Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What Do You Want for Christmas (or Hanukkah If You're Like Me)?


I want one simple thing: Patience. Too many naysayers have already written off Scotty "Flash" Gordon and the Islanders even before the year is out. Sure things look bleak as the temperatures fall well below freezing, but there are a lot of things to be thankful for as the Islanders play their last game before the fat man gives all those nicely wrapped presents to the kiddies.

  • We have a GM and a Coach on the same page and both are willing to stand up for each other when the times get tough.

  • We have a grizzled, veteran defenseman not afraid to speak his mind and rather than demand a trade, state that he wants to be part of the solution.

  • We have a group of young players both with the big club and down in the "A" that are learning the ropes and although it's trial by fire, it's better to learn on the job.

  • We have a "system" that permeates through the organization like Elmer's glue that will hold this whole thing together until the Islanders hopefully have The Lighthouse and the kind of players that we can all be proud of.

We also have a fanbase that so desperately wants to get through these hard times that they are unwilling to heed the call of "patience". It should have been very clear at the beginning of this season that times were going to be tough. There was no enigma when Garth signed a wily vet in Doug Weight, who many an expert had already deemed DOA. There was planning for the future when Snow signed Mark Streit away from the rest of the NHL for a reasonable $4.1 million a year for 5 years (and he's been worth every last penny of that salary). There even was some forethought when the scouting team chose to trade down twice to draft Josh Bailey at #9, who projects as a really well-rounded 2nd line center.

What gets me is the disillusionment of some fans who think that Mike Milbury is still the GM and some quick fix is going to come waltzing through the door. Unfortunately, you guys are going to get left out in the -3 degree wind chill we felt here on the Island yesterday. I know it will be difficult, but it's time to get out of the cold and into the warmth of the "Old Barn" and support the team we love. We know that Islanders are struggling. That's just a fact of the life and times of this franchise and it's something fans will have to accept.

Patience is the key to this whole operation. If the Islanders will ever return to their former glory and fans can stop having to refer back to the "Dynasty Years" to describe a hockey team that collectively has been terrible since 03-04, it will be through a long, hard rebuilding process. Fans should recognize that they are in on the ground floor of something great. A team that has the right people in place to make this endeavor work. It's time to just ride out the storm and appreciate the things we have, like the New York Islanders.

Photos courtesy of ESPN.com and Newsday.com

For Questions, Comments or Bonehead Calls e-mail me at DougD84@optonline.net.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Progress Amidst Another Crushing Loss


What can I possibly say about last night's game that Islanders fans have not heard already this season and in season's past? Luckily, for those in attendance at the Coli and those watching on Versus, you were treated to a pretty exciting game with the same dreadful ending we've come to expect from a team that is struggling to right the ship over the past 10 games. One might ask: "Why am I lucky having watched last night's game?". Well to put it succinctly you were witness to the first full 60 minute effort the Islanders have put on since early November.

Most NHL teams go through a snide where the bounces don't go their way, the effort isn't there and the losses start to pile up. For the Islanders, December seems to be the month where all of the hard work that has been built upon since September comes to a crunching halt. For some reason when the calendar turns over for the final month of the year it seems the Islanders pack their bags and wait for the Holiday Roster Freeze to come before taking their usual trip out West to start the New Year. There really is no explanation as to why this happens but as a fan of this team for many years, it just seems that it's an unavoidable truth.

However, despite losing in OT last night to a very strong Capitals team, the Islanders showed the resilience that fans only got a glimpse of in November. This team has sat back in so many 3rd periods this season it's uncanny how they were able to forecheck their way to massive leads only to have it all come crashing down in one 20 minute period. Last night, the Capitals cruised into the 3rd with a 4-2 lead and the Islanders had to claw their way back in. Half-way through the 3rd it seemed that the Islanders were headed toward yet another regulation loss. Boy, did they have everybody fooled. On goals by "offensive superpowers" Andy Sutton and Jon Sim, the Isles were able to knot it at 4 and force the game to OT.

