Friday, November 27, 2009

Good Old Fashioned Barn Hockey!!

Tonight I took the family to see some good old-fashioned AHL hockey. We went to the Glen's Falls Civic Center in the Adirondack mountains and saw the Adirondack Phantoms v. Hershey Bears. This is old-school, drop the gloves, grind it out in the corners hockey. Saw 5 goals and 3 fights. Typical AHL game.

One observation did come as a surprise to me -- if this was an NHL game there would have been about 25-30 additional penalties called. The tripping, clutching & grabbing, kneeing, high-sticking, roughing, and interference that went on in this game was mind-boggling! How do these guys expect to play in the NHL if they perfect their game with this style of play. It's madness. Now before you go accusing me of being all sissy-like and into a more European-style game - think again. I think they call too much in the NHL these days - it's almost like you can't even brush up against a guy sometimes without having the referee raise his arm. I grew up watching the Isles of the late 70's into the 80's -- back when every team had a roster spot filled by a resident goon. So I am not adverse to fights and physical play. It's just that this game was ridiculous.

Anyway -- what really made me happy was that hockey returned to Glen's Falls!!! My family has been going to the Glen's Falls/Adirondacks for 35+ years and I used to go see the Red Wings, and then the Frostbite. So I was saddened when the town was without a team for a few years. So while the quality of the play was sloppy and undisciplined, I was glad to see that they were at least playing hockey again in the Civic Center.


I Can See the Future

My ability to look into the future is getting SCARY!
First - I talked about needing the D-men to step up & score and then Witt nets a pair and Hillen, Streit, and Sutton start collecting points. Then I said Bergie needs to step up his game and all of a sudden he finds his name on the scoring sheet and handful of times over the past week and a half.

Last post I talked about how Tambellini & Bailey need and deserve more ice time while Sim should take a seat. Next thing you know, Tambs nets another one and Bailey has points in 4 of the last 5 games. Like I said, these guys need to PLAY and play more than 8-10 minutes a game.

They are still having a hard time holding 3rd period leads; however, they have started to show improvement. They have made significant improvement over last year in their ability to collect points - but they still have a way to go.

Rollie did another nice job in net and I think its becoming obvious that he is now (or should be) the number one and Biron is number two (and on occasion has played like number two). It will be interesting to see what happens when Ricky comes back. He participated in a full practice this week so his return appears to be right around the corner.

One last thing -- no doubts anymore - Tavares belongs at this level and continues to produce.

Next up: As promised, first quarter report card.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I am Mystified

I am mystified about a few things:

1) Why Gordon continues to tinker with the top line of Tavares, Okposo, and Moulson. Last game, Okposo was on a different line again. Now I've heard - on one occasion - that the reason for the line-juggling is to distribute the scoring and maybe help someone else get going. Rubbish! If it ain't broke - don't monkey around with it. That line has been SUPER productive - why screw with a good thing? I just don't get it.

2) Why Sim continues to play and Tambellini, Schremp, and even Bailey take turns on the bench. Oh yeah, I get it -- Sim tries hard. So f**king what! I try hard too - but RESULTS are what matters. Sim has played 18 games and has 3 points (including 1 lousy goal). Tambs has played 5 less games and has 9 points (including 6 goals); Bailey has played the same number of games and has twice the number of points (including 3 times as many goals); and Schremp, who has played a mere 8 games has pretty much the same output as Sim. Keep in mind, Schremp gets less than 10 minutes a game and gets put on the 3rd or 4th line. Bailey has not been playing with guys that hit the back of the net too often and has little PP time. Tambellini finally finds some confidence in his game and he gets benched. I just don't get it. As I said - I understand that Sim tries hard, he skates his ass off (mind you he is still slower than Schremp & Tambs - even if they were going half speed) -- but the fact remains -- he just isn't being productive.

3) Why this team continues to give up leads in the 3rd period. OK - one kudo - unlike last year they have come back on a few occasions too -- but they just seem unable to hold a lead.

4) Gervais has been underwhelming. He made a pathetic pass the other night from behind his own net that resulted in a turn-over and then a goal. He's been getting some PP minutes and is pointless. He only has 3 assists so far. I think the Isles need to acknowledge that he is never going to be more than a 5th or 6th defensemen.

Now -- a few observations:
The Isles need to try to get as much for Biron as possible before he makes himself less valuable by giving up soft goals like he did against Carolina or gets hurt. Let Roloson play a few more games and bring up a goalie from Bridgeport to keep the pipes warm until Ricky is ready to return. It's not like Biron has been blowing people away.

One last note --- 10 of the first 20 games have gone to OT. That is higher than any other team. Imagine if a few of those games went the other way? They are not as bad as some people may think. But Gordon needs to keep the first line together -- let those guys grow, develop & mature as a unit. He also needs to give Tambellini & Schremp some REAL ice time - not that 8-10 minute crap on the 4th line. And let them play for 6-7 games, not 1-2 and then back to the press-box. As I said, the Isles are going anywhere because Jon Sim is getting ice time so it really doesn't hurt them to let him play it out a Bridgport, the pressbox, or trade him somewhere.

Net up: One quarter of the season is complete: Some grades & assessments are coming:

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Spreading the Wealth

Isles finally stopped relying on the combo of Tavares, Okposo & Moulson to do all of their scoring. Nice spreading the goal scoring around in the game against Atlanta the other night. Six goals from 6 different players. Plus - six goals is their most potent output so far this year.

And... I am feeling a little prophetic again. As I mentioned in my previous post - the Isles need their defensemen to step it up a little and they need Bergie to get started. Just like that... viola! Hillen and Sutton hit the back of the net and Bergie gets off the snide with a goal. I am happy for Bergenheim b/c he has been working hard every shift and has come close a bunch of times. This might be what he needs to boost the confidence & put a few more in the net.

Nice to see Comeau get his first and Bailey to tally his third. If the Isles are going to go anywhere this year --- and FYI, I still think that's unlikely --- they are going to need more production from their 2d and 3d lines and from the blueline.

One more pat on my own back --- I've said it for 2 years now -- Martinek is FRAGILE and will NEVER play a full season in the NHL. And now with his torn ACL he is out for the year. That will give Freddy Meyer & Hillen a chance to crack the lineup more often. Despite the fact that I don't drink the Radek Martinek Kool Aid that Scott Gordon or other front office people drink - I do think they will miss his defense when they play Pitt and Wash and he won't be out there to shadow Crosby & Ovechkin. Someone else will have to step it up and take on this role.

Now the team is off on a long and grueling road trip. Twelve of the next 14 games - between now and December 9th - will be road games. This, I regret to say, is when the Isles will get exposed for the mediocre team that they really are. If they play anything NEAR 0.500 hockey during this stretch it has to be viewed as a miracle. Next opponent is the Caps on Wednesday -- the first test of the Martinek-less Isles and the question will arise - "who covers Ovechkin?" My guess is it will be a forward (like a Richard Park) since I don't really see any of the remaining D-men as being a good fit for the job.

