before the bumbling buffoons running the show fixed it.

What annoyed me even more is flipping over to the mighty MSG network and seeing perfection. Not on the ice mind you but a perfect picture. Sharp, colorful, full Dolby Digital surround 5.1 sound.

Then there was the game versus Colorado. Not the game itself. The picture was NOT HD. Why was it not in HD? Not because DirecTV does not have the bandwidth or because someone forgot to flip the HD switch, its because on the over flow channel that MSG provides for the games that are not on MSG and MSG+ simply are not broadcast in HD.

In this day and age how can ANY major sports programming not be broadcast in High Definition?

While your thinking about that one let me ask you this - During the Islanders-Penguins game why did the audio sound like it was coming through a cup with a string on it?

If you watch Islanders games on TV and judging from the ratings bump the Islanders have enjoyed since they drafted John Tavares a lot of you are then odds are you have seen mistake after mistake MSG+ has made in its Islander broadcasts. Its annoying, embarrassing and there is no excuse considering what fans pay for television these days.

Cablevision is paying the Islanders a lot of money for its broadcast rights and it shows. They take it right out of the broadcasts with what has to be interns running the graphics, audio and technical aspects. It is a disgrace and indicative of a company that is now depriving its customers of watching the FOX network of channels.

Sure FOX is greedy that much is a given but so is Cablevision any customer of theirs who has to endure their second and third rate equipment and customer service will tell you.

They would not dare put the kind of production value on their precious Knicks and Rangers. No. Mr. Dolan cares about those teams. Considering the level of success those teams have had however you would never know it.

If that's how he treats the teams he does love then you can imagine how he treats the "other" teams on his networks.

I have distanced myself as much as I can from the empire that is Cablevision, the owners of Madison Square Garden, The New York Knicks the New York Rangers, Newsday, Radio City Music Hall and countless other businesses. Its just a shame that no matter what we do Islander fans and Devil fans for that matter cannot get them out of our lives.

Post your bad experiences and comments below watching the Islanders and Devils on MSG+.

Monday, October 11, 2010

New York Islanders: Tavares Out - Excitement In

Say what you want about the Islanders after their first game of the 2010-2011 season. Say they have no shot at the playoffs, say they have no depth and write them off.

If game one is any indication on how the Islanders will fare this season if nothing else they should be one hell of a fun team to watch.

I had more fun watching that game Saturday night than i have in a long time watching a early regular season game.

The Islanders should have won that game more than doubling Dallas' shot total for the game.

But it was more than just shots. You can bet in that Dallas locker room they were saying things like "who are these guys?"

The Islanders skated hard, hit harder and played with a purpose.

Sure Dallas scored 4 goals, but one of them DiPietro should have had and when he shakes off all of the rust that has collected on him the past 2 seasons he will stop it.

The other Dallas goals were bang bang play that do not happen every game.

Islander fans absolutely loved watching James Wisniewski play in an Islander uniform scoring a power play goal and absolutely tattooing Jamie Benn with a clean check that energized the Islanders come back.

The trick will be bringing that energy to every game over the 81 games the Islanders have left.

It was not all positive.

John Tavares spent some time face down on the ice after getting bumped into from behind at center ice on an apparent inadvertent hit.

JT did not return and the team has stated it is a mild concussion. Mild concussion? I know concussions have grades but saying you have a mild concussion is like saying your mildly pregnant.

A concussion is never a good thing and the hit that sent Tavares out of the game has me worried.

I do not think contact was made at any time with Tavares' head, meaning the whiplash effect from the hit caused the concussion and if this is truly the case it may be a major problem.

In any event Tavares will be out for today's game with the Rangers and is a question mark for Wednesday's game.

Josh Bailey was all over the ice Saturday night, playing with a confidence he has not shown in his first 2 years in the league. The fans took notice as did the TV commentators who marveled at how many time during the game they said his name.

Nino Niederreiter, the youngest Islander ever did not embarrass himself nearly scoring on more than one occasion including late in the third.

Frans Nielson also shown more of the skill that has Islander fans wondering how he isn't all over the score sheet.

The revamped defense kept the quality chances down from last year and that's in despite of the 4 goals Dallas scored. Over the long NHL season this will balance out and less goals allowed should become the norm.

We can only hope two things now one that JT will be back soon and two, the Islanders can match Saturday night's effort on a game by game basis.

Voice your opinion below.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

NY Islanders: No Faith Out There

Perhaps its the lack of any assemblance of recent success. Perhaps its the young core of a team yet to truly prove itself. Perhaps its the major injuries that have taken a major hit on the team before the puck has dropped in game number one.

There is no faith out there in any hockey publication, web site, blog, newspaper, sports dirt sheet or any other media outlet that does not have the words "Islanders" at the top of it.

This is nothing new to Islander fans as they have gotten used to low expectations and disappointing outcomes despite the almost defiant hope that things will be different this time.

The Hockey News predicts the Islanders to finish 14th in the conference or 28th in the league and this is BEFORE anyone knew the Islanders would be without their top winger and defenseman for extended periods.

In the Hockey News' defense, they do state that if certain things happen, like Rick DiPietro regaining his all star form and the revamped defense bringing down the horrible goals against totals combined with the maturing of some of the teams young stars could net the Islanders a playoff berth.

Way to hedge your bet guys.

TSN ranked the Islanders 29th taking repeated pop shots at the "fact" that the team can't score goals even though they had the same amount of goals last season as New Jersey and the NY Rangers.

Anyone that does any sort of research will know that goal scoring was not the Islanders primary problem last season. It was stopping them.

The team has vastly improved its team defense and taken it out of the charge of guys like Freddy Meyer and placed in under the care of guys like James Wisniewski and Mark Eaton.

