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Friday, August 14, 2009

Story of the Week: Tampa Uses Twitter to Break News

At 2:44 PM on Thursday, August 13, the Tampa Bay Lightning took a huge step forward on how NHL teams will be measured on how they use Twitter.

The Lightning’s Twitter team posted (AKA Tweeted) this message: “The Lightning are making a trade today. They'll be getting a player and a draft pick in return. More to come....”

It wasn’t from an anonymous hockey blogger, a fan or even one of their beat writers. It came directly from the team. Instantly, everyone who was flowing them on Twitter knew that Tampa was making a trade. And instantly, followers wanted more info. No doubt, page hits dramatically increased for Tampa’s website.

At 3:31 PM that same day, the Lightning finally broke the news of their trade with this Tweet: “The Lightning have acquired LW Drew Miller and a 3rd rd pick in 2010 from Anaheim in exchange for Evgeny Artyukhin.”

Not the biggest trade in the hockey world. In fact, the impact of his trade might be felt more off the ice and then on it by the way the message was delivered.

At this point, I believe 29 of the 30 NHL teams use Twitter. Until yesterday, the 29 teams used Twitter mostly to deliver promotional/marketing news and website updates. Some teams used Twitter to update their draft board at the draft, but that news was also available on countless other websites and Twitter accounts.

The Lightning not only broke the news of the trade, they teased it to everyone.

It was an excellent way for Tampa to drum up interest in a trade that would hardly make headlines in the middle August. It also increased websites hits and the amount of followers they have on Twitter.

Today, people are talking about the Tampa Bay Lightning acquiring Drew Miller and a 3rd round draft pick not because Drew Miller is the next Wayne Gretzky, but because Drew Miller will become the answer to a trivia question on a potential historic moment for the NHL and Twitter.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Sad to See AFL Go

AFL spokesman: Demise appears 'inevitable'

I got my start in the sports industry with the New York Dragons of the Arena Football League. I saw it as a way to work my way up to a position with the Islanders and for me it worked. Along my journey with the AFL, I made many friends and memories along with way.

The AFL had something good going, but in my estimation their failure was their own fault.

The NFL, NHL, MLB and NBA took decades to grow into the national and continent-wide powerhouses they are now. The AFL wanted to do that in 20 years. They wanted to rush their growth and the league thought of themselves as equals to the big-four North American leagues.

It seemed that when Kurt Warner jumped from the AFL to NFL Super Bowl MVP that the Arena League gained respect. At that moment, the League and its football operations department started to think of themselves as equals to the giant of the National Football League. And from that moment they began to throw away their milk before it spoiled.

Instead of continuing to embrace their small-market success, they jumped ahead of the curve to try to find big-market success. Along the way they gained some notoriety, but in the end bite off more then they could chew. They forgot about what they had in exchange for trying to find something more popular.

The moral of the AFL’s story is that growth takes times. The NFL did not become the NFL overnight and the fall downward comes a lot faster then the climb.

The NHL can learn from the AFL’s failure. There is still plenty of growth ahead for the NHL and they mustn’t rush it. Let success happen and if it takes time, so be it. Rushing to success often leads to failure in the end.

And while we think of the AFL’s demise, ask the Arena League how ESPN helped them? Even ESPN doesn’t bring automatic success.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Thoughts on NYI PB and CB

As I told him in a private e-mail on Wednesday, Chris Botta taught me almost everything I know about PR. He didn’t have to take a chance on a 21-year old kid when filling out his post-lockout PR staff, but he did and I owe him more then I can probably ever repay him and if for nothing else then for the memories I made in my time with the team.

It’s sad to see Islanders Point Blank leaving in its current form. As an employee of the team, it was a great place to check out what Chris wrote about because 1) It was an opinion of a fan who cares very much about the team and 2) It was an opinion of someone who I deeply respect. And as a fan after my time with the team, well, those same reasons apply.

I hope one day I can work with Chris again because he is a great person to work with and I’m sure there is more I can learn from him. As fans of his blog, we learned a lot too. And not just about the team, because if you read close enough, you could really get a huge insight on how and why hockey teams make the decisions they do.

To me, Islanders Point Blank wasn’t just about the news that was broken, but how it captured the hockey spirit.

There’s more I can talk about, but those thoughts will have to remain between the two of us. Best of luck to Chris in his next step.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Found on Twitter: Miro to Return to LI?

From NHL agent Allan Walsh (@Walsha) on Twitter: "" I can confirm we are currently in negotiations with the NYI on a contract for Miro Satan. ""

That confirms the Islanders are looking for another scoring winger. While I love Miro, this might not be the best on-ice fit. Miro has had his strugles the past few years, although he did have a solid playoffs.

What I'm leery about is that Miro would in essence be coming home to finish his career. His family loves Long Island and I believe his still owns the house he built while on the Island. He and his family only moved into it in the final year of his contract.

To quote Ted Nolan, Miro is a pro's pro and one of the finest gentleman in the NHL. He was one of the nicest and easiest guys to work with in my time with the Islanders.

It would be interesting if this comes through. It could mean one of the young kids would have to come out of the projected top-12 line-up.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Which Islanders Would You Like to Tweet on Twiiter?

The Washington Capitals’ Alexander Ovechkin does it. Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban does it too.

Patrik Elias, The New York Rangers, Martin Havlat, Kelly Hrudey, Beat Writers (example of two: Tarik El-Bashir, Anthony SanFilippo) and even Stan Fischler use Twitter.

Countless teams across the four major North American sports league do it.

From my estimates, the Washington Capitals do it best in the sporting-sphere. Aside from Ovechkin, they have three members of their PR staff Tweeting individually about the Caps, they also have a Twitter account for their media staff as a whole. That’s separate from their website’s Twitter account. And both their two major beat writers Tweet too. Maybe it’s borderline excessive, but if you’re a Caps fan, you can get all of the Twitter updates you can handle. Oh, Ted Leonsis -- The Caps’ owner -- Tweets as well.

To my knowledge, the Islanders are not currently on Twitter. There was a brief experiment with Bruno Gervais and Brendan Witt in 2007-08, but it was short lived.

So, which Islanders would you follow on Twitter?

I personally would love to read Garth Snow’s quick wit, but I doubt he would be up for it (but I would loved to be proved wrong!)

More realistically, I wouldn’t mind seeing team president Chris Dey Tweet about the plethora of off-ice activities of the team. Maybe John Tavares can bring us through the trials and tribulations of his rookie season. 

It would be cool to get a scout to Tweet through his journeys, but that would result in a breach of competitive edge. Understandable.

If I realized what a great outreach tool Twitter was last season, I would have tried to Tweet the team’s travel experiences (editor’s note: I was responsible for the on-site travel coordination of the Islanders last season).

Twitter can be tied into a team’s website, beefing up the quantity and timeliness of news updates. The Thrashers have their website coordinator Ben Wright not only take care of their website and write a blog, but quickly throw updates about the team and the website on his Twitter account.

A lot of teams are using their website departments to promote their website through Twitter. It’s easy to see when they Tweet about a new story on their website or to add extra content. And providing extra editorial content is becoming increasingly important as team’s website are becoming more of a marketing tool as oppose to a means to provide editorial content. Which is in their right.

So back to the original premise, which Islanders would you like to start using Twitter and how would you like the team to use it?

