Friday, July 24, 2009

Home Opener Count Down

Stolen from:

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Montreal Tweetup

#NHLtweetup on Twitpic

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Prospect Watch: News from Sweden

We’re entering the dog days of summer and this post-draft phase of Islander free agent acquisition has been well, quiet to say the least. Almost universally recognized as having been a solid signing was the quick scooping up of Dwayne Roloson, a fella who’s only a few months younger than our esteemed GM. The various fan boards polluting the Internet have been buzzing for weeks, with some fans lauding the safe, conservative, cost-effective free agency approach shown by Islanders’ management while the other 95% are growing weary about the lack of movement with regards to another top 6 forward, a top 4 defenseman and a bona fide enforcer. I guess most of them have simply overlooked the signings of Matt Moulson, Mark Flood and Jeremy Reich? :-)

Still, the intent of this article is to get back to the goaltending issue. To make a long story short, a team whose #1 goalie still has 11 years on his contract went about adding two more goalies to its system via the draft (consequently signing one even before signing Tavares), then picking up a top-flight 1A goalie in Roloson and an AHL goaltender (Munroe) whose latest season should place him right on the cusp of the NHL. Some of our readers have of course been curious to hear what this means for the other three previously drafted Islander goalie prospects, especially considering two of them were NOT at the recent Islanders Prospect Camp on Long Island. Most importantly for many Islander fans is what this means for Stefan Ridderwall, a no doubt very promising goaltending prospect who spent last season splitting duties for the SEL’s Djurgarden (yes, where Robin Figren also played), one of the most storied franchises in all of Europe.

As fate would have it, our insider had the opportunity to catch up with Stefan, who was most humble and courteous in informing his Islander fans stateside about how his still very young career is progressing in good ol’ ‘Sverige’. To get you up-to-date, Stefan began last season as one of several young Djurgarden goalies vying for playing time. It was his rookie year and he had even earned himself the bulk of the playing time coming out of the starting gates, something that is unusual in many parts of the hockey world, but that has become a bit of trend in Sweden in recent years. Unfortunately, he suffered a rupture in the anterior side of his thigh and that literally put him on ice for the rest of the season. The good news is that the injury has healed successfully, he’s feeling strong again, is in shape and ready to go. He should be in camp with Djurgarden no later than the beginning of August. With respect to the upcoming season, Djurgarden has also been playing the safety game in their planning and is going into the season with three goalies, something Stefan sees as healthy competition. He’s confident that he’ll step up to the plate in the face of the internal challenges for the #1 goaltending position.

Here are few quick quips on other things that he was kind enough to discuss….

On his goal for the upcoming season:
“My goal is to play as much as possible and do everything necessary to take the next few steps in my development!”

On having played together with Islanders prospect Robin Figren, and dealing with his locker room antics (ed.: something Figren has earned a reputation for):
“We were pretty good buddies even before we were drafted, so it was absolutely awesome to get to play together in the SEL with Djurgarden. Sure, I’ll miss his locker room jokes, but I’ll get my fill of that type of thing too now during the off-season, so I’ll be alright.”

On contractual relations with the Islanders to date:
“My primary goal at this point in my career is to become a regular goalie here in Sweden and to develop to the point where I’m ready for the challenges of North America. There have been discussions with the Islanders and we’re on the same level. Of course, I currently have an existing contract here. An agreement between the NHL and SEL must be met in order for me to be able to sign with the Islanders.”

On contact with the Islanders (i.e. Anders Kallur) and their scouting staff:
“Yes, we stay in contact. We meet at various venues around Sweden. He [Anders] keeps himself informed about how things are going. We even talk on the phone sometimes. Ryan (Jankowski) and the goaltending coach also keep in touch with me.”

On following Dipietro’s injuries and the Islanders’ current goaltending situation:
“To be honest, I don’t follow it directly. I know that Dipietro had a very difficult season with regard to his injuries, but I still have so much to do in focusing on things with my team here and my personal progress as a hockey player that I can’t yet afford to concern myself with what’s going on in North America.”

On following the 2009 Entry Draft from afar:
“I saw that they drafted Tavares, but I didn’t really see what else went on. I did however notice that they took Anders Nilsson from Lulea and he is quite a capable goaltender. They did very well in taking him. I’ve seen him a couple of times at the junior level and he’s a good goalie with great size.”

On not being at the Islanders’ recent Mini-Camp and his cousin Calle’s performance there:
“I am healthy and fit, but I would have had to sign first in order to take part in the Mini-Camp (ed.: see contractual details above). My cousin Calle has had some really solid seasons at the college level and was invited to camp. From what I’ve gathered, the camp went really, really well for him, which is absolutely fantastic! We are really good buddies and spend a lot of time together during the summer.”

On the possibility of being at the Islanders preseason camp in September:
“No, I don’t believe I’ll be there, but that too has much to do with the contractual situation involving the relations between the NHL and SEL.”

All in all, this should shed some light on Stefan’s situation at the moment and assure Islander fans that he’s anything but out the picture. The situation between the NHL and IIHF (and thus indirectly with the SEL and other European leagues) is no-where near the cold war status that can be understood with respect to the NHL/IIHF vis-à-vis the KHL, but there is a system in place to protect existing Swedish contracts as well as a cost structure to reimburse European clubs for developing the players they’ve raised and invested in. As such, it is and should remain Stefan’s goal to continue his development and become the best player he can be – which will ultimately decide where and to what degree he fits in the Islanders’ plans. At the same time, there’s no telling as to whether this particular contractual situation played a role in the Islanders deciding to go with two goalies in this past draft, one of which having already been signed (Koskinen).

Anyhow, I’d very much like to take this opportunity to thank Stefan for taking his time to answer the questions above and wish him all the best in the upcoming season. Islanders fans will be following your progress closely! I’m sure I speak for many of these fans when I say we’d have nothing against seeing you making a ‘Lundqvistian’ impact at some juncture in this part of New York.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Rechlicz - Pinhead or Patriot? PATRIOT!

Rechlicz - Pinhead or Patriot? PATRIOT!!!

Go to:

On the left side click on Pinheads & Patriots

Then in the middle column click on the July 20th edition (It says something about Jesse Ventura)

John and Joel Rechlicz, two Milwaukee WI, firefighters save a mother and child.

New York Islander Joel Rechlicz is from Milwaukee. I am wondering if there is a relationship.