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Building D From The Offense In

Building Blocks 123 Abc Cubes Toys Play Dices

UPDATED 7/3 3:30pm EDT

Matt Martin is back! Our 4th line is reunited.

Now we have:

Filppula – Komarov – Kuhnhackl

Cizikas – Clutterbuck – Martin – Johnston

We might not be a playoff team, but damn will we be tough to play against.

Original Posting

Conventional hockey wisdom dictates that you need to build your defense from the goal out. Lou Lamoriello is building from the Offense in.

Areas that need fixing/adjustments

  1. Replace Tavares – We need a #1 center OR do we already have that in Barzal?
  2. Bottom 6/Team Defense – we had too many goald against
  3. Top 2 defenseman – we need a mobile, solid defenseman that eats minutes and can score
  4. PK – We were a leaky sieve
  5. PP – It needs to be our advantage and lead to goals
  6. Starting Goalie – Greiss is not our starter. A trade needs to be made
  7. Competitive AHL team – Winning attitude, winning team and competing for the Calder Cup will get the prospects to develop faster

What About The Offense?

I’m not concerned with the Islanders offensive output for 2018-19. The team’s top 6, even without Tavares, is a high scoring bunch. Even if Lou adds a scorer later on OR one of the kids proves himself in camp, we will have no shortage of goals.

That leaves me with an empty feeling. Once a player of Tavares’ level abandons the team, you want the Isles to make a signing or a trade to match that level of player. After all, priority has to be to save face no matter how any rash, short-term feel good move can deeply affect the team in the long run. Luckily, our new GM is not just reacting and he is trying to fill our needs.

OUR 2017-2018 TEAM DEFENSE SUCKED!!!!!!!

It needs to be addressed and fixed. Trotz will employ a more defensive, uptempo style of coaching and Lou is providing him with those pieces.

The NEW PK/Bottom 6 types

Leo Komarov, 31 – 4 year:
He will be here long-term to fix the PK and eat defensively responsible minutes. Agitator.

Valtteri Filppula, 34 – 1 year: Stopgap. No trade or movement for the year. Can’t hurt.

Tom Kuhnhackl, 26 – 1 year:  He’s playing for a longer contract/trade bait at the deadline.

The Current PK/Bottom 6 types

Casey Cizikas, 27 – 3 years: Can he score more goals this year? PK? Stay healthy?

Cal Clutterbuck, 30 – 4 years: We need more of his wristshot. Stay healthy?

Ross Johnston, 24 – 1 year left – RFA: Fights and brings toughness.

My Thoughts

The 2018-19 version of the bottom 6 will be tenacious and nastier last year. There are cup rings, there’s leadership, there’s snarl, fighting and everything you want to see, except for obvious goal scoring.

Will be interesting to see how they are used and matched up.

Lingering Questions

  • What will be the goals for output from these 6?
  • Can they stay healthy?
  • How will they match up to other team’s top/scoring lines?
  • Will they decrease the goals against?
  • Can any of the kids/prospects outplay them in camp and make them expendable?


There is still a lot to address and fix. This year’s Islanders will be an exciting team to watch and faster skating than last year’s. Let’s see how the goaltending, top 6 offense and #1 goalie needs are addressed before the season.

Currently we are a fringe lottery team at worst and fringe playoff team at best.

Minor AHL Signings

Every time Lamoriello signs one of these players and its announced, the less knowledgeable or sarcastic fans wonder why they were made and how they help the parent club. These signings don’t help the Islanders directly. It is vital for Bridgeport to be competitive for our prospects’ development.

So far we’ve signed:

F – Matt Lorito
F – Mike Sislo
D – Seth Helgeson

There will be more to come and players will be traded/play their way off the team at training camp and/or Bridgeport training camp. The Sound Tigers success is more important than ever.

Lingering Questions

  • Will they have a coaching change?
  • Will they be able to see success with Trotz’s system?
  • Who will be the next player(s) to force their way to the Islanders roster? Bellows? Toews?



Thoughts The Morning After…..

scenic view of beach

Photo by Pixabay on

As a former supervisor once told me, the company existed before you got here and it will exist when you leave. You are just a short-term blip in the company’s timeline. You need to figure out how to make your impact on the company long-lasting. Make your mark felt and be part of the long-term memory and corporate consciousness.

John Tavares is a generational player. He is a one of a kind talent and we were lucky to have him on the New York Islanders for the limited time he was on the team. ON the team. Not part of the team and not part of the heart and soul of the team.

His captaincy and effect on the team was not long lasting. He will be remembered for being a number one pick, signing a cheaper extension to try to win now, an overtime goal, one playoff series and a year of uncertainty before leaving for Toronto. He had individual accomplishments, but no real TEAM accomplishments to speak of. He is no Lafontaine or Turgeon.