Comment Below.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

No Airline Miles on Chartered Flights

After the Islanders flew commercial in the 1999-00 season, the NHL made it a rule that teams must fly charter. I heard the Zdeno Chara story of trying to switch into the emergency row seats to stretch his legs more then once. In fact, the Islanders were one of the tallest teams in NHL history that year. Not a good time to scrunch on Southwest.

Ontheforecheck.com put together some pretty interesting information on how many approximate miles each team in the NHL will travel this year, how many back-to-back sets of game they’ll have and compared both to 2008-09.

According to the website, the Islanders will travel approximately 31,550 miles this season, which will be about 3,424 additional miles from last year. It’s unclear whether they include the miles they’ll spend on the bus driving to New York City, Newark and Philadelphia or from Anaheim to LA in March. Those miles are always a little harder on the joints.

Chartered flights can get cozy, but when you’re spending that much time in the air and hardly ever getting home before 2 AM, it becomes more daunting.

But don’t get me wrong, some of the best memories I have from working with the Islanders was flying on that plane and I’ll miss the camaraderie that went along with it. On one of our many flights last season, broadcaster Howie Rose told me try a Pizza joint in the Great Neck (where he used to live and where I currently live). Coincidently, I did tonight and it was great.

Travel can be extremely tough in the NHL as the season goes on, but it’s also a lot of fun with the right people and the right attitude.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

NBC Good for NHL, But…

NHL, NBC extension

It’s really good for the NHL to have a presence on NBC. Period.

Sports as a whole are slowly going away from broadcast TV stations and moving on to cable. Cable shouldn’t give you the same bad vibe as it would 10 years ago. Every day, more people are watching brand new, highly rated shows on cable TV.

But that said, anytime you can be on broadcast TV, it’s better. Broadcast TV offers up a more broad audience. The hit cable TV shows Jon and Kate Plus Eight and Cake Boss work great on TCL, but wouldn’t on NBC or CBS.

I think some of the negative vibes the NHL on NBC gets is because the Peacock ignores hockey. Running promos during golf, bull riding and poker events are one thing, but I think we can count on one hand how times a player or team official appeared on Today (NBC’s morning show), one of the Late Night shows, or even one of their hit TV shows (I know, insert joke here).

I know… There have been some NHL appearances on NBC’s Monday through Friday shows, but not enough to make a significant impact.

I’m glad to see NBC and the NHL have agreed to two more years. But let’s see if NBC can boost the cross-promotional tools that are at their disposal. That will really help ratings and be great for the NHL.

Giving the Devil Its Due

For years the New Jersey Devils were critized by thier fans, the media and other teams in the NHL when "fans" weren't one or two on their priotiy list. "Win at any cost" was one through ten.

And with three Stanley Cups in nine years, you really couldn't blame them. But even as a perrenial powerhouse and winner, fans didn't flock to the Devils because of it.

But over the last few years, that has changed.

Under the leadership of Chairman and Managing Partner Jeff Vanderbeek, the Devils have become a more fan-friendly operation. The Prudential Center is a great arena, one which is continuously improving. It's also a great place to watch a hockey game from on-ice action to entertainment in the stands.

I was perusing their website today and I found this article. In case you didn't make the jump to the article, it was about two of their prospects getting into a fight at their prospect camp. Sometime when this happens, teams will try to act like it didn't happen -- especially if it happened without the media present (I don't know if that was or was not the case with the Devils fight today).

But the article on their website is an example that a franchise who once seemed isolated with thier fan base is becoming much more transparent with them. And if the Devils can combine winning the Stanley Cup with being fan-friendly, then they'll become a real ellite team in the NHL.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Early Predicitions Are In via ESPN

ESPN.com's (and also of the Denver Post) Terry Frei put together some early Eastern Conference predictions for the 2009-10 NHL season.

He ranked the Islanders at 14 (of 15) in the East. As I'm sure you remember, most publications had the Islanders in dead last last season. The ones that did not, didn't have them higher then 13. I can't find Terry's predictions for last season in his ESPN archieves.

I personally think it's still way early in the summer to offer predicitions. Terry's Western Conference picks were posted a week ago on July 7. Team's are still biulding thier roster via trades and free agent signings, so I'm interested to see if there will be a revised list later in the off-season -- say, maybe September.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

What You Learn on Twitter

Again, Twitter is an amazing tool for diseminating information.

I follow NHL supper agent Allan Walsh, who represents former Islander Miroslav Satan. This is what Mr. Walsh Tweeted 8:45 PM EST:

""" Just received word that client Miro Satan and wife had a beautiful baby girl a few hours ago. Mother and baby Victoria doing well. """

Brooks is Always a Must-Read

Larry Brooks of the New York Post can be a nightmare for a PR staff because he always shoots from the hip and writes what he thinks. Sometimes that can create headaches when his weekly Sunday Slapshots columns hits the web and newsstands.

I always enjoyed – well, still do – reading his stories and columns. His column today is an excellent example of it.

In a little over 800 words, he spoke about four of the five Atlantic Division teams, analyzed the potential disaster in Chicago and tackled a major point about his beat team – the NY Rangers.

Brooks can be blunt, informative (definitely has the most hokey contacts in the East and this side of the Border) and a lot of fun to read. Unless you’re a PR person for a team in his sights.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Twitter Follow Up

The one thing I failed to mention about Twitter is that there are imposters on there.

Example: See this item from Bob McKenzie of TSN.

While there are ligit Twitter pages out there from some very well know people (Darren Dreger or Alyssa Milano), just be careful who you're following.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Hillen/Lawson Resigned?

The NHL put out their annual list of restricted and unrestricted free agents (including those who were not qualified).

Since Jack Hillen and Nathan Lawson are not on any lists, its safe to say they have re-signed.

Twitter and Follow the Action

I plan on going into more detail about how awesome Twitter is. It was great following the NHL Draft on it and it’s great following NHL Free Agency on it.  You get updates from multiple sources all in one place. Here are some quick and easy steps to get going.

1) Go to: www.twitter.com.

2) Sign up for an account (real easy a quick). Don’t get caught up setting up your tweeting page.

3) Go to my Twitter page and click on who I’m following. Scroll through and see who interests you. When you find someone, click on their page and then click the follow button.

4) Once you’ve picked who you want to follow, go back to twitter.com (make sure you’re still signed in) and you’ll get all your updates there.

Send me an e-mail if you need help.

Gustavsson Playing Himself Out of $ ?

European hotshot goalie Jonas Gustavsson is the late-blooming, undrafted 21-year old unrestricted free agent that has more then a few NHL teams buzzing about his (free) potential.

Teams have also been waiting two months for the “Monster” to pick his NHL destination. A big reason for his delay is due to the passing of his mother last month. But Gustavsson is delaying his decision again.

Today, when free agency in the NHL opens, teams tend to panic. Gustavsson has reportedly narrowed his list to four teams: Colorado, Dallas, San Jose and Toronto.

Chances are that Gustavsson will get the max rookie cap number when he signs, but if two or even three teams give up waiting and sign one of the other free agent goalies on the market, Gustavsson might find himself with an offer for less then the max. It’s possible. Or at the very least, he might be playing himself out of a better shot at making an NHL club out of training camp if one of the four finalists sign a FA goalie.

If I were Gustavsson, I would choose where to play before 12:00 PM EST today. He can’t afford to wait.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Drew Rosenhaus & the Cats?

