April 2009

Monthly Archive

Small Site Update

Posted by on 21 Apr 2009 | Tagged as: General, Site Announcements

It’s been a slow hockey week in regards to the New York Islanders. There hasn’t really been too much to recap that hasn’t been spoken about elsewhere already. I have not forgotten about the site, I’ve just been using the downtime to relax and catch up on some “house cleaning”.

If you haven’t notced already, the comment area of the site may look a bit different. I have never been happy with the format honestly, I was just too caught up in other things to bother changing it. The biggest change is the addition of Gravatars.

What is a gravatar?

A gravatar, or globally recognized avatar, is quite simply an image that follows you from site to site appearing beside your name when you do things. Avatars help identify your posts on blogs and web forums, so why not on any site?

How do I get a gravatar?

Signing up for a Gravatar.com account is FREE, and all that’s required is your email address. Once you’ve signed up you can upload your avatar image and soon after you’ll start seeing it on gravatar enabled sites!

Obviously to make your image show up, you need to be registered, but the benefit is that it follows you around the web which is a plus. The only caveat is that you comment with the same email address that you register your avatar with – otherwise my default Isles logo will show up for every poster without a gravatar of their own.

I also made several smaller changes. The poster’s name was always after the time and date stamp. I corrected it and gave the author name it’s own line. I then changed the date format to the correct region – it’s a pet peeve of mine. I have some other plans for the site this week and I think I finally nailed down the gallery issue too.

Check out the new comment features and give them a whirl!

I should have two large posts up in the near future, one of which I have reserved for Lighthouse Hockey. Just a reminder too, Islesblogger will be live from Montreal for this years Entry Draft!!

Islanders Win – First Overall Pick in June

Posted by on 14 Apr 2009 | Tagged as: Draft, News

For once this season, the Islanders biggest victory did not occur on the ice. It happened in a borrowed lottery ball machine courtesy of the New York Lottery (perhaps even a permanent loan at this juncture) and came in the form of one of their lottery balls being sucked to the top of the device.

It never ceases to amaze me honestly, I have witnessed a bunch of great things in Islanders history – but this pick is one of the most important aspects in recent times. Looking back at the past first round picks, the Isles have had three other first overall selections:

2000: Rick DiPietro
1973: Dennis Potvin
1972: Billy Harris

With the first overall selection, the clear cut choices are either John Tavares or Victor Hedman – but like I have posted before, anything can happen now that Garth said he will look into all options. With a little bit of hope (now that the Hockey Gods smiled down on us tonight) having the number one pick will dissuade Snow from moving the pick and choosing whomever he wants (TAVARES…).

This is one hyped up fan, I cannot wait to hear what happens during the conference call at 9pm.

Stay tuned for updates and other blog reactions!

Islanders outsider has a live blog

Isles Official Outlook goes berserk as usual (I kid Doug)

Chris Botta claims Garth is now on the clock and should make an announcement already.

Ken Dick over at Okposo Net keeps his short and sweet.

Voice of the Islander Fans is rejoicing, as we all should.

Press Conference

Greg Logan opened up the questioning and peppered Garth with a series of questions. Greg asked Garth – how he felt upon the announcement:

“I had a huge smile, it was a really great moment for both the franchise and the fans. It’s going to be a great day in June”

Greg asked if Garth felt this pick would be a game changer:

“Yes, we are going to get a great player. We will have numerous meetings between now and June to discuss who we should select. I am sure we will have plenty of arguments, but we will go through the process diligently and thorough to make sure we pick the best player”

If you couldn’t tell from Garth’s answers at this point, it was clear that he was not going to give any hint towards the direction he was leaning. I could continue this whole recap but Botta already beat me to the punch (hey, my Fiance called from work – lol)

Charles Wang on Boomer and Carton Tomorrow Morning

Posted by on 14 Apr 2009 | Tagged as: Draft, Lighthouse Project, News

Just a little inside scoop for everyone!

Islanders owner Charles Wang will appear on the Boomer and Carton show which airs on WFAN (660am) tomorrow morning at 9:05am to discuss the Lighthouse Project. Boomer is a great interviewer and has spoken to Charles about the Lighthouse project once before earlier this season. My guess is that Boomer won’t stop at the Lighthouse, being the interview takes place the day after one of the most important draft lotteries in recent Islanders history!

