Monday, December 7, 2009

Arizona's Lighthouse

Last week, I was able to leverage a business trip to Phoenix into an opportunity to catch the Coyotes host the Flames at arena in Glendale. It was nice to be able to cross another arena off my list and catch a Western Conference game in person for the first time. Thanks to Stub Hub I managed to grab great seats 11 rows off the ice, on the blue line, for less than $40 per ticket. A few quick impressions from the game:

- The arena is new and clean, but as a venue for hockey I was not particularly impressed. There are only 2 seating levels, and while the 100s offer great views, the 200s start so high above the ice I can't imagine it being a great fan experience.

- Speaking of fan experience, there isn't much of one. I know some hockey purists criticize the game day operations at the Coliseum for being too heavily geared towards the kiddies or non-hockey extracurriculars, but at least they keep the fans engaged. During the tv timeouts at the Coyotes game, there wasn't much to do but wait for the puck to drop.

- Perhaps due to the items above, coupled with the fact that they play...ya the middle of the desert, the crowd was Weak (with a capital W). A half-full arena, with half of those there cheering loudly for the Flames (a lot of Candian snowbirds in Arizona for the winter). The Coyotes contingent was largely passive and silent.

Frankly, everything about my experience (save the fact that the Aramark concessions were all about $1 cheaper than at the Coliseum) made me appreciate the way we have it even more. I always felt that the Isles offer a better in-game experience than the other arenas I've visited (Boston, Buffalo, MSG, NJ, Tampa) but thought maybe I was just being a homer. Now I think I'm right. As much as I understand we have a terrible facility from a players perspective, I can't imagine any NHLer feeling more fulfilled playing in the shiny new arena.

But all of that is prelude to the real attraction in Glendale. The Westgate City Center, aka Arizona's version of the Lighthouse. In short, Westgate encompasses the arena, the U. of Phoenix football stadium (home of the Cardinals), restaurants, shops, hotels, a park, and nice open plazas. It's a fantastic environment. After being there for 5 minutes, I was having a blast enjoying the sights and sounds. But after another 5 minutes, my enjoyment turned to anger. Anger at the progress-killer we call Long Island.

Without getting myself all wound-up rehashing the LH development process up to this point, I'll keep it simple. A destination like Westgate would absolutely work on Long Island. Yes, of course there are real logistical and enviromental concerns but, at the risk of being overly simplistic, where there's a will there's a way. It can get done. It would be arrogance to think Long Island is so different from other parts of this country where mixed-use destinations have been developed successfully.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Three's a Crowd

The Islanders goaltending situation is about to reach critical mass, and I don't see nearly enough being written about the realities that will bring. If recent reports are correct (and certainly any news regarding DiPietro's return should be taken with a fistful of salt), Ricky will begin full practices with the team this week. That will be followed by a conditioning stint / AHL action in Bridgeport, clearing the way for his return to NHL action in a few weeks.

If we take for granted he is healthy (albeit rusty), there are two big questions that need to be resolved.

First, what will his role be for the remainder of this season? Roloson has established himself as the clear #1, and it's hard to ignore the fact that he's earned points in 12 of his 14 starts. And a 58 save performance ain't too shabby either. So does DP return as the clear back-up to Rollie? Do we platoon the two? Or does DiPietro get the opportunity to win back the #1 role after he shakes off the rust?

Second, what does this all mean for Biron? It's an odd balancing act because, barring an injury to some team's #1, Marty's trade value won't peak for a few months. And no question that value won't increase if he's not seeing any NHL action leading up to the trade deadline.

We're going to have three 1A/1B options and not enough room for all of them.

Complicating matters, there is the issue of team chemistry. This group, at least by all appearances, seems to have a cohesiveness that has been clearly lacking in recent years. If there's a bad apple in the bunch, he's tough to spot. And Biron by all accounts is one of the best-liked guys in the league. If Ricky returns with a sense of entitlement, the boat may begin to rock.

My feeling is that DiPietro should return as the clear #2 behind Roloson. Long-term, there is zero doubt that Ricky is the guy that gives us the best chance to win. But he hasn't played much meaningful hockey over the last 2 years, and that will unquestionably show. As with any team, he should have the opportunity to play into the #1 role, but it will need to be earned. His history with the team, contract...etc., should have no bearing on things. His ego will just need to accept this new short-term reality. As for Biron, unfortunately he hasn't showed enough this year to justify keeping the spot ahead of a presumably healthy DP. And let's be real, he was a bargain and any return we can get for him will be gravy. Of course I want to maximize that return, but I won't lose sleep if all we can get is a mid- to late-round pick.

What do you think is the right answer to this goaltending surplus?


Thursday, November 5, 2009

On the Road

Isles stand at 15 points through 15 games (5-5-5), on pace for 82 points at the end of the year. The last three seasons, the point cutoff for the playoffs was 93, 94 and 92 points.

If the Isles hope to take that next step, there is only one statistic to look at. Road victories, or lack of them. The Isles current sit at 1-3-3 on the road. You need only look at last season when the Isles finished with a road record of 9-29-3 to see their recent history of road failure.

The Isles start a stretch tomorrow of 8 of the next 9 on the road. 13 of the next 16. This is a critical stretch for a team that has shown some promise early in the season. Can this team string together a few wins on the road? There are some winnable games on the schedule, starting tomorrow against New Jersey, who have not had much home success this season.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

To Win or Not To Win?

As of this posting, the Isles find themselves sitting in 7th place in the East after a recent stretch of 5-1-2 hockey. An unlikely scenario just 2 weeks ago. Now there's no telling whether this good play will continue and whether or not we'll be sitting in a playoff position come Thanksgiving or Christmas. Islander fans are no doubt enjoying the team's play. However, I think it's appropriate to ask an important question... is this winning good for the Islanders?

At it's surface, it a strange question. Of course you want to win. Of course you want to make the playoffs. Charles Wang has reiterated the goal every year is the Stanley Cup. But what's better for the long term success of this team? A 6th, 7th or 8th place finish or another top 5 draft pick?

I'd argue it all hinges on the results of any potential playoff series. The organization is in flux on two fronts, the Lighthouse and the team. You've got a young team that still lacks size and scoring. You've also got an arena deal waiting with the future of the franchise on LI in doubt.

