No one is saying this is going to be an easy year.
With a new coach and a more youthful squad on the ice than that of last year, there is obviously an automatic learning curve to be endured once the hockey begins in earnest. However, Scott Gordon will have his work cut out for him once he realizes he will have less to work with than he thought.
First is Rick DiPietro, still working his way up from knee and hip surgery. Reports say he may see action late in the preseason... or he may not even start the regular season. Whatever the case, the smartest move for him to make would be to bide his time and come back 100 percent healthy, so that he is not found in this very same position next year. Next is Mike Sillinger, who also had surgery over the offseason for his hip injury, but has little chance of being ready for the season, prompting some fans to mull over the thought of him perhaps retiring. Then there's Jeff Tambellini ("upper body"), Sean Bergenheim (back?), Chris Campoli (who the heck knows?), Andy Sutton (perhaps upper body, can't be sure), and now captain Bill Guerin.
One would think this was an epidemic as they look at the list. The bad thing about this is that it's a mix of younger players and seasoned vets, and there doesn't seem to be enough time for everyone to be ready come October 10th. This is surely a huge stroke of bad luck for the team, who will now have to wonder how they will come out of the gate strong with a decimated roster... which, ironically, was how they had re-entered for the offseason.
Time will tell how we shall fare.
Welcome to the NYIslesScene!
A blog by a long time New York Islanders fan who stays true to the fellas wearing orange, white and blue…but thinks the Islanders organization has some shaping up to do.
Monday, September 29, 2008
No one is saying this is going to be an easy year.
With two blueliners injured for the Islanders and only a week until the season starts, former Rangers prospect Thomas Pock has been claimed off of waivers by the Islanders.
This news comes after Andy Sutton and Chris Campoli have both gone down with injuries. Pock will hopefully provide good insurance for either one of these two defensemen, probably for Sutton's toughness.
Posted by Angelica Rodriguez at 5:26 PM
Friday, September 26, 2008
Over two exhibition games against Boston and Philadelphia, the Islanders outplayed and were outplayed as well, winning the first 2-1 in overtime and losing the second, 4-0.
A noticeable absence from both of these games has been goaltender Rick DiPietro, who is recuperating from knee and hip surgery and has been pushing himself in camp and his off-ice conditioning, according to Greg Logan. However, he likely will not play in the next two exhibition games Wednesday or Friday. Jeff Tambellini is also suffering from a lower-body injury and has stayed off the ice.
Posted by Angelica Rodriguez at 3:50 PM
Friday, September 19, 2008
It's never a good sign for a hockey team when people are more interested in what's going on off the ice than on it. That's the unfortunate case for the New York Islanders, where the high point of last season was the revelation that Mike Comrie was dating Hillary Duff.
After a promising 2006-07 season that saw the team sneak into the playoffs on the final day, the Islanders were decimated by a mass summer exodus that saw Ryan Smyth, Jason Blake, Viktor Kozlov, Tom Poti and Alexei Yashin escape the Island. The additions of Comrie, Bill Guerin, Jon Sim and Ruslan Fedotenko certainly didn't give the fans a sense that better days were ahead. But the Isles surprised many by getting off to a decent start, thanks in large part to the Guerin-Comrie-Fedotenko line for the first month.
By December, things started to go poorly. Chris Simon was suspended for 30 games after attempting to stomp on Penguins agitator Jarkko Ruutu. Things got worse as the injury bug decided to take a bite out of defenceman Chris Campoli and defensive forward Mike Sillinger. It all culminated with franchise goaltender Rick DiPietro getting injured during the All-Star Game's skills competition. His play was affected by the injury and he would miss the final nine games of the season, ending any remote playoff hopes.
The team's woes then came to a head with the simmering feud between head coach Ted Nolan and general manager Garth Snow, leading to Nolan's dismissal in July.
General Manager: Garth Snow (3rd season)
Head Coach: Scott Gordon (1st season)2007-08
Record: 35-38-9 (13th in Conference)
Points Leader: Mike Comrie - 49
Goals Leader: Bill Guerin - 23
Assists Leader: Trent Hunter - 29
PIM Leader: Mike Comrie - 87
+/- Leader: Freddy Meyer - 6
PP Goals Leader: Marc-Andre Bergeron - 8
SH Goals Leader: Richard Park - 4
What They Did: The Isles had roster holes to fill at virtually every position, and started with a boost to a power play that finished dead last in the Eastern Conference last season. The team hopes Mark Streit will build on a breakout season last year with the Canadiens where he swung between defence and forward and picked up 34 points with the man advantage. The team also added playmaking centre Doug Weight, hoping that a reunion with former Edmonton Oilers winger Bill Guerin will help spark both players to productive seasons. The team also jettisoned Fedotenko, Josef Vasicek and the underperforming Miroslav Satan.