Obviously someone at TSN missed the facts. doesn't mince any words. They hold nothing back and give the team no hope stating that the Islanders had no depth to begin with and the injuries to Striet and Okposo will not help. They say the Islanders finish 30th in the league and dismiss them as at the start of just another lost season.

If the Islander fans can look forward to something this season its making all of the nay sayers eat a great big steaming pile of craw.

Yes this article is being written after the injuries of Streit, Okposo and Schremp.

As good as Streit is this team is not built around one player or superstar.

Any team can have one flashy guy who scores 40 goals and a back up cast of slugs who never will win anything.

Thats not what the Islanders are trying to build. They are trying to build like Chicago has built their power. Slowly, methodically and with a purpose.

Sure every team needs a cornerstone guy and that is John Tavares. Watch what he does this year. I am not saying he scores 51 like Stamkos did but make no mistake JT will score more often and consistently.

Despite losing Streit the Islanders will be vastly improved on the defensive side of the puck. This is not an opinion based on anything but fact.

You dont add the players the Islanders did on defense and get worse.

What does all this point to?

The NHL writers, websites and what have you? They better get their forks ready because the Islanders are about to serve them up that craw they have been waiting to serve for a long time.

Place your opinion below.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

NY Islanders: Injuries Taking Toll

Mark Streit, the backbone of the Islanders defense and one of their top point producers is for all intense and purposes out for the season.

Matt Moulsen checked Streit in a scrimmage and put him out for the season as Streit fell awkwardly into the boards separating his shoulder that had to be popped back into place by medical professionals 20 minutes later.

You simply cannot write a worse way to kick off this season. Not much more needs to be said as the Islanders scramble for a way to try to deal with losing their most consistent performer in a season where a lot of people expected the team to take a big step forward.

Injuries have absolutely destroyed whatever hope the Islanders have had to compete over the last few years despite the fact that the team was not very good.

Now that pesky unforeseen factor, the injury, threatens to derail another season before It begins.

Fans at the Blue and Orange scrimmage watched Rick Dipietro play 3 periods in a game setting and look good doing it.

Things look good, hopeful, positive for a change.

Then it happens. The black cloud that has been hanging over the New York Islanders health is still there in full force.

You simply cannot compensate for the loss of a player like Streit to the Islanders. Sure, the team still may improve this season. They still may challenge for that playoff spot.

Unless the unthinkable happens and the Islanders win the Stanley Cup, there will always be that "imagine if we had Streit?" feeling.

Unfortunately the injury bug is not limited to Streit.

Franz Nielson is down with a leg injury and he will miss some time, and Kyle Okposo is also hurting from a shoulder issue and is going to see a shoulder specialist.

As far as Dipetro goes Islander fans will keep their fingers crossed as to how Rick's knees and hips and head respond to the rigors of NHL action.

It would be really easy to chalk this season up as lost and say "well they are still rebuilding."

I am not one of those people.

Injuries are a part of sports. Every team has to deal with them and if they are successful, overcome them.

The Islanders are in a position to overcome the injuries even to Streit because of the added depth at defense. The power play could not be any worse than it was last year and someone is going to have to step up to replace Streits power play presence.

Short of that the defensive aspect of the Islanders game should be largely unaffected or even improved from last year.

Successful teams in this league overcome adversity. Well this year the adversity came very early.

How do you think the injuries will effect the Islanders season?

Leave your comments below.

Friday, September 3, 2010

NY Islanders: Realistic Predictions

What can we expect from the NY Islanders this season..Really?

As everything NY Islanders these past few years there are an awful lot of "ifs."

Lets jump right in and examine:

A) Goaltending - More specifically Rick DiPietro. We can talk about the contract and the eleven years left on it until we are blue in the face and at the end of the day it really does not matter long term.

What does matter is if Rick can return at all. Once that question is answered it is followed by one more important question - can he approach the high level we all know he is capable of?

The guy is still young but all of those surgeries on knees and hips and lets not forget the multiple concussions that will take their toll on anyone.

There is always conjecture about Rick but as we are seeing right now there is no way anyone knows including Rick himself whether he will be able to shoulder the load of rigors of an NHL season.

The one thing that remains a constant is the Islanders have Dwayne Roloson. Roloson more than proved that he is still a very capable net minder and can still play at a high level.

Assuming that DiPietro cannot play, AHL standout goaltender Nathan Lawson will likely back up Roloson.

Depth Chart -
1 - Dwayne Roloson
2 - Rick DiPietro
3 - Nathan Lawson

B) Defense. I can say with a degree of certainty that this will be the best group of defenseman the Islanders will put on the ice in many years, possibly since 1997.

Mark Streit is at the head of the class. He will shoulder the power play minutes and be the Islanders number 1 guy on defense.

He isn't alone any more.

Garth Snow pulled a rabbit out of his hat trading for James Wisniewski. He is the perfect number 2 guy behind Streit. Islander fans will love this kid once they see him in action.

Mark Eaton is a dependable veteran via free agency.

Milan Jurcina is a nice depth player and adds much needed size at the blue line at 6' 4" and 235 pounds.

The Islanders will also bring back Jack Hillen, Andrew McDonald, oft injured Radek Martinek, Bruno Gervais, Dylan Reese and Dustin Kohn to round out the rest of the defense.

One thing that can be counted on this year. Whoever plays goal for the Islanders this year can expect to see less traffic in front of the net and a much more soundly defended zone in front of him.

Garth Snow and his crew have done an excellent job building the Islanders defensive unit this season and for once I am excited about the Islanders on that side of the puck.

Depth Chart -

1) Mark Streit
2) James Wisniewski
3) Mark Eaton
4) Milan Jurcina
5) Jack Hillen
6) Radek Martinek
7) Andrew McDonald
8) Bruno Gervais

C) Wingers - Here is an Islander weak spot. Traditionally this is where an awful of goals come from that a team scores and where the Islanders swill look to try and improve this season.

