Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Dwayne Roloson Joins the Islanders


TSN is reporting that goaltender Dwayne Roloson has signed a two-year deal with the New York Islanders for $5-million.

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=283429

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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

NJ Devils acquire C Ben Walter from Islanders

NEWARK, N.J. (AP)—The New Jersey Devils have acquired center Ben Walter and future considerations from the New York Islanders in exchange for the rights to center Tony Romano.

Devils president and general manager Lou Lamoriello announced the deal on Tuesday.

The 25-year-old Walter had 20 goals and 30 assists in 65 games for Bridgeport of the American Hockey League last season. He has played in 22 NHL games for the Islanders and Boston Bruins.

Romano, a Long Island native and New Jersey’s seventh choice in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, spent last season with Peterborough in the Ontario Hockey League.

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Free Agency Tomorrow at Noon

There's a lot of good players available tomorrow at noon for the other half of Dominion Day, Free Agent Day!

Do you like it when GMs act like half-drunk frat boys looking for a hammered girl at last call? If you do--and who doesn't--then tomorrow is the day for you!

GM Garth Snow has already said that next season's Islanders squad is going to look a lot like this year's...so he doesn't want us to get all excited and start thinking that Charles Wang is going to open his pocket to land the Sedin twins or even Mike Komisarek. And if they are convinced that they are on this rebuilding track, they shouldn't do it anyway.

What our team needs is a reliable goaltender. A lot of people have been clamoring for Craig Anderson of Florida, but I like to look toward New Jersey and notice that Scott Clemmensen is also without a contract.

Claemmensen was on fire for the Devils while Martin Brodeur nursed his injuries. The guy backing up Clemmensen--former Islander Kevin Weekes--actually was his backup but when Brodeur came back, Clemmensen had to be sent down to Albany because Weekes was on a one-way contract. Talk about a sting.

So, Clemmensen has proven to be a pretty good goalie. And while both showed flashes of ability last season, he'd definitely be an upgrade over Yann Danis and Joey MacDonald. With Peter Mannino being let go, there's also only one AHL-ready goalie in Bridgeport, Nathan Lawson. So, yeah. Goaltending depth is a but tough right now in the entire Islanders family. That's why they drafted two goalies last week.

There's also lots of rumors out there about Mike Komisarek possibly coming back home to play for the Islanders.

Not sure that is a great fit since you already have defensive defensemen like Andy Sutton (oft injured), Brendan Witt, and Radek Martinek on the roster. Komisarek may want to get out of the fishbowl in Montreal so naturally, everyone thinks he will want to go home. TSN's microphones picked up Brian Burke saying as much to Montreal GM Bob Gainey at the Entry Draft.

The Islanders (if they are interested) may be in luck since Komisarek had an off-year last season. The picture I have of him in my mind is of him catching a punch with his face in the opening round vs. the Bruins. So his repuation as a tough abnd physical player may have taken a hit too.

Another thing that comes to mind is that if the Islanders do sign Komisarek (and pray they don't overpay for him even though they need size and toughness) that it totally means that the team has no confidence in Andy Sutton's ability to stay healthy. It also would scream that Brendan Witt is going to be given some time to play a bit better to make himself more attractive as a tradeable asset in February.

Greg Logan of Newsday suggest the Isles go after Colton Orr, who has been let go by the Rangers. Sounds good to me. The Islanders seriously need a cop to keep people off of the skill players. Plus, Orr has developed and can play a little bit. He played in key spots for the Rangers last season and would probably be a good and popular fit here.

Snow has already warned us not to get too excited. Of course, this is the guy who kept his puh-puhpuh poker face on for two months while intending to draft John Tavares. That's why this picture is posted here. I figured I'm the last blogger on God's gray Earth to post a photo of Tavares from the draft.

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Gordon to the Olympics and Other Notes

Newsday and Point Blank were amongst the first to report that Islanders coach Scott Gordon has been named an assistant coach for the 2010 USA Olympic hockey team under Toronto's Ron Wilson.

Kyle Okposo--to no one's surprise--has been asked to the US Olympic training camp in Chicago this July. Okposo did very well for the US team in the World Championships after the Islanders season ended.

Here is the entire list of invitees to the American camp:

Goalies: Ryan Miller, Jonathan Quick, Tim Thomas.

Defensemen: Tom Gilbert, Tim Gleason, Ron Hainsey, Erik Johnson, Jack Johnson, Mike Komisarek, Paul Martin, Brooks Orpik, Brian Rafalski, Rob Scuderi, Ryan Suter, Whitney Ryan.

