November 2008

Monthly Archive

Josh Bailey’s Progress Report

Posted by on 29 Nov 2008 | Tagged as: General, News

Josh BaileyNow that the team has officially announced that Josh Bailey will remain with the team for the rest of the season, it was only natural for us to take a look at how he has progressed as a player over these nine games. For the past few days I have been going over all of his stats and compiled them into neat tables for easy reading. It is the first time that I am diving into the area of stats – and it’s pretty interesting seeing how shifts, shots and how a player is used changes from game to game.

In the table below, you can see that Scott Gordon grew comfortable with Bailey as he saw what he was capable of – which is a natural progression. He has increasingly been given more ice time, more shifts, longer shifts and ample time on the team’s top power play. Is it really any surprise that the team’s power play has been very solid when you look at how Bailey has played?

Player G A P +/- PIM S A/B MS HT GV TK BS FW FL F%
Josh Bailey 0 0 0   4 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 7 4 64
- 0 1 1   0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 4 64
- 0 0 0   2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 5 29
- 0 0 0   0 2 0 1 1 1 1 0 4 4 50
- 0 0 0   0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 9 10
- 0 1 1 +1 0 2 0 0 1 1 0 1 6 8 43
- 0 1 1   0 2 0 3 0 1 0 2 3 12 20
- 0 2 1 -1 0 1 0 0 0 0 2 1 7 3 70
- 0 0 0 -1 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 2 6 8 43
Totals 0 5 5 -1 6 8 1 7 2 5 3 8 43 57 43

With every positive, the small negatives come to light as well. Showing the number of shots that Josh has taken during the last 9 games, it is evident that he needs to shoot more. It’s not like he doesn’t know this – as he pointed this out in an interview with Greg Logan this morning:

“Once they told me I was staying, they were just talking and one of the things I said is that I’m starting to get my confidence as a player,” Bailey said. “The first couple games, I wouldn’t want the puck as much, and I’d be quick to get rid of it. But now, I’m feeling, ‘Give me the puck.’ I’m ready to hold onto it a little more and try and do the plays that I would do last year and try and play my game a little more.”

With time comes confidence, especially now that he doesn’t have to fear making a mistake as much as he may have in the previous games. However, Bailey’s game is a passing game – he gets in a position to play set-up man more often than not, so a lack of shooting doesn’t mean it’s something completely negative. If you look at the amount of attempted/blocked shots and even misses – he is shooting the puck, but maybe gripping his stick a bit too tight. Again, with confidence and time Bailey will learn which shots will garner the highest yield. A great example of this was the shot he rang off the post the other night on the power play, he held onto the puck and got it on net. Hunter was there to knock in the rebound. It is plays like that which Bailey is doing more frequently, so it is only a matter of time before he notches his first NHL goal.

In the table below you can find Josh’s ice time broken down into the total time on ice, total of shifts, average shift time, power play, shorthanded and even strength usage.

Player Total Shifts AVG PP SH EV
Josh Bailey 12:30 18 :41 3:01 00:00 9:29
- 13:10 16 :49 5:28 00:00 7:42
- 14:20 19 :45 4:29 00:00 9:51
- 14:59 17 :52 4:36 00:00 10:23
- 14:26 18 :48 2:25 1:00 11:01
- 16:58 22 :46 3:47 00:00 13:11
- 17:57 18 :57 5:21 00:00 11:54
- 15:04 23 :39 2:57 :01 12:06
- 19:50 25 :47 4:31 :12 15:07

One thing we can see through the shift table is that a coaches trust in a player is directly related to the amount of ice time they recieve, this is something we already knew – but it’s nice to see clear as day statistically. Josh began his first game with 12:30 of ice time, 3 of which were on the power play – not too shabby. As time progressed and he began to become an integral part of the power play, Josh’s time shot up to almost 20 minutes in Boston and close to 5 minutes on the power play. Compare this to other players, and Josh is logging the same minutes as Bill Guerin, Doug Weight and and Trent Hunter (just to name a few).

