Dispelling Several NY Islander Myths

Coming into this season there is some real varied takes, and even some strangeness of opinions on the 2010-2011 Isles. Everyone, of course, is entitled to their takes. When I read sports reporting or blogs these days, you hope they are based on educated opinion and sharp observation…and there are many good ones from Lighthouse Hockey, IslandersPointBlank, and much more…but I don’t always agree with them. Sometimes I am not the nicest disagreer but I do my best to give my take and hope that is enough.

I did want to provide an alternative view on a few I’ve seen around the blogosphere which I think are not quite kosher to my view of things…

1. Nino will be on Long Island?

This might be an easy assumption…especially since Josh Bailey would remain on Long Island two years ago, as I reported that was likely. As it was very clear with Tavares. However it IS NOT as likely in regard to El Nino. Is it possible? Sure. But the Isles have a strong mission to gauge what they currently have. Comeau, Schremp, Paranteau, besides others will have ample opportunity to show they are top 6 forward this year. So, where do we place Nino? Bottom lines? A waste of time and not as advatanegous to his development. Nino also is on the very young side, like de Haan was last year. However, his body is filled out and room to grow even more.

Don’t be so quick to assume he will remain on Long Island unless there is a major injury or a clear dynamic difference between him and others. The Isles real hope is to get Petrov on Long Island by some hell and high water, who they were excited by earlier this summer.

2. Travis Hamonic is the top defensive prospect or some definite shoo-in for the Isles defense this year

To me there is nothing more blazingly incorrect than to mark Hamonic as a better prospect than Calvin de Haan, in my opinion.  There is not a doubt that he is progressing nicely as a physical defensemen, but to act like he is a shoo in earlier this summer was just plain wrong.

There is room for a physical dman, but on Bridgeport first. Defensemen take longer to develop as an average, and the Isles don’t seem to push them to the big leagues like they do with forwards. They will however gauge a top 2 dman, which Calvin de Haan is over a 3 or 4th dman, which is more Hamonic’s projection. Barring issues of a return from last year’s injury, de Haan who almost made the Isles last year, is more likely to be seen more on Long Island this year.

3. Garth has not made a clutch mid-year decision to “go for it”

The esteemed Botta has this one on Fanhouse. I could not diagree with him more, respectfully. Hey, can’t agree with him all the time. How quickly we forget the Ryan Smyth move. Now this said, since the system has been in place, they have been reticent to deal any of those pieces. However, acting like Garth has never gone for it is just not the whole enchilada.

To me, buying big via the trades in the last two years are simply ludicrous. The Isles were back of the pack not just in simple stats, but in basics. Their defense and offense is not playoff calibre. Part of being a GM is knowing when to hold them, fold them, and when to bet. Acting like Garth should have made a play is almost strikes as messageboard analysis from armchair warriors. I just doesn’t quite wash.

If anything they should have been selling, not buying. And thats exactly what they did. The Isles attempted to deal BOTH goaltenders last trade deadline if the risk/reward was to their liking. It was not. Not even close. Biron might have waltzed across town, but at trade deadline nobody was interested last year to offer up a pick.

If the Isles are actually poised to be a playoff worthy team come deadline, you will see a change of demeanor and intent. Not before.

There seems to be a bit of unrealism due to a money deal where Isles would take on cap for talent last deadline. However, what has been shown, especially in the final standings, is a clear realism of where they are in the scheme of things. Snow is not doing a 3 year rebuild plan, but a 5 year process.

If you look at the stats of the NY Islanders for last year, their powerplay and penalty kill where bottoms of the league. Only the stellar play of Roloson for half a year had them even in a conversation about a playoff spot.

As a fan who has lived through the dark days, I bite at the bit for them to do something radical, but you also have to have a clear view of where the reality lies. Isles still have a ton of cap room, and my sure bet is that this year or summer, that begins to get used. They certainly wanted to use some of it for defense this past summer. You can bet that they will be just as willing next year once they have a full grip on offense.

4. Janks somehow made trades, carried off all picks and more.

This has been almost comedic. I’m waiting to hear that somehow Janks made the Smyth deal next. It is a reported fact, by myself and a few others over the past 3 years, that the Isles system was in place before Janks was upgraded from European scout. Somehow reality has been lost over drama this past summer, and that is quite unfortunate. I don’t abide how the poor guy found out when they suddenly didn’t renew his contract with no forwarned notice. That’s just bushleague. But, bushleague, sadly, the last few years, has been Isles Country.

BUT…Since when has a guy who runs the scouts been now attached to deals, getting picks, and more? Seriously? Come on now.

