June 2008

Monthly Archive

Weights and Measures

Posted by on 30 Jun 2008 | Tagged as: Free Agency, Rumors

Doug WeightAlright, excuse my attempt at a witty title.

I try to avoid posting crazy rumors and speculation, but I will always post something when I feel it it has somewhat of a credible substance. Why post anything about Doug Weight however, especially if we are supposedly in a rebuild?

That is an easy question to answer.

Doug Weight is a 37 year old center and big-bodied forward, born from the same class of current Islanders players such as Bill Guerin and Mike Sillinger. I have said on numerous occasions that you need gritty veterans around to show the youngsters the ropes and pass on all the knowledge they have gathered during their long NHL careers. Doug Weight fills numerous roles, he can pot some goals, he is a centerman, he fits the above criteria on teaching the Islanders youth of tomorrow and most importantly – is a very close friend of the aforementioned Bill Guerin.

Some of Weight’s stats from the past two seasons:

Season Team League Games Goals Assists PTS PIM
2006–07 St. Louis Blues NHL 82 16 43 59 56
2007-08 St. Louis Blues NHL 29 4 7 11 12
2007-08 Anaheim Ducks NHL 38 6 8 14 20

While Weight had a decline in production last season, this was mostly due to playing on a sniper depleted team in the Blues and in new territory after being traded to Anaheim at last years trade deadline. He is only one season removed from a 59 point output – which he should be able to get back to if lined up with some potential stars in Okposo and Bergenheim.

Do I think Doug Weight is a savior or a means to an end? No, but I think he will serve the perfect veteran role on the Islanders and provide them with secondary scoring they so sorely lack. Chris Botta really hits a home run with his post tonight on Weight, which is the real inspiration to expand on the notion of his addition.

Islesblogger on HNLI Today!

Posted by on 28 Jun 2008 | Tagged as: General, News

I know this is short notice, but the guys over at Hockey Night on Long Island asked me to come on the show this afternoon to discuss the upcoming free agency period.

Check out the show, which is on in about a half hour.

I will post a link to the archive once it is posted.

Should be a great show.

Show is up in the archive, here it is!

Buyout for Bates!

Posted by on 26 Jun 2008 | Tagged as: General

Shawn Bates It figures, I layout a post with some salary figures and minutes later learn that another Islander has been bought out! Greg Logan has just posted that Islanders Center Shawn Bates is set to be bought out of the remainder of his contract tomorrow. Anyone who has followed the team for the past two seasons knew this was inevitable, it was just unacceptable for a player to be payed (gee, thanks Milbury) what Bates was making only to play a handful of games in that time span. Despite some of his salary remaining on the books for the next two seasons, there is now one less player and a bit of extra salary cap space to be dealt with. There is also the little fact only Islander fans can appreciate, the equipment staff should have some extra room in their budget for mouth pieces this year…..

Per Greg Logan’s blog:

The handwriting has been on the wall for the past couple seasons regarding the demise of Shawn Bates’ Islanders career. The Islanders are expected to make it official Friday morning when they announce their decision to buy out the remaining year of his contract.

Bates was scheduled to make $1.2 million, but under NHL buyout provisions, he will receiver two-thirds of that amount in equal installments of $400,000 spread over the next two seasons. Last season, Bates appeared in only two games, and he was limited to 48 games the previous season by a groin injury and hernia surgery.

Islanders general manager Garth Snow portrayed the move as another step toward a youth movement. “It was a tough decision because Shawn was a great Islander, and he scored some pretty big goals in the past,” Snow said. “It was a decision based primarily on creating a spot on the roster for a younger player.”

Homage to Bates:



Thanks for the memories Shawn!

Six Qualified and Salary Cap Raised

Posted by on 26 Jun 2008 | Tagged as: General

Jeff TambelliniNews as of yesterday has 6 of the Islanders pending restricted free agents being tendered qualifying offers by the club. It doesn’t necessarily mean that these players are set to accept the offers, as they can still opt for salary arbitration. Throw in today’s news that the salary cap has been raised to $56.7-million, a $6.4-million raise from what it was previously last season. With a raise in the salary cap, means a raise in the salary floor – which could spell trouble for the New York Islanders.

