April 2008

Monthly Archive

Latest Islanders News!

Posted by on 23 Apr 2008 | Tagged as: News, Off Season

It’s not everyday that there is news on our beloved Islanders, especially when they are not in the playoffs. During a time when hockey writers tend to take a bit of a break (See: Greg Logan on vacation), the Islanders find themselves in the headlines regardless and it’s not all about the Lighthouse Project!

Here is what’s happening, recap style:

Tomas Marcinko Officially Signed

The Islanders announced yesterday that they have officially come to terms on a rookie deal with Slovakian born Tomas Marcinko their 2006 fourth round draft pick, to a three-year entry level contract.

Per the New York Islanders website:

Tomas Marcinko

The 20-year old Slovakia native, who just finished his second season with the Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League, recorded 36 goals and 47 assists for 83 points in 104 career games with the Colts, while also representing Slovakia at the 2007 and 2008 World Junior Championships.

“Tomas is a very responsible two way player who had a terrific season in 2007-08 with Barrie in the OHL,” said Ryan Jankowski, the Islanders Assistant General Manager and Director of Amateur Scouting.

In 2007-08, Marcinko tallied 19 goals and 26 assists for 45 points in 48 games with the Colts, which ranked second on the team in points. In nine career OHL playoff games – all coming this season – Marcinko registered four goals and three assists.

It was nice that this was done relatively quickly after Garth Snow informed us that a deal was done in principle last week at the Islanders Stakeholder meeting at the Coliseum. It seems that Garth has been very busy for the Islanders in filling holes for Bridgeport and locking up our younger future players. That definately isn’t a bad thing.

Bill Guerin and Steve Mears on ESPN’s Sportscenter

Steve Mears and Bill Guerin on Sportscenter

Seems good old Billy G was out and about in Bristol, Connecticut along with Steve Mears last night for a Sportscenter piece. Corey Witt has a bunch of blog entries and photos (where I snagged the above photo) on the job Bill did last night. I personally missed the piece, but from what I hear he held his ground and could have a future in broadcasting after hockey.

In other Guerin News

Despite the 2007/2008 season as being Guerin’s first ever serving as team captain, his team mates felt that he deserved recognition for the job he did this season (he did after all have a very big role leadership wise and handled it very well both in the media and the locker room) and have nominated him for the King Clancey Memorial Trophy.

Per the Islanders Website:

The New York Islanders organization is proud to announce captain Bill Guerin as its nominee for the 2007-08 King Clancy Memorial Trophy, awarded to a player who exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in the community.

“It’s a great honor to be nominated for such a prestigious award,” said Guerin, who was picked by a team vote. “Despite a disappointing finish to the season, my family and I had a wonderful time on Long Island and we look forward to continuing to serve the community as best as we can.”

In 2007-08, Guerin showed his dedication and leadership not just on the ice, but off the ice in the community as well. On the ice, Guerin showed his dedication to the NHL, along with his longevity in the game when he skated in his 1,100th game on March 21 at New Jersey. On October 18 at Washington, Guerin notched his ninth career hat trick, becoming the first player to record a hat trick with six different NHL teams. When he recorded his 20th goal of the season on March 20, Guerin became just the second player in NHL history to record 20 or more goals with the six NHL teams.

“Congratulations to Bill on his nomination,” said GM Garth Snow. “As our captain, Billy was exactly what we were hoping for and more when we signed him in the off-season. Everyone in the organization appreciated his commitment to the team this season.”

To read more, head on over to the Islanders website.

Sean Bergenheim, Hurt?

Bergenheim needs to quit playing in Europe, really – he does. It seems no matter what, every time this kid straps on skates and plays overseas, he winds up injured in some way. The message boards came alive yesterday afternoon once a Finnish newspaper article came out claming Bergy’s injury. Naturally, the translation of said article yielded very little clues – and we come to find out later the injury wasn’t very serious. I think all of Islanders country heard Dee Karl (7thwoman and Bergenheim Super-Fan) scream in horror and then sigh with relief.

Katie Strang, who is manning the Islanders column and Blog over at Newsday in Greg Logan’s absence, made a blog entry on this subject yesterday. Here is a snippet of some “unofficial, official news” as there was nothing out of the Islanders camp.

Bergenheim’s agent Mark Gandler said he is day-to-day with a slight groin pull.
Doesn’t sound like anything too serious, but I’ll keep checking up to see if I hear anything new.

As far as Sean’s contract negotiations with the Islanders, Gandler said that “we have started talking, but numbers have not yet been exchanged.”

