Thursday, March 26, 2009

An "Unprecedented" Time in Our Lives


Last night, I attended the 180th Community Outreach Meeting conducted by the Lighthouse Development Group along with about 1,000 other supporters, politicians and sports figures. I went in with a clear mind as to what topics would be covered and I was not disappointed. The only thing that I regret not hearing about was any opposition to the project. Now please, don't jump to conclusions. I'm completely behind the Lighthouse Project 110%. However, I'm interested in hearing the reasons for people to be against a project such as the Lighthouse. The Lighthouse will effect every Long Islander's life and it's important to garner as much input as possible before hopefully moving forward and getting a shovel in the ground.

A little after 7:00 PM, Charles Wang, Scott Rechler, President of the Lighthouse Development Group, Michael Picker and Nassau County Exec Tom Suozzi all took to the stage to answer as many questions they could in a two hour period.

Mr. Wang began by acknowledging the event as the 180th Community Meeting and referring to it as "unprecedented" that the number of meetings had been reached. Frankly, the sheer number of community meetings that the Lighthouse Group has conducted is staggering. They've done everything in their power to inform the public about the inner workings of the project and what their plans are to move forward.

"Why haven't you started it yet?"

That's a question that Mr. Wang has had to face for quite some time. We all know by now that the state has very stringent laws about how building developments and especially one this size have to be approved. There simply is no way around it. Several times last night, Mr. Wang was his acknowledged for his "patience, vision and passion" to get the project done. Charles in turn replied, "Don't bet against us on Long Island" to rousing applause.

County Executive Suozzi tempered the joyous mood by listing the major problems that Nassau County is facing and how the Lighthouse would be a great starting point to resolving these four issues:

  • Property Taxes
  • Young People Moving Away or Not Coming to LI
  • Traffic
  • Pockets of Poverty that have been left for far too long

What interests me most about the project is it's effect on the people of my age group and the reality that we face. I'm speaking about the Generation X and Y people out there between the ages of 24-35 who need to find work and a place to live. With little options to remain on Long Island due to rising rental and housing costs and the horrendous state of the current job market, it is becoming extremely difficult to find your way once you graduate college. Many people spoke last night of their friends and family moving off of Long Island to find a better cost of living and quality of life.

I believe Scott Rechler, Head Developer of the Lighthouse Project, put it best:

"We are losing the future of Long Island. This is about competing to keep companies coming to Long Island and bringing young people in who want to work on Long Island."

"When companies are looking, they're not looking to Long Island. They can't find a young workforce who want to come to Long Island because they can't find the type of housing, the type of lifestyle that they want to live by. Instead, they go to places like White Plains, Hoboken or other parts of New Jersey. LONG ISLAND IS NOT EVEN ON THE MAP!"

This is the reality that people my age face. I've even resigned my fate to somewhere off of this Island where I was born and raised. It's simply a fact of life. However, a project such as the Lighthouse would provide ample opportunities for people to find jobs and affordable housing that will be required in what has been termed as "new suburbia".

Last night was an endless parade of supporters, local political figures and sports legends. Each of them voiced their support and many asked what could possibly be done by the public to get the project moving at a quicker pace. Unfortunately, there really is no answer for that issue. County Executive Tom Suozzi made it clear that we would know about the next step "by early to mid-April" and that the process will hopefully be progressing at a faster rate following that milestone (approval of the Environmental Impact Statement by the Town of Hempstead and their issuance of a Negative Declaration. Please see my friend Nick's site, Let There Be Light(house) for a Glossary of Terms used in the approval process).

Correction: My astute friend Nick, the proprietor of Let There Be Light(house),had to set me straight on some of the terminology that I alluded to. Guess I need to read his Decoding the SEQR Series Part 1 and Part 2 again.

The Lighthouse will truly be "Long Island's own Stimulus Package". This is the point in Long Island history where the public needs to take a stand and unite in one voice to approve a project that will not only revitalize the Uniondale and Hempstead area but all of Long Island from Long Beach to Montauk. Our time has arrived and I personally plan on taking full advantage of the opportunities afforded to me by this project. I hope that someday soon I'll be able to say to my friends and family: "Meet me at the Lighthouse!"

Please take in my two previous posts on the subject: Crossroads at the El Coliseo and Meet Me at What is the Next 25 Years on Long Island for further insight.

Also, don't forget to check out the links at the right that will have numerous accounts of last night's meeting. Get them some hits as well because they are certain to have a different take than I do.

I will be back in the coming days with more notes and quotes from the Meeting. There is an enormous amount of information that came out of it and it will take more than one post to cover. Check back soon.

