Thursday, January 31, 2008

MORNING SKATE: Kings at Isles

The flu bug hasn’t hit the NYI Media Blog (yet, knock on wood..), so here are some notes from the morning skate…

- Wade Dubielewicz will get the start in net tonight. With Rick DiPietro getting over the flu, he’ll likely back-up tonight. For the Kings, expect Jason LaBarbera to start.

- Ruslan Fedotenko (flu) is very questionable/doubtful for tonight’s game. Andy Sutton (flu) will be a game-time decision. Every other skater, according to Ted Nolan, is healthy and able to play.

- Islanders assistant coach Gerard Gallant made his return to the team after battling through the stomach flu/virus.

- At 12:15, Islanders defenseman Bruno Gervais will be guest of Billy Jaffe on the radio show, NHL Live. You can find it on XM 204.

- Dan Rosen from came to the skate this morning. Amongst the Islanders players he spoke to were Bill Guerin and Blake Comeau. Expect a feature on Comeau soon.

- Longtime Islanders radio analyst Chris King will take part in his 1,000th Islanders radio broadcast. That includes time as the engineer, intermission/post-game host and in-game duties. Congratulations, Kinger!

- Amongst the hot topics with the media this morning was Britney Spears being admitted for psychiatric treatment. Islanders radio play-by-play man Steve Mears admitted that her 2002 concert in Louisiana was the best concert he’s ever been to. Really Steve? Really? ...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

MORNING SKATE: Sens at Isles

After a nice weekend off for everybody other than Rick and Chris Botta, the Islanders swing back into action tonight at the Coliseum versus the Ottawa Senators… Here are some notes from the morning skate.

- Rick DiPietro will be in goal for the Islanders and after missing practice yesterday, Ray Emery will take a back seat to starter Martin Gerber. DiPietro is 2-0-0 versus Ottawa this season and has a 1.44 GAA.

- Ted Nolan announced that Andy Sutton is under the weather and is a game-time decision. He did not specify if Bryan Berard or Aaron Johnson would go in his place if need be.

- Aside from the injured Dany Heatley, Patrick Eaves looks to be a scratch for the Sens along with Cody Bass. Nick Foligno has been recalled by Ottawa for tonight's game.

- Former Senator Mike Comrie enters tonight’s game two points away from 300 in his NHL career. In the first three games of the season series, Comrie has a goal and two assists versus Ottawa.

- Newsday’s Greg Logan is off until Friday, so Mark Herrmann is covering for them tonight.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

MORNING SKATE: Isles at ‘Canes

The Islanders finish off a home-and-home series on back-to-back days with the Carolina Hurricanes while they also start a two-game, four day road trip which will also take them to Boston for a game on Thursday.

Here are some notes from today’s morning skate…

- Today was an optional skate for both teams. About 14 Islanders took the ice after a team meeting.

- Wade Dubielewicz will start for the Islanders tonight while it looks like Cam Ward will be back in net for the Hurricanes. There were some talks that John Grahame would start tonight, but it doesn’t look that way.

Just like other players, Islanders head coach Ted Nolan said that “Dubie has earned his ice-time and deserves to play.”

- Unfortunately, there won’t be a Ted Nolan/Brandon Nolan match-up this season. Brandon, a top prospect for the ‘Canes, is currently with their AHL affiliate in Albany.

- The last time the Islanders were in Carolina, they won 4-1 off a stellar performance from Dubielewicz and Marc-Andre Bergeron who burned Carolina with two power-play goals and an assist. By the way, Carolina enters the game with the league’s worst penalty kill unit.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

MORNING SKATE: Flyers at Isles

The Islanders are back home for an Atlantic Division tilt versus the Philadelphia Flyers. It’s the first time the Flyers have visited the Coliseum this season. Here are some notes from the morning skate.

- Defensemen Chris Campoli, Radek Martinek and Brendan Witt are indeed all out for tonight’s game. Both Martinek and Witt took the full skate and looked pretty good to the naked eye, but Islanders head coach Ted Nolan told the media that Marti is about a week away and that Witt could possibly play on Monday.


