--- In Islanders-SoundTigers@yahoogroups.com
Some things I liked in Hahn's preview, some I didn't but there is a
long way to go in this preview and so far I only posted the overview
and the coach. I can only do parts of the article per day, but I'll
break it down and hope everyone joins in. Being that Hahn travels
with the team and is the only writer we know who does this I'll put
more consideration into what he writes than others.
> Welp, I believe we'll certainly be among the top 8
> in an ever-weaker-becoming east!>>>
I guess they had to fit the Isles in somewhere. Only one preview
magazine had the Isles in the playoffs, as for Tsn I do not think
that was Hahn's rating because every team had to be rated different.
As for what's been posted so far...
**Fear and Loathing has returned to Long Island.
> Huhhhhh, not quite sure if that is soooo applicable there Alan.>>
**Beleguered G.M. Mike Milbury's brief stint in the good-let's make
that tolerable-graces of the fans, and owner Charles Wang's three
year honeymoon with those same passionate fans have both officially
> I wouldn't say this is necessarily true.
> I think any and every fan who takes into account what happened
> under the swine can't be anything other than thankful for the
> two years of playoff entry Wang and Milbury have brought. What's
> ashame is that we can't get one more 4 million dollar winger to
> compliment Yashin is mindboggling, cause it only seems to be
> a matter of money and hell, the owners have that.>>>
I would not call it fear and loathing either. I do think the buzz
is down about the team because they have not added that winger to
play with Yashin and the theme around the team has been negative
because of losing in the playoffs and Laviolette's firing. But last
summer a lot of folks wanted Amonte, he did not have a good year and
Milbury was right not to add him. Does that mean another player
should have been added? Yes, but what they need is out of the teams
budget and it's time for a little reality from everyone. Most teams
are not spending and trying to keep the payroll under control, the
Isles are losing too much money and this is not a charity. Wang is
right in saying the team has to be self-sustaining.
I think Wang's patience and increased payroll for bringing back the
highest priced players this summer is more than fair and is deserving
of the fans support. When was the last time Jonsson got signed
without a huge hassle?
**All things considered though, the want for a bigname winger
for Yashin can be satisfied if any one of Weinhandl, Kvasha,
Papineau or Hunter can turn the talent they have into 60-80
points. Then again, that answer doesn't have to lie in just
one, cause say 40 points from two of them and 15 from the others
more than solves that problem.****
> In other words Alan, do you really think we're all becoming
> 'intolerable' of the owners and management basically cause
> they believe they have what it takes to win now???<<<<
I think Hahn is making more of something than it is. He should
credit Wang and Milbury for handling all the re-signings well and
things running smoothly all summer. In the past signings have been
problems here. And I think if the owner thinks the team has enough to
win now we have to give him the benefit of the doubt. Ottawa has a
lower payroll than the Isles and won 4-1.
Ticket Prices went up, but the payroll-like most around the suddenly
cost-conscious league-was expected to go down. A new arena on Long
Island remains a dream. ****
> The owners can't change the situation with the arena and
> well, it is their perogative to raise the costs of tickets,
> whose prices had been among the lowest in the league the
> last few seasons. I know, it stinks, but it's their right
> and perogative as businessmen, a role they've held very
> successfully in their lifetime.<<
I don't like the ticket prices but considering how many are taking
money from this ownership, a payroll at the NHL average is entitled
to prices at the NHL ticket average. A new arena is a pipedream
because everyone has their hands out and even if Wang paid for it
someone would want something free from him.
*** And although a defense of Roman Hamrlik,
Janne Niinimaa, Kenny Jonsson and Adrian Aucoin is among the league's
best, in mid-summer the best the team could afford in it's search for
for a top-line caliber wingman for center Alexei Yashin was the
previously ex-Isled Mariusz Czerkawski. Of all the former Islanders
Milbury has scattered about the NHL in his tenure-Todd Bertuzzi,
Ziggy Palffy, Roberto Luongo, et al-it is the unheralded
yet talented Czerkawski who returns.****
> Well Alan, ironic, but on a cost-conscious team, it's a low
> cost-high reward move. Somehow, I'm willing to bet it'll be a
> high reward move.>>>
I wish Hahn would skip the history lesson and maybe take for
granted the fans know about Milbury's deals. I think he is right
about a trade for offense will come from it's defense, but I think MM
wants to keep that defense together.
As for Czerkawski it could work, it may not work. Biggest risk is
if a prospect outplays Czerkawski and he is in the way. I think he is
going to get his 20-30 goals because Montreal played him on left wing
and before anything happened he was fighting with his coach and
playing only a couple of minutes a game. It was just a lost year on a
team that had struggled, usually circumstaces he thrived under here.
I do think he is playing with Yashin and I think he cannot help but
produce next to him.
*** The team enters the season with transition in two key areas,
Steve Stirling is a 53-year old rookie coach who spent the past two
seasons with the organizations successful AHL team in Bridgeport.