Kyle Okposo has got to take the bull by the horns this year and show everyone that he is ready to be a star player in the NHL. He simply cannot go large periods of time invisible like he did at points last season. Islander fans want to cheer for him and are waiting for him to show the rest of the league what we all believe about him.

He needs to add consistency to his game. In a league where 22 year old captains are winning Stanley Cups age is no longer an excuse for under achieving.

Another huge question is whether Matt Moulsen's 30 goal campaign was an apperition or the start of a late blooming career scoring goals in the NHL.

Trent Hunter will skate around hard, hit people, be dependable in his own end and score around 15 goals.

Blake Comeau has to also continue to improve and take that next step.

Rob Shremp showed flashes of brilliance last season after being exiled from Edmonton. This is one kid I can see special things from this season and could be the next breakout star If the Islanders are going to challenge for a playoff spot. At the very least he is a shootout specialist who will score more often than not.

After those guys, what else is there? Thats 5 winger positions out of 8 available spots on the Islanders opening night roster. Who will fill out the rest of the winger positions?

We have unproven talents in Jesse Joensuu and Matt Martin had cups of coffee with the Islanders who I would love to see get a long term shot with the Islanders.

Depth Players P.A. Parentau, Jon Sim, Andy Hilbert, Joel Rechlecz, and Zenon Konopka round out the group.

Make no mistake if the Islanders are to take the e next step this year and challenge for a playoff spot someone will have to step up in the winger department.

Could 2010 first round pick Nino Niederreiter make the team and contribute? How about ultra talented Russian draft pick Kirill Kabanov? Odds are they will not start the season on the club.

The Islanders are not in a position to add from the free agent pool. They are going to improve from within, or not improve at all.

Depth Chart -

1) Kyle Okposo
2) Matt Moulsen
3) Trent Hunter
4) Blake Comeau
5) Rob Schremp
6) Jon Sim
7) Jesse Joensuu
8) Andy Hilbert
9) Matt Martin
10) Zenon Konopka

D) Center - Here is another position that the Islanders are just about set at.

John Tavares was everything realisitic expectations could have hoped for. His sophmore season should give us more of a picture of the kind of player he will be.

People keep talking about Stephen Stamkos as a measuring stick for Tavares' encore season. This comparison is not fair for one reason - the talent around Stamkos dwarfs what is around Tavares.

If we have to put a number on how many goals that would label Tavares second season a success that number would be 35.

Doug Weight has resigned with the Islanders. We all know he is a very talented play maker. We also know that we simply cannot count on him playing more than 35 games.

Josh Bailey needs to improve. Yes he is only 20, but that is no longer an excuse one can use in the NHL. Bailey is entering his 3rd NHL season. 16 goals and 35 points are not totals that are going to wow anyone. If he is going to be the player Snow envisioned when he drafted him then he is going to show that this season.

Frans Neilson scored 12 goals and had 38 points last year and will also look to improve on those numbers.

Rob Schremp and Andy Hilbert will fill in at center if and when there are injuries.

Depth Chart -
1) John Tavares
2) Doug Weight
3) Josh Bailey
4) Frans Nielson
5) Rob Schremp
6) Andy Hilbert

Overall the Islanders are in a much better position this season than last and should look to improve on last seasons 79 point total.

Keys to a successful season -

1) Solid defense will get the team more wins on its own even without much improvement from the forward crew. Most importantly is the Islanders need to bring down the amount of goals allowed last season of 264. Only Edmonton (284) and Toronto (267) allowed more goals last season.

Roloson will do fine if he is shouldered with the goaltending load. The Islanders revamped defense will no doubt be a drastic improvement over last seasons and if the goals allowed total is in the 215-220 range then the Islanders should be in business to at least challenge for a playoff spot even without much improvement on the goals for side.

2) Young forwards must continue growth. Yes reliable defense is important. So is scoring goals. You may be shocked to know that the Islanders scored just as many goals as rivals NY Rangers and the NJ Devils with 222. If the Islanders can improve that total to 240 that would be a nice step in the development if the young core of forwards.

3) Special teams. The Islanders were near the bottom of the heap on power play percentage at 16%. An improvement to 18-19% is not to much to ask and is necessary for any successful NHL franchise. If goal totals on the season are to improve this is where the extra goals have to come from.

The Islanders were at the bottom of the heap in penalty killing at a horrid 76.3%, good for 29th in the NHL. That number needs to be at least 82-85% and with the Islanders revamped defense should be possible.

So many people think goal scoring is the Islanders number one problem. They would be wrong. This is why it was so important for Snow and Company to improve team defense. Increase you penalty killing efficiency to the mid 80% range and you will challenge for that playoff spot.

Post your thoughts in the comment section and voice your opinion on where the Islanders need to improve.

Friday, July 30, 2010

NHL Free Agency Sputters Along

This is a free agent frenzy?

In the free agent class of 2007, 27 contracts were negotiated and announced on the first day of free agency on July 1. Names like Chris Drury, Scott Gomez, Danny Briere, Ryan Smyth, Jason Blake and many many others went on the first day to huge contracts not only in terms of years but in overall value.

On the second day another 20 names were crossed off the list and when the first week was over another 57 were signed sealed and delivered, most to monster contracts.

This season although the number of players signed through the first week have actually been higher the dollar amount of the contracts handed out have been a mere fraction of what they were then even factoring in Kovalchuk's monster would be deal.

We all know the salary cap has played a major role in curtailing the amount of money thrown around but the reasons go a little beyond simply the cap itself.

Would Ilya Kovalchuck remained unsigned for as long as he was this year if he were a free agent in 2007?

Keep in mind that there was a salary cap in 2007 also. One that was much lower than it is today at around 59 million now to 40 million then.

So what are the other reasons for the huge step down in money commitment?

Could it be the talent available?

