As coaches like to say you can always control your effort win or lose.
The New York Islanders are a losing hockey team, expect things to get even far worse in December with the competitive part of the season coming to an end in terms of any playoff expectations.
A coaching change does not alter that reality.
Is Jack Capuano responsible for the holes on defense costing them most games? No.
The collective weaknesses on the roster? No.
The injuries? No.
The lack of production from Regin, Bouchard? No, because they did not come here as consistent players who produced for Ottawa/Minnesota.
The handling of the lineup, of who dresses vs who sits? Absolutely.
The obvious drop in performance of some of his top players? (Grabner, Bailey) No doubt.
Penalty killing? No.
Faceoffs? Mixed, because some of the centers who took face offs are no longer here.
Is this overall roster working hard for this coaching staff? Yes.
Does the work reflect a direction where something is being built to sustain a winning team? No.
Of course you look at the Devils collective defenders, who is out for them, but play consistent low scoring games against top teams it’s not unreasonable to ask why this defense has struggled since the season opener? The Devils lost Bryce Salvador, Anton Volchenkov, and their team with a younger defense play/win many low scoring games.
That’s how you survive eighty two games. (granted it collapsed a year ago for the Devils)
Jack Capuano should be feeling pressure on that small fact alone.
Most opposing coaches don’t even feel the need to play their top goaltender against this roster.
Who Sent Down Matt Donovan?
That could have been the coach or general manager, but going by game reaction that seems to be on Capuano, who is always rolling out Matt Carkner for mistakes above his ability, that lead to goals against without the exact same reaction from management.
Capuano was not Donovan’s coach in Bridgeport, the players that come up are no longer his past prospects.
Too bad Capuano has not seemed to notice Donovan was paired with Aaron Ness last season, and despite the 2012-13 Sound Tigers being twenty ninth in goals against, Donovan was a plus fourteen with solid offensive numbers. (Ness minus ten)
Why not just dress both together for a bunch of games when it’s obvious Carkner will keep making the same mistakes? Carkner’s not a physical player clearing the crease or can do much beyond a fight by appointment?
Capuano tried Donovan with Hickey often, with Carkner far too often.
Martinek now makes a bad read or two a game, it’s obvious why management was so reluctant to bring him back or sign in a league desperate for defenders.
Either way it’s a huge mistake sending down Donovan given the breakdowns that lead to goals behind MacDonald/Hamonic, as they constantly wear down in games with all these extra minutes.
Both are making several mistakes of their own, and looking dangerously close to getting hurt far too often.
Hamonic has concussion issues, MacDonald is always playing off blocking a shot where he’s hurting.
Capuano must feel enormous pressure extending their minutes.
Donovan’s demotion reflects very poorly on Jack Capuano, who’s going to have many more prospects coming if he remains head coach.
So What’s The Answer?
There is no real answer until Reinhart, Pulock, Donovan or the other defensive prospects in Bridgeport get at least three years of NHL experience. There was a problem here from day one defensively with Visnovsky, Strait healthy on this defense. The defenders they need now are not available in trade for any NHL franchise beyond being a rental at an enormous price.
The answer for now is who’s obviously not part of the solution which begins with Martinek/Carkner mistakes. One should be the seventh defender/spot starter, nothing else.
The other should go on waivers/become the veteran in Bridgeport.
The best current alternative would be the following:
At least you put six skating defenders together with some offensive/defensively ability who will make mistakes, but gain experience as a unit.
It worked a few years ago for a few months with an excellent second half.
I’m skeptical Visnovsky can return the same player if at all off a concussion at his age. Brian Strait will help this defense when healthy.
Absolutely time for a long look after he’s finally stayed healthy for over a month.
It’s pointless to keep repeating the same items.
The team is above my November projection of three wins with four.
The loss of Mark Streit was the beginning, it took away scoring (at five on five/powerplay) that was critical.
His loss on defense moving the puck away from the net in transition was noticeable from game one.
After that you take away Visnovsky on a defense already struggling with him most games, finally Brian Strait.
