Friday, March 26, 2010

Myth Vs Fact for Islanders Fans

For the last few weeks I have not had the opportunity to blog, but I have been able to read many others and quite frankly a lot of material that is out there is just plain fiction, or for the purpose of this blog a myth. Here are four myths that have occurred in the month of March followed by the facts I will provide.

Myth #1: As of March 22nd, the Isles were still in the playoff race.

FACT: The Islanders have been out of the playoff race since my last blog on march 11th when Rob Schremp was out for the rest of the year. You could even go back before that when the Islanders lost MacDonald for most of the season and Captain Doug Weight chose to have season ending surgery on his shoulder. Folks when your Captain leaves, it's over.

Myth #2: The Islanders will tank the rest of the season.

FACT: Have you seen the injury list lately? Bruno Gervais is the latest casualty. Bridgeport is bone dry on defenseman and will have trouble making the playoffs themselves because of all the injuries. The Islanders will not have to tank, they'll play hard until the end, but with the injuries piling up, don't be surprised if the Islanders fall to last in the East. Remember my preseason prediction: If the Islanders aren't injured they won't be in last place. Well....let the lottery begin.

Myth #3: Islanders will not land Hall, Seguin, of Fowler.
FACT: The Islanders have been in the lottery running for the last 6 weeks (call it 8 if you want to count the Olympic break). Most would say that the Islanders were still in the playoff hunt by then. This is true, but so was everyone else, so at that time everyone was in it for the three future stars. Due to the injuries of this team, the Islanders may land any three players. In all honesty, it will depend on where they land when the lottery is over. If things go from bad to worse, look for the Islanders to pick no worse than third. Make no mistake, one of them will be an Islander.

Myth #4: Islanders will not compete for a playoff spot next year.

FACT: Garth Snow expects his team to make the playoffs next year and many fans/bloggers/media will not drink the "Kool-Aid" that Snow is giving out. Make no mistake fans, the Islanders will be MUCH better than this years squad simply with the method of addition by subtraction, a solid draft pick and around 31 million dollars to spend on the free agent market. Last year the Islanders made it to Nov/Dec before fans started talking about the draft. This year it's March to start talking about the big three. By this time next year fans will be talking playoffs back at the Coliseum.

My final thoughts:  For the remainder of this year I will see how many points the Islanders can pile up. I had set a goal of 80 points at the beginning of the year. They may not get there due to certain bad luck, but the closer they get, the more excited Islanders fans should be for next year knowing what they know now after reading this blog.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Schremp, Islanders Season Is Over

From Islanders Authorized:

The Islanders have just announced that center Rob Schremp will miss the remainder of the season after injuring his right knee in the first period of the team's game last night against the Philadelphia Flyers.  Schremp has been diagnosed with a torn meniscus and will need surgery. 

Paul Thoughts: Losing Schremp, MacDonald, and Sutton will not help the Islanders make the playoffs this year. I'm sorry, but the team currently does not have the the talent, nor size to gain the needed points to even make a case for the playoffs. I still believe the Islanders can finish the season with more than 70 points and that the ultimate goal should be 80 points. However, with the recent improvements of Carolina and Toronto, along with a very difficult looking schedule,  look for those teams to possibly move further ahead of the Islanders. For most fans, the Islanders will be picking between the 2nd-5th overall pick. For now what most fans should be watching is how the younger players finish this season. They must finish strong in order for them to be able to look towards their future.

Biron Expected Trade

From Dan Martin of the NY Post:

"There was a lot of stress leading up [to the deadline] and so much buildup," Biron said after practice yesterday at the Coliseum, where the Islanders will play host to seventh-place Boston today (2:00, MSG Plus, WHLI 1100 AM). "But nothing happened. I talked to [Snow] and Coach [Scott] Gordon and some guys and it's done and that's the way it is. We're all adults. You have conversations and express your displeasure . . . and now it's over. We're all professionals. Was it hard? It was hard. You move forward. You can't live in the past."- Martin Biron

To be honest, Biron should have been traded at the deadline, regardless of whether or not the Islanders are in the playoff hunt or not (they're not by the way....more later). Dwayne Roloson is more than capable of finishing the season by him self and the backup will only get 2-3 starts for the remainder of the season. Plus if DP does come back before the season ends, be sure or it, he will get the starts over Biron. Biron has been nothing but professional and I truly hope he finds a better situation next year on another team.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Three Goalie Problem On Long Island?

