Your new Islanders team blogger and one of those selected for the Islander's BlogBox comes to say hello on this rainy and dreary Monday morning in New York.
((note: Evidently the system still has me set to the main site, but this and other Islander blogs will be soon to appear in it's appropriate spot: with the team blogs))
So, we all had been waiting for an Isles blogger. Well, now we all have one.
I’d like to thank Paul for all his good work past season.
Who am I? An Islanders fan, a published writer, and a regular Hockeybuzz.com blogger who does satires, observation pieces and analysis vignettes. I am also one of those selected by the New York Islanders for their BlogBox program, soon to be providing my blogging skills on the Official New York Islanders website.
So, now that introductions are out of the way, lets move on to come Isles observations based to where we are right now…
You are HERE
So, we careen towards training camp, now within the dull dog days of summer, waxing nostalgic on the Isles moves this summer as things wind down. Yes, there are still rumors of another dman being added to the fold, whether it is via tryout, free agency or trade. However, despite those rumors, per Garth Snow, they were done on defensive changes right after Andy Sutton
As for offense, Snow has made no such statement when signing Josef Vasicek
, who once upon a time lead the Hurricanes in scoring back in 2003-04. A smooth depth move to perhaps be the cap, at least till training camp battles, tryouts and assessments…after a tumultuous summer of buyouts, free agency holes, deadline deal rethinking, and playoff tastes.
Does another player getting added or brought into resurrect careers? There is certainly room. We have all read the Jason Allison
and even Jeremy Roenick
talk. Despite some youth like Frans Nielsen
and Jeff Tambellini
ready to take the reins, people thought that last year too, yet both found their way right back to Bridgeport. It is unclear if someone will be brought in for depth, and to make youth break through and outplay them for a spot. But, that same table was set last season, so my guess is we’ll see a few…like how the Omar Minaya led NY Mets invite some to training camp to see if they can still cut it.
But will those aforementioned vets take low-end contracts and want to prove themselves? To me, the Roenick rumors seem more of he and his agent making a wishlist rather than Isles interest. Allison talk has been all summer, and makes me think that’s its more an issue of him accepting a low-end deal with incentives. After all, the Isles could use a playmaker, especially on the powerplay.
There seem to be no free rides with Ted Nolan’s team, as some found out last season after good camps yet soon sent down after. Yet, with his defense, he has been extremely patient with Bruno Gervais
, and Snow & Nolan then found it worthwhile to move along Zhitnik to make way for Chris Campoli
. So, they are also comfortable making commitments and letting that youth find their way. My guess is we’ll see more of youth this season, despite whatever happens with some vet rumors.
However, that aside, there is one player Isles fans have been waiting for to return and see how his potential fits with Long Island. Sean Bergenheim
is back, and I for one am very interested to what he can do under Nolan and bring to the table with his speed, ability to bang a bit, and how he fills out as an everyday player. While other vets have been added, we will also see if Trent Hunter
can take it to a new level. Year 1 and 3 showed his best, and he’s become an all-around force on the ice. But the Isles need scoring, and Hunter needs to up that ante and keep growing to truly fill his own potential, and fill a huge need for his team. Other vets and new players we’ll address in further blogs and assessments.
Back to the coach and GM:
Nolan and Snow have clearly emerged out of the confusing blanket word: “Committee”, which we had to suck down strangely last summer at this time as owner Charles Wang made changes in the corporate hierarchy. Yet, this summer, that word has mysteriously disappeared, and we heard more names used in the actual decision-making process instead of bureaucracy. This does not mean it is gone, but the fact we’ve seen more responsibilities in the hands of key personnel shows a change on some level, even if it is cosmetic.
The Peanut Gallery
Whether it was Mike Milbury
leaving, Alexei Yashin
bought out and now gone to "Russia With Love", or even the Ryan Smyth
negotiations, it seemed, at least to me, that many stories writers/bloggers and even message board posters seemed to shoot for the Isles jugular and dismissing or disparaging the Islander organization. Those of the hockey ideologue seem to use LI as a buttress for negative and blanket statements over every fart and fizzle that has gone on from bashing Wang and the committee to focusing on Snow and Nolan, in general. An ideologue that usually harps on the usual antiquated Milbury comments despite the guy is gone and now going to be working with Pierre McGuire
on NBC this upcoming season.
Its one thing to follow a team and carry some pessimism or cynical outlooks…after all, fans come in all shapes and sizes…none better than the other, but all too often its more of a peanut gallery commenting from afar, usually ignorant of the daily goings-on, waiting for shoes to drop to bring out the “canned” articles or blogging “wisdom”. Many from the peanut gallery only address the Islanders when they can find that angle to crucify or magnify gaffes, issues, mistakes or simply confusion. And it has created a mindset on some of the Isles faithful to sit and read even even-keeled work, looking for slights and bashes, creating their own sometimes. After all, people will ALWAYS see what they are looking for.
Perhaps some have been shell-shocked over the years, and simply have not recovered their Isles equilibrium? Who knows? I could spend days over the psychology over it. But you will read both of those juxtaposed inclinations in many of the subsequent forum posts even on this website, among others.
Islander fans, in the last 15 years, have done a roller coaster of ups and downs. Nobody needs to tell the Isles faithful how bad it was, nor peel away the trials tribulations of pulling itself from that muck and mire. No matter if you think Bill Guerin
is not a good replacement for Smyth, or if the Isles should have made the Smyth deadline deal in the first place, at least there is a vision not dictated in Milstein penny-pinching, or MadMikery, or simply Yashin hopefulness to hopelessness these days. That there is a clear goal and attempts to move forward. Does that make us a playoff bound team this season…
Well stay tuned till my next column to find out.
Email: B.D. Gallof