Next up: How the Martinek & Cam Ward injuries impact the Isles trade strategy.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Election Day

Tomorrow is ELECTION DAY here on LI. One important race is for the Town of Hempstead Supervisor. The candidates -- (on the bottom) democratic challenger Kristin McElroy and (on the top) the incumbent Republican Kate Murray.

This could be an important vote for the future of the Islanders. While normally I'd be a supporter of Murray (I am more conservative) - I can't help but think her stubborn and personally venomous approach to the Lighthouse project is detrimental to not just the Isles, but to LI as well. Think of the jobs that project would bring to LI. It would also create a real, substantial, and professional cultural center for LI sports and the arts.

So -- Town of Hempstead residents -- the future of the Isles appears to rest in your voting hands tomorrow. I won't tell you who to vote for ---- I think this is one of the rare circumstances where we actually know an awful lot about a very local candidate.

Get out & VOTE!
Let's go Isles.


I haven't blogged in a LONG time -- but now I am back.
Since I've been gone the Isles drafted Tavares, traded up & picked DeHaan, and then picked 2 goalies (one is the Finnish version of Shrek). The Lighthouse project has gone through more drama than Lindsay Lohan, the Isles got off to a slow start and Tavares impressed early.

OK - now that we're up to date -- let's talk 2009-2010 hockey.
Isles are playing Edmonton tonight and are on a 3-game winning - beating some impressive opponents (NYR, Caps, and Buffalo). Plus - their 2 previous games they lost in OT so they still got points. One nice, additional part of the recent surge is the emergence of Jeff Tambellini. Five quick goals - including the trick against Buffalo.

Don't think this streak will last. Isles are still an average team at best - but they do have a bright future. The line of Tavares, Okposo, and Moulson is electric. Ok enough of the happy talk.

Two glaring areas of weakness are (1) consistent net-minding and (2) offensive production from the blueline and Bergenheim. Let's look at them briefly, one at a time.

Netminding: we all know that Roloson is a one-year stop-gap with the idea that Ricky returns to form and can share time with Biron. But Biron has been the subject of trade rumors and the Finnish Mount Rushmore the Isles drafted just had hip surgery (sounds like DP). So what originally looked like an area of strength could become suspect in a hurry. Plus, while Roloson & Biron have played steady, they have not sparkled.

Defense: Let's face it -- Witt's days look like they are numbered. Now those of you that have read this blog know I am a HUGE Brendan Witt fan. That being said - he looke slow and is often unable to keep up with Gordon's face-paced approach. Gervais, Meyer, and Hillen have been invisible on the offensive side of the puck. Sutton has been surprisingly active and Martinek has a pair. Streit's off to a slow start. Look for the Isles to move 1 or more defensemen before the deadline and bring up one or 2 of their youg guys (I hope for DeHaan who was the leading scorer among defensemen during the preseason).

One last rant - and I will repeat this ALL season no matter what points he puts up: THERE IS NO REASON WHY JON SIM IS PLAYING ON THIS TEAM. I don't care if Comeau or Schremp skate in circles with their sticks up their asses - they will still be more effective than Sim. Last season my regular target was Hilbert - and thankfully he is GONE (although I must confess I still get nauseous when I see number 11 on the ice - and then I remember its now Nate Thompson). This season - the bulls-eye is on Sim.

Now, on to tonight's game against Edm: Isles don't seem to have the same jump - lots of action in their own end and not a lot of crisp passing. Finally - 3/4 of the way through the period Tavares buries one off a nice feed from Moulson to tie the score at 1 a piece. Now - just when I started bitching about the defense not scoring, and Witt being slow --- guess what? Brendan Witt puts one in the net about 4 minutes into the period!!! Look out - Witt scored -- next is a plague of locusts and the Apocalypse!!

I am beginning to feel like a prophet! First Witt - next Sim. NO - he didn't score - don't be ridiculous - I said I've been prophetic not a miracle-worker. But he did just make me actually laugh out loud (and those of you that know my grumpy ass know that rarely happens). He blocked a shot with his hand (ouch), he lost his stick so he started a shoving match with the guy that shot the puck. They drift toward center ice jawing at each other - then Sim makes like he's going to drop his gloves, the other guy drops his stick & gloves and Sim skates off the ice leaving the guy unprepared to get into the action b/c he has no stick or gloves. Isles have picked it up a little but have also had a few defensive lapses that Roloson & the post have bailed them out of.

OK - this is getting scary!! I am going to play LOTTO tonight. Brendan Witt just scored his 2d goal. No, that is NOT a typo and I am not high. That's right - Witter with his 2d of the game & 2d of the season. If he gets a hat-trick I know the world is ending! He just got 1/10th of his CAREER output in one night. Witt has 23 career goals and never scored more than 3 in a season (he did that 3 times) and has never had more than 14 pts (he averages 7 pts a year). Maybe Bergenheim is next?

OK -- end of 2 periods - 3-1 Isles. Fans are happy - they get chili!!
Gotta hope they don't repeat the 3rd period collapses from earlier in the season and that they keep the pressure on and maybe put 1 or 2 more in the net.

OK -- about 8 minutes to go in the 3rd -- it's still 3-1. Isles just finished a PP and had some chances but couldn't convert. Hopefully a quick - happy re-cap later.

Next up:
Election Night on LI

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Rumors, Rumors, and More Rumors

OK - Isles win the lottery and immediately the rumor mill starts a-churnin!
Here is a small sampling of the things I've heard.

Rumor 1:
Isles send their 1st round pick from San Jose, one or two of their 2d round picks this year, their first round pick for 2010, and Sean Bergenheim to Colorado or Tampa for the 2d or 3d overall pick. I think this deal seems a little LIGHT on the Isles end. This would effectively give them 2 of the three top players from the list of Tavares, Hedmen, or Duchesne. I think this is highly unlikely.

Rumor 2:

Isles swap 2009 1st round picks with Tampa and Isles also get Lecavalier. Thus, Isles get either Tavares or Hedmen (whoever Tampa doesn't pick) and Vinny. While I have no idea if this is likely or not - I would say it doesn't sound awful. Lecavalier is only 29 and has averaged 30+ goals and somewhere between 60 -100 points. I think if the Isles were sure that Tampa would select Hedmen then I'd be happier about the deal. That being said, if Tampa wants Hedmen and if they think the Isles are focusing on Tavares, then I have no idea why they would make this deal.

Rumor 3:

I've rumblings that Isles are considering moving down to the 3rd pick from Colorado to take Duchesne and that they would get additional picks from Colorado. This would mesh with the previous strategy of stockpiling picks and their has been some "experts" who say Duchesne is moving up the charts and some place him equal to or better than Tavares. Not sure I agree with that -- but at least this deal seems less crazy than last year's drop from pick 5 to pick 9.

