An independent blog on the New York Islanders, the NHL and AHL by a guy from New York.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Isles Tradition, Legends, New Tigers & MSG Host

Your New York Islanders released the full preview of their commemorative patch paying tribute to their time at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum for the upcoming season.  The design is done in the style of vintage Stanley cup patches and features a likeness of the Coliseum and the Isles 4 straight Stanley Cups.  It also denotes their tenure at the old barn, from 1972 thru 2015 and the slogan, “Tradition on Ice.”  The logo will be featured on jerseys, game pucks, patches, T-Shirts and the like.


Scheduled for the final season at the storied NVMC, the Islanders will feature some tribute games in the months of November & December.  The games will not only commemorate their Dynasty team, but some of the greats that helped the Islanders win 19 consecutive playoff series and the legacy of four straight Stanley Cups. The first Islanders to be honored this season are Billy Smith, Bobby Nystrom & Clark GIllies.  As a "Big Money Goalie," Smith backstopped the Isles to multiple championships in his aggressive, game changing style.  And as an intense competitor, Smith made opposing players think twice about taking liberties around his net and is well known his use of the goalie stick.  Nystrom was a dangerous playmaker who could hold his own against just about anyone.  Oh, and he could score too.  He is most famous for his 1980 cup clinching O.T. goal against the Flyers, a goal that helped him attain the title of “Mr. Islander,” and brought the first championship to the fledgling team on Long Island. The contributions of Clark Gillies can be summed up on the score sheet and certainly on the ice as a feared enforcer.  His toughness and all around skill is a template for the modern day NHL player.  As is common with most of these special tribute nights, the Islanders organization should offer give-aways to commemorate the occasion.

On the farm, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers announced six two-way deals.  Forwards Peter Sivak, Michael Pereira & Adam Phillips will be added to the BST forward corp. Defensemen Mark Nemec & Keith Seabrook will bolster their blue line. Goaltender Philippe Trudeau returns to the Sound Tigers for added depth and to increase the competition for the nets in Bridgeport.  The new blood should help spark the AHL line up in Connecticut for returning Head Coach, Brent Thompson.

Detroit Tigers & Red Wings host-reporter, Shannon Hogan has been officially named to the MSG Islanders broadcast replacing Peter Ruttgaizer who has worked with the team since 2011.  Hogan said, “It will be fantastic working with a franchise rich in tradition and a young team on the rise.”

Isles Notes:

Exclusive Season Ticket Holder presale started on August 25; General Public Sale Begins September 2.  

Per New York Islanders, “We're less than one month away until the Isles host the Devils at @BarclaysCenter! Get your tickets now.”

Come meet your favorite Islanders on Oct. 5 with proceeds benefiting the Islanders Children's Foundation.

Per @jimbaumbach, “Barroway's lawsuit against Charles Wang has been assigned to Manhattan Supreme Court judge Saliann Scarpulla.”

Sound Tigers Notes:

Sound Tigers release their 2014-15 schedule.

NHL Notes:

Per Hockey Rumors & Trades, "It is being reported that 4 expansion teams will be added to the NHL by 2017. The locations of these teams are rumored to be Las Vegas , Seattle, Toronto & Quebec City increasing the number of NHL teams to 34 and the number of Canadian teams to nine. This could raise $1.4 billion in expansion fees."

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Charles Wang Sells: The Pending Sale Of Your New York Islanders

Earlier this afternoon, Arthur Staple tweeted from his vacation in Prague:

"BREAKING NEWS: Charles Wang has agreed to sell the Isles to Jon Ledecky, former co-owner of the Capitals, and investor Scott Malkin."

Brooklyn native, Jon Ledecky was a former co-owner of the Washington Capitals and Scott Malkin (Value Retail PLC) is a London based investor and founder of high end retail outlets in Europe in addition to being a trustee in the New York Public Library.  Both new owners have roots in New York and appear to have an interest in the Islanders as a New York team.  For those of us who will continually worry that the team could be moved with changes like this, Andy Graziano of Islanders Insight mentions that the NHL by-laws state that new owners can not relocate for a period of 7 years.

“We are pleased to have the opportunity to become partners in the New York Islanders with Charles, and to pursue our shared dream of winning a fifth Stanley Cup for the greatest fans in the NHL,” Mr. Ledecky said.

The initial deal, which still requires approval from the NHL board of governors in December, maps out like this:

Charles Wang remains the majority Owner for the next two seasons, being the final campaign at the NVMC and the inaugural season in the Barclays Center. 

“I’m thrilled that Jon and Scott have agreed to join me as we start the Islanders’ final year at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum,” Mr. Wang said. “I look forward to a long and successful partnership."
After the initial two years, Wang retains a minority stake in the team while Ledecky and Malkin assume majority control of the storied franchise.  It also means, that Wang will remain in control for now and that Garth Snow and Jack Capuano will need to impress the new ownership.  Charles Wang bought the embattled Isles franchise in 2000 with then business partner, Sanjay Kumar for $74.2M and $97M in existing liabilities.  For all the missteps fans can put on Wang as the Islanders owner, it must again be said that he is most likely the only reason your New York Islanders remained and will still remain in New York.