More on Greg Logan’s Blog.

So – while the Islanders are certainly out of contention and done with hockey in the NHL until September, they certainly do know how to remain in the headlines – somewhat.

More as it happens, right here on www.islesblogger.com – all summer long!

Islanders Stakeholder Meeting

Posted by on 19 Apr 2008 | Tagged as: General, News

Wow – it’s been a really, really slow week in Islanders country. I never intended to go an entire week without posting, but a combination of work, being lazy and well nothing really to write about certainly contributed to things.

Wednesday night was the Islanders “Stakeholder Meeting” – an open house event that included a self guided tour of the locker room, game used equipment sales, a chance for fans to become potential season ticket holders and a thank you for current season ticket holders. Speaking at the event was Chris Dey Islanders senior vice president of sales, marketing and operations, Islanders GM Garth Snow, Head Coach Ted Nolan and a surprise guest in Islanders owner Charles Wang. Dey and Wang each spoke of the Lighthouse project and it’s progress with the town, they showed us a video on what they envision the arena and surrounding facilities to be. It looked great – hopefully the Town of Hempstead pushes things along.

Chris Dey also spoke about this seasons success of the Islanders partaking in Children’s charity’s and schools. Islanders players visited kids in hospitals and different schools throughout the year. I don’t remember the specific number, but it was said the Islanders managed to provided seating and transportation to these kids all season long – and it was a very large number of attendees.

Charles also spoke about what he felt about the season, Katie Strang had a great article in Newsday last week and quoted Charles saying the following:

“Until we get the Stanley Cup, I’m not happy and neither should you be,” Wang told the fans. Wang said he knows the team was hit hard by injuries but that no excuse could justify the collapse of a team that, before the trade deadline, was poised for the playoffs. Wang said that failure itself would not be fatal to the team, only failure to change.

Charles WangPrior to Charles getting up and speaking, they showed a great video of highlights from the season set to sappy music. I happened to find myself sitting directly next to where Charles Wang, Chris Botta, Corey Witt and Garth Snow were standing. Once Botta and Witt noticed me, they busted my chops a bit as always. The significance of my seating location – I was able to witness Charles react to the video and to the reaction of the fans which was pretty interesting. I know Dee mentioned in her blog that I didn’t bring my camera, that wasn’t entirely true. I did bring a camera, just not my Canon. I was actually able to take a picture from behind Charles while he was watching the video – it was something I couldn’t pass up. Often times he was the first person to clap at the different intervals and his clapping caused the crowd around him to erupt into applause.

Garth Snow was next to get up to the podium – he started with a bunch of little one-liners and you could tell he was uncomfortable at first. Garth then went on to outline his plan for the offseason. He intends to develop from within, draft well and sprinkle in free agents come July. He felt that the team they put on ice this season they had confidence in, but injuries put any hopes of success out of the realm of possibility. He also felt that certain players just did not play up to their potential and likely wouldn’t return. He was asked about some of the prospects and mentioned that he was finishing up the details on a three year contract for 2006 draft pick and prospect Tomas Marcinko, of Slovakia. He mentioned some other prospects they hoped to have signed in the short term as well. He also spoke of what he would be looking for come draft time and showed a highlight video of some of the top prospects in the top-ten of the draft. He said he would use the top-five pick wisely and help build our prospect pool.

Ted NolanTed Nolan then took the stage and spoke about what he felt went wrong, he said that he learned a bunch of things that he wanted to improve on in the future and would do everything in his power to get the power play back on track. He mentioned the team was way too stationary and needed players who would move their feet. He mentioned Garth trying to look for players that better fit their system in the off season. Ted also said that he was extremely disappointed and wanted to show Long Island that they can win a Stanley Cup.

Both Garth and Ted would next answer questions sent in by fans. As Steve Mears was reading off the questions you could almost feel the intensity of the fans enthusiasm oozing through their words. Garth and Ted did great, often times laughing as they seemed to expect these type of questions. They spoke about their relationship with each other and stressed that it was healthy, they spoke about Sean Bergenheim and what he accomplished this season, Kyle Okposo’s debut, the college signings of Trevor Smith last season as well as Hiller and Rob Hennigar. Garth said free agents don’t always come in the form of NHL free agents. Jeff Tambellini was also discussed at length – everyone wanted to know why the AHL scoring leader couldn’t have the same success in the NHL. They explained that the game is different, and certain players have a hard time transitioning their game into the big show. Ted explained that he had confidence that with a full offseason to work on his game and with an extended time with the club next season he feels Jeff would succeed.

