Posts Tagged ‘New York Islanders’

October 13th, 2010

Hockey Night in Washington: Caps vs. Islanders, October 13, 2010

Backstrom Roloson
Nick Backstrom and Dwayne Roloson from Nov. 2009. Photo by Pete Silver

I’ll be at Verizon Center tonight tweeting live during tonight’s game between the Caps and Islanders.  Click here for a link to my Twitter feed.  I ought to be up and running between 6:45 and 7:00 p.m. U.S. EDT.  Hope you join me then.

POSTSCRIPT: The story tonight was a lot like it was against Ottawa on Monday: Caps allow an inferior team to hang around until Alex Ovechkin saved the day.  Some other thoughts:

  • Nicklas Backstrom might have scored the game winning goal and been named the first star of the game, but it was Michal Neuvirth who won the coveted hard hat from his teammates.  The rookie had 23 saves on 24 shots, and came up big more than a few times, perhaps no bigger than when he stopped Matt Moulson on a breakaway in the third period.  "I was just trying to stay patient. That was a big save for us," said the beaming rookie after the game.
  • Head coach Bruce Boudreau resisted the bait when asked about a budding goalie controversy, making it clear that Semyon Varlamov would play once he was ready, but that Neuvirth was clearly making the case in these first four games to keep the job himself.
  • Speaking of Backstrom, he finally broke through and got his first points of the season, assisting on Ovechkin’s game-tying goal and getting a tip in for the game winner.  Separated from Ovechkin by Boudreau in the first period, the pair were reunited in the second when the team woke from its slumber to put 15 shots on net—with the big strike being Ovechkin’s shot that beat Dwayne Roloson to the glove side to tie things up.
  • Boudreau took a timeout after a Blake Comeau penalty to stress to his team that they needed to simplify things on the power play.  Boudreau said that when his power play isn’t working he likes to fall back on his father’s advice: shoot the puck wide and look for tips.  He got what he was looking for with an Ovechkin cannon shot from just inside the blue line that deflected off Backstrom’s leg for the game winner.  The  score was just the second power play goal of the season on 17 chances.
  • As much as the power play has struggled, the penalty kill, one of the areas of concern in the offseason, continues to be perfect.  Opponents have had 15 power play opportunities against Washington this season and have yet to score.
  • DJ King got on the score sheet with his first fighting major of the season, a tussle with Trevor Gillies just 2:47 into the first period.  The locals were clearly pleased.

  • While the Islanders don’t ice the same level of talent Washington does, head coach Scott Gordon clearly gets everything he can out of his young lineup.   They outhit the Caps and won 59% of their faceoffs. Considering that the Islanders were without power play quarterback Mark Streit, former #1 pick Jonathan Taveres, suspended defenseman James Wisniewski and winger Kyle Okposo, they acquitted themselves well.  While they’re missing plenty of talent, it’s clear the Islanders have a very simple system and they execute it well.  Against about 28 other teams in the league, that’s going to be enough, but not tonight.
  • Mike Green left the game in third period and didn’t return.  Boudreau told the press after the game that Green suffered a stinger, and is "day-to-day."  Check out the video for the sequence where he got hurt:

October 26th, 2009

On Rob Scuderi and Jason Chimera: Can Anybody Spell Clipping?

I was reading Greg Wyshynski’s account of Rob Scuderi’s hit on Jason Chimera over at Puck Daddy late last night when it occurred to me that nobody had mentioned the penalty that could have been called: clipping.  Here’s the reference straight out of the NHL rulebook.

Screen shot 2009 10 26 at 9 47 55 AM
Should they have thrown the book at Rob Scuderi?

Now, take another look at the video clip.  If what happened there isn’t clipping, I don’t really know why the rule is in the book at all.

So how did clipping wind up in the rule book in the first place? You need to go back to the 2002 Stanley Cup Playoffs, where Darcy Tucker took aim at Michael Peca during Game Five of the first round series between the Islanders and the Maple Leafs. Though the hit, one that changed the course of Peca’s career, was legal at the time, the league later used footage of the incident as a textbook case of what constituted clipping:

So I’ll write it again just to make sure I’m clear: If the Scuderi hit can’t be considered clipping, why is it even in the rule book?

UPDATE: Aaron Brenner from Kings Vision has put together an extended highlight reel of the hit and the postgame reaction:

October 13th, 2009

Can You Find the Error in This Screengrab?

From the front page of the NYT’s hockey section:

Screen shot 2009 10 13 at 1 32 34 PM
Did we fire that copy editor in the last round of layoffs?
September 9th, 2009

Can Long Island Still Afford the Islanders?

