Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Brashear Receives 6 Games for Cheapshot and Antics...plus "Yashin 2.0" Discussions


In what can only be described by this blogger as a quintessential display of "Goonery" or "Goontasticness" (yes, that's right, I made up my own word), Washington Capitals resident tough-guy, Donald Brashear, showed why the full-time pugilist needs to be excommunicated from the game of hockey.

Before the game even began, Brashear was seen crossing the red line (which is a total no-no to begin with and should have been penalized) and subsequently shoved Colton Orr who ended up being scratched for the contest anyway. So, instead of going toe-to-toe with Orr, Brashear decided to target a far less capable (in the fighting department, anyway) opponent, in Blair Betts.

The hit on Betts was shear disregard for another player's safety and should have been penalized accordingly during the course of the game. Unfortunately, the real punishment didn't occur until after the game was over. Colin Campbell, NHL Disciplinary Czar, had this to say:

"Brashear delivered a shoulder hit to an unsuspecting player. It is also my opinion that the hit was delivered late and targeted the head of his opponent, causing significant injury."
Cue the video replay...

Needless to say, it was an absolutely dirty hit. There is no need to be that late, that vicious and that apathetic to another person's well-being. I personally feel that in this instance, the 1-game suspension for shoving Orr in the pre-game warmup and the 5-game suspension for the hit on Betts, is not enough. This hearkens back to the same kind of blatant disregard shown by Mike Mottau when he hit Frans Nielsen in November. When are these perpetrators going to understand that intentionally hurting other players and ruining perfectly good careers is frowned upon by society?

For his trouble, Betts left the game likely suffering a concussion and it was reported yesterday that he had broken his orbital bone as a result of the hit. One Ranger down, 19 to go there, Donnie.

Please understand that I'm not rooting for the Rangers at all. Quite the opposite. But, when a player as good-natured and upstanding as Blair Betts, gets blind-sided by someone who's on the ice a grand total of 5 minutes a game and is merely there to intentionally hurt people, it gets my feather's ruffled. There is no place for these kinds of actions in the game of hockey. Period.

Could the Islanders end up with "Yashin 2.0" in a trade this summer?

Early this morning, a reader commented on my Garth Snow's Gonna Do WHAT????!!!! Part Deux post, referring to my idea revolving around Vinny Lecavalier. Here's what the reader had to say:
"Anything with Lecavalier is a no go...period!! 11 years $85 million for a post-peak star? Hello! Yashin again? Look the Isles are rebuilding, why would they saddle themselves like that? They could probably sign Marian Hossa as a free agent for less. Plus, with the economy, the cap will probably start contracting, not increasing and teams with cap room like the Isles will be in the driver's seat to pick up high-priced talent for little trade bait in a few years. The only thing you will see, should be a package deal of the 26th pick and some 2nd rounds to move up or a deal with Toronto in the mix to move down to 2 or 3 and bank a bunch more picks. Snow is in rebuilding mode and he's sticking to the plan (and being smart about it)."
First, let me address the accusation that Vinny is past his prime. If anything, Vinny is in his prime. Hockey players generally have their best years statistically between the ages of 27-31. Sure, he might have a DiPietro-sized contract but that hasn't deterred Charles Wang before...has it?

Second, Marian Hossa will never be coming to the New York Islanders. He wants to win a Stanley Cup and news out of Detroit lately has him taking a "hometown discount" with the Red Wings prior to July 1st. So you can scratch that idea.

You're absolutely correct in your assessment of the Salary Cap. If things go as predicted, the Cap will remain close to $56.7 million for next year and subsequently go DOWN for the 2010-2011 season. The amount of Cap room the Isles possess now, will be as good as having marketable players to trade and they'll be in the mix for star players in about 2-3 years if Garth continues to run a tight ship and play his cards right.

I also agree with packaging the 26th pick and possibly two of the 2nd rounders to move up into the 15-20 range of the 1st round. That makes total sense to me and I hope Snow can swing a deal. However, I can't agree with trading with Toronto...AT ALL! Burke and the Leafs have nothing the Islanders can utilize and it would be futile to think so. Burke's posturing prior to the Draft Lottery was simply to create buzz in the Canadian media and served its purpose. Nothing more.

Finishing up, let me say this about the potential Lecavalier trade. I would take an overpaid, locked up for 11 years at $85 million, "Vinny 4" over someone like a Marian Gaborik, who is likely to test the Free Agent waters (at an asking price at roughly $5-$6 million per year). Gaborik has played only 94 games in the past two seasons while Vinny has been one of the more durable #1 center's in the NHL.

Here are the stats since the Lockout:

Marian Gaborik
2006-07MIN4830275712401210 1070196.153
2007-08MIN7742418317631113 1080278.151
2008-09MIN171310233225 102068.191

Vincent Lecavalier
2006-07TB8252561082441620 5470339.153
2007-08TB81405292-17891019 1370318.126
2008-09TB77293867-9541014 1160291.100

In my mind, I would personally love to have both of them healthy, but if I had to choose, I'd easily take Lecavalier over Gaborik. Gaborik is explosive and certainly can score goals, however he's more apt to be injured than actually be playing.