I’ve never liked super agent Drew Rosenhaus before today. He always annoyed me. Next Question!

But that changed today when I was alerted about this story via Puck Daddy’s Tweet.

The Panthers are in a tough spot. They’re not in a traditional hockey market and the odds are stacked against them to turn Sunrise, FL into one. That’s another problem they have. Their fairly new and beautiful arena is located a ways away from Miami and the crowds just don’t have a reason to flock to the area.

But I’ll give them props for thinking outside the box. A guy like Rosenhaus is hard to ignore and he’ll make people at least hear what he’s going to say in support of the Panthers.

Rosenhaus calls himself “A longtime Panthers fan and a person who believes in giving sports fans the value and the atmosphere they deserve.”  I have some reservations about believing that.

As an agent and a hockey fan, I would like to think he would have at least one hockey player as a client. I know a large hockey contract can be a fraction of what other athletes make, but I would think he would at least have one.

The other part of his quote, if true, would contradict representing high-talent, low-class players and demanding outrageous contracts for them, which in turn drives up ticket prices in the first place.

But that’s all debatable.

I’ll give credit to the Panthers for an innovative idea and am interested in how this plays out. For the Panthers sake, I hope Rosenhaus doesn’t embarrass them. Next Question!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Draft Observations – Part 2

The Goalie Odds

The Islanders drafted two goalies early on Saturday morning with Mikko Koskinen at # 31 in the second round and Anders Nilsson at # 62 in the third round. Add Stefan Ridderwall, a sixth rounder in 2006, and Kevin Poulin, drafted in the fifth round in 2008, the Islanders most likely have a starting or back-up goaltender of the future in their system.

Why am I so sure about that? Because teams are just as likely to find an NHL goaltender in the first or second round of the draft as they are in rounds three or four or five, six or seven.  Most goalies do bust before they get signed by their draft team, but by playing their odds over the last four draft, the Islanders have put themselves in good position to beat the odds.

Look at the 2001 draft:
- The Islanders drafted Rick DiPietro with the first overall pick. For better or for worse, he started an NHL All-Star Game and was the No. 1 goalie on the US Olympic team.

- The Calgary Flames drafted Brent Krahn ninth overall that year. He has played in one NHL game.

- Ilya Bryzgalov was drafted by Anaheim in the second round, 44th overall. Mathieu Chouinard was taken with the very next pick by Ottawa. That’s 189 NHL games vs. 1 NHL game, respectively.

- Peter Hamerlik (Pittsburgh, third round), Jean-Francois Racine (Toronto, third round), Stefan Liv (Detroit, fourth round) and a dozen more goalies were taken before the NY Rangers took Henrik Lundqvist in the seventh round, 205th overall.


All four Islanders prospect goalies I spoke about above could turn into busts. But with a wide selection of goalies, chances are one of them will make it. And with three of them European prospects, the Islanders will hold onto their rights for a long time unless a transfer agreement gets ratified by the IIHF.

Advantage: Islanders.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Draft Observations – Part 1

The reason why I didn’t comment on the this year’s draft before it began or during is two fold: 1) I had no idea what was going to happen and 2) If I guessed right, I didn’t want to be accused of actually knowing and spilling the pot. Bu it’s over now, so here we go.

Jordan Nolan, son of former Islanders head coach Ted Nolan, was finally drafted today by the Los Angeles Kings in the seventh round, 186th overall. This was Jordan’s third and final year of being draft eligible.

In 2007, Jordan’s first year of eligibility, father Ted told me he would be a mid-round selection. Unfortunately for the Nolan family, he went undrafted.

Last year, Ted told me he thought he would be a late round pick. He was a year off.

But this might be a good sign for the Nolan family as Jordan is 20 years old and teams do not usually draft 20-year olds if they do not intend to sign them sooner rather then later. This is somewhat reminiscent of when the Islanders drafted Chris Campoli in 2004 in the later rounds and had him playing in the AHL a few months later. Ditto for Steve Regier that year.

Actually, both Chris and Jordan both went undrafted in their first two years of eligibility, so you never know what can happen. 

Congratulation to the Nolan family.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Other Players from the ’03 Draft

Looking at the Islanders draft picks from the 2003 Draft and you can think to yourself what could have been. Jeremy Colliton (2nd round , 58th overall) still has potential to be an NHLer (even though he’s now in Europe) and the team struck gold with Bruno Gervais in the sixth round. But looking at where the team picked and who was picked right after, you can’t help but wonder what-if.

Aside from the Nilsson-Bernier-Parise slide in the first round, there are three more occurrences very similar later in the draft.

In the second round, the Islanders took a flyer on a Russian named Dmitri Chernykh at 48. Nashville picked Shea Weber at 49.

In the seventh round, the Islanders drafted Denis Rehak at 212. At 214 Edmonton grabbed Kyle Brodziak.

In the eighth round, the Islanders selected Cody Blanshan at 238. Atlanta took YoungStar Tobias Enstrom at 239.

Any draft could be labeled as missed opportunities for almost any team. If a team drafts two players that make a significant impact per draft, they did well. But the 2003 draft just makes you scratch your head. Probably just bad luck.

Luckily for the Islanders, it seems like they’ve righted their drafting ship in recent years, a big credit to Assistant GM Ryan Jankowski.  

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

TSN.ca: Feuding Owners in Tampa

TSN.ca Headline: FEUDING LIGHTNING OWNERS MEET WITH COMMISSIONER BETTMAN

For the past few seasons, it doesn't seem like the Lightning can get it together. Steven Stamkos is a wonderful kid and in the few times I met him, you get the feeling that you want to biuld a franchise around him. But last year they basically hyjaked his rookie season with over-marketing and over-hyping him. The team also let go of a lot good and long-time staffers like PR man and my colleague Jay Preble, but have not replaced them with adequate replacements.

There is no doubt the lockout hurt this franchise more than any other.

The Lightning have a really good arena, a pretty good area surrounding the arena and a fan base that will support the team. Hopefully this ownership group can right the ship after this meeting with the Commissioner and find a way to make it work.

If the team has good leadship from above, then Tampa Bay will become a strong team on the ice again.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

E5: Mets Targeting Ryan Smyth?

One of my frequent stops in the blogosphere is Metsblog.com. It’s a great blog for Mets fans like myself and I would recommend it for anyone.

This morning, Metsblog creator Matthew Cerrone blogged that Jon Heyman of SI.com and Buster Olney of ESPN.com wrote that the injury-riddled Mets can add payroll to their roster to help improve their chances of winning this season. Example: Trade for a high-end talent that will probably cost prospects.

Cerrone then went on to comment on the trade target possibilities that could be on the Mets radar. To sum it quickly, the Mets would have to give high-end prospects for a player who could only be on their roster for just a few months and/or could create a backlog on the roster for the young, up-and-coming players when the veteran, injured players come back.

The reason I bring up this topic and the Mets on a hockey blog is to comment on the notion if giving up prospects is for a short-term solution is worth it.

I guess it all depends on what the status of the franchise in question is. Is a team currently in the middle of a rebuild or towards the end of it -- probably still a season away from the end of the tunnel -- but wants a jump start? Is the team heavily comprised of veterans and have a win-now mentality? Is this a must-win season for the team because of aging stars, stars with contracts running out or a GM and/or coach on the hot-seat?