Listen to the Boomer and Carton show on WFAN 660 at 9:05 a.m. tomorrow (April 15) to hear Lighthouse principal Charles Wang talk with Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton.

The day after the draft lottery will be an interesting time for the Islanders owner to discuss the future of the team and the Lighthouse project. Tune in for the update.

The interview, like all of Boomer and Carton’s shows, will be streaming live at http://www.wfan.com/. Look for the ‘listen here’ link.

Okposo and Hillen Assigned to Bridgeport

Posted by on 14 Apr 2009 | Tagged as: General, Roster Moves, Sound Tigers

I tried to get this out a bit sooner, but by now it’s all over the web.

The Islanders have assigned forward Kyle Okposo and defenseman Jack Hillen to their AHL affiliate Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Hillen was on the clear day roster set a few weeks back, and according to Tom Liodice from The Tiger Track, Okposo was he was “in residence” and fit into the roster due to numerous injuries. In any case, Bridgeport’s playoff roster just got that much deeper.

I will touch on this more a little later when I get home from work. Here is the official release:

The New York Islanders have announced today that right wing Kyle Okposo and defenseman Jack Hillen have been reassigned to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League. Both players are scheduled to be in the line-up for the Sound Tigers this weekend when they open up their East Division semifinal series at the Nassau Coliseum versus the Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins. Game One is this Friday night, April 17th at 7:30 PM with Game Two scheduled for Saturday, April 18th at 7:00 PM. Tickets are currently on sale for both games at www.NewYorkIslanders.com.

Okposo played in 65 games for the Islanders this season and scored 18 goals with 21 assists for 39 points. He led all Islanders rookies and finished second on the team overall in scoring and led the team in goals scored. Okposo suited up in 35 games for the Sound Tigers in the 2007-08 season when he made his professional hockey debut and scored nine goals with 19 assists for 28 points. He was drafted in the first round, seventh overall, by the Islanders in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.
Hillen played in 40 games for the Islanders this season scoring one goal with five assists for six points. He also played in 33 games for Bridgeport and scored three goals with 13 assists for 16 points. Hillen led all Sound Tigers defensemen in points per game with an average of 0.52. He was signed by the Islanders has an undrafted free agent on April 1, 2008.

In addition to logging onto www.NewYorkIslanders.com, tickets can also be purchased at the Islanders Team Stores at the Broadway Mall in Hicksville and the Westfield Sunrise Mall in Massapequa, the Nassau Coliseum Box Office, or by calling 1.800.882.ISLES, ext. 1. Ticket prices will range accordingly: $29 for lower VIP center seats, $19 for lower VIP corner and lower VIP end zone seats and $15 for upper bowl 300 level seats.

Draft Lottery Coverage!

Posted by on 14 Apr 2009 | Tagged as: Draft, General

Well folks it’s that time of year again, its time for the Draft Lottery! This is the second year in a row with the potential to pick a franchise player, we know Garth opted to trade down (twice) last year to get Bailey – he seems to be posturing to do something similar this time around – to the dismay of many.

For a taste of the “live action” from last year, check out the post I did on the lottery during the Versus broadcast. It will give you a feel for how they run things (or give you an idea on what changed).

The Islanders finished dead last this year, giving them the best chance at the number one overall or the second overall. They held onto the fifth overall last season and could have drafted Nikota Filatov – the caliber of player this time around is MUCH different. Two of the most talked about players are John Tavares (a true Canadian sniper hyped since the age of 15) and Victor Hedman (a big Sweede who’s a franchise d-man). With each of those players there is no guesswork, they will pan out and make their teams better – many scouts seems to agree on this fact too.

Edit 7:53pm

We have a live thread going on over at Lighthouse Hockey: Draft Lottery – come on by and check it out!

In the past few days both Chris Botta and Greg Logan have put out posts and articles claiming Garth Snow will listen to all offers for his coveted pick.

In the end I am sure the Islanders will come away with a great player and the correct decision will be made. At least tonight we will know one thing; which pick the Hockey Gods want us to have.

Dom and I will will have live coverage tonight over at Lighthouse Hockey so be sure to check that out!

