Saturday, October 31, 2009

Stolen from Forever 1940

The Islanders tied an NHL record by playing in their seventh October overtime game.  It didn't last long, as Mark Streit converted a pass from John Tavares 53 seconds into the extra session to give the Isles a 4-3 overtime win in Washington.  On to the trick:

1. The Islanders, who won just once in their first ten games, moved to within one game of NHL-.500 with the overtime win in Washington.  Kyle Okposo became the first Islander to score in the first period of a road game this season as he scored for the second consecutive game, before Frans Nielsen recorded his first two goals of the season in the second period -- the first time in his career that he has scored twice in a game, let alone a period.

2.  Alexander the Great (Ovechkin) scored on a first period power play for Washington while Tomas Fleischmann added a pair of goals in the middle session for the Caps, who had won six straight entering the game.

3. Dwayne Roloson made 37 saves and despite not being named one of the "Three Stars" was arguably the best player on the ice for either team.  Roloson made seventeen of those saves in the third period as he won for the second straight game.  The Isles have earned a point in six of his seven starts (3-1-3).  Jose Theodore made 26 saves for Washington.

...and a few more...

4.  The Isles conquered the "Post-Ranger letdown", at least for one night.  They are now 6-14-3 in their last 23 games following victories over the Rangers  They had lost four straight games that followed victories over the Rangers.

5. Scott Gordon finally beat the Capitals after five straight defeats, three of them in overtime.

6.  The Isles have now played seven overtime games (1 ot win, 1 shootout win, three overtime losses, and two shootout losses).  Eight of their first twelve games have been decided by a single goal.

7. The Isles have won consecutive games for the first time since March 7 and 8.  They scored four goals in a game (not including a shootout) for the first time since March 20th.  The win also broke an 8-game road losing streak (0-5-3).

8.  The Isles are 3-1-2 in their last six games, and have earned a point in four straight games (2-0-2) for the first time since going 3-0-1 last March 7-12.

9.  The Isles held Ovechkin to one goal on 7 shots. They also blocked four of Ovechkin's shots and four others missed the net. Radek Martinek played a team-high 24:44 for the Isles, much of that against Ovechkin, and was credited with four blocks.

10.  The season series is even at a game each, and at three points each as well (as the Caps won in overtime on Long Island last Saturday).  The teams play again in Washington on Veterans' Day, before concluding the season series on January 26th at the Coliseum.

Up next: The Isles begin a two-game homestand when they host Buffalo on Halloween night.  The Isles will be looking to avenge a 6-3 loss in Buffalo two weeks ago and get back to NHL .500 for the first time since opening the season 0-0-3.  The Isles have won three straight on Halloween since losing to Toronto in 1996.  The Isles will also be looking to win three straight for the first time since a four game win streak from January 21- February 3, 2009.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

From The Captain

Well, with the score 2-1 in the third - Bruce wants to bet me on when the Isles would blow the game. He said in regulation - I said in OT - How I wish I was wrong. But these guys can't close the deal.

Also, not impressed with Tavares, Okposo, Moulson tonight. Just tonight. Ovechkin was not much of a factor tonight - but that Mike Green :(

50-50 raffle = a paltry 1477 bucks (for a weekend)

Also, the State Farm Agent of the game was Anthony Petrozella of Queens.

They also played " No Sleep till Brooklyn" right after that Agent of the game announcement - is Wang trying to tell us something?

Lastly, Kristen McElroy (who is challenging Kate Murray) was in the house - and the team posted her on the jumbotron twice and invited fans to see her at Gate 12. Guess Wang and Murray's chat did not go so well :)

Oh well,

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Stolen from Forever1940

On Wednesday night, the Isles will look to avoid tying the club record for consecutive games without a win to start a season -- the record is seven, and is held by the 1973-74 squad (0-3-4).
On Thursday, the Isles will begin something almost as rare, when they make the first of two visits to Montreal in a five day period.  It's only the 8th time in club history that the Isles will play consecutive road games against the same opponent. 
It's the third time in club history that the Isles will sandwich a home game with road games against the same opponent.
The list:
12/31/86-1/9/87 @ NYR  (the Isles played two home games in between)
2/8/96-2/22/96 @ NYR (the Isles played four home games in between)
10/17/01-10/26/01 @ Carolina  (two home games in between)
3/19/02-3/28/02 @ Toronto (four home games in between)
4/6/06-4/11/06 @ NYR  (one home game in between)
11/28/06-12/2/06 @ Pittsburgh (one home game in between)
1/26/07-2/1/07 @ Atlanta (two home games in between)
10/22/09-10/26/09 @ Montreal (one home game in between)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Quick Coliseum Report

50 - 50 Raffle was 1,570 bucks. NO STATE FARM AGENT OF THE GAME !!!

For those who were there - doesn't it seem like the "Game Operations" team has taken a big cut ? Very little in terms of seeing the Ice Girls, or other in game promos this time around.

Perhaps they had "Mascot Day' or - was it "Kids' opening day?"

I mention this - because I hear of major turnover in staff in the sales side? Comments?

They listed 12.500 or so as announced crowd - I say 8500 - lots of empty seats as folks had to work.


Go Isles

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Quick Look at Bridgeport

Last season's Bridgeport Soundtigers experienced their best season ever. Still, despite 49 regular season wins and 106 points, the team's season fizzled to a halt in a 5 game first round dismissal. As disappointing as that was, it certainly is understandable in light of a differing line-up and a bunch of younger players experience their first AHL playoff hockey, if not simply their first AHL hockey.

The good news is, the 09-10 regular season shouldn't differ all that much from the 08-09 regular season, at least with respect to the regular season standings. Many of the core components such as Nathan Lawson, Andrew MacDonald, Dustin Kohn, Mark Wotton, Trevor Smith and Jesse Joensuu are returning. They played key roles in last year's success and are each expected to carry their share of the load with the mother club expecting another step in development from each and every one of them other than elder statesman Wotton. The loss of several good veterans such as Chris Lee, Joe Callahan, Mike Iggulden, Jeremy Colliton, Ben Walter and Mr. McLean have been compensated for with the signing of other established AHLers such as Scott Munroe, Mark Flood, Brett Westgarth, Jeremy Reich, Greg Moore, Greg Mauldin, Bobby Hughes, and Trevor Gillies. That contingent could be enchanced by Matt Moulson, if and when he's sent down (uhhh, and he will be).

Of course, the best thing about this year's edition is that more of the Islanders' own draft picks than perhaps ever before will be looked to as regulars in the upcoming season. After an initial (and disappointing) year in the Swedish SEL, young trickster Robin Figren will be spending the season on the farm, and hopefully dazzling his way to a cup of coffee on the Island at some point this season. The returning 6'4", 200 lbs. Tomas Marcinko is returning after a rough rookie year and is hoping to take on a totally different role this season, especially with Rob Henningar having been traded. Pleasant OHL surprises Justin DiBenedetto and Matt Martin, both drafted as overagers, are signed and ready to go. They each had a pretty good NHL camp and both looked primed for a strong introduction to the pro ranks. Their Sarnia teammate and former 3rd round pick Mark Katic is expected to spend the season in Bridgeport and hopefully become a regular on the power play. The latest addition was this summer's 31st overall pick, goaltender Mikko Koskinen, who wasn't only drafted surprisingly early, but also an unexpected signing - one that must have been made with some conviction considering there was no rush and he was likely in line for 1st string duties in the SIM Liiga. To show that the surprises just weren't gonna stop coming, the Islanders also signed 2009 5th rounder Anton Klimentiev, likely just to keep him in North America and avoid any possible stress that could come with a signing in Russia. Whether he plays in the AHL, ECHL or even in the OHL (also drafted there this summer), Anton looks destined for a season in North America.

Also returning are regulars Sean Bentivoglio and Tyler Haskins as well as roughian fan favorites Pascal Morency and Michael Haley. Summer signee Jason Dale and Long Island's own Vlad Nikiforov are currently down in Utah while Jon Gleed and Jake Gannon appear to be in the picture for the Soundtigers, with Gleed likely lining up with captain Mark Wotton on opening night.

Topping things off was the addition of Long Island's own Tony Romano who scored 36 goals last season in the OHL. Coming over in a trade for Ben Walter, Romano has been strong this fall and looks ready to pivot one of the top 3 lines.

With a plethora of depth, an above-average goaltending trio, a great balance between AHL rookies & veterans as well as one of the most aspiring coaches in all of pro hockey in Jack Capuano, the only real weakness of note is the lack of experience on the blueline, although this group would have to be considered league average, at worst. All in all, the fans of both the Soundtigers and Islanders should keep a good eye on this team because it is really turning into a top address in the AHL while always keeping its focal point on player development.

Following is a breakdown of the type of pointage you the fans can realistically expect from the players this season.