Now for a poll. I know there are many out there who feel that the Islanders are rushing Bailey and that he should have the opportunity to play down in Juniors and the WJC – but I feel that this situation is different than the way other prospects were dealt with. This is a different management system with different individuals looking after our young future Islanders. I also pose this question to you, what difference would another year in Juniors honestly make if Bailey is ready now. Sure, he can win the cup with the Spitfires – but winning and experiencing winning isn’t proven to build winning players or personalities. If a player is ready to play now and help now – isn’t that the best thing when rebuilding? Bailey is under the tutelage of some veterans and a bright young coach – a coach whom he will likely play under for the foreseeable future.

Vote on it!!

Where do you think Josh Bailey is better off?

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Your comments are welcome, let’s hear why you chose one way or another!

Bailey is Staying!

Posted by on 29 Nov 2008 | Tagged as: Gameday, News

Just got word from the Islanders that 2008 First round draft pick Josh Bailey will remain with the club for the remainder of the season and play in his 10th game tonight versus Ottawa! Here is the press release:

The New York Islanders announced today that 2008 first round draft pick, center Josh Bailey, will remain with the Islanders for the 2008-09 season. Bailey, who was selected ninth overall this past June, has played in nine games and has recorded five points — all assists. Bailey, who signed a three-year contract with the Islanders on his 19th birthday on October 2nd, will play in his tenth game tonight versus the Ottawa Senators at the Nassau Coliseum.

“My goal ever since I was drafted was to make the team out of training camp and to stay with the Islanders for the entire season,” said Bailey. “I would like to thank (Islanders General Manager) Garth Snow and (Islanders Head Coach) Scott Gordon for the opportunity to play for the Islanders. I would also like to thank the entire Windsor Spitfires organization because I would not be where I am today without their help. I look forward to making Long Island my home.”

Said Islanders General Manager Garth Snow: “In a short time, Josh has met and exceeded all of our expectations of him both on and off the ice. We look forward to watching him continue his development this season as an Islander.”

Bailey made his NHL debut with the Islanders on November 11th versus the Philadelphia Flyers. He recorded his first NHL point, an assist, on November 13th at Ottawa. Bailey missed the first 14 games of the season with an injury.

Prior to being drafted by the Islanders, Bailey spent the previous three seasons with Windsor and Owen Sound of the OHL. In 191 career OHL games, Bailey scored 58 goals with 125 assists for 183 points.

It wasn’t really a surprise to me or anyone who has watched Bailey over the course of the past nine games, because he has been solid. Never rushes a decision with the puck, loves to work in the corners tight with opponents and makes tons of room for his forwards. It seems that opposing players go through fits trying to defend against him, often double and triple teaming him while he has the puck. He also loves to feather that soft pass through the seam right onto his teammates stick. There have been quite a few times where I had to do a double take when watching this guy play. Josh also have five points (0-5-5 in 9 games), five assists – so that is a real indication of what he does well with the puck. Even though he is still looking for his first NHL goal, it is fun seeing him play for our Islanders.

I know I was supposed to post a special on Bailey Thanksgiving day, a few things got in the way – so I will definately get it out there today. Unfortunately I have to run to out to work for an emergency – so I will post it when I get home!

Congrats Josh – I look forward to seeing you the rest of the season!

60 Minutes, Crosby & CO and FMIV Returns

Posted by on 26 Nov 2008 | Tagged as: Gameday, Injuries, News

One great thing about blogging, if you can’t think of a witty title for your post – pick a bunch of your main ideas or points and let it fly!

60 Minutes

No, not the TV show – we are talking a full 60 minutes of hockey. The Islanders squeaked by Montreal and got out of dodge with two points all without playing a full sixty. They cannot get away with stuff like that tonight against the Penguins. The Pens are sitting in fourth in the East with a record of 12-5-3, should the Islanders win tonight – it would bring their record to 9-9-2 – .500 for the first time all year (much to the surprise and angst of every analyst).

What the team needs to do (say it with me now), establish their forecheck, skate skate and skate some more, play gritty disciplined hockey, shutdown Crosby, Malkin and Satan, support Joey MacDonald and allow him to see shots and for Pete’s sake (Who is Pete anyway?) – take the biscuit to the basket! Not all impossible tasks, but they need to stay focused and knock off each of these tasks to succeed.

