Tag Archives: New York Islanders

Sunday’s Funnies (quotes of the early day)

Here are a few of my favorite things this am:

“No kidding the Coyotes operate under an onerous lease. But that’s exactly what previous owner Steve Ellman signed on for in exchange for his land-grab in Glendale, which was exactly the wrong spot to build a new arena and everyone but everyone knew it. Ellman didn’t care. He got his land. But now the NHL is supposed to bail out the franchise? Now the NHL is supposed to pump money into an organization that, somehow, is paying head coach Wayne Gretzky more than $5.5M this year and will pay Gretzky between $7-and-8M next season?” Larry Brooks

With the players taking the hit that they are, the count should expect long and hard questions about the league finances and the propping up of teams who do just enough to qualify for large revenue sharing payments. The ethical appearances of the league this day are all wrong.

“When Garth Snow talks about expanding the Islanders’ fan base in explaining why the team is playing a preseason game in Kansas City and spending the opening week of training camp in Saskatoon, it sounds like nothing more than an insult to the suffering fan base on Long Island. What is it about going to work in a suit and tie rather than in illegal pads that has turned Snow from an insightful, candid fellow into a suspicious, uptight individual?” Larry Brooks

Nothing like good old fashioned blackmail. Anyone else remember the Kansas City Blades of the IHL? Quick, when you think of hot potential NHL markets how many list KC in your top 25? The folks in government should tell the isles to build their own damned arena…Look around people, this isn’t the time for governments to be handing out checks to the likes of Charles Wong…. Poney up Charles and build your own building your fans deserve it.

“This Ron Wilson “we won, they lost” attitude in public will last only as long as his dressing room doesn’t erupt against him. There is much to like about Wilson — and who wouldn’t want a boss that rewards hard work and accomplishment? — but lately, he’s tripping over himself in public.” Steve Simmons

I agree. This we suck thing is going to get very stale in the locker room sooner rather then later. Coaches want to be part of the us vs. them mentality along with their players. Kind of hard to establish that when you slaughter your guys in public all the time. Take shots at the media, bash your players in private, man stand up for your guys just a little bit.

“How tough is it to get a hockey scholarship at a top U.S. college? Well, consider this: The top 10 ranked teams in the NCAA have only 15 Ontario players of the 250 or so on their rosters.” Steve Simmons

It used to be parents dreamed about the NHL. Now it’s a us scholarship. Let your kids have fun and stop pressing them to be all that you weren’t!

“When Doug Gilmour’s jersey is honoured at the Air Canada Centre on Saturday night, his Kingston Frontenacs players will be in attendance. But he had nothing to do with getting them tickets. Turns out, Mike Zigomanis of the Penguins, as a goodwill gesture to his former junior team and knowing nothing of the Gilmour ceremony, bought 34 tickets for the Fronts players to watch the Pens play. Now they get to see Zigomanis play and watch their coach honoured on the same night” Steve Simmons-

Why, would Gilmour lie about this? Seriously, I don’t get it.

“Donny (Doc) Lyons, the loudest, most opinionated, most inflexible and maybe most interesting sports fan in Toronto, has lost his fight with cancer. The owner of the popular House of Chan and longtime coach will be missed by all who have sparred with him and been charmed by him. He was a one-of-a-kind character in a city of too few” Steve Simmons

The house that Chan built won’t be the same…

“Boo hoo: Overpaid millionaire NHL players have to take a 13.5% paycut in the first half of the season and some have the nerve to squawk about it. Tell that to the autoworkers in Oshawa or the half-million Americans who lost their jobs in December” Steve Simmons

You knew it was coming and it is 100% accurate. This is why the players didn’t re-open the CBA.


Maple Leafs, Raptors Era Of Hope, Blue Jays? Not So Much

Once again the original ideas are clearly sparse these days. As one loyal reader wrote me an email “is it me or is Damien on auto-pilot”. In any event, Dave Perkins took Jeff Blair’s Toronto The Bad story and raised it with a feel good spin:

“The Maple Leafs have hit the all-star break losing 11 of 14 games, the Raptors have dived straight into the tank and, with pitchers and catchers on the horizon, the Blue Jays seem to have already surrendered their season, publicly managing expectations downward the way the Maple Leafs did so successfully last fall.”

9 am, who is ready for a drink?

“So, what to do? Not much except wait it all out and believe that this time, pain will bring gain. In the case of the Leafs, most fans expected this kind of situation and many wished for it; blowing it up is the best way to start over again.Raptor people would feel differently. This team began the season with reasonable expectations, but fell apart terribly. A flurry now and a finish from seven through 11 in the conference would put them into that wheel-spinning ground the Leafs inhabited for so many years; if you can’t be good, be really bad and start building again with a nice draft pick.”