So Newsday comes out with a report that a few Islanders players were not happy they still have three goaltenders on that team. To quote:

Look at where we were at, we had a playoff spot. Then we went on a losing streak and now we're on the outside looking in.
Can someone please tell me how that quote has anything to do with having three goalies? So because there is an extra player on the bench or in the seats elsewhere, that's the reason for a losing streak? Cry me a river! Can someone in the organization please change that players diaper, give him a fresh bottle and put him back in the play pen.

Now this next quote has a little more merit:

You just can't have three goaltenders. It's not great for anyone.

That's usually true, most teams don't. However, to my knowledge, It was Roloson and DiPietro playing a span of fourteen games without Biron rotating.  So there were still only two goaltenders actually playing. Biron knew it was going to happen, but he was still getting paid and knew (at that time) he would probably be traded later. So let's really take a look at that fourteen game span shall we:

The first 7 games the Islanders went 5-2.  The following 7 games was the season killing losing streak. So what happened?  Both goalies started 7 games, DP giving up a total of 17 goals, Roloson gave up 22.  The offense scored a total of 24 goals the first 7 games, while giving up 17 goals as a team. However while on the seven game losing streak, the Islanders only scored NINE goals, while giving up 27!!!!

This is a TEAM problem. DP more than held his own and both goalies were stuck with a team that had a bad scoring slump and porous defense.  To think that there were players who thought that having three goalies on the same team in the same arena was a factor for a losing streak and ending any kind of playoff chances is absolutely gutless and clueless. When you have kids who are not even old enough to legally drink and over the hill players who cannot contribute offensively and defensively, it is a team problem and any of the goaltenders can only save a team so much so often.

Here is my problem with the three goalies. If you notice, DiPietro and Roloson both played the same amount of games. If Roloson has been called the MVP of the team this year, you do NOT play a goalie who has not played in over a year the same amount of games in that span as your team MVP. That is a management (Owner, GM, and Coach)  error. Period. Had Dipietro played maybe 3-4 games out of the 14, the Islanders would still lose as many games because the scoring is just not there, and the defense can't clear the crease or the puck.

Final thought on DP: For those who want management to buy out DP's contract. Don't bother. First and foremost, the seven games DP started, he only gave up 17 goals, do the math and it's a little over 2 goals a game. It was management (Owner, GM, and Coach) who allowed Dipietro to play those many games over their "MVP." He shouldn't have, but Dipietro did prove he can still play short term. What management should have done was treat him as a backup and then who knows, maybe a trade could have happened and the team could have moved on. I'll leave that to the conspiracy theorists.   For now fans and the team still only have two goalies, but if management wants to showcase DiPietro, there is no way of a buyout.


Prospect Watch: Blake Kessel


Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 210
Shoots: Right
Born: Apr 13, 1989  (Age 20)
Birthplace: Madison, WI, United States
Drafted: NYI / 2007 NHL Entry Draft
Round: 6th (166th overall) 
This has been a breakout season for Kessel. After a steady, but unspectacular freshman campaign last year, Kessel is starting to show the offensive flair that made him the highest scoring defenseman in the USHL two seasons ago. The 6’2, 205 lb blueliner has already doubled his offensive production from last year, and has emerged as an integral part of a young New Hampshire team. He currently has six goals and 22 assists through 24 games, making him the second highest scoring defenseman in the nation. Kessel's strong performance up to this point has helped the Wildcats take first place in their conference, and recently earned him the honor of being named a semi-finalist for the Walter Brown Award, given to the best American-born college hockey player from New England.
Paul's thoughts: Blake Kessel is a a late-bloomer, but turned into a solid Division I prospect while playing in the United States Hockey League. Blake has good size, while holding his own from the physical standpoint. He's also emerging as a very good puck-moving defenseman. I believe Kessel may need some seasoning in Bridgeport, but should be up in the NHL within the next two-three years.

Stats for 2010
2008-09 U. of New Hampshire NCAA 37 6 7 13

2009-10 U. of New Hampshire NCAA 31 7 25 32

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Trade Deadline Is Over. Now What For Isles?

With a very uneventful trade deadline behind us, what can Islanders fans look forward to? Answer: The future. The future is watching Tavares, Bailey, Okposo and a young defensive corp play the final 19 games and really decide if this team is worth the ticket prices for next year. Make no mistake, this team is certainly worth watching, but a really good indication will be how this young team can finish the 2009-10 season.