Unfortunately for us fans, the Isles couldn't put in a full "65 minute" effort. Throughout the OT period there were screams and yells to watch that guy on the other team wearing #8 (wonder who he is). Ovechkin got a low backhand shot off that ticked off the inside of the short side post and slid across the goaline only to deflect off the far side post and out with about a minute left in OT that caused Stephen Hermann of IslesNation.com to nearly have a heart attack on the spot. After that near miss, 45 seconds later Alex the Gr8 took a feed off a terrible giveaway by Doug Weight near the blueline and skated it to the high slot and fired one just inside the post while off-balance with 10.7 seconds remaining in the extra frame to win it for the Caps. You simply cannot give a player with Ovechkin's talent two chances to put the game away from such prime scoring areas.

It is my sincere hope however, that the Isles pull the positives out of this OT loss. They skated hard, they played their system, they battled when the chips were down, but still came up short. No reason to hang your heads yet boys. The season is a marathon, not a sprint.

Last Night's Live Blog

I want to thank all of those who participated in last night' s grand experiment as the Blog Boxers got a chance to chat with fans during the game. I would personally like to extend my thanks to Dee Karl of 7th Woman, Tom Liodice of The Tiger Track, Glen Vogel of MrLawyerDude, Mike Gasparino of Still Drivin', Ken Rosenblatt of Islanders Outsider and Gary Harding of View from Section 317. To those who joined in the discussion, Dominick from Lighthousehockey.com, Acards from the Islanders Country boards, John from YesIslanders.com and The Moose, you guys were awesome last night and I hope that we can get the Live Blog up and going again soon.

Photo courtesy of ESPN.com
For Questions, Comments or Bonehead Calls, E-mail me at DougD84@optonline.net.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008



Sorry about the Live Blog getting shut all of sudden. The network here at the Coliseum went haywire on us and we couldn't get the Live Blog back. Thank you so much for attending for those who did and hopefully we'll be back with it next Tuesday.



Monday, December 15, 2008



Hey Everyone,

The Bloggers decided that we were going to do a Live Blog while the game is in progress. Feel free to click the link below to join up prior to the start of the live chat during tomorrow's game. The official link will appear just prior to game time on this website and most of the other bloggers websites tomorrow evening. See you there.

Saturday, December 6, 2008



The question on every NHL fan's mind, especially those of the Stars: Brett Hull, "WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?". The league has come down hard on everybody's favorite bad boy, Sean Avery, for comments made to the Calgary media last week that were deemed detrimental to the spirit of the game and a terrible representation of the NHL's players. Here's the video:

Avery received 6 games retroactive to last week (he's already served 2 games) and a free pass to an anger management evaluation for that little stunt. For those not in the know, Avery is referring to his ex-girlfriend Elisha Cuthbert who is currently dating Flames All-Star defenseman Dion Phaneuf. The question now for both the Stars organization and the NHL is: Does Sean Avery still deserve to play hockey in the NHL?

Personally, I would agree with an indefinite ban for Mr. Avery, because playing as a professional athlete in the NHL is a privilege and is not handed out to just anyone. He has the talent as a hockey player without the class and tact that should be inherent to anyone in his position. When the media spotlight is shining, it's not a license to run your mouth and espouse ideas that will clash with 700 other players who found out a long time ago how to act like a human being. In my opinion, 6 games is a slap on the wrist. He has proven time and time again to be a cancer to the game of hockey and a detriment to the members of the NHLPA and the league. His presence brings the kind of negative publicity that the NHL can ill afford and it's time for the league to divorce the man everyone loves to hate.

Thursday, December 4, 2008



Tuesday, December 2, 2008



This is a cause very near and dear to my heart. Schneider's was the hospital that I went to when I had a very rare bone cyst that needed to be removed and the care there is some of the best in the world. Trust me I'd know. Take a look at the stuff below and go to the attached link to participate.