The Ryan Smyth Saga

The end of the season reminded me of the Ryan Smyth saga, because there are many parallels.

In 2007, Garth Snow shook up the hockey world by trading for Captain Canada, Ryan Smyth. The New York Islanders were not a destination for free agents or big names, especially since ownership didn’t want to spend money on the team. This was an eye opener of a trade!

After he finished crying over the trade and leaving his precious Oilers, Smyth brought grit, toughness and goal scoring to the Islanders. A real Ted Nolan type player. When the Islanders got bounced out of the playoffs in the first round, Garth attempted a culture change by buying out Yashin. He wanted to show Smyth that he was going to build a perennial winner. It didn’t work. Ryan Smyth left on July 1.

The John Tavares Saga

Flash-forward to 2018 and here we are again. Another big name, another dire situation and another last minute attempt by Islanders’ management to entice the player to stay.

John Tavares decided not to negotiate a new contract the beginning of the 2017-2018 season and let it all run down to the last minute.

Lou Lamoriello and Barry Trotz were hired to stabilize and give the Islanders respectability.  Snow and Weight were fired to prove there’s a culture change. It didn’t matter. Tavares’ mind was made up and chose to join the Maple Leafs, his childhood crush.

The New York Islanders post John Tavares are in much better shape than they were post Ryan Smyth.

We have a solid GM in Lou Lamoriello. He will not change the team overnight, but he will address the core needs before the season. Better PK, 1 solid defenseman or 2, and a goalie upgrade. Then he will look at the trade deadline and make the necessary moves. On the ice, we have a core group of players that need direction. Barry Trotz will provide that direction.

We had a killer draft, the prospect cupboard is full, the arena is forward moving and the general state of the team is good. 2018-2019 will be a transition year at worst and a playoff year at best. If anything, it will be interesting.

Player Moves on July 1

Hickey returns:

This is a good signing. You are getting a solid player that can score. He also gives the prospects a chance to develop and play him off the team. Other teams coveted him this offseason, so there will be a market for Hickey if Lamoriello needs to trade him.

Leo Komarov:

I’m lukewarm on this signing. Do we really need another bottom six player? On the positive side, he is a less injured version of Kulemin. We were missing that type of player last year. He can help the PK and will agitate.

Valtteri Filppula:

Meh. Not impressed. More PKing? Veteran leadership? Won a cup? I’m trying to find the positives here, but I feel like I’m grasping at straws.

Overall, July 1st was underwhelming for the Islanders (understatement!!!!) and hoping that the rest of the off-season picks up from here.

Intriguing Storylines

  • What is Barzal’s ceiling!?!?!?
  • Who will be the training camp standouts and play the vets off of the team?
  • Who does Lou Lamoriello deem expendable and available via trade?
  • Who will be the number 1 goaltender?
  • Will Greiss play for the Islanders this season?
  • Will Oliver Wahlstrom and Noah Dobson come to training camp?
  • Will Lou kick Garth Snow far away from the team, never to be seen again?
  • Who will be the new captain?
  • Will Josh Bailey continue his production?

Stay Tuned!

This Is The Land Of Confusion

What a confusing time to be an Islanders fan. What a great time for OTs to help you with the pain in your trigger finger from hitting  Twitter refresh the past 5 days.

The worst possible thing that could possibly happen to the Islanders this off-season has occurred.

OR has it?!

Since the close of his 6 interviews and meetings with prospective clubs, Tavares and his agent have gone radio silent. There are no rumblings or hints to his thought process or where Brisson or Tavares stand.

The New York Islanders and Lou Lamoriello has also not given up a thing. No rumors leaking etc.  Not even of the Islanders plan B if Tavares doesn’t re-sign.

Conventional wisdom was that The New York Islanders were the team to beat in the Tavares sweepstakes. With the ability to sign Tavares to an 8th year, the Islanders were an attractive option. Now that July 1st has come and gone, the playing field is now level.

Tavares can go anywhere he wants. A free agent. No strings attached to the Isles anymore.

At the end of the day, will he choose the Islanders or a different team?

Toronto is really attractive, because he can finally wear the crest he worshiped since he was a wee lad. BUT, they can only afford one huge year of a payout and modest 8 year contract to follow. After all, they need to sign the yunguns AND field a competitive team.

San Jose is in win NOW mode. I mean seriously. They have to win now because they are all aging out within 2 years.

