Dear Corey, my Fellow Blog Boxers and the Entire Islanders Organization,
After much careful thought, I have made the tough decision to resign as an active member of the NYI Blog Box. I haven't been actively writing about the Islanders for some time now as it is and, with my wife and I expecting our first baby in just a few days as well as my constantly increasing responsibilities as the Tampa Bay Lightning correspondent for Hockeybuzz and, oh yeah, a pesky little thing called a "real job", I don't see that trend reversing itself any time soon. On top of all that, I'm actually looking forward to NOT writing about the Isles (or even PLANNING to write about them anyway ...) I'm very excited about taking in the upcoming season from my comfortable perspective as "Average Joe Fan".
That said, I cannot begin to explain to you all how much of an absolute honor and a thrill it was for me to be selected, first of all, and then to kick off the Blog Box project with the sneak peak debut feature on Ruslan Fedotenko that ran a few weeks before things actually launched. Seeing my mug on the front page of the team web site is something that I will never, ever forget.
Though my schedule (and location, of course) only allowed for me to partake in the Blog Box experience live but one time, that too is something that I will remember always. As I'm sure most of you would agree, walking down the corridor into the locker room area for the first time absolutely gave me chills. (My only regret is that I guess those chills ended up freezing up my yapper as well and a notebook full of questions went unasked ... oh well.) A special thank you to B.D. for his guidance that evening and for taking the extra time to help out the Florida guy (who was very, very cold that day ...)
Explaining to this bunch how much I love and have always loved this team is one hell of a difficult task, to say the least, so I can only hope you can take my word for it, since you all already understand that feeling as only a true Islander can. Knowing that, as I do, I'm sure you can also understand my desire to open up my spot in this crew so that someone else might fulfill a dream of theirs by being included. In the end, to me, that's just the right thing to do right now.
Moving forward, I'll be covering the Lightning with full credentials this season as the new owners have been incredibly open-minded, generous and kind with me. The long-term goal remains to turn my passion of covering hockey into my full-time career at some point and, though I'll remain as patient as necessary, I have reason to believe these days that it's not as far-fetched an idea as it once may have been. If you're interested, drop by and give me a read from time to time (and don't be afraid to say hello!) With my professional hat firmly planted on my head, I'll give that club my best effort
But with my heart - as I always have - I'll forever remain an Islander.
As I don't plan on sleeping much come this very Friday when our little boy joins our family, DVRd Isles games, after I've returned from Lightning home games, will be a real late night treat (and a fantastic way for me to teach this kid about OUR favorite hockey team from the get-go!) And, who knows ... maybe someday my boy will have a story of his own like this, still my hands down personal favorite of all the Islanders pieces I've ever written: http://my.hockeybuzz.com/blog.php?user_id=3521&post_id=2536 .
The subject of this email is "Farewell (Kind of ...)" because, while I won't be actively participating in the NYI Blog Box in the immediate future, I'll never be all that far away (electronically, anyway) and I'll always be keeping tabs on all of you.
I plan on posting a farewell blog, of sorts, as I return to "regular fandom", in the coming weeks. If I'm no longer linked from the Blog Box home page at that time, hopefully some of you will still get the chance to give it a read (though the gist of it, I'm sure, is included this very email.)
Thank you for including this outsider as one of "The Originals"! I truly appreciate that more than I can say. I have no problem admitting that writing this was actually very tough for me, though I knew it was something that had to be done. I'm off now to try and wash down the lump in my throat with an ice cold Labatt's!
All the best ... and let's go Islanders!!!!!