As far as Vinny's numbers go, this year is skewed a bit because he was dealing with a wrist injury for most of the season. He's still the #1 center that every team would want and his durability and skill level are a testament to him as a player and competitor. Since the Lockout, Vinny is averaging 85.5 points a year on a Lightning team that has little in the way of secondary scoring.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

I love being able to have a discussion over topics like this so keep your opinions coming. Leave a Comment at the link below.

(Photos courtesy of SILive.com and ESPN.com)

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Truth: What I Think Will Happen on June 26, 2009


Now that I've taken my turn at "Armchair GM", I think it's time to explain what will almost certainly happen on June 26, 2009 when the 2009 NHL Entry Draft begins. Let's begin with where the Isles will be slotted in this year's Draft:

Round 1

  • 1st Overall (Won in the 2009 Draft Lottery)

  • 26th Overall (UPDATED (4/25/09): San Jose's Draft Pick-acquired in Chris Campoli trade. Conditional on where San Jose finishes in the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs)
Round 2
  • 31st Overall

  • 37th Overall (Acquired at 2008 Draft from Toronto in the 5-7-9 move)

  • 60th Overall (Acquired from the Bruins in Ben Walter trade)
Round 3
  • 62nd Overall

  • 84th Overall (UPDATED (4/25/09): Acquired in Bill Guerin trade, Penguins won their 1st round matchup against the Flyers)
Round 4
  • 92nd Overall

Round 5

  • 122nd Overall

Round 6

  • 152nd Overall

Round 7

  • 182nd Overall
Note: The reason for the disparity after Round 2 is due to the pick (47th overall) that was awarded to the Rangers in the wake of the Alexei Cherepanov tragedy.

So what are the Islanders going to do with all these draft picks? Well frankly, I can't tell you how everything will shake out by the time the 2nd Round starts but I can tell you what will happen in the 1st Round.

I've been running the poll above for a week and a half and most resoundingly, fans of this website have voted in favor of drafting John Tavares (89% at the time of this post to be exact). I'm here to let you know.......YOU MIGHT BE DISAPPOINTED!

If my feelings about Garth and the way he operates are correct, then Islanders fans might be calling for his head after he announces the 1st Overall Selection. I'm predicting this today, two months in advance. Garth Snow, with the Islanders #1 Draft pick will select....Victor Hedman.

Ever since the conference call after the Draft Lottery, I've had this inkling that Garth was leaning towards the hulking defenseman over the prolific sniper. I believe that Garth endorses the old adage, "Defense Wins Championships" and it's something that will heavily influence his decision. If the scouts leading up to the Entry Draft are correct then it will be John Tavares who goes with the top selection. However, I have a feeling Garth will defy the experts on this one.

If this scenario doesn't play out as I predicted with Hedman going 1st overall and it is Tavares (or another forward such as Matt Duchene) that claims the top spot, as many Islanders fans hope, then look for the Islanders to utilize that late first rounder (from the Campoli trade) and one or two of the three second round picks to move into the 15-18 range. I'd love to see Simon Despres in an Isles sweater in the future if they can grab him around there. He's a good skater with great size and solid nasty streak. He could be very interesting if the Islanders choose the more traditional route of selecting the consensus best player available.

In some respects, I hope that I'm wrong. In others, I wouldn't be terribly disappointed with drafting a defenseman that could basically do it all with size and speed. However, at the end of the day, it's not my decision and it's going to be two long months waiting for June 26, 2009 to come around.

(Photo courtesy of Victor Hedman's Wikipedia Page)

For Questions, Comments or Draft Day Decisions either Leave a Comment at the link at the bottom of the post or e-mail me at DougD84@optonline.net

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Garth Snow's Gonna Do WHAT????!!!! Part Deux


My Dad and I were talking on Sunday about the possibilities of a trade for the #1 pick. Mark Hermann's Sunday article on this whole mess gave a pretty good overview of the situation. What if Snow were to trade the pick? What would you want in return if you're the Islanders? This could get really complicated. Let me try to hash this out for you from my point of view (These ideas are only theoretical so don't go crucifying me for having pipe dreams).

As far as I can see, only a few scenarios actually exist.

First, let's start with the teams that could be involved (No, Burke. Sit down. We don't want the your 7th overall pick, the older Schenn that we already passed on the first time or any of your other prospects that still don't fit the bill).

I would ONLY consider the rest of the top 5 as potential trading partners: Tampa Bay, Colorado, Atlanta and LA. Of those four, the only potential deals I can see involve Tampa Bay, LA and Atlanta.

For Tampa, this is easy. Snag the #1 and make sure the Isles don't pick up Hedman (a franchise d-man they've sorely needed) or Tavares (possibly a younger and cheaper version of their soon to be overpaid franchise center) and possibly the Isles #26 pick. In return, the Isles get (drum roll please)...............Vinny Lecavalier and the #2 pick! Ok, so it might sound ridiculous but bear with me and let me explain my logic.

The Lightning have part of their future already locked up with Stamkos up the middle. Why not give them Hedman or possibly even Tavares and savor the satisfaction of pissing off the entire Canadian hockey community by stealing Vinny from under their noses in the process? The 11-year, $85 million contract with attached NTC is no problem for Charles Wang to swallow. I mean, he did give 15 years and $67.5 million to a goaltender that might as well be the "Bionic Man" at this point.

