Notice to Internet Explorer Users
Some quick words on how to watch tonight's game vs. Montreal. Evidently, due to 'broadband limitations' at the Bell Centre, Montreal, it cannot be seen live. Sacre le bleu! Are they kidding? Sadly they are not.
So, you can check Islanders TV on Friday for pre-game analysis. But can only see the game on Saturday to view the complete game and watch post-game coverage.
Well, so it goes. Luckily you can check in here on Friday night, and I will try to provide an update during my evening travails.
Also, I need to apologize for the sprinkling of weird code in these blogs. We are working on it. Well, actually someone else is working on it. I just blog here. So please bear with it.
Today, and this weekend, I will try to catch everyone up on my assessment of the current Islanders, as well as some pertinent blogs I have written while the Islander Blog Box was being worked on. Monday, we'll be live and without a net again for more fun, excitement and blogging.
For any feedback, I am all ears. Email me at [email]email@example.com[/email] or join here (its free!) so you can comment in the articles. Thank you for those who already dropped me a line and all the well-wishes.
The Division Bell
Part 1 of an analysis of the Islanders, their division, and the Eastern Conference
The State of Long Island
To answer this season's bell, the Isles must jell quickly in chemistry and make games close until some can show they can carry the offensive load. This is not an easy road, and will require the type of grit and determination that pre-Nolan, had been lacking since perhaps the Isles last true great run back in 1993 under Al Arbour, a man who fittingly will return for one game this season to get the vaunted record of 1,500th game.
Despite my little riff on my feelings as I read the usual muck from ESPN and THN in previous team blogs, I do understand that there are a lot of deserved questions on Long Island this season. In fact, I am usually one of their toughest critics when it comes to realistic expectations and observations of my team.
One of the biggest questions in my mind, once again, how will a team with big changes band together and improve itself in order to land a playoff spot?
Lets be realistic, there is a HUGE gap in offensive output right now. Alexei Yashin, despite that my foot was also on his arse to get him off LI, was still a big point producer. And despite the fact that Jason Blake, complete with that self-absorbed chip on his shoulder, was still a prolific talent that was peaking last season, and as everyone knows, is now being highly paid for many years in Toronto.
If anyone sails backward in time via the internet, they will read that I was one of the more ardent supporters of Mike Comrie, who has been growing into a bigger role, especially when the pressure was on in Ottawa. That kind of speed and sparkplug was sorely needed as Blake moved on, and unlike Blake, can actually pass the puck well. Comrie could well bloom into that top center everyone has thought he would be, then his career was derailed by scandals, issues and contract negotiations. Since then, that clamor has died down, and he's been playing solid hockey. Now, under Nolan, he has free reign to create his own value and worth. Lets hope that he chooses wisely.
Bill Guerin has always had a very nasty shot. If you have never really seen how great he can shoot the puck, you will be in for a treat. He has always been quite speedy, despite perhaps some slowdown now in his mid-30s. Besides being a dangerous shooter, his only bane has been inconsistency and a bit of streakiness. Bill Guerin in a groove means trouble for an opposing team. Bill Guerin struggling, means some stupid penalties and frustrated fans, at times. However, with the captaincy, Bill Guerin is in a unique position to seal the deal on his own career being much more in the limelight and at stake with the Islanders fortunes.
One of the more controversial signings, at least from the Peanut Gallery who have used it criticize us for a terrible signing, is what I think is a terrific signing: Ruslan Fedotenko. Who was that Peanut Gallery complainer, none other than the same man who picked us dead last who I cited in a previous blog: Adam Proteau, of the Hockey News. Now don't get me wrong, Adam is a great writer, and usually very good in his hockey acumen. But I think, much like yesterday he is DEAD WRONG on his assessment of Ruslan.
R-Fed has always been willing to push his body and pay prices in front of the net. This attribute has been missing on LI since Mark Parrish had moved on, despite that I was very impressed that Trent Hunter was starting to do so last season, creating lots of opportunities. R-Fed also can score big goals, and we all saw that was needed ever-so-badly when the chips were down at the end of last season, and during the playoffs.
Moreover, R-Fed knows how to forecheck, backcheck and play in all scenarios. He's a rounded hockey player, not someone who can disappear, even if he's not scoring regularly. Moreover, he has much more upside that Viktor Kozlov, who despite a wonderful vision, finesse and success under Nolan, still would be a liablity in certain facets of the Nolan-style of game he wants them to play. So, R-Fed makes .4 million more than Viktor does, yet Adam calls it the biggest bust of the offseason? There is much more than goals, my friend. There is much more to this game in just stats, and the Isles need rounded players to play the schemes Nolan likes to use.
The biggest issue of all with Adam's slamming of R-Fed is that he harps that Ruslan should have been given a incentive-filled contract instead. Well, Adam, take a look at the CBA as you would see that R-Fed is not eligible for that. However, mistakes happen, and again, I am not exactly looking to call out Adam, but argue that his assessment might not be accurate on R-Fed.
One of the more underrated pickups was Jon Sim, who despite being lambasted at the time since Isle fans were watching player after player walk - then suddenly an email from the Islander's that touts: Jon Sim an Islander! . . .
. . . well that kind of went over like a lead balloon. However, he is a banger who plays well on the boards, and who will be a fan favorite for it. Watch out for Jon Sim.
Part 2: DEFENSE Assessment plus results of the Isles vs. Montreal
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