The Isles right now are very close to the salary cap floor, so they certainly have room to make a run at big time (and big money) free agents. Of course, we all know our recent success at landing that prized free agent. So, given this is still a young team, another top 5 draft pick is as perfect a fit as can be. You'd be looking at someone who would probably crack the lineup immediately and for entry level money.

You have an owner trying to drum up support for an organization that has had an awfully bad run. Would a successful season and a playoff round win permanently put fans back in the seats for a long time to come? Tough to say. Is a renovated arena enough to get people interested again on it's own even if the team struggles continue another season or two?

I'd argue that a winning team now trumps another top 5 prospect, but barely. Why? Two reasons. The first is selfish. I'd like to see at least a playoff series victory in my adult life, and most certainly while I know the team will be on LI. Second, I think players just want to win. Yes, some just play for money but if you have an organization that is winning, you're more likely to attract a free agent piece of the puzzle, new building or not.

Perhaps some crazy thoughts only 15 games into a season.. and perhaps the future will prove this all to be a moot point.

What do you think, what's better for the team? Vote in the poll.


Monday, November 2, 2009

Paralysis by Analysis

My day job keeps me knee-deep in numbers and spreadsheets all day (yes, despite my prowess with the written word, I only moonlight as an Isles Blogger). So statistics and analysis are in my blood, for better or worse. I'm inclined to dig into the numbers to try to tell a story - even when there might not be one to tell. 13 games is a relatively small subset, but it's what we have to work with. So without further ado, here's some stats (with snarky commentary at no extra charge) for your reading pleasure...

Through 13 games this year, the Isles are 4-4-5 for 13 points. At this same point last season, they were 4-8-1 for 9 points. Same number of wins, 4 additional points. So there's one reason to not be miserable about all the OT losses.

Goals per game is 2.54 (22nd in league), up from 2.42 (29th) for the entire '08-'09 season. In other words, (Tavares + Moulson) > (Comrie + Guerin).

Goals against per game is 3.00 (20th), much improved from our 3.34 (28th) from last year. Again, despite early struggles, (Roloson + Biron) > (McDonald + Danis).

Our PP% is 21.3% (15th), up from 16.9% (23rd), and our PK is a strong 82.4% (8th) versus 79.8% (22nd) last year. Last year we just called it "Teams", this year we can actually refer to it as "Special Teams".

Last year we ranked 28th in the league with a sad .700 winning percentage when leading after 2 periods. We've actually slipped one spot to 29th, but are sporting a pathetic .500 percentage thus far. Think about that - when we step onto the ice in the 3rd period leading, it's a coin flip as far as whether we will win or lose. We are the Brad Lidge of the NHL.

Next up for the Islanders, Dwayne Roloson faces his former team while Mike Comrie's flu bug forces him to practice his toe-drag from home.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Road Warriors

A great win last night against the Rangers. Unquestionably the Isles strongest 60 minutes of the year thus far, in all aspects of their game. They rolled 4 strong lines, were aggressive on the forecheck, responsible defensively, and took much higher-percentage shots than we've seen thus far this season. One can't help but wonder where we'd be if we played with that type of intensity and responsibility all season. At least it gives us some hope.

The next 3 games are very important. First, we need to see if we can carry some momentum from this great performance. But more importantly, 2 of the next 3 games are at the Coliseum where the Islanders are a respectable 2-2-2. After Monday's home game versus Edmonton, the team plays 9 of their next 10 on the road (0-2-3 so far). The Islanders can't afford to fall victim to their quirky schedule. If they don't find a way to win on the road and match the home team's intensity, this season will officially be over before Thanksgiving.

If we can get through this stretch successfully (let's define success as 4+ wins in those 10 games), the reward comes in December. From Dec 12 thru 29, the Isles play 10 straight games in NY (8 at Coliseum, 2 at MSG). If we can stay in the mix until then, hopefully the crowds will come and the Coliseum can provide a true home-ice advantage through that long home stand.

Next up for the Isles are two division leaders - at Washington then home versus Buffalo. Good tests for a team that, at least for one night, looked like they are ready to play with the big boys.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Polishing the Turd

We're all too familiar with the epic collapses and shootout fails that have brought the Islanders to their current position in the cellar of the Atlantic with a 1-4-5 record. I won't insult anyone's intelligence and pretend that we should be anything but borderline miserable at this point. But the purpose of this post is to try to put a positive spin on things. Play a little "what-if" to put things in a slightly different perspective.

First and foremost, we need to remember, it's VERY early in the season. As Chris(topher) Botta recently pointed out (sarcastically?), the Isles are only 4 points out of a playoff spot. To put that in a language you can understand, we are a mere 4 OT losses from the playoffs! But seriously, it's so early in the season that we can have but one regulation win and still be only 4 points out of the 8-spot. If this were March and we were 4 points out of a playoff spot, we'd be ecstatic. In October/November, a good week or two can catapult you from the basement to a home-ice-in-the-first-round slot. Again, the point is it's very early and there's plenty of time to get it going.

But that begs the question - does this team have the ability to string together some wins? I think the answer is yes, and we only need to look at the last 10 games to support that. 3 of their 4 regulation losses were by 3+ goals and they were badly outplayed in each. So there's no rewriting history on those. Their only other regulation loss (against LA) was a 1-goal game, but every team is going to have a bunch of those during the course of a season. So we'll ignore that as well. It's in the 5 OT losses that, a different bounce here or there, could change the whole complexion of the season.

Let's pretend the collapse in Boston never happened. Then let's assume of the remaining 4 games we lost in OT or shootout, we split instead. Here's our record:
4-4-2, 10 points

We'd be in the #10 spot, one point behind Boston and Philadelphia for a playoff spot. I don't think there would be one fan in Islanders country that would be complaining. Sure, we are cursed and all those bad things DID happen. But it really isn't too far fetched to imagine a scenario where we are sitting with a .500 record and 10 pts at this stage of the game.

I feel like this team is capable of .500 hockey this season. A win tonight and we are only 2 games under with a gazillion left to play. I'm not saying it will happen. But it can.

Now, back to reality...


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pacing '08-'09

It's tough in this day and age of information overload to watch a hockey game from the DVR. I was about an hour behind watching this evening's game against Carolina, and despite my best efforts was made aware of all developments in real-time. There were texts from friends at the game, updates on my Twitter feed, and emails from friends warning me of yet another collapse. It's a strange feeling watching a solid 3-1 game late in the third, yet knowing the disaster that is going to happen. In fairness though, given the Isles history, those watching the game live probably knew what was going to happen just as well as I did.

