Real quick, Bill Guerin is apparently on the move having been pulled from the warmup here tonight.
No solid confirmations from anywhere just yet, but we expect news really soon. It all begins now.
GUERIN IS STILL IN THE BUILDING. Ignore the site that shall not be named regarding anything said other than Andy Strickland.
Picture is from the locker room!
Everything we do as Islanders fans the last few years has been some sort of a “watch”.
Last season fans were obsessed with the “Stamkos Watch” – this obviously didn’t work out favorably for the team – finishing with the 5th selection in the draft and retaining it during the lottery. We all know how it ended up, trading the 5th for the 7th and eventually the 9th to get Josh Bailey and a gaggle of extra picks. There is nothing wrong with Josh Bailey by any stretch – it just wasn’t titled the “Bailey Watch”.
This season we have two additional watches – one being the “Tavares Watch” which seems to be going swimmingly. James Mirtle commented this afternoon how it was just about the only thing the Islanders have been doing right this season. It’s still not a complete lock, but it’s definately a better shot at the number one pick than last year.
Our second watch is the “Lighthouse Project Watch”. The Lighthouse Project took a major step forward in it’s approval this morning at Town Hall in Hempstead. When the Lighthouse Group invited myself and several other bloggers to their offices at Rexcorp Plaza, we were told that once accepting the scope – the town was expecting them to turn in their environmental impact study “in a time frame measured with a calendar – but should be expected it in a time frame measured on a wrist watch”. It was not said to be factitious, I understood that. I was not expecting the group to hand over an 1,800 page document during the board meeting. I am sure that dropped a few jaws – it’s just a shame I couldn’t get out of work to be there.
There was plenty of coverage today – Nick G was in the crowd and took plenty of notes with his Let There be Light(house) blog. He lists the current phase of the
process waiting game. He really deserves credit for being so dedicated to a cause – I tell ya.
Chris Botta was also in the crowd at Hempstead Town Hall – blogging away from his Blackberry.
Dee Karl – AKA 7th Woman had recaps and a “post game” report summarizing the events as well.
Katrina Doell does a great job as always blogging away on the official Lighthouse blog – The Light Post.
There was also an official press release given to me by the Lighthouse Group:
FEBRUARY 24, 2009, Uniondale, NY – Today, immediately after the Town of Hempstead Board publicly adopted the final scope of environmental impact studies for the Lighthouse at Long Island project, Lighthouse Development Group submitted to the Town the Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement (DGEIS) which thoroughly covers the studies outlined in the scope.
“Getting to this point has taken seven years,” said Michael Picker, President ofLighthouse Development Group. “However, Long Island can’t wait any longer. That is
why, as the Town of Hempstead and its consultants were working diligently to prepare the final scoping document for environmental review, our team has been working day and night on that next step – the DGEIS, which we submitted to the Town this afternoon. We know that by continuing to work hand in hand, Lighthouse Development Group and the Town of Hempstead can make the Lighthouse Project a reality.”
Long Island is experiencing unprecedented, unparalleled, and uncharted economic strain. The need for an economic catalyst for Long Island is painfully apparent. The Lighthouse Project, which is anticipated to create 75,000 construction and related jobs, 19,000 permanent jobs, and $71 million in new annual tax revenues, is just that.
The DGEIS, including an executive summary, will be available on the Lighthouse Development Group website, www.lighthouseli.com.
It’s amazing sometimes what happens when you subtract a few players close to the deadline. It seems that it really unites the remainder of the team and they support each other even more – as well as give a solid effort, if not the most solid effort of the season.
This was clear last night as we saw an awesome effort from Sean Bergenheim from the puck drop. Bergy had jump in his step and almost scored right in the first minutes of the game. Devils backup extraordinaire Scott Clemmensen made a marvelous save, and it gave me the impression he would have one of his normal outings and do everything he can to keep the Devils on their hot streak. However, Mark Streit would find Bergenheim streaking down the right wing and he would beat Clemmensen this time to give the Islanders a 1-0 lead.
