Saturday, June 27, 2009


So, the draft has come and gone. If you haven't seen all the picks and wheeling 'n dealing, check out the Islander homepage for details, although they haven't yet posted a simple list of their picks and results.

From what I gather, it's like this:
F Tavares, D de Haan, G Koskinen, G Nilsson, Coyote's 3rd in 2010, C Cizikas, D Klementyev, C Lee

That's what we picked up.

The Plus:
The Isles OBVIOUSLY had Tavares, de Haan and Koskinen on their list of players that they simply had to have. They got them and they didn't care who they skipped or what it cost in the process.

The Minus:
The Isles OBVIOUSLY had Tavares, de Haan and Koskinen on their list of players that they simply had to have. They got them and they didn't care who they skipped or what it cost in the process.

General feeling:
It's funny, because Tavares, de Haan and Koskinen were three guys I had really hoped to get out of this draft. That's exciting. If you had told me beforehand that we'd have them, I'd have been quite happy and probably would have said, "Can't wait to hear about the other 8 picks!"

Problem is, there are no other 8 picks. We have 4 more relatively unknown bodies and a remnant for next year's draft (granted, the Coyote pick is bound to be better placed than this year's 91, although next summer's draft isn't [yet] considered as deep as this summer's).

This draft will always leave me wondering if we couldn't have gotten de Haan or Koskinen at another point, under other circumstances? I will always wonder if we could've gotten de Haan without having to give up the five picks it took to get him? I will always wonder if anyone else was thinking of taking Koskinen anywhere near the 2nd round?

What to make of it all:
Ultimately, some fans will give this team the thumbs up for this draft. Heck, I too see three future NHLers in no less than Tavares, de Haan and Koskinen, which is a pretty good turnout for one draft.

However, now viewing the other three bodies and the general bevy of picks that came and well, mostly went, I feel as though the scouting stuff didn't really take things seriously after getting the three guys they knew they wanted. I get they let themselves rest a bit on the laurels of last summer and the belief that they got three future impact players with their picks between 1-31. When you hear what the staff says about Nilsson, Cizikas, Klementyev and Lee (who I think may just be a real gem at some point in the distant future), you get the jist that they kind of, sort of, just, well, were plucking at hunches.

Now, I am but a simple fan, but other than the Tavares pick, which in many respects is about the only one of real interest to a large portion of the fanbase, I can name you no less than five guys in each round who went AFTER each one of the players the Islanders picked in each respective round who I feel would have been much better choices. This goes for the de Haan pick as well - I truly feel he went a good 8-12 spots ahead of where he should have, well, when you compare him to some of the other first round talent (especially Kulikov, Rundblad, Leblanc and Schroeder)! This is not to say that the Isles didn't have good reason to believe that maybe a Florida, per se, was geared to take him 14th, but a good read of the many draft preview publications would give any ol' Joe this feeling.

With the draft hardly over, and of course excluding Tavares, I think we fans will look back at this draft and think "Doggone, THAT guy was still on the board when we took so-n-so and is now way better! How did the scouting staff miss him???"

Biggest statement made by this draft:
Now to the crux of it all - IMHO, this draft pretty much pointed out that this team no longer sees Dipietro as the longterm answer in goal, or as the face of this franchise. I'll tackle the latter point first.

As is, Tavares definitely becomes the new face of the franchise. There is little doubting of this. Aside from the humongous fanfare, when was the last time this team could call one of Canada's most adored sons one of its own? He puts us back on the map for those in the know....

So, with Dipietro being hereby replaced as the face of this franchise, the Islanders go WAY off the board to take the draft's most interesting and most NHL-READY goaltender. I had this guy pegged for round 3. They kicked off Saturday with the announcement of his name. I can only think: WOW!

In a draft this deep and with this team dishin' off five picks to get de Haan, this Finnish kid hasn't been taken to, uhhh, maybe be a back-up at some point. This pick speaks volumes about what the Isles feel about Dipietro's situation. It tells me, they're doubting Dipietro's longterm future. Heck, it tells me, they're doubting Dipietro's shortterm future.

This pick is a scary statement!

