At the Town of Hempteads public meeting on April 8, the Town Board will vote on a resolution to designate itself as Lead Agency under the State Environmental Quality Review Act as well as issue a Positive Declaration on the application. These actions lead to the public scoping process, which defines the analysis required for the Environmental Impact tatement.
If possible, please attend the public meeting at 10:30 a.m. at Nathan L.H. Bennett Pavilion, Town Hall Plaza, located at One Washington Street, Hempstead, NY 11550.
If you can get there, be there and show support April 8th!
Now to our regularly scheduled blog . . .
There is nothing that might shake your profound disappointment, especially if you bought into the Isles hot start and the positive press it wrought only a month or two into the season. Where you had a poster of Garth Snow and his giant goalie pads on your wall. Or Ted Nolan bobblehead doll staring back at you from your dresser, nodding eagerly every time you went for a fresh pair of socks. But take a moment to have your intrepid blogger to shine a bright light, tell you it will be all ok in the end, and read some further . . .
A Little History
New plans and visions take time. When the Isles suddenly strode from Shaw, the interim coach who didn't even get a public thank you after Sterling's dismissal, there was much thought to how to proceed. Ownership was not quite ready to concede the abject failure that was Yashin's contract and how it was holding longterm plans back. And Nolan's work with the the vets, some old, some new, paid off with a playoff spot and injected some much needed fire to the hockey faithful, most of whom did not pay attention till then.
Most of the Isles attendance boom and rating increase can be thanked to that run, and Newsday's waking up that hockey was still important on Long Island. But, the Isles made an important distinctive decision, finally listening to fan complaints and a big letter-writing campaign, not to mention some agreeing internal brass, to cut Yashin loose.
When Yashin was bought out, it was to make room and welcome Ryan Smyth, who was on the top of the Isles "retain" list. It was the perfect scenario. As Blake priced himself off the team, culminating in a public whinefest about Garth not talking numbers with his agent, the Isles hit the UFA market with a clean slate. The danger was if Smyth did not resign, we might take a huge hit on offense for at least the coming year.
The Smyth plans might be one of the ballsiest moves made on LI in a long, long time. The Isles took a huge chance, rolled out the red carpet, swabbed the decks, and had players to work with him in their sight. And then he went to Colorado. They rolled the dice, betting big, and lost. And the immediate result was that they had little attraction to those that were on the top of their list, and that the 2007-2008 season might be affected by their gamble.
The truth is, when things did not go their way, the hit would be immediate and profound to this season. They didn't want to admit it at the time, instead, scrambling to make new plans and adjustments. Obviously those adjustments did not work as intended. But, that said, until injuries finally knocked off DP and others, the Isles at the all-star break were in playoff position. Even at trade deadline, they were close to the fray.
Close, but no cigar. Alas.
Here and Now
And so caught up with that drama, we forget all the good things that are on tap down the line. We lose of ability to appreciate what are the good things to be taken away this past season. How players like Freddy Meyer decided to become a fulltime dman. Or Witt and Martinek's high level of play. Even Andy Sutton's starting to excel. Chris Campoli, from a great camp to an excellent season until injury ended his run.
Trent Hunter showed strong two-way play, gelling with Mike Sillinger, and is sticking around for a reasonable 5 year deal. Richard Park has developed into quite a key defensive and vet cog, from what was a fringe player only two years ago. That Bill Guerin, who had a bad streak in the middle of the season, was still a consistent scorer. Comrie, despite injury and perhaps not fit for the 1st line, still had a nice amount of points. Yes, his plus minus sucked. But once again, with no real top center, he was forced to play in instances that were not quite optimal.
Look, we all know there were serious problems to the team. But sometimes you need to step back and appreciate those things that did work. But more importantly . . .
The Isles have had youth start to pierce through the vet mix. Where Blake Comeau has a good camp, gets sent down, and then returns to show his stuff. Where Kyle Okposo goes from college to the AHL with success, and then shows nicely in his call-up in the NHL for the final nine games.
Where the Isles have the 5th pick in a defense heavy 1st round in a good talented draft pool.
International Scouting Service (ISS).
No. Player Pos. Ht. Wt. Team
1. Stamkos, Steven C 5.11 176 Sarnia
2. Filatov, Nikita LW 6.00 165 Moscow CSKA-2
3. Doughty, Drew D 6.00 219 Guelph
4. Hodgson, Cody C 5.11 185 Brampton
5. Pietrangelo, Alex D 6.03 206 Niagara
6. Schenn, Luke D 6.02 216 Kelowna
7. Bogosian, Zach D 6.02 197 Peterborough
8. Wilson, Colin C 6.01 215 Boston U.
9. Boedker, Mikkel LW 5.11 195 Kitchener
10. Beach, Kyle C 6.03 203 Everett
11. Bailey, Joshua C 6.00 188 Windsor
12. Boychuk, Zac C 5.09 175 Lethbridge
Add to this those in their system who are doing nicely: Katic, Kessel, Gregoire, and many others. And those who did well in their call-ups like Spiller, and you have a lot of kids being developed for a big return down the line. And thats the kind of thing that turns teams into power houses. Not trades. Not free agency. But, homegrown talent. It is what made NJ and Colorado such a force in years past. Then you add the other pieces. Not before.
The picking, cultivating and nurturing of new talent is the most key dynamic to the Isles longterm fortunes. It was the most severely lacking attribute in those lean years when Mad Mike and scouting picked well, but had no clue on how to develop them. Instead, they traded them away to bloom elsewhere to get already developed or veteran players. You all know how that went. Dumb...dumb...dumb.
These days, they are in the system. And the Isles get to add to it a key cog. A top 5 pick is a great spot, and there is a ton of talent at-hand. Wang and Snow have already made key statements about next year on how the plan is for youth to be served. No more veteran mid-carders taking spots so we can coast. That perhaps some have woken up to the fact that with the right amount of youth, that Ted Nolan might just have to work harder to get some kids to the levels he prefers to have on his team. There is a new Prime Directive.
"Thou shalt develop the kids. Fans will appreciate the energy and development of the future."
For all pretense and purposes, a rebuild or at least a retooling. Where the kids will not be bumped for those who are 3rd or 4th liners at best. And give Ted Nolan his due. He might have been frustrated, disappointed, and even highly irritated with efforts, but he had this team in the mix for the playoffs despite it all until injury decimated what was already precarious put-together mix of mid-tier and sleepers.
There are quite a few reasons for optimism. Where the future might be bright. Where those who have leaped onto the diving board of sports depression need to take a look back with clearer eyes. This is not the team of the late-90s or the early 2000s. Yes, they are still prone to mistakes. Hello. This is a sports team. It's not easy or a surething. People, owners, GMs, even coaches make mistakes. The point is, even if they do, to have some things on tap that will rectify those mistakes down the line. This is a major difference between the Isles of the late-90s who broke our hearts, and this new Isles. With land development plans, which are now moving forward again (Public meeting scheduled for April 8 at 10:30 am in Hempstead*), and prospects galore, there are brighter days ahead.