September 2008

Monthly Archive

Defenseman Pock Claimed Off Waivers

Posted by on 29 Sep 2008 | Tagged as: News, Off Season, Signings

It appears that early injuries to the defense are already worse than speculated. Chris Campoli and Andy Sutton whom both underwent surgery last season are apparently set to miss significant time. The Islanders claimed Thomas Pock off waivers from the Rangers today, filling a hole and adding that another important body to the Islanders now fragile defensive corps.

Per the official team release:

The New York Islanders have claimed defenseman Thomas Pock off waivers from the New York Rangers. Pock has played in 59 career NHL games and has scored seven goals with seven assists for 14 points.

Last season, Pock played in one game with the Rangers and went scoreless. He also played in 74 games with the Hartford Wolfpack of the American Hockey League and scored seven goals with 37 assists for 44 points. Pock finished tied for 11th among AHL defensemen in assists last season.

Pock has played in a total of 195 AHL games during his career, all with Hartford. He has scored 23 goals and 89 assists for 112 points and a plus/minus rating of +40. In 2005-06, Pock was named to the AHL’s Second All-Star Team.

A native of Klagenfurt, Austria, Pock was originally signed by the Rangers as an undrafted free agent after playing four seasons at the University of Massachusetts. Over the course of four seasons with Massachusetts, Pock played in 130 games and scored 44 goals and 58 assists for 102 points. He was named to the 2002-03 Hockey East Second All-Star Team, the 2003-04 Hockey East First All-Star Team and the NCAA All-Tournament teams in 2003 and 2004.

Offensive Defensemen

Posted by on 25 Sep 2008 | Tagged as: General, Off Season, Rumors

With head coach Scott Gordon teaching his overspeed technique and the Islanders being successful against Boston two nights ago – you wonder if we will see increased production from the back end. You know there are defensemen on the team who can pot some goals, but will we see production from unlikely sources?

Looking over the Islanders lineup, who are our clear cut offensive d-men?

Mark Streit: Signed to a five year deal in the offseason, Streit was the power play points leader last season with Montreal, clearly he is the front runner for offensive d-men on the Islanders this year.

Chris Campoli: Streit’s potential linemate (although they are both left handed shots), it has been said that Campoli is the up and coming young offensive d-man the Islanders are hoping he would be. Campoli’s confidence and point totals have grown significantly in his time with the Islanders – a positive indeed. Unfortunately, his season last year was cut short due to a shoulder injury and he has gone down with an unspecified injury in the first pre-season game. The outcome of this is important, because if Campoli is lost for a significant period – Snow will likely look to acquire the New York born and ex-Islander Mathieu Schneider who is clearly available from Anaheim.

Jack Hillen: Up for a pair of Rangers games at the end of last season, Hillen surprised many who didn’t know the type of game he possessed. He notched his first NHL point during his stint with the Isles and even had a savvy breakaway on Lundqvist that showcased his speed and offensive awareness. According to Greg Logan (and this goes back to our discussion at the draft and my subsequent agreement) that Hillen is making the case for an NHL roster spot out of camp. Of course, this downplays any real “need” to acquire Schneider – but you get a finished product with the latter.

Honorable mention - Bruno Gervais: Bruno seems to be somewhat of an odd-man out this year, based only on the fact that there are so many defensemen on one-way contracts while he is on a two-way. However, Gervais is a smooth skating and puck moving d-man who can certainly show offensive upside – so he deserves to be included.

Update 10:27 PM! Coincidentally Greg Logan speaks about Bruno Gervais and his ability to be an offensive player in tomorrow’s Newsday!

In the opening paragraph I mentioned seeing offense from the unlikeliest of places. Who, is likely the first question that comes to mind. Allow me to explain.

Greg Logan had some interesting quotes out of Gordon yesterday in his blog, Gordon was speaking about a specific defensemen joining the rush, the player; Brendan Witt. Witt’s goal scoring is predictable and somewhat inspiring – he scores what I have come to call “Witt’s annual goal”. Brendan Witt is the antithesis of an offensive defenseman, he is the shut down man – the guy who gets in your face and knocks you off your game.

