Sunday, July 27, 2008

The end is near

The daylong portentous clouds and accompanying apocalyptic weather in the NYC area made total sense after I read today's New York Post. Because for the first time in a long, long time (ever?), I kind of agree with Larry Brooks here. We are clearly in the end times.

Amidst the usual DiPietro deriding and general bashing of the Isles, Brooks actually makes some (hard to type this, hard to type this) good points. Trots has been working with the kids for the last few years and seems to be the type of guy who relishes the opportunity to shepherd a young team (although based on his infamous lengthy letter that earned him the Rangers' head coaching job, he seemingly relishes any opportunity to coach). Plus, he meshes with Wang's vision to honor the legacy of the franchise and also seems like the kind of guy who wouldn't be driven batshit crazy by the Wang "coaching by committee" system that would likely rankle already established coaches like Maurice, Tortorella, and Hartley. And, for the record (are you really keeping a record?...shame on you), I would prefer Goring but I can't imagine him not killing someone about three months into the Wang system. I'd be happy to be proven wrong, though. Or proven right depending on who he kills.

So, yeah, I think either Trottier or Goring is the way to go (though I pray they don't even consider Ulf Samuelsson for a minute...what a douche).

I would, however, be lying if I said that I wouldn't enjoy having a guy who knows to handle Larry Brooks behind the Isles' bench (some language NSFW, in case the context clues didn't tip you off).

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Now We're Up in the Big Leagues....

So here it is, I finally made it. Much thanks to the Rev. Zamboni and The Mediocre One for bringing me into the blogging family. Now here's hoping that I don't have to don a Ziggy Palffy Gorton's fisherman jersey and do the Truffle Shuffle as some sort of initiation.....

Monday, July 21, 2008

I am a sucker for the hype

Just finished reading the third or fourth "Bailey to Oh!poso" story of the past week, and it led to me scrolling through the photo galleries from prospects camp and wishing I could have been on the Island, and not stuck Upstate, at least for a week.

In today's lead story on, Bailey talks about finding more to like about Long Island than he might have expected. I know next to nothing about the Island, other than what I see from the passenger seats of the Mediocre One's Ford Focus of the Month, but I know it sure as hell looks like a nice place for people with money. I lived on Martha's Vineyard for a year as a broke newspaper reporter, and there is an ethereal ($.05) feeling you get driving along the ocean all year. Show these kids the fog rolling in, let them smell Oyster Bay, and drink a few fruity something or others with the good, tanned, wealthy women of the City Area, and I think you can keep them around a bit.

Canada is fun. But the beach is funner. Even in the winter.

Why we (I) root

I can handle 30-win seasons. I can handle Tim Connolly and Deno Chara winning 14, or whatever they won that year they played together. I saw them win in the Boston TD Banknorth M&T HSBC CitiBank Dukes County Savings Bank Garden, and it made the season for me. And had the Isles stuck with them, or at least Chara, we probably would have witnessed a similar playoff run(s), and I would have been satisfied.

I'm not going to be able the bring this one home, because I am distracted today, but: I am suckered in by the "Oh!poso and Bailey are nice guys" stories, I am suckered in by the Big Finnish Guy is Big and Finnish stories, and I am looking forward to seeing Brendan Witt, Sillinger, and even Mike "Where's Wade Redden?" Comrie on the ice with some new blood.

And for those of you asking if this truly is a "youth movement" because the veterans are still here? Oh!poso, Tambellini, Gervais, Campoli, Comeau, Nielsen (great deal there for the Isles ... Nielsen might want to check that his agent understands the difference between two and four ...), and Bergenheim. That's seven names. There's no official cutoff that I know of, so you can certainly argue both sides (although there are some famous names from our country's past who have argued effectively that there are no "both sides" anymore), but I'll take it.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Potential Crisis Looms

Lost in the hubbub surrounding the Islanders saying ta-ta to Teddy was another potentially disastrous transaction involving a local hockey team. I am speaking of the Rangerks' decision to trade away Ryan Hollweg for a case of Molson Canadian and a half-dozen doughnuts from Tim Hortons.

Obviously, I do not mourn the departure of Cryin' Ryan, but I am slightly concerned about a situation this creates. With Hollweg, Avery, and Jagr now gone, who am I supposed to direct my unnecessarily loud "Douchebag!" toward while watching Islanders-Rangerks games next season? A quick look at the current Rangerks roster leaves the three most likely candidates as Lundqvist, Orr, and Gomez, but I'm having a hard time developing any really intense animosity toward any of those three (Lundqvist will be easiest). And while I certainly have a fair degree of hatred for anyone who puts on the Rangerks jersey, I'm missing someone whose mere presence on Earth makes me angry. Naturally, this has me concerned.