What to watch for: One of the biggest disagreements between Snow and Nolan was what type of team the Islanders were. Snow wanted to see some of the team's prospects gain experience at the big league level, while Nolan wanted to win immediately. Snow, with the backing of owner Charles Wang, won the debate and incoming coach Scott Gordon will give the kids all the ice time they need and more. The brightest spot is University of Minnesota product Kyle Okposo, who should contend for the Calder trophy as the league's top rookie. The Minnesota native is the type of player the Isles hope they can build a franchise around. He looked like the real deal scoring two goals and three assists in a nine-game stretch after a late season call up. The team will once again depend on Comrie and Guerin to provide the majority of the offence as the team is short on firepower from the forward position.
While the cupboard appears bare up front, the same can't be said for the Isles' blueline. While far from elite, New York's top six features a nice mixture of puck movers and body bangers. Along with Streit, Campoli is poised for a bounce back season after undergoing shoulder surgery, while Radek Martinek and Freddy Meyer provide depth. Brendan Witt should provide veteran leadership to a very young group and will punish opposing forwards who dare venture into the corners with him. He will be helped in that department by Andy Sutton, who missed 22 games last year with a leg injury.
This is a very important season for DiPietro. He was enjoying a fantastic season before his mishap during All-Star Weekend. He is easily the Islanders' most important player and they need him on the ice as opposed to the infirmary where he has finished his last two seasons. While his talent is unquestionable, he has earned the knock of being fragile, missing multiple games because of injuries over the past three seasons. While New York will be hard pressed to make the playoffs, an injury to 'Tricky Ricky' would be devastating.
Parting Shot: Years of poor results, paired with an aging arena, has turned potential fans off in a market that is saturated with sporting options. The biggest hope is that Okposo enjoys a tremendous rookie season giving the fans some hope for the future. If he doesn't, the Isles could be irrelevant yet again.
Posted by Angelica Rodriguez at 5:44 PM
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
What ever happened to fair play?
Here's the situation: I'm in my room flipping through the Sports section of a summer Sunday's edition of the Daily News. I love the Sunday paper because the Sports part is even bigger than usual. As I get to Part 2: The Score, I do a double take at their Gratuitous Photo of the Week. Usually, I ignore this section, but on this day they have a picture of some tennis player named Ashley Harkleroad, which would be unremarkable were it not for the fact that she is wearing a towel on her neck, a skirt exactly three inches long, and "tennis" heels, balanced on her tennis racquet in a suggestive pose. That is all. Later, when interviewed about it, she seemed to be completely comfortable with leaving nothing to the imagination.
And, not for the first time, I found myself thinking, Great. Another role model for women's sports bites the dust.
It's shameful to say that this is going on, that barely anyone outside the tennis world probably even knew Harkleroad's name before she decided to pose for Playboy. That this poor girl thinks she's doing right by herself when she really isn't. That she hasn't been the first to do so, and she likely will not be the last, unfortunately. But most of all, that American society still can't grasp the idea of female athletes being simply athletes, and nothing more, even in the 21st century.
Thirty-six years ago, in 1972, Title IX of the Education Amendments was passed, giving women the chance to be equal to men in educational activities including but not limited to participation in sports. Now, in 2008, scores of women play sports on some level. However, you would barely know it if you'd been living under a rock and never realized it.
Why? Because sports networks are either barely skimming the surface of coverage of women's sports, or they're hypersexualizing the culture.
Face it, sex sells in this world of media. It's become an unspoken pact- men are best when they're strong, tough, uber-men, and women are best when they're hyperfeminine, graceful, beautiful and (at least half) naked. Talk about Title IX and feminism if you want, but even in the sports world, women have been pushed to accept this way of the world. Those who have, have the privilege of being noticed (Danica Patrick, Amanda Beard). Those who haven't- and there are many, aren't quite so lucky.
I won't lie- there are plenty of female athletes who haven't embraced the "sex sells" mentality. Krissy Wendell, Vonzetta Flowers, and other athletes have bucked the trend and become noticed for what they do best. However, even their names don't roll off the tongue as easily as IndyCar driver Danica Patrick, who does racy spreads for FHM and commercials for GoDaddy.com, or swimmer Amanda Beard, who takes her clothes off for practically anything. No doubt Ashley Harkleroad will join this legion, as nudged by her boyfriend and her agent, who obviously have no qualms about exploitation of women. (Because of course, men could care less if their female counterparts were stripped of their self-respect.)
All I ask of these women is this: Think of what you're giving up here. Money is nice and all, but when it comes to yourself, your self-respect, your dignity, is it really worth baring everything but your soul just for a paycheck? You wouldn't go into a job you hated for the money; why would you be so willing to throw away the respect you get from playing a sport for it? You're no porn stars. You're athletes. You represent your sport, and your family, and your community and your country. You set the examples for scores of young women and girls who wish to one day follow in your footsteps. And if these are the images you are to leave behind, you'll only make it worse for future generations. It's like those hideous pink and baby blue jerseys sports organizations sell to females; the more we buy into the concept, the more we become degraded. I will never wear those jerseys, and I refuse, without a doubt, to let myself fall into the trap that the others willingly dwell into.
There's a ton of money out there, girls. There's only one you. You can leave your mark on the world in a better way than through a centerfold.
Posted by Angelica Rodriguez at 2:54 PM