Forwards: David Backes, David Booth, Dustin Brown, Dustin Byfuglien, Ryan Callahan, Chris Drury, Scott Gomez, Patrick Kane, Ryan Kesler, Phil Kessel, Jamie Langenbrunner, Ryan Malone, Mike Modano, Kyle Okposo, T.J. Oshie, Zach Parise, Joe Pavelski, Bobby Ryan, Paul Stastny.

Strange to note--as they did on NHL Live--that only 5 of these players have previous Olympic experience: Langenbrunner, Modano, Gomez, Drury, andRafalski.

Also worth mentioning is that while these players have been invited to camp, none are guaranteed to make the team. So a guy like, oh, let's say Rick DiPietro, could still make the team if he comes back and is okay and gets some major wins and playing time under his belt.

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Monday, June 29, 2009

John Tavares throws 1st pitch at Mets game


1st Pick John Tavares had the honor of throwing out the first pitch at the Mets - Yankees game at Citi Field last night. Sadly ESPN(BA) did not show the pitch (at least in our neck of the woods).

NewYorkIslanders.com has video and pictures from the game.

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Friday, June 26, 2009

1st Pick

And the waiting is over... Islanders picked John Tavares!


Reaction to come . . .

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

One Day Until the First Pick

Since April 14, when the Islanders won the right to make the first overall pick in this year's NHL Entry Draft, we've been waiting for The Day. Tomorrow is That Day.

We've heard stories about free draft parties and all sorts of speculation about whom the Isles will select. Experts have pontificated; Garth Snow does his Lady Gaga impression and says nothing on draft preview shows and in the papers. Chris Dey laughs off whether he even knows the player who will go #1 overall.

Seventy-four days after winning the right, the Isles are on the clock. Hell, they have been for those seventy-four days. All Snow has said is that the kid they were leaning towards on April 14 is the same kid they are going to choose tomorrow night at about 7:15PM.

Now I don't know about you, but those 74 freaking days have been pretty difficult. Recent history has most Islanders fans cringing at the thought of another Mad Mike debacle that has our team shipping off Roberto Luongo--even though Snow has proven (so far) to be a steady hand and a capable general manager.

Has he made mistakes? Sure. Hasn't everybody? But if you think back to the Ryan Smyth trade, that move energized the heck out of the Islanders Faithful for a few months. If Smyth had resigned--and he himself admitted it was a difficult decision at the time--the path the team would have taken would have been more of the Band Aid/trade for veterans sort of operation. With that method, you either hit a home run or you quiet go along, singling and doubling your way through the regular season.

Snow wisely recognized that the Islanders team needed to be torn down and built back up. He's signed a few free agents here and there and he's allowed some to even come and play and try to rebuild their reputations. All along, though, the spotlight has been on developing the youngsters the team had drafted to get them experience in the league so that they can take over and become leaders for the next round of kids who pull on the Islander sweater.

Mike Milbury tried--in his scattershot, ADD way--to do the same thing but he didn't have the opportunity or patience with the rebuild to keep it going. Milbury tried to throw as much as he could around to see what would stick and then he just traded away what didn't stick for pennies on the potential dollar.

Say what we will about Mad Mike...but it was never boring. Might not be fun, but it wasn't boring.

Lots of people are asking me what the Islanders plan on doing tomorrow night. I honestly tell them that I don't know for sure but that I think they are going to draft John Tavares. Snow has been a master of getting people to talk and gossip about what he is going to do and all of that speculation has only been good buzz for the New York Islanders. His silence and the potential of a goal-scorer like Tavares joining the Islanders has Long Island and the hockey world talking. It's exciting.

Saying that, we need to mention that if the fans are overwhelmingly excited about one player as they are about John Tavares, then to NOT choose him first overall is going to take balls the size of Transformers.

And yet, does anyone fit the needs of a team any more than John Tavares fits the Islanders'? You have a team desperate to be reckoned with and desperate for one guy to hang their hat on. John Tavares has been poked, prodded, scouted, and written about since he was 14 years old. He knows how to deal with the spotlight so well and he has been around seemingly forever that scouting services and media types kinda turned on him and began knocking the kid for his flaws and overlooking what he does best. When he did something good--like a hat trick in the WJC while leading Canada to gold--it was "expected" and no one was surprised. Yawn.

Victor Hedman and Matt Duchene are the new kids in town. Hedman had a down WJC and everyone overlooks it. Duchene had a fine career in juniors but was never The Guy on any team he has been on. Duchene was also cut from Team Canada--you know, the team John Tavares lead to gold this winter?

