Saturday, November 24, 2007

Turkey Day and other thoughts

I know it is a little late, but I hope everyone had a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday.

Wow, it has been a long time since I have been to a hockey game. My family has had season tickets for over 20 years now, and I remember back in my 20's when I wouldn't even think of missing a home Islander game. Man, how times have changed.

Now in my 30's and two little girls at home, unfortunately attending games at the Coliseum becomes less of a priority. Don't get me wrong, I love the Islanders and still attend as many games as I can but it has become increasingly more difficult. Hopefully, I am raising my daughters in an Islanders household, where they will understand as they become older what a priviledge it is to have a local hockey team and beyond that, being able to attend the games.

As I sit here and watch the old classic Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, I realize yet again, I will not be attending the game tonight. I am hoping after probably 10 straight hours of Christmas movies I will be watching the game on television tonight.

On to the Islanders...

What is going on in the goal scoring category lately? The offense has become absolutely anemic. The Islanders are actually playing excellent defense...imagine if they actually start putting the biscuit in the net?

I have to say, I am impressed with the way the Rangers are playing. Don't get me wrong, I am pretty happy when they lose, but winning their past 10 of 12? That is pretty impressive. Too bad we have dominated them so far this season.

Goals for Andy....

I hate to come down on guys, but as I hope to bring you honest insights from me, I am making a request to Santa to bring Andy some goals. Yesterday, during the Bruins game he had two glorious opportunities to put the puck in the net, but once again, he came up short. And Howie and Billy were making comments how Andy has no luck. I gotta say guys, it has nothing to do with luck. He just can't finish.

And my case in point: Andy had another opportunity to put the puck in the wide open net last night, and he completely missed. I actually had my hands raised as I thought it was a sure goal. And I wasn't the only one frustrated about it last night. If you watched the post game interview with Ted Nolan he was clearly unhappy as well.



Saturday, November 3, 2007

Al Arbour: 1500 Games, November 3, 2007

Well, unfortunately I was not able to be at the game tonight. I couldn't find a sitter for the girls, but that may have been a blessing in disguise.

Now, don't get me wrong, I would love to be at the game tonight but watching on television does provide some benefits. As I write this at approximately 6:18 pm, I am watching the pregame ceremonies dedicated to Al Arbour; something I would most likely not see if I were at the game.

As all of us know, this is quite a special night. With a astonishing 739 wins the man is a legend in Islander history and the history of the NHL. Bringing 4 straight cups to the Island and helping the Islanders to upset the powerhouse Pittsburgh Penguins in 1993 Stanley Cup playoffs, are just a few of his accomplishments. To view that game against the Penguins, click here.

He also made one of the shrewdest coaching moves that caused the NHL to revamp its rulebook. During a playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1982, with the Islanders down 3-1 and 5 minutes to play in game 5, and about to have a powerplay, Al pulled Billy Smith and inserted Roland Melanson. At the time, goaltenders were allowed a brief warm up period. Melanson was given his time to warm up and this allowed the Islanders deadly first powerplay unit with Bossy, Trottier, Gillies, Potvin etc. to rest their legs. As it turns out, the Islanders tied the game, went to overtime, and won the game 4-3.

The ceremony tonight just shows you how the Islanders franchise has really come full circle. Charles Wang has put all of his resources and support into this team, and this really shows all Islander fans how much he really cares not only about this franchise, but also the precious history it represents. Garth Snow has also done an excellent job and hopefully all Islander fans appreciate what he has done during his short tenure as the general manager of the Islanders.

And what a ceremony after the game. Showing old photos and highlights on the big screen and bringing back some of the alumni was just the icing on the cake. Well done Garth and Charles.

On to the game....

Sidney Crosby and the boys come to town. 7 games against the Isles, 14 assists against the Islanders so far in his young

Quite an inspiring comeback by the Isles. For those of you who were watching the game from home it was quite a treat to have Nolan miked up on the bench. Hearing him joke with Al Arbour and talking a little bit of strategy on the bench was interesting.

I am not usually one to buy into this sort of stuff, but you have to wonder how much the presence of Arbour on the bench really inspired the guys to go out and give it their all as they did in the third period. You have to think they really wanted to not only win the game for themselves but really make it a special night for Al.

Let's hope Ricky is okay. Whenever you see a player, especially a goaltender, sustain any type of injury near the eye, there has to be some concern. Nolan did say after the game that Ricky walked out under his own power, so lets hope everything is fine. Dubie came in and did an excellent job to get the win for the Isles.