What if the Lightning do choose to go with Tavares? Then, this situation is more of a win-win for the Islanders. Not only do they get their 1st line franchise center, but a #1 defensive prospect as well. Not a bad deal all around. The Lightning solidify their offensive presence for the next 15 years and the Islanders get two huge pieces for their rebuild. Far-fetched? Maybe.

Now what if the Bolts go with Hedman as has been predicted they would? This is where things get really complicated. At this point you might see the beginnings of another 5-7-9 (see the Atlanta theory below, which would be going from 1-2-4). Now, let's get to the LA connection before someone decides I need to be checked in to the nearest mental asylum.

Now LA is an interesting idea to me. John Tavares might do well where a certain guy named...oh what's his name...damnit...Gretzky? Yeah, that's right Gretzky, brought hockey to United States. Let's try to picture this one.

Any deal that the Isles would swing with LA would have to include either Anze Kopitar or Alex Frolov and one of their major "D" prospects: Doughty, Hickey, Quincey or Teubert or the Kings 5th overall pick.

With the Isles giving up the same package as with Tampa Bay (the #1 and the #26) the Isles could solidify the same issues that the Tampa trade would. The addition of a top flight winger with size and speed plus a young defensive prospect that could help out on either the powerplay (Doughty, Hickey, Quincey) or shutting down the opponent's top line (Teubert) would yet again speed up the rebuild by easily a year (If they can't receive one of each a forward and defenseman in that deal and instead get the 5th pick, I would be very disappointed in the deal). Let's look at the potential in Hot-lanta before you string me up by my toes from the tree in the backyard.

Lastly, the most plausible deal in my mind, that might prove beneficial to both teams would be with Atlanta. Again, we're going to assume that the Isles are offering a package of the 1st overall and the 26th overall. The return...Ilya Kovalchuk and the #4 overall!

I think this might be the best possible deal for several reasons:

  • First, the Islanders get a bonafide superstar in the last year of his contract, rather than having to deal with an inflated contract for 11 years (this is not to say that if the deal were to happen, that Kovi wouldn't have to agree to a contract extension).
  • With the #4 pick, things get quite interesting. If things fall into place as they've been predicted, Tavares and Hedman go 1-2 in no particular order. That leaves the next 3 players in the tier below those two, including Matt Duchene, Jared Cowen and Evander Kane.
  • Of those 3, I'd love to see Matt Duchene fall to #4. He's such a well-rounded center and could really benefit from having a winger of Kovalchuk's caliber on his left and a budding star in Kyle Okposo on his right.
  • If the Avs get smart and take Duchene at #3, then the Islanders still can pick up Jared Cowan who was easily the best North American defensive prospect despite a season-ending injury in January.

Atlanta benefits from ridding themselves of a frustrated star in Kovalchuk who would most likely be looking at a huge payday come July 1, 2010 and would be able to sign that #1 franchise center to their depth chart that they haven't had since Marc Savard. With Bogosian coming into his own this season, the Thrashers would have two huge cornerstones to build on.

Even the Lightning benefit from this trade. With Atlanta most likely taking Tavares numero uno, that still leaves Hedman at 2.

Now what if the "Snowman" pulls 1-2-4 as a I mentioned above? Think of it this way:

  • Lecavalier and the #2 to the Isles for the #1 and #26
  • The Isles package the #2 with 2 or all 3 of their 2nd rounders to Atlanta for Kovalchuk and the #4
  • Hedman goes #1 to Tampa, Tavares goes #2 to Atlanta
  • The Avs choose between Duchene, Kane and Cowan (hopefully going with Kane, who I've heard they've been hot for)
  • That leaves Duchene or Cowan to be chosen at #4

Bottom line, this is the absolute perfect scenario (and totally unrealistic?). The Islanders walk away with a #1 center already under contract, a #1 left winger who needs to be signed and either a #2 center or #1-2 defensive prospect that will have time to grow into the role. Again, this is just me throwing out ideas. It does kind of make sense though. The other teams receive a lot in return for their investment and the Islanders get established stars that can carry the team.

You might be asking yourself...why not trade with Colorado for the #3? Well, as far as I can see they don't have the kind of assets other than possibly Stasny, that would even make a trade of this magnitude worthwhile. Having said that, I also don't think the Avs would part easily with their top point producer and hope for the future, although Tavares would look good in the Burgundy and Blue according to Avs fans.

To wrap this up let me just say this: I honestly don't think that Garth Snow is this crazy at least I hope he's not. He's so much better off taking the #1 overall, choosing whoever the scouting staff feels is the best player and walking away from any trade proposals.

I do however prostrate that Snow will utilize San Jose's first rounder (#26) and one or two of the early second rounders to move up in the first round. It's a belief of mine that a defenseman such as Simon Despres (listed at 6'3", 208lbs) or Oliver Ekman-Larsson could be available around 15-18. As well as forwards such as Nazem Kadri (who's had a fantastic OHL playoffs) or Landon Ferraro also might fall that far. Any way this plays out, the Islanders organization and their fans will walk away from the 2009 NHL Entry Draft with a great feeling that the future is upon us.

I know I'm nuts but I welcome any kind of feedback or alternatives to the ideas I've presented here.

(Photos courtesy of TampaBay.com (Lecavalier), USAToday.com (Kopitar) and NHLPA.files.wordpress.com (Kovalchuk))

Leave a comment at the link below.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Garth Snow's Gonna Do WHAT????!!!!!