Management seems determined to win or lose with some veterans despite the prospects (Ness, Nelson) showing more. There was a reason Radek Martinek was unsigned at Iceworks waiting for a chance.
Do I really need to write it again about the mistake(s) every game Matt Carkner makes that always wind up in the net any longer?
When a team is this fragile on defense, it’s a matter of when before another team can make a play to beat them, especially in a conference where virtually all the teams can put together long stretches of two goals or less allowed.
Other teams see the exact same thing.
MacDonald/Hamonic have been worn down by so much work, they are not scoring defenders at this point, hard as they try, Mark Streit was.
Sure the penalty kill is about the defenders, but the forwards as well. The faceoffs have to go on the coaching, along with some players (especially Bailey/Grabner) very quiet recent games.
Thomas Vanek outscored Matt Moulson’s entire season with the Islanders on Friday at five on five.
They also went 0-6 on the powerplay which is where Moulson did his best work here.
Bottom line until this team learns to play some defense it has no chance of winning with any regularity, they do not have the players at this time to win on defense.
Cute play of words for the more astute readers, but simply how things have always been at New York Islander Fan Central.
Let’s begin by being clear the New York Islanders deserve media criticism for the 2013-14 season along with many past seasons despite injuries.
Exactly the same as other teams with/near/worse/same record in newspapers.
Let’s also be clear our fans are the only thing that matters. The media in newspapers are the “only” professional media, not myself or other amateur fan blogs/websites.
You visit this site as a substitute you have come to the wrong place. The professional media is the standard, they are what counts, not here.
Did anyone really think since 2007, or even back to the mailing list, I was critical of media for my own gain? Do some of you understand how easy it would have been simply go along like most others do which would give me more page-views/attention if I was interested in doing that?
Don’t you see enough self-serving individuals do this to the point you cannot even tell what’s professional anymore?
If folks saw this website critical of media for not covering our team well or with a bias considered unfair, the harder path was taken, especially when it meant a backlash directed toward me which is very easy with a last place team struggling most of the time while I have consistently defended the position Charles Wang has been placed in.
Example: Arthur Staple of Newsday is outworked, out-blogged, and does thousands of less twitter updates vs the usual middling or worse Knicks/Rangers, who are covered by Steve Zipay.
I look at the numbers, post them on twitter, asking why………..and more. I do not pull punches on the former self-admitted former Ranger fan/full time beat-writer.
Here comes the backlash—– my favorite response being: “The Islanders deserve it” despite the Knicks being worse than the Islanders over a decade, the Rangers eight years without playoffs, and middling play.
Funny how George Richards covering the Panthers, or the Columbus Dispatch selling the Blue Jackets have no problems working much harder than Mr Staple/Newsday staff covering New York Islander hockey, those organizations have been far worse, so have many others at different times.
No. I’m not playing the Dolan card (although the drop in coverage/pay-wall happened when they bought Newsday) much of what I’m writing about here was going on when the Tribune company owned Newsday, and the Islanders were making the playoffs in 02,03,04,07.
Steve Zipay’s newspaper blog back then outright advertised: “If you think Long Island is really Ranger Country prove it by visiting my Rangers blog.”
Last I looked the Rangers were one (11/21)) point ahead of the Islanders, the Knicks well below five hundred and a non-playoff team for close to a decade.
On 10/29 a Newsday extra writer did a blog entry titled: Rangers have been here before at 3-7.
Our team did not get that entry from Mr Staple or a secondary writer. How come?
The season Frans Nielsen has had not one entry from Mr Staple? Three scorers on this team top ten in NHL scoring. Nothing?
Blog Entries/Twitter 2013-14:
Arthur Staple vs Steve Zipay:
Zipay 23 entries, mostly positive updates.
Staple 18 entries: 12 mostly negative since 11/6 what’s wrong with Islanders.