Per the Islanders on the players qualified:

The New York Islanders have extended qualifying offers to forwards Sean Bergenheim, Jeremy Colliton, Frans Nielsen, Jeff Tambellini and Ben Walter along with defenseman Bruno Gervais. All will become restricted free agent if they are not signed prior to July 1st, 2008.

Bergenheim and Gervais spent the entire 2007-08 season with the Islanders. Bergenheim appeared in 78 games, scoring 10 goals and 12 assists for 22 points. Gervais saw action in 60 games and recorded 13 assists and points to go along with 34 penalty minutes.

Colliton, Nielsen, Tambellini and Walter all split time between the Islanders and the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League. Tambellini recorded one goal and three assists in 31 games with the Islanders while finishing seventh in the AHL in scoring, leading the Sound Tigers with 38 goals, 38 assists and 76 points in only 57 games. Appearing in 16 games with the Islanders last season, Nielsen recorded two goals and an assist for three points. Colliton also played in 16 games and went scoreless while registering eight penalty minutes. Walter saw action in eight games with the Islanders and scored his first NHL goal.

Moving back to what I had said previously, with the cap now set at $56.7-million, the cap floor is increased to around $40.7 million. With all of the current Islanders under contract for the 08/09 season INCLUDING the cap hit from Alexei Yashin, the total payroll for 08/09 is $34.354-Million. This does not factor in any of the qualifying offers for the aforementioned 6 players, some of whom (Tambellini and Bergenheim) may opt for salary arbitration seeking modest raises. Figure a number around 3.5 to 4 million (which is a generous guess) for those players and you still have some work to do in order to reach the league minimum.

With that in mind, there is room for Garth Snow to add talent to this club during Free Agency, the real question would be WHO and HOW MUCH? I like the way Snow has managed the payroll of this club up to this point because he certainly has a great deal of cap-room to add some big-name players should the desire strike him. It is the cap room and the Toronto media’s knowledge (and disdain) for Bryan McCabe that keeps his name in the ring of players rumored to be coming to Long Island this summer. The Islanders have a short laundry list of players they need in order to field a team next season, given their desire and willingness to go into full-out rebuild mode. They have the option of bringing in (at the minimum) one of a scoring center or wing and a puck-moving defenseman. The option to overpay even sounds like a good one, given the reluctance of players to come to Long Island and because of the distance between the cap-floor and ceiling. This is what makes absorbing McCabe’s exorbitant contract a little more palatable – although some insist on Toronto sweetening the deal.

This is certainly going to be an interesting summer even though the list of UFA’s isn’t nearly what it was last season in terms of the caliber of talent moving around. However, with names like Hossa, Campbell, Redden, Sundin, Malone, Avery, Ryder, Naslund, Morrison, Orpik, Huselius, and Pandolfo out there (just to name a few) – the potential to land SOMEBODY is pretty good.

Snow on XM’s NHL Live!

Posted by on 24 Jun 2008 | Tagged as: Draft, News

XM RadioEarlier today, Islanders GM Garth Snow spoke to XM Satellite Radio’s NHL Live with hosts Don La Greca and EJ Hradek. Garth spoke about topics such as Kirill Petrov, the Yashin rumors, McCabe rumors, and the upcoming free agency frenzy period.

The best part of the whole interview? Aside from laughing at the Yashin “rumor”, Garth proclaims that he feels Petrov would be able to make the team next year and will do everything in his power to get him over here “As soon as possible”. Does this mean that Wang is giving the go ahead on another Malkin-esque “Great Escape“? One never knows, but I know Snow would look like a genius taking Petrov with a third rounder should he get him to North America earlier than speculated.

You can listen to the interview in the player below, or by checking out the article on the Islanders website.

Thanks, For Everything!

Posted by on 22 Jun 2008 | Tagged as: Draft, General

Let me open this post with a big thank you to everyone who came by the blog and made this weekend such a great success. I was absolutely blown away by the amount of traffic and comments the site received this weekend and really appreciate the support and readership. Hopefully I was able to open a few more eyes to the blog and gain some regular readers! I would also like to thank the National Hockey League for granting Tom and I access to the draft – I had an absolutely amazing time and hope the relationship continues to blossom! Lastly, I would like to thank the New York Islanders for really making this all possible, Corey Witt for doing the legwork and keeping us in the loop, Josh Bernstein for taking us under your wing and making sure everything was going smoothly, the guys from Islanders tv (Steve and Matt) for all the hard work you guys put into the production of the videos and the interviews, Steve Mears for the great conversations, compliments and advice and finally Greg Logan for showing us the ropes and teaching us how to work a draft! It really was one of the most memorable weekends that I have ever had and hopefully one of many to come!

