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.


Saturday, June 27, 2009

2009 Entry Draft Recap

Well, John Tavares fans, your prayers have been answered.

What was perhaps the most terrifying moment for Islanders faithful ended in triumph for the team, as Garth Snow announced the club would be drafting the Canadian forward with their first overall pick.

The crowd at Nassau Coliseum surely blew up with the news, as did Isles fans at the draft in Montreal and in front of TV screens everywhere. I myself was at first anxious to death, and then ecstatic as Tavares' name was announced, knowing that although our woes on offense might not have been solved right away, this would be a huge step in the right direction for the Isles. It's expected Tavares will make the team out of training camp; however, we shall see.

As for the rest of the draft, well, it turned out very interesting. Snow traded down all the way to #12 from #26 to take defenseman Calvin de Haan, a move that was a bit of a question mark considering that they had planned to take him at #26 from the start. Perhaps they wanted to make sure that they were going to secure him; at any rate, de Haan is obviously talented and a smart player and kid, but somewhat lacks in size (as does Tavares; size was one thing the Isles didn't look at in the draft other than in net).

The other skaters taken in the draft are centers Casey Cizikas (No. 92) and Anders Lee (No. 152) and defenseman Anton Klementyev. Cizikas was described by a few sources as having more potential than he shows, and as more of a passer than a shooter, although he has decent hands. The Scouting News deplored him for his lack of consistency last season playing for the Mississauga Ice Dogs when all of the hype was on him. Meanwhile, Lee is touted as a two-sport athlete- a football quarterback as well as a center in hockey, and as such he has considerable size and athleticism (and he can throw the football pretty well- check out YouTube). Klementyev plays for Yaroslavl Lokomotiv-2 and is more of a stay-at-home type, which in my opinion is a good thing seeing as we have quite a few offensive D to begin with. However, how good is this guy, really? Apparently no one really has any info on him... to be determined in time.

Overall, the draft was a bit of a wacky one, what with trading down for a player that could have been had at a higher number, and some unknowns, plus two goalies. But hopefully our #1 pick can make up for any head scratching done during it. :)


(Kudos to the Scouting News and Botta's and Logan's blogs as well as Islander Mania for the info on our draft picks.)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Final Hours

Well... it all comes down to this.

In the next 24 hours, the NHL Draft will commence, and the Islanders organization will take the stage first, faced with an immense decision... one that will help shape their future. After a 30th-place finish in the league and being blessed in the draft lottery, Garth Snow and Co. have some choosing to do- do they take the consensus No. 1, Canadian sharpshooter and creative center John Tavares, to build up some much needed offense? Or do they pick Victor Hedman, the big Swedish defenseman, to use as a cornerstone for their blueline? Or... does two-way specialist Matt Duchene come out of nowhere to eclipse the two "franchise prospects"?

You know Christine and I differ on this point- you can tell from our picks at the top of the page. However, I really believe that either way, the Islanders will benefit from having Tavares or Hedman. Tavares has become a brand name in junior hockey and was up until this point, the no-brainer decision for the top pick in the draft. He has offensive talent that any team can drool over, and the potential to be the star player that the Islanders need to market to their fans and those of the rest of the NHL. Rick DiPietro is no longer such a sure bet, and while Kyle Okposo could potentially be a star in the making, he didn't quite make as big a splash in the hockey world as Tavares has and will likely make.

Meanwhile, Hedman has the makings of another Zdeno Chara, if you just look at sheer size- 6'7'', 220 lbs- combined with skating ability. Not only that, but he loves jumping into the play and has good offensive prowess. The only downside to this is that the Islanders have quite a few offensive defensemen in Mark Streit and (quickly developing) Bruno Gervais, so would they really want another one on the blueline? However, size is one thing the Isles need (even with 6'6'' Andy Sutton and 6'8'' Mitch Fritz). So anything could happen.