Munroe 25+ wins
Koskinen 15+ wins
Lawson 5+ wins

MacDonald 30+ points
Katic, Flood each 25+ points
Kohn, Wotton each 15+ points
Westgarth, Gleed, Gannon each 5 points

Smith 65 points
Mauldin, Moore, Joensuu, Moulson each 40+ points
Reich, DiBenedetto each 30+ points
Romano, Bentivoglio, Figren each 25+ points
Haskins, Marcinko, Martin each 20+ points
Morency, Haley, Hughes, Gillies each up to 10 points

Ohhhhh, and one last thing: expect this team to be involved in as many fights as any team in the AHL!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Curiosities Entering the Season

With the league and Islander stats predictions in and the home opener not even 36 hours away, one can’t help but have a few other questions about the upcoming season, for example:

- What role will the injury bug play this year? Arguably, few other teams have been hit as hard the past two seasons as our beloved Islanders have been. Will things change? Well, if the preseason is any indication…
- For a team putting heavy emphasis on younger players, we have a blueline that is long in the tooth and perhaps short on talent. As the lone draftee playing amongst the top 7, will Gervais continue to build on the steps he took during the second half of the 08-09 season?
- Other than Streit, who is going to man this team’s point on the power play? Hillen looked like he was getting a shot in the preseason, but last season saw players like Weight and Okposo get a good amount of time manning the points. Will Gordon look to go that route again, sometimes even having 5 forwards on the ice at once?
- Speaking of Gordon, he’s no longer got the bye of being a pure NHL rookie. At the same time, he’s hardly entering this season with a better line-up than he had last season. The question is, will the continuity of having retained a good 85% of the line-up allow this team to now show the true colors of Gordon’s more complicated overspeed system?
- Even more so than Gervais, Jeff Tambellini really turned things around down the stretch run last season. It seemed to come as a result of his readiness to be a player who contributes in areas other than scoring, which had been his chief responsibility at every other station thus far in his career. He does work hard and he is fast, but can he now take it all to another level this season?
- Roloson and Biron instead of MacDonald and Danis: on paper, a huge upgrade in the goaltending department. How much of an upgrade will it translate into in the standings?
- Will Streit solidify his standing as one of the NHL’s top 15 defenseman? I mean common’, can he really duplicate the type of season he had last year?
- Can any of Sim, Bergenheim, Comeau, Tambellini or Moulson be an answer in the secondary scoring department this season?
- Will any of the kids who took nice strides last season take a few steps back this year?
- Will Bailey quietly become one of the NHL’s top young two-way centers?
- How much of a jump will Okposo take after having a very convincing rookie year?
- At what juncture this season will we fans become more concerned about next summer’s draft than with our battle for a playoff spot?
- Once the trade deadline approaches, which of Weight, Witt, Biron/Roloson, Park, Sim, Moulson, Sutton, Meyer or Martinek – or anyone else deemed worthy of exchanging – will Snow be able to turn into another asset for this franchise? Or will we actually be able to be a buyer?
- The biggest off-ice issue in Islanderland? We should know by the end of the season if the Islanders’ future will take place on Long Island, or not.
- The biggest on-ice issue in Islanderland? In Tavares, we now have a Canadian kid who has garnered more attention than any other non-NHL player over the past two years. In fact, he simply is the most talked about kid coming out of juniors since Crosby joined the NHL’s ranks. Now his time has come to make his NHL dreams true, but he doesn’t necessarily have a lot to work with out there. Just what kind of season is he going to have?

Here’s looking forward to a nice start to the season as well as some positive answers to the questions above. The opener will see our Isles facing a Penguins team that is hopefully going to be showing signs of a Stanley Cup hangover. It’s also a team that might be coming in here without a few important players like Cooke, Talbot and the aforementioned Crosby. The Isles will have a few nights off after the big home opener and will then hit the road for games in Ottawa and Boston on Thursday and Saturday, respectively. By the end of October, our Islanders will have played roughly a sixth of the season.

For those in attendance tomorrow, have fun and make some noise!

More stuff stolen from Forever1940

With Trent Hunter on the Injured list, the Isles will start the season without the team's active leader in games played, goals, power play goals, game winning goals, assists and points as an Islander.
So who holds those distinctions now (only in games played as an Islander)?
( now has a new stats engine that allows you to answer such pressing questions.)
Games:  Martinek 373, Park 235  (Trottier 1,123 is all-time club leader)
Goals:   Park 36, Bergenheim 30   (Bossy 573)
PP goals: Okposo 10, Streit 10     (Bossy 181)
GW goals: Bergenheim 7, Park 5   (Bossy 82)
Assists: Martinek 68, Park 53       (Trottier 853)
Points:  Park 89, Martinek 84       (Trottier 1,353)
Hunter is 87-110-197 in 381 games as an Isle with 21 pp goals and 15 gw goals.

Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since 1982. Visit my blog: and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

Stolen from Forever1940

The Isles will play their 37th Opening Night on Saturday.  The Isles are 9-19-8 on Opening Night; a .361 winning percentage.
Only two teams have lower percentages: (San Jose (.353) and Anaheim (.267))
Of course this will be only the 5th season that the Isles have opened at home (2-2-0)
They opened at home in 1972 (first game ever), 1980 (first banner raising), January 1995 (After lockout) and 1998 (after Gluckstern threatened to move due to leaks).

Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since 1982. Visit my blog: and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


For all you folks who enjoy magazines like McKeen's Pool Yearbook, here's a blog for you: your (un)official NYI STAT PREDICTIONS!

NYI: 34-40-8 for 76 points


Dwayne Roloson
There’s little to say about Roli, a guy who has stuck around a long time and has somehow gotten better with age. He’s technically coming off his best season and is used to playing with goalies who are placing a claim on the starting role. Hopefully he’s like a fine wine that just gets better with age, because we’ll be needing just that if we’re to get anywhere in the standings. Since nominal and numeral improvement (however menial) is expected vis-à-vis the goaltending situation last season, Dwayne should ultimately be one of the main reasons for it.
Stats with Islanders:
17-22-4 in 46 games, 2.90 GAA, .912 SV%

Martin Biron:
A surprise signing, the guy is simply a bona-fide NHL starter who knows that the Island is serving as little more than a purgatory-style phase in his career. He'll earn some decent change to feed that brood of his and will hopefully gain a few wins for this team in the process - the type that goalies last season were not able to get this club! Still, expect him to be gone at the trade deadline - I predict to Philly:-)
Stats with Islanders:
12-16-2 in 32 games, 2.74 GAA, .916 SV%

Rick Dipietro:
As opposed to last season, Dipietro will not come back just to go on the IR again shortly thereafter. In addition, once he comes back, he is gonna look great. That's my call. He'll be extremely motivated and he'll give a preview of what type of wall he plans on being in the '10-11 season.
Stats with Islanders:
5-2-2 in 9 games, 2.38 GAA, .918 SV%


Mark Streit:
He came here looking like a power play specialist. He ended last season looking like one of the league's top ten defensemen. We knew he could put up some points; we found out he can do everything else as well. Tavares and Dipietro will continue putting in dibs as the face of the franchise, but the Islanders' best player is Mark Streit. I dare say he's better than any of Hamrlik, Aucoin or even Jonsson were!
Stats with Islanders:
12-49-61 in 75 games

Bruno Gervais: 6-20-26
No blueliner made as much progress last season as Gervais did. The question remains: did he really develop into a legitimate Dman for this team or was his success the simple result of being paired with Streit? I believe it was a little of both - and with Steit he shall play again. Part of the top pairing entering the season, young Gervais is refreshing and is a guy you see being very active in the community. He is a late-round pick and has earned his way to where he is now. He should continue being a block in the youth movement.
Stats with Islanders:
6-20-26 in 78 games

Jack Hillen:
The college UFA had an up-n-down first pro season and has looked pretty good in the preseason. He can skate and can move the puck. That means that he's got a heads up in a Gordonesque system. He'll get some PP time this season and will start to look like he wasn't such a bad signing after all. Still, he's not getting us any closer to a cup.
Stats with Islanders:
4-17-21 in 62 games

Ken Sutton:
A world of size, two seasons marred by injury, and a reputation amongst Islander fans as a player ever-so-ready to make the clumsy, botched up play. I myself wonder where that crazy-*** bastard I saw in Atlanta has gone? I'm not holding my breath, but I think we'll finally see a bit of that fella this season. It's a contract year for him. With several forwards getting point time on the PP nowadays, don't expect Sutton to keep up his surprisingly good offensive pace of last season (2-8-10 in 23 games).
Stats with Islanders:
6-12-18 in 69 games

Freddy Meyer IV:
Freddy played less than 30 games last season and I get the jist that many Islander fans still do not appreciate what he brings to the table, namely a hard, honest effort. He has had a few flashes of brilliance and I just know that there's a 35 point Dman in there somewhere, but he'll not be appearing on Long Island. He's a useful depth Dman. Expect him to quietly go about his business this season, probably his last with the organization.
Stats with Islanders:
2-15-17 in 72 games