There are others -- but they start to really drift into the crazy zone. Interesting point made by another blogger -- Isles are running a contest of "you be the GM and state who you think the Isles would pick" and that since it is likely that the overwhelming fan response would be to take Tavares that the Isles would then be foolish to piss-off their fans by going a different direction. Why run the contest - which is essentially a Tavares popularity contest - if you aren't going to pick him?

I'd be interested to hear if any of you have heard other rumors -- or have proposals to offer up. Send them in.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Isles WIN the Lottery !!!!!

Isles get a little bit of luck and win the 1st pick over all in the 2009 draft. Ken Morrow was at the lottery on behalf of the Isles and would not commit to who the Isles would select with the first overall pick. Some people (bloggers too) have suggested that the Isles should commit right away to Tavares - to give the fans something to cheer about and to show a commitment to Tavares. I disagree.

JT is still playing hockey - as is Hedman. Who knows what could happen over the next 7-8 weeks. I think the Isles should remain a little coy about what they plan to do. Everyone knows they have the pick --- but if they don't tip their hand about their intentions - then who knows what could happen over the next several weeks or on draft day itself. Now I am not suggesting that Garth entertain trade offers for the pick. Unless you are giving me Ovechkin or Kovalchuk I wouldn't bother picking up the phone. But keeping everyone in the dark can impact other trades if the Isles do try to move their other 1st rounder up higher.

Who knows. I just think if you don't have to tip your hand -- then don't.

Regardless -- this is a GREAT day for the Isles, a GREAT day for the fans, a GREAT day for Long Island - and let's hope another GREAT day in the progress of the Lighthouse.

FYI -- in his interview on Versus -- JT did have some nice things to say about the Isles - called them a historic franchise. Of course he'd be foolish to say anything other than nice things.

Let's hope its TAVARES.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Isles Make Flyers EARN It

Isles continue to impress with another great effort tonight against the Flyers. A small blip during the first 10 minutes of the 3rd period (when they collapsed & gave up 3 quick goals) -- but unlike earlier in the season when they would have just rolled over and faded away -- the Isles fought hard, got the tying goal, and took the Flyers to overtime. It was impressive to see them battle back and tie it up. And the physical play tonight was awesome. Give Doug Weight an extension --- he set the tone when he jumped to the defense of Nate Thompson about 4 minutes into the game. The Isles played like a team battling for a playoff spot - not the first slot in the draft. That is, at least until the shoot out.

Then the Isles gift-wrapped the extra point. Look - I believe in rewarding guys for hard work - and I am a big fan of Brendan Witt, but there really wasn't a person in the building who thought Witt had a good chance of scoring on the shoot out tonight. Wouldn't it have been great if he did!! And while Streit is the team's leading point man -- he's not really known for his breakaway skills. Personally, I think Streit should have taken it a few strides inside the blue line and then let a slap shot rip.

While Isles may be a last place team - they have played with HEART and with passion all season. 25 of the Isles 41 losses this season have been by a mere ONE goal. That is 62.5% of their losses -- so they have rarely been blown out and seem to be in most games.

One last parting comment before turning in for the night. The new goal song SUCKS. It is the worst piece of crap -- it has no beat, the fans are utterly confused, there is not rhythm to help with figuring when to shout "HEY" and there is NO opportunity to yell "YOU SUCK" after the "hey." I think they need to play something that is much more fan friendly.

Good game tonight boys.
Next up: Roster for 2009-2010.

Looks Like They Can Play with the Big Boys

"Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning." (Ben Franklin)

Those young, talented, and hardworking Isles showed that they can play with the big boys. Last night's 2-0 victory over one of the best teams in the NHL was very impressive. Joey MacDonald's shutout was his best performance of the season. He made two TREMENDOUS saves that kept the Isles in the game and gave the young guys time to put a few in the net. Again - the players of the future - Neilsen & Bailey (and even Okposo and Jackman with the assists) were the guys that came through for the Isles. They didn't just beat perennial powerhouse Detroit -- they outplayed, outworked, and out hustled them. This was one of the best efforts of the season all around and maybe provides a little window or glimpse into the future.

There were very few things to complain about -- with the exception of spending a little too much time in the penalty box early in the game. But the penalty-kill unit came through. All throughout the game the Isles aggressive forecheck led to turnovers and poor choices on the part of the Wings. They seemed unable to adjust to the Isles aggressive attack.

Let's see if they can keep it up tonight against the Broad-Street Bullies.

Next up: I promised - evaluation of the roster for next season.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Going Wild

Live from the Coli -- Isles v. Wild (although a big part of me still wants to call them the North Stars -- yes, showing my age). On that point -- the Wild is really a stupid name. Wild what? It makes no sense to me -- but then again, lots of other sports teams have stupid names -- take the Rangers -- then again, everything about the Rangers is stupid.

I digress. Anyway - end of one and the score is 2-1 Minnesota. Isles played a spirited first period and started out strong, then in the last 7-8 minutes they got a little sloppy, spent some time in the penalty box, and paid the price. Minnesota got a last minute goal to take the lead into the dressing room.

Let's talk about something that really matters --- like how unprofessional and silly Kate Murray is being with the Lighthouse Project. Let's see - the economy is in the toilet, people are losing their jobs, the Isles are in integral part of LI's identity and are the only local professional sports team, and she is playing petty and semantics (i.e., I said they could renovate the Coliseum, just not re-develop the whole site), letting her ego and pride stand in the way of an economic boon to the local job market & economy (i.e., not answering the public's questions and just avoiding any appearances to discuss the issue like the public servant she is supposed to be). Nassau voters --- I hope you are all paying attention to this poor excuse for leadership when she comes up for re-election. Real leaders -- one's who understand economic re-development -- would understand that the Lighthouse Project NEEDS to be looked at as a whole - not a piecemeal patchwork job. That is not how sane, professional, environmentally friendly and rational redevelopment occurs.

Back to the game -- Let's hope the Isles come back and the game is 4-4 late in the 3rd, we go to OT and the Isles lose. This way they put some pucks in the net, get a point, keep the fans interested, and don't do anything to screw up the race to the bottom (a/k/a - the first pick).

In the 2d period ---- Heavyweight bout at about 7 min into 2d period -- Witt goes a few rounds with Sheppard. Mostly a draw although Witt did land 1 or 2 nice pounds to Sheppard's head. Game has gotten really physical. End of the second -- Isles down 3-1.

Third period -- the wheels come off the wagon & the Isles look bad. Sloppy play, stupid penalties, lazy passes, and running around in their own end. It will cost them. Game ends badly. Final score - 6-2 Minnesota. Hilbert with a garbage goal. Hope that doesn't do anything to solidify his roster spot next season.