Per Greg Logan’s Blog:

Gordon also expressed pleasure with how well the Islanders executed his high-tempo system first time out of the box. They outshot the Bruins, 38-19, and the defense did a good job of joining the rush and generating quality shots. Even Brendan Witt, who has 23 goals in 12 NHL seasons, jumped into the play once and drilled a shot that handcuffed Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask and almost bounced in off his glove.

“Yeah, he joined at the right time,” Gordon said of Witt. “It wasn’t reckless; it was calculated. There was good coverage by the forward, and had Witt not joined, it’s a two-on-two, and we don’t get the shot.”

The above quoted text makes an interesting reference to Witt making a “Calculated” offensive decision – something our defense did not do enough under Ted Nolan. While one preseason game is not enough to really get an idea on how the team is working with Scott Gordon at the helm, it already appears to be on the rebound. Another game or two and we should really know where we stand, which I have to admit – this blogger likes what he is seeing.

If anything, I can make one bold prediction about this years season: the Islanders defense will likely DOUBLE their offensive output of the 2007/2008 campaign.

Isles Top Boston and Updates

Posted by on 24 Sep 2008 | Tagged as: General, Mobile, Site Announcements

Hockey is back baby and so is my gallery!

It took me countless hours to work out all the stupid errors, hopefully I never have to move to a new server – but at least next time I know a bit more about what to expect. If you go check it out, it should be working 100% and will have more photos by tomorrow night.

Mike over at Islanders 360 touched on the weather in his most recent post and I noticed the same thing when I went out to my van first thing this morning – the chill in the air. It was 52 degrees to be exact, perfect temperature to be working outside – something I do daily. It means that I don’t have to sweat ALL day, the busy season is over and that hockey is right around the corner.

Starting things off on the hockey beat, Greg Logan was doing all sorts of updates today. He had a few blog entries from camp, a live chat answering any question thrown at him and then a semi-live blog during the exhibition game against the Bruins. Busy guy that Greg Logan. Check out his blog and all of the entries over at Newsday’s site. If you are interested in the live chat recap post specifically, you can find that here.

Logan points out that he is getting similar reactions from all the veterans regarding head coach Scott Gordon – they buy into his style of coaching. While everyone is concentrating on what “overspeed” doesn’t mean – I will give you my opinion, as a hockey player.

Overspeed to me does two things, it makes your opponent make THE CORRECT split second decision and it enables you to take your game to a different level. The misconception is that the style makes slow players fast, but in reality it allows those players to make the right decisions in the little time they have. Here is a brief example:

Comrie skates up the boards and while in full stride receives an outlet pass from Campoli, Comrie continues up the wing and gains the zone – all the while his wingers and the defensemen join the rush. A quick pass here, players zipping left and right – where does the opposition go to play defense? Quick passes, quick skating, quick shots, bodies in front and constant high speed motion – these things cause turmoil and most importantly it’s tough to defend against. Greg points out the difference in shots tonight in the Bruins game – it was almost 2:1 (38-19), a game the Islanders won 2-1 in overtime, all due to overspeed.

I know I love what I am starting to see out of Gordon, just watch him yelling and pointing on iTV and you will see the glaring differences between him and Ted Nolan.

Keep an eye on Campoli, apparently he was injured during the game and those following shouldn’t need to be reminded about his recent shoulder woes.

Updates

Instead of taking up space in a second and third post I just wanted to address a few things.

First, Jim McGlynn of Greetings from Islanders Country has decided to step down from the Blog Box. Earlier this summer, Jon Jordan (now a full time Tampa Blogger for Hockeybuzz) decided he too needed to step down. I just wanted to take a second to wish them all the best in their future!

Secondly, tomorrow (or today by the time most of you read this) is the debut of Chris Botta’s new blog – Islanders Point Blank, be sure to check out Botta’s latest digs.

I have saved the best of last!

Every year since my mom passed away in 2003 – my Aunt has held a fundraiser at her hair salon Special Effects in East Hampton, NY in her honor. She sells raffle tickets leading up to and during the day of the event for prizes (proceeds going to the charity Breast Cancer Help) and also donates whatever intake from the salon as well. Last year, they managed to raise over $30,000 and the total grows every year they do it.