Radek Martinek:
Truly one of the nicest depth defensemen in the league, Martinek is a guy who you just know will be spending at least a quarter of the season on the IR list. I suspect it'll be the same this season. He showed a surprising tendency to score goals last season, but he strength lies in being positioned intelligently and quickly starting the rush in the other direction. He's a good man... just wish we'd see more of him in the course of a long and hard season.
Stats with Islanders:
4-7-11 in 64 games

Brendan Witt:
Say it sooo folks, but Brendan Witt is looking like a fella on his last leg. Hopefully he'll provide a boatload of blocked shots and rough customer treatment, because there's not much there in either the skill or speed department. Fans like him and I wager the boys on the team do to. Let's just pray that some other team feels he can help their playoff run, because there's little chance that Witt's Islander career is extending past this season anyway.
Stats with Islanders:
1-5-6 in 58 games

Andy MacDonald:
Andy is currently the Dman in BPort who is closest to making the NHL. This sixth rounder, drafted as an overager as a Ted Nolan tip, spent a season in the ECHL looking like it'd be his final destination. He suddenly not only made it to the AHL, but even became a top-pairing Dman and was nominated to the AHL all-star game. He should get a cup of coffee on the Island because injuries are inevitable. Never thought he'd even become a topic, but he looks like this generation's Trent Hunter.
Stats with Islanders:
1-3-4 in 17 games

Each of Kohn, Katic, Flood and even de Haan could see a handful of games throughout the season. Another waiver-wire pick-up along the way shouldn't come as a surprise.


Kyle Okposo:
One can say that Okposo might have gotten a bit lost in the Tavares-hoopla this summer, but let there be no doubt that this young bronco is turning into the "Shane Doan" of the franchise. If it wasn't evident to you last season, it will be by the end of this season. Expect him to be our best player on many a night this season as he looks to earn a spot on Team USA, whether in the Olympics or at the WC in Germany. He can do a little bit of everything and is incredibly strong on the puck. We must hope that there'll be no ugly side affects with respect to his preseason concussion, because that's the type of thing Islanderland just doesn't deserve. Neither does Kyle.
Stats with Islanders:
24-28-52 in 75 games

John Tavares:
Don't expect tooooo much. He's a young rookie with a lot of expectations to live up to, but he's hardly surrounded by the type of talent that'll help him reach any lofty heights. You should however expect growth, progress and signs of quick learning. His first year may be steadier than last season's first overall pick, but it won't be all that much different statistically. Expect more setting up than sniping.
Stats with Islanders:
21-26-47 in 79 games

Josh Bailey:
Many will continue debating whether Josh should have stayed with the club and fought through last season or have been sent back down to captain the CHL's top team and perhaps even Team Canada at the WJC, which Canada hosted. Important for us now is that he's shown us no reason to believe that he won't continue improving in every capacity. He took huge steps in the course of last season and seems ready for more this year, his bulked up frame already being very noticeable. As a two-way forward, he'll be entrusted with a good load of responsibility this year and gosh darnit, Mr. Bailey might just be more than ready for it. Expect slight stat improvement and some crafty face-off tenacity.
Stats with Islanders:
14-27-41 in 76 games

Trent Hunter:
Trent just keeps on truckin', remaining a fan favorite, throwing as many checks as anyone in the league and always letting us think he could just be a 50 point man if he could get in a good 80 games. Alas, that hasn't happened recently and one of the league's most underrated players and best financial deals is just craving for the type of health and responsibility that'll let him be all that he can be. Expect him to be good when he's in the line-up, especially if playing with Nielsen, but injuries are to be assumed until proven otherwise.
Stats with Islanders:
16-22-38 in 62 games

Jeff Tambellini:
Last season really didn't go as planned for Jeff. The start to his season was just about as bad as it could get for a 24 year old with nothing more to prove at the AHL level and an NHL team simply GIVING him scoring line duties. Still, Jeff managed to turn into a player who went into the corners and held his own for the last 25 games of the season. His stats improved and he seemed to be a player who had started to "get it". Look for him to improve upon that this season and establish himself as an NHLer who just needed more time. He's certainly fast and hard working, so Garth's faith in him may yet pay off. Don't forget, it took Jason Blake a good while to establish himself as more than a 4th liner.
Stats with Islanders:
13-24-37 in 79 games

Blake Comeau:
Simple story here: Blake is a solid player. He is a good young winger who will continue to develop this season and is gonna be talked about on occasion - and not just by Islander fans. The scoring won't be off the charts, but he'll be among the more consistent Islanders and will play his part in improving the on-ice product.
Stats with Islanders:
12-25-37 in 77 games

Doug Weight:
In addition to Streit, Doug Weight is our leader extraordinaire and is most definitely THE spokesman on the team. His career as an announcer isn't far down the line, but for this seaon, he's got to help steer the ship. His production when he played last season really wasn't bad, especially for the first 25 games. Still, we have to expect more of the same in the injury department, something that already started this fall. He'll be our main man on some nights and, in addition to Streit, will regularly be the provider of the best passes we Isles fans will see this season, but let there be no doubt that his on-ice impact will be somewhat minimal when all is said and done.
Stats with Islanders:
8-26-34 in 61 games

Frans Nielsen:
Gotta love the Frans. He actually had a mighty fine little season for a 3rd line center breaking in. He too suffered a brutal injury incurred in part due to that one unnecessary hit by the Devils' Mottau, but when there, he was a swift and hard-working guy who even went where it hurts. Smart is a good way to describe him. Unfortunately for us, he's hurt his knee again and he'll start things up late this season. He should however continue to bring the same intelligence and prowess once back and do expect him to score more goals than he did last season.
Stats with Islanders:
11-21-32 in 66 games

Sean Bergenheim:
Many are hoping for big things from Sean. I am too, but expect injuries and groin problems to continue to be a part of his world. The 20 goal plateau is thoroughly realistic, but things are gonna have to go well for Sean in the health department and with respect to chemistry with his linemates. He'll show some great things this season, cut down on the dumb penalties and will even be the star of the game on a couple of occasions. Unfortunately, this won't be the season he establishes himself as a scorer.
Stats with Islanders:
13-11-24 in 62 games

Jon Sim:
From Botta to Sim himself, we've heard that the guy just had a wrotten seaon last year stemming from his ACL tear the season before. He's working hard and trying to resuscitate his NHL career. Snow surely had hopes that he'd be a 20-15-35 type player when he was signed to a million per a couple of summers ago, but it hasn't worked out. That'll not change this season, even if he does get plugged in all over the line-up. Look for Sim to be waived with every opportunity and some team will take him later in the season. His contract is almost over.
Stats with Islanders:
11-8-19 in 53 games

Richard Park:
He's the little engine that could and an extremely valuable depth and role player. That will not change this season. What will change is his modestly strong production, because fact is, it's time for the younger guys to get more of those minutes that Park was getting the past few, injury-riddled seasons. In fact, if things go well in the development department, look for Park to be a topic at the trade deadline - guys like him can help in playoff runs.
Stats with Islanders:
7-12-19 in 59 gams

Matt Moulson:
It shouldn't be too surprising for Islander fans that this apparent AHL signing has found a way to stick to start off the season. He signed here knowing it may be his last NHL chance and just two seasons ago, he was one of LA's big hopefuls. He has shown a little chemistry with Tavares but no-one should expect it to turn into a regular gig. He should help us as a depth player who scores the odd goal, but Moulson will get lost in the numbers game if we should have any luck in the health department. By season's end, he'll either be manning the first line in the AHL or will have been dished off at the deadline to a team willing to add him as a depth player for the playoff run.
Stats with Islanders:
8-6-14 in 47 games

Tim Jackman:
Jackman came out of nowhere with improved skating last season and took quite a beating as a roughian in order to earn himself an NHL contract - which he got. He's an ample 4th liner and has shown an incredible willingness to "take one for the team". Gotta respect him though, because the boys in that locker room sure do. He's simply not a real fighter, but he's willing and will shed blood for this team again this year. That's important for an Islander team lacking a true enforcer. Has developed into a decent penalty killer.
Stats with Islanders:
3-5-8 in 70 games

Jesse Joensuu LW/RW:
Many fans were ready to simply pencil Joensuu into the line-up. Not sure why, but I believe it had something to do with his size and +22 on the farm. Newsflash: the young Finn just isn't ready yet. Time for him to role up his sleeves and work on being productive on the farm, even when it means potting the garbage goals. He has a possible NHL future and the tools are there. Skating has improved and he can even dazzle a bit. He'll take strides on the farm and should be a real option next fall. Expect another cup of coffee this season, muchst like last season.
Stats with Islanders:
2-2-4 in 9 games