Home is definately where the heart is they say, I would have to agree.

What started with Tom and I spending free time at the airport has turned into an all-day affair. Our flight from Ottawa to Montreal was quick and painless, a mere 27 minutes from wheels up to wheels down. Unfortunately, we had that pesky connection in Montreal…….

When we arrived in Montreal, we needed to hustle across the airport to make our connection. We cleared customs in a heartbeat and continued onto the terminal. Our special friend (*whom I will introduce in a second) informed us that our connecting flight will either be delayed – or canceled completely. Fine we think, of the delay (which was only an hour) – it gives us a chance to grab a bite to eat and explore the airport.

As the time went on flights all around us began to get canceled, we started to worry a bit because we both did not want to extend our stay any longer. There was some bad weather holding planes in their destinations that was causing log-jams along the east coast and not enough planes for passengers. The gods were smiling on us tonight however, as our plane was at the terminal – just waiting for clearance due to the weather.

We finally board and we taxi away from the gate – and stop.

While sitting idle, I happened to be looking down the aisle towards the flight attendant and she was on the phone relaying information to the pilots – something I knew couldn’t be a good sign. Our flight had been delayed again – due to a ground stoppage in New York. Come to find out there was a problem with one of the doors as well, so that was being fixed while we were waiting. We get a sudden all clear and begin to taxi again – and then stop. Apparently this time, due to the opening and closing of aircraft doors the computer system was causing “alarms”. Can you say, unsettling? The aircraft computers needed a reboot (must have been running Windows Vista…), and this took 5-10 minutes longer.

Finally, success – we leave for another short flight, about an hour wheels up to wheels down. The trip was smooth and I had an interesting chat with a nice woman from Saskatoon (whom was a huge Habs fan) so it made the time go by even faster. We got our bags within 10 minutes of landing and I was on my way home – our awesome weekend trip officially over.

*The introduction of our “special friend”

While sitting on our flight to Montreal, an older gentleman walks down the aisle and Tom and I looked at each other and simultaneously said “OMG, Glen Sather!”. We giggled to ourselves at the luck of running into someone else in the Rangers organization. If you don’t remember the previous story – we ran into Larry Brooks at our hotel and some of the Rangers executives the first morning of the draft.

Tom is pretty much the same way as me, we don’t go out of our way to say anything to anyone (when it comes to personnel) unless the opportunity is golden. While waiting online to clear Customs – someone recognized him and it caused a firestorm of introductions and questions. When everything subsided, I mustered up the courage and said “I imagine there is no such thing as obscurity up here, is there?” He laughed and said no, not really.

Having opened up communication now, I mentioned we knew who he was but figured he was getting bothered by enough people so we didn’t want to make a fuss. He asked if we were up for the draft and I said – “Yes, but with the enemy” and chuckled to let him know I was teasing. He had an ear to ear smile and said, “Are you with the Islanders?” and we explained who we were. He seemed impressed that a bunch of bloggers would pay their way up to Ottawa and said that ambition is the only way to get ahead of the rest sometimes. We chatted for a minute or two longer, got through customs and then asked if we were on the connection as well. He told us about the delay and we thanked him for everything.

Fast forward to New York and we see him again at the baggage claim. At this point, almost pandemonium. Everyone and anyone recognized him and he was again getting pestered about the draft and the upcoming UFA period. He looked at us and mentioned what he said previously (something I feel obliged to leave out intentionally) and said everyone asks the same thing and he shook his head. We all laughed and Tom and I reminded him we knew better than to ask those type of questions. We thanked him for the conversations, wished him well and off into the sunset.

It was almost fitting that our trip would end with a great story, you cannot plan for things to happen like this – but it sure is great when they do!

Radio Interviews at the Draft!

Posted by on 22 Jun 2008 | Tagged as: Draft, News

Continuing here at the airport closing up some loose ends, here are the links to the show archives for both the Islesnation interview on Friday and from Hockey Night on Long Island from last night.