The Islanders said there will be no further comment until the sale is approved by the NHL board of governors.  The deal between Ledecky, Malkin & Wang is said to be for $550M.  The prior "handshake" agreement said to be between Barroway and Charles Wang was reported to be $420M.  In Barroway's $10M lawsuit against Wang, the mentioned "third party" is assumed to be that of Ledecky & Malkin in the ballpark of $548M, per Brett Cyrgalis.

What all this will mean over the next few years remains to be seen.  I am pretty sure the team will stay in New York and this can only make the Islanders a more attractive and legitimate organization for the future.  In a few weeks, the team needs to put all this behind them and focus on galvanizing their much improved roster.  The goal should be to earn the respect that has been missing from the organization that their loyal fan base deserves.  Here's to hoping that today was another good piece of the puzzle for an improved Islanders organization. 

Is it October yet?

Isles Notes:

Islanders final season in the NVMC will feature a commemorative patch on the team's jerseys this season per Icethetics.  See the "teaser" image below.

Josh Ho Sang is insulted by Team Canada and vows to be as good as John Tavares.  Love the fight in this kid.  And as long as he continues to work hard & focus on the Isles team concept, he may just live up to his word.

Reports have surfaced that Peter Ruttgaizer has been replaced by Tigers & Redwings host, Shannon Hogan for the Isles pre and post game show. No official announcement as of yet.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

More Lawsuit Details & Arbour's Fight

New details have surfaced in the saga of the failed Barroway-Wang sale of the Islanders.  The New York Post has revealed that Andrew Barroway hired Gary Bettmann's half-brother, Jeffrey Pollack  several months ago as part of his team to acquire the Islanders.  An awkward detail in yet another negative story Isles fans would just assume never happened.  "Barroway also hired David Carlock, a sports-marketing specialist, as a late addition to help in his Islanders bid — which ran into trouble, sources said, when the Philadelphia lawyer and hedge-fund executive had trouble raising the funds needed for the purchase."  Rumors of Barroway not having sufficient funds to conclude the purchase the storied franchise have leaked shortly after news of Barroway's lawsuit against Charles Wang had surfaced.  Strangely, As for Pollack, it is believed to be the first time he was selected to advise on the sale of an NHL team.  Was the former World Series of Poker executive and NBA adviser hired for his consulting expertise, or because it was thought that his relation to the NHL commissioner could help the sale be ratified by the League and the Board?

The Barroway-NY ICE lawsuit indicated Wang backed out of their handshake agreement to buy the Isles in order to sell to an interested third party.  Today, B.D. Gallof tweeted, "Per another NHL team source, at June board of Govenors meeting, Charles Wang announced: he has made NO decision on the sale."  If Wang made no indication to the NHL Board of Governers that a sale was imminent, it means Barroway is lying or Charles Wang was unethically playing multiple suitors to get the best deal.  If this is the case, Wang would destroy his support of Commissioner Bettmen and alienate him self from the NHL ownership fraternity.  But Gallof adds, "Also: Missing in Barroway docs is a "letter of understanding" that would have been signed if things were really at the point of sale."  Very suspect indeed on behalf of Barroway's credibility.

There is probably a lot more details to be revealed about who is to "blame" for the failed sale of the team. But Gallof brings up a good point to think about.  "Chew on this: had Barroway made that sale, you wouldn't have seen the additions Charles/ Garth made that moved Isles well above cap floor."  And will this mystery third party be authentic as speculated?  Will the team still get sold?  Lets enjoy the ride.



CBS reports that Bryan Trottier revealed on a Buffalo's WGR radio station, the legendary Islanders coach, Al Arbour is suffering from Dementia.  “Today, he’s going through a little tough time with dementia right now. But we all love Al for all of the great times we had together and his leadership. He was always calm under pressure,” Trottier said of Arbour, 81.  Well known to Islander fans, Arbour won four Stanley Cups as a player and led the upstart Islanders to wins in 19 consecutive playoff series and 4 straight Stanley Cups.

As heard on WGR's "Sabers Hockey Hotline," new Sabers assistant coach, Trottier said, “Al was a great motivator. He was probably our father figure in the fact that we all respected him so much." he added “He (Arbour) had a great command of the room. At the same time, he had a big man’s presence. He had won a lot of Stanley Cups as a player with several different teams. He played with great players. So he always brought that credibility with him. And for us to sit down with him one-on-one or when he was in front of us as a team, he had a great presence, and we loved the man.” 