Top it off with the NEXT pick being yet another goalie, one not generally cosidered amongst the best available in this draft and well, those doubting the healthy return of Dipietro have been given a boatload of ammunition.

Know this: the team is still pretty high on Kevin Poulin, a monstrous goalie from the Q who they took last summer. In addition, Stefan Ridderwall is a part-time starter in the SEL and Jase Weslosky had the best numbers of any goalie in the system last year and is heading into a big senior year.

If you ask me, this draft wasn't just about the Islanders' future, but rather of its future WITHOUT Dipietro......

Meeting Calvin deHaan

I talked with Calvin's parents last night. Turns out they live like 20 minutes from Jen's parents house in Ontario. I was really excited to meet him and tell him about Long Island and how great it is there.

As I talked to his parents, they told me that the Islanders wanted Calvin from early on. They knew they wanted him as did other teams. They told me that he was out with Chicago the night before and met with the Canes people in the morning before the draft. He also said that Philly and Jersey had an interest in him.

It appears that this is the kid they wanted and they traded up to make it happen. Plain and simple.

The Isles see something in this kid and I said that our scouting staff has been doing very well for us lately and they are right.

Later in the night we are walking down the street and I see someone in an Islander's jersey and hat. Lo and behold, Calvin deHaan!! I asked him what he knew about the team. I also asked him if he was a Ranger fan and he said NO.

Calvin, you will fit right in and welcome to our home on Long Island!!!

Videos from 2009 NHL Draft - Montreal






NEWS 12 LI Part 2



Friday, June 26, 2009

The 31st

So folks, the first round is over and as disappointed as I was with what essentially ended up being 5 picks for Calvin de Haan, we do have five picks tomorrow, including the 31st.

With that in mind, two fairly big fish are still available at this point:
A) Forward Jeremy Morin (21 THN, 28 CSS), considered by many to be the 2nd best sniper in this draft, 2nd only to Tavares.
B) Defenseman Stefan Elliot (27 THN, 32 CSS), an offensive Dman from the WHL who reminds many of Mike Green.

Also of note are C Drew Shore, W Landon Ferraro, C Cal O'Reilly, C Ethan Werek, C Richard Panik, C Joonas Nattinen and W Carl Klingsberg.

I sure wish we were going into tomorrow knowing that we'd be getting two of those guys, but be that as it may, we should have a great pick with the number 31.

Pre-Saturday Prediction:
- Should Colorado not be willing to trade 33 and 49 for 31 and 91, then the 31st should wind down to being one of Morin and Elliot. It's a no lose selection at this point.
- I think the team will look to pawn off #56, hopefully to a team like Montreal (home town crowd still wanting more?), from whom they should be able to get #s 65 and 79.
- With pick 91, should it not be moved, expect the team to select a goalie.

Some interesting names for later rounds should be Bubnick, Nestrasil, Vincour, Orlov, Silfverberg, Lehner, Kostinen, Koskinen, Wrenn, Hankowski, Flueler, Hackett, Barrie, Bertilsson, Vanek, Foligno, Dumoulin, Doherty, Vatanen, Bourque, and Kuchin.

Enjoy it folks!

Picks Tomorrow

Well, unless something completely unexpected happens, the Isles will go into tomorrow's action with 5 picks.

Coming into the draft, we were looking at 2 picks tonight and 9 picks tomorrow.

As of now, we'll be picking 31, 56, 91, 122 and 152.

I made a typo earlier.... we traded pick 182 to Minnesota, not 108.

Looking ahead, I suspect that pick 91 will be used on a goaltender.

Picks 31 and 56 could turn out to be some real gems. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Tim Erixon can be had at 31. Maybe a McNabb, Panik or Rajala is available at 56.

Moves Exciting - Pick Not

I've got no problems with Calvin de Haan.

I have HUGE problems with this team essentially trading 26, 37, 62, 92 and 108 to get a guy who may VERY well have been there at 26 anyways.

In addition, I can't imagine that ANYONE would have taken him between 13-16.

Very disappointed.

Well, I sure hope Kyle Woodlief - of all people - is right, because at some point he praised de Haan as being as good if not better than Ellis.


Welp, Nashville takes another Dman and it's not a big surprise.

A big surprise would be Minnesota passing on Schroeder. Can't see it happening.

