Saturday, October 25, 2008



In a very exciting game that ended in a penalty shot with 0.7 left on the clock, the Islanders fell to the Carolina Hurricanes, 4-3. With the many positives to take out of this game, the Islanders certainly have a foundation to build on going into Monday night's game against the rival New York Rangers. However, not everything can be voiced as positive. At the post-game press conference and subsequent interviews, Coach Gordon, Captain Bill Guerin, Doug Weight and Rick DiPietro himself confirmed to deny that Ricky suffered an injury during the first period. Joey MacDonald started the 2nd period and finished out the game which is quite telling for the franchise goaltender's immediate future. What does this mean for an Islanders team that is already down several key players?

The Islanders will have to answer the call, plain and simple. With the effort put forth tonight it's hard to say that this game really resulted in a loss. By far this was the Islanders best game of the season and will provide ample motivation for going into Monday night's game. It also means that the younger players will have to step up in key roles. Jack Hillen is the most prominent of the group as he got his shot tonight Brendan Witt's stead. He will have to mature quite a bit in the coming weeks to really develop into an NHL defenseman with consistent playing qualities.

Also of note, only four penalties were taken by the Islanders in this game, a stark contrast to the games of late. This just proves that when the Islanders are playing Coach Gordon's system properly, they draw more penalties than they take and cause their opponents to afford them more opportunities via giveaways.

I'm sure the NY Metro area will be looking forward to the game on Monday. I know I can't wait.

For Questions, Comments and Bonehead Calls e-mail me at

Thursday, October 23, 2008



After a lackluster 1st period the Islanders followed with yet another mediocre period. Although they managed to put some pressure on Dallas for spurts, the overall feeling of the period was definitely in Dallas' firm grasp.

Bill Guerin got the game close at least with a tally off a nice passing play from Bergenheim and Streit. But the Islanders inability to score (despite 2 posts and a review by the War Room in Toronto) on a full 2 minute 5-on-3 and the 5-on-4 that followed it showed huge flaws after a 4 day rest that should have energized the team.

Mike Ribiero is having a fantastic game with 1 goal and 4 assists to this point and is certainly the stalwart of the Dallas offense this evening. It just doesn't look like the boys in Orange and Blue are gonna pull this one out. The energy is lacking, the discipline is poor and the shots they're taking are mostly from the perimeter. This is the 2nd disappointing home showing this week and if the team doesn't pick up the pieces soon we might find them battling for the #1 draft spot by the end of November.

I'll return tonight with a post-game analysis and thoughts for the coming weekend of games. At least we can still celebrate Hockey Fights Cancer tonight with a raffle and some good recognition.

It's Dallas 5, Isles 1 after 2.

For Questions, Comments and Bonehead Calls e-mail me at



Well the 1st period basically resembled the entire game against the Sabres. The Stars connected for 3 goals (2 5 on 5 and 1 on the powerplay) and dominated the play for the last 15 minutes.

Two bad penalties taken by the Isles in the period. The first on Kyle Okposo for roughing up Sean Avery in an attempt to appease the crowd at the Isles bench and the second against Sean Bergenheim for holding below the goaline in the Isles end. I would have to say that both penalties should have been avoided as they didn't serve the purpose Gordon requires for penalties: "If they don't save a goal".

The Islanders did get one good rush out of the period which resulted in a great save by Marty Turco. Richard Park came in on a mini-break off a nifty pass by Mike Comrie and was just robbed by Turco. Most of the shots the Isles took were from outside and really were not threatening at all. They will have to do a much better job dictating the play in the 2nd to have a chance in this one.

Another note; Kyle Okposo's inability to keep the puck on his stick tonight is glaring as he's had it in good spaces and has not been able to create any offense save several shots from the perimeter. I'll be back after the 2nd with more analysis.

So far it's Dallas 3, Islanders 0.

For Questions, Comments and Bonehead Calls e-mail me at



Any coach in the NHL will tell you that penalties can kill a season. Over the past several campaigns the Islanders have learned that lesson the hard way. Under Ted Nolan the Islanders took costly penalties during critical points in the game and at times W's were lost. Now that Scott Gordon has the reins it's time to institute his system and more discipline.

