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...