Saturday, January 31, 2009

Game Notes Islanders v. Kitty Kats Period 2


This is not Doug... This is Gary Harding with the View from Section 317 (well, tonight in Section 201). For some strange reason, Doug thought he should spend time with his family, rather than tell you all about the wonderful playmaking of the Islanders against the Kats! Oh well - the Isles had a their second straight power play, but to no avail. Was just not enough pressure in front of Vokoun.

I still believe that Okposo should be removed from the point on the PP. He is too much of a physical presence to be wasted, 70 feet in front of the Islanders net. What do you think Doug?

Oh - Doug has still not come back. Maybe he got a date....

5:40 - scrum behind Danis. - Florida just got their first shot of the period. They had 16 after 1 - to the Islanders 12.

By the way - if anyone wants a Dell Latitude computer - I will be selling Doug's machine to the highest bidder on E-bay.

HE'S BAAAAAAACK! But not typing....

And Guerin just got royally robbed by Vokoun.

There have been times tonight that Danis has been more shaky than a 10 year old Vacuum Cleaner that needs an overhaul - but he has stepped up and done the job.

Frolik with a nice breakaway, but the edge of Danis' pad got to it. Streit for slashing at 10:04 - and the Captain is getting his Massachusetts anger going. Panthers now go on their 4th man advantage of the game.

Sorry - I just insulted Doug's meatball. Ask him about it sometime...

The big problem with Danis, is that he still does not do the recovery quick enough, and his side-side moves is questionable.


Camoy - great opportunity - but just short. Tempo has picked up - and they seem to have enlightened the crowd a bit.

B TW - Doug is having just too much fun hanging out and not typing. He does not know that I am going to steal a $20 from his wallet for this. I don't come cheap!!!!

Now Doug is talking to one of the other Blog Boxer's Glen's kids, and he sounds like Mr. Hand from Fast Times at Rigdemont High...

Another shaky Danis save, and it looks like an old man trying to collect his nickels off the floor. Where is my High Blood Pressure medication.

Doug just commented on Coach Gordon's attire tonight. Come to think of it - he looks a little Sopranoesque. And another penalty on the Isles, and Doug is not pleased, and neither is the Captain - and for the next 4 minutes, he will be in the sin bin.

Panthers hit the post 5 seconds in. Sheesh.

The two to my right, are cat-fighting about the #1 pick, and who are free agents at the end of the season. One of them is in wonderlust with Tavares, and the other wants to not have him. Frankly - these guys need to kiss and make up!

I think I am done with my commentary. Thanks for the time, and make sure to check out my site, THE VIEW FROM SECTION 317.

Now - back the happy typing skills of Doug.

So long everybody....

Hope you all liked Gary's take on the situation going on in the Box tonight. I'll be back later on or tomorrrow with a few new pieces for ya. Enjoy the rest of the game.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Game Wrapup and Analysis from Last Night's Sound Tigers Game


With the amount of traffic going out of "The City" last night it wasn't hard to believe that it would take Tiger Track Tom and I almost a full 2 hours to get up to the Arena at Harbor Yard. Once we got there though, it turned out to be an even more melancholy night than one could have foreseen.

The game was basically at the first intermission when we arrived in the Press box with most of the action happening in that first stanza. Both teams managed to score 2 with goals coming from Ben Walter and Mike Iggulden for the Tigers and Oskar Osala and Matheiu Perrault for the Bears. From there, you can check out my Live Blog from last night to get the details of the game as they happened.

The action was extremely back and forth for most of the second as the Bears managed to get two markers by Nathan Lawson, who looked to be having his worst outing of the season. After the game, Lawson openly admitted that he was not on top of his game and that most of the goals went 5-hole on him. That simply was not acceptable. Jack Capuano, the Sound Tigers Head Coach, stated he wished to remain mum on the goaltending issues of last night's game when pressed in a question by Mike Fornabaio.