My main takeaway from the game is that the Isles are on pace to match their point total from last season, averaging 0.7 points per game. This can be taken as a positive or negative, depending on your disposition. Personally, I think it's a good thing. I have no doubt this year's Islanders can and will play better hockey than they have thus far this year. If that's the case, they will show improvement over their '08-'09 point total, which is success in my book. I don't have delusions of grandeur.

Here's my takeaways from the game:

- Coming into this game, I was thinking that, despite leading the team in scoring, I wasn't overly impressed by Matt Moulson. Not to say I didn't like him for this team, just that his stats overstated his real impact. Tonight, he showed me that he is for real. He played a solid 2-way game and is on pace to be one of the better surprises we've seen on the Island in many years.

- What is going on with Mark Streit? Not just tonight, but all year he's looked like a different player. He's got a respectable 4 pts and is only a -1, but I'm looking beyond the stat sheet. He's had enormous difficulty keeping the puck in the offensive zone and has misfired on more shots than I remember from all of last year. We need him to step it up.

- Best game of the year by Roloson thus far, and I would say that even if they lost the shootout. Finally looked like the player I've watched in Edmonton the last few years.

- Josh Bailey continues to be invisible, and is not building on the promise he showed in the second half of last season. 7 shots on goal for the whole season thus far is unacceptable.

Nice to get the first win behind us. Onward and upward to Saturday when the overrated (yeah, right) Ovechkin hits the Coliseum Ice. Remember, in Islanders country, 2 wins constitutes a streak. Lets make it happen.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Columbus Day Matinee

Happy Columbus Day, all. Just as Christopher Columbus set sail back in 1492 en route to discovering uncharted territory, the Islanders hope to sail past the Kings today to discover their first win of the young season.

I'll do my best to make that the last lame Columbus metaphor in this post, but I can't make any promises. But on that subject, here's some interesting Columbus trivia to commemorate the day. Columbus died believing that the land he found was actually the East Coast of Asia. He thought the Earth was smaller than it actually is, and that he sailed unfettered around virtually the entire globe. Amazing that the man lauded for the greatest non-scientific discovery in history died not knowing what he accomplished.

Anyway, enough with the history lesson. We have a game to play. The Kings have been working their way East, as they opened the season at home winning their first two of their first three and scoring 15 goals in the process. They then traveled to St. Louis where they played a tighter game, beating the Blues 2-1. Today they play their first of two NY-area games in this Columbus Day matinee against our winless (and technically lossless) NY Islanders. The Kings haven't seen postseason play in six seasons, and hope that this is the year that the rebuild finally pays off with some spring hockey.

The Islanders have to be hungry coming back home after the debacle in Boston on Saturday night (what a way to introduce live hockey to my nephew). If this were the NFL, you'd have to love their chances against a West Coast team traveling east for an early afternoon start. But this ain't the NFL, and the Islanders continually find new and unique ways to give up valuable points. Regardless, I can only hope that this year's Columbus Day game is an improvement from last year's 7-1 whooping at the hands of the Sabres.

Here are the three key things I am looking for out of today's game.

1. A regulation win. Well, duh. Actually, I'll just take a win in any form. That will give the Islanders 5 points through four games. Last season, the Islanders had 5 points through 10 games. Progress in Islanders Country is measure in inches, not miles, and a win today would be a nice reminder that it's not 2008 anymore.

2. Better play from Sutton and Witt. If we are going to have success this season, we absolutely need better skating and stronger play from these 2 cogs of our defense. We have reason to be optimistic with the play of the Tavares-Okposo-Moulson line, but all of that will be for naught if our D is old and slow.

3. Josh Bailey needs to make his presence felt. It's only 3 games and I'm still bullish on Bailey, but he's been more or less a non-factor thus far. I don't need stats to make me happy, I just need to notice him more. We drafted him to be a playmaker, and he was well on his way towards the end of last season. Let's hope it's just taking him time to adjust to all that extra muscle on his frame.

In an ominous sign, today's media notes point out that the only meeting last year between the Kings and Isles went to a shootout (Isles lost). Biron is set to start in goal, so at least if it does go to the shootout we might see at least one Isles save (sorry, Rollie).

On a side note, Colin Wilson is making his NHL debut tonight. He is one of the names that will forever be linked with Josh Bailey in determining the success or failure of last year's draft day maneuvers.

Halfway through the first, no score. A brief fight between Joel Rechlicz and Raitis Ivanans, not won by the Wrecker. A few noticeable strong plays from Witt, so my #2 key to the game is working out so far.

Ryan Smyth just go a nice Coliseum welcome (sarcasm notice!) as he tried unsuccessfully to beat Witt up the left boards. And now, they just announced a promotion to text your guess for who will score the Isles first goal. Are they always so confident that they can wait until 15 minutes have been played before announcing this contest, knowing we'll be scoreless? Sadly, yes. Seconds later, Okposo is robbed just outside the crease.

Schremp showed some really nice moves around the net and got a great shot off, but was denied by Quick. In his 2+ games thus far, he's looked pretty solid. No doubt worth extending his "probationary" period. It's not as if Tambellini's absence is killing us. But I'll keep my expectations in check...there was once a day that I was proclaiming Marc Andre Bergeron the second coming. Proof that conclusions should not be drawn after a few good games. End of first, scoreless.

I spent the first-half of the second period having a nice conversation with Nick Giglia from Let There Be Light(house). I've been reading his work from day 1 but this was my first chance to meet him in person. A sharp guy, and the work that he has done on behalf of all Lighthouse supporters and Islanders fans has been invaluable. Thank Nick!

On the powerplay, Streit twice fails to keep the puck in the zone. Not typical of him. Tavares is set up for what would have been a trademark Tavares goal from down low, but he wasn't able to get his stick on it. It would have been nice to hear this place erupt. PP is over, no scoring.

A terrible non-call against the Kings moments before the put it past Biron to make it 1-0. It irks me irrationally when the refs directly influence the outcome of a game. I'd rather lose 7-1 then lose 1-0 when that one goal comes after a bad non-call. End of second, 1-0 Kings.

2-0 Kings as Drew Doughty goes top corner on a laser from the high slot. With the lack of scoring chances the Isles have generated today, it doesn't seem likely that a comeback is pending. Likely our first regulation finish of the season.