Boy oh boy, have things really gotten interesting over the past week. Ever since the Islanders retained the 1st Overall Draft Pick last Tuesday evening, pundits, fans and NHL execs have been drooling over the prospect of what Garth Snow might do with the envious drafting position.

Seriously, how often is a franchise faced with such a gleefully difficult decision. Either you draft a sniper that has been touted as a phenom since he couldn't even shave (although if you we're talking about Sidney "Cry-Baby" Crosby that may still be a concern). A 6'6", 220lbs fleet-footed monster from Scandinavia, swinging his Battle Axe and killing anything that's within 15 feet. Or you could give another team a shot at these two beasts by making said team give away the farm first.

I'm happy to call myself an Islanders fan today, despite that crappy '08-'09 campaign. It's already a distant memory.

Here are the different perspectives as I see them:

Islanders fans are severely in one corner that we'll call, "I Love You, JT! I Want to Bear Your Children!". Also, don't forget to lump Toronto Laffs Leafs GM, Brian Burke in that group (watch that prospect tampering there Bri-dog). As my buddy Dom over at LighthouseHockey.com so eloquently states as the motto for his site: "Taking Bids for John Tavares that Start with your First-Born". Better stock that cupboard because offering up Bozak, Hanson or even your coveted Luke Schenn isn't enough for us, Burkie.

Pundits not known as Central Scouting are torn and are starting to get a little tepid on Tavares. Kyle Woodlief, former Preds scout and purveyor of The Redline Report, labels JT's lackluster skating ability and floundering attitude as cause for concern. In the same breath, of course, he also mentions Tavares will score "40 or 50 goals a season in the NHL". I don't see a problem there and neither did Mike Bossy when he scored 573 career goals. However, the Brett Hull comparison does have me a tad worried.

One player that seems to be flying under the radar and impressing everyone as the OHL playoffs march on, is Brampton Battalion Centre (yes, I used the Canadian/English spelling), Matt Duchene. Talk about a prospect that is tailor-made for Scott Gordon's "Go-Go" System and is defensively responsible to boot. Hmm, makes me wonder...could Garth pull a fast one on everyone (I'll get to the possibilities in Part Deux...tomorrow).

Lest we not forget, our Scandinavian Axe-Wielder. When people have been talking about this kid who "skates like wind", to use a phrase from Garth himself, that is 6'6" and 220lbs and could chew up minutes better than Leif Erikkson eating moose meat, it makes you stop and think. We could use a franchise blueliner, a la Denis Potvin. Although, I think Ken Morrow put it best last Tuesday when he said, "There Can Be Only ONE! HIGHLANDER! There's only one Denis Potvin".

When Garth was asked during the conference call following the Draft Powerball Drawing/Dumb Luck, Picking out of a Pot Gold with a Skittles Rainbow flowing into it Lottery if he had a clear-cut favorite in what many believe is a two-horse race, he responded, "Yes, I do. But I'm not going to divulge that information." Good for you Garth. Playing it close to the vest. As close as having a good relationship with Pat Brisson, agent to both Tavares and Duchene over the past several years.

So, those are the conventional routes that our now thrust into the spotlight GM is facing. What about the more...unconventional routes? You'll have to come back tomorrow for those gems. Yeah, they might be off the wall, but with the way things are shaping up it could be like the New York Lotto Jackpot's motto goes: "Hey You Never Know!"

What do you think? Leave a comment in the section below.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009



Thanks to Arnie and Kerri Winnitt for getting me the Mike Bossy and Bryan Trottier Bobbleheads

The New York Islanders are the proud owners of a brand-spanking-new 1st Overall Draft Pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

The Hockey G-ds have spoken!!

Conference Call with Garth Snow following the 2009 Draft Lottery

After the Draft Lottery completed with the Islanders retaining the 1st overall pick, Garth Snow, Islanders GM, made himself available for a short question and answer session with the local media including the Blog Box members.

The first question posed right out of the gate by Newsday's beat reporter Greg Logan was aimed at Garth's reaction to the great news:

"It put a huge smile on my face. It's obviously a great moment for this franchise and a great moment for our fans. It's gonna be a great day in June...We're gonna get a great player for this team. We have meetings coming up at the end of the week. As we've done in the past, we'll have meetings in May and June and we'll go through our process diligently and thoroughly. It will be a great Draft Day for this organization and our fans."