Unfortunately, in the first 5 games the Islanders have not learned those lessons well enough. A total of 13 penalties for the Buffalo day game cost the Islanders as the Sabres connected for 3 powerplay tallies. Now, after a 4 day layoff, it's time to get back to business against the Dallas Stars and hopefully by sticking to the system Gordon has in place, the boys will be moving their feet instead of reaching with their sticks. Powerplays can win a game, Penalties can lose one.

Chris Campoli is in the lineup tonight after missing exactly a month with a separated shoulder. He replaces Jack Hillen in the lineup and Ricky D is in net. Let's get that pucked dropped and get the ship in the right direction! I'll be back after the 2nd with analysis and perspective.

For Questions, Comments and Bonehead Calls e-mail me at

Wednesday, October 22, 2008



Mark Parrish has been signed to a 25-game tryout contract with the Bridgeport Soundtigers. Read the blog from Greg Logan's site to get the details and a few words from "Flash" Gordon. This is a savvy move by the Islanders that fans having been calling for ever since Eklund posted the possibility of Parrish returning to the team that traded for him in what could be termed "the worst trade in history". Many Islanders fans will never forget that draft day swap which featured Roberto Luongo and Olli Jokinen going to Florida in exchange for Parrish and Oleg "I can't seem to skate or find the net" Kvasha.

Personally, Parrish is by far my favorite player from the late 90's, early 2000's and I'm really glad to have him back in the fold of Blue and Orange. Hopefully we'll see him with the Islanders soon. I'm picturing it already, Trent Hunter and Mark Parrish on a line flanking either Doug Weight or Richard Park. How's that for a crash, bang, in-your-face, energy, scoring line?

Alright so maybe I'm getting ahead of myself. But look at it this's an option for down the road. Should Parrish take a spot held by one of the "kids"? No. Would he at least add some scoring (garbage goals count the same as pretty ones)? Sure. How many points is up for grabs of course, but it's a prospect I wouldn't mind seeing through. Nevertheless I'll take a more cautious albeit optimistic approach with this "temporary" signing.

Parrish was bought out by Minnesota for his final year of the contract he had with them and became a free agent several weeks before the season began.

For Questions, Comments or Bonehead Calls e-mail me at

Wednesday, October 15, 2008



First, I would like to extend my condolences to the Cherepanov family who lost their son this weekend when he collapsed on the bench while playing for Avangard Omsk of the KHL. He was subsequently rushed to the hospital but medical personnel were unable to revive him. Our thoughts and prayers are with you from the entire hockey community-RIP Alexei.

Another non-Islanders note, Michael Peca former captain of the New York Islanders has been suspended indefinitely for bumping an official during a Blue Jackets v. Dallas Stars game last Friday. Under Rule 41 Abuse of Officials, Category 2, Peca received a Match Penalty and the concurrent suspension. Here is the AP News article.

Joey MacDonald started his 3rd game in 4 nights on Monday afternoon and came up just a bit short of an awful performance. Both Coach Gordon and Bill Guerin stuck up for the backup goalie in separate statements:

"Joey knows it's a battle and you can't just point the finger at your goaltender every time something goes wrong. You have to work as a unit of five out there and we weren't even close to the system. Even our line changes were sloppy."--Scott Gordon

"This has nothing to do with Joey. In fact we think he played pretty well given the situation."--Bill Guerin

The one good thing that came out of Monday's game was the fact that teammates stuck up for each other. If there is something to look upon positively from that game it's that aspect of it.

The 7-1 loss to Buffalo mirrors a similar game last season in which the Islanders suffered an 8-1 shellacking at the hands of Toronto. Wade Dublewicz was also left in that game as MacDonald was in this game. The big question does not lie with Joey Mac however, it lies with the health of Rick DiPietro. Both Gordon and MacDonald avoided questions about Rick's status in post-game interviews which is certainly telling to the readiness of the franchise goaltender.