- With that news, Aaron Johnson returns to the lineup and at his natural defenseman position. In his five games earlier this season, Johnson mostly skated as a fourth-line forward. Johny said the coaches told him he’ll be eased back into the lineup, but is excited to finally get back into an NHL game.


- In the uber-tight Atlantic Division where the top and bottom teams are only separated by six points, the Islanders enter tonight’s contest only two points behind the third-place Flyers. The Islanders are only four points out of the Atlantic Division lead.


- The probably match-up in goal tonight is Rick DiPietro versus Martin Biron.


- The Islanders third-best penalty kill will get a good test tonight if the need arises against the Flyers who own the NHL’s top power play unit. They click at a 24.4 percent rate.


- Before the game, Islanders forward Sean Bergenheim and Flyers goaltender Antero Niittymaki will partake in the photo-op with the youth Finnish hockey team from Ilves, Finland, who is participating in the International Division of the Lighthouse Tournament.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


On January 11 in Calgary, Islanders captain Bill Guerin wore a special jersey with a Hockey Fights Cancer patch next to his “C”.

Fans can now bid on the jersey at with the proceeds supporting national and local cancer research institutions, Children’s Hospitals, player charities and local cancer organizations.

Hockey Fights Cancer is a joint initiative founded in December 1998 by the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players' Association to raise money and awareness for hockey's most important fight. It is supported by NHL Member Clubs, NHL Alumni, the NHL Officials' Association, Professional Hockey Trainers and Equipment Managers, corporate marketing partners, broadcast partners and fans throughout North America. To date, more than $9 million has been raised to support national and local cancer research institutions, Children’s Hospitals, player charities and local cancer organizations.

To bid on Billy’s jersey, click here.

To find out more information on this specific program, click here.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

MORNING SKATE: Habs at Isles

The Islanders are back at home tonight at the Coliseum to take on the Montreal Canadiens. Here are some notes from the morning skate…

- Ted Nolan told the media that Ruslan Fedotenko is fine and will be in the lineup tonight after taking a blow to the head in Ottawa.


- Is No. 8 No. 1? With injuries to Brendan Witt and Radek Martinek (the team’s top two defensemen), Nolan praised the play of Bruno Gervais by calling him the team’s best defenseman over the past few games. Nolan’s trust in Bruno definitely shows on the ice.


- With tonight’s game being broadcasted nationally on Versus, Joe Beninati was speaking to Rick DiPietro following the skate. He asked Rick how many sets of pads he goes through in a season thinking it was three or four, but was shocked when Rick said “Between 25 and 30”. Responded Joe: “30! Wow!” Rick apparently doesn’t like it when the pads get too worn in a broken down.


Beninati, who calls the play-by-play action for the Washington Capitals, will be joined in the broadcast booth by Eddie Olczyk. Rounding out the three-man crew will be the Islanders own Billy Jaffe, who will be their roving reporter tonight.

This is some nice vacation for Howie Rose, but if there is anyone in this business who deserves a break every once in a while, it’s him. If you think about it, between the Mets and Islanders, he hardly gets a break! We miss you, Howie!


The match-up in goal tonight is Rick DiPietro for the Islanders and Christobal Huet for the Canadiens.

Monday, January 14, 2008


Monday, January 14

Yes, there was an extra day to this long, long road trip.

The threat of bad weather and low visibility prevented the team from flying home last night, so we stayed in Ottawa one extra night.

We left the hotel a little after 9:30 AM this morning for an 11:00 flight. But Customs held us up after everyone cleared and we didn’t take off until 12:30. We finally landed on Long Island a little before 2:00 PM.

Total Miles Traveled: 6,857

Sunday, January 13, 2008

ROAD TRIP BLOG: Day 10 / Isles at Sens

Sunday, January 13

After a day away from the rink yesterday, the Islanders got back on the ice this morning with a mandatory morning skate. Here are some notes…

- The match-up in goal tonight looks to be Rick DiPietro versus Martin Gerber, who did not start last night for Ottawa.


- Ted Nolan announced that Islanders winger Miroslav Satan will be back in the lineup tonight after missing one game with a sprained knee. That means Jeff Tambellini will be returned to Bridgeport.


- Nolan also announced that Brendan Witt will miss tonight’s game. While talking about his defense pairings, Nolan credited Freddy Meyer as his most reliable defenseman over the past few games.