That leaves Islanders as the final choice. And leaves the fans with the following thought process:

  • He would have signed with us if he wanted 8 years
  • He should sign with us because we have the most cap space and can afford him
  • He should sign with us because of Lou/Trotz and we are close to winning now
  • He should sign because he told us he’s never leaving (debatable)
  • He should sign because he bought a house on Long Island (debatable)
  • We jumped through all the hoops and he should retire with a legacy of playing with one team his entire career
  • This is Snow’s fault
  • This is Tavares’ fault
  • This the billboard’s fault (LOL)
  • This is happening because Snow and Weight are his best friends and …..
  • He wasn’t offered enough bagels, beer and clams during the season
  • His wife is from Toronto and she took a job there and wants to live there (debatable)

I can go on and on for days.

Throughout all this confusion about what is going on with contract negotiations, there is one thing we know for certain.

Nothing has been reported or confirmed. PERIOD. No rumblings, mumblings, secondary sources, voices in peoples heads.

Until a reputable news source reports on anything, everything is conjecture and speculation.

Tavares can still sign a 7 year contract with the Islanders. Who knows until he decides and informs us all.

A possible indicator about where the Isles stand, could be if you see the Isles start making moves that are not defense or goal related. They start signing or trading for players that could be 1st liners.

The Isles are not yet out of the Tavares Sweepstakes until Lou Sings or Tavares or his Agent.

Happy Canada Day everyone!





15 Minutes Are Over

5. New York Post

6. Blog Mentions:

Al Trautwig Is An Islanders Fan You Moron

Al Trautwig called my parents.

Al Trautwig called my parents.

I’ve been annoyed by Mr. Al Trautwig’s snarky comments and attitude towards the Islanders on MSG for a while now.

Last night I saw Al Trautwig write the following on twitter:

So I responded with –

That was around 8pm EST

Rangers lose to the Devils and the Islanders win. You have to imagine that Trautwig is having a bad night.

Fast forward to MIDNIGHT.

I get a call from my mother that Al Trautwig just called the house to speak to me because I wrote something about him on twitter. My mother told him that I don’t live there anymore (20 years plus) and can she have his number so I can call him back. He refused to give his number to her and said to her not to worry, that he will find me.


I sent out that tweet at 2-3am Israel time and went to sleep and then woke up to my mother’s phone call at 7AM Israel time.

So then I tweet Mr. Al Trautwig and here is the conversation:

And that folks was the end of the tweetfest.

He doesn’t sound like an Islanders fan?!?

I still can’t believe he was/is insane enough to research my phone number and call my parent’s house, where I haven’t lived in over 20 years, at MIDNIGHT just to yell at me about a tweet.

I spoke to my father today. He said that Al’s lucky my mother answered the phone and not him.

Mojo at Islandermania found this tweet.
Al Trautwig probably drunk dialed them –

Wash, Rinse and Repeat – Snow’s Capuano Gamble

Like many others in Isles Country I’ve been calling for Jack Capuano to be fired. The team is unprepared, uninspired and he appears lost during games. Some say that injured players and Garth Snow’s roster choices are to blame for the team’s record. I don’t buy that because the team has the tools to win, but they don’t have the Coach to help them succeed and bring them to the next level.

The Islanders beat the Rangers last night in regulation and now begins the last 46 games of the season. Its crunch-time and the Islanders are not that far out of a playoff wildcard spot.

Realistically speaking, can Jack Capuano lead them to the playoffs?

Let’s review some history and stats:


The New York Islanders last 46 games under Jack Capuano, season by season.

In the last last 3 seasons, the Islanders have earned 45, 45 and 53 points in their last 46 games. This season, the Islanders have a record of 10-19-7 for a total of 27 points. Let’s add this season’s 27 points to the point from the last three season’s final 46 games.


2013-2014’s first 36 games PLUS the last 46 from the previous 3 seasons under Jack Capuano

As you can see, the highest point total; would be 80 points for this season. It took 93 points to make the playoffs in 2010-11 and 92 points to make the playoffs in 2011-12. Since the 2012-13 season was an abbreviated one, its impossible to know what the playoff threshold would have been over a complete 82 games.

This is the current Wild Card picture:


We are 9 points out of 3rd place in the Metropolitan and 12 points out of the Wild Card.

It is possible for the Islanders to make the playoffs this year because Metropolitan is so weak. BUT not the way they have been playing until now and not the way Capuano has been coaching them.  To put everything in perspective, in 2010-11 the Islanders ended the season with 73 points and 79 points in 2011-12. This year’s roster is more talented and has more potential than any other year Capuano coached the Islanders.

Capuano could be coaching this team to a worse record than 10-11 and 11-12! 

The playoffs are still within reach and history shows that Jack Capuano is not the coach to get the Islanders to the postseason. Hopefully Garth Snow wakes up and makes a drastic change before its too late.

R.I.P. Mayor Ed Koch


Blocknessmonster (on the left) with Mayor Ed Koch at Mayor Guliani’s inauguration.