Although the Sound Tigers lost, they never seemed to give up and that certainly is a quality we'd love to keep seeing. That "never say die" attitude should be ingrained in every player that comes into the New York Islanders organization. The young players that are in the system are certainly thriving under the pressure of being a top team in the AHL and I hope that one day that carries over for some of them when the make the NHL and stick.

Also, a quick note, Scott Gordon the Islanders Head Coach, was in attendance last night and did a radio interview in between the first and second period.

Dubie gets plucked off Waivers by the CBJ

Wade Dubielewicz, goalie and fan-favorite, was plucked off the waiver wire before the 12 PM deadline by the Columbus Blue Jackets. This is a major blow to both Garth's and Wade's plans for a comeback on the Island. Read Chris Botta's reaction here.

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Friday, January 16, 2009



A big matchup tonight for those Cuddly Connecticut Tigers that the Islanders have relied on so much this season. They're playing the Washington Capitals AHL affiliate the Hershey Bears. The Bears roster boasts some familiar NHL names such as Keith Aucoin and former Islander Kip Brennan.

Unfortunately, Tiger Track Tom and I ran into traffic on the way up here and missed all but the last minute of the first period. I promise to run a live blog for the remaining two periods of what is a 2-2 tie after one. Mike Iggulden and Ben Walter were your Sound Tigers scorers in a very active first.

8:01 The Sound Tigers begin the 2nd on the powerplay and fail to convert on the chance.

8:02 Joensuu gets a nice close in change from the right of the crease that is stopped by Daren Machchesney.

8:05 Hershey penalty on Francois Bouchard for hooking at 16:23 as Trevor Smith burst through down the left side.

8:07 Junior Lessard, the Islanders latest trade asset, gets a redirection on net that Machchesney turns away on the Sound Tigers powerplay.

8:11 Trevor Smith gets a sharp angle shot on net that gives Machchesney little trouble as he gloves it down. The crowd gets pumped up to the tune of "Staying Alive" by The Bee Gees.

8:13 Mike Iggulden gets left alone in the slot and belts one low that gets turned away.

8:14 A terrible offside call is made by Paul Simeon (66).

8:18 Good pressure by the Bears as Lawson turns away several quality chances from in close. The Bears were able to sustain pressure for a solid minute of play.

8:20 Great passing play Bentivoglio to Kohn to Walter who puts one into the pads of Machchesney.

8:21 Lessard tries a stuff job left of the crease. On regaining the puck, Sixsmith gets handed a hooking penalty with 5:57 left to go in the 2nd.

8:23 Huge save on the powerplay as Lawson gets across to his left and gloves one down in the splits as Giroux gets robbed. Great stat from one of the journalists sitting next to me says that Giroux has a 12 game goal scoring streak.

8:25 Giroux barrels into Lawson and his helmet pops off and the net goes flying as the Sound Tigers goalie skates bucketless to the bench. Walter gets a an elbowing penalty on the play as he pushed Giroux into Lawson. Lawson slowly makes his way back to his crease and utilizes as much recovery time as he can muster from the officials.

8:28 Giroux walks into the slot and scores in his 13th straight game on the 5-on-3 to make it 3-2 with 4:06 remaining in the 2nd.

8:30 Trevor Smith steals the puck and center and walks in 2-on-2 and forces Machchesney to make a save while the Tigers force a draw low.

8:31 Chris Lee takes a very lazy hooking penalty coming back on the play with 2:08 left, putting the Bears back on the powerplay.

8:34 Lawson is able to fend off another great scoring chance from the Bears as the puck grazes the crossbar as the net gets knocked off forcing a defensive zone faceoff.

8:35 Andrew Gordon takes an untimely hooking penalty with 3.6 seconds left in the 2nd for the Bears giving the Tigers 1:56 of powerplay time to start the third. At the end of 2, Bears 3, Sound Tigers 2.