Could it be that General Managers are no longer willing to throw big money at players that are coming from other organiations?

Could it be that the big money teams that typically have the cash to throw around are at or near the salary cap?

Let us examine.

2010 has been no banner year when it comes to free agents. I would not be the first writer to say the class of 2010 is a weak one.

This being sead it is now July 30th and to see some of the players that are still available is simply mind boggling.

Some notable forwards are - Lee Stempniak, Paul Kariya, Teemu Selanne, Maxim Afinogenov, Bill Guerin, Brendan Morrison, Raffi Torres, John Madden, Mike Modano and Glen Metropolit.

Granted this is 2010 and not 2000 so Selanne, Kariya and Modano do not have nearly as much clout as they used to but any one of them could help a team.

Stempniak and Torres are still very young and personally I would love to see the Islanders sign one or both of them.

Morrison has had injuries derail his career at times but is a gifted playmaker.

On goaltenders and defense we have Kim Johnsson, Mike Mottau, Andy Sutton, Marc-Andre Bergeron, Marty Turco, Jose Theodore, Ray Emery and Aaron Ward.

Any one of these players can help a team considerably including former MVP of the league Theodore who had an amazing 30-7-7 record last year with the Capitals.

Turco may be past his prime but he is still a very solid netminder.

Looking at some of the names up there makes me wonder why after over 4 weeks of free agency they still remain unsigned.

Let us examine.

1 - The Salary Cap puts the usual big spenders on the sidelines. This is not a rumoror or a speculation it is a fact.

The Rangers, Toronto, Montreal, Chicago, Boston, Detroit, Philadelphia are the usual big spenders coem free agent time.

They are all for the most part dormant in July and it is because they simply cannot spend any more money due to the cap.

Maybe if the Maple Leafs weren't throwing around 16 million dollars to Jeff FInger they could have made a run at Kovalchuk and bring a face to their franchise.

With the big money teams out of the picture it lets the middle level teams have real shots at signing the big names. Would the New Jersey Devils despite their sparking new arena have a ghost of a chance of landing a guy like Kovalchuk if he could run to the millions of one of the big boys?

Its like taking the Yankees and Red Sox out of the picture in baseball.

2 - This years free agent class is sub par. There are lot of people who would disagree with this. Most of the top defenseman have been snapped up already some going for what some would say Jeff Finger money.

The forwards and goaltenders seem to be the ones lingering here. There are 3 bona fide number one goaltenders out there. One of them is a former MVP and the other has won The Stanley Cup.

There is talent there so I do not believe that talent is the main issue.

3 - Free Agency is not the way to build a franchise. If the leagues current top teams have taught us anything its that signing that flashy 40 goal scorer should be the final piece to the puzzle of building your team and not the starting point.

In the past big market teams have thrown obscene amounts of money at what is perceived to be the "top free agents" of any given year and it took hours, not weeks to complete multi year, multi million dollar mega deals.

Now it takes a proven, young 40 goal scorer 3 weeks to sign a contract after July 1?

That is something that was unheard of as recent at 2 years ago.

Needless to say the landscape has drastically changed.

The top dogs will always get their money. That free agent who is perceived to be the top guy, the corner-stone type player.

Gone are the days of multi year mega contracts to second and third tier players like Scott Gomez, Jason Blake and Chris Drury just to name a few.

In are the days of one year deals to players who would normally be getting this type deal.

Where else would a guy lead his team in goaldsand get only a one year deal? (Matt Moulson)

How about a guy who gets 58 points and 20 goals and only gets a one year deal (Vinny Prospal)?

The landscape has changed people. So many teams have abandoned the free agent fix and now favor building through youth. Especially now that 18 year olds making an impact for $375,000 per season over paying a free agent millions more for the same output.

Free agency will always be prevalant but it seems in order to cash in big time you have to actually BE big time.

It has turned into a way to tweak your team and teams have finally figured out it has never been a successul tool in the NHL to build a winning franchise.

Please post your thoughts below.

Monday, July 12, 2010

NY Islanders: Murray Drops Bomb on Lighthouse

This may be the death knell of the Lighthouse project as envisioned by Charles Wang and Scott Rechler.

Charles Wang, owner of the New York Islanders and real estate magnate has yet to respond to the latest attack on his project.

Kate Murray, Town of Hempstead Supervisor and top opponent to the project has unveiled her new zoning of the 77 acre site that will result in The Lighthouse project either being scaled back to something not even resembling the plans we have seen.

The square footage of buildings being built would be severely cut down.

The building heights would be limited to 9 stories, down from Wang's proposed 35 stories.

The amount of housing units that can be built from over 2,300 proposed by Wang to just over 500.

This is what took Kate Murray and her Town cronies 5 years to come up with.

Charles Wang and Scott Rechler have spent more time and money on this project and sat around waiting for one bureaucrat and her silly Town Board to tell them yes or no.

Nassau County approved the plan. New York State is behind the plan. Long Islanders by a wide margin are behind the plan.

The Town of Hempstead? They know better than all of us.

What they did is next to criminal. They said maybe. They said everything to keep Mr. Wang and his 3 billion dollars from walking away from the table.

So where does this leave the project?

In its current form and location it is dead and buried.

So what is next for the project? What is next for the New York Islanders franchise?

That is any ones guess but I can take a stab at it.

Charles Wang will not bow to the wishes of the Town of Hempstead. He did not make himself a billionaire by mistake and will not just lay down and take whatever the Town gives him.

There are other options. The best and most attractive one right now would be to get behind Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano's plan to bring in the Shinnecock Nation to build a mixed use project that could resemble most of Wang's current plan with one notable addition, a casino.

The Shinnecock Nation have land out east on Long Island that they can offer in trade for the rights to build on the 77 acres around Nassau Coliseum.

All Charles Wang would have to do is get in bed with them and Mangano add a casino to his plans and he would be back in business.