The Islanders would play well the remainder of the first, but the Devils kept up with their pace – often times getting numerous scoring chances themselves. At one point I remember looking up at the scoreboard astonished that the Devils had around 24 shots in the second, shots that I really didn’t remember them having. In my ever present restlessness during the game, I bounced around from my seats in section 309 and spent the second period in the Blog Box in section 201. I think I do this because I get to see the Islanders attack in all three periods honestly – as my seats give me a good view during the first and third periods.
The Islanders would put good pressure on for parts of the second period, Jon Sim intercepted a clearing attempt and beat the lone Devils defender deep and score on a backhand fivehole to give the Islanders a two goal lead. I literally had to rub my eyes when I realized he was the player to shoot as he has scored goals in consecutive games for the first time this season. It was good to see him get on the board again because I felt he would be more active in the points department but have been pretty disappointed by him. As Dom from Lighthouse Hockey says – if anything it increases his trade value with every point he notches. Dom even says he wishes he would go on a tear so we can sucker a playoff team into giving us “at least a 6th round pick for him”. He has one year left on his contract at an affordable $1 Million dollar – chump change I say.
During the third period the fun would continue – the Devils David Clarkson would sit for 4 minutes for high sticking and the Islanders got set up on their power play. Not long into the first half of the power play – Blake Comeau fed a nifty pass to Kyle Okposo who one-timed it past Clemmensen for a three goal lead. With the Islanders still on the power play, Brendan Witt would take up his new position in front of the net and Bill Guerin fired a point blast past Clemmensen for their fourth goal of the game and second of the powerplay. This time when I looked at the scoreboard, the Devils had been out shooting the Islanders by about 8 shots – again surprising me because I just didn’t feel like they had that many. Call it disbelief because Yann Dannis would have a solid game stopping all 40 Devils shots and actually achieve his shutout for once. He has flirted with the no-no several times this season, but a late goal would always spoil his bid. Dannis is really coming into his own as a goaltender – I actually like his play better than that of Joey MacDonald who seems to allow a bunch of flukey goals or become victimized by deflections off his own men. Now that Campoli is gone, maybe he will fair better as it always seemed to go in off of his leg and/or skate.
The shutout was the first shutout by the Islanders ALL SEASON, and really seemed to put an exclamation point on things here as the season is winding down. The game last night really proves how effective the Islanders can be when the team works together and executes Scott Gordon’s systems properly. Dean MacAmmond would make his debut last night and fit right into the team. Dee Karl aka 7thWoman – claims his seemless fit is due to his 15 year career – but I actually think he fills a void for the team. As a veteran center – he won key draws for the Islanders last night and looks to be Mike Sillinger-esque in that area winning 7 of 12 faceoffs and playing a respectable 13 minutes 8 seconds. MacAmmond also wasn’t shy last night – Jon Sim would continue to play the role of antagonist and cause a scrum in front of Clemmensen. MacAmmond would jump in the pile and take a huge elbow to the jaw for his new teammates – that is the true definition of a veteran and hockey player. It was good to see honestly.
I don’t know what got into me last night, I generally don’t ask many questions because someone normally beats me with what I wanted to ask or I give the main stream media it’s chance to meet their deadlines out of respect. When Mark Streit was done talking to the likes of Dan Martin and Greg Logan, I jumped in there and asked him a few questions of my own.
I asked Streit how important it was to come out and get a big win after some player transactions and he had this to say:
Well I mean, it’s obviously nice to get a win, but it’s part of the business. You feel bad when you lose teamates that you have been working with for a while, especially a guy like Campoli whos been here his whole career – MC too, they are both really nice guys. It’s tough, it goes fast, you don’t see them from one day to the other and just hope the guys are doing really well. It’s good for them and hopefully it works out for them and you’ve got to move on and just focus on the game, try to get a win. It’s great for Danis too, his first game after and he gets a win – it was certainly sweet.