No, I swear I didn’t write the piece. Perkins is right on though….

“The good news for the Raps is that it’s a shorter road back in the NBA and Bryan Colangelo still is a smart guy, even though he’s now on an extended hitless steak. If he can trade Jermaine O’Neal for a large expiring contract, they would have money to spend in the off-season. A 2009-10 team with Chris Bosh, a healthy Jose Calderon, Andrea Bargnani, a lottery pick and a decent free agent, along with the usual spare parts, isn’t so bad. Things can change quickly in the NBA – in either direction.The Leafs, in the big picture, are actually having what sensible people would call a successful season. They’re losing with effort, most nights at least playing decent games while dropping points. As new GM Brian Burke undertakes what a friend calls “a de-Communization” of his team, they are inching toward the bottom and the subsequent potential draft bonanza.”

Ding ding ding ding…give the man a prize. As I have said before, this common sense thing, it’s really not that hard. this isn’t rocket science. “They are losing with effort, most nights at least playing decent games while dropping points” yes, I did just repost that. That is what we want them to do. Raise your hand which team you prefer, the Muskoka five effortless group of last year, or this years group???? This is EXACTLY what the doctor ordered.

“The Islanders are in control of the John Tavares Sweepstakes, but the Leafs are only three points out of 29th place and who knows how the ping-pong balls will bounce? If both Tampa Bay and Ottawa make little runs, the Leafs will benefit. They potentially have chips to play with at the trade deadline. If either or both of Nik Antropov and Alexei Ponikarovsky get rolling, they could depart for a taste of future. Jason Blake, who has been playing with interest lately, has three more years on his contract, but is looking as if he could help somebody else. He doesn’t have a no-trade contract.”

The Obama factor…The most dangerous word in the English language is HOPE…Perkins is using it now. We don’t mind the losing (not loosing) if there is HOPE! “A Taste of the future” EXACTLY!!!

“There are things Burke can do with an eye two or three years down the road, which is, realistically, when they might become competitive. Resurrection begins with good results in the draft, commencing in the lottery, which is why being bad – and .363 is as bad as it gets – doesn’t necessarily need to be the end of the world.”

Stop telling us how bad we are. It isn’t becoming and frankly it pisses us off. It’s interesting that Perkins rightfully leaves the Jays out of the discussion. Maybe he knows what we (with the exception of Eye) believe, that the right guy isn’t at that table. Hope, all we need is a tiny morsel of hope. If the right people are around the draft table there is hope. Guarantees? Nope. No such thing (death, taxes and self serving Berger Blogs excepted). Being so bad should have it’s payoff…Let’s see if the right guys are at the table.

The Ego Of Larry Brooks

Love when the weather is guy is wrong the wrong way! 5-10 cm’s my butt!

Love Larry Brooks article today, it’s so self serving it’s actually funny.

“The marketing people are suggesting that the Jan. 1, 2010 extravaganza might be held in Las Vegas, or at the Rose Bowl, sexy sites that have absolutely nothing to do with the league or the sport.
Would the league get a one-day bump and terrific TV ratings for a neutral-site outdoor game between the Penguins and Caps? No doubt. But would the day advance the league’s interests beyond a one-and-done? Would the showcase improve the state of either franchise? The answers are no and no.”

I agree, an oudoor game in either place would be dumb.

” Now that it has a hit on its hands, the NHL should whenever possible use the Winter Classic as a vehicle to help needy markets and franchises.”

I totally agree.

“Which is why next season’s Winter Classic should be played in New York between the Islanders New York Islanders and Rangers New York Rangers , whether at this new rich mans’ palace masquerading as Yankee Stadium or at the Mets New York Mets ‘ new ballpark with the stigmatized name, or in Central Park. ”

Huh? Needy markets and franchises, got it. New York??? New York is as needy a market as Toronto is or Montreal for that matter!

“No franchise in the league needs more help than the Islanders, the team that time has forgotten. And no city could do more with the spotlight than New York. The biggest market could use some love once in a while, too.”

What???? the team that time has forgotten? What is Larry smoking. The Isles are owned by the one guy Larry bashes more then Bettman! New York is now the “biggest market?” by virtue of what? That there are three teams in the greater Manhattan area? Let’s see the Rangers do well, granted. Very well. The other 2 get pretty poor support. Before you go blaming the arena for the Isles trouble, look at the Devils, who are in a brand new arena. In terms of percentage of the building is full the Devils rank 22nd! Based on overall average which is a tad hard to judge because no 2 arenas have the same capacity, the Devils are 25th!