What I am saying is that none of the other players eligible in the draft has faced the scrutiny that John Tavares has been living with for the last four years. Hedman certainly projects as a heck of a defenseman but as a Swedish player--and a defenseman to boot--he is not exactly going to inspire ticket and jersey sales. Duchene, if he is picked first overall and Tavares falls down in the draft--is always going to be compared to JT and is going to suffer the slings of a frustrated fan base who will never let him forget that he wasn't the guy an overwhelming majority of us wanted.

John Tavares, on the other hand, doesn't shy from the spotlight. He's used to being The Guy. And if the Islanders do select him first overall tomorrow night, you just know that there will be people signing up for season tickets and other ticket plans on the spot. They'll sell tons of jerseys as soon as the are available. Selecting John Tavares energizes and galvanizes the Islanders fans in a way we have not seen in a very long time.

It's the most logical choice and the only choice for the Islanders. Expect them to select John Tavares first overall tomorrow night in Montreal. Remember: you can help a guy improve his skating and you can team him to be more aware in his own end. But you can't teach a kid to score. The great goal scorers have something innate in them that allows them to create opportunities the other players can't. John Tavares, from all reports, has that ability. Let's make John Tavares an Islander.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

EJ Hradek: Chelios wants to play for Islanders

Just now EJ Hradek said on NHL Live that Chris Chelios--who will not be back with Detroit--has expressed interest in playing for the Islanders next season.

Hradek mentioned that Chelios noted that the Islanders are a young team and he is the kind of guy who can come in and add to the leadership corps while playing ten to fifteen minutes a game. Chelios' legendary work ethic would also be good as an example to the younger guys about what it takes to be a professional and a dedicated star at the NHL level.

First reaction--the knee jerk one--might be to say that the guy is like 1000 years old and it might not be the best idea to take time away from a young and developing defenseman. But the intagibles are there. Let's face it: Chris Chelios is a winner. He's won Stanley Cups and Norris Trophies. If Garth Snow thinks there's a spot for him at a reasonable price, I think it's a pretty good move to make.

Saying that, he will probably end up on the Rangers. They always get the old guys.

Pediction: Heatley ends up with the Rangers too. I know when you think about their cap situation it doesn't look good, but these things always sort themselves out for the Rangers.

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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Former Islanders defenseman Kenny Jonsson retires

STOCKHOLM (AP)—Former New York Islanders defenseman Kenny Jonsson is retiring after a 19-year hockey career that included two Olympic championships with Sweden.

The 34-year-old spent the last four seasons with the Swedish club Rogle and in May he captained the Swedish team that finished third at the world championships.

Jonsson said on Thursday that he made the decision when he realized he wasn’t motivated to begin offseason training.

He played in 705 NHL games, compiling 64 goals and 207 assists in 10 seasons, mostly with the Islanders.

Jonsson was drafted by Toronto and played for the Maple Leafs in 1994-95. He was traded to New York midway through the next season.

He won Olympic gold at the 1994 and 2006 Winter Olympics.



Islanders name Chynoweth assistant coach

The New York Islanders announced today that they have named Dean Chynoweth an assistant coach. Chynoweth will join current Head Coach Scott Gordon’s staff, after serving as the General Manager and Head Coach of the Western Hockey League’s Swift Current Broncos for the past five seasons. Chynoweth is a former first round selection of the Islanders from the 1987 National Hockey League Entry Draft.

"Dean has an extremely strong background of developing young prospects from working in the International Hockey League (IHL) and WHL for the past 11 years," said Snow. "With the youth of our team, he is a perfect fit to show them what it takes to succeed in the NHL. His defensive background from his playing days will also serve as a tremendous asset to our young defensemen."

"I am thrilled to return to the Islanders organization and join Scott Gordon’s staff,” said Chynoweth. “I am very aware of the hockey tradition on Long Island from my playing days and look forward to working with the staff in returning the Islanders to the powerhouse they once were.”

Last season, the 41-year-old Chynoweth led Swift Current to the first round of the WHL playoffs. The Broncos were beaten by the Medicine Hat Tigers four games to three in their best-of-seven series. Through Chynoweth’s five seasons with the Broncos, the team posted a combined record of 162-163-6-1-1 (W-L-T-OTL-SOL). The Calgary, ALTA native started his coaching career in 1998 with the Utah Grizzlies, who at the time were a member of the IHL. Chynoweth spent two seasons in Utah before taking the head coach position with the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL. Chynoweth coached the Thunderbirds from 2000 to 2004.