A lot goes into the decision on whether to mortgage the future with prospects for a veteran. It doesn’t always work either. Some time it does.

The 2009 Stanley Cup Champions Pittsburgh Penguins had to give up one of their top prospects in Eric Tangradi to acquire Chris Kunitz from Anaheim. For the production on and off the ice they got from Bill Guerin, they made it up with a steal in that trade (a rare win-win for both teams).

On the other side, Calgary had to give up a defenseman with some promise in Ryan Wilson plus a valuable second round pick for Jordan Leopold who is slated for free agency this summer. That trade did not work out well for the Flames.

Trading away prospects is a risky business.

And while I was looking over what I wrote above, Cerrone blogged again quoting another Heyman report that a Mets official said they will not mortgage their future for a short-term solution. Not that I doubt Heyman, but it’s always easier for a team to say that now when the trade deadline is still more then a month away.

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P.s. I'm working on setting up a comments section.
Edit (3:22 PM) If you have any suggestions, please e-mail me at CWittBlog@gmail.com. Thanks!

Monday, June 22, 2009

’03 Draft Wasn’t Just About One Player

The 2003 NHL Entry Draft will always be remembered among Islanders fans as the draft the team passed up Zach Parise for Robert Nilsson. The first round of that draft might go down as one of the best ever. Corey Perry was drafted at 28, Mike Richards at 24. Anaheim, then Mightier, probably scored the best value picks with Ryan Getzlaf at 19 and then getting Perry nine selections better. Only one player has not played in the NHL from the first round of that draft -- Hugh Jessiman who was picked by the New York Rangers at 12.

To say the Islanders missed because they didn’t grab Parise isn’t wrong, but it’s not 100 percent correct either. The team missed back then because Steve Bernier was drafted right after Nilsson (and right before Parise), because of Getzlaf, Brent Burns (20th), Ryan Kesler (23rd), Richards, Perry and Patrick Eaves (29th) all went after Nilsson.  It was hard to miss in that round and unless Nilsson (a fine person off the ice) finds his desire to play in the NHL for an entire season, the Islanders did unfortunately missed out -- but not just because of Zach Parise.

Islanders fans gravitate toward Parise because his father J.P. once played for the team. It would have been a nice story to go along with a solid selection, but that cannot factor in to a team’s decision on a draft pick. It can’t even be a tie-breaker. Every team needs to draft the player they feel is the best available. Unfortunately, the team made a mistake. It’s not the first time that’s happened to a team – Hello Ryan Leaf and San Diego Chargers.

The Islanders are currently in a rebuilding phase. Everyone is in agreement that it was necessary for the franchise to resurrect itself. The fan support was tremendous this season, a year where the team finished dead last in the league. To say the fan base was onboard with the rebuild would be an understatement.

But when a team rebuilds, it must move on from previous mistakes. The San Diego Chargers aren’t dwelling on Fred Taylor or Randy Moss anymore – Just two guys they passed up when they selected Leafs and both have had NFL Hall of Fame careers. The Chargers rebuilt, got their new quarterback, fixed their mistake and have been a successful franchise.

While it hurts to see Zach Parise succeed only because he could have been Islanders and isn’t, it’s time for everyone – myself included – to move on.

You can’t move forward with the rebuild until the past has been let go of.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Colliton to Sweeden

Credit to Mike Fornabaio of the Conn. Post for finding this.

Jeremy Colliton, one of the Islanders' three 2003 second round draft selections but the only one to ever be signed by the Islanders, is leaving North America to play for Rogel in Sweden -- The same organization Kenny Jonsson left the Islanders for a few years ago.

(More on the the 2003 draft coming soon)

According to the Google translation, it's a one-year deal. I'm not sure if the Islanders will retain Colliton's rights or not.

Jeremy is one of the nicest guys you'll meet. He's very cerebral and quiet, yet was a great leader on and off the ice for the Sound Tigers over the last few years. The best of luck to him.

Billy G. = Winner

In the year and a half I worked with Bill Guerin, we didn’t always see eye-to-eye, but more than 95% of the time we did. He’ll always be one of players that I’ll look back to and remember him for teaching me a few things about the hockey community.

I’ll also remember Billy G. as a winner. Looking back, that other 5% that I spoke of before probably had to do with winning or lack thereof at that particular moment.

Billy would take every loss harder than most others and it would take him a little bit longer to get over one. Maybe a winner shouldn’t be judge on victories, but how he handles losing. And how Billy dealt with losing, showed what type a winner he is.

I have zero doubt that the Penguins would not have won the Cup if it were not for the Islanders’ former captain. The same could be said about Dan Bylsma and dozen other Penguins. But I’m positive Billy taught that team how to win and maybe even more importantly, what losing really means.

If you had asked me in December if this was Billy’s last season, I would have guessed yes. And I was surprised when he told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he plans on playing next season. Who knows, this could all change.

But what I do know is that Bill Guerin in a winner on and off the ice. He did so in a small way with helping me (and I wasn't the only one like this) and he did so in a big way helping the Penguins.

Even if Billy doesn’t retire this summer, plays more hockey and doesn’t win another Cup before he hangs up his skates, he’ll go out a winner no matter how or when he decides to leave the game… whatever the circumstances are when he chooses to do so.

Photo courtesy of Pittsburgh Penguins

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

So, What's New?

So, it’s been almost a month since I was let go by the Islanders and I’ve been doing a lot thinking over the past few weeks.

But first things first, I would like to thank Greg Logan for his blog entry. It was very touching and personally meant a lot to my family and myself.

Second on the agenda: Part of my lost in thought moments over the past few weeks is what I was going to do with my blog. I’ve always enjoyed writing. I started with the Islanders as an intern writing for the team’s website and publications. When I moved over to Public Relations, I didn’t have the opportunity to do the free-form writing I was doing previously. When I started this blog, I was able to start writing again, but was still limited by my position with the team.

But now, with most of those restrictions and strings no longer attached, I’m going to give it a shot. I don’t know the ultimate direction that I’ll take or how long I’ll write for. I have some pieces that I wrote when I was still working for the team, but never published. I’ll throw those on and go from there.

What I won’t be doing right now is trying to break any news and trying to scoop anyone or anything. I’m just going to take the opportunity to write and comment on a few things around the League that I wasn’t sure if I could before.

So, we’ll see where this goes and see what happens.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Logan's Blog: Where do Tavares, Hedman, Duchene fit?

Greg Logan updated his blog today discussing his projections on the 2009-10 roster and where the Islanders 2009 first round draft might fit it.

Click here to read it.

Discuss this post at IslanderMania.com

5/20 News Articles

As part of my job as the Media Relations Manager of the team, I put together a list of Islanders/Lighthouse/NHL articles from around the Internet. By the time you reach this blog, I'm sure you've have already seen the Islanders and Lighthouse articles, but in case you haven't, you'll be able to find them here in the mornings. The NHL articles will be a collection from around the League which has national or continental importance.

ISLANDERS
:

NHL:
Montreal Gazette: Russian coachoff Habs' list

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

An Important Day in NYI History

In 1975: Ed Westfall presents Philadelphia icon Kate Smith with a bouquet of roses before her performance of “God Bless America,” but the Flyers go on to win Game Seven, 4-1, and eliminate the Islanders in the Stanley Cup Semifinals. Al Arbour salutes his team’s maturity by saying, “If I called a practice next week, every one of them would show up.”