On December 6, the Islanders face off against the Thrashers for Schneider Children’s Hospital Night at Nassau Coliseum. The Islanders have created a promotional offer of discounted tickets, with sales benefiting Schneider Children’s Hospital, the largest provider of pediatric health services in New York State and serving over 1.8 million children in Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau and Suffolk counties. The Islanders have also donated some one-of-a-kind prizes for an Islanders Experience Raffle that I'm sure your readers would love to know about. Raffle tickets are just $25 (or 5 for $100) with these great prizes:

Grand Prize: Islanders VIP Package for 4- 4 lower-level game tickets- Zamboni ride for 1 child- Seats on the players’ bench during warmups for 2 children- Locker room tour for 4 Runner-Up Prize: Islanders High-Five Experience for 10- 10 game tickets- Locker room tour for 10- Opportunity to high-five Islanders players as they enter the ice The raffle ends on November 21 so that we can notify the winners before the December 6 game. You can find details on how to purchase discounted tickets and raffle tickets at http://support.northshorelij.com/Islanders.

Monday, December 1, 2008



If you watched the Islanders games on Friday and Saturday you were treated to depression and redemption. What you also saw were some blatant non-calls by NHL Officials that certainly should have warranted some penalty time against Islanders opponents. I'd like to point out two separate incidents, one from each contest, that should have been penalized.

In the first period against Boston on Saturday, Tim Jackman turned to face the corner boards in his own end and the 6'3" 225lbs freight train known as Milan Lucic hit Jackman on the numbers, forcing him face first into the glass. Jackman took some time to recover and once he got up it was clear he was bleeding from just above his right eye. What baffles me the most is how Lucic waited around expecting there to be a penalty call and then smiled as he lined up for the ensuing face-off knowing he had gotten away with one.

Not for nothing, but in youth hockey what Lucic did would have been met with a 5 minute major and a game misconduct. Now let's get this straight, NHL players are big boys and can take care of themselves, but this is the kind of hit the NHL should be trying to prevent with stiffer penalties. More and more in the "new" NHL players are putting themselves in precarious positions and are getting hit while vulnerable. Lucic deserved at least a minor if not a 5 minute major without the game misconduct for the hit. The fact that he acknowledged the dangerous nature of the action and the officials didn't, shows a clear deficiency in the consistency of officiating so far this season.

The second of the two incidents happened late in the 3rd period against the Senators on Saturday night. As he was going back to play the puck in his own end, Freddy Meyer, who was having the game of his NHL career up that point was trailed closely by Jesse Winchester who launched Meyer into the end boards from about 6 feet away. Yet again, no referee's arm went in the air. I'm confused with the NHLOA's stance on trying to crack down on dangerous plays and then not following through with the mantra. To me, this just seems to perpetuate a cycle of illegal and possibly career ending hits (I direct your attention to Randy Jones' hit on Patrice Bergeron last year that got Jones suspended. Luckily, Bergeron was able to come back this season.).

If Colin Campbell wants to have his cake and eat it too, it might mean some harsher criticism needs to befall the NHL's disciplinarian or players like Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin might end up getting carried off on stretcher some day (knock on wood it doesn't happen). How might the NHL respond then? Will it take the face of the NHL going down in this kind of situation to open the eyes of those in the NHL's executive office? Hopefully, we'll never have to find out...

Photo courtesy of TopCheddar.com

For Questions, Comments and Bonehead Calls e-mail me at DougD84@optonline.net.



Don't forget to check out all the Isles blogs on Yes! Islanders.com and vote for your favorite. If you haven't visited my site before give it a read. It's geared to be more educational and opinionated towards the officiating aspect of the hockey then reporting and regurgitating the news. I guarantee you'll learn something you never knew about hockey's rules and procedures you didn't know before.

For Questions, Comments or Bonehead Calls e-mail me at DougD84@optonline.net.