Content: (only negative themed content)
Zipay 36 entries
Staple 4 entries (one pre-dates season opener)
Total Newsday Blog Entries:
Zipay 61 (extra writer cheer-leading 10/29/13-1)
For those who check the Newsday archives past 2013-14 it’s not even close with the disparity around a 10/1 ratio.
Yes, I got the Greg Logan is a different kind of writer than Zipay excuses prior to the summer intern (Katie Strang) getting the beat where Strang outworked Logan/Staple between her Peter Pan/Prince Charming references until she went anonymous on Islanders locker room. (she did not go there with bickering Tortorella room according to direct player quotes while out dog-walking with Dolan/management in 2012 while grading only Islander management from afar)
I have been good at keeping my promise of keeping media updates off this site since the season started. and wished to share this only on twitter, but after a while felt it appropriate to explain better here.
Bottom line it’s up to you as fans to confront professional the beat-writer (or his/her editor) with these numbers, content disparity, asking why?
I did this entry because you deserve better whether the Islanders win or lose games.
Thank You for reading.
Stockton Thunder: Stockton Thunder Director of Hockey Operations and Head Coach Rich Kromm has announced that goaltender Parker Milner has been called up to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League, effective immediately.
The decision needed to be made today with the Islanders leaving for a road trip by Monday afternoon.
The story is the loss of Nabokov on the ice/around the club, an injury like that can have long-term lingering effects. This is Kevin Poulin’s chance with a lot of young defenders around him. As written here often no doubt he can handle the starters role.
Milner’s recall likely means Anders Nilsson is recalled to New York with Bridgeport off until Friday even though it’s been a rough start for Nilsson who missed most of last season & needs work.
Kenny Reiter is better suited to sit for long stretches than Nilsson, come in and give his team a chance to win, however it’s highly unlikely he’s called up to the NHL, and would have to sign an NHL contract.
To make the playoffs in a sixteen team conference with only three top seeds guaranteed a spot, it’s going to take at least ninety five points.
This means the three games under five hundred New York Islanders from this entry forward must play about eighteen games over.
The team matched my projected wins for the month, they have played some very competitive hockey although a free falling Nashville Predators team is not the best barometer.
The Kings held a hot Devils team to zero goals on 11/15. They came here 11-6 good for only 9th place in a fourteen team conference.
Aaron Ness had the best finish by a defender this season, tying him for the team lead in five on five goals at one.
I like what I’m seeing from Nelson, Donovan, Ness. Outside of the first Kings goal in the third period, Kevin Poulin’s been excellent.
The goaltender overall has not been the problem for this organization in 2013-14.
Matt Carkner had his usual redirection/screen leading to the tying goal. To constantly put him out in key situations much less shorthanded just gives talented fast scoring forwards on other teams an advantage.
No doubt Carkner’s doing his absolute best.
Still despite the competitive play reality does not lie. Three games under, few regulation wins, so many weaknesses from penalty kill to faceoffs.
This is with three players in the top ten in NHL scoring. One (Okposo) who had four goals in forty eight games in 2013. Another (Nielsen) having a career year.
It only get’s much tougher from here. One look at the rest of this month with the December schedule likely spells the end.
The criticism will be brutal, some of it will be justified, others well over the top. A lot of it from the professional ranks will come from a place of ignorance from afar, but you know that.
No one wants this franchise to prove me wrong more than myself.
Colin McDonald has not been healthy. The struggles by Grabner/Bailey are obvious recently.
Niederreiter’s on pace for 12/43+20 with limited minutes. Clutterbuck mostly eats minutes as a fourth liner, who’s not been healthy, and never going to make this trade salvageable unless he becomes a poor man’s Milan Lucic.
Cizikas/Martin have to give this team a lot more production.
Joe Finley is in the hospital for his second blood flow/hand issue since 2010. Pedan has been out. The list of recalls/PTO/injuries, and a few demotions to Stockton reflect a lot of turnover that this year goes beyond Scott Pellerin recently.
They have even won some very competitive games.