And Miro finally breaks out....he and Wasicek just seem to click really well together. On Miro's second goal, it was all made possible by Wasicek. He hit the breaks in the offensive zone and made a perfect pass to Miro who beat Fleury blocker side upstairs. Lets hope Miro continues with his fine play.

Next game should be a good one. Hopefully the Islanders can keep rolling and hand the Rangers a loss.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

An Open Letter to Bill Guerin

Dear Bill,

I was browsing the sports section of this morning before the start of my school day and I had the pleasure of reading the article entitled
Guerin finds LI and Islanders a Good Fit.

As I have stated in my previous blog, An Open Letter to Garth Snow, we have brought in players who want to be part of this team and Long Island community. This article was the perfect example of that.

It was great to read how you have acclimated you and your family to life here on the island. Reading the quote of you stating how Long Island and the various shops and restaurants located here in many of our towns, are the "perfect fit" gave us a peek into the person you really are. You have come to Long Island with open arms and the fans have really appreciated your honesty and integrity from day one.

I am also glad you recognize how much passion long islanders have for this hockey team. We are truly dedicated to supporting the team and gaining back the respectability that we as fans and you as a team deserve.

I have to admit, after you had gone a few games without putting the puck in the net I started to wonder if your game was starting to slip a bit. Fortunately, I was completely wrong. Your effort and play on the ice has been tremendous of late and you are doing what all of us expected of you as the leader of the Islanders; lead by example on the rink and as evident in this article, lead off it as well.

Thank you for embracing the New York Islanders organization and Long Island Community.



Sunday, October 14, 2007

Random Thoughts So Far....

(Note: I know this post is old, but I thought I had posted it previously.....sorry)

Well, it is only a few games into the season but I wanted to just post some of my thoughts at this point.

Where Is the Red Light?

The Islanders are just not putting enough pucks in the net. Over the past three games they have scored 3 goals collectively, for an average of a whopping one goal per game. I really liked the line of Wasicek, Satan, and Bergenheim last night and I hope Ted keeps them together to see if they can click. We need to start getting some production.

Waiting for Andy

Nobody seems to work harder out on the ice than Andy Hilbert. He skates hard, digs deep in the corners, and gives it his all. But the guy just cannot score. He is constantly put in position to bury the biscuit but he just can't find the back of the net. I hate to come down on the guy, but he has to start scoring on some of his opportunities.

We can still thank Mike

Mike you remember him? Well, we have to give him a word of thanks for acquiring Trent Hunter for a fourth round pick back in May of 2000. I can almost guarantee you that if Hunter goes into the corner for a puck he is going to come out with 95% of the time. You just can't knock the guy off the puck. He uses his huge frame so effectively to shield off defenders and always finds a way to get the puck to the net.

Until next time, thanks for reading.


Sunday, October 7, 2007

An Open Letter to Mike Comrie

Dear Mike,

Unfortunately, Islander fans haven't had the opportunity to watch you on a regular basis over the past seven years you have been in the league. Watching your play on the ice last night at the home opener was a gift to all Islander fans.

I haven't had much of an opportunity to observe your skills either. I did see glimpses of it last year, when I am sure you remember this, you undressed Deron Quint (a then Islanders defenseman), with a sweet move and beat Dubie to score a goal for the Senators. Little did I know at that time, you would be part of our team in the near future.

(Readers: If you haven't seen this goal, you can view it here,2,1170&event=NYI1202348)

Thank you for coming here and relishing the opportunity to become a team leader. I could just see the grit and intensity last night on your face and it is something that has been missing from this team for a long time. I had the unique opportunity last night to attend the Ted Nolan press conference and when speaking of you, he described you as somebody who can be that "go to guy" for a team. He also mentioned that "your best players have to be your best players", referring to you, Billy Guerin, Satan, etc. If your performance last night and in the season so far is any indication of the type of player you are, then we have indeed found our go to guy.

Coach Nolan also gave you one of the greatest compliments I think can be bestowed upon a player. He commented on how you have a excellent combination of skills and smarts on the rink. You know what to do with the puck in tough situations, you "think" the game through, and make the players around you better because of it.

I know it has only been two games but I am so impressed with the soft hands you have shown around the net. One of the guys in this league that has always impressed me with his movement on the ice is Tim Connolly. He has this unique way about him, where slight body movements and quick stick movements throw the defenders off, giving him the opportunity to set up a teammate in a position to score or put it by the goaltender on his own. You seem to possess those same qualities.