Islesnation Talk Show from Friday 6/20:

Hockey Night on Long Island from Saturday 6/21:

Once again, a big thank you to Steve and Tony from Islesnation and to Alex from HNLI for having us on their draft special shows!

Islanders Blog Box In Action!

Posted by on 22 Jun 2008 | Tagged as: Draft

I mentioned in previous posts that Tom and I interviewed some of our new draft selections. Obviously it’s next to impossible for me to be in two places at once, so I rarely get pictures of myself “in the act” of an interview. Fortunately, Josh Bernstein (wearer of many hats) and Islanders VP of Communications, posted the photos from his Blackberry in his draft blog.

Here they are!

Interview with Trivino Interview with Ness

I think this is the most coverage the Blog Box has ever received on the team’s website, hopefully the entire Blog Box gets the same treatment throughout the off season and next season!

Islanders XM Press Release

Posted by on 22 Jun 2008 | Tagged as: Draft, News

Good afternoon Islesnation!

Tom Liodice of The Tiger Track and I are sitting at the airport in Ottawa (really early for our flight I might add) and eager to get back home. We have a connection in Montreal before we reach home base in New York, so it’s going to be a long afternoon.

The Islanders today released a press release on the XM Satellite show comments proclaiming them the draft winners. The press release is complete with links to listen to sound clips. Check it out:

On Saturday afternoon, XM Radio claimed the Islanders as one the 2008 NHL Entry Draft’s big winners. By trading down and stocking up on draft picks to grab Josh Bailey, the Islanders were able to draft second-day steals like Aaron Ness, Jyri Niemi, Kirill Petrov and David Toews amongst others.

To listen to a portion of the clip, click here.

XM Radio was most impressed by the way Islanders GM Garth Snow traded down to acquire extra picks while still drafting the player they targeted from the beginning. The show went onto say that this enabled the team to take a chance on Petrov, who was the second ranked European skater in the draft, but fell because of his contract status in Russia.

Said one of the show’s hosts: “What goes un-noticed is by moving back down twice and picking up three extra picks in the first three rounds [the Islanders] were then able to take a complete flyer on [Petrov], who was a top-10 talent at No. 73.”

To listen to a portion of the clip, click here.

So Ladies and Gents, there is your proof that not everyone out there feels that the Islanders did a horrible thing trading down and getting a bunch of great picks in the second round of the draft.

Islanders Deemed Draft Winner!

Posted by on 21 Jun 2008 | Tagged as: Draft, News

Just got word that “The Hockey News” show on XM Radio was summarizing this years draft and who made good picks. The host of the show proclaimed that the New York Islanders were far and away winners by trading for extra picks and drafting as many top level picks as they have.

The fan perception that the Islanders made mistakes in trading down twice in the first round, is clearly not held by the media here in Ottawa. Everyone we have come in contact with has loved the bevy of picks the Islanders made. Everyone speaks VERY highly of Bailey, with one person saying “Bailey is likely the smartest hockey player of the draft, has some of the best vision and could be at the very least a second line center, maybe even a first liner.” If paired with Okposo (as some suspect), the Islanders could have quite the 1,2 punch on the first line for years to come.

I hear that even the guys on NHL network complimented the scouting and drafting of the Islanders as well – now only if we can convince the fans that this draft was NOT a bust.

Draft Selection Photos

Posted by on 21 Jun 2008 | Tagged as: Draft, News

Unfortunately, we missed the interview with Josh Bailey last night, but we did manage to get some interviews with some of the players today. I snapped some quick pictures of the three players present.

Check it out:

Corey Trivino
Corey Trivino

Corey Trivino

Aaron Ness
Aaron Ness

Kevin Poulin
Kevin Poulin

Kevin Poulin

Islanders Select DiBenedetto With #175

Posted by on 21 Jun 2008 | Tagged as: Draft

Justin DiBenedettoThe Islanders have selected Forward Justin DiBenedetto with the number 175 pick.

Pos.: LW
Shoots: L
Height: 6.00
Weight: 186
Birthdate: 1988-08-25
Birthplace: Etobicoke, ON
Hometown: Vaughan, ON

Season Team GP G A PTS +/- PIM
2006-07 Sarnia Sting 58 28 35 63 21 46
2007-08 Sarnia Sting 58 39 54 93 12 61

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