In 1993: David Volek scores at 5:16 of overtime as the Islanders stun the Pittsburgh Penguins, who were the two-time defending Stanley Cup Champions, four games to three in the Patrick Division Final.

Discuss this post at IslanderMania.com

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Potvin Dropped by Panthers

Islanders Hall of Fame Defenseman Denis Potvin has been dropped as the TV Analyst of the Florida Panthers.

The Miami Herald has the story here.

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Make It Seven?

Makeitseven.ca is the website that has stirred the pot in hockey circles in the last 24 hours as Jim Balsillie tries to hijack the Phoenix Coyotes.

How this rollercoster ride will stop is anyone's guess. My feeling is the NHL will eventually win, the Coyotes will stay where they are and that they'll be a successful team in the playoffs next season. But who really knows...

What I do know is that this little thing called the Internet will make it an enjoyable ride for those on the outside.

TSN.ca, AZCentral.com and any Toronto-based newspaper (Globe and Mail, TO Sun and TO Star) will be the places you'll want to check freqentuly for story updates.

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

#19

This Date in New York Islanders History -- 1984: The Islanders complete their record-setting 19th consecutive playoff series triumph with a 4-1 victory against the Montreal Canadiens, winning the Wales Conference Finals, four games to two.

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Thursday, April 30, 2009

NEWS FLASH: AZ Republic Reports NHL in Control of 'Yotes

A report out of Arizona cites that Glendale City Manager Ed Beasley claims the NHL is now in control of the Phoenix Coyotes.

Click here to read the story from the Arizona Republic.

If you think the Islanders lease with the Nassau Coliseum is bad -- and it's horrible -- the Coyotes might have it worse in some regards. They're in a gorgeous new building with a great surrounding area, but they owe the city a lot of money just to play there.

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Friday, April 24, 2009

April 24, 2002 -- Shawn Bates

Today, seven years ago, the Islanders were enthralled in the playoff series with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

And Shawn Bates scores on a penalty shot against Curtis Joseph in a Game 4 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Nassau Coliseum. He became the second American-born player, and 13th overall, to score on a penalty shot in the playoffs and the first Islander to do so. The Islanders’ win evens the series at 2-2.

If Bates didn't score on that penalty shot, would that series still have as much meaning or be remembered so fondly?



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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Aucoin Recalls '02 Playoffs

In Ian Busby's story in the Calgary Sun, Adrian Aucoin recalled the 2002 playoff series between the Islanders and Maple Leafs.

There have not been too many playoff series like that one recently, in terms of physicality, scoring and the teams down right hating each other. And you still can't meet an Islanders fan who doesn't cringe when they hear the name Darcy Tucker.

And by the way, Aucoin was just as important to the revival of the Islanders back then as Michael Peca and Alexei Yashin and sometimes that is forgotten.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

All 82

I accomplished a personal achievement this season. Traveling with the team, it was always a goal of mine to attend all 82 regular season games. In years past, there was always something that got in the way. It was either staying home and preparing for our home opener the next day, personal conflicts or even a few New York Dragons games.

But this year I made it and while some parts of this season were more challenging then others, I’ll remember being with the team every step of the way.

When taking our seven pre-season games into account, I attended 89 Islanders games this season. Two more Bridgeport playoff games at the Coliseum and at least one more Sound Tigers game tomorrow night at the Arena at Harbor Yard.

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Weight on XM Today

Doug Weight will be on XM's NHL Live today at 12:30 PM.

He's actually doing a light media blitz at the NHL's New York City office. Doug will also be on NHL.com's Cisco All-Access Pre-Game Show with Rob Simpson and Heidi Androl amongst other things.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

It's Official: Streit to World Championships

Switzerland just got their NHL All-Star defenseman for the World Championships.

Mark Streit has just confirmed that he is headed to Switzerland for the 2009 World Championships, which are taking place in his home country.

It was reported last week that there was some doubt whether or not Mark would play for the Swiss team because of the groin strain he missed a few games with. But all has been checked out and Mark was given to the green light to play.

About one to three other Islanders could also be selected to play in the World Championships. Countries should be announcing their full rosters some time this week.

As confirmed last week, Islanders head coach Scott Gordon will be an assistant coach for the USA.

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Just 2 Years Ago Today

Already receiving help from other teams, the Islanders enter their regular-season finale needing a victory against New Jersey to qualify for the playoffs. They do, winning 3-2 in the shootout after a memorable pokecheck from goaltender Wade Dubielewicz clinches the game.

I was back by the locker room watching the last moments unfold at the Meadowlands with Deb (going then by) Kaufman, Chris Simon and then trainer Graham Black.

I don't know who screamed louder after the pokecheck, Deb or Chris Simon.

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Monday, April 6, 2009

Jiggs Recalled on an Emergency Basis

Howie Rose will be on NY Mets duty this week and Islanders fans will have the pleasure of (Hockey Hall of Famer and all around great guy) Jiggs McDonald partnering up with Billy Jaffe in the TV booth for the next three games.

The original plan was to have Howie call the Mets' season opener in Cincinnati today for WFAN 660 AM and then have him fly to Carolina on Tuesday for the Islanders game on MSG-Plus (it's an off-day in the Mets-Reds series). He was then supposed to fly back to Cincinnati for the remainder of the series. Jiggs was prevously scheduled to call the games for MSG at Pittsburgh and home versus Philadelphia. Howie would then rejoin the telecast for the season finale.

However, heavy rain in the forecast puts today's Mets-Reds game in doubt. If and when the game gets rained out, Howie would have to stay in Cincinnati to call the make-up game tomorrow. Instead of playing it by ear, MSG made the call yesterday to let Howie stay in Cincinnati regardless tomorrow and fly Jiggs in a game early.

Howie will rejoin Billy in booth on Sunday versus Boston.

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Friday, April 3, 2009

Okposo Picks UNC

As can be read here on SI.com, Islanders rookie Kyle Okposo has picked UNC to win it all in the NCAA's.

Okposo: "I'm going with North Carolina. They're my boys and I should have never doubted them."

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And as you can see here on Newsday.com, Radek Martinek beat out John Maine, Okposo and Funny Cide amongst others to win Newsday's Bracket Challenge. Okposo only beating out a horse is something that needs to be looked into.

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US Olympic (Mens) Hockey Coach

Edit (11:45 AM): And then there was this scoop from Pierre Lebrun over at ESPN.com. Looks like Ron Wilson will be the guy. GM/Coach combo of a Canadian NHL team coaching the Americans in Canada (Vancouver) for the Olympics.

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The 2010 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Head Coach will be exclusively unveiled at USAHockey.com on Monday, April 6, 2009, at 9 a.m. ET.

Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke is the GM of the 2010 team that will play in Vancouver. Dave Ogrean (executive director) and Jim Johannson (assistant executive director for hockey operations) are also in on the decision.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Danis on XM Thursday Morning

Islanders goaltender Yann Danis is scheduled to be a guest on XM Radio's Hockey This Morning with Shawn Lavigne at 9:05 AM tomorrow (Thursday) morning.

Discuss this post at IslanderMania.com

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Ice Down

With that Circus that is Britney Spears in town last night, the Coliseum was only able to start the transformation into hockey mode today.