I followed up with asking if there was an extra sense of urgency to get the win for the coach or some of the other guys this close to the deadline that would maybe save some jobs. Streit gave me another great response:
Everbody in this league wants to win every game. Nobody in this league goes out and says OK we are not playing tonight, you don’t do that. You want to play hard and then some nights you play a team that plays really well, and they get a little lucky. They work hard, maybe you have a tough night and then you lose. You know NOBODY wants that. I think the important thing is you don’t let your head hang and be negative about it. You have to turn the page, come in the next morning work hard and you know, focus on the next game and just try to do your best out there and try to win. There is nothing else you can do, if you are mad about it and your grumpy the next day, and negative it doesn’t do anything. You have to turn the page and move on and just try to do better and learn from it.
It was really the first time I got to speak with Streit at length, he is such a well spoken and positive guy. It makes me so happy that he chose to sign with the Islanders for such a long period – we really need a guy like him. It’s even better that he is having such a great year, it has been a long time since we had a player like Mark. I topped off my little interview with a “Danka” – knowing he is fluent in German, I think I caught him off guard but he replied with a “Bitte” and smiled. Just had to plant the seed for later I guess.
Having finished up with Streit, Sean Bergenheim strolled into the room and we joined the scrum in front of him. I waited patiently again as the main stream guys did their stuff and once the area cleared out I asked Bergy a few questions of my own. I wanted to get his opinion on the same things I asked Streit – but these were more important because of the way Bergenheim has struggled and found himself in and out of the lineup and the subject of trade rumors himself.
I started with the same question on the importance of a 4-0 win the day after player transactions and if there was a sense of urgency because of them:
Yea, we lost two great, great guys from the team. They are two great players and I hope they will do really well there, but at the same time we have to continue to do what we can here. Some guys may get more ice time than others, but this is a chance for other guys to come in and show what they can do. Certainly, I think many of the guys wanted to show that they could play more minutes. With these guys gone now, we can show we can play them [more minutes].
My follow up question seemed like a natural one because he focused a bit on the extra playing time afforded to different players in the wake of the trade of Comrie and Campoli. I asked if personally being in and out of the lineup and not getting as much as a chance this season, if he felt affected the day after the transactions and caused him to come out with more of a spark which lead to his strong game. I asked him if his spirits were lifted and if it sent a message that says “I deserve to be here and deserve a shot”. Sean replied in a way I wasn’t expecting – and I was really impressed with another player who just plays the hand he is dealt and carries his head high
I don’t really think that way, because I think every player has to beleive in themselves. I beleive that I do belong here and this trade did not affect me in any way. As far as me being in and out of the lineup this year, it has been a really frustrating season. Right now, what I am focusing on is just to play my game, and play the way I thought I played last year during the last part of the season. I have just been feeling more comfortable out on the ice and lately it has feet much better.
I know this much about Bergenheim – if he continues to play the way he has been playing, he will not be going anywhere for a long time. Home grown players don’t exactly grow on trees in Islanders country. Once he figures out what his game is (and I feel he is on the road to finding himself) he will be the force he was at the end of the season last year in which he referenced. We are getting glimpses of the future of what Garth Snow is looking to accomplish, and the future looks pretty good.
Tonight’s game is a special one, not because we are playing the Devils in an meaningless inter-conference game – but because it is Town of Hempstead night at the Coliseum!
For those who may not have heard, there were recent rumblings that the TOH actually made some progress with the Lighthouse Project and there is a meeting this coming Tuesday at 10:30am at Town Hall to discuss things further. It’s an exciting time and if you have the time to get over to the Town Hall to show support – you should definately do so.
The Lighthouse Group invited myself and several other bloggers over to their Uniondale offices at Rexcorp Plaza to let us know how things were progressing. Tuesday’s meeting is sure to be a huge if not monumental step forward for what this group has endured over the last SEVEN years. It’s about time is all this blogger can say.
Tonight however, if you are going to the game – it’s important to wear white, a white t-shirt, jersey, or sweatshirt anything white to show as much white as possible. It things like this that make the arena look amazing both in person and on TV and help get messages across. Show the Town of Hempstead that we as fans and Long Island residents care about this project and can rally together to make it happen!
The Islanders have traded Mike Comrie and Chris Campoli to the Ottawa Senators for a 1st round draft pick and Dean McAmmond!