I'm sure like most Islanders fans, the GM and his staff were holding on to any lucky charm they could find that would suit the purpose. I chose the bobbleheads of Islanders legends that you saw at the top of this post. Ken Morrow happened to be one of them. He was also the Islanders representative at the studio in NYC. Garth quipped:
"Kenny had his 4 Stanley Cup rings and his Gold Medal around his neck."
When Snow was asked if the reward for such an awful season was worth the anguish the team endured, he responded:
"The reward is we're gonna get a great player. No doubt about it. It obviously doesn't disguise the fact that coming in 30th place is unacceptable and I think Kenny Morrow said it best that we don't want to be in this position next year. Bottom line, it's a situation we're gonna add a another great piece to the puzzle that we're building on Long Island. There's a lot of good things happening right now in this organization and it's an exciting time to be an Islanders fan and a New York Islander."
With all that's riding on the line, there is obviously a great deal of anticipation going into Draft Day. Garth expressed his feelings matter-of-factly:
"There's a lot of pressure. That's why we're gonna go through our due diligence with the staff. Bottom line, we're looking to build a consistent contender. A team that can win a Stanley Cup."
He went on to give a short scouting report of the top two players in this year's Draft, John Tavares of the OHL London Knights and Victor Hedman of Modo in the Swedish Elite League:
"Obviously both of those players are exceptional talents and they're unique in their own right as a forward or defenseman. The differences are obvious.---With Hedman, you have a 6'6" defenseman who skates like the wind and I had the opportunity to watch both of them play against each other. In John Tavares, you have a forward that obviously who can put up huge numbers offensively. It's two players who are exceptional talents and that's the one great aspect of being in the position we're in right now. We know we're gonna get a fantastic player."
Lastly, the GM was asked how he and his scouting team would evaluate the possible incoming prospects and how the draft choice would fit into Scott Gordon's system:
"Your looking for a fit not only in your system, but in your locker room. We have a strong group now, in our room. We have a lot of younger players that took huge strides this year in the right direction. It's something we put a lot of thought in to (how the next piece of the puzzle is gonna fit)."
Any way you slice it, the Islanders have a rare opportunity to speed up their rebuild by a couple of years. Let the debate about who Garth Snow should choose with the 1st Overall Draft Pick (saying that will never get old) begin.

(Photo courtesy of USAToday.com)

For Questions, Comments or Bonehead Draft Choices e-mail me at DougD84@optonline.net or Leave a Comment.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Time to Hold Your Breath....


If you held your breath, you're most likely a Ranger fan who is under the delusion that Ovechkin, Semin and Green aren't going to combine for 20+ goals in the 4 or 5 games it'll take the Caps to dispatch the Rag$. Now that I've taken a shot at the Crosstown Morons who think the Islanders should go to Kansas City, on to more formative topics.

For Islanders fans around the world, tonight at 8PM will mark the beginning of the next chapter in the franchise's storied history. From Expansion, to upstart, to Stanley Cup Champions, to Dynasty, to solid playoff contender, to Cinderella story, to Laughingstock and back, now is the time the Islanders define the next 10 years of their existence. With the Lighthouse Project mired in political upheaval and the team landing itself the chance at a top 2 pick by finishing last in the NHL, it's been kind of a sweet and sour deal. On the one hand, the boys in blue and orange could walk away with a generational player in John Tavares or Victor Hedman or this could get really interesting, really quick.

What happens if things take an odd turn this evening and one of the four teams ahead of the Islanders (Tampa, Colorado, Atlanta and L.A.) does cash in on that 51.8% chance of getting the #1 pick? (I detailed the lottery system in my post, How Does 18.8% Sound?, so give that a read because I won't belabor the point)

Frankly anything could happen. It's not out of the question for Garth Snow to entertain offers for the #2 pick if he can garner some superstar talent and a 5-10 pick in this year's Draft for the right draft in that position. There are a lot of teams that have been salivating over Tavares and Hedman for close to two years. Give them a chance to prove how much these prospects are worth to them (in the case of having Tavares available at #2, I wouldn't think twice if I were Garth and take JT).

If the Islanders do retain the #1 and Garth even sniffs offers for the chance to choose between the top two prospects, then he is out of his mind. Having the opportunity to make a choice between arguably the best prospects since the turn of the century is rare indeed. It's time to end the Islanders fans suffering and do what's best for the franchise and the fans, not just "what best fits the system". Hopefully, whoever gets drafted by the Islanders does fit the mold, but at this point I think it's safe to say that the best available prospect should be taken.

The way the ping pong balls bounce tonight means little considering the opportunity at hand. Either you walk away with one of the best prospects in 25 years or you walk away with a superstar, a pick or picks and a chance to draft even more players in the first and second rounds of this very deep draft. There really is no way the Islanders can lose out on this deal. The only way I could see that happening is if GM Garth Snow decides it's best to trade away the #1. That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it.

Stories related to tonight's festivities:

Whatever happens, I've been told via Press Release that the Islanders will be holding a Conference Call with Garth Snow immediately following the Draft Lottery program airing on Versus in the States at 8PM. I will be back tonight with an update on Garth's comments following the event.

(Photos courtesy of LighthouseHockey.com (Ovechkin), TSN.ca (Draft Lottery), OntarioHockeyLeague.com (Tavares), ProHockeyNews.com (Hedman) and HotStoveNewYork.com (Garth and Wang))

For Questions, Comments or Random Draft Drawings contact YOLANDA VEGA and her associate blogger at DougD84@optonline.net or in the Comment space.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Ra Ra Ree! Kick'em in the Knee! Ra Ra Rass.......Kick'em in the other knee?!


Welcome to yet another example of political showmanship here on Long Island. I received this Press Release about 30 minutes ago:

April 9, 2009
For Immediate Release:

Media Advisory

Press Conference
Saturday, April 11 at 11 a.m.
In front of Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum
Hempstead Tpke. Uniondale

“Save the Island/Save the Islanders”
Press Conference to show for the Lighthouse at Long Island Project

Visual: Giant blow-up of the Memorandum of Support that will be signed by all in front of Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum

Nassau County Legislator Dave Denenberg (D-Merrick), John Durso, President of the LI Federation of Labor (AFL-CIO) and Jim Castellane, President of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Nassau and Suffolk Counties will co-host a press conference with other elected officials, labor leaders, civic leaders, veterans, residents and Islander fans to demonstrate support for the Lighthouse at Long Island Project. They will add their names to a memorandum of support for the project.