Freddy Meyer IV

Well what do you know, the Islanders revolving door has just swung inwards instead of outwards. Defenseman Freddy Meyer who went down with a sports hernia is ready to make his way back to the lineup for tonight’s matchup. Word from Greg Logan is that he will be paired with Campoli, Pock fresh off his five game suspension and Bruno Gervais will be the odd men out (aka – healthy scratches).

Coming Tomorrow

Coming tomorrow, (I don’t think I have ever done a “tomorrow” announcement before) but I will be posting a story I have been working on the past several days taking a look at Josh Bailey and why I feel the Islanders should keep him up with the team instead of returning him to juniors. Stay Tuned

As an added bonus I spent last night working on a nifty statistic table system so I can post stats at will without much hand coding!

Game Tracker

O’Byrne’s Own Goal

Posted by on 25 Nov 2008 | Tagged as: Gameday, News, Post Game

This poor kid in Montreal tonight, it’s bad enough he scored on his own empty net during a delayed Islanders penalty (with about 4 minutes remaining in a 3-2 game) in which the Isles would go on to win 4-3 in a shootout, but now the video is already on Youtube.

Not only that, but some very angry Habs fans have already updated the guys Wikipedia page.

That was easily the strangest sequence of events I have seen in a long time, even better than Davison’s freaky 197 foot shorthanded goal last year. At least the bounces are going our way – it’s about time.

It’s too late to give a full recap – tomorrow is another day.

Neilsen Out 8-12 Weeks!

Posted by on 22 Nov 2008 | Tagged as: Injuries

Just got a press release on the status of Frans Neilsen – he is out 8-12 weeks with “Multiple leg injuries”.

This isn’t good, from what I could tell Frans suffered a possible knee injury and a nasty high ankle sprain. The injury bug strikes again.

Colliton Recalled as Isles Take on Sabres

Posted by on 22 Nov 2008 | Tagged as: Uncategorized

That revolving door the Islanders use really needs some maintenance after all the use it’s getting lately. With Franz Nielsen going down to injury last night, the Islanders have recalled center Jeremy Colliton from their AHL affiliate in Bridgeport. It’s unfortunate that Nielsen was injured as he was playing some great hockey as of late and was beaming with confidence – hopefully he comes back soon.

In the meantime, I don’t even know if it’s worth dissecting last nights loss to the Devils. The team looked like they were off for a month instead of a few days. They came out flat, mentally unprepared and just unable to get anything going. The Devils were able to walk all over the team, set up in front of the MacDonald all game long and score via deflections and redirections at will. The Islanders need to recenter and find what got them fired up for Ottawa and Vancouver. Those teams were tough teams, there was no reason why they couldn’t come out of The Rock last night with two points if they continued their play.

The team faces a really tough team tonight in Buffalo, although the Sabres have struggled themselves at certain points this season as well. They have their identity again though, so the Islanders really need to come into this game with theirs – the Go-Go Gordons.

The Islanders need to set up their forecheck early, they need to send bodies to the net – just like the play when Bergenheim scored off of Sutton’s rebound. They need to jump all over loose pucks and go to the net – “Skate, Skate, Skate” like Weight says. Lastly, the defenders need to clear the crease out for MacDonald. Allow him to see everything and keep the opposition from getting sticks on shots or even off the defenders skates.

It sure would be nice to come out of this road trip with a few points, hopefully they can do something tonight. I won’t be around to watch the game though as I will be at the Beer Expo at Nassau Coliseum. I will follow the game as much as possible via the live tracker – I may comment from time to time on the post, should be a good night.

Live Tracker

Mottau Suspended 2 Games For Nielsen Hit

Posted by on 22 Nov 2008 | Tagged as: Injuries, News

Just browsing the headlines this afternoon, I came across a few interesting tidbits on Mike Mottau’s hit on Franz Nielsen last night in New Jersey. I was a little annoyed last night because there really wasn’t any information at all regarding the hit or subsequent review. If this would have involved Canadian teams the media would have been all over it….. I digress. In case you haven’t heard, Mottau has been suspended for two games.