That'd leave Kulikov, Rundblad and Moore as the last 3 prospects I feel were worth moving the 26 and 37 for, much less the two 3rds.

Will we have one?

First Slight Surprises

Ok, I didn't expect Burke to pass on a MSP or Cowen at 7. He did. I'd have thought Kadri would slide a bit. Minimal surprise.

However, Dallas taking Glennie over Kulikov or Cowen or even MSP was a real surprise.

This bodes well for the Isles.

With six bodies to be taken before pick 16, there are still some decent chances that one of Kulikov, Rundblad or Moore will be around at 16. If Schroeder were there, it'd be awesome.

Can't see each of Buffalo and Florida passing on Ellis.

Deal in

16, 77


26, 37, 62, 92

Hmmmmm.... We'll have to see.

Who will it be at 16?


I sure hope this staff knows what it's doing!

Sidenote: could the Isles really be trying to couple picks 16 and 31 to move up even further?

Just Reported

Islanders and Columbus have made a deal.

Going from 26 to 16.

I tell you what though, if it took anything more than the 37 (i.e. 56, 62, etc.) then I'm thinking it may not have been worth it.

I certainly hope it doesn't turn into Kassian or Holland.

Still, we'll see happens. I know many fans are looking forward to a move like this.

We got him!

There he is! Tavares is an Islander.

By the way - Roger was visible. He was shown no less than two times on the broadcast. Everyone saw you!

First Tavares Fan Club meeting.... didn't quite catch the date:-)


Montreal Report 1

First Report...'

Outside Bell Center

Met Jamie Stewart News 12 Long Island.

Ryan, Charles and Garth Just walked into the Bell Center. Ryan went one direction and Garth and Charles went another. Time 1710.

My buddy Paolo asked Charles if he was going to pick Tavares. Charles answer, "Who?"

Just 5 more hours to go!

The night will be one that starts with a good amount of fanfare. I can see the first 5 picks taking a good hour.

From an Islander standpoint, I'm fascinated with seeing if the Isles move up or if they stick with the 26th pick. Many assume they'll move up, but I'm thinking a move up is only coming if:
A) a certain player of desire is dropping
B) the price is right

From all accounts, this draft is a deep one. Here's hoping the staff has that in mind when evaluating the value of a player in the 13-20 range as opposed to say two players+ in the 26-37 range.

In addition, I'm hoping any deals that Snow might wish to make may include the pawning off of a Dman currently on the roster. Whether Sutton, Witt, Martinek or Meyer, each may have some attraction AS AN ADDITION to say pick 26. They wouldn't necessarily have it alone. The UFA market has a number of Dmen who might look good in Coach Gordon's system.

In any case, as a fan I'd be very pleased if this team could move up without sacrificing 2 or more of the picks 26-62.

Packed House - Could it be anyone else

In preparation for tonight's events, here's just a little thought.

With a packed house at the coliseum and a fanbase whose majority is - rationally or not - thirsty for one name and one name only, is there any doubt who the 2009 NHL Draft's #1 overall pick is going to be? I mean, could it be anyone else?

More in a few hours....

2009 Draft Esoteric

John Tavares will be the 404th player drafted in by the NY Islanders franchise.

Of course everone knows the first pick ever was Billy Harris. The last pick from last years draft was 196th pick overall, 7th rounder, Simon Lacroix.

Incidentally, we have drafted 254 players since we last won a cup. That is alot of players to come through our system. The last player drafted while we were cup winners was Allister Brown. He was 249th overall picked up in the 12th round.

Post cup era had us pick Brad Dalgarno 6th overall in 1985 followed by Derek King at 13th overall that same year.

The final number of futility is 131. As in 131 players drafted by the Islanders since we last won a playoff series in 1993. Last pick of the playoff winning era was Carl Charland at 274th overall in the 11th round. First pick in the post playoff series winning era (16years and counting) was Brett Lindros.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

So which jersey will end up reality?

Here is the jerseys I have set for tomorrow night.

Live from Montreal.