The first round draft pick originally belonged to the San Jose Sharks.
Per the Islanders Website
Per the Islanders official press release:
The New York Islanders have acquired center Dean McAmmond and a 2009 first round draft pick from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for defenseman Chris Campoli and center Mike Comrie.
“We’re excited that we are able to add another piece to our rebuilding plans while bringing in someone like Dean who will provide additional depth for our team,” said Islanders General Manager Garth Snow. “The Islanders organization would like to thank Mike and Chris for their contributions both on and off the ice over the past few seasons.”
McAmmond has played in 44 games with the Senators this season, scoring three goals and four assists for seven points. In 916 career NHL games, the 15-year veteran has recorded 176 goals and 246 assists for 422 points and 442 penalty minutes. The 35-year-old Alberta native was originally drafted by Chicago in the first round (22nd overall) of the 1991 NHL Entry Draft.
The Islanders also receive a 2009 first round draft pick, which originally belonged to the San Jose Sharks.
Campoli was drafted by the Islanders in the seventh round (227th overall) of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. In 228 career NHL games – all with the Islanders – he recorded 20 goals and 63 assists for 83 points. Comrie was signed by the Islanders as a free agent on July 5, 2007. The 28-year-old Edmonton native has played in 503 career NHL games, scoring 151 goals and 180 assists for 331 points with Edmonton, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Ottawa and the Islanders.
Botta has his take on this as always, claiming Campoli had asked to be traded for a change of scenery. Interesting development, as Campoli was a puck mover, seemed to fit into Gordon’s system and was doing fairly well this season. This makes two jersey’s I own useless now (authentics too…) a Satan and now my Campoli. Good thing that DiPietro I have isn’t ever going to go out of style….
Somehow Garth Snow was able to squeeze a first round draft pick out of Ottawa for this pair of players, perhaps he tried for a prospect in addition to the pick but likely couldn’t get the coveted first rounder. Comrie fills a much needed center void, the Sens are familiar with what he can do during his last tour of duty there and with Campoli they get a quick puck mover who has a reasonable contract and one year remaining.
Sure, as IslesFaninCA points out we shipped out two relatively young players who could have been key to the rebuild. However, Jack Hillen has been making great strides and Bruno Gervais has been improving steadily defensively. This is also a good chance for another young player to make his break into the Islanders lineup – even though MacAmmond clearly gets his due.
Greg Logan now weighs in on his blog with his take on things – reminding everyone that the Sharks are a powerhouse and the pick would be the 29th overall should it be held today. Logan also claims that both players were unhappy playing under Scott Gordon – which I have to admit concerns me. This makes three players (that we know of) unhappy with Gordon’s systems – how many more are there?
To me the best part of this trade is that the Islanders have FOUR picks in the top 50 if not top 40 of this years draft!!! It could be conceivable at this point that Garth can package that first rounder he acquired today with another roster player for a bigger forward…..one who could make an immediate impact.
Hope you guys can join us tonight for our live blog that will begin at about 6:30pm and run throughout the game.
History tends to repeat itself with these two close New York hockey rivals.
The teams, regardless of their current place in the standings, state of the franchise or how poor/well they are playing ALWAYS bring their A games when playing one another. It makes it fun to talk about and even more fun to watch. With a storyline similar to that of Pittsburgh (whom fired their head coach recently), one has to wonder if both coach and GM of the New York Rangers feel secure in their positions right now. With a payroll near the top – if not THE TOP of the league, how much longer will the Dolan’s sit by and watch inexcusable play? The Rangers have very little wiggle room to make roster adjustments moving into the trade deadline in two weeks – yet clearly they need some sort of help.
Look east at their NY counterparts the New York Islanders and they seem to have moved past their recent struggles, ending a five game winless skid in shootout fashion against the Penguins on Monday. Sure, the Islanders roster has been decimated by injures, they have little talent, a new coach, almost a basement bottom payroll – yet they will still come into tonight’s match up with much fire and gusto.