All in all, my opinion on things like this is I could live with or without them. As a season ticket holder I thought it was a great thing that the team was so open about what they wanted to accomplish with the lighthouse, the team and especially the draft picks we have this year. It was also good to listen to the coach and GM say that their relationship wasn’t strained – although I couldn’t really put much confidence into a crowd appeasing statement. In the end, the best part of my night was getting a game puck signed by Mike Bossy. I felt I attended this open house more so as fan than a blogger and took advantage to build my memorabilia collection. That is one thing I wish I could get more of during the season – autographed stuff.

Don’t forget, the Islanders will be having several more of these types of events throughout the summer. They will even be spreading awareness on the road in an Islanders RV complete with player appearances so be on the lookout for an Islander player in a town near you!

For more photos of the event, be sure to check out the gallery!

Shave to Save (Hank)!

Posted by on 11 Apr 2008 | Tagged as: General, News

There comes a time when you sometimes need to step back from the fun stuff and take a serious look at life. This is one of those times – please read on.

My buddy’s brother-in-law Hank was recently diagnosed with an incurable blood cancer called Multiple Myeloma. Hank has already been through one round of chemo and after being back at work part-time for a few months, his last day of work was Tuesday. He’ll be out of commission again for 3-4 months while he undergoes a stem cell transplant.

I have never met Hank personally, or even his wife (Chris’s sister Deanna) who live in Seattle, Washington. Whenever someone close to anyone you know finds themselves in a position like this, you cannot help but get involved. My family has been affected by Cancer – so call me a sucker for a good cause.

Chris’s sister started a “Shave to Save” campaign and is asking for donations that will go towards research for a cure for this disease.

Per Deanna’s blog:

My husband was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in September 2007. This is an aggressive, incurable cancer of the blood.

I’m hoping to raise money for research in finding a cure for this disease so that others do not have to go through the same hopelessness which results from being diagnosed with this type of cancer.

In order to meet my fundraising goal, I pledge to shave my head if I reach my fundraising target of $10,000 by May 10, 2008.

My friend Chris stepped up and said this on his blog yesterday:

My sister doesn’t know it yet, but I’m going to raise the ante, in hopes to motivate my own friends to donate to her cause. I also pledge to shave my head if my sister reaches her fundraising target of $10,000 by May 10, 2008. I’ve never shaved my head, so I’m looking forward to it. And like my sister, the details will be blogged. I’ve already chipped in a donation, with more on the way after taxes get settled. That’s right, I’ve already purchased (hopefully) a $100 haircut. With any luck, it will get a lot more expensive!

Feeling inspired, I decided that I too would donate (did today) to the cause and put a post up here asking everyone in Islanders Nation to check out what they are doing. Right along with Chris, if Deanna makes it to their fundraising target of $10,000 by May 10, 2008, I will also shave my head in support!

By no means does anyone HAVE to donate, but if you have a few bucks to spare – it is for a great cause! Hopefully, come May 10th I will be sporting a brand new haircut!

Update!

Big thank you to Jim Baumbach of Newsday for linking over to my post on his blog!

It seems Newsday has now taken the link OFF of Greg’s blog – strange.

Amazing stuff this blogosphere!

Update 4/12

More support trickling in!

Thanks to Steve over at Islesnation for posting the info on the main page of his site.

Thanks to Paul over at Kuklas Korner who posted over on his site today (Monday)!

Also just wanted to thank those who have taken the time to donate, I noticed a bunch of new donations on the page and that is completely awesome of everyone!

Update 4/15

Two more blogs linked over today!

Dee Karl (AKA – 7thWoman) spoke about my post in her recent blog entry today! Check it out here.

NYIsles1 also made a great entry on Saturday (that I must have been sleeping to miss!!), you can check that one out here.

Thanks for the support everyone!

Islanders Sign Rob Hennigar!

Posted by on 09 Apr 2008 | Tagged as: News, Signings

Rob Hennigar The Islanders announced this afternoon they have signed this years Canadian Collegiate points leader two a two year contract. Rob Hennigar had 15 goals and 43 assists while playing for the Varsity Reds in the CIS league.

Per the Islanders Website:

The New York Islanders have agreed to terms on a two-year contract with center Rob Hennigar, the all-time points leader at the University of New Brunswick and the 2007-08 Canadian College Hockey Player of the Year.

A 25-year old native of Ontario, Hennigar just completed his fourth year at UNB. In 2007-08, Hennigar led the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) – Canada’s equivalent of the NCAA – in scoring, tallying 15 goals and 43 assists for 58 points. His 43 assists broke the school record for most in a single season and helped lead the Varsity Reds to a 26-2-0 record.