For Questions, Comments or General Housing Development Issues, please refer to your superintendent at or in the Comments section.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I Went To a Fight and a Hockey Game Broke Out!


If you haven't heard, a couple of weeks ago the General Managers of the NHL addressed a growing issue amongst hockey pundits, players and fans alike: Fighting's Place in Hockey. What are we to do about this time-honored tradition? It's in the very fabric of the sport and has existed since its inception. In my opinion, we have only seen the tip of the iceberg when it comes to dealing with this problem.

In January, a young man by the name of Don Sanderson lost his life after he was tripped to the ice during an altercation in a Canadian minor league game and the back of his head hit the ice. The outcry that followed this accident centered around the fact that Sanderson's helmet had been forcibly removed during the fight. The 21 year-old lingered for three weeks in a coma before passing. His sacrifice has sparked a debate that has spread like a brush fire throughout the hockey community. Mr. Sanderson's death should be viewed as an absolute tragedy and not merely an accident.

The GM's and the NHL addressed the issue, especially referring to the "dancing bear show" known as staged fights of the so-called "super-heavyweights", by adding an additional 10-minute misconduct to those who fight immediately after a face-off or if the fight looks premeditated. Fights such as these may even be planned well in advance of the game and to put it simply are a detriment to the spirit of the game. Think about that for a second. Men who get paid hundreds of the thousands of dollars to skate on a rink in front of upwards of 21,000 people, staging a spectacle that relegates them to a measly 2 minutes of ice time out of 60. That my friends, is something that must be eradicated from our game despite what George Laraque says.

Gone are the days of Clark Gillies, Bill O'Reilly and Dave Semenco, true enforcers and policemen for their team's stars. These were men that were not only protection but they could also PLAY THE GAME! That is what is severely missing in this day and age. The only fights that should occur are the ones that flare up out of frustration or protecting a teammate. Not some staged bout that would be better off in the UFC or boxing ring.

The OHL stepped up immediately in the wake of the tragedy and now mandates its players to keep their helmets on during an altercation or they will receive an automatic game misconduct and a one-game suspension. The question really becomes, "Is this enough?" Will this deter players from fighting at all? This official doesn't think so.

Unfortunately, in my experience at the junior and college levels, fighting occurs all too often. These kids (I'll be 25 for perspective), especially in junior are playing upwards of 125 games a season to showcase their skills to move on to the next level. With the amount of fights that occur in junior games (they are allowed to fight once for a 5-minute major and a second fight or fighting under the 5-minute mark in the 3rd is an automatic game misconduct, just like the NHL) these kids are not able to properly show scouts what they are capable of doing.

Something else that is extremely disturbing to me as a fan, player and official is the reactions after hard, clean hits. It's no longer okay to throw that hip check or slam an opposing player to the ice with a good shoulder without some kind of retaliation from the other team. There is no margin for what constitutes a "dirty play" anymore in the "new" NHL. How can the players showcase the essence of a game that requires body contact if they have to walk on eggshells? None of them will back down from a challenge, I guarantee that, but enough is enough.

Frankly, I'm not against fighting being a part of the game. It's exciting for fans and players alike. Is it essential? No. Does it keep everyone honest, knowing that you have to face the music if you pull something (I'm looking at you Sean Avery)? Sure. But it is far from a necessity. Today's game is meant to showcase the skills of the individual player and the team as a whole. Watching a boxing match ensue during a hockey game should be old news at this point.

The coming months will be quite telling with how the national governing bodies handle fighting as a whole. USA Hockey doesn't let players off the hook that easy at the youth levels (automatic game-misconduct) but the juniors up to this point are still under the same rules I described above. I'll be curious to see where the path leads.

Let me know what you think in the Poll at the right and in the Comments Section.

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

(Photo courtesy of

Mourning the death of a young man who went well before his time. Our thoughts and prayers will always be with you and your family, Don.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Crossroads at the El Coliseo


As Islander fans and Long Islanders we face a myriad of challenges each and every day. Whether it's a team that might as well be compared to Jekyl and Hyde so far this season, our economic woes on this little Island of ours or the daily battle with traffic, Long Islanders still manage to stand up to every hurdle. We simply try to take as much out of life as we can. Unfortunately, there are some of us who would prefer to stand in the way of change and block the quest for progress.

I was reading a post over on my friend Nick's, Let There be Light(house) site and I came across his most recent post on how the politics of the most recent news regarding the Lighthouse may affect proceedings as time moves forward. As we all know, our local political leaders are up for re-election come this November. To be completely honest I think one is trying to win the favor of his constituents, while the other is trying to alienate them.