The Rangers and Islanders each have something to prove. Tom Renney – head coach of the Rangers said so himself yesterday and almost every time these teams face one another – “You cannot take the Islanders lightly”. Teams recognize that even though the Isles may not have the most talent in the league, they will do their best to make you miserable with their style of play. These games are almost as intense as playoff hockey and have been rough in the past. They are a great way to see how your younger players will handle the pressure of playing in big game type situations. Every player who has ever taken part in the rivalry has nothing but great things to say about it. Between the atmosphere in the arenas to the way the players react on the ice – there are few rivalries that – um, rival this one.
Lineups – per Chris Botta appear to be the same as they were for Pittsburgh on Monday. Don’t expect anything heavier than Tim Jackman or Jon Sim to dress in case of some fisticuffs. I will say this – if anyone caught the Rangers – Blues game Monday night, there was a TON of fighting in that game. I don’t know the exact number, but it seemed every time I looked up there was another fight.
I am going to be doing something different here tonight concerning a live blog – Doug Davidson one of my fellow Blog Boxer’s is hosting a live blog tonight. You can get to the live blog either on his site, or by my post following this one.
Don’t forget to check out the game day thread on Lighthouse Hockey as well!
This is just a big night for me all around.
As if the recent news of being asked to contribute to Lighthouse Hockey isn’t enough news for one night – Alex and Steve over on Hockey Night in Long Island have asked me back on the show for what I beleive is my fifth or sixth appearance. This time, one of the guys won’t be able to make the show – so I have been asked to fill in as a guest co-host.
We plan on taking your calls to talk Islanders hockey, and talk about the latest news which should be interesting given the busy week the team has had.
Head on over to the HNLI show blog to catch up on the latest news pertaining to the show.
You can tune in live by clicking the button below on Saturday as well:
Boy do I have some exciting news!
A few nights ago I received an email from James Mirtle over at From The Rink on SBN asking if I would like to contribute to Dominik Jansky’s Islanders blog Lighthouse Hockey. Apparently there was some talking back and forth during a meeting and my name came up as a possible contributor for Dom’s site. Trust me, if you have been over to LHH you know that Dom needs no help maintaining great content.
Mirtle has been blogging about the NHL and all things hockey for a few years now. When I first started out, he was one of the main bloggers that everyone looked to emulate. Over the summer SBN began a push to have a blogger representative for every team in the NHL – as I already mentioned Dominik jumped over to SBN to form Lighthouse Hockey to cover the Islanders. Dom is a die hard Islanders fan, only he lives out in the Mid-West and has a different perspective on things – often catching stuff even us die hard Long Islanders may miss.
Let me begin by saying this – Islesblogger is not going anywhere, I am not going to shut it down, forget my roots or walk away from my independence. I am just embracing an opportunity to contribute on an additional platform and have some fun in the process.
I am honored to be joined by such great company over on SBN, it will really open new possibilities – especially with all the great toys and stats available on the websites over there. Look for some joint content at both places, some exclusive content here as well as there and the best game day threads you can find.
Fans are also welcome to post Fan Shots, which is like a mini-blog right there for you to speak your own mind.
Just got out of Greg Logan’s chat where he broke some extremely bad new regarding veteran Doug Weight.
Weight was injured in last nights game in New Jersey – this marks the third time this season that Weight will miss significant time due to injury. This time is clearly the worst.
Per Logan’s chat:
Finally, here’s the really bad news. Center Doug Weight is out six weeks with an MCL sprain. So, there goes the veteran who might have had the highest trade value. On the plus side, maybe that leads to more consideration of bringing Weight back next season.
This will certainly affect the Islanders in terms of on ice talent as Weight has been one of the most effective in almost every zone and on the power play. Another big impact this injury has is their most tradable asset is now unlikely to be traded at all – which is disheartening in a way.
For the sake of his playmaking ability, I hope he has a speedy recovery and can man the point for the Isles the remainder of the season.
Edit as of 5:30pm:
The Islanders have made this official by way of a press release – I am sure it will be up on the main site shortly:
The New York Islanders have announced that center Doug Weight will be out six weeks with an MCL sprain. Weight has been placed on injured reserve retroactive to February 11th, when he suffered the injury after colliding with Brian Gionta in the second period of the Islanders’ game at New Jersey.