I always think of Kids Day as a good opportunity to sell the game of hockey to young (potential) fans. Sadly there hasn't been too much in this game to convert these kids to fans for life. On that note, I'm signing off unless this team makes a liar of me and mounts a nice Bruin-esque comeback.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Thanks Jackman

In all the bitterness from the loss yesterday I forgot to send out a thanks to Tim Jackman who tossed me a puck for my son at his first hockey game. A classy gesture.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

50 Minutes

Serenity now...

On my drive back from the Garden tonight, I struggled to call this loss devastating. Certainly, after complete dominance for 50 minutes, and up 3 goals, even the most jaded Islander fan was left feeling kicked in the stomach. Deja Vu all over again. We've all seen these collapses before and the flashbacks to early last season are frightening.

I'm telling myself it's the 3rd game of the season. We have 1 point from every game. Anything to get my mind off the last 10 minutes.

So many positives to take. Isles were physical and strong on the puck all night. They moved the puck well and came out of the defensive zone with poise and a plan.

Serenity now.

Radom thoughts: why was JT not in the shootout? Is it me or do Witt and Sutton look slow? Has Bailey been invisible? I hope Martinek stays healthy this year.

Quick turnaround to a Monday afternoon game. Let's hope these guys have short memories.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Schremp Cocktail

Rob Schremp will make his Islander debut tonight against the Senators in Ottawa. The underachieving Oiler castoff has a lot to prove but is anyone else hoping that for just once, another team's underachiever will turn into a producer for the Isles rather than the other way around?


I think it will be interesting to see what kind of leash they give Schremp. As Botta reported, he is going be given the opportunity to make his mark on the second line. So production will be expected. Will this turn into a multi-year project ala Tambellini, or will some scoring be required to keep his spot? If he struggles over the next 10 games, do we write him off? This is always dicey when you have someone who was so prolific at one level and struggles at the next. My feeling is, he's already exercised his grace period in Edmonton. If he's not contributing as a second line player (with PP time) within 15-20 games, you move on. It's time to put up or shut up.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Reflection

"You're right I suppose, I mean, I guess it is childish. But when I was about 18 and my dad and I couldn't communicate about anything at all, we could still talk about baseball. Now that - that was real" - City Slickers

Perhaps a bit melodramatic I suppose but there is an inherent truth about this quote that I can apply to hockey, and more specifically the Islanders. Beyond my love of hockey as a sport lies something much deeper, a connection to my family and friends. A common bond of experiences, shared heartbreak and triumph that I think many Islander fans can relate to.

When there was nothing else much to talk about, when we were at different points in our lives, there was always hockey in general, and more specifically the Islanders to talk about. Going to a game and sitting next to my Dad, learning the players names and jersey numbers, seeing a new team for the first time, and learning the rules. Experiencing the game through my Dad's eyes and learning to love it and have a passion for it because of him is something I'll never forget.

I reflect on this as I prepare to take my son to his first Islander game this Saturday in Boston. I wish it could be on Long Island, but alas, my life has taken me to Massachusetts, and this is the best I can provide at this point. My son is very young, only 3, and I know he'll be more interested in the popcorn than the players, and the zambonis more than the goals, but I can only
hope this is the start of a passion for the game that I can pass along to him, just as my Dad did for me.

I grew up during the dynasty years, when going to a game at the Coliseum was an event that people fought to get into. When a sellout and a victory was the norm. Today, we all know things are different. We're now all faced with the possibility of losing our team. Who among us hasn't been pushed to the brink of abandoning this team forever? Just when the team's management seems to start pulling things together we are faced with the Town of Hempstead. Will the Islanders still be in Nassau when my son is old enough to truly care? Will they be in NY? I guess it's that stark reality that has made me appreciate this day more than anything.

In the event that the worst happens, and the Isles leave, I fear my love of the sport will go with them. So while we still have the Isles, and even though I'm over 200 miles away, I plan on passing my love of hockey to my son with the hope that he will be able to remain an Islander fan for all his years, no matter where life takes him. And anticipating the day I can take him to the
Coliseum for a home game...or even better, take him to the Lighthouse for his first home game.

I'll have a recap of Saturday's game by the end of the weekend along with some pictures. Let's hope for a win in Ottawa in the mean time.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Case of O'Malley vs. Murray

If worse eventually comes to worst, and the Islanders do leave Long Island, many will undoubtedly draw comparisons between Kate Murray and former Brooklyn Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley. O'Malley, for those that don't know, is the man vilified as being responsible for moving the Dodgers to Los Angeles, changing the future of the borough forever. He was/is so hated in Brooklyn, writers Pete Hamill and Jack Newfield once included him in their "triumvirate of evil" along with Hitler and Stalin. Given Kate Murray's perceived role in the Lighthouse approval process by most LH supporters, she will clearly become public enemy #1 should the team ever find it's home elsewhere.

The truth is, with all due respect to those still seething over the Dodgers after all these years, O'Malley's true contemporary is Charles Wang. To compare O'Malley to Murray is an insult to good ol' Walter. In fact, the similarities between the situation facing O'Malley in the early 1950s and Wang over the past decade are eerily similar.

By the early '50s, despite the on-field success of the Brooklyn Dodgers, Ebbets Field was in bad shape. The physical structure was deteriorating, seating had been added which made the stands overcrowded, and attendance was on the decline. In 1955 the Dodgers won the championship and averaged only 13,400 fans per game (their lowest level in a decade). Many believe racial tension was a factor in the attendance drop as well. While the signing of Jackie Robinson was revolutionary for the game, it escalated racial tensions and kept many families away from the ballpark.

However, over in the South Bronx racial tensions were undoubtedly higher, yet the Yankees were drawing great crowds. The real issue was access. Yankee Stadium was easily accessible by subway or highway. Ebbets field was less convenient to get to and parking was limited.

Now here's where the similarities begin. In 1952, O'Malley reached the point where he knew a new stadium was necessary to survive. He commissioned designer Norman bel Geddes to design a new stadium, for which the plans were ultimately described by the New York Times as "a grandiose order". The project was derisively referred to as "O'Malley's Pleasure Dome". It was too big, too much. A criticism Charles Wang knows all too well, I might add. He had the money for the stadium, but needed a suitable location on which to build. He targeted a site on the corner of Atlantic Ave and Flatbush Ave, but securing that land required the help of the one-and-only Robert Moses.