Bridgeport Bloggin’

Posted by on 10 Apr 2009 | Tagged as: Gameday, General, Live Blog, Off Season, Rumors, Sound Tigers

Here’s something new and exciting. Tom Liodice and I are enroute to The Arena at Harbor Yard to catch the Bridgeport Sound Tigers take on the Springfield Falcons.

I have never been up to Bridgeport before, but I have seen the Sound Tigers a bunch – either way it will be a fun experience seeing them from the press box.

My seatmate in 309 – Anthony from Brooklyn – claims the food there is outstanding. Good thing I brought my appetite!

I am going to do my best at blogging during the game – but check out Tom’s live blog as he does it best.

More from the road – a route MANY of the players in the Islanders system have seen a bunch this season.

Update: 6:11pm

Ok, so road updates were pretty much pointless, unless you wanted to know about accidents and traffic on 95. However, Tom and I are now nestled comfortably in the press box here at the Arena at Harbor Yard.

My first impression of the arena was “Wow”. Although smallish, the place is brand spanking new and looks really nice (you know for an AHL arena I guess). I don’t really have anything to compare it to – just to be honest.

Upon arriving, I went and got my media pass and a USB thumb drive containing the game notes and media kit. At the Coliseum, you know – an NHL arena, the game notes are handed out in a very, very thick booklet. They should totally do what they do here for the BST.

As you can see from the picture above, the press box isn’t nearly as high as it would be normally in other arenas – the arena only has one lower bowl and then a level of skyboxes. We are located at the top of the seating area – which would be just a tad higher then where the blog box is located at the Coliseum. The view is really good from here – you still feel as if you are part of the action, although I am having a problem seeing the names on the back of the jerseys. Oh well, that’s what the numbers are for.

Gametime

About to see the Tigers skate out of a gigantic inflatable here – if anyone wants to know where the Islanders introduction video featuring players on a pirate ship went – it’s alive and well in Bridgeport.

Puck has been dropped here, Ryan Duncan is out on the ice for the Sound Tigers – apparently this kid is very talented, despite his listed size of 5’6″.

Sound Tigers get on the board first – Haley from Hennigar. The arena does something nice here, after a home team goal the house lights dim and they have a spotlight on the goalscorer. It was a really nice touch. The goal song – I have to add, is MUCH better than that of the Islanders. There is also something special about a tiger’s growl that does something for the soul.

Watching these future Islanders skate around here – something just occurred to me; this team is GOOD, no – GREAT! It makes you realize that the systems put into place on the Island and here in Bridgeport are really coming into their own. What’s important, at least in my eyes – is how you can plug players into the NHL lineup with relative ease (as we have seen, what – 1000 times?). I think all of the injures the Sound Tigers parent club suffered this year certainly jump started the rebuild process in a way.

7:28pm Tigers were shorthanded, but then Springfield took an offensive zone penalty to even it up, however, Lawson took a retaliatory and the Tigers still find themselves down a man.

7:35pm Lawson just did his best DiPietro impression and got caught out of position due to chasing down a loose puck – the game is all tied up at one a piece.

7:39pm Tigers power play coming up.

End of the first period and the score is still all knotted up at one. It’s been a while since I have seen an AHL game and it’s quite different. The pace is a lot slower than I am used to and it makes it seem like the players have an extra second to make a decision with the puck. It’s evident why players like Tambellini would really flourish here and have a problem adjusting to the NHL.

More after the break. Going to watch Tom do a radio spot.

Second Period

Second period underway here as the teams switch sides – the Tigers have been dominant at times, let’s see if they can keep sustained pressure on the Falcons this period and get the go-ahead goal.

8:04pm Sound Tigers headed back to the power play.

That was quick, Jon Sim pots a rebound in for a power play goal. Sim (16th of the season) from Lee and Iggulden.

8:06pm As I was typing, the Tigers scored again – 3-1 is the score. Lassard from Joensuu and Walter.

8:11pm Tigers shorthanded here – hooking.

And just like that, Springfield fires back and scores on the power play. 3-2 Bridgeport

8:13pm Even though I said I wasn’t going to “live blog” – Bridgeport is headed back on the power play.