Weight has played in 44 games with the Islanders this season, scoring nine goals and 26 assists to rank second on the team with 35 points. The 17-year NHL veteran also ranks second on the Islanders with 20 power-play points. In 1,175 career NHL games, Weight has scored 274 goals and added 730 assists for a total of 1,004 points. He was signed by the Islanders as a free agent on July 2, 2008.
No, that is not a misprint. It seems that the Islanders have encountered one of the best festivals in sunny Tampa this weekend. It’s called the Gasparilla festival and it involves pirates, pirate ships, pirate wenches, beer, liquor and all things associated with such. Think of it of a Las Vegas or New Orleans environment – but on the water in a beach town setting.
If you think it is all fun and games, clear it is not if you are a visiting NHL club looking for some rest before a game. If you happened to catch Corey Witt’s blog from earlier today – the team was woken up by canons firing and boat horns blaring. He also talks about an elevator ride with a pirate and two of his lasses. Hopefully they boys do not drink before a game, it’s bad enough they get injured without being hung over or intoxicated. Unlike our Islanders team and media guys – I got to sleep in and only woke up because I was hot, being it’s about 50 degrees here today and my heat was set a bit too high.
Moving on to the hockey side of this post – a quick recap of the past few games.
The last time that Tampa and the Islanders played was on Tuesday – think of tonight’s game as a delayed home and home. The Islanders did well against the Bolts, scoring three goals in just over three minutes and chasing rookie netminder Kari Ramo. We would see goals by Mark Streit, Trent Hunter and a player who had not scored in over two seasons – Radek Martinek. Martinek’s goal was just as strange feeling as when Brendan Witt scores his annual goal – a feat he has yet to accomplish this season, but has come awfully close. For the third straight game, Yann Danis would carry a shutout into the third period only to lose it late in the game, it’s not really the biggest deal because he has been playing very well – but it would be nice to see him get the no-no. The Islanders would win the game 3-1, but would lose their go-to defenseman in Mark Streit – whom at that point was one of only three Islanders to play in every game the entire season. Streit injured his shoulder during the second period in a collision and Tomas Pock was lost for four weeks after injuring his hand. While Okposo did not score and we saw his goal streak snapped, he did pick up and assist and extended his point streak to five games (5g, 1a). The kids continue to shine.
I wanted to give this next bit a paragraph all to itself because I felt it was really important. In the first period Tim Jackman went hard to the net and collided with Ramo whom fell over as if he was shot. Of all people to stand up and challenge Jackman – Vincent Lecavalier tried to fire his team up by dropping the gloves. The fight wasn’t really much to speak about, but it left me feeling conflicted – apparently Jacko as well. I didn’t get the chance to speak to him after the game, but it was clear he showed respect (and restraint) by not really pummeling him as he is capable of. It’s one thing when it’s two enforcers duking it out, it become something else entirely when it’s you are fighting one of the leagues superstars. Do you really risk injuring the player or do you just wrestle and throw a few punches as they wound up doing.
You can see the fight as always on Hockey Fights, but here is the youtube clip:
The trip out to the sunshine state usually involves the fathers making the trip with their sons, this year is no different it’s just unfortunate that they opened their little road trip on a loss. The Islanders would elect to start Joey MacDonald whom returned from a groin injury suffered on January 13th and also feature two call up defenseman in Jack Hillen and Joe Callahan. They would look to extend their win streak to a season high five games and a point streak to six games.
The Panthers are another team that the Islanders have faced recently, the Cats were in town on 1/31 and the Islanders walked all over them in a 3-1 win. The game on Thursday started a little later than we are used to, even though it was only a half hour later – I still didn’t manage to stay up for the entire contest. From what I did see, I saw the Islanders struggle against a team that looks much better when David Booth is in the lineup. I am sure Nate Thompson feels the same way – Thompson took a big open ice hit from Booth and immediately left the ice in pain. We would later find out that he injured his shoulder and would miss some time. The Panthers took an early lead, going up two goals before the end of the first period on goals by their defensemen – Jay Bouwmeester and Karlis Skrastins (Scratch and Sniff).