He began his professional playing career at the end of the 1988-89 season, playing in six games with the Islanders, after completing his fourth year with Medicine Hat. He played eight seasons within the organization and scored two goals and 10 assists while compiling 408 penalty minutes in 147 games. He won a Calder Cup during the 1989-90 season while playing for the Islanders’ former American Hockey League affiliate, the Springfield Indians. Chynoweth played the final three years of his career with the Boston Bruins and set an NHL single season personal career best for penalty minutes with 171 in the 1996-97 season.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Penguins win; Cosby doesn't shake hands; world keeps spinning

Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals was the highest-rated hockey game on American television in 36 years. That is great news and it was a great game. Congrats to the Crosbies and Genos and even the Islanders contingent of Bill Guerin, The Tank, Miro, and Dan Bylsma on the win.

Sour grapes to what I believed to be a classy organization, the Detroit Red Wings. The epic booing of the Penguins was totally the reaction of a crowd spoiled by extreme success. The Penguins played tough and hard and overcame a lot--including Sidney's starter beard--to beat the Red Wings. Pittsburgh was the better team.

The whining by some of the Detroit players about Crosby not shaking hands with Nick Lidstrom while celebrating was a bit grade schoolish, didn't you think? Hank Zetterberg complaining was even funnier since there's a photo from Getty Images all over the internet of Sid the Kid shaking with Zetterberg. There's pictures of him shaking hands with all sorts of Red Wings players, coaches, and stick boys. He was there. He did what he could.

I'm a huge believer in the traditions of the sport and if it were me, I'd have made it my duty to be the first one there to shake Lidstrom's hand. But the fact of the matter is (did I just slip into wrestling promo talk?) that Sid was celebrating a MONUMENTAL ACCOMPLISHMENT with his teammates...and that was a tall order considering the guy got checked in the balls earlier in the game and was clearly injured.

Hey, let's face it: giving Crosby heck is like it's own sport within the sport. Sometimes, it really comes off as childish piling on. And in this situation, it is. Crosby isn't going to have tons of friends and he is always going to have his detractors but man, wait for the kid to screw up royally before you kick snow on him.

Besides, he got the last laugh: he just won the Stanley Cup.

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The long Canadian nightmare is over...or is it just getting started?

I've had myself a good old laugh at the conspiracy theorists in the Canadian media who continue to be obsessed with the state of the Phoenix Coyotes. I love how they blame the commissioner for everything and conveniently forget that he helped stabilize the Buffalo and Edmonton franchises and that he had a hand in saving the Calgary Flames as well. Of course, he'll always be an off-putting and short "New York lawyer" to them no matter what he does.

Wow, that paragraph sounds like I am a Bettman Apologist...and I am so not. My theory is that if you're going to poop on a guy and all that you better be able to see what good he has done as well and there is no doubt that when the Canadian dollar was tanking faster than "Land of the Lost" that the guy totally had a hand in helping keep the franchises afloat.

Now that Phoenix is staying in, um, Glendale, the real work is about to begin. This is where we'll see what kind of deal they can put together to keep the franchise afloat in the desert. Whether or not Winnipeg should have moved there in the first place is irrelevant right now. The truth is that the team is in Arizona and the league has to find a way to make it work there because there are contracts with arenas and vendors and all that stuff that make things harder than just picking up the team and moving it wherever you want just because some place is more "worthy" of a hockey team than another area is.

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The draft is coming. I personally can't wait for The Big Day. All of this waiting is annoying after a while. Would it have been better for the Isles just to come out and say who they were picking right after they won the #1 overall pick? Well, that can be argued forever.

The Isles are saying that they've given out over 14,000 freebies for the draft party. If half of those people show up, it will be unreal. Me and Mrs. NYIFORLIFE.com and Victor: Friend of The Show are planning on making the trip. If you see us, please feel free to say hello. I'll the guy in an Islanders t-shirt!

Speaking of the First Lady of this website, Mrs. NYIFORLIFE.com will be doing her live blogging of the NHL Awards show tomorrow night on this very website. Last year's edition proved quite popular so make sure you check it out.

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Lastly, in sad news, Newsday reports to day that former Islanders radio voice Bob Lawrence has passed away at the age of 70. Bob helped foster a love for the Islanders for a kid from central Connecticut back in the day; as I used to listen to the Islanders broadcasts on a little radio when I was supposed to be sleeping. Our best to the family of Bob Lawrence.

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