Legislator Denenberg said, “Elected officials, labor, business, community and civic leaders are being asked to show their support for this project. The Lighthouse at Long Island will increase tax revenue, create new jobs and career opportunities, create attractive housing alternatives, grow existing businesses and attract new business to Nassau County. The project will also save the NY Islanders hockey team. The Lighthouse is the most important development in Nassau County since Levittown and is smart growth that Nassau County needs now. This is not the time to sit on the fence; it is the time for real leadership to take a position that this is the right project at the right time for Nassau County.”
I'm certainly not saying that as many Long Islanders as possible should come out and support this initiative. I'm saying that this might be overkill for a situation that's already turning into a powder-keg. As proponents of the Lighthouse Project, we must tread lightly and be patient. Even though I'm sure that the reception of this event will be unanimous and positive, it just seems like more political grandstanding to me. That is not what we need in this delicate time.

However, like I stated, if you support the Lighthouse Project, then it might behoove you to attend this meeting/press conference and show how you feel about the process. Let's keep it together and not try to demonize Kate Murray or the Town of Hempstead.........too much. Have fun kids.

For Questions, Comments or Maintenance Requests, please refer all inquiries to your on-site Super at DougD84@optonline.net.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Weight Re-signed!!!!!!!


This is something I've been hoping for since the Trade Deadline. Dougy Weight has been resigned to a one-year, $2.2 million contract. Here's the Press Release:

Veteran center will return to the Islanders for 2009-10 season

The Islanders have signed center Doug Weight to a one-year contract extension. In his first season with the Islanders, Weight is third on the team in scoring with nine goals and 26 assists for 35 points despite missing 29 games due to injury.

Weight originally signed with the Islanders as an unrestricted free agent on July 2, 2008. The contract runs through the 2009-10 season.

“Long Island has been a wonderful place for me and my family,” Weight said. “It was an easy decision to come back for another season. The Islanders have been a first-class organization and I’m looking forward to helping our team continue its development into a contender.”

Weight is a four-time NHL All-Star and won a Stanley Cup with Carolina in 2005-06 and was an Olympic Silver Medalist with the United States in 2002. Weight has played in 1,180 games and has scored 274 goals and 730 assists for 1,004 points in 17NHL seasons.

He recorded his 1,000th NHL point on January 2nd, 2009 at Phoenix and became the eighth American-born player and 73rd NHL player to reach that plateau. Weight is also one of 45 all-time NHL players, and one of four American-born hockey players, to have recorded at least 200 goals and 700 assists in their careers.

In addition to the 2002 team, Weight also played on the 1998 United States Olympic Team and represented the United States in the World Cup of Hockey in 1996 and 2004.

A native of Warren, Michigan, Weight played collegiate hockey for two years with Lake Superior State University from 1989 to 1991. After the 1990-91 season, Weight was named to the CCHA First All-Star Team and the NCAA’s West Second All-American Team.

This is a very savvy signing for both parties involved. Weight loves being here and the fans certainly love having him. Here's looking forward to another season with Dougie in the lineup.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Getting Called Up...For My Birthday


There were 5 players that arrived on emergency call-up last night from Bridgeport. For a depleted Islanders squad in the last throes of a season that is finally coming to an end, these young men were a shot in the arm. Mitch Fritz, Joel Rechlicz, Mike Iggulden, Jesse Joensuu and Jamie Fraser all made their mark on the big club last night. Especially Joensuu, who notched 2 assists in a spirited effort. However, they were not the only ones called up to the parent club.

With Tiger Track Tom in Washington DC for family matters, I was asked to fill in for him to do the Game Recap for Islanders.NHL.com. This was my first byline on any major publication or website and I can't thank the Islanders organization enough for placing their trust in me. However, my truest and sincerest thanks go out to my fellow Blog Boxers because without them advocating for me, I wouldn't have even been in the building.

You guys are the best. Thank you for everything.

I urge my readers to check out the Blog Box websites for recaps of their own on last night's game: 7th Woman, IslesBlogger, Islanders Outsider, View from Section 317, Okposo Net and FSC Faceoff. Don't forget to visit the rest at NYI Blog Box here.

Here's my Game Recap that was posted last night:

Isles Defeat Lightning, 3-1

Apr 4, 2009, 7:00 PM ET

Bailey, Martinek, Park score for Islanders in victory

By Doug Davidson

The Islanders scored before many people were in their seats, and went on to defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning, 3-1, Saturday night at Nassau Coliseum.

The Islanders jumped out to an early lead when Richard Park scored just 23 seconds into the game. After some aggressive forechecking by Jesse Joensuu, he fed the puck down low and Park managed to wrap it around the net and slide one past McKenna.

It was Park's 14th goal of the season.

With the Isles up 1-0, at 4:55 gone in the first, David Koci and Mitch Fritz exchanged punches, with Fritz getting the better of his opponent. Koci received an extra 10 minute misconduct.

In the second period, with Paul Szczechura in the box for high sticking, Radek Martinek received a pass from Bruno Gervais along the blueline and rifled a slap shot high on the blocker side that beat McKenna at 14:52. The goal was Martinek's fifth goal on the season. Jesse Joensuu received a secondary assist on the goal.