8:54 As we wait for the puck to be dropped on the third period we get the announced attendance of 5, 050. That's better than the average weeknight at the Nassau Coliseum (J/K).

8:56 Chris Lee misses the net from the high slot and Trevor Smith is stoned from the bottom of the right circle by Machchesney with :25 seconds left on the penalty that carried over from last period. There is some pushing and shoving after the whistle but nothing else develops.

9:02 Andrew Joudrey of the Bears takes the "phantom" tripping call with 15:04 remaining in the 3rd.

9:04 Andrew MacDonald streaks down the right side and unleashes a wrist shot pad high that Machchesney turns away. As the Bears come back up the ice Mike Iggulden takes a hooking penalty. We're 4-on-4 until 13:03.

9:06 Alexandre Giroux pounds home a one-timer from the far circle beating Lawson glove side giving the Bears a 4-2 lead.

9:07 Now with the Bears up 4-2, Sean Collins takes slashing penalty at the 11:41 mark to give the Sound Tigers a much needed powerplay.

9:09 Ben Walter streaks through the defense at 11:10 and pots a low wrist shot to Machchesney's glove side to keep the game close at 4-3.

9:15 Francois Bouchard fools Lawson and sneaks one through the 5-hole with 8:40 left to restore the 2 goal lead at 5-3.

9:16 Hershey is able to put the puck in the net again however the play was offside and the goal is immediately waved off.

9:17 Greg Amadio takes a cross-checking penalty at 8:14 to put the Sound Tigers back on the powerplay.

9:19 On a doorstep cross-crease pass the Sound Tigers nearly slide one home on the powerplay but the Bears are able to clear.

9:21 Jesse Joensuu takes a very bad penalty in the offensive zone for interference as he fought for the puck down low. The time of the penalty was 5:43.

9:23 On a heady play by Mark Wotton on the PK he's able to draw two penalties from the Bears as both Chris Bourque and Keith Aucoin take a trip to the "Sin Bin". Hooking and Unsportsmanlike Conduct respectively. Sean Bentivoglio also takes an unsportsmanlike to even up the manpower.

9:28 Bridgeport coach Jack Capuano takes his timeout with 2:14 remaining to try and draw one up for a quick goal to get the Tigers back in this one. It'll be 6-on-5 the rest of the way as Lawson takes a seat on the bench.

9:30 Tigers are pouring it on but a heads up play by Lang of the Bears gets the puck down the ice as he gloves it to the Bridgeport zone.

9:32 Even with a 39 shot effort from the Tigers they fall to the Bears of Hershey, 5-3.

I'll be back tomorrow with a game wrap-up and analysis. If you tuned in to my live blog, I thank you. Trust me, as I alluded to in my A Night at Harbor Yard post, get the family up to Bridgeport to catch a Sound Tigers game whenever you can. For the price the Port Jefferson/Bridgeport ferry charges it's a no-brainer.

Thursday, January 15, 2009



Well, well, well. Lookie here. I wonder who could be back on a 1 year, pro-rated, 500k contract. Could that be....WADE DUBIELEWICZ???!!!!
Yup, that's right! You're friendly neighborhood Dubester is back on the Island and could be available as soon as Saturday to play for the team he belongs on, according to both Greg Logan and Chris Botta.

Also, in related news, Joey Mac has been given the dreaded 2-4 week recovery time for the groin strain and most likely will not be back until the high end of that estimated time. Peter Mannino has been recalled from Bridgeport to back up Yann "Yo-Yo" Danis. In my opinion, Nathan Lawson, the Sound Tigers best puck-stopper the last month and half, should get a look at the NHL level but cannot be recalled due to not having an NHL contract. Although it would be ideal for Lawson to see some NHL action, maybe for now it's better he stays down in the Bridge.

Enjoy the action tonight versus the "Beast of the East" Boston Bruins. I'll be home for a rare opportunity to sit in front of the flat screen and enjoy dinner before 10:30 on a game night.