If the Islanders can finish anywhere in the seventies, this was a good year for a developing club. They will almost assuredly have a top 6 pick in this years draft, and should pick the best player available. For now, it's too early to think free agency, just concentrate on the final games of this season. So far this blogger is liking the future.

Hello Blake Comeau!!!! Where have you been?! The Islanders may end the season with 2-3 players who score 20+ goals (Moulson, Tavares, Okposo), but if the development continues and stay healthy, you can probably add another two (Comeau, Bailey) to that list for next year. This years offensive youth corp will make free agency needs a little easier in terms of how many top 6 forwards the Islanders need.

As for the defense, they're all up in the NHL, including Dylan Reese, who replaces Andrew MacDonald who's out with a broken foot for a couple of weeks. Hillen, MacDonald, and Kohn have developed very nicely and are contributing by playing solid defense, and have the wheels and stamina to log big minutes. If these young players can find a scoring touch in the next 19 games, the Islanders could be spoilers to a few teams. What the Islanders may need for next year is Andy Sutton minus about 10 years and can put in 7-10 goals a year.

Overall the current young Islanders are developing nicely before us. Few players are growing, while a nice crop will be coming in from juniors and the college ranks to fill in the voids in Bridgeport next year. For now, enjoy the rest of the hockey season while it's still here. I'll be having more blogs in the upcoming days concerning the future of the team in terms of players and the remaining 19 games.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

No major moves made by the Islanders today. More blogs to follow coming up tonight and tomorrow.

Islanders & Chicago Talking

From Hockey

Several sources, as well as a few people on twitter, say there is a potential deal in the works that would send Sean Bergenheim and Dwayne Roloson to Chicago for Christobal Huet and a first round pick.  That may not be the full deal, but it sounds like Chicago is getting creative looking for another goalie.  Stay tuned to all day tomorrow for the latest.

Paul's Thoughts: This would be a huge deal for the Islanders. It is not complete, but a first rounder would certainly benefit the Isles. Huet is a good goaltender who can still help the Isles win over the next two years. More to come.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

My Thoughts On The Sutton Trade

From various reports, The New York Islanders have traded Andy Sutton to the Ottawa Senators for a second round pick, previously owned by the San Jose Sharks.

Paul's Thoughts: This is a very low second round pick, but it is what it is. I was hoping for a prospect in this deal, but if this was the best Snow could get, then so be it. Snow is certainly stocking second and third round picks, perhaps eager to move up in the draft is a possible plan. What happens now is that Dustin Kohn is here for the remainder of the season. The final games played will certainly help with the development of the younger players, especially on the defense.

Rolosons name is spreading wildly through the trade rumors, along with a few other veterans. Stay tuned for the latest Islanders news.
Just heard about Sutton for a second rounder. My thoughts a little later on....

Monday, March 01, 2010

Islanders Make A Minor Deal In AHL


The New York Islanders, parent club of the AHL's Bridgeport Sound Tigers, have acquired defenseman Dylan Reese from the Columbus Blue Jackets, parent club of the AHL's Syracuse Crunch, in exchange for center Greg Moore.

Reese will join the Sound Tigers on Tuesday as they take on the Hershey Bears. Moore has been assigned to Syracuse.

The trade is pending the completion of player physicals.

Reese, a graduate of Harvard University, has played in 51 games this season for the Crunch and scored four goals and 18 assists for 22 points. He has a plus-12 rating and 31 penalty minutes this season.

A native of Pittsburgh, Pa., Reese played the last two seasons with the San Antonio Rampage, totaling 35 points (two goals and 33 assists) in 134 games. He was drafted by the New York Rangers in the seventh round (209th overall) of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.

The 25-year-old Reese played in 10 games for the Hartford Wolf Pack in the 2006-07, accumulating four assists, after completing his final season at Harvard.

Paul's Thoughts: As most Islanders fans learned from last year, you can never have enough defenseman. Time will tell if Reese will become more than just a minor league player with a brain. I think the next 20 or so games is to get him acclimated to Gordons system, while the real test will come at training camp. Who knows, he could be a nice addition.
Per Katie Strang: Sutton trade looks likely.
Blogging from my phone and computer today. As of now from what I have been reading, the Islanders appear ready to shake up roster. Stay tuned.....

Islanders Videos