Far be it from me to tell Glen Sather how to run a team, but, really, hasn't Dale "Turtle Power" Purinton been away long enough? Fleury still in playing shape? C'mon, don't let me down.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

We Got One.

Feeling a bit like Janine in Ghostbusters ... we have reader(s).
At least for the day. And we thank the Puck Daddy for the mention.

To anyone who found us through PD, welcome.

Agreeing with IslandersArmy: Wang is the problem. The more Garth Snow you see, the more he seems to have some idea what it might take to win on the Island. But, as you noted, as soon as this plan gets ready for takeoff, Wang is likely to blow it up. He seems to approach the Islanders the way people with money to invest approach "emerging technologies." Increasing your chances for serendipity (I'm stealing here from The "makes me sound smart, but really, I read it on the shitter" Black Swan) is a nice idea for the middle rounds of the draft, but gets a little tougher when you're dealing with management positions.

And, the timing was lousy. Not Mets lousy, but not ideal. However, I don't how much the kids care. (For our other reader, I'm only counting Tambellini among the kids because he's younger than me, and played enough in Bridgeport that I still think of him as a prospect-type, whatever the bloodlines and eventual result ... .) I think of college as a place players go because of the coach. The NHL, you go because of the money and women. And girls.

Wherever the blame lies, lays, layed, laid, I am not yet in Hating This Fucking Team mode. That usually comes in January. Too many short shorts and off-the-shoulders tank tops out there right now. And we've just made it through Sunny Day 14 of 16 for the year here in the Upstate -- so I am feeling too good to pick this thing apart any further.

For now, let's go Oh!poso.

Monday, July 14, 2008

My patience with dumb Islanders bloggers and fans is wearing thin

Ted Nolan is an excellent NHL coach? Really? Excellent?

1. He fucked up something and got booted out of Buffalo. Things turned out pretty well with Lindy Ruff at the helm.

2. He's "blackballed" for what seems like eternity, and returns to the Islanders, a team for which he had to know he wouldn't be icing a Stanley Cup contender in the near future. The team sneaks into the playoffs. Good coaching job? Sure. Excellent coaching job? No.

3. The Islanders finally realize they can't get the highest quality free agents to sign on the Island, a side effect of the new CBA. Some fans are happy when GM Garth Snow decides to pursue a rebuild and stock the team with prospects. (hey, got any worn out "used to be the backup goalie" jokes? Because I think there are a few guys coaching and serving as NHL GMs who used to fucking play. Sure, he had no experience. It's overrated. I mean it. And someday, I'll back that up with conveniently arranged evidence.)

The coach doesn't seem to buy into this.

Go to work tomorrow and tell your boss, his boss, or the president/CEO of the company you don't buy into their business/academic/corporate philosophy. Then tell a newspaper. See what happens.

Only Islanders fans (maybe the Leafs Nation too) could turn Ted Nolan into the NHL's most respected victim. His coaching resume is thin, and he has shown he cannot work with other people in the game. Mike Brophy is wrong. Islanders Army is wrong. Ted Nolan was not an excellent coach last year. And he wasn't the year before. He was a decent, serviceable coach. He played Andy Hilbert like he was Marian Hossa.

Yeah, Garth Snow hasn't given him the pieces he needs to compete for a Cup. Too fucking bad. That's why it's called a rebuild. Last year was a waiting year. The kids weren't ready for the NHL, so you sign cheap stop-gap veterans to fill the roster until the kids can come up -- maybe in the second half, maybe the next year. This year, you bring them up, find out who can play, sign them, then fill in your holes next year in free agency if you can. It's a simple formula. I'm glad Snow is sticking to it.

I am not confident it will result in something spectacular, but this plan is better than no plan, or Mike Milbury's plan.

But you cannot tell me this is some great loss. Peter Laviolette was a better coach.

Maybe this is a franchise in disarray (maybe not maybe, it is), but having the guts to get rid of someone who won't buy into the organizational philosophy is not your evidence. Now stop whining and be happy this team is trying something that appears to be a plan.

Newsday says Ted Nolan is gone


Not much to add at this point.
I liked Ted Nolan with the Sabres. I liked him here, aside from minor quibbles.

But we all have people to whom we are accountable (take that grammar snobs). If you can't get along with them and work to see things their way -- you gone.

I don't think it's time to panic. I think Snow actually has a vision and is intent on sticking with it. And that's a start, whatever the vision.

Can't say I'd be happy to see Tortorella or Hartley here ... but Paul Maurice is available, eh?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

I.C.E., I.C.E. Baby

Went to the team store in Hicksville Tuesday night to get some autographs from Kyle Oh!kposo and Blake Comeau (The Mediocre One chose not to attend so he could play hockey...oooh, your desire to do something athletic is really impressive, Jack LaLanne). Pretty good crowd considering it's the middle of summer. It still wasn't a big enough crowd to turn people away, which would've been cool to see (though not so cool if it meant my trip to Hicksville was for nothing...not that a trip to Hicksville isn't always rewarding).