Why would this make a difference when it comes to the Town of Hempstead?

Because with the Shinnecock Nation Mangano, New York State, Charles Wang all would NOT need Town of Hempstead approval to build whatever they want on the site.

The key is the Shinnecock Nation. Being a recognized American Indian tribe if they were granted the land to build on by New York State they would be outside the Town of Hempstead's jurisdiction.

Presto. The Lighthouse project is back albeit altered to include a Casino and lets not forget a nice brand new renovated home for the New York Islanders.

One thing people around Long Island are in agreement of is that Long Island needs a reason for people to stay here.

For some reason the Town of Hempstead and Charles Wang have not met in the middle. Wang presented his project and said this is it. Kate Murray has presented her zoning plan and said this is it.

Something has to give in this long strange saga of The Lighthouse project.

What do you think is next? Leave your comments below.

Friday, July 2, 2010

NHL Free Agency Begins: Defenseman are a Premium

The NHL free agency period has begun and defensemen are getting scooped up on day one and being paid handsomely.

One of the biggest winners so far is Paul Martin formerly of the New Jersey Devils scoring a 5 year 25 million dollar contract from the Penguins. The Devils quickly turned around and replaced Martin with Anton Volchenkov by coughing up $25.5 million over 6 years and 4 years and 13.5 million for Henrik Tallinder.

Sergei Gonchar did not let the door hit him on his way out of Pittsburgh by taking a 3 year 16.5 million dollar deal from Ottawa.

Toni Lydman managed to get someone to give him 3 years and 9 million continuing the free agent parade out of Buffalo that has been going on since Briere and Drury left.

In a bit of a head scratcher Pittsburgh also picked up former Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Zbynek Michalek and gave him $20 million over 5 years. Michalek is not going to wow you with his skills but he can eat minutes and dependable NHL defenseman are at a premium.

Also in the head scratcher category, Dan Hamhuis scored a $27 million dollar 6 year contract from Vancouver. $4.5 million per year for this guy? Really?

Other defenseman who are off the market are Derek Morris (4 years, 11 million) resigning with Phoenix, Sean O'Donnel (1 year, 1 million) with Philadelphia and Kurtis Foster (2 years, 3.6 million) with Tampa Bay.

While I am surprised the Devils did not push harder for the young, talented Paul Martin to resign it is obvious that defensemen scored some long, rich contracts on day 1.

Most of the more attractive free agent forwards are still out there including Mr. Kovalchuk who is sure to net well over 100 million dollars and the only question is - Who is going to give it to him?

On the Islanders front Martin Biron making the odd move of signing with the Rangers to back up Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist is going to play 70 games and unless the Rangers are going to reduce his work load Biron is going to spend a lot of the next two years on the bench.

I just figured that Marty after the frustrating season on the Island would want to play more games than he did a year ago and unless Lundqvist gets injured that is simply not going to happen.

Jeff Tambellini took a 1 year $500K deal from the Canucks so the bane of Ted Nolan is gone and if you ask me good riddance. It was way past the time for Jeff to produce on the Island and his spot can be taken by one of the Islanders prospects on the rise. I wish him well.

Jeremy Reich left the Island and signed with the Bruins. Yawn.

If I may be so bold to offer Garth Snow some advice, go sign Lee Stempniak.

Who do you think will land Kovalchuk? Who should the Islanders pursue if anyone? Who overpaid their free agent defensemen?

Leave your comments below.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Good and the Bad: The NY Islanders Draft

The 2010 draft has ended and the Islanders had another top 5 pick in the draft. Did they come away with another blue chip prospect or did they blow it not selecting the best player at their position in the draft?

I present 3 points for and 3 points against what the Islanders did this draft. Which side is correct?

Tou be the judge.

First we will get The Bad out of the way.


1 - Nino Who? No Cam Fowler? No Brandon Gormley? No Brett Connolly? They were all rated higher than Niederreiter and that means that Snow saw something different than the rest of the league. The rule is you take the best player at your position in the draft and The Islanders simply didn't do that.

Snow loves trading down so much, why didn't he try and trade down and get something for drafting this kid instead of someone rated higher?

2 - Trade two get one? Trading 2 second rounders to move up 5 spots? This Brock Nelson kid must be pretty good to give up the chance at 2 prospects down to get one. Snow and his staff usually add picks not give up picks and to move up only 5 spots and give up a second round pick? He had better be worth that.

3 - Win When? This Islanders team needs to start showing some results now. Tavares is in his second year and the team needs to show him and the rest of the team they are serious about winning and doing so now so as to not risk demoralizing the young players.

Lets switch it up now and present:


1 - El Nino is the Man. Anyone who knows this kid knows the Islanders got a gem. If he makes the Islanders this season and that may be a long shot but if he does fans will love his style of play.

He is tough and has a big game mentality and is very comfortable in traffic. When he does make the Islanders there will be a sign in Nassau Coliseum (or wherever the Islanders are) that reads "EL NINO" Bank on it.

Consider this also - Gormley and Fowler went 12 and 13 so the Islanders were not alone in passing them up.

A poll on shows that the fans think Niederreiter has the biggest up-side than any of the other forwards chosen in the first round.

2 - Win Soon, Very soon. - The Islanders need to stick to their plan. Draft smart and build within. The Islanders improved so much last season and the young core is only got better as the year wore on.

This season could be the breakout year for the young Islanders. Tavares Will know exactly what to expect from the NHL, Josh Bailey will be another year wiser and Kyle Okposo is due for the breakout season we all know he is capable of.

Stick to the plan. Build not just a winner, but a long time winner.

3 - You See Something You Like, You Take It - No one knows how good Brock Nelson is going to be. Snow and his team of scouts saw something they liked in Nelson and paid a steep price to get him.

