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.

Islanders 2014-15 Season Mantra

Try not. Do...or do not.


Friday, May 15, 2009

Isles Coaching Staff Undergoes Changes

As the offseason goes on for the Islanders, expect the coaching staff to look a little bit different even during the draft.

That's because assistant coach Dan Lacroix and strength/conditioning coach Chris Schwarz have both left the team by mutual agreement, and the status of John Chabot is still uncertain. Among the reasons for the splits have been a need for both a training coach who is based on Long Island (Schwarz lives and practices in Ottawa during the offseason) and a defense coach with NHL experience.

You can read the article here, by Greg Logan:


These are both valid reasons for the changes to be made, including the fact that numerous players have been injured this season, causing the Isles to have lost over 580 man-games to injury. This could be a result of overtraining during the summer, causing muscles to be overworked by the time training camp rolls around. As for Lacroix, although he and Chabot seemed to have worked well with Scott Gordon, it wouldn't hurt to have a guy brought in who can really work with the blueline from experience.

The Week In Review: Eastern and Western Conference Semis


Penguins beat Capitals 6-2, win series 4-3

Well... Sidney and Malkin proved to be too much for Ovechkin, Semin and Varlamov after all. Unfortunately I will have to give the Penguins some credit here- they threw everything they had at Washington and were able to deal with a key injury (to Sergei Gonchar), and still take the series. I think that, although they're losing quite a few more playoff games this year than last, they are becoming a much more balanced team in terms of both talent and experience, as the Red Wings have been for the past, oh, decade or so.

Hurricanes beat Bruins 3-2 (OT), win series 4-3

Who saw this coming?! Indeed, the Bruins actually had to fight from a 3-1 series deficit (which they did marvelously) and keep the dream alive, but alas, they couldn't do it forever, and got caught by an unbelievably hot Carolina team. Pretty impressive stuff by the 'Canes, a team that was in danger of falling out of playoff contention relatively late in the regular season.

So it's Pittsburgh-Carolina in the Eastern Conference Finals, and according to NHL.com, it's going to be a test of similarities. Both teams are aggressive and have plenty of firepower to spare, and it will be very interesting to see how they fare in this series. Also look to the goalies- in the battle of Cam Ward v. Marc-Andre Fleury, I'd like to give Ward the edge.


Red Wings beat Ducks, 4-3; win series 4-3

This was not the decisive win perhaps some Red Wings fans would have envisioned. Indeed, the Ducks played every bit as hard (and sometimes harder) than the Wings, and rallied in yet another Game 7 in these playoffs. They tied Detroit just below midway through the third period and all seemed set to go to OT- but an unfortunate play in which Daniel Cleary ultimately forced the puck past Jonas Hiller's pads sealed the deal for the Wings. (Damn it.) Even so, you have to give so much credit to Anaheim for fighting hard and staying in the game as long as they did, and for forcing Detroit into much more than just a Game Seven- but into a huge sigh of relief at the end of it.

Blackhawks beat Canucks, 7-5; win series 4-1

Well, here comes the Hawks, the mighty Blackhawks, indeed. They handily picked off a strong Canucks team- granted, a Canucks team that looked far from stupendous in this series, but even so, it's nothing to sneeze at. This young and strong team has been on a tear in these playoffs, and now they're faced with a great matchup- another Original Six team, the Red Wings!

This is going to be very, very interesting to see... a young team like the Hawks against a tried-and-true Red Wings team, and it can honestly go either way- the Hawks can take the Wings by surprise, or Detroit can show Chi-town a thing or two about winning a playoff series. Not to mention a wonderful rivalry that brews between these two teams, no doubt from meeting more often than any other two teams in the NHL. Expect another goalie battle again- Chris Osgood v. Nikolai Khabibulin.

Just a side note... if the Penguins and Wings beat their respective opponents in these Conference Finals, they will meet each other for the second consecutive time in the Stanley Cup Finals. Just something to keep in mind.


Thursday, May 7, 2009

NHL Playoffs Round 2: Thursday, May 7th

Washington leads series against Pittsburgh 2-1
Carolina leads series against Boston 2-1
Vancouver leads series against Chicago 2-1
Anaheim leads series against Red Wings 2-1

Ok so this is what I had predicted for Round 2 and beyond:

Chicago vs. Vancouver = Chicago
Anaheim vs. Detroit = Detroit
Pittsburgh vs. Washington = Pittsburgh
Boston vs. Carolina = Boston

Stanley Cup Final: Boston vs. Detroit

2009 Stanley Cup Champions: Boston Bruins

The current standings are messing up my predictions but in all honesty I don’t mind a bit – makes for more suspenseful hockey. Even though each game is a new win opportunity, I think it’s safe to say there wasn’t a person who didn’t think that Pittsburgh HAD to win this game, Malkin had to step up asap and the depth of this team needed to find its way back to the ice. Done, done and done. Carolina just seems to get better with each game, and Eric Staal should be cloned. Anaheim’s confidence/mindset has carried them this far and more than any playoff team, it has remained constant. Vancouver is still aglow and like Anaheim, their conditioning may be giving them an edge over the Blackhawks who are looking a little sluggish out there. One thing that seems apparent, some (not all) goalies are getting tired.

Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien stated in the post game interview (NHL network) that there are such things as hockey gods…ah ha! Another believer! Wonder if he also believes in parking gods – living in NYC, I pray to them often.

Wonder if Martin Brodeur is out of shock yet.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Spotlight On Round 2, Part 2

Eastern Conference:

Pittsburgh Penguins v. Washington Capitals (WSH leads 1-0)

Well, well, well... I'm sure Gary Bettman is loooooving this.

The Capitals have taken the early lead with a 3-2 win over the Pens, and seem to be rolling at present. The most key part of their success? No, not AO, but another Russian- Simeon Varlamov, the goalie who has apparently relieved Jose Theodore of his duties for a while. And has he ever! In seven playoff starts, he is 5-2 with a 1.29 goals against average and a .950 save percentage. And he's won four straight games prior to today's matchup. Meanwhile, the Penguins, while holding the lead in shots, have suffered on the PP tremendously, and that is hurting them when you consider that they have had 17 PP opportunities over four games, and have not capitalized on any of them. Special teams definitely count in the playoffs, and if Pitt doesn't figure something out soon, they may be finding themselves out a bit earlier than expected.

Spotlight On Round 2

Western Conference:

Anaheim Ducks v. Detroit Red Wings (series tied 1-1)

Well, this is a very different series from the first round, is it not? The Red Wings came off of their sweep of the Columbus Blue Jackets to meet a Ducks squad that had themselves picked off the President's Trophy winners, the Sharks. The Sharks weren't exactly on their game; that's a given. But even so, that does not mean Anaheim couldn't put up a good fight.

And fighting they are. Two games in, this is looking like a much more even battle than Round 1- both games have been one-goal wins, the first by Detroit, the second (in triple OT!) by Anaheim yesterday. The goalies have been the difference- Chris Osgood looks as steady as ever despite earlier injury buzz, while young Jonas Hiller is quickly becoming every bit his match in goal for the Ducks. Also, Ryan Getzlaf is having a very, very good postseason, having extended his point total to 11 with his 3rd playoff goal yesterday. The Wings faltered just a bit yesterday, although they showed what they are capable of coming back from two deficits to even the score at 3 early in the third.

Nonetheless, I expect Detroit to be faced with a barrage in the form of some raucous Ducks fans when they play in Anaheim next. I'm sure many of you know my feelings about the Wings despite their obvious talent, but I can objectively say that this will be a hard-fought series. And as long as Getzlaf and Hiller, as well as the rest of the cast, keep playing like this, who knows? They might just pull off another series win against a top contender.

Athletes As Role Models? I Think Not

In a perfect world, we could very well consider the professional athlete as a sufficient model for our children and for society, not only for their talent and strength, but for their carriage, their way of life off of the playing surface. We could fool ourselves that every athlete lives above reproach, and tell ourselves that players like Plaxico Burress, Alexander Ovechkin, Alex Rodriguez and Eric Staal are adequate models for our youth to aspire to. In many ways, this may be true.

But Burress, aside from other troubles on the field, was dumb enough to shoot himself in the leg with a gun he was not licensed in New York to have. Rodriguez is under immense scrutiny for an apparently long history of steroid use dating back to high school. Even NHL players are not above fire; Staal was arrested for a drunk and disorderly rap along with his brother Jordan last year, and Ovechkin has admitted in interviews to driving his sports car at breakneck speeds.

And now, Patrick Kane has been arrested on charges of robbery and assault along with his cousin, after they roughed up a cab driver in his native Buffalo who didn't have $.20 change on him. (story: http://www.buffalonews.com/home/story/758903.html ) Sad? Yeah. And it's another reason to wonder just why so many people put their faith in men who can dribble a basketball, catch a football, or shoot a puck.

It's not to say that many of these athletes aren't respectable individuals. A great many of them live clean-cut lives and play for love of the game, and give great examples to little boys (and girls) who want to emulate them. And I think that it's great to want to be the next Jeter or Manning or Crosby, or want to put your hometown on the map, or things of that nature. It's very romantic to want to think you can do that for both yourself and those around you. But it's when these people slip up and make human errors, and unearth a torrent of outrage, that makes you wonder just how much stock we've put into these individuals.

Because guess what? When it really comes down to it, though I would not want to take anything away from athletes who work especially hard to play their respective games, they aren't making any world-altering changes to this world. They're not discovering the cure for cancer, they're not teaching our children anything good parents can't teach, and although doing wonderful things with a puck or a ball that excite anyone who can't do that themselves, I don't see how so many people place their faith in the hands of talented individuals who are still only human. If sports are supposed to be an escape for the rest of us, does that mean we would rather live in a dream world than reality?

Think about that the next time an athlete falls from grace.