Also on the injury front, Radek Martinek's injury status was updated this week with an "upper body injury" (most likely a shoulder separation) and a 4-6 week timetable. Chris Campoli skated with the team in practice yesterday, although his injury has yet to be disclosed (yet again most likely a separated shoulder). Both Andy Sutton (hand surgery) and Josh Bailey (lower body, groin maybe) were both walking in the tunnel after the Sabres game and seemed to be in decent health. Don't count your blessings on seeing either of them before November.

The rather entertaining series of bouts during the game on Monday resulted in some very interesting penalty calls. As it was no surprise that Craig Rivet received 5 for fighting and a game misconduct and another game misconduct for 3rd man into an altercation, but the 10 minute misconducts handed out to Nate Thompson and Adam Mair were not announced by the PA and were not posted to the score sheet until after the second period ended. Both Thompson and Mair came out towards the end of the second expecting to return only to be sent to their respective dressing rooms. Odd twist by the officials on those calls.

Finally, I'd like to address the non-call on Talinin for boarding Mike Comrie. The explanation given to Coach Gordon at the time was that Comrie was too close to the boards for it to be boarding. I absolutely disagree. From my vantage point it seemed the hit was from behind or Comrie turned in at the last second and still would require some kind of penalty. The non-call still does not excuse Comrie for the 4 minutes in retaliatory penalties he received on the play as discipline has to be a focal point for a team that took 13 minor penalties in the contest. Hopefully Coach Gordon will talk that one over with the boys.

Here's looking forward to a possible DiPietro start this weekend and to the team keeping things healthy.

P.S. Those of you looking to see Blake Comeau in the lineup in the coming weeks will be disappointed as he was assigned to Bridgeport yesterday.

Top two photos courtesy of and respectively.

For Questions, Comments and Bonehead Calls e-mail me at

Friday, October 10, 2008



Well folks, tonight's the night. That day you circled on your calendars back when the NHL schedule was released has finally arrived. Amongst all the excitement and fanfare of this 2008-09 season getting under way at The Rock, some might find themselves confused by several slight amendments to the NHL Rule Book. I'll go over each one so you can understand why certain things have changed and what situations you'll witness them in.

1)Rule 76.2 Face-off Locations

"When players are penalized at a stoppage of play so as to result in penalties being placed on the penalty time clock to one team, the ensuing face-off shall be conducted at one of the two face-off spots in the offending team's end zone. There are only four exceptions to this application:

  1. when a penalty is assessed after the scoring of a goal - face-off at center ice;
  2. when a penalty is assessed at the end of a period - face-off at center ice;
  3. when the defending team is about to be penalized and the attacking players enter the attacking zone beyond the outer edge of the end zone face-off circle - face-off in the neutral zone;
  4. when the team not being penalized ices the puck - face-off in the neutral zone outside the blueline of the team icing the puck."

The basic concept is that the offending team will always have the first face-off of the penalty kill in their defending zone. The third exception means that if the attacking team encroaches on the end-zone face-off circles to pressure the team being called for a penalty, the face-off is conducted in the neutral zone. This is the same premise, when the defense of an attacking team goes below the circles after the puck has been frozen by the goaltender.

2) Rule 81.1 Contact during Icing Situations

"Any contact between opposing players while pursuing the puck on an icing must be for the sole purpose of playing the puck and not from eliminating the opponent from playing the puck. Unnecessary or dangerous contact could result in penalties being assessed to the offending player."

In junior hockey, this has been a point of emphasis for several years. The issue lies with a high speed race for the puck. If the attacking player decides that instead of playing the puck, he'll take the defenseman into the boards he is severally penalized. This rule is to make these kinds of situations safer for the defenseman and the attacking forward.

3) Rule 82.1 Line Changes

"A team that is in violation of Rule 81-Icing shall not be permitted to make any player substitutions prior to the ensuing face-off."

This rule is the familiar part. What is new for this year and not explicitly described in the rule book pertains to TV Time Outs. If a team ices the puck in an effort to get their players on the ice some rest, the TV Time Out is postponed until the next face-off has been completed. Coaches last year abused this loophole in the rule by telling their players that the TV Time Out was imminent and that icing was a viable option since they would not be allowed to change and could take a 3 minute breather. This year that will not be possible.