This isn't a bad thing, its a good thing. Why? Because it shows Snow and Co. are willing to take a bit of a risk here and there to make the Islanders a winner.

A Lot of people passed on Kirill Kabanov because of off ice issues and concerns about his character.

I love this pick because the kid wants to prove the other 29 franchises wrong and the Islanders will be his means to do so. He said all the right things and he is still only 17. There is a lot of time for him to right himself and if he does? Look out. He has the talent to become a top six player.

There we have it. 3 points for and 3 points against what the Islanders have done in the 2010 NHL draft.

Where do you stand? Leave any comments you may have below.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The 2010 NHL Draft: NY Islanders Edition

It seems like yesterday we were all sitting around waiting and wondering whether The Islanders and their brain trust would do what we all wanted and expected them to do and that is draft John Tavares.

Now that JT has his first Islanders season and his first 24 goals under his belt the focus can be shifted to the very important question of "Whats Next?"

The Islanders hold the number 5 overall pick this season and should be able to net themselves another blue chip prospect. Who that will wind up being is any ones guess.

After top prospects Tyler Seguin and Taylor Hall the door is wide open to who will go third, fourth and fifth.

With all of the analyzing going on over trying to figure out who the Islanders will draft and all of the dealing the Islanders have done in past drafts that task is next to impossible to determine but that does not mean we cannot discuss it.

I would love to see the Islanders stick to their guns and draft 5th if they cannot move up into the top 2 which is a pipe dream. The Oilers and Bruins will draft 1 and 2 unless they switch positions which has been rumored.

Taylor Hall will likely go number one to the Oilers and Tyler Seguin will likely be drafted by the Bruins. The bottom line is this you take the best player available at your position in the draft and these two kids are the class of this years draft.

Toronto Maple Leaf nation is probably kicking itself in the rear again after its failed attempt to get John Tavares and now trading for Phil Kessel will cost them dearly again if Seguin turns into the player he is projected to.

After the big two, we could see a run of defenseman being drafted with top prospects Brandon Gormley, Erik Gundbranson and Cam Fowler project to go in the top 6 or 7.

The Big question will be which one of them will be left for the Islanders to take? Most mock drafts have Gormley and Fowler going 3 and 4. If that is the case I would love the Islander to select RW Brett Connoly. He always seems to be around the net and is not afraid to get in the thick of things and pick up the so called "ugly" goal.

He is not going to blow past defenders and roof the puck and be on TSNs highlight reel but he can score and that is what the Islanders need.

If Fowler falls to 5th then he should be the selection. although his stock has fallen a bit as he was originally projected to be in the top 3 with Hall and Seguin maybe that can be to the Islanders benefit.

The wild card in my eyes is Vladmir Taresenko who has a KHL contract that may scare away many GMs. The Islanders still have the rights to Kirill Petrov of the KHL and he is also under contract to the Russian league so it is doubtful Snow would want to repeat that situation at least this high in the draft.

If Teresenko was a sure bet to be in the NHL next year his talent alone would put him easily in the top 3 of the draft.

Is he worth a shot? Only Garth Snow and his staff knows for sure.

The only sure thing at this time is the Islanders stand to get themselves yet another blue chip prospect for their ongoing rebuilding process.

The process is working as evidenced by the teams improvements last season and if things break right the team should contend for a playoff spot this season.

That is a discussion for another day as the focus is on the NHL draft and the Islander adding to their fully stocked cupboard of prospects.

Once the draft is out of the way we can discuss free agency and more which the Islander will have to be more active in filling roles unless they intend to promote from within to fill the holes in the team.

Who from the Islander system is ready to make the jump to the NHL?

On the forward line I would love to see Jesse Joensuu get more than the cup of coffee he has received. Robin Figrin may be ready for a long time look as well as Matt Martin. Trevor Smith should be able to stick with the team also if they do not pursue free agent help he is a capable 4th line center.

Anyone want to see what David Toews is capable of? I sure do.

On defense, Calvin de Haan had some injury trouble last season which will probably derail his shot at the big club at least for the beginning of the season.

Dylan Reese played very well in his stint at the end of last season, Mark Flood did not embarrass himself and could prospect Aaron Ness be ready for a shot? Training camp should be very interesting to say the least.

If the Islanders stay true to the rebuild free agency will not be an issue. They will promote from within and sign one or two hole filling free agents.

At this point bringing in big free agents is a mistake and Snow and Company should stick to the plan and build from within. The fans of the team have seen what building a team the right way can do i.e. Chicago and Pittsburgh.

After the draft tonight I will post a "Good and the Bad" of the Islanders draft so stay tuned to what should be a very interesting draft and another chapter in the building of the NY Islanders.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

NY Islanders: Free Agency and the Lighthouse

Our new intrepid Nassau County Executive after running on a platform of support for the Lighthouse project has been working on a deal with the Shinnecock nation on putting a casino smack dab in the middle of Nassau County on the Coliseum site.

That's right Islander fans. Mangano has been in office for exactly 4 months and he is already looking at other possibilities and has not made any public statements on the project that Charles Wang and his group have put 6 years and spent millions of dollars into trying to get off the ground.

Even Kate Murray the high demoness of the Lighthouse project has feigned ignorance and said she knows nothing of this deal.

I smell something and its not pretty.

A Casino has bad idea written all over it. I am not against gambling. I am not against Casinos. What I am against is political meandering. I am against politicians who use private enterprise for their own personal gain or to further their careers.

I have heard opponents of the Lighthouse project spout venom about traffic, waste, garbage and more traffic.

What would surrounding areas traffic be like with a version of The Borgata on that site? The idea smacks of a shady back room deal and it deserves all of the scrutiny it has coming.

While your thinking about that think about this. While i am not an opponent of gambling I question the wisdom of putting a casino a stones throw from a college, much less 2 of them. College is hard enough with every day distractions and the idea that a $2-$5 no limit table is around the corner would make anyone rush to finish their paper to get to the tables.