First take a look at the hit:

After viewing the video, do you think that this hit is worth two games, or more like five (thinking back to Pock’s hit on Shannon)? Do you think the NHL has any real rhyme or reason to determining their suspension handouts? Are you happy that Mottau was only given a two-minute elbowing penalty for this hit, a hit that left Nielsen with head and leg injuries? I know I am not happy, especially with some of the comments from the Devils last night. In case you have not seen Greg Logan’s blog entry on this from this morning – it is definately worth a read. Just to give you a taste, this part in particular:

nterestingly, Devils coach Brent Sutter wasn’t so sure. During his postgame scrum with Devils beat writers, Sutter said he didn’t check a replay after the game. Explaining his impression during the game, Sutter said: “[Mottau] came across and [Nielsen] was in front, so, I don’t know. He got the two-minute minor penalty on it. If the player didn’t get hurt, his ankle or the bottom part of his leg, that’s what it is. It’s a two-minute minor penalty. I didn’t see it after the game, so, I can’t really say.”

Coming from a guy who was incensed about the knockout blow the Islanders’ Doug Weight delivered to his son, Brandon Sutter, in a game earlier this season, it was a rather remarkable about-face. In that case, Brandon Sutter put his head down and Weight did his best to keep his elbows down for a clean hit that wasn’t even penalized. The next day, Brent Sutter criticized Weight for hitting a vulnerable player.

In this case, Mottau was beaten by Nielsen, and he crossed the line with a clear elbow to the head to stop the Islander. Suddenly, Brent Sutter develops a case of myopia. It’s that kind of hypocrisy that allows such dangerous plays to continue.

That wasn’t the only interesting entry on this subject today, Ken Rosenblatt on Islanders Outsider has some photo evidence taken from the videos that clearly show Mottau leading with his elbow, while off his skates.

In the end, I guess a two game suspension is supposed to suffice – but let it be known that should Nielsen be gone any longer than a game or two with his “injuries” that there will be the need for a stepped up response from the Islanders enforcers the next time these teams meet. Chippy is not a word that will describe what I want to see – bloodbath sort of sums it up more.

In And Outs: The Islanders Revolving Door

Posted by on 20 Nov 2008 | Tagged as: Call Ups, General, Injuries

Mitch FritzEvery now and then one or two (or in the Islanders case SEVEN) of your players will go down to injury. Luckily, the Islanders are fortunate enough to have their minor league affiliate an hours drive away. With rookie Kyle Okposo down and out with an arm/hand injury for about a week – enforcer Mitch Fritz has been recalled from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. With one call up, two call ups comes one activation from the injured reserve, (defenseman Brendan Witt will make his return Friday against the Devils) a conditioning stint (center Mike Sillinger has been cleared to play and has agreed to a three game conditioning stint with Bridgeport) and one goaltender exchange (Yann Danis was returned to Bridgeport for backup of the backup to the backup – Peter Mannino).

A quick listen to the fans around Islanders Nation will tell you they think Fritz is the wrong choice. A player who certainly needs another look is 07/08 standout Blake Comeau, who is playing very well down in B’port (2 goals 9 assists in 13 games). If the schedule were any different the next few days I would completely agree – but obviously I do not.

The Islanders will face several tough opponents in the next three games – New Jersey, Buffalo and Montreal. The key to having Fritz up now is clear, at least to me – New Jersey is still hurting with Brodeur injured and having scoring trouble to boot. Going into a game against them right now is going to be tough without a physical element. Sure, we have players such as Sim, Jackman and Witt (said to be playing limited minutes) – but it’s always great to have a guy you can send out to win key battles. If the past is any indication of the tone the games will have – look no further than the 7-1 pummeling the Sabres handed to the Islanders earlier this year, or the tough physical game the Devils brought to them a few weeks ago. The Islanders will look to exact revenge, no doubt – but they need to continue their stretch of solid hockey. The team has greatly improved their all around game since the first time the team faced these opponents – it is a big weekend for them in a number of ways.