The size of Hedman, the star quality of Tavares- either way the Islanders could use one of these prospects well on their team, and as such, although Matt Duchene has recently entered No.1 pick conversation, it doesn't seem likely to me that he will end up eclipsing either player. Although there is much, much good to say about Duchene- a talented two-way player, good work ethic, played big roles on a few great teams before his 18th birthday- something tells me that he offers what the Islanders could already have in Josh Bailey, which is a good playmaking center. Maybe there are more dimensions to him, but I don't see the Isles taking the gamble and letting go of either Tavares or Hedman.

There's really no way of saying what the Isles WILL do exactly. All of this is speculation; each player comes with advantages and disadvantages, and as such any could be a complete success or a bust. It's up to the Islanders to choose whichever player they feel brings the most to their club. Keep in mind, Isles fans, that it's easy to think that any one of these players will be the savior; however, it'll be a while before these guys even get settled into the NHL. (They're all only my age!) So be patient, and whoever we get, we should welcome them onto the Island with open arms. :)


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Dean Chynoweth Named Isles Assistant Head Coach

The Islanders have named Dean Chynoweth assistant coach of the Islanders, according to their website and www.islanderspointblank.com. Chynoweth was a former first round pick of Bill Torrey in 1987, whose career ended quickly because of injuries, and who had previously been GM and head coach of Swift Current in the WHL. He also played for three years with the Boston Bruins.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

NHL Awards Time!

Yes, this is late, but I've been terribly busy lately, so forgive me. :)

So, the NHL Awards commenced on Thursday night, and it was a ceremony that... well, raised my eyebrow a couple of times (particularly with the musical guest choice) but was overall okay. I only have this much to say... seriously, NHL, you've got to get some rock music back into the Awards ceremony. I understand you guys might be a little bit wary after Def Leppard decided to be complete idiots with the Stanley Cup (here: http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/blog/puck_daddy/post/No-one-gave-Def-Leppard-the-Stanley-Cup-instruct?urn=nhl,113984 ) but come on, Chaka Khan and Robin Thicke? They might be hands-off, but they certainly don't scream "hockey" to me. It was just a little bit unsettling to see them up there... and I'm sure I'm not the only person who thinks this.

Anyway, back to the awards. Russia was certainly represented well, with Alexander Ovechkin taking home a lot of precious metal- he won the Hart Award for MVP, the Lester Pearson Trophy for the players' choice outstanding player, and the Maurice Richard trophy for goalscoring leader, outshadowing friend, rival and countryman Evgeni Malkin, who I feel is probably just as deserving of the Hart. But Malkin has one thing that Ovie doesn't have: the Stanley Cup.

For his part, Malkin won the Art Ross trophy for highest number of points scored, and Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk won both the Selke Trophy for defensive forward and the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy for most gentlemanly player (over Zach Parise of the NJ Devils, who I thought would have gotten the nod). Both of these players, however, were well-deserving of their awards.

As was Tim Thomas, the surprise winner of the Vezina Trophy. After an All-Star appearance and an overall sterling year (2.10 GAA in regular season and 5 shutouts, 1.85 GAA and 1 SO in playoffs) he won the award over Minnesota's Nicklas Backstrom and Columbus' Steve Mason. He also won, along with fellow Bruin Manny Fernandez, the William F. Jennings Trophy for the goalie tandem with the fewest goals against, in a minimum of 25 games.

Meanwhile, Mason continued representing the goalies with his win over Kris Versteeg of the Blackhawks and Bobby Ryan of the Anaheim Ducks for the Calder Trophy for Best Rookie. I honestly can't imagine a more deserving candidate- 10 shutouts on the season and an overall amazing record after stepping into the starting role unexpectedly is incredible. His success resulted in the eventual trade of Pascal Leclaire for Antoine Vermette, unfortunately, but I am sure that he will only continue to shine for the Blue Jackets in the years to come.