Hennigar helped lead UNB to the 2006-07 University Cup title and claim the Silver Medal at the 2007-08 CIS championship. His outstanding play earned him First Team honors on the 2007-08 CIS All-Canadian squad as well as the University Cup All-Tournament team. Over his career he tallied 37 goals and 122 assists for 159 points in 100 games.

Hennigar led Canada to the Gold Medal at the 2007 Winter Universiade in Italy, where he tied for the team lead with nine points in six outings.

Prior to joining the UNB Varsity Reds, Hennigar played four years with the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League where he compiled 82 goals and 138 assists in 246 games.

I posted this earlier today from my phone and have been meaning to update with more info all night – it was a combination of forgetting and playing way too much Call of Duty 4 (those new maps are awesome!).

I have heard a few different reactions to this trade, but like I mentioned in my comment section – I like this move. We cannot ever have enough depth players and we will definately need some replacements next season in Bridgeport with so many players slated for the opening night roster. With the recent signing of Hillen and now Hennigar, it just goes to show you that Garth Snow and his scouts are busy at work even though their season is over. These moves, plus the addition of whomever they add through the draft on June 20th – will definately stock our cupboard full of prospects.

Draft Lotto – Live!

Posted by on 07 Apr 2008 | Tagged as: Draft, Live Blog, News

Draft LotterySo, I am sitting here on pins and needles waiting to see where the balls fall – in regards to the number one overall draft position. The Islanders only have about an 8.1% chance of moving from 5 overall to number 1, so we shall see where we wind up.

I will be doing live updates as the draft happens, for those who do not have the NHL Network or Versus!

Should be an interesting night!

Mind you, the Islanders have moved from the number 5 position to the first overall – in 2000 when drafting Rick DiPietro!

Top 5

They are about to read the top five from 5th to first!

1. Tampa
2. Los Angeles
3. Thrashers
4. St. Louis
5. Islanders

So the Isles got the 5th pick – will they use it on a d-man or will they take a chance with the Russian stud in Filatov?

Keep in mind that teams looking to land a defenseman may wish to exchange picks with the Islanders, so the Isles could theoretically move up or down in the draft through a trade. Tampa Bay will be looking to add Stamkos to their club with the loss of Richards from their big-three, that is a scary thought.

Overall, I must say – the Islanders are in a good position with that 5th pick. I am hoping that they land someone whom can be a difference maker in the organization and fit in with the plans to build a solid core of youth that will flourish in the NHL for years to come.

Isles Lick Wounds, Ready For Rangers Finale

Posted by on 04 Apr 2008 | Tagged as: Gameday

Last night was one of those typical Islander games. What do I mean by that? Many of us were in agreement last night, that aside from the Rangers two power play goals the Isles were pretty much in the game otherwise. They weren’t drastically outplayed, the Rangers just capitalized when good teams should – on the man advantage.

I had expected a great deal of rough stuff, there were plenty of hits but no real fights. Avery was his typical self and Davison, Fata and even Meyer tried to goad him into doing something stupid but all that happened was a roughing penalty. The game otherwise wasn’t anything special honestly. I felt the team could have supported Okposo a bit more, the Rangers were taking liberties all game and you really need to protect your star (even budding star) players.

Jack Hillen looked pretty good in his first NHL game, nothing that made me gasp with amazement or anything – but he looked good regardless. Ted Nolan said that he was impressed as he could be, given he jumped right from college into the NHL and admitted he needed some polishing to become an effective NHL d-man.

Because it was the final home game, the Blog Box crew mingled for a bit after the game last night. Dee Karl (aka 7thwoman) took some pics and we sat and watched the Islanders staff have an open skate on the ice. We spotted what appeared to be Blog Father Chris Botta, so Dee made sure to take some blackmail fun photos of him sans tie, shirt un-tucked in “relax” mode. Here is one of Dee’s pictures of who was left from the Blog Box:

Blog Box Crew

Generally I am behind the camera lens, so this is one of the few times this season I am actually in a picture (I am in green).

So the team is playing a fairly good first period as I type this – I am going to get into the game (pizza will be here shortly) and will update a bit later tonight.

Okposo just scored his second goal of the season, off a great feed by Park!