And finally...

4) Rule 85.5 Puck Out of Bounds

The intention of this rule change is to create a defensive zone face-off. Now, no matter which team shoots the puck off the posts or crossbar and out of play the resulting face-off will be in the zone of the goal net which the puck was shot off of.

There are the rule changes for 2008-2009 as per the NHL Official Rule Book. Please also direct your attention to my Standard of Play Blog Series where I went over in detail the five penalties of emphasis that the NHL Officiating Association has cracked down on since the Lockout. Here are the links: the Preview, Hooking, Holding and Interference and Slashing and Tripping. If you get a chance to read up on these blogs you will have a better understanding for why the officials call what they call during a game.

For Questions, Comments or Bonehead Calls e-mail me at

Thursday, October 9, 2008



Much has been made of the Islander's roster going into the start of the 2008-2009 season. It is most certainly a rebuilding year, with young talent that is finally ready for a shot at the big time. But what does this really mean for the Islander's hopes this season? Let's take a look at some of the good points and the bad points and then predict where things might end up.

Does rebuilding really mean that the Playoffs are out of reach?

The simple answer is, No. The Islanders just like any of the 30 teams going into this season, have a shot at making the Playoffs. What are the realistic chances? Well, I hate to rain on the parade but I'd rather see youth get served and the team come together as a group this year, rather than make the Playoffs. If it happens, it is just a bonus. That's not to say that I hope they don't, I really hope they do. But, it will take a Herculean effort and some healthy bodies to get there, which leads into the next point...

What will it take to keep the team healthy, especially the man between the pipes?

Last season, we all witnessed the devastation that can be wrought by injuries to a hockey club that relies on the team and not individual players to compete every night. The second half of last season was a microcosm of everything that could have gone wrong for the boys in Orange and Blue. What's most disturbing is the surgeries that Rick DiPietro, now entering his third year of a fifteen year deal, had to endure during the summer. He had not faced game action since March, until Monday night in Florida! What this means for the beginning of the season is the coaching staff needs to be cautious with Rick. As much as I understand he wants to play all 82, Coach Gordon needs to rein him in and let him know how he can best help the team. That means staying between the pipes and listening to the coaching staff on when to rest. Is it plausible with tight team defense and by limiting the amount of quality chances Ricky sees every night that he could play more than 60 games? Sure. Is it the right course of action? Most definitely, no.

As for the rest of the team, especially the defense which also suffered debilitating injuries down the stretch (Andy Sutton, Brendan Witt, Chris Campoli, Bruno Gervais) as well as some of the forwards (Mike Comrie, Mike Sillinger and Billy Guerin), proper precautions must be taken to keep these players healthy. The injuries that occurred were mostly of the "lower body" variety (minus Campoli and Gervais) and mainly were hip or knee problems. Already, as the Islanders enter the new season, two of the top six d-men are already nursing injuries, Sutton and Campoli. Reports of Sutton's recent hand surgery may keep him out until the second week of November, while Campoli may return sometime later this month from what can vaguely be termed as "general body soreness". If the training staff can't get the injuries under control, this will be a very long season.

How much does a introducing a new coach factor in to the equation?

Having met Scott Gordon briefly on August 20th at the Islanders Open House and what I've seen at training camp and during the preseason, one can only gush at the prospect that under Coach Gordon this team will thrive. The biggest difference between Scott and Ted is that Scott is a very vocal and systems-oriented coach. Right now, that is the exact person who needs to be navigating this ship. Things will get rough during the season. It's just a matter of how the coach handles those rough spots and gets the players through them that will define this season's success or failure.

Old dogs can learn new tricks?

With the additions of Doug Weight and Mark Streit the Islanders may be the oldest, young team I've ever seen. A gaggle of players including Weight, Guerin, Witt, Sillinger, Streit, Sim, Sutton, Martinek and Park are all over the age of 30. That's 9 out of 18 skaters who will be asked to perform in very important roles this season. If these players can perform at the levels they have in the past and pass on the knowledge to the younger generation of Islanders, then this will be a successful season. If they can't, well you know...