Trevor Smith C/F:
Last year's most improved AHL prospect, Smith has gone from college dropout to ECHL all-star to top gun in BPort in less than two calendar years. He got a long look this preseason and he's a guy with a nose for the net. Size and speed may hold him back, but he offers a good depth option with room to improve. Should be one of BPort's go-to guys once again. Breakthrough not coming this season.
Stats with Islanders:
2-1-3 in 16 games

Jeremy Reich F:
Gordon coached him for several years and he's a guy who has 50 some games of NHL experience. His willingness to be a middleweight and play aggressively will likely see him get some time on the Island this season, especially when Rechnlicz's knuckles are too sore. Just a depth player who could have a big leadership impact with Bridgeport.
Stats with Islanders:
1-1-2 in 10 games

Justin Dibenedetto F:
Drafted as an overager and blossomed as an offensive player who can put up points without Stamkos. He's gonna be in BPort for most of the season, but expect him to get a cup of coffee and actually register a point. He'll be more productive on the farm in the second half of the season.
Stats for Islanders:
0-1-1 in 4 games

Matt Martin:
I'm getting the fever. A few weeks back, I didn't think he'd be signed, but he came to camp looking like a man on mission. He did some nice things in the preseason and showed a willingness to fight, actually holding his own quite well. Now I'm excited. His season will begin in the farm system and I'm not sure if he'll start off in BPort or Utah, but I'm simply looking forward to him getting ice time. He simply needs to play. There is ample reason to fear that any perceived set-backs will bum him out a bit, but I think he's gonna spend some time on the Island and we're gonna find ourselves liking him real quick!
Stats with Islanders:
1-1-2 in 18 games

Joel Rechlicz RW:
He'll be around. He wants to be a heavyweight and that is something we don't otherwise have. He's young and enthusiastic. Expect him to stick on the Island as a 14th forward and play every couple of games, and all of the games against the NYR, Philadelphia and Toronto. Also expect him to have more than 200 PMs this season. He'll get beat a good share of the time, but Islander fans will appreciate his blood 'n gutts attitude and demeanor.
Stats with Islanders:
0-1-1 in 43 games


Robbie Schremp C:
No matter what you think of this pick-up, pretty much EVERY Islander fan is majorly curious how it's gonna turn out. We all know that there are several examples of young guys who needed little more than a change of scenary in order to finally bloom. Will Schremp be one of them?
Stats with Islanders:
5-12-17 in 38 games

Tuesday, September 29, 2009



As our New York Islanders enter the 09-10 season, there’s no doubt they are currently one of those teams in the NHL that the media of the hockey world simply has little interest in. Surely the presence of a one Mr. Tavares puts us in a certain spotlight that we haven’t had in recent memory, but what will happen if he starts off this season anything like Steven Stamkos did for the Tampa Bay Lightning last year? Expecting anything else might prove to be little more than wishful thinking on our behalves. Speaking of expectations, our team is promptly experiencing preseason placement in the lower 10th of the standings with nary a publication expecting more than a spot amongst the league’s worst three teams.

Now, unlike previous years where certain “professional” hockey writers have even gone so far as to NOT preview the Islanders based on statements to the effect that the team is simply far too uninteresting to waste one’s time on, publications are at least giving this franchise credit for taking a conservative and promising path to better competitiveness. In addition, whereas the team made few splashes in the course of this summer and may have failed to improve certain on-ice weaknesses (enforcer, defensive depth, scoring winger), there is no doubt that the drafting of Tavares – considered to be immediately NHL-capable, if not more – as well as the signing of not one but two bona-fide NHL goaltenders in Roloson and Biron, has this team looking better than it did this time last year. One must also think (hope, believe?) that the Islanders can’t possibly have worse luck in the injury department than was the case last season. This all accumulates into the assumption that this team must be better than last year’s edition. Still, I suppose the many experts out there will say that although this would seem true, the competition hasn’t been sleeping either.

Indeed it hasn’t, but are the other teams in the conference really as strong as some may suggest? Haven’t some, perhaps like Philly, only created some new holes in order to plug others (uhh, goaltending)? Will teams that aren’t starting the season with a Danny Heatley or Phil Kessel going to be as good as they have been with those players? Can a team whose first line consists of some extremely talented players, none of which is taller than roughly 4’2”, successfully handle the rigors of a long NHL season? Will a team losing its best goalie and top DMan still be able to fight for that 8th spot in the conference? As always, the results are earned on the ice and not on paper, but I’ll contend that this season is going to see more than one team have a heck of a lot of trouble maintaining the lofty spot it held in last year’s standings. In so many ways, it seems like many of last year’s competitive teams have lost a bit more than they’ve gained. This could be said of no less than the Flyers, Bruins, Penguins, Devils, Panthers and especially, the ohhhh so despised of NY Rangers.

With this in mind, here’s a short look at where I BOLDLY predict the teams in the NHL to finish this season!

1) Washington – Their time seems to have come. A team that’s been on the rise will see its Ovechkin literally “will” them to the top of the conference. He has some help and the Theodore/Varlamov tandem will be sufficient enough in the regular season.
Topscorer: Alex Ovechkin with 54-58-112
Keep an eye on: Nicklas Backstrom, maybe the league’s most underrated playmaker.

2) Philadelphia – Like Washington, the goaltending will suffice in the regular season and this team is simply loaded up front. Pronger’s leadership is the key to an otherwise suspect defense, despite what many think the names should add up to. Once the playoffs start though, it’ll be a whole new ball game.
Topscorer: Simon Gagne with 33-52-85
Keep an eye on: Ray Emery, because there’s probably not a player in the league with more to prove.

3) Ottawa – YES, I’m not joking. The big chip on the shoulder has been removed and something tells me these boys are gonna be the better for it. By the by, there’s still a boatload of talent hanging around in Ottawa. Goaltending and the defense will have to be much better than last season though.
Topscorer: Jason Spezza with 35-56-91
Keep an eye on: Jonathan Cheechoo, whose career simply MUST take a swing upwards after 4 years of unalterable decrease in production.

4) Boston – Some players were just too good last year. The team has depth, but Krejci is out the first few months and they simply are not the team they were without Kessel in the line-up.
Topscorer: Marc Savard with 18-53-71
Keep an eye on: Michael Ryder, who will be asked for even more now that Kessel is gone.

5) Carolina – The little engine that could is still solid from top to bottom. Staal is a real stud, the blueline is doable and there are a few kids of note coming up through the system. It may not be a smooth trip, but Carolina is a tough team with a top goaltender.
Topscorer: Eric Staal with 39-37-76
Keep an eye on: Chad Larose, a guy who has improved every season and has become part of Carolina’s identity.

6) Pittsburgh – Crosby, Malkin, Fluery, Staal… this team will once again center (literally) around its young guns and the regular season will have its share of bumps and bruises. They lost some solid role players and didn’t necessarily replace them. In addition, the stars are surrounded by the Kunitz, Guerins and Fedetenkos of the world. Still, it’ll be a whole new story once the playoffs come around.
Topscorer: Evgeny Malkin with 42-73-115
Keep an eye on: Eric Tangradi, because someone has to prove offensively worthy of playing with Malkin or Crosby.

7) Tampa Bay – This season will be a whole new story. The additions were very good this summer and in Lecavalier, St. Louis, Stamkos, Malone, Meszaros and Smith, the team already had some real decent players to build around. I see much improvement in the standings coming on in TB.
Topscorer: Martin St. Louis with 36-58-94
Keep an eye on: Steven Stamkos, whose 2nd half to last season was simply outstanding for a rookie!

8) Montreal – The Habs must make good on last season and fact is, there are a lot of boys in Montreal who can really play this game. The pressure remains immense, but expect a competitive team to slip into the playoffs and be the type of opponent no-one wants to face in round 1.
Topscorer: Scott Gomez with 23-54-77
Keep an eye on: Carey Price, because not a goalie in the league will have THIS many critics to satisfy?

9) Atlanta – Is what Washington was the season before last. Things are looking good in Atlanta and the blueline was much improved last season – at least in the talent department. Goaltending has been solidified and there were some solid signings. They’ll make things interesting.
Topscorer: Ilya Kovalchuk with 53-46-99
Keep an eye on: Rich Peverley, who can’t possibly be as productive as he was for ATL last season, right?

10) Toronto – The Leafs will be one tough opponent to play against. There is talent here and they’ve got lots of guys who can literally hurt you. A lack of scoring at critical junctures will be what ultimately keeps them out of the playoffs, but things are definitely looking up. Most blueline depth in the league right now.
Topscorer: Phil Kessel with 41-24-45
Keep an eye on: Viktor Stalberg, who may be the biggest league-wide surprise to make an NHL line-up out of camp.

