Yesterday, I traveled in the pouring rain from Mahopac after work to the Mariott on the Colisieum grounds for something special. The New York Islanders Booster Club was meeting, featuring special guest speaker, Islanders General Manager, Garth Snow.
Despite the weather, it was a good turnout for the Booster Club. Islanders fans are serious about their hockey, and I am no different. I set myself up directly in front of Garth in hopes of asking a few questions. I was able to ask plenty along with the rest of my peers in the basement ampitheature.
My live tweets came as the subject matter shifted, changed and sometimes repeateded itself, but here is what I was able to report on while trying to listen and type at the same time:
"On DP, Isles haven't made a choice on direction."
There are plenty of rumours, trading assets and draft picks, etc to a team just for taking him or trading for another underperformer with high valued contract. Even an exchange with Vancouver for Longo. I know Luongo is a class act and solid goaltender, but I'd rather not lock the Isles down to a long term contract with him. Ryan Miller, Johnathan Bernier or Jaroslav Halak.
"Hamonic extension is ongoing", per Snow. Bailey negotiations incoming.
I would be happy to have them both back, for a multi year deal. Hammer struggled last year, but is relentless in his task while Bailey seems to be finding more of his game and should be a good fit on most lines.
"Cizikas, McDonald & Martin have made impact in big way. When asked if among best 3rd or 4th lines, he smiled n said "They played like it."
What more can I say on these guys. Anyone who has watched N.Y. last season knows their ability to change or aid the Isles with quick recovery in a game.
"Just a mention on Boyes, he did say it was possible he would/could be resigned. But no real tell either way."
Boyes fit well and was a big player in the regular season. I'd welcome him back, but I'd rather go after an upgrade if one is available.
"Snow says they have a lot of good options on possible Captaincy, nothing has been decided yet."
There are many leaders on this young Isles team. K.O, Bailey, Nielsen, MacDonald and Hamonic just to name a few. But in my estimation, John Tavares needs to be Captain of this team. I applaud Garth Snow's Islanders team for always weighing out their options and taking their time with big decisions.
"Snow says PP has gotten "too cute" due to confidence of his players. Need to focus on improving." PK will also be a focus.
Special teams was something Snow brought up a few times. They were happy with their success, especially towards the end of the season. The focus for this season will be to build on their success of last season and correct what went wrong. Easier said than done, but that why I am not the coach. Although I love studying film.
"Snow follows up how to replace Streit with Matt Donovan. Snow wants him on roster. Donovan & Nelson have best shot of making roster this season", per Snow.
Based on last season's call up performances and time in the system, Snow feels they are the most ready and their skill sets will be the most needed. Camp performances will be the final factor, but these guys are close in managements eyes.
"Camp will open competition and that will give Snow clearer picture. Options are there for guys to win jobs. (Nino, Strome) Anders Lee will get his shot to make the team, after playing well last season. Camp will tell. Snow is thrilled with depth, loves the competition."
With the depth of the system, the Isles have some seriously talented guys that will have a chance to make the team. Nino and Strome atop the list. We will see what happens.
"Kirill Petrov - no plans on playing in NHL."
Snow said, "He likes playing in Russia." Ok, then.
"Isles will most likely start season with 7 defensemen for depth, worked well lat season."
An example of management staying with what has worked for them. They must improve their defensive core and need to be sure they have serious depth at the position. Of all the prospects, Many need more seasoning.
"Booster "Is it fair to say Martinek wont be back?" Snow " I wouldn't say that."
In a limited role with limited games played, why not. Experienced and skilled depth at a great price.
"Poulin will need waivers if he doesn't make roster. Thats a consideration to making team. Nilsson had viral infection that kept him off ice."
"Goaltending to be known in next three weeks. Open to Nabby, Poulin, Nilsson competing and going outside for a goaltender."
The current mix of signed and unsigned goaltending talent is there. I think the Isles should improve beyond Nabokov, but keep him in the mix if a trade or acquisition cant be made in the next three weeks. The draft and free agency pulse will tell Isles management a lot on what the plan might be.
Snow "Isles will probably pick a goalie in this draft." He said it will keep system fresh.
And Snow also mentioned "Isles were happy with Koskinen's development overseas. He is getting minutes he needs & he is still in their plan."
These two points will be spoken about a little further down. *
A money move at the time and nothing more. Next!
"Snow said jerseys should remain the same. Focus now on an outdoor jersey that is close to Isles current style. No plans for black n white."
A huge deal to many fans, the look of their New York Islanders is important. Orange, blue and white are the colors and the classic logo is a mainstay. Another jersey fitting the traditional scheme, but varied for the "outdoor game" was a huge deal with my followers on twitter and why not. Its exciting and a major NHL event we get to experience as fans of the Isles.
"Snow said Barclay's center is set up well for hockey, seats are right over ice. It will be a loud building."
"Iceworks is still an option for practice facility, but there are many options open to team."
The facilities will work themselves out when the time is right. Snow and his assistant hinted at many options and possibilities for practices moving forward. With all thats at stake, I am confident that the Barclays' Center will be all it can be.
* "After yesterdays Booster meeting, todays goalie talk, I get the feeling Nino & Poulin could be moved if right offers came to Snow. Hunch. Snow said he was proud of his team, but not satisfied with season. To me it means simple refocusing isn't enough. Changes coming. "
Picking a goalie to keep the system "fresh" and Koskinen still being evaluated, the Islanders have a luxury of young talent with a high pedigree. Players like Nino & Poulin coupled with other assets or picks may fetch young a promising goaltender, talented defensemen or star forward in the making a little further in thier development while the Isles keep their chosen "prospects" developing at their desired pace.
Some information was not new and was spoken about partly in other articles.
One thing is for sure, the next few weeks could be the most exciting for the organization in some time. The Booster meeting was filled with passionate fans who have invested years in the Islanders organization and want to start having thie loyalty repaid. Good for them. I feel the same way. But for the first time in a long time, I think Charles Wang, Garth Snow and the Islanders organization are finally in a position to start paying some of that loyalty back.
BREAKING NEWS: Isles to play preseason game vs. Sens in Barrie, ON.
This day in 1974, Isles Denis Potvin is awarded the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie.
This day in 1979, Isles Bryan Trottier wins the Hart Trophy as league MVP.
I would like to thank all the established and respected bloggers Like Dominik, Dee, Kevin, Anthony and pages like Islander Mania & Isles fans in Brooklyn and my fellow Isles fans on Twitter for their shout outs yesterday in recognition for KoC feeding live tweets during Garth Snows Q&A at the Booster meeting.
I realize there was a large group of fans present, but I was able to break live news directly from the Islanders General Manager in real time directly to a large group of Islanders fans over Twitter yesterday. There were even a few bits of information that I revealed to the fan base or even the hockey world as a whole for first time. To me that was exciting and I was so glad was able to share those things with my followers on twitter and you my readers of KoC tonight in review.
Thanks to everyone who has helped KoC reach 300 "Likes!!" Tell a fellow fan to come and "Like" us as well and we can watch a most promising draft & free agency period and summer come to pass. The Isles are ready for another run. What pieces will they add?
The CHL is reportedly going through with its European goalie ban starting in 2014.