- Although Ottawa had an optional skate, their players were still available to the media. It was confirmed that Dany Heatley will be out four-to-six weeks with a separated shoulder. When told of this news by the Ottawa media and asked if this makes Ottawa a less dangerous team, Nolan replied: “No, they still have Jason Spezza, Daniel Aldfredsson and a lot of talented guys.”


I’ll check in tomorrow with some final thoughts of the road trip.


Total miles traveled so far: About 6,467

Miles to be traveled tonight: 390

Saturday, January 12, 2008

ROAD TRIP BLOG: Day 9, I think

Saturday, January 12

Well, this morning is Saturday I guess. The team flew directly from Calgary to Ottawa after the game, which took a little over three and a half hours. Add on the two hours lost in the time zone change and the long bus ride from the airport to the hotel, we checked in at 6:00 AM. For the record, we left the Saddledome at 10:20 PM.

No on-ice practice for the boys today, just a light off-ice work out at a local gym in the afternoon.

Total miles traveled so far: About 6,467

Friday, January 11, 2008

ROAD TRIP BLOG: Day 7/8 / Isles at Flames

Friday, January 11

The Islanders are still in Calgary as the play the Flames tonight.

Here are some notes.

The match-up in net will be Rick DiPietro versus Mikka Kiprusoff. And if you thought Wade Dubielewicz played in so few games, Flames back up Curtis McElhinney has only played in four this season for a total of 131 minutes.


The Calgary media was shocked that Rick would speak to the media on the morning of the game, which is something that he does often if requested ahead of time. Not only were they appreciative, they were very complimentary as well as most goalies in the NHL don’t go anywhere near a mic on the morning of a game. Rick is an All-Star, All-Ways.


According to Wade Dubielewicz, and we don’t have any reason not to believe him, Calgary is actually closer to his Invermere, BC home then Vancouver was. So he’ll have plenty of friends and family at the game tonight. Current total is 44, but we could see that number go up.


Miroslav Satan is a game-time decision after receiving some bumps and bruises after a crushing third period hit in Vancouver. If he can’t go, Ted Nolan said the team will go with seven defensemen with Bryan Berard being inserted back into the lineup.


Flames forward Eric Nystrom – yes, that one – is out for tonight after suffering facial injuries a game ago. According to the Flame’s Mike Keenan, it was a doctor’s decision.


Islanders GM Garth Snow sat down the Fan 960’s Rob Kerr this morning for a radio interview. At around 6:20 PM tonight, fans can log onto their website (click here)
to listen to it. Islanders TV will also have a copy of the interview at a later time as well.


Miles traveled so far: About 4,266

Miles to be traveled tonight: 2,208


Wednesday, January 9, 2008


Wednesday, January 9

We’re in Calgary and again just two hours behind everyone back on the Island. We arrived this afternoon after traveling 657 miles from Vancouver. That brings our total miles traveled so far to about 4,266.

Since there was no practice today there really isn’t anything new to report.

Enjoy the warmer weather… It’s 19 degrees Fahrenheit here.

Mile Traveled today: 657

Miles traveled, so far: About 4,266

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

ROAD TRIP BLOG: Day 5 / Isles at Canucks

Tuesday, January 8

Following an hour and a half flight from Edmonton to Vancouver last night, Ted Nolan canceled the morning skate and kept the team away from the arena.

No decisions have been made on the lineup, so I can’t even guess if any changes will be made.

The team will stay in Vancouver tonight and fly to Calgary tomorrow afternoon. Practice has already been canceled for tomorrow. If there’s one thing I know about Ted it’s that he makes sure his players aren’t overworked and are rested when it counts.

The team will practice in Calgary on Thursday where Wade Dubielewicz and the Flame’s Eric Nystrom will pose for a photo-op with Dubie’s mask. Wade has a picture of Eric’s dad, Bob, scoring his famous 7:11 goal in the 1980 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Miles traveled, so far: 3,609

Monday, January 7, 2008

ROAD TRIP BLOG: Day 4 / Isles at Oilers

Monday, January 7

As a heat-wave hits Edmonton (the temperature is around freezing), the Islanders take on the Oilers tonight. Here are some notes…


The Islanders will use the same lineup tonight with Bryan Berard as the healthy scratch. Former Islanders prospect Robert Nilsson looks to be a healthy scratch for Edmonton tonight. Raffi Torres, another former Islanders prospect, is out and it was announced today that he will undergo season-ending knee surgery.