11) New Jersey – In recent years, I’d never count them out. Something tells me none of Brodeur, Parise or Langenbrunner will be able to hold the torch high enough to be in the playoffs again this year.
Topscorer: Zach Parise with 34-37-71
Keep an eye on: Paul Martin, who wants to be on Team USA and needs to finally put up the numbers to show it.

12) Buffalo – So much homegrown talent, but a nagging feeling in my stomach sees this team simply not being deep enough in the face of injury. That’ll be its downfall. Once Connolly falls, a lot of hard-fought 2-1 and 3-2 losses will be the result.
Topscorer: Roman Vanek with 42-33-75
Keep an eye on: Tim Connolly, because his being able to play 70 games as opposed to 35 will determine if this team is in the playoffs or not.

13) NY Islanders – The Isles will earn this spot based on a commitment to the system and better goaltending. They’ll still not be the prettiest team to watch, but the level of competitiveness and the improvements the kids make will be visible, will keep them in the running for a long time and will show the NHL, that they are a team on the rise! The goal this season is to simply show the critics that there’s much more in the tank than most currently believe.
Topscorer: Kyle Okposo with 24-28-52
Keep an eye on: John Tavares, the most highly touted player in hockey since… uhh, Steven Stamkos?

14) NY Rangers – If it weren’t for Lundqvist, this team would suffer greatly this season, but the question marks are far too great at the moment to rank the Rags ahead of other teams. Should health be on their side, they’ll not be at this spot. My prediction, however, is that their most important players are gonna lose too much time for this team to hold its head above water.
Topscorer: Marian Gaborik with 28-26-54
Keep an eye on: Artem Anisimov, upon whose shoulders A LOT of hope is being placed.

15) Florida Panthers – A fundamentally solid team, the loss of Anderson and Bouwmeester will weigh too heavily for Florida to compete. The biggest problem will continue to be a lack of offense. There’s only going to be so much that Weiss, Horton, Frolik and Booth can do.
Topscorer: David Booth with 27-38-65
Keep an eye on: Michael Frolik, who’s not called “baby Jagr” for nothing!


1) Detroit Red Wings – Still have all the ingredients.
Topscorer: Pavel Datsyuk with 38-51-89
2) San Jose Sharks – Have star power and a few real good kids.
Topscorer: Joe Thornton with 26-66-92
3) Calgary Flames – See San Jose.
Topscorer: Jerome Iginla with 41-53-94
4) St. Louis Blues – Chicago who? This is THE most up-n-coming team in hockey!
Topscorer: Andy MacDonald with 24-54-78
5) Chicago Blackhawks – Have question marks, no doubts, but doggone exciting.
Topscorer: Patrick Kane with 33-49-82
6) Vancouver Canucks – Solid, but still need to find more all-round production.
Topscorer: Henrik Sedin with 17-72-89
7) Anaheim Ducks – Ohhh, they’ll be in the playoffs and NO-ONE will want to play them there!
Topscorer: Ryan Getzlaf with 34-51-85
8) Dallas Stars – Simply too good when healthy not to be a playoff team.
Topscorer: Brendan Morrow with 36-41-77

9) LA Kings – Almost there, but goaltending won’t be good enough.
Topscorer: Anze Kopitar with 23-55-78
10) Edmonton - Still getting better, but just can’t put it all together.
Topscorer: Ales Hemsky with 28-48-76
11) Columbus Blue Jackets – Too much responsibility on the shoulders of young and small forwards.
Topscorer: Rick Nash with 45-37-82
12) Nashville Predators – Good, solid club with a great blueline and still desperate for scorers.
Topscorer: Jason Arnott with 29-32-61
13) Minnesota Wild – Going back to the drawing board, even if there are some interesting parts.
Topscorer: Martin Havlat with 31-42-73
14) Phoenix Coyotes – Some kids will prevent them from the best lottery percentage.
Topscorer: Shane Doan with 29-36-65
15) Colorado Avalanche – I see more injuries; I see last place!
Topscorer: Paul Stastny with 25-50-75

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Stolen from Forever1940

Armstrong made his NHL debut in Arbour's 1499th NHL game. If he doesn't make it back to the NHL, there will be no active NHLers who played for the Islanders in that game.

--- In, therara@... wrote:
> Blues signee Armstrong may find key role with Rivermen

Monday, August 31, 2009

A Letter from the MacPherson's

Hi Roger,

I thought you might be interested reading the attached account of the
investigation of Duncan's death, which was written by Austrian
investigative journalist for Austrian publication, Datum. The German
version (and photos) can be accessed at Assuming you do not read
German, I am attaching the English version of the story, which the
writer, Florian Skrabal translated it for us.

We think he did a good job of weaving the story together, and exposing
the lies/cover-up. For the first time in 20 years, I feel Duncan's
voice has been heard in Austria.

At the same time that the story hit the newsstands, Peter Pilz of the
Austrian Green Party submitted a parliamentary inquiry to each of the
Ministries of Justice, Interior, and Transport; he asked questions that
are going to be very difficult for the Ministers to answer.

And, so, our battle to get the truth out continues - 20 years now! I
know the Austrians just want us to go away, die, or be sent to a nursing
home for incompetence; but, hopefully, we have a few years left!

Hope you are well, and enjoying a nice summer,


Lynda and Bob MacPherson

On Thin Ice - A Duncan MacPherson Uodate by Florian Skrabal From Austria

On Thin Ice

Death on a glacier.

Florian Skrabal reveals a Tyrolean police scandal

The Canadian Duncan MacPherson went snowboarding on a Tyrolean glacier and never came back. 14 years later his body melts out of the ice in the middle of a piste. An accident, the authorities claim. His parents think to able to prove a cover-up.

It is around 3am as the ringing get Lynda MacPherson out of her sleep. Her Tyrolean friend Martin Bär is on the phone. He is the one delivering the news which she and her husband Robert have been waiting for 14 years - and which they have feared for exactly that time. Until now there has at least been hope in their minds maybe their son Duncan is not dead. Maybe he had really taken the job offer by the US intelligence service, the Central Intelligence Agency, which he had told his mother back then about, just as an aside.

"They have found Duncan,” remembers Lynda MacPherson Bär's words.

In some way it was as well a relief, says the 66 year-old today. Finally they would be able to grieve for their son, who had suddenly vanished in August of 1989, just 23 year old, during his vacation in Austria. As soon as possible the MacPhersons want to see their son, want to convince themselves that it is really his body who had melted out of the ice of the Stubai glacier just on the day before the late night call.

From the Canadian town Saskatoon, which lies in the province of Saskatchewan, almost half way between Canada's East and West coasts, the parents get on the way to Tyrol. Seven times had the MacPherson been here before, had they spent almost every holiday here, around 250 days, after their son had disappeared. More than 100.000 Euros, their retirement funds, had they put into plane tickets, hotels, and Tyrolean lift rides, only to find their first born child.

Four days after the phone call of Martin Bär, a former employee the parents had met at Innsbruck’s Austrotel during their first search, the MacPhersons again arrive in Innsbruck. Their first way leads them to the Tyrolean Provincial Police Headquarter at the Innrain Street 34. There Criminal Investigator Willi Krappinger, who handles the case, awaits them.

He refers the couple to the institute of forensic medicine in Innsbruck, which is just 10 minutes by foot. There he is: Duncan rests on the dissection table, a blanket covers his body up the chest. The corpse is well preserved, like mummified due to the time in the ice. "I recognized him right away,” says Lynda MacPherson. On August 4th, 1989 she had last spoken with him. Five days later he was last seen snowboarding on the Stubai glacier. On August 21, 1989 the parents report their son missing to the Canadian police. Now, 14 years later it is official: the search is over, Duncan is dead.

Its official ending finds this case in the final report of Willi Krappinger and the decision of the public prosecutor to rest this case. For the authorities it is an unfortunate alpine accident, one like many others. However, as it will soon turn out for the retired school teacher and the pensioned pilot, the confirmation of Duncan's death is about to start a new search: the search for the truth. It will determine theirs life until this day.

Not until months after their son had been cremated in Innsbruck because the MacPhersons had not had enough money to transport his corpse home to Canada, it will become clear to them that the Tyrolean police had not done their job properly; that one flaw in the investigation had come after the other: starting at the apparent sloppiness at the recovery of the body, the faulty examination of death and the missing autopsy.

For six years the MacPhersons have been trying to advise the Austrian authorities of the inconsistencies in the death of their son Duncan; they write hundreds of Emails and letters. "Yet, it was like running against a wall” says Lynda MacPherson. It takes her and her husband three years before they have all the evidence to support their strong reproaches together; they press them in three binders and send them to the minister of justice Karin Gastinger. From the ministry they get a negative notification: Nothing wrong in this case.