The dashers and glass are up, but the ice is currently being laid down. It’s a full 24-hour process. At 5:15 PM they are finishing painting the center ice logo. They still have to paint the in-ice sponsor logos. That will probably take 90 minutes to 2 hours. After that, it’s layer upon layer of ice, all of which has to completely freeze before the next goes on top.

It always amazes me how bright and sharp the blue and orange paint looks when it’s fresh on the ice. It obviously just dulled with the ice layers that are put on top.

The Coliseum will not have the ice ready for the Islanders tomorrow at 10:30 AM for their morning skate which will have to be held at Islanders Iceworks. However, it will apparently be ready for the Minnesota Wild's (probably optional or non-existent) morning skate at 11:30 AM.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Draft Lottery News

Just as a general FYI: The NHL Lottery Draft Drawing has been tentatively scheduled to take place on Tuesday, April 14.

I'll assume it will take place in Toronto again and I'll hope Versus and TSN will televise it again this year.

Discuss this post at IslanderMania.com

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Cel-le-brate good time, EH?

So about half the hockey world is up in arms about Alexander Ovechkin's celebration after scoring his 50th goal of the season. The other half – me included – loved it.

What’s so bad about having a little fun on the ice?

AO didn’t taunt anyone in their face. He didn’t hit anyone from behind. He didn’t deliver an elbow to the head of another player. He didn’t rip the helmet off someone in a fight. He didn’t get caught (or take, at least to our limited knowledge) steroids. He didn’t kneecap an old lady walking her cat in the park.

He celebrated a major milestone. He has fun on the ice. Fans in turn have fun watching him play and more importantly, score goals.

Worst of all, he drew some major attention for the NHL. Something our league can’t get enough of.

Everyone needs to back-off Alexander Ovechkin. Is he getting a little cocky? Looks like it from the outside, but he’s the best player in the league right now.

All I know is that the NHL could use a few more Alexander Ovechkin's to promote our great game.

P.s.: If he played for Toronto, I’m sure this would all be different…

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Colin Campbell on XM/Sirus with Bettman

Colin Campbell, NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations will be the guest on today’s edition of NHL Hour With Commissioner Gary Bettman on SIRIUS XM Radio.

The show encourages fans to submit questions via phone and e-mail. To submit questions to NHL Hour call 1-877-645-6696 or e-mail nhlhour@nhl.com.

Campbell will join Commissioner Bettman to review the issues that were discussed during the NHL General Managers meetings this week. … BUT… I’m banking on one adventurous Islanders fan to get through and ask about all things Pock/Mottau/Witt.

NHL Hour with Commissioner Gary Bettman broadcasts live on Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. ET on NHL Home Ice (XM Channel 204 and on SIRIUS Channel 208 as part of the “Best of XM” programming package) and NHL.com. The show will re-air on SIRIUS XM Radio, with archived shows available for download via podcast on NHL.com.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

1,000 Games and Counting…

Tonight when the Islanders faceoff against the Leafs, it will be Equipment Manager Scott Bogg’s 1,000th game as a professional equipment manager.

According to Professional Hockey Athletic Trainers Society and the Society of Professional Hockey Equipment Managers or “PHATS/SPHEM”, very few athletic trainers or equipment managers ever reach this plateau.

According to them:

His achievement comes after twelve seasons in Professional Hockey. The 1000th game milestone is a testament to Scott’s commitment, professionalism and endurance. We are proud to count him among our 300 members, and know that the New York Islanders organization shares in that pride. At the 2009 PHATS/SPHEM Annual Meeting in Phoenix, AZ., Scott will be recognized by his peers for achieving the 1000th game milestone.

Either way, congratulation to Scott Boggs! He’s been a great addition to the Islanders staff since joining the team prior to the 2006-07 season.


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Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sock-Gate Solved

When the Islanders introduced the vintage alternate uniform system in November, something was amiss. As you can see in the picture to the left, there was a manufacturing mistake with the socks – a blue gap in the stripes on the back of the leg.

Rebook originally told the NYI that replacement socks wouldn’t be ready until the start of the next season. And in the grand scheme of things, not the end of the world. Just annoying.

But the team got word a short time ago from Rebook that the soc
ks were ahead of schedule. Delivery date was this weekend and you can see below, the problem was fixed for today’s game versus Phoenix and all is right in the uniform world again.


Photo credit tot Bruce Bennett and Mike Stobe of Getty Images/NHLi/and of course the NY Islanders

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Friday, February 27, 2009

What was TSN.ca Thinking…

Fact: At 10:25 PM last night, Chris Botta posted this story on his blog. The story’s title: EXCLUSIVE: GUERIN WILL APPROVE A MOVE

Fact: At 10:30 PM, no one else had this scoop

Fact: At 12:18 AM early this morning, Canada’s sports leader, TSN.ca posted this story on their website. Their title: Source: Islanders' Guerin willing to waive no-move clause

Fact:As of 9:30 AM this morning, TSN.ca’s story did not name their sources. The story’s byline still read: “TSN Staff”.


I’ll continue this blog entry by saying TSN.ca is usually a very reputable source for sports coverage, especially with hockey. It’s hard to match Bob McKenzie and Darren Dreger. If either one of them had this story, they would have been credited with it. And rightfully so.

But it’s all too obvious that their source was Botta’s Islanders Point Blank blog. They just didn’t want to credit a blog with the scoop. If Newsday had it, I’m sure they wouldn’t have had a problem with it.

Unfortunately for TSN.ca, this goes right up there with when “the website that will not be named” back-timed a web story on an old Islanders-Flyers trade in December of 2006 so it appeared they broke it when the truth was a press release was sent out before the anonymous one had it.

Fact: TSN.ca should have played this one better.

For the NYI Media Blog, I’m Corey Witt

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Islanders Bedeviled to MSG Plus 2

With the return of Martin Brodeur, MSG Plus 2 (or the Ocho) will carry the Islander/Toronto game tomorrow night. The Devils have been switched over to MSG Plus 1.

CJ Papa nor Iceburgh, the Penguins mascot, had any influence on this decision. But the picture was taken tonight prior to CJ's first intermission interview with Trent Hunter.

Discuss this post at IslanderMania.com

Crosby Out

Probably not good for the TV ratings, but excellent news for the Orange and Blue: Sidney Crosby has been ruled out for tonight's game.

Monday, February 23, 2009

ATTN: Lighthouse Supporters

Just helping spread the word...

If you don't know what the word is (and no, I'm not talking about Surfin' Bird), this pretty much sums it up.

This is a message sent out via the Facebook Lighthouse support group (1,300-plus groupies and growing!) from Katrina of the Lighthouse Development Group and her blog.

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Lighthouse supporters, On Tuesday, February 24, 2009 at 10:30 a.m. at Town of Hempstead Town Hall, the Town of Hempstead will vote to adopt the scope of the environmental studies for the Lighthouse project. These studies have been completed and will be submitted to the Town in a very short period of time following the adoption of the final scope. Support the project and come to this very important meeting.

For more information, please contact the Lighthouse Development Group at info@lighthouseli.com, or (516) 414-5800. For more information on the Lighthouse project, please visit www.lighthouseli.com or lighthouseliblog.blogspot.com.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Time to Bring the Banner Down…

Newest Islander Dean McAmmond will wear #37. If I remember correctly, it will be the first time someone as worn #37 in a regular season game since Mark Parrish wore it in 2005-06.