8:18pm Abbreviated Bridgeport two man advantage here, which ends right now. Still a man up.

8:20pm Even though the Sound Tigers did not score on either of those power plays, there were TWO golden opportunities lost. The first was a redirection that hit the far side post after it trickled through the crease. The second, a chance on the doorstep that was misfired. Still have good pressure on Springfield at even strength.

8:27pm Callahan with speed breaks through – everyone and from behind the net throw it through traffic to Joensuu who promptly puts it in. Joensuu (20th) from Calahan

4-2 Sound Tigers

8:32pm Clearly the Falcons are playing on their heels as they have taken yet another penalty. Holding.

Well, there was a goal – but this time Springfield has converted on a shorthanded goal after Macdonald lost control of the puck at the Falcons blue line. It was a two on one going back and the perfect pass left Lawson pretty much helpless. 4-3

8:35pm One minute warning – final minute of the period.

Springfield almost stormed back to tie the game – they came close to scoring another shorthanded goal on the same Bridgeport power play. Springfield must have had some talking to by their bench boss, as they certainly responded after taking their latest penalty.

More after the break, going to try to get something to eat quick.

Third Period

Tom and I scoffed down two foot long hotdogs in record time – just to get back to the live action. I will touch on the concourse here in a second.

We are back underway. We were just handed an official attendance report for the evening – 3322 people are present on this rainy Friday – I believe this to be around 1200 less than the typical average for a game if my memory of the game notes is correct.

Back to the concourse – it’s a big difference from what we are used to at the Coliseum. Yes, there are less people – but it’s 50% wider than the old barn. Ingress and egress as well as general movement is a lot easier.

9:03pm Bridgeport is headed back to the power play, maybe this time they wont give up a shorthanded goal?

9:11pm Sound Tigers have taken another penalty, Springfield had pretty good pressure for a good part of the first half of this period too – going to be interesting.

9:19pm As the clock is under the five minute mark in the third period, both teams are playing a bit differently then they were before. Not much real pressure at each end, although there have been a few decent shots – not many scoring chances.

Final minute, empty net Springfield.

Time out Springfield – :37.6 remaining in the third period.

And that’s the game! Final score Bridgeport Soundtigers 4 Springfield Falcons 3

3rd Star: Nathan Lawson BST
2nd Star: Ryan Potulny SF
1st: Jesse Joensuu BST

At least two of the players I voted for were chosen! First time I ever picked the three stars of the game.

Gonna head downstairs tonight for the post game.

Save the Island/Save the Islanders Event

Posted by on 09 Apr 2009 | Tagged as: Lighthouse Project, News

I apologize for getting this out so late today, but I was at work when I received a press release through the Nassau County Legislature regarding a press conference outside the Coliseum this Saturday at 11am. The even will take place in between the Coliseum and the Marriot on the grassy knoll separating the two buildings.

Set to speak at the event (that will feature a GIAGANTIC blow up of the Memorandum of Support) are Nassau County Legislator Dave Denenberg (D-Merrick), John Durso, President of the LI Federation of Labor (AFL-CIO) and Jim Castellane, President of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Nassau and Suffolk Counties – among others.

Here is the official release:

Nassau County Legislator Dave Denenberg (D-Merrick), John Durso, President of the LI Federation of Labor (AFL-CIO) and Jim Castellane, President of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Nassau and Suffolk Counties will co-host a press conference with other elected officials, labor leaders, civic leaders, veterans, residents and Islander fans to demonstrate support for the Lighthouse at Long Island Project. They will add their names to a memorandum of support for the project.

Legislator Denenberg said, “Elected officials, labor, business, community and civic leaders are being asked to show their support for this project. The Lighthouse at Long Island will increase tax revenue, create new jobs and career opportunities, create attractive housing alternatives, grow existing businesses and attract new business to Nassau County. The project will also save the NY Islanders hockey team. The Lighthouse is the most important development in Nassau County since Levittown and is smart growth that Nassau County needs now. This is not the time to sit on the fence; it is the time for real leadership to take a position that this is the right project at the right time for Nassau County.”

If you can make it (hopefully the weather holds) it should be a nice afternoon. Stick around after the game and catch the Islanders take on the Flyers at 2pm. I am going to do my best to get there – but I know the fans and other Islanders bloggers will be there in force.