To me the smartest of all these moves is sending Danis down to Bridgeport. Sometimes maybe it takes a former goaltender as the head coach to fully understand what it’s like to go too many games without being tested – much as we saw for long stretches the previous two seasons under Nolan. Gordon is taking a proactive approach to handling this precarious goaltending situation while DiPietro is out – he recognized that one of his backups has been sitting idle too long and wants him fresh – thus the swap. Mannino has been tearing it up down in Bridgeport (6-1-2 record, 2.46 GAA .912 save%) – so it is rewarding for him to get the nod to backup MacDonald.

This is certainly the closest the Islanders have been to being completely healthy in almost a full season – hopefully now that we got through the injury bug early, the team can focus on sticking to their game plan and creeping closer to .500.

Canucks Come to Long Island!

Posted by on 17 Nov 2008 | Tagged as: Gameday

Tonight the Islanders look to make it 3 wins in a row, specifically against Canadian teams (something that is sure to rile up the Canadian press). However, the Canucks are white hot their last several games due to the unbeatable Roberto Luongo (a former first round pick of our Islanders…). The Vancouver Canucks are 4-0-1 in their last five, with Luongo having 210 minutes of shutout hockey in that span. Surely, the Islanders will have to solve their former netminder tonight and get on the board often, and early.

Greg Logan had a chance to view the Canucks today at Iceworks in Syosset for their morning skate and had some interesting observations in his blog.

Luongo leads the NHL with five shutouts, has a 10-5-1 record and has a 2.22 goals against average with a .924 save percentage. He also ranks fourth in the NHL in total saves. Want to guess who’s fifth in that category? Islanders goaltender Joey MacDonald, who has played two fewer games. MacDonald is expected to make his eighth straight start tonight at the Coliseum.

This is the first opportunity for Islanders fans to see Luongo play in person since the 04-05 season when Luongo was still with the Florida Panthers. A bunch has changed since then, he is playing on a more talented team, with players such as the Sedin twins (27 points combined), Toronto cast-off Kyle Wellwood (7 goals) and former Islanders d-man Rob Davidson.

The Canucks are a dangerous team and the Islanders really need to stick to their game plan and stay out of the box as they have been in order to come away with a win. I am fairly positive (without checking) that the Isles have not won more than two in a row this season – so that worries me a bit, but maybe extending their streak will help them in their mindset a bit more.

Doug Weight spoke about the importance of winning a majority of your home games, this is another chance to not only improve their record, but improve their home record. Should be an interesting match up as each teams goaltenders are doing well and have been successful overall the last few games.

The Islanders rookies must also continue their solid play with and without the puck, hopefully they can hook up and get on the score sheet again tonight. Should be a good one!

Live Tracker

Islanders Host Struggling Senators

Posted by on 15 Nov 2008 | Tagged as: Gameday

What could be better than a home and home series against a team that has had your number for the last several years? Winning, SWEEPING that home and home series and tying the Senators in the standings. That’s what the Islanders will attempt to do this evening as they host the Ottawa Senators on the back half of a home and home series. Because it is a Saturday game, the Islanders will don their awesome retro 3rd jersey – it will be the first time I will see them in action tonight as I was away for the previous games.

The Islanders need to bring the game they did in Ottawa on Thursday night, solid puck support, great forecheck and attack. They need to get shots through on the goaltender – but they need to stay out of the box as much as possible. They also need to continue to be successful on the power play – two of the Isles three goals came during the man-advantage on Thursday. Keep forcing the Sens to take those penalties, skate skate and skate some more.

Some notables for this evening, D-man Thomas Pock is out serving the first of his five game suspension for his elbow on Thursday – his loss is offset by the return of solid two-way d-man Radek Martinek however.

Josh Bailey will take part in his third game and will likely remain on the line with Kyle Okposo, a positive because there is some good chemistry there. Bailey had his first NHL point on Thursday, off a pretty pass to Okposo on the power play, he should be as confident as ever tonight.