The goaltending match-up is Rick DiPietro versus Mathieu Garon.


This is Marc-Andre Bergeron’s first trip back to Edmonton since the trade that brought him to the Island last season. Literally, his first time back. He said he didn’t even come back to sell his house over the summer. He said: “It feels a little weird.”


Bergeron jokingly asked an Edmonton writer if he will be booed tonight. The writer said: “Edmonton fans treat home and visiting players alike… They boo everyone!”


It really felt like we were in Toronto or Montreal with the media this morning. I asked an Edmonton journalist this morning how many media members would be here today and he said “a few camera and a handful of writers. Not too many” Well, it was more like ten cameras, ten writers and a bunch of radio guys. Talk about being in a fishbowl. Sorry Ted, MC and Berger!


Miles traveled so far: About 2,836
Miles to be traveled tonight from Edmonton to Vancouver: 773


Islanders' forwards Tim Jackman scores his first goal as an Islander and second of his NHL career Saturday night in Denver. (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)
Click on the image below to see the entire picture.

ISLAND SNAPSHOTS - Click image to see entire picture

Sunday, January 6, 2008


Sunday, January 6

Following a flight from Denver to Edmonton last night/early this morning that took a little over two hours, the team practiced at the Rexall Place at 2:00 pm MST. Ted Nolan felt that after getting into the hotel at 2:30 am last night that the team should have a chance to sleep in. Thanks, coach.

It was an optional skate this morning and not too much media coverage. The two local Edmonton papers were there along with ITV. It looks like there will be a Mike Comrie feature story in the papers tomorrow. Mike had some pretty good and honest answers for them. They also spoke to Marc-Andre Bergeron with this being his first time back to Oiler Country since the Islanders acquired him last season.

With an optional practice this afternoon, the team will hold a mandatory morning skate tomorrow.

Very quiet day in Edmonton today... If anything else happens, I’ll check back later.

Total Miles Traveled: About 2,836

Saturday, January 5, 2008

ROAD TRIP BLOG: Day 2 / Isles at Avs

Saturday, January 5

The Islanders face-off against the Colorado Avalanche, who will be sans Joe Sakic and Captain Colorado Ryan Smyth, tonight at the Pepsi Center in Denver, CO. The Islanders will use the same lineup as they did on Thursday night. Here are some other notes:


The big talk at the morning skate was the altitude – and yes you really do feel it. Ted Nolan said the game plan would be for guys to take quick shifts of no more than 30 seconds. According to the local media, teams don’t feel the altitude’s effects until the second period when the Avs take advantage. Of their 115 goals scored this season, 49 have been netted in the second period. They have scored 27, 37 and 2 in the first period, third period and overtime, respectfully.


Wade Dubielewicz returns to Denver for the first time as a player since his colligate career at Denver University. Dubie won a couple of WCHA goaltending titles here and was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award.


Newsday’s Greg Logan tried tracking down Smyth, but was unable because of Colorado’s team policy of not allowing injured players to talk to the media. Someone should have reminded them that the New York media doesn’t care about his injured ankle. Logan did speak with Nolan and GM Garth Snow and is a resourceful reporter, so he should have something on his blog or in a story later at


(Corrected, thanks to Peter Botte of the NY Daily News... I added an extra "0".. opps.)

Miles traveled yesterday: Roughly 1,800 from Long Island to Denver.

Miles to be traveled tonight/tomorrow morning: Roughly 1,036 from Denver to Edmonton.

Friday, January 4, 2008


As the Islanders embark on a ten-day road trip, I’m going to try my best to blog the comings and goings of our venture out west. I don’t want to promise the world, but I’ll try my best to give some insight of the road trip.