That proposed land was being eyed for redevelopment. At the time, it was occupied by a LIRR depot, Fort Greene market, and a number of small businesses. O'Malley needed Moses, who was granted condemnation power from the government under Title 1 of the Federal Housing Act (FHA), to essentially condemn the land and sell it for the purpose of building a new stadium. The purpose of the FHA was to eliminate urban slums by giving local agency funds to purchase property and sell it to conform to a larger "public purpose". This certainly seemed to fit the bill.

Moses rejected the request, however, indicating that the stadium did not serve this larger public purpose. The truth, or at least what many believe to be the truth, is that O'Malley simply didn't care about Brooklyn or spectator sports, and felt he had bigger fish to fry in terms of developing parks, roads, and public housing. Also, it is believed that Moses' vision was to have the team play at a city-owned stadium in Flushing Meadow, Queens.

In January 1957, O'Malley issued an ultimatum: Unless something is done in six months, I will have to make other arrangements. There is still a short time left before we could be forced to take an irrevocable step to commit the Dodgers elsewhere". Does this sound familiar to anyone?

For 4+ years O'Malley tried to work with Moses to work things out in Brooklyn, but was continually left frustrated. Again, does this ring a bell with anyone? Finally, after the 1957 season, O'Malley followed through on his ultimatum and moved the team to Los Angeles, forever altering the course of Brooklyn's future. The worst part of all? That piece of land eyed by O'Malley remains undeveloped to this day (someone please correct me if I'm wrong...if I am I can safely say the land was only developed in the last 5 years or so**).

So in this case, Kate Murray is playing the Robert Moses role. Ironic, considering many (rightfully) point to Moses as a visionary largely responsible for a lot of the progressive, smart development on Long Island. In the case of the Dodgers, he did not serve Brooklyn as kindly.

I've made no secret I am pro-Lighthouse. But the truth is, I recognize that there are legitimate concerns about the project. Is it a bit too ambitious? Possibly. Are there serious traffic and environmental issues that need to be addressed? Undoubtedly. But will Long Island benefit from such a development? Unquestionably. And will a similar opportunity ever come to have this land developed using almost exclusively private funding? Unlikely.

On an emotional level, I would get behind almost anything to enable the Islanders to stay in their rightful home. But on an intellectual level, I am able to evaluate this proposal on it's true merits. Long Island is on the decline. Businesses are leaving, our young people are being priced out of the housing market and leaving the Island, taking their intellectual capital with them. We need a stimulus. Where else is it going to come from? This is our one, unique opportunity to reverse the course of the Island over the last 20+ years. Put and end to the strip-mall sprawl that somehow fits in with our vision of suburbia. Spark a new way of thinking on this Island. The Lighthouse in and of itself is not the only answer, but it's a step towards reversing the course of an Island on the Decline.

I have a nightmare of seeing the Islanders, in their new city with their new team name, hoisting the Cup in a few years. Like those poor Whalers fans who felt so much pain watching the Hurricanes win it all. But the real nightmare will be, in 50 years from now, looking at the former site of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum and seeing a vacant lot of cracked concrete.

** Update Oct 7 - Thanks to my dad for pointing out that the land in question is what Bruce Ratner is currently seeking to develop as part of his deal to bring the Nets to Brooklyn. I was not aware that these were one and the same.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Isles on TV Tonight

A quick programming note regarding tonight's pre-season matchup against the Vancouver Canucks. The game will be broadcast on MSG Plus starting at 10:30PM EST (it will be on a 30 minute delay, but who cares after 5 months without the Isles).

No word who we'll see suited up tonight, but it will be nice to get our first taste of hockey for the season. Hope everyone enjoys!


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Help preserve "Point Blank"

As I'm certain you're all aware, the Islanders have chosen to terminate their "sponsorship" of Chris Botta's Point Blank blog, effectively signaling it's demise. I encourage everyone to write to and let your voice be heard. Here is a copy of my letter:

I am writing to express my deep disappointment that the Islanders organization will no longer continue to sponsor Chris Botta's "Islanders Point Blank" site. I write from a family of season ticket holders since 1973.

Traditionally, it's been accepted that the team needs to generate some buzz on the ice to be successful. While that's still true, over the last year it's become clear that there are other mechanisms through which to build buzz, mobilize and grow the fan base, and drive attendance. Chris' site has done just that. Through his great writing, he's created a community of passionate Islanders fans that I haven't seen since we were a contender. Sure, the impact is difficult to quantify as far as putting fans in the seats, but I have no doubt his site has driven attendance, merchandise...etc. He's managed to keep interest alive all year round, for a team that previously generated little excitement even during the season. Now more than ever we need this type of grass roots support as we approach some major milestones in the Lighthouse approval process.

Obviously I, and others that wrote, are motivated by the personal desire to save our favorite web site. But putting myself in the organization's shoes, I find it impossible to believe that you underestimate the impact of Chris's site as much as you clearly do. This is a chance for an organization to take another step in the right direction, rather than make another move that leaves the fan base scratching it's collective head. Ultimately, the cost to continue your "sponsorship" can't amount to more than "rounding error" on Okposo's next contract. It's a proverbial drop in the bucket.

I hope you'll reconsider and continue your relationship with Chris for the sake of the fans and, ultimately, the organization as well.

Thank you for your time.

Michael Carey

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Crease Runneth Over

Last night, I was with my son as he was taking his first steps (gratuitous proud dad announcement!) when I got a text from a friend telling me of the Biron signing. I of course pushed my boy aside to run to the nearest computer to get all of the details (kidding, kidding). Admittedly, the news caught me off guard at first, but now that I've had a few hours to digest it, I think it tells us a few things:

1. Ricky is not going to be ready to start the season, and likely won't be ready until at least after the Olympic break. Sure this is just conjecture, but I'm sure if they expected Ricky to be ready by even Thanksgiving, they would be comfortable enough letting their new $5M man Roloson carry the load until then.

2. Scott Munroe did not give the coaches and GM a warm fuzzy feeling. It's hard not to feel a little bad for the guy, who by all accounts seems like he has the potential to be a backup at least on par with the guys we called our starters last year. He must have expected a legitimate shot to be the #2 guy while DP continues his "recovery". And given the fact that he would be backing up a guy who just received his AARP card, a few starts along the way would not be unexpected.

3. Familiarity does NOT breed contempt. A team with a former goalie as GM and coach suddenly developed the deepest pool of talent (perhaps not in terms of quality, but quantity) at the position in the NHL. Too bad our GM and coach aren't former skilled scorers, we'd be talking Cup contention, baby!