Unbridled youth...time to learn the ropes.

There are still several younger players on the roster that will need to prove why they are the future of this team. Two definitely need to prove why they're here: Kyle Okposo and Jeff Tambellini. I'm not quite so worried about KO. He has the potential to be a legitimate Calder Cup candidate and seeing 40-50 points out of Kyle is not out of the question. The real question lies with Tambellini. Will he put up the numbers now that Ted Nolan is no longer coach? For the record, you can't judge by the preseason where the only number he put up was 5 (shots that is). So, in fairness to Jeff, here is my prediction: 20 G, 18 A for 38 points. If Tambellini can come close to those numbers, then Garth's faith in him will be justified. If he is no where near the pace required by mid-December, I think it will be time to send him packing.

Final Prediction:

With all the offseason moves and the stress on youth and rebuilding, this could be a tough year for the Islanders. However, if and only if, they get off to a fast start, which means of the first 15 games, they win 9 (which is completely possible coming out of the gate), they will have a shot at the playoffs. If they don't, then most likely by the All-Star break, you might see some new faces in the lineup. My prediction (and I hate doing this) for this season is a finish between 8th-12th place in the Eastern Conference. For those of you thinking they will be in the Tavares/Hedman sweepstakes, you need to start rooting for Atlanta.

Next up...hopefully prior to the puck drop at The Rock tomorrow night, I will be going over the rule changes for this year's NHL season, so when you see them you'll be in the know.

Photos courtesy of (Rich Stieglitz) and

For Questions, Comments and Bonehead Calls e-mail me at



I got an e-mail tonight confirming what I've been striving for, for several months, a bid to the NYI Blog Box. Thanks to Corey Witt, Josh Bernstein, Dee Karl, Tom Liodice and Mike Schuerlein for all their help. I can't wait to get started this season! See everyone at the barn!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008



The "new" NHL is based on two words: Speed and Excitement. As fans we love to hear these words because they mean a better viewing experience for us. What these words mean to the players is completely different. It means working harder in the offseason (if there really is one anymore). It means being able to keep up with the play. It also means that you have to keep your head up because danger is a millisecond away. This week in the final pre-season game at Florida, Chris Lee learned the last lesson quite well.

Although I didn't see the hit, from the reaction of fans on, Canada's equivalent to ESPN here in the States, was that of shock over the league's decision not to suspend the guilty party in the incident, Rotislav Olesz. In my mind, a hit that requires a player to be carted off the ice on a stretcher, conscious or not, should require a minimum of a 5 game suspension. If the player is injured as a result of the hit, the guilty party should be suspended for the amount of games the injured player is out. In that way, you will teach players not to deliberately attempt to injure an opponent with that kind of strict discipline. Would it apply to every hit that caused and injury? No. But the simple fact that the players these days are moving so fast that there has to be some thought process that goes along with it.

Last season, too many of these kind of hits occurred during the both the pre-season and the regular season. The Philadelphia Flyers in particular were a team that had several players commit such infractions. Speed is a great part of the game and should be utilized to create scoring chances, not to injure an opposing player. Now that being said, physical speed also requires a faster thinking speed. Sometimes it's difficult to react quickly when one is in a compromising position (see Patrice Bergeron's season ending hit for proof). So in a situation where a player is vulnerable, an opposing player should not be allowed to get away with just a game misconduct. There has to be supplemental discipline handed out no matter the role of the players involved.

Thank goodness that Chris Lee was conscious and was moving his extremities after the hit and subsequently was cleared to fly back to NY yesterday, albeit to the news that he was being sent to Bridgeport. His career will thankfully continue. Others may not be so lucky.

I wish you an easy fast for those observing Yom Kippur tonight and tomorrow as I am. I will be back tomorrow night with my season preview and predictions on where the Islanders will end up.