Pat Lafontaine’s Hiring: Old/New/Selective/Rules For Inexperienced Candidates/Owners/Media? Bridgeport Changes
Other than being very disappointed at one of Bill Torrey’s proteges in Darcy Regier’s, sixteen year tenure ending with Buffalo, I’m thrilled for Pat Lafontaine/Ted Nolan, and wish them the best of luck.
However what happened reaffirmed a lot of things, the biggest being NHL owners really have no clue on hiring executives which explains why most of them hate making a change in the first place.
Also that hockey media have the same selective standards as owners depending on the individual hired regardless of experience.
Many owners likely rely on the NHL for advice in these matters which is why Lafontaine’s Oct 2013 unspecified job with the NHL lasted almost to the day (42) as his tenure with the Islanders in 2006 before Sabres owner, Terry Pegula, made a decision.
It’s not unreasonable to suggest with Lafontaine’s move back to Buffalo, the league advised Pegula or he got to know Lafontaine since he purchased the club.
Of course the question there is did Lafontaine go unconventional hiring Ted Nolan as a coach (interim) or did Pegula go against the school of thinking that kept teams from hiring Nolan aside from Charles Wang, and hire Nolan with Lafontaine?
Likely a question the media will not touch.
Of course we would see a completely opposite reaction if Charles Wang hired Denis Potvin (experienced broadcaster) to be the Islanders President, Mike Bossy (experienced corporate relations) to replace Garth Snow, and Bryan Trottier (experienced head/cup winning assistant coach) to replace Jack Capuano.
There is no Central Scouting for owners when it comes to hiring team a team executive or the person entrusted with running the hockey operation. Most are corporate billionaires, some throw money at the biggest name/resume, others take a chance from experience built over years, some internal, while others hire the people/players they become friends with.
It was obvious Charles Wang did a terrible job struggling to find a general manager from January to June in 2006, however he corrected his mistake, and his team qualified for the playoffs. His current general manger signed John Tavares for less than James Wisniewski/Ehrhoff/Richards (countless others) which is why win or lose in 2013-14 he should retain his job to go with the comments of the players themselves who all made clear they like being part of this organization, especially the ones who would supposedly never report here, but enthusiastically resigned.
This is why Garth Snow earns his paycheck.
When an exeutive is a problem (rare) for an organization, it usually results in many of them not being hired elsewhere. Obviously Neil Smith comes to mind.
And like general managers in trades some owners do not give much help/advice to other owners, some even want compensation.
As for team President Pat Lafontaine, I would love to be in the room when his 1991 version sits down, and is told by a player agent, I will not resign with the Sabres under the current ownership regardless of any contract offer.
“I expect they’ll offer us something, but I don’t expect it will resolve anything,” said Meehan. “What Pat wants from them is to be traded; nothing’s changed.”
This was with an ownership which financed four Stanley Cup Championships, with a general manager, named Torrey, a coach named Arbour.
Of course a decade later Mr Torrey joked about it on ice when Charles Wang honored him, before honoring Lafontaine 11/8/2003 at the Coliseum with a pregame ceremony days after his NHL Hall of Fame induction.
Does Pat Lafontaine’s experience merit being an NHL team President?
I do find it fascinating the same media who roasted Snow’s appointment to Islanders general manger now simply dismiss it as “neither have others” when the question of Lafontaine’s experience comes up.
We have hybrid icing, and now hybrid media.
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers announced Wednesday 11/13, that they have signed forwards Chris Langkow and Sean Wiles to professional tryout contracts (PTOs). The team has also loaned forward Greg Miller to the Stockton Thunder (ECHL). Finally, the New York Islanders have reassigned forward Kirill Kabanov to Bridgeport while reassigning forward Jason Clark to Stockton.
For those interested please change how you visit the prospect blog.
The old link will no longer work.
My apologies for any inconvenience.
Some prospects does not mean all.
Ryan Strome, Anders Lee, and some rookie defenders have to be managed very carefully in their first professional season.
Of course the same folks who complained about Niederreiter/Bailey being rushed will be the first demanding Strome/Lee be called up claiming the team will not give them a chance.