4. Snow's desire to add an enforcer is not as strong as we'd like it to be. I'm sure he's working some angles, but to add another goalie with the lack-of-enforcer elephant still in the room says something to me.

Through all this, I wish DP a complete recovery. He's become the in vogue whipping boy of the fanboy commenters on Botta's and Logan's blogs. But for many, many games he was our best player, and he stole many a win for us along the way. There's no doubt we are a better team with a healthy Ricky in the crease.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

JT Behind the Curtain

Today's press conference was a success in that there were about 500 people (my estimate) that showed up to the Nassau Coliseum on a weekday afternoon to give our #1 pick a warm welcome to Long Island. For Tavares, despite generally showing little emotion, I'd have to imagine it's reassuring to see such a nice turnout in what has likely been described to him as a poor hockey market. To the fans in attendance, however, the festivities were a bit ho-hum. Maybe I'm subconsciously comparing it to the environment back at the Draft Party, but more likely it's a reaction to the whopping 3 overall questions asked. And pretty terrible ones at that. (Who was that last guy, anyway?)

Turns out, the "real" media did all of their work at the "post press conference" press conference that occurred behind the curtain after the dog-and-pony show ended. I made a last minute decision to attend and therefore didn't have any kind of press credential. But thanks to modern technology, I was able to use my phone to show my picture from the Isles Website to prove who I was and gain access. Thank you iPhone.

Here, for those of you that sat through the 3 (generally) awful questions during the press conference, is a quick post-event quote from JT regarding Steven Stamkos' first season and reaching out to learn from his experiences:

"Me and Steve have worked a little bit together, playing a little bit of summer hockey, and obviously Team Canada and a couple of one-event teams in the Ontario Hockey League. I know he got off to a slow start but I think obviously it's a tougher situation, and most guys [do] when they step in. Obviously like I said there are going to be times when there's growing pains, it's a long season with 82 games. And for me there's going to be a lot of new experiences, and things that I'm going to go through. Obviously, I'd love to be able to contribute right away and have success but I think he showed up really well towards the end of the year, overcoming adversity, and if I get a chance to I'd love to talk to him and pick his brain a little bit and learn a lot from him because I'm a guy who loves to listen and loves to learn and always believes I can get better. So any way I can do that I'll look into those options."
Nothing overly spectacular, I know, but that's what I've got to offer. I was live-updating like a madman via Twitter, so if you want to catch up through that and check out all of my pictures from the event, follow me at Carey303 or click the link in the sidebar to the right.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Quick Recap and Preparing for the Dog Days

As far as playoff-less offseasons go, this year's is unquestionably the most exciting in the recent history of the team. Days after the season ended, we had the drama of the Draft Lottery. My heart-rate increased with each envelope that was opened. I started to settle down a bit after Colorado was revealed at #3, figuring even if Tampa won they would take Hedman. Still, I nearly hit the ceiling when we secured that #1 spot and John Tavares.

But a funny thing happened on the way to ordering my new #91 (or will it be #61?) jersey. Garth decided to get all cutesy and throw some serious doubt into what seemed like the obvious and inevitable decision. For the next two months, I was run through the emotional wringer trying to decipher the hints, clues, and flat-out misinformation slowly funneled out to the public. There was a lot of pro-Hedman sentiment emerging. Was it the dastardly Candian media trying to mess with our young, impressionable GM's head? For my own sanity, I'm done trying to rationalize all that went on. Things hit a new level of crazy a week or so before the Draft, when suddenly flavor-of-the-week Duchene was THE GUY. I'm not ashamed (ok maybe just a bit) to admit I had a few nights of fitful sleep last week hoping this organization would not make another colossal error. Hearing the right name called on Friday was a catharsis to a long, emotional-roller-coaster of a summer.

Before I could even catch my breath, though, it was July 1 - Free Agency Frenzy! The adrenaline starts pumping again, despite Garth doing his best to temper expectations. Suddenly, despite logic dictating otherwise, I'm imagining Komiksarek accepting a big hometown discount to join the Isles. I think, maybe Mike Cammelleri would welcome the challenge of restoring pride to a once great franchise.

Well, as big name after big name fell off the board, I started to think a little more clearly. I was actually yearning for the good old days of Jon Sim, whose signing was a tsunami compared to the splash we made yesterday. No disrespect to Roloson, who under the circumstances is a good signing. It was just ho-hum considering there was no real surprise there.

So now we are starting the dog days of summer. Other than a modest FA signing or two, there won't be much going on until camp opens. So here, as a service to you faithful reader, are a few suggestions to help get you through the next 3 months:

- Go see The Hangover. Usually great comedies take a little time to grow on me. Not this one. I can't remember the last time I laughed that hard in the movies.

- Take a trip to Europe to catch some dates from Faith No More's summer tour. The best band of the 90's is Reunited and it feels so good.

- Read some classic Paul Auster - I'd start with Leviathan or Moon Palace, and work your way towards Mr. Vertigo and the New York Trilogy.

- Head up to New Paltz and so some rock scrambling at the Mohonk Preserve. Head up to Bonticou Crag for a challenging and rewarding climb.

Keep checking in for regular updates throughout the summer, and feel free to follow Carey303 for all you twitterers. Until next time...


Monday, June 29, 2009

Party on Garth!

First off, let me just say that this is a great day to be an Islanders fan. We don't get to say that too often, so soak it in. For the first time in a long time, a high profile decision went the way the fans were hoping (and praying) for. Clearly, this is just one step in a much longer rebuilding process. But it's one more piece of the puzzle, and while we wait we've at least had a little spark jolt us out of our losing-induced stupor.

Friday night was, for better or worse, one of the most exciting nights in recent Islanders history. Probably the best since the electrifying Al Arbour night back in November...2007. My brother drove down from Boston for the Draft Party and thankfully did not leave disappointed.

But things were looking dicey for a while. The swell of (mis)information in the hour before Garth stepped up to the podium was overwhelming. The "certainty" that Duchene was their guy (per Newsday) spread like wildfire throughout the Coliseum. No disrespect to the kid, but PHEW. When Garth, in his stilted manner of speech, finally said "Jo-", the old barn erupted even before he finished his thought.