Tom Suozzi has done everything short of put the shovel in the ground himself trying to win the favor of potential voters for the upcoming elections. He's approved the Lighthouse Development Group as the developer of the Coliseum site and most recently has entered into negotiations for the new lease that will accompany the project.

Kate Murray on the other hand has done everything in her power to basically stall the Lighthouse Project and provide political misdirection as far as the renovation of the aging Coliseum. She's been absent at key meetings and has generally steered clear of any and all questions regarding the development project as a whole.

So where does this leave Islanders fans and their fellow Long Islanders, who will be equally effected by the Lighthouse Project's approval or denial?

To put it succinctly, it leaves us at the voting booth.

Kate Murray is slowly but surely destroying her own political career by not speaking in a more positive light about the $3.75 billion development project that will not only increase tax revenue, jobs and housing options but will also bring Long Island into the 21st century.

I don't want to demonize Kate Murray. She's done a good job for a Town I don't live in (I'm in the Town of Oyster Bay). But, her actions of late have started to solidify her political fate. If she wants to salvage any semblance of a career, she'll be at the March 26th meeting at the Long Island Marriott adjacent to the Coliseum to smile her little smile and answer questions of puzzled Long Island residents.

What this also means is YOU SHOULD BE THERE TOO! The meeting is on Thursday, March 26th and will consist of Michael Picker, the head of the Lighthouse Project; Charles Wang and Scott Rechler, the head developers; Tom Suozzi, Nassau County Executive; and the TOH Board; all of whom will be on hand to answer questions. This is our chance to voice our opinions on the process and support a cause that will positively affect all of us. I hope you can all make it.

(Photos courtesy of Barry Melrose Rocks and Newsday)

For Questions, Concerns or To Talk Everything Islanders, Hockey and Lighthouse, e-mail me at or Leave a Comment in the space provided.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009




Come one, come all!! Welcome to this year's edition of The NHL Trade Deadline Circus powered by Desperation, Future Considerations, Draft Picks and Rbk.

It's the day we've all been waiting for. In Canada and for our friends Norde de Lignes, today is a national holiday. For us poor Americans (like myself, stuck at work and with no way to get the TSN feed) this is just another work day with some drama thrown in from the hours between 10 AM and 6 PM. Hockey fans rejoice because today will be a day of sensationalism, rumor and intrigue.

Follow me all day as I count down the hours and the trades that go down, hopefully as they happen. The Blog Box will have a direct line into press conferences given by Garth Snow as the Islanders wheel and deal (hopefully) their way to the promised land at the Draft and beyond.

I'll be back soon with the first of what I believe will be many updates on the happenings around the NHL. Stay Tuned...

Don't forget to check out the sites on my link bar for the Blog Box member's opinions as the day drags on.

(Photo Courtesy of

9:23 AM- Apparently the deal for Billy Guerin that began a chain of events that started before the Buffalo game a mere four days ago is not dead. Read this little blurb from Pierre LeBrun at ESPN.

9:51 AM- Don't forget to check over at Lighthouse Hockey to catch both Dominik and Islesblogger, Mike Schuerlein, weigh in on today's events for SBN's Trade Deadline Extravaganza.

To refresh your memories, everyone on this list has been rumored in a trade within the last month:

Sean Bergenheim, Richard Park, Trent Hunter, Billy Guerin, Doug Weight, Brendan Witt, Radek Martinek and Andy Hilbert.

My personal feeling is that Billy will unfortunately be gone by 3 PM. I also wouldn't be surprised if you found Martinek or Hilbert on other teams either. Keep checking back because there seems to be a lot of chatter since early this morning...

9:58 AM- TRADE: Vermette from Ottawa is traded to Columbus for Pascal LeClaire and a 2nd Rounder

Ottawa has been looking to replace Martin Gerber for ages now and LeClaire has certainly shown in the past that he can fill the #1 role. Vermette gets a fresh start with a young team and a great coach in the person of Ken Hitchcock. A good trade for both teams.

10:14 AM- Filip Kuba re-signed by the Sens at 3 years, $3.75 mil per year

As per Mark Christopher of A good signing for the backliner. Reasonable price for the kind of production that Kuba is capable of (although he is no Mark Streit).

10:40 AM- Chris Neil to the Sharks? Connolly leaving Buffalo?

This rumor seems to be picking up some steam as multiple rumor and hockey sites have started to report that Neil's contract negotioations have soured and the "tough guy with hands" might be on the move.

Apparently former Islander Tim Connolly also has had some problems getting a contract hammered out and might also be packing his bags today.