Other winners include:

- Zdeno Chara, Boston, the Norris Trophy for best defenseman (well-deserved)
- Claude Julien, Boston, the Jack Adams Award for coach of the year (perhaps it was a bit too late in the making, but I thought Dan Bylsma should have snagged this one for winning the Stanley Cup as a rookie head coach!)
- Ethan Moreau, Edmonton, the King Clancy Award for humanitarian contributions to hockey (and there were very many on his part; great to see that he's recognized for his efforts)
- Jarome Iginla, Calgary, the Mark Messier Leadership Award.
-Steve Sullivan, Nashville, the Masterton Trophy for perseverance and dedication in the sport of hockey. (Wow, there were a LOT of winners from the Western Conference.)

Jean Beliveau, formerly of the Montreal Canadiens, was given the NHL's Lifetime Achievement Award for this year. I will be doing a post on him shortly, so all I will say for now is congratulations on an illustrious career and on the award.

Overall, the place was quieter than a library on many occasions, and the entertainment factor could have been higher. But the NHL Awards still manage to celebrate the sport of hockey and its extremely skilled players in its own way. And I suppose that is what really counts.

Til later!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

And There You Have It, Folks!

Last night, a somewhat stronger David took on a weary but still formidable Goliath... and David prevailed.

Despite a late goal by Jonathan Ericsson in the third and a flurry of offensive pressure by Detroit afterward, Marc-Andre Fleury made some incredible saves to seal the win, and the Pittsburgh Penguins, against nearly all odds on road ice, defeated the Detroit Red Wings 2-1 to win the Stanley Cup. Maxime Talbot was one of the keys, scoring two goals including the game-winner, and Fleury was the other, channeling the inner goalie within him and outplaying opposing goalie Chris Osgood to help his team win.

You could barely tell the Penguins had anything going whatsoever when the first puck dropped. They looked tentative, jittery, as they practically always had this series at the Joe. But the Red Wings barely had any control either. It wasn't until midway through that play started to flow, and each team's defense was superb.

The second saw the first mistake made by Detroit- Brad Stuart tried to chip the puck out, and Talbot was in prime position to make the interception and put the puck right between Osgood's legs for the 1-0 lead. Nine minutes later, he received a pass from Chris Kunitz and went on a 2-on-1, ripping the puck right into the top corner. His teammates call him "The Gamer" because of his ability to come up big in clutch games, and clutch he was last night.

So was Fleury. He was in some sort of zone that I have nearly never seen him in at JLA, after some worry about whether or not he would come into this game with the confidence needed to defeat the Wings. No need to worry in the end- he was nearly perfect, save for the one shot Ericsson made, and in the end it didn't matter. If not for Evgeni Malkin's presence, based on that one game I would have said Fleury was MVP. But Malkin definitely deserved the Conn Smythe.

As for the ex-Isles on our team, I can only say this: Unfortunately they didn't find much success here on the Island, but I am still happy to see them succeed elsewhere, particularly on a team with players like Malkin and Crosby. Seeing Miro Satan and Ruslan Fedotenko with the Cup was great enough, but upon seeing Billy Guerin skating around with it, I must admit I got a bit teary-eyed. To see this man- 39 years old, his last Cup being 14 years ago and having come from being the captain of a last-place team to playing a supporting role on the eventual Stanley Cup-winning team- finally hoist it once more onto his shoulders... that is something special. Congratulations to him and to the rest of the team.

And also congratulations to the Red Wings, who had an overall tremendous playoff season and fought hard in this series after being plagued by injuries, and for remaining a class act through and through. Unfortunately I cannot say the same for their fans, who saw fit to boo the Penguins as the Stanley Cup was coming out onto the ice- and I only say this in general because it was widespread throughout the arena. Last year, this same Red Wings team (minus Marian Hossa) won the Cup in Mellon Arena, and the Penguins fans there largely had the decency to give the Red Wings an ovation, knowing that their team did the best they could, and were luckily young and talented enough to grow from that losing experience. There is no excuse for being in such bad taste as to boo a team who worked harder than yours did, and who was that much better (for the Penguins were largely the better team in this contest, when it counted). Besides, you cannot simply show up and expect to have the Cup handed to you. The fans should be proud of their Wings team, which did what it could with the injuries and woke up late in the game to make it interesting (and nerve-wracking), but they shouldn't have been so arrogant to believe that the Penguins had no chance of winning- or that they didn't deserve to. This year, the Penguins came in much stronger, with new experience and veteran presence, and they proved to be a much better match. That's all you can really ask for as a hockey fan- not an easy series, but one that has you standing, shouting, and praying to the hockey gods until the very end.