Still, I'm liking this I.C.E. Tour thing the Islanders are doing over the summer, taking players out to events in the community and keeping the team's name out there in the off-season. Even if the Lighthouse Project (the song on the website has to go) comes through—and it needs to—there still needs to be interest and, more important, some sort of investment from the local community in the team if the Islanders organization is to thrive. With the Dragons and the Long Island Ducks the only other pro sports teams on the Island (and I am using "pro" very loosely), there really is no reason that the Island shouldn't rally around the Isles. Of course, some playoff success will help that, but the community outreach done on the I.C.E. tour is perhaps even more important. It's much easier to root for guys when you see them at the local park or signing free autographs at the team store or when the team gives your kids a free hockey net. It's a simple thing, but, just like in the game itself, it's doing the simple things right that brings success. I'm not up on the community outreach that other NHL teams are doing, but it seems to me that the model the Islanders are using here could do wonders for teams around the league and the game as a whole. But what do I know?

Anyway, a tap of the stick to the I.C.E. Tour. Check out the full calendar here.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Good God, someone get drunk and write something

First, kudos to us as we continue to labour on in obscurity. A few Isles blogs have kept up with the drip drip of Isles news, but most of that (Point Blank, which is fantastic, excluded -- but he's got a tit of an advantage, I'd say, having spent 20+ years in the organization) has been of the "repeating a news update you heard on TSN 20 minutes ago," or "beating TSN by 12 minutes because the guys on Islandermania had an inside source or something ... " variety.

Real insight seems in short supply.

Not that I can change that ... but at least I can write dirty words.

1. Did you hear (BREAKING NEWS!) the Isles signed Doug Weight? Oh, you did?

A big who cares? from me, but I think it's fine. He will likely show the younger Isles how to put that clear tape around the top of their socks, and will explain some of the subtleties of Slap Shot, and will likely serve as a fine second or third centreman (or fourth? with special PP duty?).

2. HNIC radio, last night featuring Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek, remarked on the Isles "lack of identity," spit out the usual pablum about free agents not wanting to live on Long Island, and said "it's a $75 cab ride to Manhattan." Well, it's more than that from fucking Newark you twats. (update: ok, turns out you can get a train from Newark to Manhattan. I live upstate in a neighborhood with bears and snow in May. Forgive me.) But, of course, they're right: Free agents don't want to play on Long Island. In other news ... .

3. The Islanders do, remarkable as it may seem, have an identity. And, if you'd pick up Newsday, or type in (which took me seven seconds), you'd know they are "going young" (uh, well, I'll let you write that joke), and filling in gaps with veterans who are supposedly good in the lockerroom and can tolerate living in Oyster Bay (I was there a few weeks ago with the esteemed Mediocre One, a native of the area, and if I were paid $3.5 million to copy edit publications and write 15 second radio ads, I could handle living in Oyster Bay over, let's say, Newark).

4. I'm going to say it again, this time to someone other than the Islanders stuffed monkey I bought my one-year-old: I am excited about this team even though I know they could lose 50 games. It's the principle of scalability, simplified because I only understand it simplified. The risk is low, the possible reward is high.

5. I haven't played in the weekly ball hockey game up here in about a month, and I miss it. I'm starting to get oddly pseudo-violent impulses at work and in social settings. I think I'll play next week ... .

Ok. Now somebody link to us.

Ding Dong, Avery's Gone!

Yahoooooo! I'm not just happy that we Islanders no longer have to face scumbag numero uno, but it's a significant loss for the Rangers. When he was injured at the start of last season, the Rangers were lifeless. He really juiced them up when he was playing. No more! God I hope the Stars play the Rangers in MSG this year...

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Allow Me to Rain on the Parade

Mark Streit is 31 and had one good year with a high-scoring team. Expect his 60+ points to fall to around... 30+. Ach, at least it's something. More to come from Garth I'm sure.

Nice tribute to Bates. He was no All-Star, but he was one of the few who gave a shite consistently. There were some years that couldn't have been easy.

So here he is, your newest New York Islander (and yes, the only reason I put this clip here is to check out the hottie French Canadian announcer):

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Oh, Cheers ...

Mark Streit is a real, actual hockey player. Hey hey hey. Sure he has holes in his de... blah blah blah.

The Rangers signed Wade Redden for six years! Six years ago ... Wade Redden was good! Huzzah!

Look, if the Islanders are going to do a little pissing in the snow, it might as well be on a defenceman, even if he's the oh!ffensive type. Let the children backcheck for a few years ... .

Ok. I'm going to bed. Go Isles.