Here's a few quick thoughts from a fun night in Uniondale:

- Hockey truly is like no other sport. Not only for drawing 10k fans to the Coliseum 2 months into the offseason. But in what other sport would you have a living legend like Trottier - one of the Top 25 players in the history of the sport - mingling with the crowd, signing autographs, talking hockey? If this were baseball, he'd be perched behind a long table charging $75 per signature.

- How on earth did Charles Wang know there were - and unless my memory is faulty I am quoting - "10,119 fans" at the Coliseum?!? They didn't even collect the "required" tickets! Was Rain Man in the press box counting the fans?

- I'm fine with the de Haan maneuvering now, but at the time I was so excited for the crowd to erupt once more as Kassian's name was called with the #12 pick. Oh well. I'll give Garth & Co. the benefit of the doubt on that one for now.

- I was thinking, if the Islanders can become competitive quickly, now is the perfect time to really grow the fan base. There is a lot of dissatisfaction with the ticket prices and policies of the Giants, Jets, Yankees and Mets. The Islanders are the most family friendly and convenient alternative and can really capitalize on the ill will the other local sports franchises have generated.

For those that care, I've decided to keep the blog going and try to keep/make it relevant in the midst of all the other great Islanders blogs and sites. And while I'm still trying to figure out exactly what Twitter is, I am on twitter. You can follow me under Carey303. Until next time...


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

We Are The Ones We've Been Waiting For

Things have been quiet in 360-land for quite some time. In the next couple of months, I'll be deciding whether to continue with the blog or bid my small handful of readers a fond farewell. Frankly, with the plethora of high-quality Islanders blogs out there, it's very difficult to keep this site relevant given the (very) limited time I have to devote to it.

In the meantime, I might as well use my little piece of Internet real estate for something productive.

The message is simple. The next several months are critical in determining the future of the Islanders on Long Island. I know this isn't a revelation, but I still think the message hasn't truly hit home for many. All the talk about Tavares vs. Hedman is great, but it is meaningless if we do not get to enjoy the fruits of this draft here on Long Island.

And it is a very real possibility if we do not all make our voices heard. So I am here to ask each of you to get involved as much as possible, whatever form that may take. Step 1, however, is to get educated. Sadly, the best source for information at this point is the blogosphere. I mean that as no disrespect to my fellow bloggers, but rather as a sad commentary on the role of the mainstream media on this issue.

So here are some good, independent sources for news and opinions on the Lighthouse project:

Let There Be Light(house) - THE definitive source for Lighthouse coverage. For those needing an education on the issues, I'd recommend reading through his archived posts as well as his current ones.

Islanders Independent - BD Gallof and friends have a relatively new blog that, to date, has focused fairly equally on both hockey related issues as well as Lighthouse related issues.

NY Islanders 7th Woman - Somewhere along the way, Dee's hockey blog has evolved into a good source for some first-hand Lighthouse reporting and opinion pieces. Check out this piece for a good example an item I haven't seen covered anywhere else.

Islanders Point Blank - I'm confident there is literally no one that is reading my blog that hasn't already checked out Chris Botta's blog at least a few hundred times, so no need to say anymore.

I don't want to slight any of the other bloggers out there doing great work. This is just a sampling to get you interested and involved.

I'll leave you with a small excerpt of a comment I left on Nick's Let There be Light(house) site earlier today regarding many people's inclination to write-off the Lighthouse and focus on alternatives in Queens/Brooklyn/Suffolk:

Over the past 12 months, the majority of Lighthouse news has skewed towards the "discouraging" end of the spectrum. I think a lot of passionate Islanders fans are starting to panic and are looking for quick-fix alternatives.

The problem is that many of these people genuinely believe Queens/Brooklyn/Suffolk are viable and EASY alternatives. And why not? The little droplets of "news" we hear regarding these areas, unlike the Lighthouse, is all positive (Queens will welcome us with open arms! We already share a color scheme with the Mets!!). Of course, the reason the news is all encouraging is because there's been no substantive dialogue AT ALL up to this point (correct me if I'm wrong). But to someone relying on sound bites, these sure seem like good options to keep the Islanders on the Island.

So here's what I think needs to happen. First, we need to get people away from promoting alternatives (I know you've been working this point already). It's creating divisiveness within the one group that should demonstrate the greatest solidarity. We share a common goal, we need to share a common strategy to achieve that goal.


Friday, February 20, 2009

How YOU Can Help Keep the Islanders on the Island

I'm going to keep this short and sweet. This coming Tuesday, February 24th, there is a critical public meeting being held at the Town of Hempstead's Town Hall. It's being called "one of the two" most important public events in the Lighthouse approval process. If you support this project as an Islanders fan or a concerned citizen of Long Island, you can play your part by coming out for this meeting and demonstrating that support.

Here are the specifics:

Tuesday, February 24th at 10:30AM
Town Hall
One Washington Street, Hempstead, NY

For more and better information than I could possibly hope to provide, please click over to Nick's Let There Be Light(house) blog. And while I'm on the subject, kudos to Nick for the great job he does.

This is a hockey blog, so from purely that perspective I'd encourage everyone who possible can to make it out to this meeting. There's some real evidence that public sentiment is finally having an influence on Kate Murray and the Town. This is a great opportunity to further that influence and help ensure our franchise's future on the Island.


Monday, February 2, 2009

A George Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand

Like my friend Homer in the picture to the left, I've recently acquired a visitor on each of my shoulders. Prior to the Islanders current 3-game winning streak, I only had one voice in my ear. The devil was there, savoring every loss as the Islanders marched towards victory in nothing but the Draft Lottery and the opportunity to grab a cornerstone talent like John Tavares. Somewhere in the midst of winning only 2 of 22 games, I grew to accept the fact that utter failure was in the best long-term interest of the team. While one player does not make a team (especially a young talent like Tavares), it would certainly improve our chances of turning the franchise around. I mean seriously, do the Pens make the Finals if they don't win the Crosby Lottery? I think not. As much as I love the team, I was willing to accept some short-term pain to make the horizon that much brighter.

Now, though, things have gotten a little more complicated. Somewhere on the way to the cellar the Isles woke up and started winning. Relatively speaking, 3 straight is an absolute tear. More important than the wins, though, is the way they are winning. And in that regard, it's all about the kids. The Comeau, Bailey, Okposo line has been leading the charge. They are providing us a nice glimpse of what the future might hold. And Nielsen has been playing very solid hockey all year (when healthy).