Tank for Tavares Campaign is OVER

Posted by on 09 Apr 2009 | Tagged as: Gameday, Post Game

With the 6-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight, coupled with a 4-2 Tampa Bay Lightning loss to the Capitals – the Islanders have “clinched” the 30th position and the best shot at the number one pick in the upcoming draft.

The Islanders can win out their final two home games this weekend and still finish with the fewest amount of points – guaranteeing them no worse than the second overall selection, but giving them the best (48.2% chance of picking 1st and a 51.8% chance of picking 2nd – nhlscap.com) chance at landing the number one overall selection in Montreal.

The Draft Lottery is being held up in Toronto next week (Tuesday April 14th) and will be televised on Versus. So Islanders fans, in less than a week – we will know for sure which selection we will receive for all of our pain and suffering this season.

I promise you this much, I want the Isles to absolutely kick the crap out of the Flyers and Bruins this weekend. I am “back” to being an Isles fan first – that’s for sure.

A brief note: There is an extremely GOOD chance that I will be attending the draft again this year in Montreal. I will know more in the next few weeks and be sure to get the news out as soon as I figure out the plan.

From here on out, it’s Tavares, Hedman or BUST!

Edit: As reactions roll in, I will be sure to post links back to those blogs speaking about the same subject.

First “at bat” is Ken Dick over at Okposo Net (Soon to be Tavares Net?). Ken and I were notorious for yelling back at opposing fans whenever they would tell us we were in last place – by saying “Tavares, Tavares”. The other fans, lacking a good comeback – would just say, you’re right.

The boys over at Hockey Night on Long Island have put up their take on securing the 30th position.

Voice of the Islander Fans has his hilariously real take on things as always.

Chris Botta tells us there is “No reason to Vic around” and gives a whole list of reasons why we should announce our intentions to pic Tavares right after learning if we get the number one pick overall right after the announcement of the Lottery next week.

Dee Karl (Aka 7th Woman) gives us her “Unique Perspective” as the she always does – and goes on to say that Garth Snow should just call in sick the day of the lottery – just in case he has any ideas.

James Mirtle goes all statistical on the Isles locking up the best chance at the number one pick and talks about the other teams filling in spots 29-25.

My buddy Dominik over at Lighthouse Hockey presents his case on the Tavares front and then completely blasts picks apart Botta’s PR-esque post in a secondary post.

Gary Harding joins the fray, he gives us his reasons behind why we should draft the one we call JT.

Things are getting interesting, yes?

Hot Headlines – Islesblogger’s Weekly Rundown

Posted by on 09 Apr 2009 | Tagged as: General, Hot Headlines, News, Signings, Sound Tigers

I have no idea why I did not think of this sooner, maybe because I despise gimmicks – but like they say “sex sell” (although this has NOTHING to do with sex, but I digress). I would like to introduce something new to Islesblogger – it’s a weekly feature I call “Hot Headlines“. My goal is to provide you with a recap of the current week’s Islanders related headlines. Sometimes so much stuff happens during a week that I hate having to post a handful of times, especially when the subject has already been spoken about in numerous places around the blogosphere. In the way I play to present it, I will likely link to the original news (press release, newspaper or official team site) and a blog or two – then present my own take. Obviously, there will be times when an announcement or news story will be big enough to warrant it’s own post – but this way all the smaller items can be posted at once – or be recapped in one spot. I plan to speak to Dom over at Lighthouse Hockey, as we are still knocking around ideas on how to implement my content over there too.

Signings

As you may or may not have heard, the Islanders have signed defensive prospect Mark Katic to a three year entry level contract yesterday. Chris Botta had this story exclusively, which as we have come to know – has happened on numerous occasions this season.

Katic is a smallish defenseman (6’0″ and 190lbs) who was 13-41-54 in 63 games this season with Sarnia of the Ontario Hockey League, but with purported offensive upside. Katic will likely join the Bridgeport Sound Tigers for the remainder of their season and playoffs.

My take on Katic: From the little bit of Katic I have read and seen, he is another defenseman who has the potential to fit the mold of the type of d-man who can thrive in Gordon’s system. With Campoli gone to Ottawa, it’s never a bad thing when you can stock up on defensive prospects.