Rick DiPietro is a 21-year-old goalie who is among the prospects the
franchise has developed and hopes are ready.****
> This is true. If Dipietro can't be a winner soon, chances are that
> Snow will be nothing more than a .500 #1 goalie, and we're talking
> no playoffs! Stirling truly remains a big question mark. I hope his
> experience in the many netherregions of the hockeyworld turns into
> NHL success. His biggest plus is that he could very much mean a
> great deal to the success of the younger players coming in.>>>
No matter what DiPietro does this year should not define his
career, he is only 22 when the year starts, a lot is being asked and
there is nowhere to hide but this is year one and there are going to
be bumps. As for Snow he has to play as he did from January until the
end of the season when called on. Anything less and the Isles are not
going to be a playoff team.
** Captain Michael Peca must regain his Selke form after struggling
mightly while recovering from off-season surgeries. ***
> Well, I've got news for everyone. Although I see him getting 50
some odd points, the Peca-of-Buffalo-days is no longer. That younger,
hungrier, less-battered version of Peca has now got some money,
has a family and has had some scary concussions and shoulder
injuries. His fall into an uninspired mediocreville is inevitable!!!<<
One thing for sure, the Islanders go as Michael Peca goes, records
do not lie. He has to make his contribution. I expect a lot more of
the 2001-02 version but not the wreckless player from Buffalo.
And let's not kid ourselves, he is being paid to be the player he
was in Buffalo. This could get like Trevor Linden when he came here,
he was paid to be the leader he was in Vancouver and just did not
have the same impact and was only able to be a support player and was
gone quickly but never became that leader anywhere else either.
**On the optimistic side, the team is going for a third consecutive
playoff berth, something not done since a glorious 14-year run that
ended in 1988 and included a Stanley Cup dynasty. This team is led by
an impressive core of defensemen, has enviable strength and depth
down the middle with Yashin, Peca and Dave Scatchard, and includes
a quality supporting cast with plenty of size, speed and versatlity.
> This is true, and this will go a LONGGGGGGGGGG way this season.
Don't underestimate the impact of this great intangible. The team
is going into camp with ? marks, but all of the variety of "How do
we give everyone the icetime we want them to have, cause they
deserve it???" That's a good question folks.>>>
The only thing I think is they should have enough alternatives old
enough and experienced enough now where the answers to some problems
should be here. This is not putting Isbister at center on opening
night or putting 22 year old Kvasha and 18 year old Connolly on the
first line. Bottom line some questions should have some answers and
it's time for the payoff and it's the gm's evaulation and the coaches
skills on display to bring them out.
** The knock on Stirling is he lacks NHL experience. His only
exposure was at the end of the 2000-01 season when he was an
assistant for seventeen games under interim coach, Lorne Henning.
This is where Stirling will need to rely on his assistants.***
> Ohhhh yes, and he will. And they're goodins', thus I have
little worry that Stirling won't accomplish AT LEAST what Lavy got
It's a fair and legimate question to ask about Stirling regarding
his age vs his NHL experience. Stirling says he has enough to win
with the team he has and I do not think he bothers with b.s or saying
things unless he means them. Bottom line he has to produce wins and a
team chemistry and system where the players think they can win.
After Minnesota and some other teams, it should be expected here
** Offensive Philosophy:
Stirling is aware of his teams assets and will use them. The Isles
will continue their cycling stylem, looking to get the puck deep and
use their speed and quickness. Defenseman will be involved but will
hold their positions to guard against odd-man rushes rather
than force the attack. **
> Actually, with these Dmen, I expect them to HAVE to force the
> attack. Sure, Stirling has already announced that the team would
> take on a more defensively oriented system, but let's face it,
> we have a mobile and somewhat offensively oriented defense. I hope
> that STRENGTH won't be buried under a trapping system. Then
> again, whatever wins is all that counts at this point.<<
I don't know, Chapin. What I do know is what does Hahn know about
Stirling because he did not cover Bridgeport? I think this is just
general info and not necessarily philosophy.
*** Defensive Philosophy:
Like cycling down low, an aggressive forecheck will remain an
Islander trademark. One or two speedy forwards will swoop in as
forecheckers create turnovers or keep the opponent from setting up
it's breakout. If the opponent get's set up before a forecheck
is established , the Isles will drop into a typical 1-4 trap.
In the defensive zone, Stirling won't look to sperad out. Instead,
he likes to play a penalty-killing style five-on-five, with tight
coverage to allow defensemen to be aggressive down low.***
> Yep, I figure this is what Stirling will be implementing.
> Anyhow, I guess the preview from Hahn is as expected, still,
> I'm not toooooo happy with the chide at Wang and Milbury.
> I don't believe the fans TRULY need or should be disappointed
> yet. However, the success of THIS very season should determine
> the mood of the fans - should as in, 'has the right to'.<<<
I think criticism on Wang is overdone and from a lot of media
looking at other New York City teams who only know teams around them
buying and spending as opposed to building. I think it's very fair to
be critical of Milbury because unless DiPietro starts playing like
Martin Brodeur 1993-94 version it is fair to start saying the Isles
are 0-3 in DiPietro/Parrish/Kvasha vs Luongo/Gaborik-Heatley/Olli and
those deals were not about bad owners but Milbury's ability to
construct a championship caliber team.
** I think we have the right ingredients to get in between spot
6 and 8 and then fire things up in the playoffs.****
I think that's about right but I also think the Isles could go
anywhere from 2nd to 14th.
> No need to get pessimistic Alan!<<
Still gotta ways to go in just the first preview, Chapin..
Forwards, Defense, Special Teams, Goaltending and Outlook are