Quick question for all you readers --- assuming the Isles get the first pick --- is there any package from another team (players, other picks) if you were Isle's GM, that may make you consider trading the first overall pick? Of course - you gotta suggest something rational -- nothing like Ovechkin for the first overall pick because that just isn't happening. Washington never makes that deal - so don't even suggest it.

Let's see what you can come up with.

Next up -- looking at roster slots for next season

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Hey Guys -- Please Don't Try Too Hard

"Why then, can one desire too much of a good thing?" (Shakespeare)

Take it easy boys! I know we want, or desire, that the Isles young guys show improvement, development, that they belong in the show, and that we have something to hope for over the next few years. But please don't try so hard. It may sound CRAZY to say that -- but over the last 8 games, the Isles have played some of their best hockey of the season. That could be a problem for those of us that have bought into the "rebuilding" plan and those of us that are hoping that one of the foundation blocks to that rebuild is named John Tavares.

As of the writing of this post - the Isles were still 5 pts ahead in the race to the bottom (a/k/a - the first pick in the draft). But... if they keep playing this good - they could blow it and end up missing out on Tavares/Hedman lottery. As it is, even finishing dead last is not guarantee (the last place team has approximately a 48% chance of getting the first pick). So nothing is guaranteed here. But the likelihood of winning the draft lottery plummets the further away from the #1 position you land. I agree with some of my blogging comrades that it would be tremendous for the organization (and pretty good for the Lighthouse project) if the Isles got the first pick. They desperately need something to go their way. I also agree that losing the first pick could be devastating for the team. I know Garth would disagree ---- but Garth doesn't have to shell out several grand for season tickets like I do -- and I, like a lot of fans, are a little tired of putting our money where our mouth is and then getting our teeth knocked out by the lousy product that has been on the ice for several years now.

Most of us (me included) have been willing to give the team the benefit of the doubt this year - knowing it is in the rebuilding phase - and giving Garth a break. But we do need to see progress and results - and getting the #1 pick would be a huge boost to fan confidence.

So -- keep playing hard guys. Just hard enough to pick up an occasional point and not embarrass yourselves, but not hard enough to blow the lottery. I know that many people think that is not the right thing to say. Screw-em. I want a superstar, a dynamic scorer - something we haven't seen in an Isles uniform in years. I want another legitimate reason for getting excited about going to the games.

Next up: Decision time for Season Tickets.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Young Guns Emerge

"Leadership can be thought of as a capacity to define oneself to others in a way that clarifies and expands a vision of the future." (Edwin H. Friedman)

The Isles have looked like a completely different team the last few games. Hanging in tough against the Rangers, then kicking the Devils' asses and beating the Coyotes over the last 4 days. It has been a pleasure to watch this collection of "young guns" play. A few more games like this and other teams will have to start taking notice. All ye doubters of the "rebuild plan" and the commitment to playing the younger guys may soon have to eat some crow.

The spark, consistent physical play, offensive creativity & results have all contributed to a very positive outlook for the Isles for the future -- particularly since it is all coming from the likes of Okposo, Bailey, Comeau, Tambellini, Neilsen, Bergenheim, and even Joensuu and Iggulden. With the ankle injury to Hunter -- it now looks like the Isles will be comprised of primarily the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

With the departure of Guerin - Gordon is also faced with an interesting dilemma. Who will be the next captain? Some point to Witt (I cannot say this is a bad choice) and Park (I can say this is a ridiculous choice) or one of the other veterans. That may seem like the logical thing to do --- however there is no denying that this team is now "the young guys' team" and as such - I think one of the young guys should be considered for the captaincy. But not just any young guy as clearly some have not truly established themselves yet. Playing well for a handful of games does not a season, a career, or a slot as a captain make!

But I think a very good case could be made for Okposo. He has clearly led by example with his tough physical play, his creativity & puck-handling, his consistent all-out skating when on the ice, and of course - he is also PRODUCING. I think it is important to have a leader, a captain, to whom the team can turn for "results" and production when the going gets tough. The Isles don't have a sniper or a natural goal-scorer - but they do have a consistent point generator in Okposo.

So what do you say Gordie -- give Okposo some consideration when the decision is made about whose sweater will have the "C" stitched into the chest.

Next up: Success is nice -- just not too much success.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Update on Former Isles

Quick footnote to the Isles recent trades:

Last night - Comrie had a goal & assist and Campoli also scored for Ottawa.
Guerin had an assist on Sidney Crosby's goal for Pittsburgh.

Meanwhile - the Isles picks did nothing in the game against the Rangers.
I'll keep you posted on how Mr. 1st round (for Campoli) and Mr. 5th (but possibly a 4th or 3rd) rounder (for Guerin) do for the Isles in the last 18 games.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Ranger Fans are A-holes

I just got back a short while ago from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (oops, I mean Isles) v. Rangers game. Sound Tigers lost 4-2.

Despite the loss - it was a good game for the Isles. Not so impressive for the blueshirts. BTW -- Ranger fans are truly A-holes. I guess they should be overjoyed that they squeaked out a win against a team that is essentially a minor league club. Rangers were out-shot, out-hit, and quite honestly, out worked tonight. They got a few lucky breaks (Martinek's tip-in into his own net; and the McAmmond/Hilbert collision that resulted in a 3-1 rush) and really didn't do too much on even strength. In fact, 2 of their goals were with the man advantage against a penalty killing unit with guys that have less than a year of NHL experience. Nothing to brag about.

Rangers fans (because along with being A-holes they are also incredibly stupid) will assume my rant is the result of sour grapes. Nothing could be further from the truth. If the Rangers were my team (then I'd also be a loser & I'd suck on the end of a hose hooked up to a car's exhaust pipe) then I wouldn't be impressed with tonight's win. They have one of the highest payrolls in the league, and they are the wonderful NY Rangers from the awesome MSG -- and they just aren't that good of a team.

Case in point -- there were only 4 players on the Isles roster tonight who did NOT log time in Bridgeport this season. So YES - the Rangers struggled against and barely beat a glorified farm team. No disrespect to the Isles -- I know that they are rebuilding. They played without Witt, they have no Andy Sutton, and 2 of their D-men were recent minor league call-ups. And all the Suck-ass Rangers could manage was a mere 4 goals.

Then to top it all off -- those ignorant, half-retarded, imbeciles (a/k/a Ranger fans) started chanting "Kansas City". How stupid can they be to chant for their biggest rival to leave town. What dumbasses --- I don't imagine Ranger morons (I mean fans) will be frothing at the mouth and running to buy tickets when their arch-rival Kansas City whatevers come to town. They should be smart enough to realize that if the Isles leave town it is not only bad for Long Island, bad for NY, bad for Islander fans, bad for the NHL -- and yes, bad for the Rangers. Who would ever be so simple-minded to root for their best rivalry to be ruined. Oh that's right, I am talking about Ranger fans so I should probably lower my expectations.