For Questions, Comments or Bonehead Calls e-mail me at

Sunday, October 5, 2008



This point has been touched on by many an Islanders blogger and the starving fan base through comments since the beginning of the preseason. What are we to do in this media blackout? In this day and age where information is instantaneously transferred via the Internet and e-mail (cue Bill Curtis and the AT&T ConnectCard), it's amazing to me that Cablevision endeavors yet again to screw Joe and Jane Islander fan. Are we that much lower in the caste system that they can't televise ONE Islanders preseason game, all the while I've had to endure watching the Rangers toil in agony over finding their final roster? I couldn't even bring myself to watch yesterday's NHL Opening Game in Prague because of this fact: I want to watch the team that I root for, not some overpaid Rag$ to Riches story on MSG. Where's the love guys?

Thank goodness for a radio show produced on ESPN 1050 on Saturday morning, which I hope gets a regular time slot. Chris Botta and Don La Greca talked hockey for about an hour between 10:30-11:00AM. Scott Gordon and Lou Lamoriello poked their heads in for a chat with the pair and finally something on morning sports talk felt right. The season looms just around the corner for the other 26 teams not being represented in Europe and this is the first display of actual hockey knowledge that has hit the airwaves (beyond the fantastic work by beat writers Greg Logan, Katie Strang, Arthur Staple and Mark Hermann over at Newsday and the never-ending stream of awesome news and thoughts from the Islanders blogosphere). I can't wait to see what MSG will do this season with the telecasts considering I've heard the unenviable news that they will be cutting the pre-game show and post-game show for about 75% of the games the Islanders play this season. Meanwhile, yesterday there was a 30 minute pre-game and 1 hour post-game wrap up for the Rangers who are half a world away. I'd like to know what happened to that fat $20 million contract that Cablevision has with the Long Island team.

Alright, enough with the ranting, on to the good news. The past two preseason games were supposedly very different than the debacle only about 9,000 fans turned out to see on Wednesday, including yours truly. On Friday night, amongst roster changes and a goalie switch, the Islanders managed a 3-2 OT win over the rival Devils provided by Chris Lee. Although there was a Devils streaming radio broadcast, good luck actually listening to the drivel that comes out of that color analysts mouth. Can we be the least bit impartial? The game yesterday at TD Banknorth against the Bruins also ended in an Islander victory, 3-1 in regulation. The old dogs chipped in a bit with Weight, Sim and Comrie getting the goals. For those of you who weren't around for Wednesday night''s Coli game, you're in for a treat with Jon Sim. He will certainly be a player to watch this season if he stays healthy.

Now only one preseason game remains. On Monday down in Sunrise, FL, "The Rick" might make his debut in net for the "Boys in Blue and Orange" and yet here is another preseason tilt that we will not get a chance to see or hear. Be on the look out for live blogs by Greg Logan or from the Panther's website to satiate your hunger for Islanders hockey. After Monday night's game, I'll be doing a recap and a season preview with the final cuts being made sometime this coming week. Cheers everybody!

Photo Courtesy of

For Questions, Comments and Bonehead Calls e-mail me at

Friday, October 3, 2008



With the days inching ever closer to the start of the season for the New York Islanders, many questions still remain. Yesterday, one big question was answered when Josh Bailey received his entry-level contract on his 19th birthday. However, there remains an even more monumental question: Who will backup Rick DiPietro? The competition during camp has been spirited between Yann Danis and Joey MacDonald. Let's take a look at the their strengths and weaknesses and possibly a radical solution to the problem.

Joey MacDonald was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Detroit Red Wings for the 2001-2002 season. He played for their AHL affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins, where he enjoyed a prosperous several years. However, once he cracked the NHL as a backup, he was never truly able to prove himself. Subsequently, after being called up to the Red Wings in the 2006-2007 season, he was traded to Boston where it seems he found his game again. The Islanders then signed him on July 5th, 2007 and inserted him into the Bridgeport Sound Tigers lineup. Last season was a mediocre one for MacDonald but his one-way contract beginning this season will require him to pass through waivers to travel back and forth, thus making him the de facto backup for Rick DiPietro.

I got a chance to see MacDonald in action first hand on Wednesday night and as I said in a previous post, this is only preseason. What concerns me about MacDonald is his positioning. He's a big goalie so he covers alot of the net simply with size but movement side to side and his ability to keep himself square to the shooter looked like a struggle. I'll give him a pass for now considering the team is still tuning up for the season but I will be sure to revisit this issue after the season opens.