Here we go…


Friday, January 4th

And on the first day… There was a four-hour flight to Denver, Colorado. We left Long Island a little before 2:00 PM EST and landed outside of Denver at 4:00 MT. The plane ride was pretty uneventful as most people either caught up on sleep, watched DVD’s on their laptops, read, listened to music or a combination of those. I was listening to the best of Carrie Underwood and Racal Flatts on my iPod while organizing some photos on my computer.

In case anyone is wondering, management and coaches sit at the front of the plane, followed by the support staff. Behind them is the media, including myself, Islanders radio, Islanders TV and FSN NY. On the first leg of the trip, Deb Kaufman got the window seat to my left while Billy Jaffe and Jiggs McDonald sat across the aisle to my right. The players sit behind us and take up the rest of the plane.

Should be a fun trip.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

MORNING SKATE: Panthers at Isles

Here’s the round-up from today’s morning skate at the Coliseum…

The probable match-up in goal tonight is Rick DiPietro for the Islanders and Craig Anderson for the Panthers. Anderson was one of two Panthers to skate this morning and it didn’t look like it was because the other skater needed someone to shoot at.


DiPietro is thinking about wearing a new set of pads tonight. The weird thing is, is that they are all white.


Other than the addition of DiPietro and Mike Sillinger (and the subtraction of Joey MacDonald and Ben Walter), the Islanders will go with the same lineup tonight.


Panthers’ broadcaster Denis Potvin was seen walking the hallways this morning as well. It looked like he was filming something for FSN Florida by the Islanders Hall of Fame wall mural outside the team’s locker room. Looked like a neat piece and we’ll try to get a copy of it for Islanders TV.


Richard Park will be named the Sharp Player of the Month prior to tonight’s game.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

NYI: Play Pick 'N' Win Today!

In January, win a signed Rick DiPietro jersey and tickets to an upcoming Islanders home game

In the beginning of the season, the New York Islanders introduced a new online game, Pick 'N' Win. The first three months of the season have been a huge success for the game and fans keep coming back for more.

Since the game launched on the morning of October 5th, 2007, over 15,000 people have registered, 102,000 picks have been made and the game was logged onto more than 60,000 times. Three autographed Islanders jerseys and three excellent pairs of tickets have been given away to three winners. And by our estimates, dozens of fans are still in the picture for winning our grand prize - a team-sign jersey, tickets to the 2008-09 Islanders home opener and a tour of the NYI locker room.

But if you're late to the game, don't worry because you can still win the monthly prizes. At the end of every month the Islanders will give away a signed jersey by one of the Islanders along with a pair of tickets to an upcoming game. January’s winner will get a signed jersey by Rick DiPietro!

In case you don't know about the game, contestants answer a series of game-specific, Islanders-related questions for each and every Islanders game. Each month, the questions change to keep the game interesting and everyone on their toes. Everyone competes against each other for a chance to win the exclusive prizes.

So if you haven't already, click here to start playing!

OPINION: Blogger’s Beat

Former Islanders beat writer (NY Post) wrote a great opinion piece on the state of bloggers in last weekend’s edition of Islanders Illustrated. I thought it was too great not to put it on the web so more people can see it. Great stuff, Evan.


By Evan Grossman

Stephen A. Smith generally needs to shut up in general, but the king of all windbags really needs to step off and stop hating on the bloggers.

What’d they ever do to him? What’d they ever do to anyone?

“What’s dangerous about it is that people who are clearly unqualified get to disseminate their piece to the masses,” Smith recently said about bloggers. “Someone with no training should not be allowed to have any kind of format whatsoever to disseminate to the masses to the level which they can. They are not trained. Not experts.”

Smith, clearly an expert on all things having to do with owning a big mouth, goes on to use two-dollar words like “recklessness,” and “sabotaged,” in his soliloquy, but let’s stop right there.

What qualifies someone to write about sports? In the news business, sports are referred to as “the candy store of life,” as compared to hard news. Furthermore, what kind of degree or education or trade school experience does one need to write about something they care about?

None, if you ask me.

Look, bloggers are people, too, and while that may sound like a weak attempt at humor, it’s true. And they have as much right as anyone, whether it’s me or Stephen A., to write about whatever the heck they want. We live in a free-press society and without sounding over-the-top, if Stephen A. or anyone else is looking for a place to live without such liberties, there are plenty of countries you could move. I’m sure there would be a line around the corner of people willing to chip in on a one-way ticket for him to bounce off to China or Cuba or Iran, places where you cannot write about what you believe in.