Okposo Watch – Game 8

Here are Kyle’s stats from last night:

Total Shifts: 17
Time on Ice: 14:45
Power Play Time: 1:36
Penalty Kill Time: :00
Average Shift: :52
Shots: 1
Blocked Shots: 2
Missed Shots: 0
Assists: 0
Points: 0
Takeaways: 0
Giveaways: 0
Hits: 1
+/-: 0

Islanders Try to Halt Rangers From Clinching

Posted by on 03 Apr 2008 | Tagged as: Gameday, News

Home Game 41, Rangers at Islanders – non mas for the Islanders at home until September.

As as season ticket holder, the notion of no more home games and no playoffs really hits home once you tear out that last ticket. 41 times you go to that spiral bound ticket book and tear out the tickets knowing full well that it will end as it always does. It’s something that this year I hope marks the beginning of change, as there are so many unknowns when it comes to next season. Will we land a stud at the draft? Will we make a big free agent splash? Will there be off season trades? Will next season be the winning season?

Here are a few overly dramatic shots of me tearing out that last ticket:

Moving onto the game, the Islanders are set to entertain the home crowd in big fashion tonight against the always hated rivals – the New York Rangers. What makes tonight interesting is that with Carolina’s win last night over Tampa, the Rangers have not secured their spot in the playoffs just yet. I have a very good feeling we will see a spirited game from both clubs, as the Islanders would want to derail their hopes for at least another game and keep them from clinching on their ice. It’s true they may not have a lot to play for – but there is always pride and teaching the younger players that you don’t ever roll over and die.

Did someone say fisticuffs? While the Islanders haven’t been the toughest team on ice – tonight will be a little different as enforcers Kip Brennan and Drew Fata both playing for the big club. It should also be fun to watch because it is the first taste of the rivalry for Okposo, Keith, Fata and newly signed D-man Jack Hillen. Not only is it Hillen’s first time suiting up against the Rangers, it is also his first taste of the NHL – talk about being thrown into the fire!

I can’t wait to see what happens tonight, I will do my best to update live if something crazy happens!

Okposo Watch – Game 7

I never got around to posting a recap of the Devils game, so that also means I never got around to posting Kyle’s stats either. Here they are:

Total Shifts: 21
Time on Ice: 16:47
Power Play Time: 2:02
Penalty Kill Time: :00
Average Shift: :47
Shots: 1
Blocked Shots: 2
Missed Shots: 0
Assists: 0
Points: 0
Takeaways: 0
Giveaways: 0
Hits: 1
+/-: 0

Islanders Sign Jack Hillen to 2 Year Contract!

Posted by on 01 Apr 2008 | Tagged as: News, Signings

Jack HillenImagine the surprise of Islanders fans everywhere, when on April 1st (also known as April Fools Day) and at this stage of the season the Islanders announced they signed an NCAA prospect defenseman out of nowhere. Well, I know that I was surprised and did a bit of a double take when I read the headline.

After doing a bit reading up on Hillen, he was apparently a sought after prospect whom decided to sign with the Islanders – citing Snow’s “honesty and commitment to building around youth”. To me that’s a pretty good sign when scoring leader of all d-men in NCAA division 1 hockey signs on with your club as a free agent. Hillen will be thrown right in the fire on Thursday night when the Islanders host the rival New York Rangers. Welcome to New York, Long Island Jack!

Here is a bit more information from the Islanders website:

The New York Islanders have agreed to terms on a 2-year contract with Jack Hillen, the leading scorer among defensemen in NCAA Division I hockey.

The 22-year old Hillen, who completed four years at Colorado College by being named Defenseman of the Year in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association in 2007-08, will join the Islanders for practice on Wednesday and could make his NHL debut later this week. The Islanders host the New York Rangers on Thursday at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum and play the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Friday.

In 41 games this season with Colorado College, the 5-11, 200-pound native of Minnesota had six goals and 31 assists for a Division I-leading 37 points among defensemen.

“We are very proud that Jack made the decision to join the Islanders,” said general manager Garth Snow. “He was one of the prized college free agents for good reason. He is an excellent puck-moving defenseman and our scouting staff is really impressed by his competitive spirit. Jack Hillen becomes a major addition to our list of top prospects.”

“I liked the way Garth Snow and Islanders management came after me with honesty and a commitment,” Hillen said this afternoon, soon after signing his contract. “They are building a team around a core of exciting young players. I know Kyle Okposo well from playing against him and he had many glowing things to say about how the organization has treated him. The Islanders were the perfect fit for me.”

If this prospect pans out, you can add him to an ever growing list of prospects who continue to impress. The season may be ending in 3 games, but it will be little bits of good news such as this that will keep Islanders hockey interesting throughout the off season.