This year, the Islanders have stepped up to the plate and have made a donation! While I don’t exactly know the details just yet – I am blown away by their support. I cannot thank them enough!

For those interested out in Suffolk, here are the details:

Host: Elaine Hayes & Special Effects Hair Salon Staff
Start Time: Sunday, October 12 at 9:00am
End Time: Sunday, October 12 at 5:00pm
Where: Special Effects Hair Salon East Hampton, NY

Special Effects Hair Salon
1 Osborne Lane
East Hampton, NY 11937

Moving Time!

Posted by on 22 Sep 2008 | Tagged as: Site Announcements

Good evening everyone!

I know what you must be thinking, where have you been with everything going on at training camp? Good question…..allow me to explain.

Going back to July, I was informed by my friend that we would be moving servers and that this was a necessary move. I delayed this as LONG as humanly possible because of the amount of work it entailed. As you can see from looking around the place, not much has changed.

Some of the things you may notice…..

The gallery is temporarily gone, I have been toying with that on and off since Friday but the import just isn’t working the way it is supposed to. I will keep everyone updated, I should get around to adding the rest of the pictures from last season while I am at it.

All permalinks SHOULD still point to their posts. I did a quick search on Google and the older stuff still points here, there and everywhere.

Email should be back up and running soon, if it isn’t already. It takes some time for the DNS to propagate and point things to their proper locations.

I did not loose any posts or comments, I imported all the subscriptions to the older posts (I think….) as well as some of the other database stuff (like most popular posts for instance). Some of the pictures in the older posts will need to be fixed, because they aren’t in the gallery yet.

Looking around there are some images that aren’t playing nice tonight, but I will fix those too.

As far as some new content, now that I have the site on the new “box” (because it’s not really a box anymore but a cloud or cluster of servers (think BOXES!)), I don’t have to import any NEW posts from a different site…..

Enough mumbo jumbo technology talk, I have a lot of catching up to do and I apologize.

Nystrom vs Bridgman Bout Ranked 8th

Posted by on 14 Sep 2008 | Tagged as: General, Off Season

Building on the enforcer theme today, cruising along the internet earlier I came across an AskMen.com Top Ten Amazing NHL fights list.

Browsing through their ten selections, I found a fight between Bobby Nystrom and Mel Bridgman ranked at #8. As you can see from the video below, it was a pretty wild fight indeed.

YouTube Preview Image

Head on over to the AskMen site and check out their other selections, specifically McSorely getting his rear end handed to him on a platter – twice.

Brandon Sugden Coming to Camp, Afterall

Posted by on 14 Sep 2008 | Tagged as: News, Off Season

This has been an interesting story for the past few weeks, and it’s nice to see it ended on a positive note for a change.

I had heard rumblings of what some would consider a “prize fighter” type enforcer named Brandon Sugden being invited to Islanders camp for a try-out. I had never really heard about this guy before, but once I did some digging I saw that he was notorious. Not only is he a great enforcer, but he had gotten himself into a bit of trouble and received a lifetime ECHL ban as a result. All the negatives aside, Chris Botta the ex-veep of media relations for the Islanders picked up on the story and provided information that he got directly from Brandon himself (look at that man blog BTW – who thought he would actually stop?). Not only was he allowing Brandon to have a voice, but Chris set the wheels in motion for something bigger.

Per Point Blank:

To attend the Islanders’ camp, Sugden needed to be cleared by all 30 NHL teams because he had officially “retired” from pro hockey in 2006. League rules state that if you retire, you must sit out one year before you can be reinstated. The rule makes sense because you could have guys retiring all over the place the moment they don’t like their current fates.

Wouldn’t you know it, 4 teams did not vote in favor to bring Brandon back – Botta would learn the name of one team blocking Sugden’s return, take a guess who – the NY Rangers. For those worried about the character of Brandon Sugden – Botta has him quoted saying the following:

“Look, I made many mistakes when I was a kid,” the 30-year old Sugden said. “I was a rebellious idiot and got banned from a league. But I worked hard to turn my life around, which might not have happened if I hadn’t met my wife. I have been off drugs and alcohol for seven years. I have been a good person, a good example, for a long time. When I was in Syracuse I used to speak in packed auditoriums in front of more than 500 people about the wrong way and the right way to live. I did everything on my own time and I was proud when I was named Man of the Year for the Crunch.