There seems to be a schism in knowledge of how the Isles system works. Maybe one day we’ll peer behind the curtain?

5. The Isles Blog Box is meant to be an impartial entity, right
?

Unfortunately, Botta has been hitting on it a few times last year via twitter: To many people giving the warm, fuzzy and help market them have been rewarded for it far too often in the last two years. It was a concern at the very beginning that Eric McErlain and others warned about, and I argued vehemently against at the time. Because at the start, the idea was more noble than schtick, despite the gut reaction.

What was meant to be an independent voice of fans three years ago under Chris Botta has gone through a lot of bumps, rudderless oaring, and much more over the years, changing that path along with the constant changing of the guard at the Isles.

Last year they started printing out everyones blog. Well, what then and why? Are decisions now made on content? Well, one has to wonder as I just found out much like Janks and Trots….what is giveth can be taketh away. They told me….in September, after me asking for clarity all summer long. All the way back since June 1st.

Stay classy, Islanders!


Let’s hope our Tony Stabile who has worked hard for his own entrance there is to have better fortunes. Time for change. Let’s hope he has better luck and the Blog Box finds the oars. Good luck, and change the direction Blog Boxers.

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About the Author: B.D. Gallof is a published writer and hockey blogger. He writes about Hockey, NY Islanders & the NY Islanders venue situation for CBS New York. BD has been written up in Sports Illustrated, TSN.ca, the NY Times Slapshots blog, Yahoo's Sports and SportsBusiness Journal. He has been a featured blogger for The Huffington Post, as well as owner, lead writer, and managing editor at HockeyIndependent.com.

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  1. Isles Fanatic says:

    Top of the morning B.D.,

    I have to respectfully disagree with two of your assessments:

    1)Having personnally watched Nino play, he is bigger, faster than both Tavares and Baily. I think he will play 9 games at least this year, and maybe more.

    2) Hamonic is more NHL ready right now than DeHann, neither will play in the NHL come October, Hamonic might play at some point this year, but De Hann will be in the OHL for the year, and be physically ready come next October. I do agree that De Hann’s potentiel is greater.

    Great read, pumped to see people talking about trainin camps and the upcoming season…

  2. HyeDray says:

    Hi BD. Lots of what you are spelling out here is true.

    The circumstance with Nino will be interesting. I agree that there is no guarantee of anything. If he has the ability, sure, he’ll stick, but if not he wont.

    De Haan and Hamonic are both excellent prospects. I doubt highly either will be with the NHL team this year. We already have too many on the blueline now.

    I did not like Jank’s demise, but I agree. While he was a voice in the room, and likely a strong one, the decisions likely came down to Snow with the draft. And I agree….laughable that Janks had anything to do with the trades :)

  3. 19inarow says:

    Hey BD,

    As a fan from the beginning, when was the last time you can remember the system and team being full of so many prospects with such potential. I am such an Islander apologist that I rarely criticize the orginazation but seriously I think Snow has done a great job with restocking the shelves. I am looking forward to the season and I am hoping the retooled D can hold on to those 1 goal 2 goal leads that the team blew last year. Keep up the good work BD.

    19

  4. RobC/KO21 says:

    All of thats well and good BD, I respect your opinions because you don’t hold anything back and you dont delete our posts like some of the Isles bloggers…I have to admit that Im not looking forward to the Jaffeless color commentating and analysis…It really blows…

  5. mrlbem says:

    Not quite following the last few lines of your post. Been a long day, and all that. Are you stating that the Islanders have denied you further access and your days as a blog boxer are over?

  6. BDGallof says:

    Indeed. I’m out of the Blog Box and denied access with Isles by the new Media person. Guess there is a price to be paid for actually not baking cookies, not dating family or staff, not pushing the party-line, dared criticizing the media dept antics…and trying to be a blogger who is independent of the business/team side, whether a fan or not.

    Hilariously….I am NHL credentialed this season.

    Our Tony Stabile is in the blog box.

    With new job at BN.com I will not be available for games until mid-Nov and I have game access throughout anyway if I want tickets.

  7. Hockey1919 says:

    The Islanders have a media person? Let me guess it was not announced in any media.

    My personal anguish on the Jankwoski, Trottier, and Jaffe affairs really had little to do with any of their contributions to the organization, but how the Islanders went about dismissing them struck me as unprofessional. With so few glimpses into how the organization works it gives me an impression that maybe the whole organization may be run this way.

  8. BDGallof says:

    Well despite putting forth that might not be the case earlier this summer, in the way I was handled by their new Media person… I can no longer disagree.