Another signing fresh off the presses, the Islanders TODAY signed another Sarnia product in Justin DiBenedetto to an entry level three year deal. The 6’0″ 200lb DiBenedetto went 45-48-93 in 62 games this season, and finished FOURTH in scoring in the OHL. Once again, Chris Botta broke this news and goes into some detail regarding the player. DiBennedetto will also join the Bridgeport Sound Tigers for the remainder of the season.

My take on DiBenedetto: Drafted in the 6th round of the 2008 entry draft, Justin was a linemate of number one overall draft pick Steve Stamkos on the Sarnia Sting. It was speculated at the time that DB’s great season last year was the result of playing with the OHL powerhouse of Stamkos – but this certainly wasn’t exactly the case being he had another terrific season. When Tom Liodice and I were at the draft last year in Ottawa and DiBennedetto’s name was announced – I remember having this exact discussion. It should be interesting to see how this player can perform at a higher level with some other skilled players.

Doug Weight was signed to a contract extension earlier in the week and I posted what I had thought about it as it happened. Since then, news has trickled out and there have been a great deal of quotes from Weight since then that have only made my opinion that much stronger.

Such as these from Greg Logan’s blog:

“I’m old school maybe to a fault, but I believe in having a team that does everything together, a team that will do anything for each other and just wants to succeed for each other,” said Weight, who has demonstrated vividly since his return to the lineup just how feisty a 38-year-old guy can be. “I think we’re building that here, and we’re getting past the cliché of the ‘young team’ and a ‘youth movement.’

“These are really good people, good guys that I really enjoy even in my old age. You know, I’ve got the wrong music playing in my car and I can’t stay out as late as they can, but it’s fun. You’ve got a guy like Kyle [Okposo], the way he’s played, and we’re going to get a key draft pick. We’ll see about the health of Ricky [DiPietro], and hopefully, we can turn things around that way. We’ve had some good play.

“Obviously, Mark [Streit] has been unbelievable. We’ve got one of the four or five best defensemen in the world on our team that can log minutes. That’s a strong opinion, but I’ve played with a lot of the best. I think we build around him, and we’re going to be a balanced team and I think we can be a playoff team.”

(*Emphasis added)

Injuries

Last week at home the Islanders lost one of their brighest stars this season in Kyle Okposo to a groin strain – it’s unlikely he will finish out 2008/2009 and with that, the potential to reach the 20 goal plateau.

Near the end of last week, Islanders forward Andy Hilbert suffered injured ribs and has been out ever since. Hilbert is a key minute cruncher and his strong presence on the penalty kill was sorely noticed during the 9-0 romping the Islanders received on Tuesday in Carolina. It’s just another tally in the long, long, long list of injuries suffered by this team in 2008/2009.

In other injury news (yea, there is more) forward Blake Comeau was lost after the first period in Carolina – the injury? A fractured wrist. Prognosis: Blake will miss the remainder of the season and likely will not be sent down to Bridgeport to help in their playoff games. Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse at this point….

Healed Injuries

In the past week, we have seen the return of three injured players: Doug Weight (multiple injuries, knee most notably), Sean Bergenheim (groin) and Mark Streit (groin). Two of the three players returned for the Carolina game and played significant minutes – obviously they were a step off – we will leave it at that.

Ex-Isled Bill Guerin talks Isles with Greg Logan

Greg Logan caught up with the recently departed ex-Islander and former captain Bill Guerin and got a beauty of a quote from him:

Guerin was pleased that close friend Doug Weight signed a one-year extension for $2 million with the Isles. “He likes playing there, he’s great with the young guys on the team, and they need somebody like him,” Guerin said. “He doesn’t want to move his family again.”

Occasionally, Guerin watches an Isles game, and he’s seen improvement, mentioning forwards Kyle Okposo, Josh Bailey, Blake Comeau and defenseman Mark Streit as key pieces. Asked if he thinks they can turn it around anytime soon, especially if they draft goal scorer John Tavares, Guerin hesitated.

“Well, I don’t know the Tavares kid,” he said. “I don’t think he’s like Sid . . . If Ricky gets healthy and if they can get another guy on the back end, I don’t think they’re that far off. I don’t.”