With that said, the NHL's 2008-09 season has come to a close. Congrats again to the Stanley Cup Champions, the Pittsburgh Penguins!!! And stay tuned for the NHL Awards and of course, the main event- the 2009 Draft!!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Game 7 Preview: Pittsburgh At Detroit... The Final Showdown

We all know what is at stake here, even if you don't follow either of these teams regularly. If you watch hockey, and you saw last year's Finals, you can see just how important this series- this final game- is to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Last year, the Penguins made a remarkable run that ended in five games in the Stanley Cup Finals, with the Detroit Red Wings skating all over their ice lifting the Cup in triumph. There was no way around it- the more experienced, more composed team with the better system has trounced the youthful, energetic squad with plenty of raw talent but no real veteran presence to temper it. And their youth had showed, as they struggled consistently against them in every game but one.

Now, it's one year later. And the Penguins have some key veteran players to help out, not to mention a rookie coach who outsmarted a Stanley Cup winner in the previous game. With some momentum after a tremendous Game 6, the Penguins come into the Joe Louis Arena having not won there in this series, and admittedly unwilling to play there.

Puck Daddy came out with a very good comprehensive list of things needed for each team to succeed in Game 7. If all of these- or even some of these- happen, then you can expect an incredible final game of the season to commence tomorrow night at the Joe.

Something tells me that after all of their hard work, the Pittsburgh Penguins may fall that much short again... but not before giving the almighty Red Wings a heck of a fight. They're not the same team they were last year, and I think they can look past their nerves and past history to come prepared tomorrow... making it all come down to who makes that little mistake that could cost it all.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Preview to Game 6: An ___________ Never Forgets

My in depth analysis = Pens cannot allow Wings to screen Fleury and they HAVE to get to the puck first. As for Wings, screen Fleury and get to the puck first. : )~

No need to get more complicated, Wings have to keep doing what they are doing and Penguins have to correct the macro problems and the micro ones will blend right in. I continue to think the Pens are susceptible to hyper-focus which can cause someone to tire mentally & physically, well except when someone is trying to @#$&% fall asleep! It can be hard to get out of this mode...don't think about elephants for the next two days...an experiential...give it a try and if you do, remember...do not think about or visualize elephants for the next two days starting as soon as you read this sentence about not thinking about or visualizing elephants. The 'problem' with this experiential every time? Guess who is going to 'see' elephants for the next two days? Not that I don't love elephants...should have suggested a beach at sunset.

Penguins defense: Is it Flearer or Fleurier? (spin off of a childhood memory at Sterling Optical at the Mid-Island Plaza.) Seriously though I don't get what the D is doing out there. They seem blurry to me...that's the word that comes to mind anyway.

Penguins supposed frustration: It's understandable during the regular season but in the final round for the Stanley Cup, a team is not allowed to get frustrated (yeah because I say so). To look back and realize your team lost not because the roster didn't have the skill or desire but because of frustration...well that kind of hindsight can haunt because 'you' know you could have thought better. Look at Columbus, no one can look back and say they did not play their hardest with a never say die mindset the entire series. Now that's a clean slate to start next season with worthy of envy.