“This is killing me. I want this chance – for me, for my dad, for a lot of reasons. I can only hope I get the chance to plead my case.”

Not to mention this key piece of information:

He’s also willing to put his money where his heart is. When I spoke with Sugden Tuesday night, he made a promise that he will donate 1/3 of any money he makes from playing in the NHL this season to charity. He would like it to go to the Princess Margaret Hospital in Ontario, where his father receives treatment for cancer.

If donating part of whatever salary he makes in the NHL to charity doesn’t speak volumes for a person character and how he is a changed man, I don’t know what else he could do to prove otherwise. That is a noble gesture and one that is sure to open some eyes!

The reference to his father is also a touching one, as his father is battling terminal cancer and he wanted his dad to have a chance to see him play in the NHL – one that appeared to be slipping away. But wait, not so fast! I return from a weekend away upstate only to read the following news brief straight from Botta:

The groundswell of support for Brandon Sugden has made an impact. NHL No. 2 Bill Daly called Sugden yesterday, told him he was aware of his story and that he’d contact the teams blocking him from attending Islanders camp.

This was an update on Saturday morning, by 9pm Botta received a voice mail from an excited Sugden that played out as follows:

At 9:15 pm I listened to a voicemail message on my cell that I probably will never forget. It was Brandon Sugden, shaking and ecstatic.

“Hey Chris. I just got a call from Bill Daly. He talked to the other four teams. They’re giving me the green light. Mr. Daly is clearing me. I’m coming to Islanders training camp. I hoped to get you on the phone, but for now – thank you. I’m heading back to the rink tonight for some more skating.”

The dream of Brandon Sugden and his dad lives on.

Chris Botta is someone no longer under the employ of the New York Islanders – he reached out in support of a player whom needed a second chance. He made phone calls, gave this player a voice and may even lead to a stint with an NHL club. Blogs are a powerful tool, and it helps when you remain connected to the sport and team you love – for sure. It just goes to show the type of character Chris Botta is, he just jump started Brandon Sugden’s emotions and got the attention of the entire league and the NHL offices.

Well played sir, that was the classiest move I have seen in a long time. Let’s see what Brandon can do for the New York Islanders – and well, TO the New York Rangers.

Quick Hits

Posted by on 13 Sep 2008 | Tagged as: General, News, Off Season

I’ve been pretty busy as of late, I have been wanting to post some updates on the latest developments from the past week.

Thankfully, some of my esteemed fellow Blog Boxers are on the job keeping everyone out there in Islanders Nation informed.

First on the list, congratulations to Steve Mears and Chris King! The Islanders announced a new radio deal with The Long Island Radio Network, no longer will games be broadcast on Bloomberg – a seemingly low power AM station for anyone East of Manhattan. I don’t know how many times over the past two seasons where I would be driving and I would get static only to hear Mears deliver his “SCORES!” line.

Ken Rosenblat of Islanders Outsider has a great post on this very subject, although he points out the defficiencies of the pair of stations pegged for radio broadcasts. It seems if I had a problem with Bloomberg on the Island, everyone outside of Long Island will have a problem with signal of these stations. Good for me, bad for the fans elsewhere in New York. Ken also posted a chart of the coverage area and goes into details of the Islanders web/radio/satellite combination. Now that XM and Sirius have merged, there is a wider satellite audience. I know once I can listen to the NHL on Sirius I will definately change my subscription package.

The Islanders also announced that Gerard Gallant is no longer an Assistant coach. His new position is Assistant to the GM. One of Gallant’s quotes in the press release was the ability to remain closer to his family, which is understandable when you travel all year. This does open up a spot for a new assistant to the new head coach – Scott Gordon.

As always Dee Karl is on the scene, giving her unique perspective on this curious move. Timing is eveything they say, which for those not paying attention is one week before camp starts.

Last in this long list of updates, veteran forward Mike Sillinger will NOT be ready for camp in Moncton and will likely miss some games at the start of the season. Sillinger underwent hip surgery towards the end of last season and missed 19 games. He stated in an interview with Newsday’s Greg Logan that he experienced a setback with the hip joint not creating lubricant naturally and that he needed a shot to jump start the lubrication process.