Bill Guerin was a consummate and passionate captain for the New York Islanders – he was the first captain with a backbone for this organization in a long, long time. He brought respect to this organization at a level that it sorely needed, perhaps it jump started the rebuild in a sense. I am glad that the split was amicable and that he has no ill feelings – we need all the good talk from veterans as we can. Spread the word Billy, spread the word.

Scott Gordon named Team USA assistant

Again, this was something I touched on briefly this week, but Greg Logan and Chris Botta go into it in further detail. You can check out those articles here, here and here.

The Tampa Watch

Tonight is a tough night as a hockey fan, if Tampa gains points in Washinton – they cannot “clinch” the 30th spot. If the Islanders win tonight and Tampa loses – they make things that much tougher for themselves and the “best chance” at the number one draft pick – and John Tavares.

Current standings:

29: 66 pts 2 games remaining
30: 61 pts 3 games remaining

Watch the score live:

Doug Weight Signed to One Year Extension

Posted by on 07 Apr 2009 | Tagged as: General, News, Roster Moves, Signings

Got some breaking news!

The Islanders have just announced that they have signed veteran forward Doug Weight to a one year contract extension.

Per the Islanders official press release:

The Islanders have signed center Doug Weight to a one-year contract extension.

In his first season with the Islanders, Weight is third on the team in scoring with nine goals and 26 assists for 35 points despite missing 29 games due to injury.

Weight originally signed with the Islanders as an unrestricted free agent on July 2, 2008. The contract runs through the 2009-10 season. “Long Island has been a wonderful place for me and my family,” Weight said. “It was an easy decision to come back for another season. The Islanders have been a first-class organization and I’m looking forward to helping our team continue its development into a contender.”

Weight is a four-time NHL All-Star and won a Stanley Cup with Carolina in 2005-06 and was an Olympic Silver Medalist with the United States in 2002. Weight has played in 1,180 games and has scored 274 goals and 730 assists for 1,004 points in 17 NHL seasons. He recorded his 1,000th NHL point on January 2nd, 2009 at Phoenix and became the eighth American-born player and 73rd NHL player to reach that plateau. Weight is also one of 45 all-time NHL players, and one of four American-born hockey players, to have recorded at least 200 goals and 700 assists in their careers In addition to the 2002 team, Weight also played on the 1998 United States Olympic Team and represented the United States in the World Cup of Hockey in 1996 and 2004. A native of Warren, Michigan, Weight played collegiate hockey for two years with Lake Superior State University from 1989 to 1991. After the 1990-91 season, Weight was named to the CCHA First All-Star Team and the NCAA’s West Second All-American Team.

I know I have been a big Doug Weight fan this season from the moment I interviewed him at his introduction over the summer. Weight came to the Islanders looking to prove he could still be a force in this young mans game. He proved he can and then some.

Weight has been an important mentor and leader for this young Islanders club, I am estatic he was signed prior to the end of the season. This was a very good move by Garth Snow!

Scott Gordon to Serve as Assistant Team USA Worlds Coach?

Posted by on 06 Apr 2009 | Tagged as: General, News

Edit: Chris Botta, as always – received clarification on this story and Gordon will be an assistant for the World Championships. Even still, it’s a great honor to be included in any aspect regarding world play. PS, I never corrected the daylight savings time – so I corrected the post to read 3:18pm instead of 2:18.

Just came across a video clip on CBC that discusses Islanders head coach Scott Gordon as a potential assistant coach for Team USA for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. It should be announced officially shortly.

Good for Gordo!

Here is the link to the video: CBC Hockey Night Online 4/6/09

Also regarding the 2010 Team USA roster, Greg Logan has a post up this afternoon pertaining to Kyle Okposo as a candidate for Team USA.

Interesting development, both individuals would certainly benefit from some Olympic experience for their home country!