I have the distinct of joining fellow bloggers up in Montreal. From what I understand there will be 5 other bloggers from the NY Islanders world. In no particular order they are as follows:

Tom of
Ken of
Doug of
Mike of
Brian of

Doug has set up a live feed at Go there and find the event titled, "Live Event: 2009 NHL Entry Draft: Blog Box Live from Montreal" to follow along. There will also be a link for Saturday as well.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Garth and Public Opinion - Part II

Chris Botta posted yesterday on about the true fan. Try getting a word in edge wise over there and you have better luck ice skating on the Ottawa River (Its 30 degree Celsius) in Ontario.

He basically states if you are reading these blogs in June chances are you will still be around come October. His points about true fans are valid and obvious. The issue not stated is the lack of synergy with the Islander's franchise and the rest of Long Island.

My opinions here are not absolute through and through but more of a general feeling I get from when I come home to Long Island a few times a year. I guess I say this because I have two groups of friends from back home. There are my Islander friends. And there are the rest of my friends. They are two distinct groups and as hard as I have tried over the years the non-Isles friends just don't get the Islanders. They do get the Yankees. They do get the Mets. They do get the Giants and they do get the Jets. Islanders not so much. This is where this whole idea is born.

For years of missteps and bad luck, the general population really doesn't care. In order for the franchise and the Lighthouse project to succeed this all needs to improve. I mentioned my wayward non-Isles friends but in this case let me use my own parents as a barometer. A typical phone call from my paternal parent consists of a phone call that starts off with, "Did you hear what the Islanders did now?" After which we could discuss anything from Spano to Sanjay, Muller to Milbury, Smith to Smyth, or one of the multiple 7, 8, 9, 10 plus game losing streaks. The point being that my parents are casual fans. Without my ongoing and never ending corrections they would think that most of the articles in the news are true. While most of the stories have basis in fact, I am able to give them "the rest of the story." It has apparently worked because I have gotten them to show up at a few games the past few years. Although, mi madre refuses to ever go to a Islander-Ranger game again.

What about the casual fans that don't have the NHL Fan of the Year for a son? Who will tell them the real deal about the franchise? For this is why we need to make sure that we do the right thing this weekend.


The success of this franchise on Long Island depends on the Lighthouse Project. The Lighthouse Project is invariably attached at the hip to the NY Islanders. If the NY Islanders are perceived as inept so will the general public's view of the Lighthouse.

I do not agree that the two should be connected and wish someone would correct all the people that continue to use the team name and the Lighthouse project in the same sentence because in reality while they are closely related each should not have anything to do with the other. The Lighthouse is the lighthouse and the Islanders are the Islanders. The perception that most people have that the Lighthouse is for the Islanders is wrong. The Lighthouse project is needed for us the citizens and the community of Long Island. The fact that the Islanders will benefit from it is an added bonus for a die hard fan like myself. It still doesn't change the fact that my parents spend more in a month for their property taxes in a month in TOH that I do in a year in North Carolina.

The connection between the two is distinct regardless of how I may feel. The connection is why John Tavares needs to be the name that Garth says at the podium on Friday night.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Garth and Public Opinion

IMNSHO, the issue here isnt getting the best player or even the right player for that matter. The issue is the Islanders doing the right thing for a change - or perhaps better stated - the normal thing.

We have been through too many damn experiments, restarts and down right abuse. Garth needs to simply do the right thing. He needs to show the maturity of getting this done and in turn it will be the first step in turning this organization around.

I have been trying to figure how to put my thoughts into words about this and I think it comes down to this. The survival of this franchise depends on the lighthouse project. Public approval will be a big part of this. Right now there is a lot of apathy towards the whole lighthouse project. My feeling is that if those supposed 15,000 people leave the coliseum on Friday with a lot of bad feeling it will go a long way towards effecting local support for the coliseum.

If they can't make the right decision on hockey how can they be expected to make the right decision when it comes to something big, like the Lighthouse Project?

Another way to look at it is that we are pretty much the laughing stock around the league with all the issues we have had over the last 15 years. Friday is day 1 of a new generation and of new luck.

Do the right thing Garth and show the people you care about them. As I have said before, the Ryan Smyth trade was about saving the season, last year trading down for Bailey and all those picks was to save the franchise's empty prospect coffers, this year is to save the fans and the team.