Lynda MacPherson, thereafter, addresses the European Court for Human Rights. "If someone dies an unnatural, violent death, the death has to be examined. It is a human right,” she says. In April of 2009 their address is denied with the justification that "no violation of the rights and freedoms of the European Charter for Human Rights and its protocols.” Their hopes rest on Peter Pilz now. 2008 they get in touch with the Member of Parliament of the Greens via the Austrian attorney Nicole Schabus, who practices law in Vancouver.

Pilz looks at the case and reaches the conclusion that "this tragic case is a prime example how police works should not work: sloppiness without limits, noncompliance with mandatory procedures, possible suspects as prime witnesses-and then all the reports are manipulated in a way that makes the authorities look good.”

Already before parliaments summer break, which starts on July 13th this year, Pilz will issue a parliamentary inquiry addressing minister of justice Claudia Bandion-Ortner and minister of interior Maria Fekter. It shall not only address possible flaws of the authorities in the case MacPherson but also look at how secure Austria’s glacier slopes are in reality.

On August 2nd 1989 the ice hockey-pro Duncan MacPherson leaves his hometown Saskatoon for Europe. From 1986 to 1989 he had been a defender for the Springfield Indian, a so-called farm team, which played in the second highest North-American AHL. For the new season he had accepted an offer as player and coach for the Scottish team Dundee Tigers, which is roughly located 150 kilometers northeast of the capitol Glasgow.

"He wanted to relax a bit before his start in Scotland,” says Duncan's mother. Via London he flies to Frankfurt, where he takes the train to Nürnberg. Duncan visits his friend George Pesut, also a Canadian hockey player who was playing in Germany at the time. As always when traveling, Duncan calls home after his arrival. "I am fine. The trip was exhausting. I will go to bed soon,” remembers his mother about the last conversation with her son. Because George Pesut has to leave for a training camp, he borrows his red Opel Corsa to Duncan.

"Before he left, he had told me that he wants to drive to Italy. On the way, he wanted to meet some more friends. He didn't mention Tyrol to me,” says George Pesut. On August 7th Duncan meets up with Roger Kortko, another friend from the Canadian professional hockey community. They meet in the southern-bavarian town of Füssen. They play tennis, go out for dinner. "Because he could not speak any German, he did the chicken-dance,” remembers Kortko about Duncan performing a dancing act for the waitress, so he could get some chicken. The next morning the two friends say goodbye, Duncan drives on to Innsbruck where he stays a youth hostel in the city centre.

On August 9th 1989 he must have left his last place of accommodation at around half past eight in the morning. Soon thereafter he leaves the red Corsa at the parking lot of the Stubaier glacier lifts; from Innsbruck a drive of around 40 minutes. At around half past ten he meets Walter Hinterhölzl in the ski instructor’s office up on the glacier. He probably is the last human the Canadian talked to. "He wanted to take snowboarding lessons,” says Hinterhölzl.

Duncan is already well equipped: He has rented gloves, ski boots, spats for the feet and a snowboard. But because Hinterhölzl thinks that Duncan had paid too much for the board, they walk back to the Sport Shop 3000, at that time the only rental shop on the mountain. The snowboard instructor tries bargaining for a cheaper fee. No success. Then Hinterhölzl -who will be the head coach of Austrian's ladies snowboarding national team from 2001 to 2006 ­gives Duncan two lessons.

"He was really talented. Around noon we went for lunch, then I said goodbye. Duncan wanted to practice some more in the afternoon,” says Hinterhölzl. Later he will say to the police: "My girlfriend Daniela Widi last saw him at 14:30 on the hill” Then Duncan is gone. Without a trace. No one on the glacier notices anything. Not the piste personnel who goes on check rides with their snow-grooming machines. Not the snowboarding instructor who had another lesson agreed with Duncan upon the next day. And also not the employees of the Sport Shop 3000 who should be missing a snowboard.

Five days have past since the MacPhersons saw the corpse of their son at the Institute of Forensic Medicine. Now they want to visit the site where Duncan had melted out of the ice. The parents get on the gondola. It is the first time in 14 years that they were not charged anything for the ride up. In the stern most corner of the Stubaital where one can see mountains in all directions, it goes up above bare rocks and scruffed off slopes, up to around 3.000 Meter. Up into a industrial area beneath the summit crosses: Around 700 hectare is the ski resort big, almost 110 Kilometers of slope can at best be skied upon.

Two piste workers, who were also been present when the corpse had been recovered, take the MacPhersons on a snow-grooming machine up the last meters from mountain station. Right to where - one and a half weeks earlier – all together four employees of the lift operator had knocked the corpse with picks out of the ice. Just 25 meters from the drag lift away, which back in the days when the ice of the glaciers were mighty, also in the hottest summer pulled winter sport fans up the hill. For 14 years skiers had run over Duncan’s corpse - which laid right in the middle on the regular piste, the so called Schaufelschuss.

So, the MacPhersons stand next to Duncan's freezing grave. Several times they had walked past this spot in the past years. "We wanted to have the moment for us,” says Robert MacPherson. That suddenly changes as the father sees something on the ice: splinters of bones, which had been overlooked at the recovery - and a piece of the snowboard.

It is not just any part laying there in front of the father's feet. It is the part with the serial number which had obviously also been overlooked. For the first time since the discovery of their son, anger joins the sadness - and a feeling of discomfort. Would the police once again do their job so amateurish, like at that time when it was the MacPhersons and not the police who after seven weeks had found the red Opel Corsa at the parking lot? Would the authorities investigate with the same diligence, like back then when it was the MacPhersons and not the Tyrolean criminal investigation force? Would the officials again ignore, contradictions, like the ­with the finding of the snowboard - proved lie of the rental shop owner?

"We have never rented a snowboard out to Duncan MacPherson,”says Josef "Seppi" Repetschnigg, manager of the rental shop back then and today. Duncan’s snowboard instructor, on the other hand, sticks to his version: "He had rented the board there. “ Who is not telling the truth and who probably could have rung the alarm, is at no point in the investigation of the Tyrolean authorities? Not even, when Duncan MacPherson is found -with spats on his feet: Rental 3000.

Months after Duncan's corpse had been found the MacPhersons' fear should prove to be true. They find out that for the authorities the case was solved after just one day. That, although the corpse had melted out of the ice on the middle of a regular piste; although one hand had sharply been cut off and one leg was crushed; although the skiing boots and his socks were not on the feet anymore and although the since 1989-disputed snowboard turns up.

On July 21 2003 the Canadian vice-Consul notes after a telephone call with inspector Willi Krappinger: "The death is being treated as an accident. Because third party fault can be ruled out, Austrian authorities do not automatically require an autopsy. Because the case is regarded as "solved," no post mortem examination is done on Duncan's corpse. He is brought to the Institute of Forensic Medicine solely to be identified. "There was no order for an autopsy. For the physician examining the body all seemed clear,” says forensic doctor Walter Rabl. Back then Duncan MacPherson's body ends on his autopsy table.

Still today Rabl, who became President of Austria's Society of Forensic Medicine in 2004, feels guilty "for other people involved. In principle, in a case like this, where a person is missing for so long; where the person disappeared under unknown circumstances, it would have been the job of the public prosecutor to investigate this thoroughly,” says Rabl today. From his point of view, it was wrong to waive the autopsy.

On the day of the recovery, Duncan's corpse was examined by Kurt Somavilla, medical practioner in Fulpmes, a small ski village in the Stubaital. In the death certificate he notes that an autopsy was performed. "That is wrong. That was never done,” says Rabl. In addition, Somavilla, who is also the chairman of the Austrian Alps Association, Section Stubai, really seems to have managed to determine the cause of death on the same day.

"Polytrauma after fall into a crevasse,” which means death after several deadly injuries. "This is not like you imagine a typical Polytrauma with injuries to the head, the spine, the hips. That was not the case here,” says Rabl. "Just by visual examination it was impossible to say anything about the cause of death. To say Polytrauma is like to say a weak heart."

When the forensic doctor had Duncan transferred into the Institute, even he had to wait for one more day before he could identify the corpse. After all the corpse had been frozen, had been in the ice for 14 years. Somavilla simply could have not been able to determine the cause of death. The physician doesn't want to comment on the allegation. Expect: "Leave me alone with this. We have many glacier corpses here. The parents can't accept the death of their son. They are trying to develop some murder case out of it.” That the parents have already accepted the loss of their son and that they just want to find out what happened to their son, is not of importance to him.

For 14 years the missing of Duncan MacPhersons had been an unsolved criminal case for the Tyrolean authorities. A situation that leaves room for speculation. Had Duncan simply moved on? Had he just eloped with a beautiful and rich girl, like the Tyrolean Gendarms suggested to the parents shortly after their son had gone missing. "They told us: Here in Tyrol nothing can happen to him. For something bad to happen, he must have gone to Italy,” remembers Lynda the officials. "Certainly we had also thought about the possibility of Duncan being murdered,” she says. "But today we know it was an accident. And the only crime involved is the way the investigation had been carried out. There was negligence and the lives of skiers were put at risk," says Lynda MacPherson.