As for the 2013-14 New York Islanders, I wish this was a slump where it’s clear things would even out eventually because there is too much talent on this roster.
It’s not the case, not even close.
This group collectively is doing their absolute best. They have gotten a lot of unexpected production from different players already which makes the overall record even more troubling.
Still they have had chances to win/earn point(s) in most games.
The problems go far beyond coaching, or a tendency to play unproductive struggling veterans.
They have been there since preseason.
The alarming trends just continue getting worse, and are easily being exploited whether it be special teams, speed, skill, physical play, faceoffs or five on five play.
So much for being a very good road team during the forty eight games. Now they come back to where they usually play five hundred (at best) in front of crowds of under 10,000.
Yes, if they won all four road games the attendance would still be under 10,000.
Struggling teams play the New York Islanders, and all of them find a different way to win. Here comes another one Tuesday. (who beat the Islanders already)
That trend is about to end when Los Angeles/Detroit x2 comes here with some other clubs.
Perhaps the Islanders can win some ugly games against no doubt teams using backup goaltenders?
One thing for sure some players are getting more worn-down which leads to mistakes. Hopefully it did not lead to another possible Hamonic injury, who’s been overworked with MacDonald.
If the clubs falls entirely out of contention using Ness-Donovan so be it, using the veterans on defense are never going to be the answer.
If Brock Nelson is the future next to John Tavares (once Thomas Vanek departs) as a number one draft pick, it’s where he should be used with the days of him being a scratch over.
That means even Matt Martin sits for Brock Nelson.
Again management is best served long-term to give prospects a chance.
Some prospects do not mean all prospects.
New York Islander Fan Central Update:
Time for a more professional look, some features have been retired.
The crawl will be installed only for possible future NHL drafts if entries.
The Islanders twitter was added here on a trial basis. The prospect blog has the Sound Tigers/Stockton Thunder twitter widgets.
One sidebar will have Islanders information/other New York Islander Fan Central before the historical images on both sides.
Trying to again address the IE page loading issues which has been a blogger problem with IE, and nothing to do with this website.
The generic WordPress page was created specifically for I.E users because of this. From this point forward whatever is imported there will be delayed by at least twelve hours for a better finished version of what’s presented here.
I kind of laugh when some are complaining about the Islanders power-play going 0-30/something.
This is not the 1980′s.
A power play at thirty percent levels off, which was never a good mix of distributed scoring that was sustainable to begin with. Even successful teams don’t operate at that number any longer for a season with the equipment goaltenders/players wear.
Entering Matt Moulson’s final game against Philadelphia the unit had ten goals (one 5-3 perimeter goal against Phoenix from Tavares) but was operating at 30.3 percent, while getting virtually nothing from it’s defenders.
Overall the numbers were more anomaly then fact, nothing built to last. Expecting Nielsen or Okposo to keep up their offensive pace was/is not realistic based on their career trends.
Bottom line until this team leans how to win low scoring games, and play some defense, it has no chance.
Twenty nine other teams are always looking for quality defenders. That kind of player is only available as a pending UFA rental if they waive a NTC/NVC because all of them have this clause.
Garth Snow’s experienced enough by now, and has seen this movie here with Steve Staios, Mike Mottau, Mark Eaton & Milan Jurcina. The team played better without them because the defense was faster.
The goals Nabokov allowed in Washington were about a hot team quickly exploiting a weak defense shorthanded. One of the teams positives has been it’s penalty kill, not so much this season.
The face-off problems are also becoming another alarming trend.
Management made the right call bring up Aaron Ness. They should bring up Calvin deHaan or someone else with him because Matt Carkner/Radek Martinek are never going to be the answer beyond a spot game.
Carkner & Boulton can go on waivers if Bridgeport wants to give Jon Sim some veteran company during his PTO.
I have never seen Martinek misread plays or coverage like he’s done in some recent games.