The big question is obvious, will Sillinger be able to return in top health or will his age prevent him from getting back to 100%? Will this setback also diminish his trade value come February and who will earn a chance in his absence? Ben Walter or 2008 first round choice Josh Bailey?

The increasing coverage and updates certainly makes it feel like hockey is fast approaching. The air is crisp at night and the days have cooled significantly, how exciting!

The Islanders Logo – A Brief History Lesson

Posted by on 07 Sep 2008 | Tagged as: General, Off Season

Every now and then, a fan or analyst comes along and says something either positive or negative about the Islanders logo and uniforms. What I really hate is how people do not even bother to look into why the Islanders have the logo they do or the changes the logo has already been through.

I came across a post on The Bleacher Report today predicting the Islanders will finish 13th based on the “aesthetic properties of team logos and uniforms”. While it is an interesting way of formulating the way the league will pan out, it just doesn’t make any sense:

New York Islanders – Pretty much in the same boat as the Rangers, but without the 80 years of tradition. I say lose the “island” graphic and it would look much better. The orange could be updated too.

I really don’t take offense to the finishing 13th part, I disagree – (but that is a topic for another day), but I do take a bit of offense at the logo suggestion. The logo is rustic, it has history and it represents Long Island. Not many teams in professional sports have a logo that pays homage to the land they play on or to it’s residents.

Here is a bit of history on how the logo came about, courtesy of IslesInfo:

In 1972 the NHL decided to expand for the third time in 6 years. As an answer to the rival World Hockey Associations attempt at putting a team in New York called the New York Raiders, the NHL quickly accepted an application by 42 year old Roy Boe to buy their Long Island team. Boe considered naming his new team after the old Eastern Hockey Leagues Long Island Ducks, who played in Suffolk County, but eventually he settled on the New York Islanders in homage to the people on Long Island.

Original Islanders Logo

Boe’s wife Deon designed the Nets’ first uniforms, and she attempted to design the Islanders in green and black. That was quickly tossed by the politicians on Long Island who saw Nassau County’s colors of Orange and Blue much more appropriate. Given only three days, an advertising executive named John Alogna from East Meadow created the Islanders logo with the NY over a silhouette of Long Island.

Eventually, amid ownership changes – the Islanders logo was changed to the dreaded fisherman’s logo in 1995 by the new ownership in an attempt to give the Isles a “fresh look”:

New Islanders Logo

One of the worst moves the management group made was not off the ice, but making a decision to change the Islanders look on the ice. Their decision to change the Islanders colors and logo in 1995 only made the team a complete joke of the NHL. “We never intended to strip the team of it’s tradition,” Rosenthal said. “But we made a mistake. We did not read the signals correctly. We misunderstood the underlying passion of the fans.” And these were longtime season ticket holders? Thankfully, the old logo was restored in 1997-98 once New York Sports Ventures took control of the team.

The original logo would return in 97-98 even though it would be updated slightly, but that would be acceptable and what we see today. The colors are a bit darker, the Island is a touch smaller and the overall logo looks much cleaner. The new color scheme is explained better on Wikipedia’s Islanders page:

Current Islanders Logo

Prior to the 1998–99 season, the team’s new ownership reverted to the initial traditional design but kept the navy blue and bright orange from the “wave” era jersey. They added a shoulder patch of four bars, alternating in color, to represent the Islanders’ four straight Stanley Cup championships. The new design also changed the borders around the numbers and “C” and “A” letters: instead of leaving no space between the orange border and the white or blue numbers, the jersey featured a raised outline. A third jersey was introduced in 2003. It was orange and had navy blue stripes, outlined in white, going vertically on the sleeves and then cutting horizontally on the bottom of the sleeve. The navy blue stripes came out of the sleeve diagonally and jabbed out to a point into the bottom of the jersey. The team wore these jerseys through the 2006–07 season.

There you have it, a brief history about how the Islanders logo came to be, why the Islanders are Orange and Blue, some of the changes the logo and uniforms have undergone over the past 20 years and most importantly – why there is a silhouette of Long Island in the first place. I accept that people won’t always share the same opinion, just make some educated statements before you try to change our logo.