“A Jan. 1, 2010 outdoors Battle of New York would energize and elevate the Islanders. It would give this woebegone club a spotlight event. It would put hockey on the back page in New York, and not only for a day, but for a number of days. The event should feature a Legends Game modeled after the Heritage Classic the Oilers hosted on Nov. 22, 2003.”

And, what would an event like that be without Scroodge telling everyone how BAD all things related to the game are??? I mean can’t you just imagine, the game in New York and one guy booing loudly from the pressbox??? The game would be on the back page for sure, what would Larry’s headline be? NHL players party hard on Park Avenue?

“But a New York-New York Bowl would benefit the league’s most important American market. That in itself would benefit the league. And this game would benefit the Islanders New York Islanders , the team that time has not only forgotten, but the franchise that is running out of time.”

Excuse me, the most important market? What is that based on? What criteria other then the location of the games most vocal critic determines “the most important market?” What about Detroit, Chicago, Boston or Minnesota?

“The NHL has an opportunity here. It can sell out and chase ephemeral glory in Pasadena or Las Vegas or some other exotic location. Or it can celebrate New York while coming to the aid of one of its historically greatest franchises. Seems like it should be a relatively simple call.”

Here is the funny part. I have no objection with the game going to New York. I think the Rangers hosting a game would be fantastic. I do think though that these criteria as defined by the Ego are nuts. I wouldn’t have the Rangers play the Isles, I would sooner do the Capitals (I mean the best player in the league is on that team, why not display the best you have to offer?) then the Isles. The league is going to play an exhibition game in Kansas City to come to the aid of the Isles (and of course the LA Kings who manage the building in KC right!!?? That will certainly force the good folks of Nassau to build the Isles a new building so that sir Charles can hand out some more 15 year contracts. Oh wait, isn’t the Isles trainer about ready to take over as the next GM??? I am sorry Isles fan, our leafs have a longer drought then you do, I used to be a huge isles fan (I still have a Mike Bossy poster around somewhere)….but Brook’s arguments are nothing but self serving.

I mean wouldn’t this be the type of news the league would dream of if the big game where in New York?:

“You know, we feel very strongly that the situation in Phoenix and Tampa Bay -and affecting other cash-poor franchises – could be avoided if only the NHL had a salary cap.”

Again, to put the game in New York is fine. To do so for the reasons Brooks states would be as ludicrous as the personal agenda items veiled as stories in Brook’s articles.

You can read the ego here

The Right Perspective On The Maple Leafs

Man where has Jeff Blair been for so long? Love or Loathe his work on the Blue Jays, his Maple Leaf work has been to date very good, borderline excellent. I only got to see 2 peiords tonight before i got to read a chapter and a half of Double Fudge to little TSM (and I mean got, time is short these days, and getting to read him a book where he laughs, REALLY, uncontrollably laughs is worth it’s weight in gold). So, I can’t provide a full editorial on the game. I can say that Vesa looked less then stellar early on and I can tell you that this goaltending issue is going to be the whipping issue of those who cover the leafs for a while now.

“And that’s what it seems to come down to for Toskala: the best nights are the ones when he’s not a factor. Nothing about this guy suggests he’ll ever steal a win for this team, and that plus his contract remain one of the most difficult issues for Brian Burke’s new regime. He’s not good enough to be a No. 1 goaltender, even when he defies the book on him and doesn’t go down early and give away the top of the net — which isn’t often. A backup? Maybe. On a good team.”

We are still a tad early to completely write him off, but truth is he has yet to return to the performances we saw last year….

“Now that Burke is onboard with Dave Nonis to watch his back the drama is pretty much gone from the Maple Leafs. Now, it’s time for the nuts and bolts part of the rebuilding program to continue — and when Wilson lamented the loss of rookie defenceman Luke Schenn for two to four weeks by calling him “our best defensive defenceman, for sure,” it tells you just how much work needs to be done.
The least they can do is beat the teams that are worse than them, and last night the Leafs found one of those rare commodities. To their credit, they buried the Islanders — something that was obvious to Toskala from his perch at the other end of the ice.”

What???? A reporter isn’t lamenting the fact they won a game? In the same paragraph he actually gave them some credit too…I don’t believe it.

“It’s only December, so it’s going to try the patience of Leafs fans to watch a team full of guys that they know management would toss over the side in a heartbeat. You know the suspects: Kaberle, Kubina, Toskala and Jason Blake. They make an announcement at the ACC before the game urging fans to cast their All-Star ballots and “help send Vesa Toskala and Tomas Kaberle to Montreal.” You keep expecting to hear the words “and keep them there!” They don’t materialize.”