Another question is this. Wang and his group have in place a lease and a contract to develop the land. What is Mangano going to do? Condemn the lease? Does that sound familiar? Any deal with anyone other than Wang will bring back all of the painful memories of the Millstien/Gluckstern fiasco that threw the Islanders into a doldrum they are only crawling out of today.

This whole thing stinks on ice people and any Long Islander should be mad as hell that this kind of corruption goes on in our backyards by the very people we trust to carry out the will of the people who elected them.

Switching gears, now lets talk hockey, something we may not be able to do on Long Island for much longer.

The Islanders improved this year. People took notice.

John Tavares netted 24 goals in a very successful rookie season.

Matt Moulson exploded on to the scene with his breakout year scoring 30 goals.

Kyle Okposo showed why he should be the team captain for many years.

The defense is young but capable and will only get better.

There are seeds of greatness here and all they need is water.

The water this off season? The number 5 overall pick can hydrate the need for more growth.

Another method to get the Islanders to the next level is free agency. While the Islanders are not likely to go sign Ilya Kovalchuk to a massive contract there are a couple of capable veterans out there that can finally get the Islanders into playoff contention. Lets examine.

1 - Lee Stempniak (26) RW - Capable offensive threat and still young enough to improve. I would love to see the Islanders sign this kid. Scored 28 goals this season and is only going to get better. While the big market teams fall all over each other to sign Kovalchuk and Marleau to humongous contracts maybe the Islanders can steal this kid.

What will it take to get him? - 5 years, 25 million.

2 - Raffi Torres - (27) LW - Found himself in Buffalo after his breakout seasons in Edmonton and a short disappointing run in Columbus. Surrounded by the youth of the Islanders he would feel right at home back with the organization that drafted him. He can score, he can hit. Still at 27 has the ability to improve. Right a wrong Garth and bring him back.

What will it take to get him? - 4 years 16 million.

3 - Paul Martin - (28) D - Sure The Islanders do not need a defenseman but look again at the depth chart. Now that is out of the way this guy may be above what the Islanders are willing to spend as he is likely to get 5+ million a season. Injuries cost him most of 2009 and the Devils are not likely to let him walk away.

What will it take to get him? - 5 years 30 million.

4 - Andrew Raycroft - (29) G - You know it so I am just going to say it. The Islanders cannot depend on Rick DiPietro to come back any more. I personally believe Rick is finished and it pains me to say that because he is ultra talented and loves Long Island. Raycroft backed up Roberto Luongo this year and did excellent work with 9 wins and a .911 save percentage.

5 - Ilya Kovalchuk - (26) LW - Now that we are all done laughing at the prospect of this lets look at the facts. The Islanders would have to grossly overpay to get him. He is 26 years old. He is one of the most dynamic players in the world. What better way to say to the world the Islanders are back. Give him the keys to the store and stick him with Josh Bailey's natural play making skills and look out. I know its the longest of shots but if the Islanders are going to show the world they mean business I can't think of a better way to do it. The Islanders have more than enough cap room and the fan base is dying for a reason to come back to the team. TV ratings while still low were up 105% this season. People are interested in the Islanders again. Go knock their socks off.

What would it take to get him ? - 14 years 126 million.

Please use the comment section to leave your thoughts on free agency and the debacle going on with the Lighthouse Project.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Looking to the Future

The Islanders are not a "now" team. No one can dispute that. They have become a future team. Its all the Islanders talk or speak about so lets take a moment or two to consider the future.

The Young core of the Islanders is just about in place. With young players succeeding at the NHL level instead of just taking up space for a change. The NHL has transformed into a young players league Chris Chelios not withstanding.

It has become commonplace for 18 and 19 year olds to come directly to the NHL instead of going through their growing pains in the minors or in the juniors. Age is no longer a factor. Its only the matter of if you can play or not whether your 18 or 48.

With John Tavares making strides on not only his offensive game but his total game he will be the cornerstone of making this team a contender. He currently has 20 goals and 41 points which is right on par with what the serious expectations were.

Could we see a next season Steven Stamkos like jump in production for Tavares? Not likely because of the talent around Stamkos outweighs what the Islanders can put out there - at least for now.

The Islanders found 2 jewels this past off season in bringing in Matt Moulson and Rob Schremp. Rob Schremp has the kind of stick handling ability that very few in this league can match. I know that's a bold statement but the only thing keeping this kid from becoming a force in this league is himself. His attitude got him bounced out of Edmonton, a team starving for a star. He so far has been quiet and impressed the heck out of the Islander fans with his skill level.

That is what star players do, keep their mouths shut and let their play do the talking.

Matt Moulson is a guy that came in almost as a courtesy to Tavares as they are friends. Little did we know he would lead the team in goals. Moulson could be a major piece of the Islanders puzzle because every team needs a guy not afraid to go to the nest and collect all of those dirty goals that players can make a career out of.

This off season presents some interesting choices Garth Snow and his crew must wade through. Doug Weight, Jon Sim, Tim Jackman, Richard Park, Freddy Meyer and Martin Biron all are unrestricted free agents and none are likely to be resigned.

That will open up roster spots for some of the Islanders young players who have only gotten cups of NHL coffee.

Free Agency is unlikely once again to net the Islanders any high priced free agents but may yield one or two players to fill some gaps left by the departures listen above if the young players cant fill those roles, and with the little they have provided the Islanders as a group filling the void should not be hard at all.

The 2010 NHL draft has again a nice group of prospects lead by the Windsor Spitfires Taylor Hall who will undoubtedly go number 1.

It is way to early to look at draft order but it would seem the Edmonton Oilers already have the last spot in the NHL locked up and will be the favorites to land the number 1 pick.

