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Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
I’d like to think I’m going to get a lot accomplished in my few days in Ottawa. From league meetings to making contacts with the national hockey media.. I’m going to have a busy few days. But none of that is important if I don’t have jerseys with the accompanying nameplates with me on Friday night when the Islanders select …. With the fifth overall selection in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.
What am I talking about? I’ll explain.
A few weeks before the draft, I got a list of names from Hockey Operations with potential names of players we might draft in the first round. It’s pretty obvious stuff, especially when you’re drafting fifth overall.
We take those names and make up nameplates (the fabric that has the players name sown onto the jersey material). Each nameplate has Velcro attached to the back so I can throw the nameplate on the jersey when I get the heads up from Garth right before he announces our pick. It should look pretty seamless when Garth selects…
These names and subsequent nameplates are guarded closely. Not so much because I think someone will look at my nondescript duffel bag and steal them, but because at this point I can’t afford to lose them!
Just as I did in 2006 when Kyle Okposo was drafted, I didn’t let these nameplates out of my sight when traveling today. The nameplates and five jerseys sat in a small duffle bag right in front of my seat the entire flight. I’m not willing to take the chance and have it being lost with my luggage.
If there is one thing I do right in Ottawa it is to make sure I can make up the jersey for …. And hand it off to Garth on Friday night for announcement and presentation.
I’ll probably sneak under the draft table to keep it a secret as long as possible when I get the word and I’m going to do my best to put it on straight. (Back in ’06, I almost put Okposo’s nameplate on backwards since his name starts and ends with an “O” and a certain former GM was pushing me under the table to hide it from the TV cameras!)
And as always, I hope the nameplate stays on the jersey!
Monday, June 16, 2008
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
But here’s how #73 read: #73 (Edm to NYI to Edm to Ana to NYI)
The team abbreviations in the parentheses are the previous owners of the selection. Yup, Pick # 73 has been moved four times to be owned five separate times.
Well, here’s the story behind Pick # 73 and how Marc-Andre Bergeron was involved.
The Edmonton Oilers were the original owners of the selection. Back on February 18, 2007, the Islanders acquired the # 73 draft pick and Marc-Andre Bergeron for Denis Grebeshkov.
However, in the summer of 2007, Edmonton wanted to make an offer sheet for Anaheim’s restricted free agent Dustin Penner. If you sign a restricted free agent, the signing team needs to give compensation to the team the player is being signed from. This is all negotiated in the CBA and the compensation is draft picks. But not any old draft picks. They have to be the team’s original draft picks.
So when Edmonton wanted to sign Mr. Penner to an offer sheet, they needed their original third round pick () back. You know, the one traded with Bergeron for Grebeshkov.
So Oilers’ GM Kevin Lowe swung a deal with Islanders GM Garth Snow on July 5, 2007 to acquire their original third round pick # 73 back (along with Allan Rourke) in exchange for a second round pick, which had no consequence on their offer sheet for Penner.
Edmonton signed Penner to an offer sheet and Anaheim declined to match the offer. So, in exchange for Penner, Edmonton had to give up a package of draft selections to Anaheim which included Pick #73.
But the story doesn’t end there.
At the trade deadline this past season, the Islanders traded Bergeron to Anaheim in exchange for Pick #73 on February 26. The Islanders got old #73 back. And it just so happens that Bergeron was traded only yesterday to Minnesota for … you guess it… a third round pick.
Fortunately, I don’t think the Islanders have any involvement with that third round pick.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
A reporter, or now blogger, hears that Team A spoke to Prospect X. And the reporter makes it seem like it is all but a forgone conclusion that Prospect X is going to Team A on draft day. You know, just because a scout from Team A was at a game for Prospect X and might or might not have spoken to him after the game.
In a nutshell, here’s how scouting works for the draft. Teams send scouts all over the world looking at players who are not only draft eligible this year, but in the coming years. So, when Team A’s scout goes to see Prospect X, he’s not only looking at Prospect X, but his teammates as well. But according to the reporter, Prospect X is the only one on Team A's radar. Chances are, the scout was there to look at Prospect X, but he wasn’t the only one to look at. And if you have ever been to a junior game, there is always a scout talking to a coach or a player after the game. It’s how they do their jobs. And it’s no secret.
This happened to the Islanders a few months ago. One of our scouts was at a game which a top-10 player in this year’s draft was playing in. Two days later I got a call from a reporter in that area saying “Hey, I heard the Islanders are looking at so-and-so…, Can I talk to someone about that?”.
Well of course we had a scout looking at him. He’s a top prospect for this year’s draft and we have a pretty high draft pick. So of course we’re going to look at him. And I’m sure the 29 other teams had a scout watch one of his games at some point.
So what am I trying to say here? Just because you read somewhere that the Islanders looked closely at this guy or that guy, just keep in mind that every team looks at as many players as they can and as closely as they can. Scouts try to get as much information as possible about these young kids so they can make educated recommendations come draft day.
Don’t get hyped up because someone is reporting that the Islanders looked at this guy "closely". Like the other teams, our scouts are just doing their job.
So, when draft day comes around, you can ask 10 different people who the Islanders are going to take and you’ll get 10 different answers, but they’ll all say: “I heard a scout for the Islanders looked at him closely. And I think they really like him and might take him at No. 5.”
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Currently, Osgood has 363 regular season victories, a career 2.43 GAA and a .907 save percentage. He now has three Stanley Cups, 59 career playoff wins and a 2.11 GAA in the playoffs with a .914 save percentage. He’s been an All-Star and has won the Jennings Trophy for the lowest GAA in a season.
The basis for comparison is Fuhr, who has 403 career regular season wins and a 3.38 GAA. He picked up another 92 playoff wins and a 2.93 GAA to go along with five Stanley Cups. Throw in a Vezina and a Jennings Trophy and Grant Fuhr definitely had a Hall of Fame career.
So, Ozzie hasn’t matched those numbers yet. But this isn’t the end of his career either. Last January, he signed a three-year contract extension with the Red Wings. Barring injury, that will get him easily past 400 career wins and possibly close to 450 if he averages 29 wins per season over the next three years. And with most of Detroit’s best players still in the prime of their careers and no major salary cap concerns for the near future, there is zero reason to believe Ozzie’s regular season and postseason victory totals won’t continue to increase. So, when it’s all said and done, Chris Osgood might finish his career with 450 regular season wins, another 75 in the postseason, a career GAA of 2.50 and at least three Stanley Cups.
To me, that says Hockey Hall of Fame.
What do you think?
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Also, our good friends at Islander Mania will be holding a tailgate party in the parking lot of the Coliseum before the Draft Party begins inside. For information on that, logon to Islandermania.com.