That, is actually pretty funny, and it’s truthful too. At least the latter part. I don’t think it’s too difficult to watch guys who we all think (or in most cases hope/assume) won’t be around. I think we all have learned that there is a little bit of a blue and white curse where we inevitably over-value anyone who dons the blue and white (either as a prospect or pro). We all seem to have accepted what must be done and so far there has been little to show otherwise.

“But look: somebody’s going to have to stay, so there’s nothing wrong with sending kudos to Jeremy Williams for the type of game he played last night — he always plays well when he’s called up, so the question is what will Act II look like — or wondering what type of player Blake would be if he played the way he did last night.”

In 2 periods I thought he looked pretty good too. Certainly no worse then any of the other forwards that were out there. Hell even the village idiot had a good couple of shifts.

“Blake is also hardly an organizational favourite. But he makes a whack of cash and is virtually non-tradable. So, maybe, what we’re seeing now that the initial fuss over Burke’s hiring is done is an attempt to get some of the unwanted to play well enough to the point where they trade value increases at least a bit. “It’s disappointing,” Blake said. “I mean, believe me, I’m just as disappointed as everyone else with the way things have gone. It’s just nice to contribute. It’s not that you can score every game, but it’s nice to at least feel like you did something.”

We never expected him to score every game. In fact all we wanted and want him to do is play like he actually cares. We leaf fans forget pretty quickly. If the guy would just show up every night and most shifts, his life may be a tad bit easier….

“So Blake has poked his head out of the doghouse. Sniffed the air. He is aware that the winds of change will at some point become a storm and he seems prepared, even though when he was asked if he still wanted to be part of the team he said: “That’s not my decision … that’s obviously Brian’s and the organizations.”

….and then he opened his mouth again. Why can’t the guy just shut up??? Why even go there. I mean, in essence what he is trying to say is no comment. Under the circumstances the guy has to be a little bit smarter. You have a hate/hate relationship already, and I know what he probably meant by his comments, however he really should have just said “yes”. Why??? Cause it is the right thing to do.

“A 4-2 win over a non-descript team on a non-descript Monday night in December? “X” out the game on the schedule. Look ahead to Friday in Buffalo. Then, cross out that one, too, Call it one more down … and continue the countdown to a better future with a whole bunch of new faces. Put it this way: an actual win beats a moral victory any time.”

And that is why I look forward to reading this guy. You are never as good or bad as your last win or loss. Perspective. It’s such a wonderful thing and one that has been missing from our sports pages for a long time. A win doesn’t have to mean the cup is coming. It can just be nice to savor for a night or two.

You can find the entire story here

Maple Leafs, Islanders, Wings, Beer and Voting

Tonight at the Ferkin Pub on Avenue road around 7:30pm:

Pheasant & Firkin
1999 Avenue Rd.
North York, Ontario
M5M 4A5
(416) 483-9063
(Avenue road north of Lawrence, south of Wilson)

come out and vote for the OJ caption!

Healy on the Wilson and Avery…These are times of war right?

Thanks to The Meatriarchy for pointing this out to me, Glen Healy was on the fan morning show yesterday am and had lots to say…

when asked how he would feel if he had to practice at 8am as the leafs had to yesterday am..

“What are these children? At some point the act is going to wear thin. I have never had that in my entire career. I had some great coaches, Al Arbor probably the best coach I had in my entire life, a wonderful man and not once did he pull something like that. Mike Keenan, as evil as he was…. never had the kindergarten approach where you had to be in school before 8am…. The boys will go through the practice and they will bad mouth him the rest of the day and nothing will get accomplished. The teams problems are the teams problems…it’s not a lack of work ethic, it’s just the team.”

He was asked about Kaberle, what was he learning while watching the entire first period from the bench?

“The same thing as your fans are from this interview. He’s their best defenceman and an all star..he is brilliant, he thinks the game better then anybody, he has deficiencies, he isn’t Chris Pronger, he isn’t going to stomp anybody. He’s a player you have to win. I can’t see how doing that to a player like Kaberle I don’t see how it is going to help him. He is like Brian Leetch, if you benched Leetch you would not see positive effects the next shift. Some guys you bench and they really improve, others they don’t. Kaberle is one of those guys where it won’t have the effect you want. I am not behind the bench making the decisions, and he has to live with the results of his actions and hey look, it worked really well, they only lost by a field goal. ”

Landry pointed out by reading a quote from Burke that Wilson has the support of his new GM.

