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.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Moulson, Isles Avoid Arbitration, Settle for 1-Year Deal

Basically everything it says in the title: Matt Moulson has agreed to a one-year deal with the Islanders worth $2.45M, according to multiple sources and Newsday writer Katie Strang.

Just one year? Yes. It's a bit disappointing for some fans, but over the course of next season we will be able to see if Moulson can repeat the success of last year (a career-high 30 goals). A bit pricey for a grinder like him? Arguably, seeing as he's largely unproven, even with the 30-goal, 48-point year- and he wasn't even the highest pointscorer (that honor goes to rookie John Tavares with 54). However, consider that teammate Trent Hunter, a player much in the same vein as Moulson only slower, is making $2M a year, and Moulson has outperformed him greatly. Also, there is reason to believe that #26 will produce at least as much next season (check out this article by Dominik on Lighthouse Hockey, it provides a good breakdown of how Moulson does on the ice with various linemates).

So, good deal? For the length, yes. For the money? We shall see.

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Letter to the Islanders

This is coming from a fairly young Islanders fan. I'm 19 years old, and I've only been watching the Islanders for a few years now. But in my five full seasons of watching, four of them have included a color commentator by the name of Billy Jaffe- a smart, funny and classy gentleman who taught me more about the game than I ever thought possible. Every season he would consistently raise the bar with his breakdowns of my favorite sport, showing how different lines and even different players worked on the ice, and offering knowledgeable opinions and information.

Now, four years later, after countless broadcasts during which the only bright spot would be Howie Rose and Billy Jaffe's broadcasts... Jaffe is let go. And why? Supposedly because he wasn't "positive" enough? With all due respect, who would the Isles like alongside Howie Rose, a cheerleader? Jaffe is an analyst, not a lobbyist. His job is to break down the game for us to understand, and that means all aspects of the game, not just the good ones. Besides, I can remember plenty of broadcasts during which he was a positive presence. One could tell he just loved this team (an example- last game of the 06-07 regular season, where he showed more emotion than I ever thought possible during regulation and the eventual playoff-clinching shootout against New Jersey). Moreover, he was a fan favorite, made himself available for numerous fan events, and had tremendous chemistry with Howie. Why would the organization allow something like that to be broken up? I can't understand it.

Granted, perhaps there were certain things behind the scenes that we fans don't know about. That aside, though, fans are being kept in the dark as it is. There was no press conference about Jankowski not being renewed and who would take his place, there was nothing about Bryan Trottier leaving his position in the organization from the org itself, and I wonder how long it will take for the Isles to say something regarding Billy, if anything at all. It's all extremely frustrating, and I don't know how much more I, as a fan, can take.

I don't expect an answer from anyone in your department regarding all of this. I just wanted to reach out to you to let the organization know that they are alienating what remains of their fans, whether they realize it or not. We don't want to be treated like mindless peons- we want something constructive, clear and substantial. Nothing against the candidates for Jaffe's replacement, of course- they are both icons of the team's glory days, and they deserve to be respected. But I can't imagine how much better they would be than a guy who is quickly becoming known as one of the best in the business.

Thank you very much for your time.

Angelica Rodriguez
Williamsville, Buffalo, NY (formerly of Brooklyn, NY)

(an actual email sent about ten minutes ago)

Yet Another Departure... This Time From the Press Box

After four seasons of color announcing for the Islanders broadcast, Billy Jaffe has been shown the door by the organization. (Source: Islanders Point Blank) Exactly why, no one can tell for sure.

This is a bit of a surprise, and more than a little saddening, seeing as for four out of my five years watching Islanders hockey, I've learned more from Billy than from anyone else. His broadcasts with Howie Rose were often my favorite part of the game, and made it a great experience no matter what the score was. No matter how badly we lost, he always remained positive and gave us something to end the night with, and him not being next to Howie at the start of next season is extremely disheartening, especially since I (being a bit biased) and many other fans could call this duo the best broadcasting pair in the Metro area. Not only that, but Billy made himself available for plenty of events including draft parties, and seemed like a classy, all-around good guy.

No word yet on who's coming to replace him, but I do know this: Billy, you will definitely be missed. Best of luck in your future endeavors.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Dreaded "C" Word... Contract... And How Kovalchuk Did Not Become "Koval-cha-ching"

And all that THAT implies regarding one insanely talked-about player since free agency started: Ilya Kovalchuk.

I almost didn't write a post about the three-ring circus revolving around this young man, seeing as so many other people were writing about him that I feared it would be the same old rehashing a few days too late. But I figured I could put it into my own words and my own view, and besides, the blog needs material, and this is Grade A, top-choice fodder. So here goes.