Go ahead and chant that Potvin "beats his wife" or "sucks" and we'll continue to sing the "If you know the Rangers suck clap your hands" song and we'll boo that jack-a** Sean Avery. That's all good old-fashioned hating the enemy kinda stuff. But to actually chant for the team to disappear. It is beyond words.

One last parting note to Ranger fools (I mean fans). Yes, we are not a very good team this year -- but when we end up with Tavares this summer - this down time will be worth it. Plus -- despite all of its money & prestige --- your team has only managed to win ONE Stanley Cup in the last 70 years!!!!! My team not only has FOUR cups --- but also is identified as a DYNASTY. Isles won their cups before they could be bought.

Next up: Captain, my captain -- who will wear the "C"

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Only One Deal -- with Guerin to the Penguins

Guerin is dealt to the Penguins for a conditional draft pick.
It starts out as a 5th round pick and moves up to 4th round if they make the playoffs. Then it can go as high as the 3rd round if they make it past the first round of the playoffs and Guerin plays at least half of their games.

Some view this as a weak deal --- and I would agree if there were no other factors at play. Remember - Guerin could have walked at the end of the season & the Isles would get nothing. Plus he is 38 yrs old and had a no trade clause. I think Garth did a pretty decent job on this deal under the circumstances, especially if it ends up as a 3rd rounder. On the open market - with none of the above factors - maybe you get a 2d rounder & prospect for the captain. But that is not reality. As for why this deal took so long -- this apparently wasn't the deal that caused Guerin to be benched. Guerin was quoted as saying he believed a deal was done with another team a few days ago. So that is what pulled him off the ice -- and it appears that deal fell through.

On another front -- Sim gets 3 assists & plays his ass off (I still don't care much for him) and he is sent to Bridgeport? What's a guy gotta do to impress? So Witt, Martinek, Hilbert, and Weight are all still here. It will be interesting to see who is wearing the "C" on Thursday night against the Rangers.

Up Next: More analysis of other deals to come later (when I have time)

Trade Update

Well - its not 11:15 am -- trade deadline is about 3 hours & 45 minutes away -- and there is nothing of substance to report.

I imagine many of the deals will get announced after the deadline has passed since there are several steps that need to take place before a trade is announced - including league approval and discussion with the players themselves.

So I expect to be announcing trades until late in the afternoon & perhaps early evening.
Garth has apparently been very busy at the phones - but no announcements yet. We have sources inside the Coli to keep us updated - so I will get the info to you all as soon as I get it.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Everyone Pitches In

"It is amazing how much you can accomplish when it doesn't matter who gets the credit." (Author Unknown). Good game last night -- the Isles didn't need to look for the "big boys" as other guys chipped in on offense last night.

First - an observation about the rookie - Joensuu. He didn't look lost, he seemed to be fine with the very limited ice time he got. But he did impress me on his goal because he DROVE TO THE NET - something that the Isles have not done a lot of this season. His size & physical play enabled him to be in the right position to slam home the rebound for his first NHL goal. His line -- with Sim & McAmmond played well all night, were constantly putting the pressure on the Avs, and they had a combined 5 points on the night. Hopefully Sim has been showcasing himself so we can get good value back in a trade and I think McAmmond is a keeper. He is that veteran presence they will still need but he doesn't seem to have lost a step and is flying all over the ice.

Goal scorers -- McAmmond (his 2d in just 3 games for the Isles); Gervais (his first of the season - finally); Tambellini (using that wicked wrist shot & banking one off the post); and the rookie Joensuu (result of hard work in front of the net).

Kudos to the Isles BTW -- a few minutes into the game they made announcement to allow everyone to move down to the 100's and 200's since the Coli wasn't full as a result of the 12-15 inches of snow. On top of that -- anyone who came could turn in their ticket & get a free one for any one of 3 upcoming games. The Isles continue to impress me as an organization with their fan friendly approach & constant give-backs.

Still no updates on the status of Guerin. My take - there is more than one team involved, more than one player involved, and at least one of the teams has to address cap issues before the deal can be completed. I have no inside info here -- just going out on a limb with a guess.

Next Up: Thurs the Losers (I mean NYR) come to town.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Joensuu Makes Debut

Isles called up Jesse Joensuu to fill Guerin's roster spot for tonight's game against Colorado. I expect him to get very little ice time - probably on the 4th line, I suspect. He is a power forward, stands at 6-4 and weighs in at about 210 lbs -- this season he has 17 goals & 13 assists for Bridgeport.

Some history on Jesse:
Joensuu was elected at the 2006 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Islanders in the 2nd round (60th overall)Last Season: Made his North-American hockey debut when he dressed in the Sound Tigers’ final game of the season … Played his final year in Assat and finished with his best numbers in the Finish Elite League, 35 points (17g/18a) while totaling 89 penalty minutes. 2006-07: At the halfway point of the season, he was already on pace to pass career-high marks in goals, assists and points … He eventually went on to set new career numbers with 26 points (9g/17a) in 52 games played ranking him fifth on the team … Averaged a point every other game with Assat who ranked at the bottom of the standings all season … Played for Team Finland at the World Junior Championships and had two points (1g/1a) in six games. 2005-06: Played in 51 games for Assat and totaled 12 points (4g/8a) while compiling 57 penalty minutes … Named to the Team Finland WJC team where he played in seven games and scored four points (2g/2a) and was a +3 in the tournament. 2004-05: Skated his first full season with Assat and scored his first professional goal … Competed on both Team Finland’s WJC and Under 18 WJC teams … Scored a goal with the WJC Team Finland team and with the Under 18 WJC team he tallied three points (1g/2a).

PointBlank weighed in on Joensuu back on February 15th and had this to say:
Joensuu is not a serious candidate to play a regular role for the Islanders next season, but he is the Bridgeport prospect with the most upside potential. His modest stats aside - 14 goals in 47 games - the 6-4, 210-pound right wing has had an outstanding first year of pro after coming over from Finland and dedicating himself to the North American game. He has even had a few scraps with opposing heavyweights. Joensuu’s education must continue in Bridgeport next season. If his development is a success, he could make the Islanders’ depth chart look a whole lot better in 2010-11.

Upside: Top-6 forward with a chance for first line.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

As the Guerin Trade Turns

"A market is the combined behavior of thousands of people responding to information, misinformation, and whim." (Kenneth Chang)

The saga that is the Bill Guerin trade has come to a temporary (or possibly permanent) halt. Isles have released a message to the media that (1) there will be no news tonight on his status, and (2) that there is no timetable in place for when there will be news.

Some of my media colleagues have interpreted this to be some kind of media blunder or snafu and poor handling on the part of Garth & the Isles. I disagree --- this assessment completely eliminates their own role in the mass of disinformation & rumor that currently exists. The Isles are not the ones (at least to my knowledge) putting out rumors about Guerin's status or where he may end up landing. All of this hoopla has been generated by the bloggers & traditional media types.