The Lightning cut the deficit in half with a power-play goal with 3:22 remaining in the second period off of a broken play. Matt Pettinger found the puck on his tape in the slot and backhanded a shot past Danis to make the score 2-1.

Josh Bailey extended the Islanders' lead on the power play, after taking a pass from Blake Comeau. The goal was Bailey's seventh on the season and came at 10:46 of the third period.

"With Josh, the offense for him is going to build as he gets stronger," Islanders Head Coach Scott Gordon said. "The biggest takeaway for me this year is the skating part of it. The fact that he's moving his feet, he's getting more opportunities because of it, he's around the puck more often and as a result he gets that goal because he was in good stride when he received it(the pass from Blake Comeau)."

Danis made 29 saves for his 10th win of the season. The victory came two night's after Danis lost to Montreal, 5-1.

"Obviously, when things are not going well you want every game to give yourself a chance to bounce back." Danis said. "To get the back-to-back games, it helps to get into some sort of a rhythm."

Modells Amateur Hockey Award Winner Mike Lang

Slapshots: The Lightning outshot the Islanders, 30-21....Richard Park tied his career high of 14 goals with tonight's first marker...Jamie Fraser is the 21st Bridgeport Sound Tiger to suit up for the Islanders this season and is making his NHL debut...Mike Lang was Saturday night's Modell's Amateur Hockey Award winner.

Stars of the Game
1. Bruno Gervais, 2 assists, +1
2. Radek Martinek, goal
3 Josh Bailey, goal


34 Yann Danis
35 Joey MacDonald

32 Brendan Witt - 24 Radek Martinek
8 Bruno Gervais - 38 Jack Hillen
17 Thomas Pock - 62 Jamie Fraser

28 Tim Jackman - 93 Doug Weight - 36 Mike Iggulden
57 Blake Comeau - 12 Josh Bailey - 15 Jeff Tambellini
10 Richard Park - 51 Frans Nielsen - 58 Jesse Joensuu
49 Mitch Fritz - 45 Nate Thompson - 40 Joel Rechlicz

Tampa Bay

30 Mike McKenna
31 Karri Ramo

2 Lukas Krajicek - 7 Noah Welch
32 Matt Smaby - 21 Cory Murphy
55 Matt Lashoff - 56 Vladimir Mihalik

20 Vaclav Prospal - 91 Steven Stamkos - 26 Martin St. Louis
12 Ryan Malone - 11 Jeff Halpern - 76 Evgeny Artyukhin
34 Ryan Craig- 38 Paul Szczechura- 44 Martins Karsums
24 Matt Pettinger - 28 Zenon Konopka - 18 Adam Hall

New York Islanders

Thanks again to everyone for all their support.

(Photos courtesy of Islanders.NHL.com)

For Questions, Comments or Bonehead Calls to the Press Box e-mail me at DougD84@optonline.net or Leave a Comment.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

How Does 18.8% Sound? UPDATE: Lecavalier Done for the Season


With the season winding down and the final standings coming into focus, it's becoming increasingly apparent to me that the Islanders will not be finishing in the basement. With the league as a whole on an upswing with roughly 20 teams vying for a combination of playoff spots, home-ice advantage and the President's Trophy, this season can easily be ranked as one of, it not the best since the work stoppage. The Islanders, however, are in a bitter battle of their own as the curtain closes on the 2008-2009 campaign.

Since Christmas, Islanders fans have been itching at a shot for either John Tavares or Victor Hedman. It was almost a foregone conclusion that the Islanders would be a lock to finish dead last in this 30 team league. Not so fast. Enter the Colorado Avalanche. If you want to talk about a sad story in this league, you can't find many that would best the pitfalls the Avalanche have endured this year other than the Islanders, of course.

Even with NHL "stars" Ryan Smyth, Milan Hejduk, Paul Stasny, John-Michael Liles and Adam Foote, the Avalanche have managed a paltry 64 points overall. As the Islanders have, the Avalanche also have been racked with injuries (The Islanders have a clear lead in Total Man Games Lost with well over 500 this season). The goaltending duo of Peter Budaj and Andrew Raycroft have played so poorly this year that they both rank in the bottom five of most goaltending stats. The head coach, Tony Granato, has been on the hot seat for most of the season and probably will see his tenure end as quickly as the final buzzer. Suffice it to say, it's been an absolute mess.

With their loss last night to Phoenix, 3-0, it has become clear to this blogger that the "lead" the Islanders had to secure the last overall spot is in serious danger (the Isles have 59 points). The boys have been playing well the second half of the season and I wouldn't be totally surprised if they ended up in 29th when all is said and done. What does this mean when April 14th rolls around and the Draft Lottery is conducted? Well, a few things. Let's review.

I've been saying this all year; if the Islanders were unlucky enough to secure 30th place they would likely get bumped down to 2nd overall in the Draft anyway. It's been a trend ever since the Draft Lottery was instituted in 1995 where only 4 teams have retained the 1st overall pick.