Coach Bylsma's post-game 5 interview was FABULOUS! I probably could recite his words by now thanks to the NHL network's ability to play they same coverage OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN... Programming that is in need of Hockey Gods intervention.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Stanley Cup Playoffs

Game 5
June 6, 2009

Detroit up 5-0. Once Penguins are this off in their positioning, not much can be generated on O or D. WIth the way the Penguins are playing tonight it's a wonder how they just won 2 games in a row against a team who played like they did in the 1st two games. Can the Penguin's team cohesion be that lopsided on home and away ice? Can't take away though from Detroit's speed and skill, having Chris Osgood in net...bonus!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

2009 Stanley Cup Finals

June 2, 2009
Attention Pittsburgh Penguins - did you all get into a fight before the first game? Whatever grudge is floating around your team, let it go. If your goalie can't connect the dots with his teammates in front of him, he's going to continue to lack the confidence necessary to do his part to stop an offensive force like Detroit.

more later...

June 4, 2009
Ok so it's later, Detroit won first 2 games and now Pittsburgh won game 3, seems they wore down Detroit and appeared more connected as a team although I'm not sold on the warm fuzzies yet. Focus yes, hyper-focus no and is counter productive...and IMO is the reason why Crosby is not scoring. Power play opportunities yielding goals and a healthy number of hits and blocked shots made it happen for the Penguins. No doubt the Wings will have something to say about it on Thursday night but will it be heard above the roar of the Pittsburgh crowd?

Been at my mom's for a bit revamping her landscaping, my sister and I are boneheads for wearing short sleeved shirts and now have poison ivy. You'd think we'd learn. Nah. Anyway a highlight of the finals has been my mom's commentary during the games - the woman cracks me up. Back to the city tomorrow and looking forward to being home and to watching game 4.

Happy June Everyone!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Hedman's Turn to Tour the Island

Chris Botta reports that Victor Hedman, the young Swedish defenseman perhaps going first instead of John Tavares (depending on what the Isles decide), has also visited the Island along with his father Olle and agent Peter Wallen. The prospect followed in the footsteps of Matt Duchene and Tavares, and his agent spoke highly of the experience:

“First class in every way,” Wallen said early this evening from Pittsburgh, where Hedman was invited by
the NHL to make a few appearances, meet the media and watch Tuesday night’s Cup
Final Game 3 at the Igloo. “We wish we could have stayed longer, but the
Islanders understood the NHL needed Victor in Pittsburgh. Long Island is such a
beautiful place. I know Victor was really impressed by Garth’s
presentation and that Mr. Wang took the time to meet with him. Victor’s
father thought the Island would be more like a city. He thinks this is a great
place for his son.”

You can read the rest of the article here:


Tavares: "I Want to Be an Islander"... ?

Chris Botta featured an interesting interview on his blog with highly touted prospect John Tavares, in which the young Canadian center emphatically stated off the bat that he would like to play on the Island, contrary to the belief of various media sources who thought that perhaps he would hold out.

You can read the article here:

In my opinion, I'm sure JT knows full well that he stands a good chance of going to the Island (at least, that's what many fans hope) and he's taking the high road where this is concerned. There's not a doubt in my mind that, given the state the Isles have been in for a while, a high-profile player- even only a prospect- would want to play elsewhere, for a team like Montreal, Detroit, etc. But he seems committed to the idea of playing with the team that drafts him, and if that team happens to be the Islanders, then we may be that much better for it.

Either way, this makes for some interesting conversation come June 26.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A Picture is Worth a Blog Post

So what seems like way back when I met two photographers at the Flyers vs. Penguins playoff game in Philly. Tom (far) works for Associated Press and Tim (near) for Reuters…both great guys.

During each period they both take between 250-300 pictures. In between periods and after the game Tom emails pictures to New York and Tim emails pictures to Singapore. From there the photos are distributed. Tom was nice enough to send some pictures from the games and even one of DP in net, well two of DP but I’m not going to post a picture of a Flyer getting the puck past him – Tom is a Flyer fan and in his email to me referred to the Islanders as ‘lame’. Hey it wasn’t that long ago your team sucked as well. I’ve asked Tom to send along some more Isles photos and here’s his website to check out - www.mihalekphoto.com. Thanks for the photos Tom!

How many Islanders can you find in the picture above? : )