The Islanders would get on the board in the second period on a power play goal by Josh Bailey. Bailey had gone 11 games without a goal, but would get his second of the season on a nice feed from Nielsen and fire it past Florida goaltender Tomas Vokoun low glove side. The one goal deficit would be short lived however, as ex-Isle Richard Zednik would beat Martinek along the boards and dance to the middle of the ice and OVER a sprawled out Brendan Witt, while mid air he was able to deposit the puck through MacDonald’s pads to give the Cats their second two goal lead of the game. The goal was highlight worthy, and those plays are kind of hard to be mad at – see for yourself:
Armed with another power play, the Islanders would strike again – this time Trent Hunter would find himself all alone in front of Vokoun and again make it a one goal game. On the face off that lead to the goal, Josh Bailey would lose the draw but out of desperation dive forward and chip the puck out to Hunter who would deposit it backhand past Vokoun. Hunters goal gives him points in four straight games (3g, 1a) and also Bailey his second point of the night. It was Bailey’s third time this season with a two-point game and he now has 2 goals and 13 assists for 15 points in 37 games.
I missed a majority of the third period because I fell asleep, but I saw the Islanders make a last ditch effort to get the equalizer with MacDonald pulled. It was exciting to wake up and see some good hockey – but they were unable to score. It snapped their win streak – but I was ok with the effort I saw after the first period and happy with the play of the young players again.
Tonight should prove to be a fun contest to watch as you know the Lightning will come out with intensity looking for revenge against the Isles for their performance last week. The Bolts are not too far removed from the tight Eastern Conference playoff picture should they string together a group of wins – they need tonight’s two points a lot more then the Islanders do.
Greg Logan reports in his blog today that Sean Bergenheim will replace the injured Nate Thompson – which sort of confuses me a bit. It was said in all the games that Bergy was scratched he was out with an injured “side” – to me it just seems per Logan’s blog that he was more of a healthy scratch. Whatever the case, Bergenheim, does possess more of a scoring touch than Thompson but is not a centerman – so there will need to be some line juggling. MacDonald didn’t play too bad on Thursday – but coming off an injury will the team decide to give him a rest and go with Danis tonight?
I am still really conflicted with this team – which sounds confusing. As a fan, I have accepted the fact that this team really won’t amount to anything come playoff time – I know they won’t even be close. They also had a horrible stretch of hockey that only saw them win maybe two or three games through December and much of January. It was nice to see a nice little stretch of wins – especially at home because it gives us a look at the kids progressing nicely and how they will help in the future. This is where I get conflicted, I want them to finish dead last in the league with the fewest points as I want them to have the best shot at either Tavares or Hedman. If this team finishes with the fewest amount of points, the lowest we can pick is number two – because we cannot move down any more than one position should we wind up not picking first due to the lottery. There will still be great players available in the top six picks, but this team needs someone who will sell tickets and give hope to a fan base dealing with politicians who are balking and stalling on a decision regarding a new arena and rumors that the team will be sold and/or moved.
It’s a rough time to be a fan of the Islanders for sure, but it’s sadly an exciting time in a way.
It seems that no matter how much we would prefer that the Islanders remain at the very bottom of the standings to secure the best chance to finish with that valuable-to-rebuild first overall pick – that they are actually learning, adapting and finding ways to win hockey games.
It began with the home win over Anaheim before the All-Star break, a team the Islanders had absolutely no business beating. Move into Thursday’s four point contest in Atlanta and the Islanders stormed out front with a 4 goal first period. Of course, they would have a slight problem maintaining pressure as they have all season, but the difference this time was a third period effort that would keep Atlanta at bay and manage a 5-4 victory. Kyle Okposo would have his first two goal game in his young NHL career, Josh Bailey would find himself connecting with Okposo on both goals and Blake Comeau would solidify that kid line with awesome play himself. Personally, it was a game that I really would have preferred that they lose – because it allowed Atlanta to “catch up” to us in the standings – but I digress, it was nice to see strong play from our “future”.