Over at NHL FanHouse this morning, Chris Botta is reporting that six different municipalities, including both Kansas City and the New York City borough of Queens, are interested in becoming the new home of the New York Islanders.

I don’t doubt Botta’s sources and I don’t doubt his enthusiasm for the Lighthouse Project, the redevelopment plan that Islanders owner Charles Wang believes is necessary for the team to stay on Long Island.

I don’t doubt that keeping the Islanders where they are is what NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman wants too. After all, despite the team’s woes on the ice — they haven’t won a playoff series since 1993 — this is a franchise that won four Stanley Cups, won 19 straight playoff series and put five players, a head coach and a team executive in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Moving a franchise with that sort of pedigree is not a headache Bettman wants, especially if he wants to avoid larger questions about the financial viability of the NHL and other franchises.

And, finally, I don’t doubt that losing the Islanders would be a tremendous blow to Long Island’s civic pride. I should know, as I grew up about a 10-minute car ride from the Nassau Coliseum and rooted for that team as a child. When it comes to big media in New York City, they had little reason to report on anything going on in the suburbs on Long Island, but even the big shots in Manhattan had to pay attention to the region when the Isles were piling up Stanley Cups while the Rangers were well into their fourth decade of playoff futility.

But the question I haven’t seen too many people ask is whether or not the Lighthouse deal is a good one for the taxpayers of Nassau County, the Town of Hempstead and New York state. Yes, I’ve read plenty about how the project will create construction jobs and become a magnet for ancillary economic development. But as Will Leitch pointed out in his excellent piece over at New York about how there isn’t any reason to get rid of the Meadowlands, we always hear those arguments:

Giants Stadium cost just over $70 million (financed by bonds backed by state racetrack proceeds) in 1976. Many new stadiums are publicly financed by selling the myth—and it is a myth—of utility and profitability down the line.

The reality, on the other hand, is that building arenas and stadiums to support sports franchises are a luxury — and it isn’t obstructionist to ask whether or not it’s a luxury that municipalities can afford, especially in light of competing priorities during a serious economic downturn that has pushed government budgets at all levels to the absolute limit.

That’s not an idle question for me, as my entire immediate family still lives in my hometown on Long Island. While I was growing up there, it was impossible to go a few weeks without hearing my parents, neighbors and parents of my friends complain about the tax burden there, one that’s always been among the highest in the nation.

I’ll admit one thing: I don’t know the answer to that question, which is properly up to the local officials and taxpayers on Long Island.  In my heart, I hope they can get a deal done.  Unfortunately, my head suspects that paying the price to keep the NHL on Long Island might come at the expense of other public priorities.  Keep your fingers crossed.

September 8th, 2009

Is Anybody in Online Media Making Money?

Over the weekend, I was sorry to read the news at  the New York Times that NYI Point Blank, the operation started by former Islanders PR head Chris Botta with the support of the team, was facing an uncertain future.  While I was never a fan of Botta’s blog box, his achievements at Point Blank were undeniable, and I was happy to cast my vote for him for the Unsung Hero Award given earlier this year by the Hockey Barn Writers Association.

To make a long story short, after a year, the team has decieded to scale back its financial support, and Botta told the NYT he has yet to secure the sort of sponsorship he’ll need in order to continue.  As most free agent bloggers already know, the work most of us do is a labor of love, one where the returns are mostly intangible, even though there are notable exceptions like David Pinto at Baseball Musings who have managed to make it a business on their own.

But it isn’t just independent bloggers who are finding it difficult, if not impossible, to make a profit in the online content business.  On the same day Jeff Klein’s piece on Botta and Point Blank ran in the NYT, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was passing along  the following story at Blog Maverick:

This summer, in response to the changing sports media landscape, I wanted to create a “media pool” for the Mavs. I wanted to assemble a group of unpaid interns that would acquire video, write game reports, track unique stats, do interviews, interact with fans, and then compile all of this incremental media and provide it free to any and every outlet we could think of. If a middle school newspaper or website wanted up to the minute Mavs reports, check. We had em. Social networks ? All the content you need. Of course we would update our,, websites and offer the content to any and every blogger out there.

The good news is that we would create fresh content and make it available in realtime. Call it “Event Driven” media. The bad news is that there was no way we were going to be able to charge for it. Nor was there any assurances that we could generate enough traffic for the content that we could reasonably believe that we could earn any advertising revenue. In fact, it probably would have cost us more to try to sell advertising via ad networks (contracts, monitoring, reports) than we could recoup in ad revenues.

Given we were lightyears from this being a self sustaining business, and that with the economy in the shitter we didnt have excess financial resources to subsidize this effort, I decided to use unapid interns.

Ouch.  If the owner of a team can’t make it work financially, it’s hard to think of who might actually be able to make a go of it.