Joey MacDonald continues with his solid play, the defense is definately helping him see just about everything, and the ones he cannot see – the defense is taking care of themselves.

Doug Weight and Bill Guerin continue to find one another and set up some great plays and scoring opportunities game after game. It wasn’t just hype with the chemistry between these two – they really do know where each other are on the ice!

I am still not feeling very well, I was almost a game time decision for tonight myself – so no live blogging from the Blog Box. As always, you can follow along with the Live Tracker below!

Live Tracker

Hockey Night on Long Island Appearance 3pm

Posted by on 15 Nov 2008 | Tagged as: Gameday, General, News

Today at 3:30pm I will be taking part in what is I believe my fifth time appearing on Alex and Steve’s show – Hockey Night on Long Island. We plan to talk about the recent struggles of the Islanders, their defeat of the Ottawa Senators on Thursday and their rematch tonight at the Coliseum. Directly following my appearance, the guys will be interviewing a Senators blogger named StooLi from Sensunderground for a different view on the matchup.

You can listen to the show by clicking the button below, or heading over to Blog Talk Radio.

Listen to Hockey Night on Long Island on internet talk radio

Islanders Look to Attack Ottawa!

Posted by on 13 Nov 2008 | Tagged as: Gameday

Well, it never fails – no matter what time of day, the weather or anything else that can have some sort of “effect” on whatever it is writers use to get their creative juices, there is always at least ONE (or more…) who just have to drag the Islanders name through the mud. In this specific case, an article out of Ottawa (not even Garrioch mind you) but an unnamed writer on CBCSports

How do you spell relief for your worst beating of the season? NYI.

That’s the common abbreviation for the New York Islanders, the sad-sack team against which the reeling Senators open a home-and-home series on Thursday night in Ottawa (7:30 p.m. ET).

Luckily, the Islanders appear to be just the tonic for any queasy feelings that may be lingering in Ottawa.

New York (4-9-2) has the fewest points (10) and the fewest wins in the NHL this season

Woah, wait a minute – this “unnamed” person can just get anything they want into an article because it’s “With files from the Associated Press”? Please, it’s not like their Senators are lighting the hockey world on fire either.

A little compare and contrast:

Ottawa (6-7-2) Pts 14
New York (4-9-2) Pts 10

So let me get this straight, the Islanders can go into this home and home series and potentially come out with the exact number of points the Sens have? Good – I hope they do just to show the little snob who wrote that article just how bad of shape the Senators are in themselves.

If anything, stuff like this should really lift the drive and desire of the team, however according to Newsday’s John Jeansonne, the Islanders are having fun and know they are close to being a true competitor. They have patience and have faith that their coach Scott Gordon needs time to work out all the kinks. All in all, there is patience within the organization – it is the fans however that are on the fence with remaining patient.

Bailey’s Second Game

2008 First round draft pick Josh Bailey played in his first NHL game on Monday, and he did just fine. He may not have gotten on the score sheet in the way he had hoped (0 shots and 2 penalties), but he was fairly solid on face offs (7 of 11 or 64%). I had the chance to give Bailey a quick interview in the locker room on Monday – and the kid was just beaming from ear to ear. He told me he was a bit upset with the penalties but that it was part of adjusting and I commented on his solid face offs, he said that was part of his game and he was glad be able to show the fans a small part of it. At times, when Bailey had the puck in the offensive zone on the Power Play, he was poised and very patient. He moved the puck smart and seemed to open up shooting lanes for his teammates. It was this solid play, that landed Bailey on a new line with Okposo and Hilbert. That line should be great because his wingers are smart, gritty and quick.

If the Islanders want to be successful tonight, they need to keep to their plan for their first 40 or so minutes – and extend them into the third period. The game they played on Monday was fairly decent, if they would have scored on one or two of their power play opportunities they could have either won or gotten into extra frames. The on ice product is getting close, it’s just a matter of getting the team healthy and firing on all cylinders. Hopefully they can figure that out tonight in Ottawa.

Live Tracker

I am not feeling well tonight, so there won’t be a live blog – but I will do a recap later on or tomorrow.

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