Offensive players see Carkner not with his stick/body in the right place on the ice, exploit his skating, and pass right through him but that’s what he did in Ottawa too which led to many frequent benchings.
Jack Capuano’s wearing down Hamonic, and MacDonald (approaching UFA) quickly.
The best of this team so far as been around five hundred even with the scoring which means they are well out of the playoff mix. (and they have had every break in a mediocre division or they would be ten points out of that third seed already)
Too many other players eat ice time, and provide nothing but at best an even shift. If your fourth line is full of minus players that is not a good unit.
Donovan-Ness were both plus players on a terrible defensive team in Bridgeport together last season, I would put them together.
If Boston can give Dave Scatchard sixteen million dollars, and ship him to Phoenix without a month or two, Garth Snow can correct his mistake with Cal Clutterbuck, and move him to another team so 1st round selection Brock Nelson has a permanent spot here off the Sound Tigers rookie scoring record a year ago while improving another weakness.
That laughter in the background is from Edmonton when Snow offers him up for Nail Yakupov which is why Nino Niederreiter is never traded at that age unless it’s for a similar prospect coming off an All-Star development season in the AHL.
Please stop writing Niederreiter demanded a trade, there is no such quote anywhere. He had a binding contract for 2013-14 to be a member of this franchise with the club owning his rights for years after that.
The only silly quotes are coming out of some Minnesota media going back to 2007.
So let’s go back to 12/21/07 entry and remind everyone Don Lucia decided to discuss the Islanders, and Snow responded.
I would like nothing more than this team making my last entry look very bad.
The April 2013 New York Islanders returned for two games.
That is how Jack Capuano’s team must play win or lose.
It’s the only way they have a chance.
I absolutely see this becoming a 3-12 season ending month, the problems on defense are beyond coaching.
It took a miracle Matt Carkner wide/shot redirection for Matt Martin’s goal to reach overtime on Friday, but the skating/speed/defense was clearly visible on Friday.
The Senators played a 6-5 game against Chicago so they are far from a doormat team despite their recent struggles.
Best game of the season by a mile against Boston.
The defense that went 11-1-2 down stretch pushed the play at the opposition . First one goal game allowed since Phoenix imploded. Only the second time this season one goal against.
Far too many minutes for MacDonald/Hamonic again, but finally a five on five shot that finds the net.
(not like the one that bounded in Tuesday)
This is the Kevin Poulin who used to be seen in his callups.
Donovan was outstanding the last two games, so was Thomas Hickey, who’s pass to Nielsen on Friday in the third period was the best setup of the season.
The kind of slam-dunk goal other teams have scored since opening night against the Islanders defense.
The Islander defenders were going to the net every chance they could on Friday.
Think the absolutely world of Matt Moulson. World class player, however he does not find Tavares at five on five with an open net goal, he does not get a breakaway in overtime, nor does he score off the rush at even strength against Boston with that kind of shot.
Different players/skills, both great at what they do.
Moulson had one even strength goal opening night against Columbus, one assist with the goalie pulled against Carolina. (somehow he was not credit with a goal against the Flyers in his last Islander game)
For any chance this is how the club must continue skating, with a road-trip a defender has to be added.
Very happy for Scott Pellerin & the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Blow out 7-1 win against Friday in Worcester. Ryan Strome/Mike Halmo five point games, with the later four goals/two days.
Shootout win Saturday with forty five shots taken.. They fell behind in this game after leading entering the third period, but something perhaps to build on the last two games.
Rick DiPietro entered the third period with a 3-2 lead in San Antonio on Saturday, he faced twenty two third period shots, allowed a shorthanded goal, and lost 5-3.
39 saves/44 shots.
Images added here:
Trottier/Bossy rookie seasons
1984 Stanley Cup Finals Gillies/game two/Lafontaine game five.
Both 1981 Daily News backpages
New York sweeping Quebec to reach 3rd straight final in 1982.
List of Nassau Coliseum PA Announcers.
Links to old newspaper websites for minor pro hockey leagues.
Ct Post backup blogger site.