I did not actually get to see the game, I watched the recap on NHL on the Fly because I was at the Metallica concert with Tom Liodice of The Tiger Track. It was a great show, my first time seeing Metallica live.
This brings us into last nights contest against the Florida Panthers – a team that has managed to bring themselves out of the cellar and into playoff contention for the first time in a very, very long time. For the sake of that franchise, I hope they sneak in there. It wouldn’t be right for me – a fan of a struggling franchise to wish anything other than success on another franchise, so should they make it – Florida is the Eastern conference team I will root for. Back to talking about the game – Mike Comrie was the lucky recipient of the puck after a communication breakdown between Vokoun and Bouwmeester. Comrie grabbed the puck behind the net and put it shortside on a nice wraparound. During the second period, Bill Guerin would take a rebound and pull a nifty spin-o-ramaesque move out of his bag of tricks to deposit the puck past Vokoun backhand for a 2-0 lead. Going into the third period the Islanders would be awarded a power play right after the backhalf of a power play that carried over from the end of the second. It would be a pass from Trent Hunter to Kyle Okposo that would give the Islanders a 3-0 lead. It was Okposo’s fourth straight game scoring a goal -a career and season high bringing his total to 10. Ken Dick over on Okposo Net did the math and claims that Okposo is on a point every two game pace currently, not too shabby.
The Panthers would pull their goaltender with over five minutes remaining in the third – they must have been watching tapes of all the Islanders late third period collapses and hoped they could sneak a few goals past a solid Yann Danis to potentially steal the game and break the Islanders psyche. They wouldn’t score for about 3 minutes, but they did break Danis’s shutout bid. Armed with a late 3-1 lead, the Islanders would persevere and come out on top giving Danis his win. If holding onto the lead wasn’t enough, the Islanders would do great things en route to that victory – they killed off every Panthers power play, including two different double minors, they successfully changed their game plan as well – something Greg Logan pointed out in a recent blog entry.
So – the Islanders are still last in the league in terms of points, but now they have won three in a row and allowed the teams behind them to gradually catch up. Chris Botta has an excellent entry about the precarious situation fans may now feel themselves in – torn between happiness that the Islanders youth is the guiding light during this “winning streak”, when some may have been starting to accept the losses in the hopes that the Islanders could add another important piece to their rebuild – namely one of the top three players in the draft.
That brings us into the next topic – and this one is a hot one.
It seems that another Canadian journalist just HAD TO resort to talking negatively about the Islanders. It happens every year, it’s not really anything new – I just look at it as a way for a no name journalist to get some views through being a sensationalist – I don’t blame him but this time it’s a bit too much for my taste. Here is the paragraph in question:
If I were John Tavares, I would be clear about my future and make certain I never play for the New York Islanders.
Tavares hasn’t said that much — and quite likely he won’t. But if I were in his position, as the logical No. 1 pick in June’s National Hockey League entry draft, I would pull a John Elway, an Eli Manning or an Eric Lindros.
And find a way to get out of playing for the Islanders.
If you think about it, why would anyone with dreams and aspirations of greatness want to play for the Isles?
They have become a Gertrude Stein kind of franchise: “There is no there there.” From the owner to the front office to the players to an old rink and older fan base, there is nothing about the Islanders that represents hope.
And, if nothing else, that is what Tavares can best represent for an NHL team come June. If I were him, I would rather have a say in my future rather than have it dictated by circumstance, or in this case, a lottery.
In a time where the NHL has had hardship after hardship, would they need someone like Tavares to do as this writer says and demand a trade before he even dons an Islanders crest? The guys over at Hockey Night on Long Island already have a great post about this – so I will just echo their feelings on this. In the grand scheme of things, Tavares would be the face of this franchise – he would help on the ice as well as off. It would be hard to ignore a player of his caliber mixed in with the already talented young crop of players the Islanders have, it would also be hard to ignore for those who are in charge of holding up the Lighthouse Project.
What this Toronto Sun writer fails to realize, he just opened up himself to an onslaught of angry emails from those in Islanders country – hope he has a few days of free time in order to read them.