The other candidate for the backup job is Yann Danis. He was signed by the Montreal Canadiens after 4 solid years at Brown University where he collected many accolades and drew quite a bit of attention for the Ivy League school. He has been playing for the Canadiens AHL affiliate in Hamilton, ON since 2004 and had a call up to the big club in 2006 where he went 3-2-0 with a 2.69 GAA and a .908 Sv% and 1 shutout. Unfortunately for Danis, that was the last he saw of the NHL until this year when he was signed as a free agent by the Islanders. One thing to note about Danis is that he was caught in the middle of a glut of skilled goaltenders in Montreal, between the likes of Cristobal Huet, Jaro Halak and Carey Price. Danis was the odd man out and I think he will find the Islanders will certainly have a place for him.

From what little I've seen of Danis via ITV's broadcasts of the preseason games and what I remember from a couple of years ago, he is a solid positional goaltender with decent side to side mobility. He won't challenge for a starter position at the NHL with DiPietro between the pipes, but he will certainly challenge MacDonald for a share of the backup role. This brings me to my radical solution for the backup situation for the Islanders.

Now many fans have been stating that the Islanders should have gone out and gotten a proven backup goaltender who could play 20-30 games so that DiPietro could rest during the season. While of course I don't disagree, I think there might be a way to work out a solution with the players that already exist in the system. Due to MacDonald's one-way contract, Snow is forcing him to stay with the big club. That does not mean he can't sit in the press box for let's say 10 or 12 games during the season. Let me explain.

First, NHL teams are allowed a maximum of 23 players on their roster at all times. This does not include players on IR as evidenced by Jon Sim last season. Now let's say that the Islanders are carrying 22 players (only 20 of which can be listed on the game roster) and they used BOTH MacDonald and Danis during the season. Think of it as a modified platooning of goalies. Rather than two goalies sharing the starting duties much like what happened in Tampa Bay last year, you have two goalies who can play 10-12 games out of the backup role. Then you have about 20-24 games where DiPietro can rest and you get a backup in each of those games that will also be well rested and ready to go. If this situation doesn't change via trade or waiver pick up, I think this is an ideal way of handling the issue. Both MacDonald and Danis are at similar points in their development and if they are given the chance to really take the reins for that number of games and if they could at least win half of the ones they play in, then it would ease the pressure on DiPietro and give the team a viable option for the backup situation.

I am open to suggestions and criticisms. Let me know what you think as fans.

Photos courtesy of (Yann Danis) and (Joey MacDonald)

For Questions, Comments and Bonehead Calls e-mail me at

Thursday, October 2, 2008



You could pretty much see this coming since the Draft back in June. Garth is very high on Josh Bailey and this signing just solidifies that stance. What does this mean for Josh however? Will he remain with the Islanders the rest of the season, or will he get a 9 game audition and be sent back to Junior?

My personal opinion is the latter. There is no reason to rush Bailey in to a full time spot on an NHL roster. He is NOT Sidney Crosby. His interests will best be served by a short stint on the 3rd line and then he should be sent back to a captaincy and 1st line minutes in the OHL for Windsor. If the Islanders rush him, I believe that it will stunt his development. Everyone has to remember that it's not necessarily about winning NOW, but building a contender for a few years down the road. This is not the time to start plugging 19 year old kids into spots on the roster they can't handle for a full season. Let's just hope the Islanders' brass make the right decision.

On a lighter note, I just want to extend a Happy Birthday to Josh and Congratulations on his shiny, new NHL contract. He worked hard emotionally and physically to get where he is (one of his best friends and captain of the Spitfires tragically passed away in a car accident mid-season last year)and I'm glad that the Islanders think enough of him to give him an opportunity. Best of luck Josh!