Kip Brennan wore it in training camp last season and Mike Iggulden wore it this September. Back in training camp 2006, Johan Halvardsson donned the number.

Thanks to Brian Jones of the NYI Game Ops Dept. for the headshot of Dean.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Parked at 223

Considering the man-games lost to injury over the last two seasons by the Islanders, Richard Park was the only Islander to play in every game.

Since he became an Islander in the fall of 2006, Park has played in every game, all 221 of them.

That put his consecutive games-played streak up to 223. The other two games came with Vancouver in 2005-06.

Park missed tonight's game versus Carolina and is sidelined four weeks with broken ribs.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Congrats, Howie!

Just found out Islanders play-by-play man Howie Rose has been nominated for a NY Sports Emmy for his work on the Islanders/MSG Network telecats.


According to Howie, it's been a while since he's been nominated for his work with the Islanders. To that we say: bad job by the Emmys. Howie is one of the top play-by-play announcers in all of sports -- not just New York.


Howie's partner Billy Jaffe won an NY Emmy last year.

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Friday, February 13, 2009

Don’t Adjust Your TV Set

Part 1

Some internet banter on Islander Mania is correct. There is a different center ice logo at the Coliseum for the second half of the season.

The logo (left) is the third jersey logo… royal blue and with a fourth stripe on the stick of the “NY”. The new NHL logos are also new. A few teams in the NHL have incorporated the League’s shield in their center ice logo and the rumor is that the NHL will make it mandatory next season.

It’s a nice touch for the ice at the Coliseum.


Part 2

From this Sportsnet.ca report:

Altitude Sports & Entertainment announced that it will broadcast the second period of the Montreal Canadiens' visit to Pepsi Center on February 13th in black and white with an "old time" coverage style. The telecast changes are in celebration of the Canadiens’ 100th season playing in the NHL and will give viewers a flashback to what it was like when hockey was first shown on TV.

"Friday night’s old time hockey coverage is a way for us to celebrate the rich history of the NHL and to remind fans of the evolution of live sports television coverage," said Matt Hutchings, Altitude’s EVP/COO. "We hope that fans will enjoy the special broadcast and celebrate this history with us."

Also, a very cool idea.


Conclusion: Retro is “in” these days. From the NBA to the NFL and certainly to the NHL.

Monday, February 9, 2009

This Day in NYI History

On this day in 1985 Bryan Trottier became the first player in NHL history to get 25 goals in each of his first 10 NHL seasons, when he scored twice as the Islanders won 4-1 over the Penguins, on Long Island.

Trotts was one of a couple of Islanders who have graced the cover of Sports Illustrated. Signed copies of this cover and others are for sale every game night at the Game Night Auction located by Gate 16 on the Coliseum’s concourse.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

A Founding Father in Tampa

Al Arbour, one of the ultimate Islanders' fathers, is in town tonight for the game with his wife Claire and some friends.


It always great to have Al around. He didn't want come down to the room before the game, but will stop by after. Scott Gordon is looking forward to meeting Al.


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Yup, that was a canon

Sometimes, you can’t make something up this good if you tried.

Today is the annual Gasparilla Pirate Invasion in Tampa. What that means is, the harbor outside of our hotel is full of boats, pirates and drunken people all there to have a good time. Oh yeah, and canons that are going off every other minute.

It’s one big party, which started before we even woke up today. It’s the Mardi Gras of Florida with beads, booze and everything else.

Between the loud music, the cheering, the fireworks and the canons – have I mentioned those yet? -- so much for the pre-game nap!

Oh yeah, there’s at least two boats that keep blowing their horns.

When I stepped into the elevator this morning for breakfast, I rode down with a pirate and two of his lady friends - also dressed up in pirate-eque garb. Very interesting trip for the buffet.

This is quite the experience. At least the dads are enjoying themselves!

(Pictures are 2 views from outside of our hotel...)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

This day in NYI history

On this day in 1978, Islanders' rookie Mike Bossy recorded the first hat trick of his NHL career as New York won 6-1 over Washington.

The photo to the left was taken by should-be and hopefully one day NHL Hall-of-Fame photographer Bruce Bennett. Bruce lists it as one of his favorite photos that he took.

And no folks, that's not Photoshop. The stick was actually on fire for that shoot.

Monday, February 2, 2009

NHL Anthems

Watching Jennifer Hudson’s wonderful rendition of the US National Anthem last night before the Super Bowl got me thinking about the best anthems in NHL rinks.

Only a handful of teams have one anthem singer who regular sings on an every-game basis. And three of them just so happen to be the tops in the league. Here they are:

Lauren Hart – Philadelphia Flyers
Lyndon Slewidge – Ottawa Senators
John Amarante – NY Rangers

There hasn’t been a better anthem sung in the Coliseum since Carl Dixon did it for the 2002 playoff games versus Toronto. Did the amazing atmosphere help? Yeah, but I also think his anthem added to the atmosphere of that series even more.

It’s all up for debate because everyone has their own taste and opinion.

If you ask hockey fans what there greatest hockey memory is, some will say it was the 1991 NHL All-Star Game in Chicago when Wayne Messmer sang the Anthem at Chicago Stadium. It occurred just a few days after the United States went into Iraq at the start of the Gulf War. The crowd reaction was so great, his voice was nearly drowned out by the fans.

Anthems are always great when the crowd really gets into by themselves and can carry the song by themselves. Alanis Morissette sang ‘O Canada in the Stanley Cup Finals in 2007 with crowd support. Edmonton did the same thing the year before and it was just as amazing. (6:50 into the clip)

Lauren Hart’s rendition is my favorite because not only is it spectacular, but she sings it for almost every game. Consistency has a large part to do with it. It’s something I always wished the Islanders had. Fans really get behind an anthem singer they hear every game. Flyers fans often think of Lauren as just as important piece of the team as the starting goaltender that there's booing.

I really like what we’re doing with the Organist (and no vocals) at the Coliseum. I think it can catch on and if the fans get behind it, it would have the potential to be tops in the league.

But again, an anthem is all about personal taste. Someone in the office just said they though Whitney Houston sounded horrible at Super Bowl 25.

Friday, January 30, 2009

OK Shannon… I don’t think you get it…

Back on December 16th when the Islanders hosted the Washington Capitals at the Coliseum, the team agreed to participate in an ESPN the Magazine feature called "Fan Army Goes to Work"where a casual fan works a game night position for a team. There as someone who was an “Assistant Coach” at an NCAA men’s basketball game, a game operations assistant for an NBA game, etc. A young, 27-year old lady named Shannon Patinkin, whose boyfriend is apparently an Islander fan, was an Ice Girl for a night for the magazine’s feature.

You can read the story here. It’s also on page 72 of the February 9th edition.

I personally don’t understand what Shannon was expecting of the experience. She clearly didn’t get it.



She said: “Speaking of players, we were not allowed contact with the Islanders. We even entered the rink from the visitors' tunnel and always had to keep a distance from the home team.”

Response: Was she expecting to set up dinner plans for after the game? And half the squad enters through the visitors side, the other half does in fact enter through the Islanders' entrance.

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She said: “We weren't allowed to do tricks, because the NHL says using our picks creates big holes in the ice. Bummer.”

Response: Who cares about the health of the players if they get a skate caught in a divot or rut.