Kovalchuk has been mightily chased after by a few teams since July 1. People had been expecting this since the end of the playoffs for the Devils (who traded for him late in the season), and so it was- the Kings, Blues, and Islanders were just a few of the teams involved. To my chagrin, the Isles even reportedly offered Kovalchuk $10M a year, which he refused, apparently. (Thank God.) Then there was talk of him signing ultra-long-term with the Kings for a couple of days... until (not so much) out of the blue, the Devils came along and offered him a 17-year deal worth over $100 million.

And he accepted.

But the good old NHL didn't.

The next day, the league rejected the contract on the terms that it circumvented the salary cap. The Devils decided that they would spread out the money so that Ilya would get more now, less in the later years, thus lowering the cap hit to about $6M a season. Not cool by the league's standards. (Source: Yahoo!Sports) So now it's back to the drawing board, and Kovy's future remains up in the air.

As long as we don't/didn't take him, I'll be happy, and here's why: this is a guy who is projected to be sub-par after 12 years, who hasn't won a Cup, and who is a big name and provides offense, but in my opinion would not be a good fit for the system that Scott Gordon has implemented. And us paying through the nose for him long-term would be a disaster whether or not it gets us up to the cap floor. We would be much better off going for a Lee Stempniak or an Alex Frolov (both of whom are reportedly still available). But I digress.

This has been a wild, wacky saga, and who knows how it's going to end. All I know is, I'm kind of tired of hearing about Ilya Kovalchuk on Twitter, Facebook and everywhere else. There are plenty of other players worth following and hearing about. Let's focus on them and leave this sad story alone for a while.

While You Were Out

I must admit, looking through old notebooks full of game notes from five years ago helped me get out of this non-posting funk. So over the next couple of days, barring any kind of major catastrophe (like work? *cue laugh track*), I will be posting plenty of my thoughts on what's been going on lately in the hockey world- Isles being a given, but also around the NHL and such. So please, stay tuned. :D

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Isles And Draft Doctor Jankowski Part Ways

After some good news on the Island, the clear skies suddenly have a foreboding tinge of gray to them.

The Islanders have decided not to renew the contract of assistant general manager/amateur scouting director Ryan Jankowski, whose deal expired shortly after the 2010 NHL Draft. Chris Botta reports that since his takeover of the scouting staff in 2006, the Isles have drafted players such as Josh Bailey, Travis Hamonic, Kyle Okposo, Matt Martin, Andrew MacDonald, Calvin de Haan, Kirill Petrov and others. When you consider the promise and talent these young players show, one has to wonder: Did it go wrong somewhere? And if it hasn't, then what exactly are the Islanders doing letting go of a guy who's been so beneficial to the drafting process?

And who does that leave in charge of it all?

Stay tuned.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Free Agency, Islanders Style

So. As it turns out, the Islanders can't buy a free agent that easily.

Yesterday, the Island was strangely quiet amid reports that while GM Garth Snow tried to offer plenty of money to D Paul Martin and Dan Hamhuis, both turned him down in favor of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Vancouver Canucks, respectively. Some say that when it comes down to it, the reason isn't because of the fact that the Isles aren't going places, hockey-wise... it's just because they aren't really going anywhere, geographically. Nassau Coliseum, while well-loved and full of history, is not the newest of buildings, and its condition more often than not drives top-tier FA players away. Aside from that, goalie Martin Biron and winger Jeff Tambellini both wandered elsewhere- Biron to the Rangers, Tambellini to his hometown Canucks.

Today, it was a different story, with the Isles signing D Milan Jurcina and Mark Eaton to one-year deals. They also agreed to terms with G Nathan Lawson on a one-year, two-way contract, and signed P.A. Parenteau and Zenon Konopka to one-years as well. Not terribly binding, but I suppose it'll be good enough for now. Jurcina and Eaton, at 6'4 and 6'2, add some definite size to the Isles' blueline, not to mention some toughness, no doubt. Meanwhile, young Parenteau, who played a few games with the Rangers last year, will likely get his first real crack at playing in the big leagues, and Konopka, while more of a fighter (with 265 PIM last season with Tampa Bay), also helps out in the faceoff department. Lastly, Lawson might not get a ton of playing time as a two-way contract, but it'll be interesting to see when he comes up and how he will do.

One person I'd love to see back, though? Andy Sutton. Chris Botta reported via Twitter that Sutts would love to be an Islander again... then again, I'm sure he wouldn't mind donning the Senators jersey for another year either. Stay tuned for that story as it (hopefully) unfolds.

To read more about the signings, check out here, here and here.