Tomorrow I'm travelling with Tiger Track Tom up to Bridgeport to take in their matchup against the Hershey Bears for supremacy in the AHL East. Keep an eye out here for updates.


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Wednesday, January 14, 2009



If you're an Islanders fan this season, you've been hit hard by reality. It didn't creep up on you like the climax of some psychological thriller or the boogie man quietly skulking from your closet door. It hit you right, square between the eyes. The Islanders just can't seem to have ANY good luck. At 5:01 of the first period last night, that was completely clear. The backup to probably the most oft-injured goaltender in the history of the league went down last night with a groin strain that some reported had him in tears (Ouch!). So what do we do now?

I give you "Yoda, Master of the Lightsaber" himself: WADE DUBIELEWICZ!

Or is it more like your resident Goalies Coach: MIKE DUNHAM!

For the record, Dunny was half-suited up in the weight room according to both Scott Gordon and Bill Guerin. The reason he never made it to the bench was due to a rule that said he would have to sign a tryout contract form prior to setting his skate blades on the ice. So I guess Islanders management might have to add that little stipulation to Mike's contract that in the case where the starting goaltender, the backup goaltender and the emergency backup for the backup all go down with injury, he'll be suiting up (I can just imagine him finding the nearest elevator and ripping his suit to shreds as he unveiled the Islanders jersey underneath a la Superman). They might even want to pay him more for dedicated service to the organization. It sure wouldn't have been Scotty "Flash" Gordon, once an NHL goalie in his own right. "Once I went down the first time, there would be no getting back up," he said at the post-game press conference. I can only imagine since it's probably been a decade since he strapped on the pads for any kind of high-level game.

So is this what this team has come to? We have a starting goalie that has had more surgery in the past 2 years than most Hollywood actresses. You have a backup goalie who no one except management had confidence in, starting 36 games so far this season. Then you have an emergency backup that no one, even management, seems to have any confidence in and he comes in cold and plays admirably and thankfully doesn't get hurt. What are we up to now? Just about 263 games lost to injuries this season and counting. As far as I know this is an unprecedented amount of injuries to a team that was already under the gun as far as talent. Pretty soon you might just see the New York Sound Tigers considering the Islanders have plucked extensively from their AHL affiliate.

It's time to stop playing games with Rick's health. Shut him down and let the boy rest. It does no good to listen to the day-to-day "he could start because he's medically cleared to play" line. It's time to take steps to make sure that even though this season is all but lost, there is still a team on the ice to finish the run. We're not making the playoffs. That is the reality. Let's compete and keep the dignity of a once storied franchise. With Garth and Scott at the helm there is at least hope...

Lessard Joins the Tigers

There was a minor deal that went down yesterday if you didn't hear. It was a single player swap for Junior Lessard coming to Bridgeport and Brett Skinner (a P-Bruin last season under Gordon) heading to Chicago (Wolves). At least we know that Snowy still talks to the other GM's in the league.

Photos were courtesy of

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009



Ahh, who could forget that little Pat Benatar diddy (I had a moment this morning, I can't explain it)? The fact that it was recorded in 1979 and hit #9 on the Billboard charts in 1980 gives it even more special meaning to Isles' fans. I'm not here to reminisce about the Dynasty era because frankly, that was 30 years ago. Let's look toward the future for a minute and see where things go...starting today.

It is exactly 50 days to the NHL Trade Deadline and talks are starting to heat up amongst the bottom dwellers, bubble teams and playoff pretenders. Vinny is rumored, as usual, to be heading home to Montreal in a blockbuster. The Rangers have seemingly tried every angle from before and after missing out on the Mats Sundin sweepstakes (thank goodness that's over with). And the Islanders, have been rumored in every deal from Gaborik and Kovalchuk, to dealing Weight or Comrie for picks and prospects from Columbus. However this pans out, there are a couple of things I would really love to see from the Islanders from now to the Draft.