Photo Courtesy of The Sporting News

For Questions, Comments or Bonehead Calls E-mail me at



Let me lead off with this statement: Remember...this is only pre-season. Now having said that, I was not impressed. The "overspeed" system that Coach Gordon has installed for this team did not seem to surface last night. The boys were all over the ice, missing assignments and generally not playing the type of game I'm sure they would have liked. To be fair, the Devils did ice a team that was fraught with NHL caliber players like Brian Rolston, Patrick Elias, Brian Gionta and especially Martin Brodeur. So it was to be expected since the Isles decided to go with more of an evaluation roster rather than putting out the majority of their NHLer's to be playing catch up most of the contest. But it still does not excuse the shape the system was in last night.

By far the best line last night was the Tambellini-Neilsen-Hunter combination. They did generate some scoring chances, but when Tambellini had the puck he seemed tentative and unsure. Trent Hunter on the other hand, played quite well. His stick handling was decisive and his play along the wall was something Isles fans have come to expect from Trent. Another nod should go out to Kyle Okposo and his use of his size and strength to try and create opportunities. Obviously nothing came to fruition but the groundwork is there for him to make an impact. Lastly, I'd like to acknowledge Jack Hillen who should absolutely be on the final roster for opening night. He's solid in his own end and makes a very reliable first pass. Out of the defenseman he and Freddy Meyer were the standouts for me.

The best scoring chance of the night award goes to the "4 Million Dollar Man", Mike Comrie-Duff. He skated in through the slot, took a pass, circled the net and attempted a backhanded wraparound that went under Brodeur and through the crease, along the goaline. As he turned back up ice, nose pointed at the rafters and head swung back, you could sense the frustration the boys had considering how sloppy they played. At least for the 1st period fans had a little entertainment value via some pugilistic fireworks (Ahh, I love Pre-season).

There were 3 major bouts that broke out in the 1st period. The usual suspects were going at it to try to win a job. Brandon "Sugar" Sugden got a rousing applause after his bout behind the Devil's net, waving to the crowd as he skated to the box. Mitch Fritz, the 6'7" behemoth, also took a turn on the dance floor and as another blogger put it, "He has a lethal right uppercut". The final fight of the period featured Tim Jackman. Although I know Jackman is trying to win a spot through his toughness, I think his efforts can be better utilized elsewhere instead of fighting. He got his bell rung pretty well and most certainly lost the fight. Unfortunately, thus ended the fun for the evening as the game degraded further into oblivion as the Devil's took over with their patented brand of "let us put the fans to sleep" hockey.

Finally, I would like to evaluate last night's performance by Joey MacDonald. If last night was any indication what the season holds for the struggling backup, then Isles fans and Rick DiPietro are in for a long season. Granted, the first goal, a shorthanded tally by none other than Zach Parise was a defensive gaff that MacDonald created himself by mishandling the puck behind the net and had little to no chance on. But the next two goals that were scored were certainly stoppable shots. Both goals came off of slap shots from outside 25 feet and were glove side high. As far as I'm concerned those should be saves if Joey Mac was in position and square to the shooter (which didn't happen for most of the night).

As disappointed as I was with the performance by the boys last night, I still have faith in what the coaching staff is trying to do. There was plenty of speed, albeit not where it was supposed to be and there were several players that impressed with their individual efforts. For this team however, individual effort is not enough. It will take the whole team working together to get things going. With 3 more preseason games to go: Friday at the Rock, Saturday at TD Banknorth and Monday in Sunrise, FL, there are 3 more chances to right the ship. Let's hope that with Ricky D being cleared to practice (we think) and the roster getting a trimming ,things will coalesce and "overspeed" will be a viable and effect system. For now, the results remain incomplete.

For Questions, Comments and Bonehead Calls E-mail me at

Update 10:21 AM: I forgot to mention in the original post what I thought about our new coach whom I finally witnessed behind the bench. If anyone went to games last season, you could audibly and visually notice how quiet Ted Nolan could be. With Scott Gordon it is the complete opposite. Even from the last row in 201 at the Blog Box, you could hear Gordon shouting, quite clearly I might add, instructions to players on the ice. That's the kind of coach I want for my team, someone who gets involved and looks passionate about his team and the game. There might be some detractors who liked Teddy, but I'm really enjoying the early part of Gordon's career as a bench boss in the NHL.