Tampa Limps Into Town, Isles Recall Five

Posted by on 04 Apr 2009 | Tagged as: Call Ups, Gameday, Injuries

Well here we are, three home games and six games overall remaining in the race for Tavares last stretch of the season. Tampa, having only six points on the Islanders before last night, lost in overtime to the Devils and gained a point in the standings – giving us a seven point cushion. It is certainly imperative that we do not win tonight as the Lightning have a pretty tough schedule to finish out their season. I am sorry to say that (about gaining very few points from here on out) and I know I will continue to catch hell for it, I just feel it’s more important than a feel good win at this juncture. The other team to watch (and root for) is the Colorado Avalanche who have not won many games in the year 2009. Colorado has 64 points, they are more of a threat to the Isles than Tampa and also have a tough schedule for their remaining games – it will be a tight three-way race for the 30th overall position in the NHL this season.

The Lightning have come to town without their scoring prowess and captain in Vincent Lecavalier, the Islanders are another team with a ridiculous amount of many injuries and have recalled five from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers for tonight’s game. In the latest string of injuries, Mark Streit and Kyle Okposo each suffered groin injuries, Dean MacAmmond is out with what is described as “an illness” and Andy Hilbert suffered a rib injury against Montreal on Thursday. Taking their places – Mitch Fritz, Mike Iggulden, Jesse Joensuu and Joel Rechlicz and defenseman Jamie Fraser. Here is the official Islanders press release that came into my inbox about 40 minutes ago:

The New York Islanders have recalled forwards Mitch Fritz, Mike Iggulden, Jesse Joensuu and Joel Rechlicz and defenseman Jamie Fraser from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League on an emergency basis. All five will be in the Islanders’ lineup tonight when they take the ice against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Fraser will make his NHL debut, marking the 12th Islander to appear in his first career game this season. The 23-year-old Sarnia native has played in 63 games with Bridgeport this season, recording seven goals and 13 assists for 20 points and 28 penalty minutes. He also ranks fourth on the team with a +12 plus/minus rating. Fraser was signed by the Islanders as an undrafted free agent on December 30, 2006.

Fritz, Joensuu and Rechlicz all made their NHL debuts earlier this season. Iggulden had appeared in one game prior to 2008-09, but made his debut as an Islander on March 7th against New Jersey.

Fritz has played in 16 games with the Islanders, recording 33 penalty minutes. In 36 contests with Bridgeport, he has two assists and 58 penalty minutes. He made his NHL debut on October 30th at Philadelphia.

Iggulden has appeared in nine games with the Islanders, recording one goal and four assists for five points. He currently leads Bridgeport with 60 points (23 goals, 37 assists) in 69 contests this season.

Joensuu has played in four games with the Islanders, scoring his first NHL goal in his first game on March 2nd versus Colorado. In 68 games with Bridgeport, he has 19 goals and 17 assists for 36 points and a team-leading +21 rating.

Rechlicz made his NHL debut on March 5th versus the New York Rangers and recorded an assist for his first point. He has appeared in 12 games with the Islanders, recording 44 penalty minutes. He has also played in four games with Bridgeport recording 12 penalty minutes in addition to playing in 45 games with the Utah Grizzlies of the ECHL recording one assist and 110 penalty minutes.

Some stats per Newsday’s Greg Logan on the debute of Jamie Fraser: “After a recount and the addition of Fraser, the accurate numbers are 12 players making their NHL debuts and 16 rookies who have played [this season.]”

Twelve players making their NHL DEBUT and 16 rookies total suiting up for the Islanders? When Garth Snow proclaimed over the summer that this was the chance to see what prospects the team had in their system, I really doubt he had this in mind. Injuries aside, do you feel that this years Islanders team could have done something different if their actual team was able to grow and learn under the tutelage of Scott Gordon?

I don’t think it would have made much of a difference, it could have meant that we would have seen more veteran players shipped out in order to make room for prospects down the stretch. Sure, the team would have been able to gel a bit and learn the system and build chemistry, but I did not see them getting farther than the 8th seed and a early playoff exit. At least now that the injury situation has “happened”, the team will bear the fruits of an extremely deep and important draft – perhaps one of the most important in franchise history.

This is a saga that will be extremely interesting to see how it plays out and tonight’s episode is certainly a key juncture in what happens at the upcoming draft lottery.

Live Tracker

Here is the live tracker for tonight’s game, I will be bouncing around the Coliseum as always. Be sure to follow me on Twitter for updates or the occasional photo.

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