In regards to the actual cause of accident one can only speculate, and so it could possibly be that Duncan Alvin MacPherson, as beginner, he could crashed or have fallen out of the Eisjoch II lift, at around the lift column 7, at the local crevasses", writes Willi Krappinger in his final report in September 2003. To the allegations that he not seriously investigated the case, he doesn't want to comment. A request is only answered in written form bythe deputy commander of the Tyrolean police, Christop Hundertpfund, “Mountain accidents, predominantly falls into crevasses or ice break through in glacier areas, happen regularly.

Being on a glacier, outside of the secured skiing area, without safety equipment brings along the high danger of falling into a crevasse. Accidents like are almost always the result of reckless behavior of the people concerned."

Krappinger continues in his report: "Because skiing down along the lift tracks was not possible and walking up seemed to exhausting, he probably took the short cut across the fenced off area of the crevasses toward the piste and thereby fell into one crevasse.” As Lynda MacPherson, after trying several times, holds the complete and final police report in her hands, she can't believe it.

There are the small but obvious contradictions that strike her first. To exhausting should the way have been up for her son, the 23 year old fully trained ice hockey player? When just 18 years old Duncan had been drafted by the four times NHL winner, the New York Islanders. Because he didn't make it into the first squad, he played for their farm team, the Springfield Indians. Since he had been 13 years old the 185cm tall and 90 kilograms heavy Canadian practiced every day for his career. Given all that, it should have been "too exhausting" for him to walk a few meters up to go around a deadly obstacle?

For the parents Krappinger's report is like a slap in their faces, "an insult to their intelligence" and foremost "a vital link" in what they call "the cover up of the real circumstances.” A perception that goes along with the picture drawn by the Austrian media. It is the Austrian Press Agency (APA), which reports on the day after the recovery that Duncan MacPherson’s corpse was found "120 Meters east of the tow lift,” "in the free skiing area.” This is simply: wrong.

The APA report, which is normally taken unchecked by most daily papers, was "not researched at the site. The source must definitely have been a serious one, like the police or the rescue personnel,” says the APA journalist who wrote the report and who doesn't want to read his name in the paper today. Would one only know this report, one could think that somebody didn't stick to the warning signs and the barriers and carelessly risked his life.

"In addition it seems noteworthy that one year before, almost at the same spot, a Japanese lost his life because he fell out of the mentioned lift, took the short cut across the fenced-off area with the crevasses toward the piste", can further be read in Krappinger's report. Apart from the Japanese being a British with Chinese roots, nobody - not to the MacPhersons, not to the members of the Canadian search and rescue team, which in 1989 came over to help in the search for Duncan - nobody ever mentioned this other accident. In fact, on August 4th 1988 Chin Chiu had fallen into a crevasse almost in the same area where Duncan would fall in one year later. Although the student of the British Loughborough University is saved out of the crevasse just a few hours later because his friend alarmed the rescue personnel when Chiu had not shown up as agreed upon.

Although he had been found Chiu died five days later because of his injuries. Exactly one year before Duncan would disappear, he died from hypothermia.

Another accident, another dead person, and nobody had in all these years said a word about it? What was going on, thought the parents. Is it possible that the slope was in reality not as save as the police tried to suggest based on the statements of the lift personnel? "They questioned the lift personnel and no one else. They are the only source saying that everything was properly fenced-off and that lift like piste were safe,” says Robert MacPherson. "The operator of the glacier lifts was allowed by the police to recovery the corpse without an officer present during the recovery. Secondly, to develop the accident theory. And thirdly to include all relevant facts so that it was an accident without third-party fault. So that it was Duncan who was at fault."

Confronted with these allegations, the press secretary for Innsbruck’s public prosecutor, Wlifried Siegele writes: "Explicitly, I point out that an experienced Alpine Gendarm was at the site for the recovery. It was his report that the Public Prosecutor relied upon.” Another point, which - as the report of the mentioned Alpine Gendarm Stefan Jungmann shows -is not so correct. Jungmann is only there for a few minutes, he shoots photos and then has to leave -as shown in his report -for another mission.

The Gendarm gives the lift personnel the "order to dissect the corpse. Further they were asked to put the corpse and all equipment into the shroud, to take them to the landing area close to the restaurant and get it ready for transport.” Then Jungmann gets back on his helicopter and flies off on his next mission. The investigation, says the speaker for the public prosecutor, has been discontinued because the results of the Tyrolean police command had "without doubt produced evidence, that Duncan MacPherson fell into a crevasse while snowboarding and that there were no signs for third party fault."

The MacPhersons are convinced to prove the opposite: From their point of view the area where the crevasses were, was not like laid out in Krappinger's report "widely secured with a fence". The assumption of the parents is supported by the statement of Helmut Tanzer, chief of piste back in the day. On August 8th so Tanzer who is already retired, markings were set in place and the crevasse were checked. After that the slope was "100 percent" secured.

But a fence, as indicated by Krappinger's report, was according to Tanzer not in place until five days later: "The next record about works in the piste area is written down in the protocol on August 13th. On that day the crevasses at around lift post 7 were filled with snow and in addition a fence was installed."

In 2006 the MacPhersons coincidentally get their hands on photos of another Canadian tourist. Judy Wigmore from British-Columbia goes skiing with her four kids on the Schaufelschuss piste on the same day when Duncan had vanished. Wigmore sees the 2006 documentation by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). The investigative format "The Fifth Estate" reports in a 50 minutes long piece about Duncan MacPhersons case, the "Iceman" as they call it.

Judy Wigmore gets in touch with the MacPhersons via the journalist from CBC and sends them the pictures. On the photos no fence can be seen. Wigmore, who also kept a diary, can't remember "to have seen any warning signs, barriers or fences. Would I have seen any danger up there, I definitely would have not allowed my kids to ski on their own,” she says today.

Even the MacPhersons became witnesses when a hiker almost falls into a crevasse on the assumed secure walking trail which leads up the top the 3.333 meter high Schaufelspitz right next to the piste; as suddenly ice and snow back down underneath the hiker's feet. Her companion manages to grab her. What the MacPhersons witness next will stick to their heads until today. It is an odd sequence which they make photos of: A snow grooming machine approaches the spot where the ice had just broken through underneath the hiker's feet. "The driver-without checking if someone was inside the crevasse, just started to fill the hole with snow and then groomed the spot,” says Lynda MacPherson. And here it is again. That queasy feeling that comes up in the parents with the think on: What if Duncan had fallen into a crevasse, had survived the fall and then had been buried underneath the snow by a grooming machine?

"The sharp-edged injuries to his left hand and his left leg can not be the result of glacier movement as the operator always claims. Also that his skiing boots were not on his feet doesn't fit into the picture", says Robert MacPherson. "Duncan had maybe fallen into the crevasse, had survived and then had tried to climb out of it. As he was up on the edge of the crevasse, with one hand and one leg, a snow grooming machine runs over him and buries him in the ice."

For the employees of the "Kingdom of Snow” as the ski resort on the Stubai glacier is sold his guests, it is impossible that the accident could have ever occurred like that. So Heinrich Klier, the founder, today’s chairman of the board and co-owner of the Wintersport Tyrol AG insists on the statement that "since our existence in the seventies we have had 20 to 30 million guests and only this one deadly accident near to the controlled skiing area.” The 83 year old is one of the pioneers of glacier tourism owning almost all lifts, hotels and bed in the valley.

"The poor guy,” says Klier and continues to explain his accident theory. "Obviously, he fell when he was taking the tow lift up; he gets of his snowboard, climbs over the barrier, walks in the fog on foot and rumbles somewhere down the crevasse. All evil spirits must have played together for something like this to happen.” For months Klier and his two company CEO's, son Reinhard Klier and Franz Wegscheider, are in touch with the MacPhersons; still in 2003 Klier offers the MacPhersons to put up a photograph of Duncan as a memorial. In 2006, as the tone between the MacPhersons and the lift operator harshens and as the parents think to sue the operator, the photo is still not in its place. The operator has passed all on to their insurance.

"You can count on the fact that left and right from the lift there were barricades,” says Klier while talking to today's piste chief,Walter Müller, on the phone. As Müller had called Klier back just a few minutes earlier, the boss was joking: "For a moment I thought you had also fallen into a crevasse.” While Müller is prompting his boss on the phone, Klier starts drawing a sketch of the slope and the lift. According to this the tow lift ran in the middle of a known area of crevasses in 1989. "Also on the piste all crevasses were filled with snow and groomed,” says Klier and draws several crevasses on the slope. "There were police interrogations in which it was concluded that the piste was completely barricaded. Also on the police photos the barriers are visible. That was an important point in the investigation,” says Klier. That these photos exist can neither Klier nor the police prove -although asked for them several times.