10:49 AM- Connolly re-signs in Buffalo for 2 years at $4.5 mil per

Apparently initial reports of the Connolly negotiations were false. Hope the Sabres can get him to play more than 60 games over the next two years... ( and

11:06 AM- Random Thoughts: Goalies on the move?

With the trading of Pascal LeClaire and the signing of Backstrom by the Wild yesterday (4 yrs, $6 mil per), there might be some interest in goalies like Joey Mac and Yann Danis (who has played phenomenal as of late). Other names that might be included are Manny Fernandez ($4 mil) and Nikolai Khabibulin (almost $6 mil). There might just be a market for either one of the Isles goalies to bring back some value. Albeit I hope it doesn't happen. (Sidenote: Doesn't Rick DiPietro's contract look pretty decent now, minus the injuries? At $4.5 million per year he's going to end up being a bargain even he plays 8 out of the next 12 seasons.)

11:13 AM- Witt and Martinek's Stock on the Rise, Pronger Officially Taken Off the Tradeable Asset List and Kaberle is hurt

Kinda saw this one coming. The Ducks are in the thick of a playoff chase and dealing their #1 D-man would be a huge blow (even though they did pick up Ryan Whitney last week). Also, Tomas Kaberle supposedly hurt his hand in last night's contest and Brian Burke has openly stated that he would prefer to keep the mobile puck-mover. This might cause the market to shift in the Islanders direction with the lack of defensemen available. Witt and Martinek might be dealt after all...

11:26 AM- Brian Burke Speaks His Mind

In the usual Brian Burke way of going about things, he has sealed the fate of two of his top point producers this season by stating that Antropov and Moore will not be Leafs by the end of the day. Can't you just feel the love? (Source:

11:33 AM- Olli, Olli, Oxenfree? Is the former Isles Draftee heading to Alberta?

Some pre-lim reports are saying that Olli Jokinen might be headed to already formidable Calgary. The thought of it is simply scary...

11:46 AM- TRADE: Jordan Leopold shipped to Calgary for Lawrence Nycholat, Prospect RYAN WILSON and a 2nd ROUND Pick going to Avalanche

Excellent trade by Calgary to really bolster that backline. With Giordano going down, this was a trade that needed to happen for them. They gave up a lot but will certainly be a force to be reckoned with come playoff time.

11:53 AM- TRADE: Pens swap Danny Richmond to Blues for Wozniewski

1-for-1 that's basically a depth trade. Nothing to really report here.

12:06 PM- WAIVER WIRE CLOSED: Sim and Satan pass through

Maybe Garth Snow knows something we don't. I am mildly disappointed that the Devs didn't pick up Satan, talk about a match made in Heaven (or was that Hell?).

12:08 PM- TRADE: Phoenix deals Tellqvist to Buffalo for a 4th Rounder

Interesting Draft pick choice for a semi-decent goalie. At least Lalime will have an NHL capable backup for the stretch run. What happens when Miller gets back is debatable.

12:20 PM- WAIVER WIRE: Picking out of the Bargain Bin

Brendan Morrison, a sought after center during the UFA period last year was picked up on waivers by Dallas while Martin Gerber finally found a home that wasn't Ottawa when the Maple Leafs plucked him off waivers to solve the Pogge/Joseph backup situation in Toronto. Toskala might get shut down for the remainder of the season so this might have been a necessity move by Brian Burke.

Add to the two above now former Ranger and Wild, Erik Reitz (Maple Leafs) and Craig Adams (Pittsburgh).

12:30 PM- Olli Cow: Calgary supposedly offers Lombardi and a 2009 1st for Jokinen

Calgary is certainly looking like it's gonna make a strong play here. I wouldn't be terribly surprised if this deal or something similar gets done for the star center. This could get REALLY interesting. (Source:

12:44 PM- Kings sign Ersberg to a 2 year extension; Guerin news on the near horizon

Forgot to post that Ersberg got signed, not that it really interests Isles fans.

What would interest you is the little blurb from Andy Strickland on Hockeybuzz of a pending deal that could be announced shortly for the patient and benevolent Bill Guerin (Source:

12:49 PM- TRADES: THE FIRST BLOCKBUSTER-Olli Jokinen is dealt to the Flames along with a 3rd Rounder for Matthew Lombardi, Prospect Brandon Prust and Calgary's 2009 1st Rounder. Minor Trade- Nokie goes to Ducks for Montador.

WOW! Who saw that one coming? Calgary becomes my instant favorite out in the Pacific. Huge day for them picking up an old face in Leopold and a new one in Jokinen. Phoenix on the other hand receives a great return on their UFA investment from last year.