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She said: “Before the game, we ran over to a season ticket-holder event and took photos. The fans clearly didn't think we had any brains at all. And there was a little too much hugging.”

Response: So she wanted to get to know the players, but not interact with the fans.

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She said: “They didn't even let me keep the ugly outfit.”

Response: Her personal taste aside, the costumes aren’t cheap. People just love free things. See this.

There's an accompanying video to her experience. The funny thing is, if you just watched the video, you'd think she had a great time. After reading the story, not so much.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Island Snapshots: Streit Pre-Game Stretch

Haven't posted any pictures in a long, long time, but I thought this was too good to pass up...

This picture (a Corey Witt original) was taken about 45 minutes ago right outside the Islanders/visiting team dressing room at Phillips Arena. Mark Streit was going through his pre-game stretching routine and the Thrashers mascot, Thrash, decided to join in for a few minutes. It was a comedic 90 seconds to say the least.

Phillips Arena

Phillips Arena is one of the more unique arenas in the NHL. Opened in the fall of 1999, it’s the home of the Atlanta Thrashers and Hawks. It sits on the same footprint as the old Omni Coliseum, which plays a big part in its unique design.

Three quarters of the Phillips Arena looks like every other new arena. But the fourth side of the building is almost completely vertical. The suites are located on this vertical or flat side of the building with about six levels all directly on top of each other.

Imagine you’re at the Nassau Coliseum and looking at the penalty box side of the building. Leave the ¾ of the lower bowl of the 100s and 200s sections and then above that is five levels of suites and a press box on top of that. The view from the suites are close and on top of the action.

The Arena was built this way because the developers needed to fit a 20,000 seat building with 100 luxury boxes where a 15,000 seat building with 16 boxes was previously. Using the same footprint that Omni Coliseum sat on, Phillips Arena was squeezed into. Developers figured out if one side of the building was more vertical then the others, they could build it. And it was built.

It’s one of the more unique/newer buildings in the NHL and it’s a real nice place.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Yo, Fabian!

The Dallas Stars assigned forward Fabian Brunnstrom to the AHL's Manitoba Moose. On TSN.ca, it was called “a quick fall from grace.”

Unfortunately for TSN, the story does not mention that Fabbi hasn’t played since Dec. 27 when he suffered a lower body injury and that this could be a simple rehab for the young forward who is on pace to score 20+ goals while going for the Cy Young (current stats: 10 g – 4 a).

Even the reliable TSN of Canada can make mistakes. Just a reminder to not take everything you read in the media as 100 percent fact.

SBD on Versus Telecast of ASG

Below is a media recap from SportsBusiness Daily on Versus’ telecast of All-Star Weekend:

POOR GAME PLAN:

In N.Y., Stu Hackel wrote during Versus' broadcast of Sunday's NHL All-Star Game, there was "endless conversation about many things, but little of it focused on where the puck was, who had it and what they were doing with it." Versus' Mike Emrick and Brian Engblom, who called the All-Star Game, and analyst Ed Olzcyk are "expertly capable of providing precise and lively accounts of what's going on during games and why."

Hackel: "However, when you see and hear a Versus game, and an NBC game as well, that standard is abandoned for nonstop conversation that too often ignores the game's action. Most likely, that's not the decision of the guys behind the mic but the guys behind the scenes, who instruct the announcers to 'tell stories' at the expense of providing clear descriptions and analysis. They do hockey a massive disservice" (NYTIMES.com, 1/26).


NHL Network’s Billy Jaffe (also of MSG Plus and Islanders TV) said of Versus’ coverage of the All-Star Game, “Is it perfect? No. Are they striving to do everything better? Absolutely. … They are doing their best and they are open to suggestions” (“NHL Live!,” NHL Network, 1/26).

I’ve never had a reason not to believe Billy Jaffe, and in saying that, I hope he’s right.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Congratulations to the Danis Family

Yann Danis was absent from Islanders practice today and for good reason. Yann and his wife Kayla had their first child, a baby boy. Jayden Joesph weighed in at 7 pounds and 20 inches.

The family is resting in Connecticut, where Kayla is from. Yann is expected to be back on the ice tomorrow.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Casual Observations of the ASG

Mark Streit not only returned to Montreal but also showed again what the Islanders knew already. Streiter had two assists and an impressive plus-3 rating. He also recorded two blocked shots and had three takeaways. [That’s with his former coach Guy Carbonneau behind the bench.] In an all-star game, those are impressive stats for a defensemen...

Alex Kovalev might be the least talked about, but best player in the NHL.

Alex Ovechkin, however, is the best and most exciting player in the NHL. If his English were better, he would eclipse Sydney Crosby as the face of the NHL…

Jay Bouwmeester looked pretty good along side of Mark Streit…

Topic of conversation: Fighting in the NHL. I think it belongs, but should players be taking off helmets, no. Should fighting be allowed in junior hockey? No. The NCAA gets along just fine and prospects develop just the same. Should fighting belong in senior hockey? No. But lets not forget, there are just as many – if not more – serious, career and life-threatening injuries occurring from hits from behind. Let’s put as much time and focus on that too.

If you thought the atmosphere in Montreal over TV was impressive, you have to go to a game there. Best NHL experience…

I personally loved the all-star jerseys, but those white gloves for the West… I don’t know about those…

Just sayin’: Last year in his first All-Star Game, Islanders’ goalie Rick DiPietro started and stopped 15 of 16 shots. Rangers’ goalie Henrik Lundqvist came in at the start of the second period and allowed six goals on 21 shots…

Read this and appreciate Jack Capuano and the Bridgeport Sound Tigers even more...

Topic of conversation, part 2: Players being “suspended” for not participating in the All-Star Game. Agree with the NHL here. The league needs their best players representing hockey this weekend. If you want to be the best, you have more obligations to fulfill...

More noticeable last night for the Skills Competition, but the NHL and the TV networks need to get on the same page with each other. Knowing Doc Emrick, he was prepared for the events as much as possible. But too often, the viewers were left wondering what was going on or what was next. Unfortunately, Doc couldn’t provide any answers. Casein point: At one point, Doc said that Marc Savard could not shoot at his teammate Tim Thomas in the shootout elimination event. And then in round three, guess what… Not Doc’s fault because the information wasn’t being passed along. But for a great event, the viewers at home shouldn’t be left wondering...

Great job by the city of Montreal, the Canadiens and the NHL for a successful All-Star weekend. Too bad no All-Star Game next year, but we got the Olympics!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Media Alert: Weight on XM at 3:45

Doug Weight will be the guest of Gary Green and Mike Ross on XM Radio’s NHL Home Ice Channel today at 3:45 today.

Where are they now… Bill Mikkelson

An original Islander was in the house this morning. ’72-‘73er Bill Mikkelson attended the morning skate today as part of the Anaheim contingent. Why was he here? His son Brendon is up playing for the Ducks this season and the team is at the tail end of their fathers/mentors trip.

I gave Bill a tour of the locker room, which he said looks nothing like it did the first two seasons he was with the team. (The locker room went through a minor renovation in the mid-to-late 90s, and the layout was changed)

He also was touched to see the team photo of the original 1972-73 team hanging up in our team office at the Coliseum and took a picture with Brendan pointing to his dad.

Bill will be a guest of Rich Barabbi at the end of the first intermission on the scoreboard.