First, get off the whole Rick DiPietro train. It's time to seriously evaluate his ability to play this season and shut him down if necessary. This "let's play and see" attitude doesn't seem to be cutting it. The man's health is at risk if he doesn't rest and regain his strength. I understand that from a development point of view, you'd like him to play as much as he can. However, if the "as much" consists of one game every 15 played, then is it really worth it to keep this up? With 4 surgeries in the past 2 seasons I think it's safe to say that Rick will never be 100% percent for the rest of his career. At this point I would feel comfortable allowing Joey Mac, Yann Danis, Nathan Lawson and Peter Mannino to finish out the season for a hockey club that needs it's youngsters to get as much ice time as possible.

Speaking of youngsters, how have Okposo, Comeau, Bailey and even Tambellini looked lately? Their play has picked up considerably now that they have settled into regular spots on this roster. I'm most impressed with KO for his tenacity on the puck and responsibility without it. He's been a mad man for the last 3 weeks and I'm glad to see him finally finding his comfort zone. I was truly impressed with his first goal in Edmonton as he showed his desire and outright willingness to do what is necessary. Another play that really stuck with me from that game came at the end of the 1st period. It really put the youth on display and was certainly something Islanders fans can be hopeful for the future. On the powerplay, in the final minute, Campoli started the play with a long cross-ice pass to Bailey from the Isles' blueline, Bailey gained the zone and hit a streaking Comeau in stride with a beautiful pass through traffic and then Blake proceeded to toast Dwayne Roloson with 3 seconds left. Amazing what a little playing time can do...something that Scott Gordon has promised more of in the second half to the youngin's.

That does not mean that vets will get left behind. Guys like Trent Hunter, Richard Park, Mark Streit and surprisingly Andy Hilbert, are thriving under Coach Gordon and have wholeheartedly accepted the call. Don't count out guys like Bill Guerin and Doug Weight either. As much as I know that neither want to leave (explicitly stated by Weight earlier this month), it might be in the best interest of the franchise as a whole despite the better than average season that both have had to this point. Having the two of them together has been great, but all good things must eventually come to an end. What shouldn't happen in my opinion is a total reduction of ice time for the vets across the board. Doug Weight stated it best when he said, "If I'm earning the ice time, I expect to be out there". I can't disagree with a player that wants to play for the crest on his sweater. That is the mark of a true professional.

Some players however, may have forgotten what it's like to play for the guys in the room and the fans in the stands. The one sore thumb that really sticks out to me is Brendan Witt. As I stated in my Catching Up post, he just seems to be invisible this year and is almost silently begging for a trade. Granted, this is only my opinion and please don't get me wrong I think the world of Brendan. He's a great leader and a real solid shutdown d-man, but the old cliche just keeps coming up: "Maybe it's time for a change scenery". There are a number of playoff-bound teams that would love to add someone like Witt to their second pairing and make a serious run. We'll see what Garth does on that front in the next month and a half.

After the Deadline the season is pretty much over for the Isles and the next big excitement will be the Draft in June. As Chris Botta has so eloquently put it, we Islanders fans are on the Tavheduch Watch (Copyright: NYI Point Blank). Tavares and Hedman are 1a and 1b type draft picks. Duchene makes it in as a close 3rd. However, don't wish too hard for the Islanders to lose and land themselves at the bottom. My initial feeling on the draft lottery, considering the Islanders remain where they are, is that this might be one of those years that the worst team DOES NOT get the first pick. It's just a gut feeling, but frankly I wouldn't be surprised. So those of you out there who are singing the praises of John Tavares as the next savior of the Islanders, don't hold your breath. The Isles only have a 25% chance of landing that first pick in the ideal scenario. Those are odds I'm not terribly comfortable with. However, I won't say that you should lose hope. Every loss brings the Islanders closer to having a better chance but nothing is an absolute lock.