See the tables below courtesy of Lightning.NHL.com:

Results of Previous Draft Drawings

Year SelectedEffect On Draft OrderPlayer Selected
Los AngelesMoved from 7th to 3rdD Aki Berg
1996OttawaRetained 1st selectionD Chris Phillips
1997BostonRetained 1st selectionC Joe Thornton
1998Tampa BayMoved from 3rd to 1st via tradesC Vincent Lecavalier
1999ChicagoMoved from 8th to 4thRW Pavel Brendl*
2000NY IslandersMoved from 5th to 1stG Rick DiPietro
2001AtlantaMoved from 3rd to 1stLW Ilya Kovalchuk
2002FloridaMoved from 3rd to 1stLW Rick Nash**
2003FloridaMoved from 4th to 1stG Marc-Andre Fleury***
2004WashingtonMoved from 3rd to 1stLW Alex Ovechkin
2005PittsburghN/AC Sidney Crosby
2006St. LouisRetained 1st selectionD Erik Johnson
2007ChicagoMoved from 5th to 1stRW Patrick Kane
2008Tampa BayRetained 1st selectionC Steven Stamkos****

* NY Rangers obtained Chicago's pick in a trade (via Vancouver and Tampa Bay). The Rangers selected RW Pavel Brendl fourth overall.

** Columbus obtained Florida's pick in a trade. The Blue Jackets selected LW Rick Nash first overall.

*** Pittsburgh obtained Florida's pick in a trade. The Penguins selected G Marc-Andre Fleury first overall.

****At the time the table was created the 2008 NHL Entry Draft had not yet occurred.

Now this doesn't mean that I believe if the Islanders finish 29th or 30th, that they won't get lucky and move up or retain the pick but it's certainly not a proven commodity. No team that has finished 2nd to last in the league has EVER selected 1st overall in that draft year. I would be completely surprised if that trend didn't continue this year. And obviously, even though the team that finishes last has a 48.2% chance of retaining the 1st overall, the roughly 21.7% of the time it has happened certainly is not living up to the law of probabilities.

Frankly, Islanders fans need to come to grips with the distinct possibility that the Isles won't even pick in the top 2 in this Draft. You might want to start buying those Matt Duchene jersey's early to get a discount...instead of jumping the gun and getting that Tavares jersey (thanks to Puck Daddy for catching that one).

UPDATE: As per Jon Jordan, former Charter Member of the NYI Blog Box and currently Hockeybuzz.com's resident Lightning Blogger, Vinny Lecavalier is having wrist surgery tomorrow, April 3, that will effectively end the star center's season. The Lightning who stand only a point ahead of the Avs with 65, have now effectively joined the "race" to the bottom. This should be an interesting last 2 weeks of the regular season.

(Photos courtesy of The Hockey News (Tavares) and (Duchene), ESPN.com (Hedman) and Puck Daddy (Tavares Jersey Foul))

For Questions, Comments or Bonehead Calls e-mail me at DougD84@optonline.net or Leave a Comment in the space provided.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I Couldn't Have Said It Any Better Myself.....On April Fool's No Less!


With the shenanigans that Kate Murray has been pulling lately (I swear that the next person who says "Shenanigans" is getting pistol-whipped. Hey Farva....!), I had the thought of actually going over her press release and tearing her to shreds. Fortunately for me, Kevin Schultz over at Barry Melrose Rocks and BD Gallof at Islanders Independent already took care of the necessary toiling and I would like to present both of their opinions. One for the mullet and two for the show.

Please give that a read and don't forget to laugh out loud at the sheer stupidity of the Supervisor's attempt to "Score" federal funds (Sorry Kev, I couldn't help myself).

Also, if you've got the time, head over to my buddy Nick's Let There Be Light(house) and peruse through his take on the same subject here and here. I swear you put a few intelligent people on a subject and the idiot that generated the news just looks all the more moronic once they're through with her.

Lastly, I'd like to inject my own little opinion here. If Kate Murray is under the delusion that sending a PETITION to 240,000 Town of Hempstead residents is going to get her re-elected in November, she may want to stop digging that political grave of hers with that sparkling golden shovel. I have a feeling that whoever runs against her will win by a landslide. I can't believe that this is what we've come to in the process to re-develop the Coliseum property. Sheesh.

(Photo courtesy of BD over at IslandersIndependent.com)

Don't forget that any questions, suggestions or comments must be directed to your on-site Supervisor at DougD84@optonline.net. If your sink is leaking and the toilet doesn't flush...I don't want an e-mail. Thank you. LOL!

Why Wasn't Brendan Witt in the Shootout Sooner?


I've read quite a bit about the other night when Scott Gordon selected by far his most defensive-defenseman to take the first shot in the shootout against Philly. Many have questioned his decision from "The Maven", to Islanders Outsider, Greg Logan over at Newsday and even Chris Botta over at Islanders: Point Blank. I'm surprised at the reaction Gordon has received from the media over using Brendan in the shootout.

Apparently, some have forgotten that even during Ted Nolan's tenure two seasons ago Witt's acuity in the skills competition was on display. There was even video on ITV (which I can't get to while I'm at work) showing Brendan putting goalies to shame in practices. I've even been there for a few times when the Isles were nearing the end of their practice and I was coming to IceWorks to work a youth game afterward and saw Witt pot some pretty ones.

I'm sorry to the disbelievers out there, but this has been a long time coming for Brendan and I'm glad that Gordon found a spot to insert him. Don't count out a second go-round for the D-man if the Isles find themselves in a shootout within the 6 remaining games.

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

(Photo courtesy of IslandersPointBlank.com)