“Well it’s still early and pretty soon this ship is going to get righted, this might be your mulligan year, lots of chances to play you little games, but you are playing your gm 3 million bucks and you are going to expect results at some point. He has the respect and support now, at some point he won’t have it, and the players are going to say we’ve had enough of this clown and Brian’s going to have some difficult choices to make. At the end of the day, we are going to have to see some results.

He was asked about Avery:

“As the PA we are there to make sure things are fair, and Sean has rights as a player. He knows that he made a mistake and he used those 2 words in the wrong forum and in the wrong way, he knows it, he appologized, he is very humble, he’s made that mistake and he is going to move on. We are there to make sure that Gary isn’t going to be the judge and jury and jailer and eventually executioner and that is what can happen here. So, it’s more fairness here then anything. Try to defend Sean as best as possible, he is one of the 700 guys in our league, and off the ice he is a good kid and I mean he’s not a bad kid and so I look at it as he’s one of the marines, there is the few and the proud and he’s one of us and we have to make sure he knows he is wrong…”

Kudos to Don Landry for calling Healy out, “you just used the phrase clown and Sean Avery couldn’t be a bigger clown and you call him a good kid, it seems you are being rather partisan and a little too protective of a guy who, speaking of a hockey fan who has peeved me off time and time again and I am tired of it and sick of him.”

Healy: “And that is wonderful, I really appreciate your opinion Don, I think it is great to have that opinion about that player if that is what you truly believe. I mean my opinion about 8am skates and benching your best defenceman and when players get shots blocked on the foot and players ridicule them in practice in front of their teammates I have a different opinion of what happens when coaches do that and I have another opinion of what happens to players when they cross the line. I know Sean has crossed the line, I am not saying what he did was not right, or sorry, was not wrong, I have a different opinion of the 2 acts and we can’t mix them together. I appreciate your opinion though, you have the opinion that is the solid majority, and by solid I mean north of 90% so you are not in the wrong.”

Landry then said that he wasn’t sure about that, Landry has been surprised by how many people have said to him Avery said 2 words, big deal.

“Well, usually the 2 words players regret the most are I do. But 2 words used in the wrong forum and he knows it and he said them. He is going to pay the price. He knows it is not appropriate. Unfortunately for Sean, verbally he is quite quick, for other players they use violence in other ways. Today won’t be a great do for him. He is not getting a lot of support from fans, the league, his teammates nor his team.”

What if it is a 7 game suspension what is the reaction? Does everyone expect the PA will appeal it?

“That would be a legal question, I may be the only person in my office who isn’t a lawyer. I believe the appeal process goes to the board of governance so good luck with that. We want fairness, and that is the bottom line.”

I recommend you listen to this, and can do so here

I will say this. The fact that he uses military terms to define his role and that of the PA is all you need to know about this guy and his union…. They act like combatants and as if everything is a war…

Schenn Getting Noticed on Long Island too

Interesting to see how Luke Schenn is quietly becoming (as quiet as can be expected only a handful of games into a campaign) the NHL rookie people are talking about. Check out these gems from the Islanders blog:

“But going into last night’s games, defenseman Luke Schenn, the player Toronto took with the fifth pick from the Isles, led all rookies in average ice time with 21:39 per game. He ranked third on the Maple Leafs behind veteran stalwarts Tomas Kaberle and Pavel Kubina.”

It’s pretty amazing when you think about it. If defence is, as reported, the hardest position to adjust to, the fact that Wilson is giving just over 1/3 of a game to the rookie is pretty wild. Not only that, Schenn is getting that reward despite being a team worst -4.(Schenn is tied with John Mitchell).

“Of the four top defensemen in the draft, Schenn was the only defensive defenseman, which is why Drew Doughty, Zach Bogosian and Alex Pietrangelo went second, third and fourth. But defensive toughness might be the most underrated quality of all when it comes to assembling a perennial contender. Imagine how much the Islanders could use a 6-2, 216-pound ball of muscle on their blue line and in front of the net. If Schenn turns into Scott Stevens in terms of his hitting and leadership ability, then, the Islanders have missed the mark.”

What is interesting to me about this again, is that we are only 6 or so games in…Is it an over-reaction??? Or is it just that Luke is a solid 2 way player??? Don’t you love the Scott Stevens comment again?

“Judgment day on the wisdom of the Islanders’ draft strategy is a long ways down the road. But if the growth process is going to be as painful as it has been through the first six games, it would be a lot easier to take if the Isles had a guy like Schenn to mold as a future cornerstone on defense.”

Ahhhh yes hindsight….Take stock Islanders fans, we leaf fans have a team of all stars whom were picked behind us in the draft….

Story from the island can be found here