People - let's remember that there are human beings involved - not mere commodities. Guerin has family and career considerations and the Isles -- I can only assume -- have some level of sensitivity to that. Plus, Guerin did the Isles a favor by even making himself open to the idea of being dealt - so can anyone blame the Isles for being a little close-mouthed on his status.

I get it -- we are all impatient and in this era of the Internet, bloggers, alleged "insiders", and where nothing is sacred and instantaneous gratification is expected - many of you out there feel ENTITLED to know what is going on here. Well... WAKE UP -- you ain't entitled to this information until the Isles & Guerin and whatever team is involved FEEL like giving you this information. How many of you were in possession of "inside" information when Goring came to the Isles more than 2 decades ago. You learned about the deal when the Isles felt like telling you about the deal. And I don't think any of us were any worse for not knowing ahead of time.

So let's give everyone a little breathing room. The world will still be in economic shambles, people will still be defaulting on the mortgages they should have never been given, and employers will continue to lay off hard-working Americans whether we know about Guerin's whereabouts or not. Remember that people are involved -

Next up: Hopefully the final destination - when they feel like telling me.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

All quiet on the Eastern Front

Witt gets suspended for the elbow in the Toronto game. I think this was excessive - considering Mottau was only given 2 games for his hit to Nielsen's head earlier in the season. Seems like Colin Campbell has a bit of a hard-on for the Isles. I think 2-3 games would have been sufficient.

It is Saturday - a few hours before the start of the game against Buffalo and there has been no movement on the trade front. All has been QUIET. Is that quiet before the impending storm? I think it will be more of a rain shower and not quite a real "storm."

Let's hope the boys put on another good show tonight against our fellow New Yorkers to the north.

Next up: Meet me at the Lighthouse

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Isles v. Toronto

Live from the Isles v. Leafs game.
End of the first - Leafs 1, Isles 0
Here is a pic of one of the Leaf's fan right before the game. He said something about wanting someones Ponikarovsky??

First Period:
Anyway -- for the first 10 minutes or so, Isles looked sloppy and slow. Lot's of chasing Leafs in their own end. Joey Mac is in goal and he doesn't look sharp. Flopping around a lot. Maybe Gordie should have stayed with the hot hand of Yann Danis. In fact, at about the 15 minute mark Mac almost put the puck in his own net!! Egad.

Ian White got the goal for the Leafs. Fortunately, for the last 8 minutes of the period the Isles picked up the tempo and looked like a completely different team. Some really good scoring chances -- at least 4-5 -- and the lines of Okposo, Bailey, Comeau and Bergenheim, Hunter, Nielsen looked real good. I was also impressed with the hustle of McAmmond as well.

Hopefully they can carry this into the 2d period.

Got the 1st period stats --- Isles had 14 hits to the Leaf's 3. Hilbert led all Isles forwards with ice time and # of shifts -- so either Gordon is insane or Hilbert's being showcased for trades. Let's hope its the latter.

Second Period:
Well.... this sucks - less than a minute in and Leaf's get a shorty. Isles came out flat despite having a power play. They did nothing with it.... except give the Leaf's another goal. Joey Mac is giving up too many rebounds.... smells like trouble.

Bergenheim is given a chance at the most exciting spectacle in the sport -- a penalty shot. And.................. he chokes, right into the pads.

OUCH - Kubina just took a Streit slapshot in the wrist or forearm. That's gonna leave a mark! He limps to the bench holding the arm - when the puck hit him you could hear a crack. Let's see if he comes back on the ice.

McAmmond cuts the Leaf's lead in half with a nice goal. He is playing well and setting himself to probably be moved again before March 4th. Teams trade goalie interference penalties but don't do anything with their respective man advantages. kubina is back out there -- so the Streit shot must not have caused any permanent damage.
End of 2 periods -- Leafs 2 - Isles 1.
Second period stats -- Isles continue to dominate in the physical play stats - Isles 23 hits to Leafs measly 8. Pansies. Teams are even on shots and Okposo now leads in ice time - makes more sense than Hilbert. One interesting stat - Leafs blocked 21 shots so far - so Isles have had their chances.

Third Period:
Isles need to come out showing a little more if they are going to stay in this game. Uh oh -- Witt just got a 5 minute major & game misconduct for elbowing Niklas Hagman. Hagman had to be helped off the ice -- no clue where he is -- bell was seriously rung. Not sure this was a good call - I missed the hit. Nice long PP for Toronto. Blake is out - continues to be a selfish puck hog. Took another shot from a ridiculous angle instead of passing. Bergenehim just razzle-dazzled on a breakway shorthanded and buried one. Its all TIED UP.

Leafs still have the man advantage..... and........... they score. It's now 3-2 Leafs with a little more than a minute left in Witt's major. Leaf's just took a stupid tripping penalty. And while teams are four-on-four, Leaf's bury another one. Now its 4-2 with about 13 minutes left in the game.

Prediction - final score Leafs 5, Isles 3.
I'll finalize recap after the game.

WOW - the Isles made a dramatic comeback. Old reliable Streit slapping one through Toskala and into the back of the net. Then Sim - hopefully a tradebait showcase, makes a nice wrist shot & beaks Toskala - who quite honestly he should have made the save on this one.

Lots of action in the final minutes -- but looks like OT. The overtime had some nice action but nothing too scary, and on to the shootout. Is it possible to keep Tambelli as a shoot out specialist???

Okposo keeps trying those fancy moves but has nothing to show for it yet... yet. It's only a matter of time before he starts to bury a few. In the end, my prediction was close - and the Isles put on a nice show for the fans, got one point, and did no harm in their march toward the first pick.

Next up: Tracking Trades

Tonight From the Blog Box

"Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence. In other words, it is war minus the shooting." (George Orwell)

We are a mere 6 days from TD-day... trading deadline. Over the next 6 days GM's around the league will use their best (and for some, their worst) negotiation skills in the game of "trade wars." The air is thick with rumor, hyperbole, assumptions, guesses, prognostications, and outright lies. Imagine what it's like for the players -- going to work everyday and not knowing if it's your last day there. Oh that's right - most Americans can relate to that fear in this day-and-age.... except we're not lucky enough to get traded and get a paycheck from someone else. Lot's of us just get laid off. So let's put these next 6 days in perspective... yes, guys will get traded, tears will be shed, but at the end of the day, they all still get paid.

That being said - I am going to crawl out on a very thin limb here, take a chance with my reputation (to the extent I have one outside my own delusions of my place in the world) and say... yes, I will dare to say.... that the most likely guys to get traded from the Isles are: Witt, Guerin, and Weight. I know... you think me crazy. I am probably the only one putting these guys out there.