But enough about Smith and Iran.

Writing a blog is not rocket science. It’s not medicine. You don’t need a certificate on your wall to write one. By definition, a blog is a combination of two words: web and log. In its simplest form, a blog is an Internet journal for public consumption. It’s an electronic conversation, an online diary. There are political blogs, sports blogs, blogs about announcers, blogs about the Islanders, blogs about food and blogs about TV shows. According to research, a new blog is born every second of every day with approximately 106 million registered blogs around the world, and counting.

The first blogs appeared around 1994 and with advances in technology, they’ve become a part of popular culture. Some of you may actually have your own blog. Until I moved over to the TV side of the business, I had one, too, called Gross Misconduct.

This, after almost 10 years in the newspaper business, writing for the official NHL website. . .with no journalism degree!

Nobody seemed to care when I was cutting class to attend Flyers practices back in the day, just like nobody was too outraged when a young Howie Rose would sit up high at the Coliseum and do play-by-play into a portable cassette recorder. During the Virginia Tech shooting, CNN regularly aired amateur video, which was shot by people with no journalism degrees.

Who the heck did I think I was? Who did Howie think he was? Who did those Virginia Tech students think they were???

The fact of the matter is that I know a lot of professional journalists who, just like me, never took a single journalism class in college. We learned on the job. Some of us taught ourselves the craft. Journalistic ethics came with common sense. Speaking from personal experience, I learned what was right and wrong by watching others and following their lead; guys like Tim Panaccio and Les Bowen in Philly, all the way up to trying to keep up with Alan Hahn and Peter Botte on the Isles beat. Imagine that? And I was allowed to disseminate stuff anyway!

When Stephen A. Smith was a guest star on “General Hospital” in February 2007, he did so without a degree in theater. The horror! See where I’m going here?

It seems to me that the people who have the biggest problem with bloggers getting press passes are sportswriters with press passes. People like Stephen A. who seem to think they have some kind of privilege to write about sports that nobody else is allowed. The Islanders allow bloggers to attend games and ask questions. For shame!

Another argument is they may be posting bad scoops and passing it off as breaking news. Guess what? Blogs are not for breaking news. That’s why Logan gets to write a story every day AND a blog, too. They’re for opinions and analysis, and no paper will ever get beat on an opinion. And secondly, no paper should even care what a blogger posts anyway, because, well, it’s a blog for crying out loud! For the same reason that isn’t the place to go for hard-hitting news like the Mitchell Report’s findings.

And what about mistakes? Like the story about someone thought they saw a player on crutches, posted it, and it turned out to have not even been the right guy. Oops! But mistakes aren’t only made by bloggers.

A year ago, I read on the front and back pages of the Daily News that Joe Torre was going to be fired. It wasn’t the first time a newspaper got it wrong, and it certainly wasn’t the last.

Hell, I remember working at the Post in 2000 and guys were running back to the office to collect as many copies of the GORE WINS! edition as they could fit in the trunks of their cars. Newspapers get it wrong sometimes – some get it wrong more than others – but that hasn’t shut down the print media industry. That never prevented them locker room access.

Television guys get it wrong, too, and let’s be honest, if writers have a problem with bloggers not having a master’s degree in sports or English or even common sense, look no further than some of the fools the TV stations send to cover sports events in New York, supposedly the media capital of the world.

Interns with microphones are regularly milling about the Yankee Stadium clubhouse, armed with no experience, a list of dumb questions and widened, star-struck eyes. Oh, look! Alex Rodriguez! Derek Jeter! Who says you have to be an “expert” to write about sports? I knew as much about baseball as I did about cricket when I was spending summers at the yard, and nobody ever found me out.

Well, until they read my articles, that is.

The point of the matter is that just like when the printing press changed journalism forever, the Internet is changing the news and entertainment industry even more. Blogs are here to stay and so are the people who pen them.

And if you don’t like it: tough. Write a blog about it, if it bothers you that much.

Evan Grossman is currently a staff writer at and served as a sports reporter for the New York Post, where he was the Islanders beat writer from 2001-2006.