Now, an angel has emerged on my other shoulder. Rather than look at this season an an opportunity for Tavares, why not see it as the year of Okposo, Bailey, and the other kids? If our wins are coming as a result of their development, how can I root against that?

So I'm torn. In a perfect world, the kid line will continue to tear it up, we'll win our share of games, but still secure that #1 lottery pick (Go Thrashers!). The playoffs are out of the question, so I would find it hard to stomach, say, the #5 pick (before trading down, twice...again).


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Double Standards

Yesterday, we learned that the Detroit Red Wings signed Henrik Zetterberg to a 12-year extension. The deal is worth a reported $72M and will keep him in a Wings uniform through his 40th birthday. Sound familiar?

Just for fun, Google the following:

"Zetterberg Contract", then "DiPietro Contract"

Click through the first 5 or 6 stories returned from each of those searches. If you don't feel like taking the time, I'll give you a preview of what you'd find...

On Zetterberg: talk of a "landmark" deal, references to how he's coming off his best season, how the Wings have secured a major piece towards defending the Cup this year and for many years to come.

On DiPietro: phrases like "dumbest move", "idiot owner", "rookie GM", and regrets, regrets, regrets.

Sure, the DP deal was the first of its kind in the NHL. Frankly, I don't have any problem with people criticizing it. It's a polarizing topic. What frustrates me is the double standard in reporting on Rick's deal relative to the several similar contracts that have followed. His injuries of late are irrelevant, since all of the harsh words I'm referring to regarding DPs contract were spoken before injuries were a reality.

To me it's another example of writers looking to take pot-shots at the Isles, Charles Wang, and Garth Snow. So be it. Time will tell which of these deals end well and which cripple their respective franchises. Unfortunately, our contract is the one that looks the riskiest at this point. Clearly, though, not risky enough to scare off Detroit from traveling down a similar road.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Number Running Pt. 2 - From Bad to Worse

Back in October, when hope still lingered for the 2008-2009 season, I prepared an analysis of some statistics relative to last season. Now here we are, 46 games into the year...let's update and revisit those numbers.

2007-2008 ; 2008-2009
Goals For 2.3/gm (30th); 2.4/gm (29th)
Goals Against 2.9/gm (23rd); 3.5/gm (29th)
PP% 14.5% (29th); 17.3% (18th)
PK% 81.8% (19th); 81.4% (15th)
Shots for 29.7/gm (10th); 29.4 (14th)
Shots against 30.3 (21st); 32.8 (29th)

If you're looking for a glass-half-full conclusion to draw from these number, I recommend you only look at the power play stat. Clearly this was an area that needed to be addressed after last season. The addition of players like Mark Streit and Doug Weight have helped tremendously in this regard.

Beyond that, it's pretty much all doom and gloom. Being 29th (out of 30 teams, by the way) in both Goals For and Goals Against speaks for itself. And for a team relying primarily on inexperienced NHL goaltenders, our defense hasn't been successful in clamping down on the opposition, falling to 29th in Shots Allowed.

But the good times don't end there! Here are a few additional mind-boggling stats:

- In last year's disappointing season, we averaged 0.96 points (in the standings) per game. This year? 0.63 points per game. Ugh.

- You look at the stats above and think our special teams are respectable? True. So what does that mean for our 5-on-5 play? Our goals-for vs. goals-against ratio in 5-on-5 play is 0.57. Meaning we allow almost twice as many even-strength goals as we score. Think about that. We are at the bottom of the league. The next worst team, Ottawa, has a ratio of 0.77. The best team, Boston, sits at 1.60.

- When we score first, we only win 42% of the time. We are the only team in the league under 50%. For comparison purposes, San Jose wins 82% of the time when scoring first.

- What about when we are lucky enough to lead after 2 periods? We win only 64% of the time, also good enough for bottom of the league. This means that when we enter the third period with a lead, we lose 1 out of every 3 times. Unacceptable. Colorado has won every game this year when leading after two.

I hope it doesn't seem that I report on these numbers with any happiness. They are sickening. But looking at things this way really points out that there are deep, systemic problems with this team. A team built on character is not good enough. And on a side note, a team supposedly built on character should at the very least work hard every night, which we have not gotten from the group.

We are rebuilding. Numbers like this can be tolerated in the short-term. But at some point, Gordon's system needs to click, we need to add some skill, and we need to get our #1 goaltender back. Things can become respectable quickly. Hopefully the team will still be on Long Island when that happens.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Fans

As of this posting, the Isles record stands at 12-29-5. Like many of you, I've got a bit of agita. Despite the meager expectations, I'm not sure anyone predicted this. Injuries have been a plague on the team, there has been the slow progress on the Lighthouse project, talk of a move to Kansas City and a confirmed training camp move to Saskatchawan (won't mention the Dubie incident). All of this should be leaving Islanders fans even more disgruntled and frustrated than we normally are. Goals have been few and far between and my God... 12 wins!!

However, a funny thing happened on the way to the doom and gloom...

The fans are still showing up. OK, the detractors will still point out the fact that the Isles are at the bottom of overall attendance. Fine, I understand. But tell me if you wouldn't totally understand the Isles fan base throwing in the towel. Here's a fanbase that has survived the Spano purchase, the Milbury era, poor trades, rebuilding, and then rebuilding again, a rise to respectability, and then a quick fall. Did I mention the Milbury era??!!

Check out recent official attendance figures.

1/19 vs Caps 15,221
1/17 vs NJ 16,234
1/15 vs Boston 15.548
1/13 vs NYR 16,234
12/31 vs Fla 12,211

Would anyone think twice if these numbers were closer to 8,000? These number show me that the Isles fans are out there, that they still love this team, and that they're still willing to show up and give support. We're 1 or 2 steps from either rising again or falling off the face of the earth. Lighthouse Project + Tavares = a new era, and new hope for fans that deserve it more than anyone. The same Coliseum most like equals the end of the franchise.

Just imagine a young team, centered around DP, Bailey, Okposo, Neilsen, Comeau, (Tavares or Hedman). A new building. Don't tell me we couldn't fill a 17,500 seat arena. Don't tell me we don't have the fan base.

I don't want to sound like a commercial but we are all Islanders. We've known the passion for hockey this area has. Let's hope we have the opportunity to show the rest of the league once again.


Back In The Saddle

I could lie and say that we went on a blogging strike. We wouldn't post another entry until the Islanders won a game... but anyway, life, kids have gotten in the way the past month. Look for a new post this afternoon.

Thanks for the patience...