OK - reality time. Who hasn't predicted that these guys are trade bait. Maybe some jackass in a turban hiding in a cave in the Pakistani mountains plotting his next act of terror --- but beyond him, any hockey fan that has a pulse (including a hockey-loving monkey) knows these guys are available. So, I am going to spin off on a tangent here and suggest 4 guys that SHOULD be made available & traded instead of the big three. Here they are:

Andy Hilbert: yeah, maybe you get a mid to low round draft pick for him - say 3rd or 4th rounder. But I just think I've spent enough money in the past several years watching him either underachieve or listening to the Isles overstate his abilities. The league is filled with 3rd & 4th line wingers... so he is easily replaceable -- get rid of him.

Radek Martinek: maybe a glass company will take his body (particularly his legs!!) - he's just plain fragile. I think he has more value on the trade market than Hilbert because he's a big D-man capable of moving the puck, is fairly cheap in salary, and I cant' stand to see him out there anymore. I think he's worth a 3rd or 4th rounder.

Jon Sim: please... somebody take him. I'll take a bag of pucks at this point -- although I think a lower middle rounder is all you'll get back. He has just been a major disappointment in his 2 yrs here. Granted, he gets a pass for last year since he missed pretty much the entire season to injury. But since his return - 8 goals (OK, not awful, but certainly not what you expect from a 2nd line winger) and a MEASLY 2 assists. You gotta be kidding me. There are goalies with more helpers than him!!!

Jeff Tambellini: we'd have a better chance of finding Sasquatch or the Loch Ness monster than he has of finding his groove on the NHL level. On RARE occasions he shows a flash of promise -- like that wrister in the shoot out last week. But he spends the majority of his time skating in circles with pretty much nothing to show for it (2 goals and 4 assists in 43 games). I think you could get another struggling prospect back who needs a change of scenery or at best a 4th rounder.

So - for my money... I get the "rebuild" concept - and I support the philosophy - but, the team cannot be made up of all rookies and teenagers. They should keep Witt and Guerin -- they are excellent role models ON & OFF the ice and their mere presence would be a great influence on the younger guys this year and next. These other guys, we can collect a few more mid-round picks and maybe a prosepct or 2. It fits with the plan.

6 more days.... and then we'll all know how this ends.

Next Up: Live blog during Isles v. Leafs.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Some Family Fun

I know in the past I've written in a very negative fashion about the Coliseum. It is a dump you know. But my assessment of the facility is not a reflection on the Isles -- they are stuck playing in that horrible round eyesore. That said -- I do enjoy going to the games. The "unpleasant" part of going to games is being forced to enter that hideous mausoleum. I'd rather the Isles played on some outdoor pond or even a frozen puddle in some parking lot. At least the ambiance would be better.

That being said -- the actual "game experience" has been good this year. That is a credit to the Isles. Now, by nature I am NOT a lucky person. I generally don't win raffles, 50/50's, door prizes or even a measly $2 from lotto. Now I am not complaining here -- I've been blessed in other ways. A terrific family, a job I love, good health. But those things are more the result of hard work & personal choices. You know - like I'll date that nice girl instead of the easy lay, or I'll pass on the second slice of cheesecake and maybe do a few dozen crunches in the morning instead of stuffing my pie hole with all kinds of crap.

But this year -- for some odd reason -- I've hit a bit of a lucky streak. Of course, naturally, the pessimist in me is sure that my increased luck in situations of chance means I'll be getting cancer or things at work will take a horrific turn south. But that's just me.

Here are some of the "lucky" things that have happened this year -- all Isles related -- that have made my trips to the Coli a little easier to stomach.

1 -- Over the summer, at the open house for season ticket holders (of which I am one) I won a lucky drawing that gave me a luxury suite for a game this season.

2 -- About a week and a half before the start of the season -- I get an email from the Isles that I have been accepted as one of the bloggers for this season.

3 -- At the Isles/Rangers game a few weeks ago, as me and my boys take our seats, we are approached by a "Game Ops" person and told we will be the lucky fan seat upgrade winners. I moved from my seats in section 318 down to the 200's near where the tunnel is where the Isles enter & leave the ice.

4 -- One recent game, my sons & I caught 2 tee-shirts from the wicked Gatling gun.

5 -- I got a letter in the mail from the Isles about a month and a half ago telling me I could have one of the new 3rd jerseys for free since I was both a full season & partial season ticket holder.

6 -- 2 weeks ago I got another letter from the Isles that as a season ticket holder, they were giving me for free a copy of the DVD containing the "great" Islander games of the past.

I've had a few other odd things occur - unrelated to the Isles or hockey -- that has given me pause and a reason to think about my status as a "lucky person." So yes, I broke down and bought Mega Millions lotto tickets the last several weeks -- no winners yet, its now at $171 million. Hey, you never know.

Now that my luck has turned --- maybe the same will happen to the Isles. I think some of the good luck that is out there is self-created. Garth seems to have a plan for this team. I think it is one that makes sense. Now they just need a little luck and maybe there will be some really good reasons -- like the product on the ice instead of merely a fancy barn -- to come to the Lighthouse in a few years.

Next up: Roster Merry-Go-Round -- yes, trade talk

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Charity Begins at Home

"It is always better to give than to receive."
from - The Bible, Acts 20

But it is pretty cool when you can ALSO receive while giving. The Isles are giving everyone that chance.

Go to the Isles website and look up 3 incredible auction opportunities. These are terrific opportunities for you to help some very worthy causes - and at the same time - get yourself some great Isles memorabilia & experiences.

These terrific opportunities help benefit the Islander's Children's Foundation -- this charity works with other children’s charities on Long Island that focus on the areas of education, youth hockey development, and health.

The Auctions are:
1) Sticks out of Hands Auction: Here is your opportunity to bid on game used sticks of the current Islanders team during their February 28th game versus the Buffalo Sabres. The highest bidders will receive two tickets to attend the February 28th Islanders game as well as the opportunity to take the stick out of the hand of the Islander player they bid on as they get off the ice post game.

2) Private Skate on Coliseum Ice: You can bid on
the opportunity to have a private skating event on the Coliseum ice following the Islanders February 28th game versus the Buffalo Sabres. The highest bidder for this auction item will receive the following: 1 Hour of private ice time for a group of 12 people following the 2/28 game, 12 tickets to the Islanders game on 2/28, and a visit from a special Islanders guest during the post game skate.

3) Be in the Team Photo:
From now through February 26th Islanders fans will have the opportunity to bid on a chance to join the Islanders in their team photo scheduled on March 6th. The winner of this auction will be invited down to the Nassau Coliseum prior to the Islanders practice and join the team for the end of season photo. The winner will receive a framed copy of the photo that will be autographed by members of the 2008-2009 team.

These are some GREAT opportunities to not only GIVE but to also RECEIVE. You get some pretty cool experiences up close & personal with the players and share a special moment with members of your family or friends.

Go to the Isles website and bid on one of these VERY COOL auctions. You'll be helping to raise money for some very worthwhile charities here at home.