There is definitely hope on the horizon for this franchise. We have a GM and Coach working in harmony. There are prospects that are thriving in their respective leagues and roles. We've got some really promising youth on the NHL club and the AHL club is kicking some major tail now halfway through the season. And finally, the Lighthouse Project, a beacon of better times to come, hopefully will be under way in the near future. Despite, the gloomy events of the recent past and present, the future is shining bright.

Come out in force tonight for the Islanders/Rangers game at the Coliseum and let's start off this home stand on the right foot. It never hurts to beat the Rangers (they can lose to anyone else as far as I'm concerned). I hope to see you there. Don't hesitate to come by the Blog Box and say "hi".

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

A Night at Harbor Yard


Once upon a time, on a dark and snowy night, a young blogger and his father ventured across the Long Island Sound to see their first Bridgeport Sound Tigers game of the season. The hated opponent of those cuddly Sound Tigers was none other than the Hartford Wolfpack. In a grueling and gritty full 60 minutes of hockey, the Sound Tigers prevailed 2-1, on goals by usual suspects Trevor Smith and Ben Walter. Nathan Lawson played extremely well in net for the Tigers as he was peppered with 30+ shots by the Wolfpack, while only surrendering a nice goal by Artem Anisimov in the 3rd.

There were some fisticuffs that flared up in the 1st and 3rd periods. Micheal Haley decisively won his bout against Hartford's Sauer in the 1st. In the 3rd, it was Jack Hillen's turn to drop the mitts with DiDiomete of the Pack. For the record, Jack is definitely not a fighter by any stretch of the imagination.

Mitch Fritz and Brandon Sugden, the two heavyweights in attendance, didn't even exchange pleasantries. Many of you will remember Brandon from the heartfelt story first covered by Chris Botta in the first incarnation of Islanders: Point Blank. I'd like to report that it looks as if Sugden is doing fine on the Pack and obviously has toned down his usually aggressive demeanor (at least on the ice).

I'm on my way back through rough seas to that little sliver of an Island I call home. Only to be faced with a 45 minute to an hour drive through snow and sleet from Port Jefferson. It was a nice time and certainly something everyone should take their family to at least once. You can call the Port Jeff/Bridgeport Ferry Service at (631) 473-0286 to schedule a round trip ferry ticket and seats at a Sound Tigers home game. Prices for the event range from $29.00 for adults to roughly $13.00 for kids. It's a great time to spend with family and it certainly doesn't cost an arm and a leg. I recommend it to anyone that enjoys good hockey at a beautiful location, Arena at Harbor Yard. Enjoy the rest of your weekend. I'll be back Tuesday for the Islander/Ranger game.

For a full recap of tonight's game and great coverage of the Islanders AHL affiliate please visit Mike Fornabaio's Soundin' Off Blog. Also, don't forget your own NYI Blog Box member, Tom Liodice, who provides great Tigers coverage on his blog The Tiger Track.

Photos courtesy of and

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Isles Official's Quick Hits from Around the NHL


There have been some incidents from around the NHL that have caused the League Office to take action. Here are the two most recent indiscretions.

  • Jarkko "Jaws" Ruutu receives a 2 game suspension for a biting incident against Andrew Peters of the Buffalo Sabres last week.

  • Mikhail Grabovski of the Toronto Maple Leafs gets 3 games for shoving an official and doing his best impression of a baseball manager.

Thanks to Puck Daddy Greg Wyshynski for these two very well documented stories and some more interesting commentary on the different incidents that have been going on around the NHL. Just think back to the hit that Frans Nielsen received from Mike Mottau which received a two game suspension. Inconsistencies much?

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Catching Up on the First Half


I apologize to those who found a way to my blog and were regular readers. Life unfortunately got in the way of being able to sit down and have the time to pound out a blog for your reading pleasure. Between the Holidays and working hockey games, things have been quite hectic. However, now it's a New Year and some time has come my way.