Of Arbour, former Islander goaltender, Chico Resch commented that he was the greatest coach of all time for his ability to lead with tact and a personal touch.  He hinted that Arbour could discipline and correct a professional hockey player without embarrassing him and maintaining a positive feeling in the room.  As a fan, I looked up to Al Arbour as a legendary coach who lead my favorite team to amazing heights and allowed me to witness a Dynasty in the making.  Along with Bill Torrey, the man who brought him to the Island, I felt Al Arbour was a brilliant tactician and motivator who had everything in control as "my" coach.  I am deeply saddened by the news of his dementia.  Something I am having a hard time in dealing with by my own father.  An immortal inspiration to me and a giant in my life who could always take charge and make things better from my Mom and me.  It just sucks.

I wish coach Arbour and his family the best.  I am sure all Isles fans wish him the best in his fight and we will be sure to keep him in our daily thoughts.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Barroway Sues Wang & Isles Cash In On Potential

Today, the Daily News reported that Andrew Barroway alleges in court documents, that Charles Wang backed out of a handshake agreement to sell him (and NY ICE) the team for $420 million (in March.) This was apparently after he (Wang) learned of the Clippers being sold for $2 billion (to Ballmer). It was then that Wang allegedly wanted to up the sale price of the Isles to $548 million.

So we learned the deal was reported to be off between Barroway and Wang about a week ago.  Apparently, Wang’s refusal to go through with the previously agreed deal was the cause of a $10M lawsuit from prospective owner, Andrew Barroway per a prior agreement.  When the higher $548M price was allegedly demanded by Wang, Barroway felt “blind-sided” and refused.  Barroway also contends it was then that Wang had apparently mentioned that he had sold the team to other bidders.

Per the Daily News, “Wang, whose greed was further stoked by the Ballmer bid, … set on a course of bad faith conduct to improperly renege on the agreement and eventually blind-side NY ICE with a substantially-increased price demand,” the lawsuit states.

Apparently, the deal that was negotiated in March had NY ICE gaining “100% of the equity in the Islanders and Wang’s corporations, CBW Inc. CBW LP and CBW LLC, would get a 25% interest in NY ICE.”

To conclude the purchase of the team, Barroway would need to put up “$100 million in cash and an $84 million promissory note.”  In addition, it is reported that Barroway “was to assume Wang’s $125M Bank of America loan & team-related debt court papers say.”

Per the Daily News, “NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the league has no comment other than to say they view the matter as a “private dispute.” The Islanders, in a statement, said: “There is no merit to the reports.”

@nyifancentral mentions, “So Barroway wants ten mil for 5 months of negotiations? Funny Wang/Rechler never sued Nassau/TOH for 20m for 5 years of negotiations?”  While I am not attacking or defending Charles Wang here, it is pertinent to bring up Barroway’s backing out of negotiations to purchase the cash strapped N.J. Devils organization in the recent past.  


It is evident that one could expect the Isles to go as far as John Tavares, Kyle Okposo, Frans Nielsen, Travis Hamonic and Jaro Halak will take them.  But what cannot be ignored is how important it will be for some promising rookies and 2nd year players to have major success for the team this season.

Nelson, Strome, Lee, de Haan, Reinhart & possibly Pulock will need to rise to the opportunity they will be given, and to those who got a look last year, continue their big league success from last season.  Successes like the Isles going 21-11-5 with Ryan Strome in their line up.  Nelson was good from the start of the season, Strome & de Haan made an immediate impact after being called up and Anders Lee showed signs of being a solid NHL power forward.  Griffin Reinhart will get every opportunity to make the team out of camp and Ryan Pulock has vowed to push himself as far as he can to make the team this season.  This is a good sign for a defense that needs to improve in any way it can.  This years camp promises to be interesting.  Lets hope the competition brings out the best in everyone and the best players available get the NHL roster spot.

Isles Notes:

Tony Stabile mentions that, “@corypronman releases top 100 prospects for ESPN. Isles have 7 prospects listed: 9. Dal Colle, 20. Griffin Reinhart, 41, Ville Pokka, 75. Sebastian Collberg, 82. Ryan Pulock, 84. Josh Ho-Sang and 93. Adam Pelech. Reinhart (20th) was previously ranked 34th on the top 100. Isles Collberg went from 90 to 75, Pulock fell from 24 to 82.”

Islanders Tavares to have his #91 retired by Oshawa.

Isles prospect, Taylor Cammarata has been cut from Team USA evaluation camp.

Per @NHLFREEAGENTS, Hamilton Bulldogs signed former Isles defensemen Joe Finley to a one-year AHL contract.

"Playing for the Islanders, you age in dog years." Rick DiPietro co-hosting with Alan Hahn on Espn Radio.

NHL Notes:

The San Jose Sharks will host the LA Kings in the 2015 Stadium Series at Levis Stadium in Santa Clara, Ca. on February 21st.

Per @EyeOnHockey, “Report: Still unsigned as a RFA, Bruins D Torey Krug has contract offer from KHL team.”

Hockey Notes:

KHL looking to hold epic game at 2,000 year old Roman stadium 'Arena di Verona' in Italy.