Next up: Staying Positive

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Games Have Begun - Isles Trade Campoli & Comrie

Dean McAmmond
Mike Comrie
Chris Campoli

Well......... here we go. The trading wars have begun.
Earlier today the Isles traded Chris Campoli & Mike Comrie to the Ottawa Senators for Dean McAmmond and Ottawa's 1st Rd pick - which started out as San Jose's 1st Rd pick. Right now, San Jose is the 2d best team in the NHL - so this pick will end up being somewhere between 25th through 29th overall. While I understand the strategy to "stockpile picks" - that strategy only works if you stockpile good picks, you don't send away too much talent, and then you of course have to actually draft correctly.

In light of the Isles long and sad draft history (keeping this to the last decade or so) I am not sure I am excited about more picks. We will have to wait to see what Campoli ultimately develops into and what the Isles get for this pick to see if Garth was a winner.

Comrie for McAmmond was essentially a salary dump and two teams throwing away players. Comrie probably wasn't going to re-sign and quite honestly his production has been disappointing so I am not sad to see him go. I am not happy about Campoli leaving. I am concerned that ultimately this could look like Chara, Redden, McCabe, etc --- where the Isles dump a young, puck moving defensemen who comes to play - and play hard every night - and then he develops into a star elsewhere. Only time will tell.

THANKS to Chris Campoli for his years of hard work here on the Isle. My middle son is crushed again. First - he loved Bergeron. Then Fedotenko. Next Campoli. He has been cursed by the trade bug. I told him he needs to root for Hilbert !!!!!

I think this is only step one for Garth. Let's hope he knows where he is stepping and its not into a pile of you-know-what.

Next up: Charity!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Glass Half Full

"Dwelling on the negative simply contributes to its power" (Shirley MacLaine)

I know she is a wacko - but her words are true. I am as guilty as many of my brethren -- focusing on the negative aspects of the Isles season. God knows, there has been enough to complain about & critique. But henceforth (at least for a few blogs) I going to view the glass as "half full." Look at the bright side of things.

Bright side #1 -- the KIDS. Let's face it - the future has some beams of hope to it. Okposo has really developed into a consistent and hardworking forward - and he has had some nice results as well. Consider that he has 10 goals and up until recently he was relegated to approximately 10-12 minutes per game. Ever since he was put on the PP and given more ice time he has done nothing less than impress.

His line mates have been playing well too. Bailey still shows some dazzle with the puck - and remember folks - the KID is only 18 yrs old!!! Remember yourself at 18 - better yet, don't. It's probably an ugly picture. Neilsen has been playing well and has shown flashes of scoring touch of late. Campoli stepped into the PP point when Streit was out and held his own --- and I love when he jumps into the play and buries one in the back of the net. There are some reasons to come to the games. More importantly, they don't get blown out. Even though they are last in the NHL, and have a lot of issues - they are still "IN" most of the games.

So yes - there are some difficult things about this season. The Isles have single-handedly kept the sports medicine industry in business on LI with all of their injuries this season, there seems to be a lot of nonsense that is delaying the Lighthouse project and they have a lot of trouble scoring goals. But looking at the glass that is half full -- there are things to be excited about.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Effort Smeffort! -- We Need to Score Dammit!

"If winning isn't everything... then why do they keep score?" (Vince Lombardi)

So - the Isles are playing hard and Gordon is proud of their "effort." Big effin deal. I am so sick of hearing about their "effort" and how they are "working hard." Hard work is nice - but essentially meaningless if it doesn't result in something positive... like goals. This team skates, works hard in the corners, has been taking a lot of shots.... all for naught. They are anemic. They couldn't score if you gave them $100 and put them in a whorehouse.

They've scored 8 goals in the last 6 games -- and 1 goal per game for the past 4. That's pathetic. This team just CANNOT finish. They need someone - anyone (note to Snow: see if Bossy can still skate) to put the friggin puck in the net.

On the positive side -- they held the Rangers, Bruins and Caps to only 2 goals each. So the "D" has looked pretty good. And yes... I think the kids have looked better and better and will develop into the core of something good. Okposo in particular.

Next up: Isles gameday experience has improved - while the building is still a sh*thole.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Hard to Soar Like an Eagle When You Work with Turkeys

"Management is, above all, a practice where art, science, and craft meet." (Henry Mintzberg)

It has been frustrating to watch this team lose 16 of its last 19 games. If that were not bad enough, this organization continues to operate in a way that baffles me. Knowing that they are putting a suspect and borderline minor-league product on the ice - and having a hard time drawing fans - you'd think the Isles would do all they could to make going to a game as hassle-free and pleasant an experience as possible. But they just don't.

Here are 2 recent examples of why this organization is still poorly managed.

First - I attended the Dec 23rd game. I only had 3 tickets and needed to purchase one additional ticket to get my kids into the game. I also had vouchers for 6 additional tickets that I needed to turn in to the Will Call window so a friend and his kids could get in as well. So, I arrive at 6:20 (for a 7:00 game) and proceed to stand on the line at the Will Call window. I was 7th in line. Not too bad - figuring I had 40 minutes until game time. Do you know that it took 28 minutes for me to REACH THE WINDOW and then another 7 minutes to get my tickets!!! I ended up barely making it in for the start of the game and when I got my tickets, there was still another 25-30 people on line behind me. I imagine they all missed some portion of the game - a game they were paying a minimum of $19 bucks each to attend.

Now why am I griping about this -- well, first, the number of will call windows they operate (a mere 2) for a professional sports franchise is just pathetic & woefully insufficient. Moreover, as I stood on the will-call line, on 6 separate occasions, Isles personnel CUT the line to deal with ticket issues for other people. Are you telling me that the Isles don't have a separate location for their staff to go to to resolve ticket issues!!!! It was f*&king absurd. Two times during my wait BOTH will call windows were occupied by Isles staff resolving ticket issues for people who WERE NOT ON THE WILL CALL LINE!!!! This was insane and is just plain and simple poor management. You cannot ask people to stand in line to pick up tickets and then have your own staff cut the line whenever they feel like it to resolve other people's tickets issues. STUPID.

Second gripe - I had the same situation occur for the Dec 31st game. I needed one extra ticket. So, this time I waited on the regular ticket line. I was third in line -- and again, a mere 4 windows were open. Even worse - as the guy at the window in front of me finishes (again, we are about 20 minutes before the start of the game) the window abruptly closes -- with NO EXPLANATION. The woman just shut the metal screen. So, now I am forced to move to a different line - except now I go from being 2nd in line to being 8th because my line just closed. I was livid. No explanation - just an F.U. - window closes - and I am forced to switch to a new line. Ridiculous management AGAIN. How can you do that to people?

They already have a hard time attracting fans - and then the ones that do come - get treated like crap. There HAS to be a better way to handle tickets on game day than the way the Isles do things. This is just pathetic.

Next up: How much more can we take?