The first thing that I'd like to cover is our beloved Islanders. These days I'm not even worried if they lose because I'm seeing the younger players on the team gaining experience and molding themselves into true NHL players. Look at the way that Kyle Okposo, Blake Comeau, Josh Bailey, Chris Campoli and even Jeff Tambellini have raised their games to compensate for the lose of veterans like Doug Weight. They are beginning to control the game the way they want and it's showing in very close losses.

Speaking of losses and how they're being dealt with, let's talk a bit about Scott Gordon. As my dear friend 7th Woman remarked, "Has Scotty taken up drinking yet?". Well I'm sure there is probably a nice bottle of scotch in some drawer in his house but I don't think he's touched it...yet. Although the team's losses mount, they haven't ever really seemed down on themselves. They are trying to learn the system, the game and the lifestyle that the NHL demands. Despite their awful record and last place standing in the NHL I just don't see the players, coaching staff or front office being so negative that it affects how the team plays. It's business as usual and that's the way it truly needs to be. As for business as usual let's talk about our good friend Rick DiPietro.

The single most pleasing thing that has come out of this season for me (you WILL be SHOCKED) is the way the team has handled Rick DiPietro. Last season, things would have been quite different when it came to Ricky playing even though he might have been injured (The Ranger back-to-back doesn't count from last year). He's being handled with the kind of kid gloves that the "face of the franchise" should be handled with. If he can't go, don't force him and don't allow what a player wants to cloud the judgement when it comes to selecting a starting goaltender. Scott Gordon, Garth Snow and even Rick himself have managed to find that balance this season.

In the meantime, Joey MacDonald has proven without the shadow of a doubt, that he can handle an NHL workload and all of the fans (including my own) perceptions during the preseason and after the distasteful departure of Dubie have certainly been changed. However, I still feel compelled to quote a young fan by the name of Lawrence Watling that sat in front of the Blog Box back in December who said "Joey Mac has the rebound control of a brick wall". Thanks Larry because you brought up a great point about something the Islanders and Joey, need to work on...clearing the crease and controlling the rebounds.

With Andy Sutton out of the lineup for about the next month, the job of clearing the crease falls on venerable d-man Brendan Witt, Mark Streit and Chris Campoli. The problem with clearing the crease is not that the d-men aren't doing their jobs, it's that Joey Mac is not directing his rebounds to the corners and instead popping them back out into the slot. If you listen to a broadcast of the Isles while they're on the road, you'll hear Howie or more recently Jiggs (please come back full time)remarking about "what a juicy rebound Joey left out there". With a team in flux as it is, a goaltender absolutely cannot give the opposing team opportunities from prime scoring areas to just pop in an easy rebound.

With an astounding 269 man games lost so far this season, the Islanders face an uphill battle to do anything of significance in the second half. I'm sure that by March 4th we will know exactly what Garth has in store for next season and what the plans will be for the future. Many a rumor has been swirling about the services of Doug Weight, who has openly said he would rather not be a rental for a playoff run. Unfortunately, for the betterment of the team he may have to be packaged off to a team like Columbus for either draft picks or prospects. As much as I admire Doug as a person and a player and understand his desire to remain in the place he signed, his value is undeniable as a second line center and it will be difficult for Garth not to trade him.

Also, don't forget about the surging Mike Comrie and venerable Brendan Witt who also might be in new homes by 3:00 PM on March 4th. Comrie has brought up his trade value in recent games with inspired play. Unfortunately for Mike, the better he plays the more tradeable he becomes. Brendan on the other hand, another man I truly admire, seems disinterested and has been invisible this season except for the public calling-out of Scott Gordon's system. His value as a shutdown defenseman will be attractive to many teams on deadline day and I'm pretty sure you won't see him in an Isles uni after then as well.

I'm heading out to the Bridgeport Soundtigers v. Hartford Wolpack tonight. I'll make sure to give you guys a report from the event. I'm going to be a little more diligent in posting so everyone has something to read.

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