The Islanders are right on the brink of getting another lottery pick and should net themselves a very high pick. They currently have 67 points. which puts them right smack in the middle of the 8th and final playoff spot and the second from last Maple Leafs.

The Islanders aren't helping things by their current winning streak but they are still tied with Columbus for the final lottery spot and are very close to Carolina and Florida who are 1 and 2 points behind them respectively.

As I always say if your going to miss the playoffs you may as well miss them big. I hope the Islanders can land themselves in the Draft Lottery and even if they don't still have a shot at another impact player.

The Lighthouse Project still sits in limbo and if we are going to talk about the future of the Islanders then you have to talk about it.

The Town of Hempstead has gone ahead and taken complete control over what can be built there by rezoning the site so that they can put legal limits on what can be built there. There are rumblings that this is the straw that broke the camels back and Charles Wang is going to announce once he has real plans in place to announce her is going to move the team.

Thinking about a possible move logically there are 5 spots that would welcome the Islanders. ( I will not discuss the pros and cons of each for now) They are -

1) Brooklyn. Brett Ratner has broken ground on his Brooklyn Yards project and it is finally moving forward. He has made no bones about the fact that the Islanders would be welcome there.

2) Queens. The Borough of Queens has made it know that not only would they take the Islanders and build a nice new arena near CitiField, but allow Charles Wang to bring the Lighthouse project with him. Of course it would have to be redesigned for the area but they have made it known that they will allow him the leeway the Town of Hempstead will not.

3) Suffolk County (Pilgrim State) there has always been talk of moving the Islanders to the site but this one is the most unlikely.

4) Kansas City. They have an arena and have no tenant. the only way it makes sense is if Wang sells the team and buys out the remaining years on the lease.

5) Las Vegas, Winnipeg, Quebec City, Hamilton. They want a pro hockey team. Will they ever get one? If every other option falls through it is possible.

Obviously options 1-3 would be more favorable because Charles Wang would retain the team and its lucrative cable contract.

Obviously as fans our first preference is to keep the Islanders where they have been their entire existence. The on going battle between The Lighthouse Group and the Town of Hempstead have reached a standstill and anyone that knows anything about Charles Wang he feels as though he has waited long enough.

Please use the comment section to voice your opinions.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Voice has Found our Voice.

It has been a while since I have posted here and this will be the "reboot" of sorts of this blog. Personal issues have prevented me from blogging these past months and I am finally getting to block some time to share the fans thoughts and people there are a lot of thoughts out there. So lets get started with on of the more popular columns in Random Thoughts.

I present 5 Random Thoughts that are being talked about in the world of the New York Islanders. Please use the comment section to voice your opinions on these or any other thoughts as it pertains to the New York Islanders.

1 - Lighthouse? What Lighthouse? They say no news is good news. Not in this case. No news is bad news. The Town oh Hempstead very quietly classified the rezoning of the Lighthouse site so they can point to something and tell Charles Wang what to do with his project. The new regulations limit the square footage of retail and residential space. The rezoning amounts to the Town of Hempstead seizing complete control over something they should have no control over, and thats private enterprise. Kate Murray and her little band of politicians have fired what could be the last salvo in the war over the Nassau Coliseum site.

What has Charles Wang said in response? Nothing. He has repeatedly asked for a yes or a no answer. The Town of Hempstead says maybe. They say change this. change that this is to big. This is to much.

The year is now 2010. The Islanders lease runs out at the end of the 2014-2015 season. That is not a lot of time. It take 2-3 years to move a franchise even after you declare your leaving unless your name is Jim Balsillie.

There are options out there, even local options that would allow the Islanders to keep their cable contract. Brooklyn, Queens and even Suffolk county all would welcome not only the team but Mr. Wang's project and if they are going to have an arena ready for the 2015-16 hockey season, they would have to start those preparations very soon.

2) Progress in Youth - On to the on ice issues. You have got to be impressed with the progress of the Islanders young crop of players. They are 3 games under .500, but only 5 points out of 8th place in the conference. Its March, and the Islanders have something to play for. They will play meaningful games into the spring one year after having the worst record in the NHL. That's progress.

3) John Tavares - Growing pains. We all knew they were coming but the kid has already shown that he belongs in the NHL. Don't compare him to Matt Duchene. John Tavares is playing with players just as wet behind the ears as he is. They will have to grow as a team as Tavares is not going to come into a situation where he has a 50 assist man or a 40 goal scorer on the team. He is doing just fine. I said before the season if he scores 20 goals this season, that is a great start. He has 17 goals to this point and the Islanders have 19 games left.

4 - Where did this guy come from? - There will be people that will say they new Andrew McDonald was going to be a good defenseman in this league. there are bloggers that i share seats with that will tell you he is the cat's meow and they knew all along.

But Come on, who was calling that he would be playing 23 minutes a game this season? He made Brendan Witt expendable and his growth allowed the team to get another draft pick for soon to be free agent Andy Sutton. here comes that word again - progress.

5 - Rick DiPietro - Finished? A lot of fans are saying that our "goalie for life" is finished. They are saying that he will never be the same. They are saying that his knee will never be able to take the rigors of the NHL grind.

Here is a clue for you - The Islanders did not trade Dwayne Roloson. The only way Garth Snow would trade Roloson is if he knew DiPietro were healthy. We all know he isn't. You cant leave the teams slim playoff hopes to a guy that has won 3 games this season and played 2 games in the last 2 months in Biron, and Roloson is signed through next season.

Here is another clue - DiPietro had two full weeks to rest during the Olympic break. He comes back and the first thing his knee does is blow up and swell up. I'm sorry but that is simply not a good sign for an elite athlete.

I have a hunch that if things do not work out in training camp next season that Rick will retire. I hope I am wrong because Rick is a great guy, and extremely talented goaltender and he loves being a part of the Islanders.

I look forward to reading every ones input on these or any other issues.

Its great to be back