"If there are photos of the barrier, he should show them to us,” says Lynda MacPherson. For the parents the search for the truth is long from being over.

We were often asked, Why are you doing this?” says the 66-year old. “When you are convince of being right and such a system gets up in front of you, you simply can’t give up or you lose.”

Lynda MacPherson sits in her dining-room in her house in Saskatoon. She lights up another cigarette. On the wall behind her is a wooden shelf with framed photographs of Duncan and his one and a half year younger brother Derrick. In between there rests a brown cube. It has a metal plate with a silhouette of a country scene on it: the urn of her son Duncan MacPherson.

Saturday, August 29, 2009


I was in a restaurant in Fayetteville, NC the other day. As I was leaving this picture caught my eye do to the use of orange and blue. I said to my daughters that looks like an Islander jersey. Looking closer I see the letters "MAKE" and the number 24. Go figure that someone would paint a picture of Mikko Makela.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Mass Transit LIRR Style

Got something in my monthly ticket pack - $ 27.00 for round trip LIRR transport to Garden City station and two stubs for taxi trip from Garden City Taxi company to the Nassau Coliseum

516 822 LIRR is the phone # for the Railroad to inquire about this transport package

Brought to you as a public service before I forget. :)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Da Lines?

We find ourselves in those dog days of summer where there’s little player movement to speak of, but lots of anticipation for a season starting up in roughly 7 weeks. At this time of the year, folks start talking about how things are looking, whether it be the possible line combinations of their own favorite team or how teams around the league compare on paper, especially in light of the players they’ve signed and those they have lost. I’d like to take this opportunity to mention a few things about our team's line combinations in the upcoming season.


I’m not all that interested about who exactly is going to be playing with whom this upcoming season. We all know that injuries and Gordon’s previous affinity for trying different players on different lines will make any conversation at this point redundant. Sure, the Comeau-Bailey-Okposo line had its moments while Nielsen and Hunter had seemed to form some nice chemistry before injuries removed them from one another. Thompson and Jackman do make for a rough & tumble fourth line pair and Jackman truly became a player you just have to admire, even if it hurt seeing that guy’s nose being broken time and time again. With John Tavares now becoming our great hope in the goal-scoring department, it would only seem logical that he spend some time playing with Doug Weight, who still remains the best pure passer on this team. With Roloson and Biron being extremely capable of providing decent goaltending, the ever injury-prone defense remains intact, with Mark Streit a shining star among a bunch of guys best considered numbers 5 and 6 DMen, at least on any team hoping to fight for a playoff spot.

A bigger question to me is who is really gonna make the team and in what capacity? When thinking about any and all youngins in the system, Tavares included, I have to think about something Darryl Sutter recently said about the situation in Calgary, and I quote, "I really don't care how many one-way contracts we have … I think there's six kids in (July's top prospects camp) who are going to knock the (stuffing) out of some guys for jobs," Sutter said. "And I love it. That's the way it works."

Yep, that’s the way it works – for most NHL teams. For our beloved Islanders, many of those one-way contracts ARE the kids going into our camp. They may not be the youngest, but these contracts have gone to players like Nielsen and Tambellini last summer, and now Comeau and Hillen this summer. Sure, there are some such contracts that this team appears to just have to eat, most notably that of one Mr. Jon Sim. Few of us are planning with him, but he’s there and may hang around a while. He may also get sent to Bridgeport, but chances are that he’ll be one of the 14 forwards remaining on the Island and ready to fill in when necessary. In light of the players we can all expect to be on the Island come the home opener against the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins, here are the players that seem the most interesting to me going into camp, in no particular order.


We are all assuming he’ll be on the Island this season. There are many various statistical predictions being made by fans about what he’ll do this year, but fact of the matter is, we should be ecstatic if his season can somewhat mirror that of what Steven Stamkos accomplished in an unsettled TB environment last season. Fortunately, although we do not boast a line-up with names like Lecavalier, St. Louis, Malone and Prospal up front, we do have a wee bit more stability in management than what Stamkos experienced since becoming a member of the Lightning. What I can say about Tavares is that chances are very slim that he’ll be in this line-up as a center this season. Not only do the likes of Weight, Bailey, Nielsen and Thompson seem to have the middle wrapped up (with Park always a ready option as well), but Tavares will have enough responsibility under the incredible spotlight he'll no doubt find himself subjected to. A few years back, Pittsburgh initially brought in Crosby on the wing and we can expect that the Isles will likely do the same. From what I gather, many see him being more of left wing in this line-up, but if anyone has seen his plethora of highlights dotting the Internet, this kid’s moves and shot are MADE for being conducted coming in from the right side. As such, the right wing is where I expect to see him this season.


After an exciting period of growth in his first pro season, Smith became Bridgeport’s absolute goalgetter last season. He’s gone from 20-17-37 to 30-32-62 within 12 months after having turned pro upon completion of his sophomore year of NCAA hockey. Simply put, the kid has some skills and a nose for the net. Unfortunately for us fans, he’s not the biggest player, nor is he the fastest. As I see it, he may be a handy depth player to have in the system, but if he ever becomes a regular NHLer, it’ll be a true testament to his will to achieve, because many things are working against him. Another cup of coffee on the Island should however take place this year. Expect a good long look at camp this fall.


Skills ready for the NHL, or rather the ECHL? There’s not much to say here – until proven otherwise, expect Joel to be with the Islanders and hanging around for the games where Gordon feels his fists are required. He has little competition in his role and – to his credit – did hold up pretty well in a few bouts to end last season, especially in the fight against Kostopolous. At this point, only Jackman brings this same element to the team, although many believe a few tough guys will find a camp invitation in their mailboxes in the coming weeks.


Something that’s really got me thinking is the number of folks on various online fan sites and outlets who have practically GIVEN prospect Jesse Joensuu a spot in the '09-10 line-up in their mind’s eye. Anyone who believes that a 21 year old kid who just went 20-19-39 in 71 AHL games in his first year in North America – along with a decent 3 point performance in 7 meaningless games (at least in light of the non-existing playoff race) at the NHL level – has a “job to lose” on the Island, simply doesn’t understand how players are bread and how you build a winner. Sure, there are times when a guy dominates the AHL pointwise for several years in a row and a team decides that that player, usually aged somewhere between 23-26, simply must be given a spot in the line-up to sink or swim. Case in point: Jeff Tambellini. This however is not the case for young Jesse. Fortunately, I rest assured that the Islanders themselves aren’t gonna be giving him anything that he won’t be earning. I can almost guarantee you this though: unless he’s about the best player in camp, he’s starting on the farm. It surely wouldn’t be the worst thing for his still progressing development, especially considering the responsibilities he’d receive done there in all situations. Only Jesse can push the Isles to keep him here, but his game simply isn't there yet and there's no sense in him getting 5-7 minutes a night here when he can get more than double that on the farm.


A solid 20-25 game finish at the end of last season is about the only logical reason why Jeff is still in the picture. He saved himself not so much by realizing his AHL scoring potential at the NHL level, but rather by becoming a pesty player who improved his corner work in leaps and bounds. Now, can he take the next step? Can his development progress in the same mold as that of Jason Blake, a player of similar size and speed, who also took his pretty little time turning into the NHLer he’s become? Jeff seems here to stay for now, but this year will surely be decisive in his establishment as a permanent NHLer – or not.


The guy can move a puck every now and again and does have a decent first step. Still, if anyone thinks he’s currently as good or better than say, Freddy Meyer IV, doesn’t have much to base that claim on, for Freddy has proven much more physical and offensive acumen at this level in his short tenure here than Hillen has. Every team needs depth in this department, but this team is lacking in overall blueline and crease toughness and certainly isn’t getting better in that department with Hillen in the line-up. He lacks the weight, strength and experience. He’s got a one-way contract, but he also has competition from MacDonald, Kohn and newcomer Mark Flood. Don’t pencil him in yet - he's currently at best, DMan number 7.


Never heard of him, ehh? Well, the former Cornell star is a 2003 9th rounder who now weighs in at 6’1” and 210 lbs. He’s put up some mighty fine numbers in 3 AHL seasons and in ’07-08, he played 22 games for Los Angeles and put up 5-4-9 numbers after 56 points in 57 AHL games. He was considered a player on the rise and a possible top 6 forward at the NHL level. Things didn’t quite go his way last season although his AHL numbers weren’t far off. Word is though that he’s put in a hell of a lot of work this summer and in light of being 26 years old, truly sees this as his last big shot at the NHL. Surely most fans that saw this signing initially thought that he'll simply add some necessary scoring depth for a Bridgeport squad that has lost three of its top four scorers. That may end up being the case, but don’t tell that to Matt. I for one am very much looking forward to seeing if he can head up to Saskatoon as a man on a mission.

More to come soon....