Sorry to see a former Isles 1st rounder in Nokie getting bounced around again. This time to the Left Coast for a very tough and reliable D-Man in Steve Montador who goes to the Beast of the East in Boston.

1:37 PM- TRADE: Recchi Continues his Pinball Career

The Tampa Bay Lightning have dealt elder statesman Mark Recchi to Boston along with a 2010 2nd rounder for Matt Lashoff and Martins Karsums.

This gives Recchi yet another good shot at a Cup run and gives the Bolts some young talent to line their coffers. Good to see Recchi still has value and this could be the deal that finally sets the pace for Guerin to be dealt.

Chiarelli is really doing a nice job not moving major pieces but still getting the kind of value that Recchi and Doug Weight brough to Carolina when they won it all in 2006. I think Boston is going to be a very tough team to play in the playoffs with the two moves that have been made today.

1:46 PM- Moore headed to the Windy City? Guerin to join the Flightless Birds?

It seems that Brian Burke is a man of his word. Dominic Moore is strongly rumored to be head to Chicago.

Billy Guerin, still awaiting a trade since Saturday, might be on his way to Pittsburgh. Apparently the original deal DID fall through. Time for Plan B, Garth!


TSN is reporting that Bill Guerin has been sent to Pittsburgh but the return for the Islanders is to TBD. I will stay on top of this and give you an update whenever I get one.

2:08 PM- TSN is now reporting that Billy has been traded for a Conditional Draft Pick ONLY...Huh?

Per TSN the Conditional Pick starts as a 5th Rounder but could Upgrade to a 3rd Rounder if the Pens win a Playoff Series. I'm with Islesblogger who's over at Lighthouse Hockey in saying I'm officially bummed.

It's obvious to me now that this was simply the only deal that Garth could do with a limited amount of time after the first deal fell through. I believe that original deal was with Washington and they couldn't clear enough contracts to get Billy in. Considering the Caps lack of activity that's the conclusion I can draw. Oh well, c'est le vie.

2:47 PM- TRADE: Tough Guy Carcillo gets Traded to the Flyers for Scottie Upshall and 2nd in 2009

Phoenix has really impressed me today. They've turned their tradeable assets into some really good prospects and picks. Kind of hoped that the Isles might be able to do a fraction of what Don Maloney has been able to do out in the desert. Upshall is good 3rd liner and can put in some goals. Personally, they overpaid for Carcillo's services.

2:50 PM- TRADE: Antropov sent to the Rangers

If things couldn't get any worse, now Nik Antropov is a NY Ranger. The game tomorrow night should be frickin' wonderful. No word on what the Leafs got back yet.

UPDATE: The Leafs received a 2nd Rounder and a Conditional Pick.

3:00 PM

Well the deadline for trading has passed as far as what was done between GM's. Now the only thing left is to report what's gone down. I will do my best to get everything for you guys as it comes in. If you've been checking out my page for the better part of the day or just happened to stop in, I'd like to thank you for doing so. Unfortunately, this has been a very disappointing day in Isles Country.

3:03 PM- TRADE: Derek Morris Also a Ranger

Ok, now this is getting silly. Two big pieces of anyone's puzzle have landed in Manhattan and all the Islanders have to show for it is a Conditional 5th Round Pick. Anyone else a little peeved at this point?

UPDATE: The Coyotes have picked up Dimitri Kalinin, Petr Prucha and Nigel Dawes in the trade for Morris. Kind of disappointed the Islanders couldn't have landed either of Prucha or Dawes. Both were good young forwards with offensive upside. Again, I have to praise Don Maloney for the awesome job he's done today to not only get his team younger but I think more competitive for the future.

3:10 PM- Moore doesn't land in Chicago but instead in Buffalo

Toronto receives Buffalo's 2nd rounder in return. I think that both teams made out pretty well but I would say that Buffalo won this deal. Somehow, I think this was desperation by Brian Burke.

3:12 PM- Ducks and Thrasher's swap Youngin's

Erik Christensen who was dealt at last year's Deadline by the Pens has been shipped off again to the Ducks in exchange for Eric O'Dell.

3:31 PM- Eminger Stays in the Pan-Handle

The two Floridian teams hooked up for a minor deal that sent Steve Eminger to the Litter Box Cats and in return the Bolts receive Noah Welch and a 3rd Rounder.

The rest of today's trades can be found at TSN's Live Trade Tracker.

This has been a really disappointing day as far as Isles fans go. The Blog Box is in a conference call right now awaiting GM Garth Snow's reaction to the Deadline deal today.