As the season progresses, I am looking forward to the privilege of watching you each and every night. Hopefully all Islander fans will realize what type of player you are how lucky we are to have you. Please continue to wear that Islanders crest proudly. As you know, we are a proud franchise with a rich tradition of hard work, strong character and skill. You fit that tradition perfectly and all Islander fans, if they haven't already, will soon find that out.



Thursday, October 4, 2007

This Is Your Brain On Hockey

Lets get it on

There are only two times a year that really get the hairs on my neck standing up. One is when the big jolly guy in the red suit makes his way down my chimney and the other is the start of the NHL season.

It was a little touch of heaven Wednesday night when I was able to flip on OLN and catch a little of the Ducks/Red Wings game. My two year old daughter was quite the happy soul too, shouting as she pointed at the television screen, "hockey, hockey" (man, am I proud of her).

But Eww, it hurts a bit

Watching the second half of the doubleheader put a little bit of a sour taste in my mouth. Seeing Ryan Smyth setting up shop behind the net, and placing a perfect pass on Joe Sakic's stick blade made me cringe. Considering the type of players Garth Snow brought in this off-season, Ryan Smyth would have fit right in.

Fortunately, the pain didn't last too long as I quickly drifted off to sleep.

Things come full circle

How great would it be if Bryan Berard actually becomes an integral part of the Islanders this year? I am so excited for the guy. He has been through a lot in his career and we should all be pulling for him. I can't imagine doing anything without the use of one of my eyes, yet this guy is playing the fastest game on earth without missing a beat. Hopefully he will be signed, sealed, and delivered fairly soon.

Radek, Radek, Radek

Is there a more unsung hero on this team than Radek Martinek? I was quite elated to read on that he was signed to an extension. The guy doesn't make much noise off the rink, but man can you notice him on it.

Looking Ahead

It's about 3:30 now and I am just about to leave work. I can't believe I will plopping my tush on the couch tonight, flipping on the television, and watching the first Isles game of the season. The weather sure feels like summer, but man am I ready for some hockey!

Enjoy the game tonight......and GO ISLANDERS!


Monday, August 20, 2007

My open letter to Garth Snow

Dear Garth,

As July 1st rolled around, I was eagerly anticipating the exciting free agent moves you were going to make. Heck, you managed to get Ryan Smyth here, so I was wondering what other tricks you were going to pull out of your hat. But as the days passed, and we lost Ryan Smyth and guys like Drury, Gomez, and Briere signed elsewhere I started to scratch my head wondering what you were up to.

But, as we have accustomed to, you stepped up to the plate and on expressed your thoughts to Islanders fans preaching patience. I have to admit, at the time, I was a bit worried, but I gave you the benefit of the doubt and waited to see how your plans for the organization panned out. As the weeks progressed, and you continued to sign free agents it became evident to me the direction you were heading in and I was ready to follow. While we may not have gotten the top free agents that I am sure were at the top of many of our wish lists, we did acquire players of character, determination, and grit that truly deserve to don the Islanders crest. (While some may question the decision to give Guerin the "C", I think it was an excellent move.)

And as you continued to sign players beyond the names of Guerin, Comrie, Sim, and Fedotenko I became more and more of a believer. By adding more pieces to the puzzle in Sutton and Wasicek, you have created atmosphere of players that want to be here.

And let us not forget the class with which you worked out a contract with Hunter. He was a necessary piece to the puzzle and you did not disappoint. You also didn't turn the organizational back on Simon, bringing him back for another year. Both of these guys are team players that put their heart and souls out there on the rink every night.

So, what is my point in all of this? I just want to send you a personal word of thanks for doing a wonderful job in bringing this organization back to respectability and creating an atmosphere of hard nosed, nuts and bolts hockey that has been missing around here for quite a while. Whenever you were between the pipes in your playing days I always knew that you would bring intensity, grit, and dedication to your craft. And that is exactly what you have done in your role as general manager. You have surrounded our current nucleus of Witt, Sillinger, Hunter, and DiPietro with players of the same mentality; players who wear their hearts on their sleeves every single night.

You were quoted as saying, "my only message to them (Islander fans) is that for our team to finally go way beyond mediocrity and have a chance at winning the Stanley Cup, it's in our best interests for me to stay patient. So while I stay patient, for the right deals, I hope they can be for a little while, too."

Garth, we have gotten your message loud and clear....continue the great work!

Thank You,


P.S. The decision to release Yashin was probably a difficult one, but I applaud your efforts.