June 29, 2007

6/29/07 - Smyth to Test Free Agency

Say it ain't so! Over at Spector's Hockey, Spector reports that Ryan Smyth's agent, Don Meehan, said that Ryan would test the free agent market tomorrow. Meehan, was quoted from a Toronto-area radio talk show, was backed up by Darren Dregger of TSN.ca.

This really can't come as much of a surprise to us Islanders fans. With the kind of buzz (and money) being thrown around this summer, wouldn't you want to see what all your offers were?

I still have faith that Smyth may remain an Islander.

It makes you think, however, about what all that buzz was about yesterday. Could it be that there is already a deal or an agreement already in place, and it is contingent on the Islanders' moves in the FA market? Or is it possible that yesterday's buzz was exactly that- yesterday's buzz.

June 28, 2007

6/28/07 - On the Brink CORRECTED

No, not only on the brink of the free agency period.

There has been what can only be described as "explosive buzz" tearing through the Islanders communities in the past few hours. I originally reported that an informant on IslandersCountry has leaked information that something "BIG" is about to go down.

It has since become apparent that the leak was first brought to light at IslanderMania forums. Thanks to a concerned reader who contacted me and set the record straight.

From the information divulged, one can only be led to believe that Ryan Smyth has signed a contract with the Islanders. Not only do all the pieces fit together perfectly, but the details (including those about lawyers being involved) are being backed up by other sources, among which Eklund at HockeyBuzz. Normally, I don't put much stock in Eklund in the Smyth affairs, but these are details that are backed up by multiple sources. I believe that makes at least an (E2) by his count. [sarc.])

But, of course, nothing is final until the hammer hits the chisel. You can bet something is going to happen in the next 24 hours, if not much sooner. Check back here often for updates, as well as Greg Logan's blog for breaking news.

June 24, 2007

6/24/07 - Draft Day II

Well, the draft is over, and in essence, not much has changed for the Islanders. The team acquired some solid defensemen in the later rounds, but aside from that, the Islanders are the same team they were two days ago.

Despite numerous unfounded rumors from the Canadian press, the rights to Smyth were not dealt, and the team is moving ahead without any unnecessary roadblocks. It's good to be proven wrong once in a while, eh Canada?

Anyway no hard feelings... we are all waiting (unpatiently) for July 1 to find out the actual destination for all our free agents.

Additionally, I was surprised to see that only three teams (Washington, Boston, Columbus) unveiled their new uniforms at the draft. I suppose most teams decided to wait for the right time over the summer. (Anyone else thinking a Ryan Smyth press conference, perhaps?)

Some good news, though... the Blue Jackets are already taking public orders for their new uniforms, and the price for a "premier" (the equivalent to replica) is a reasonable $110 for an adult; $55 for kids. Naturally, there is an authentic version for $250, but even that price is a a great deal better than the rumored $500+ price tag. Add in $75 for name/number if you wish, but you still have a very reasonable price for a new hockey jersey.

So, only a few days left until another busy weekend in the hockey world. I'll be keeping my ears open for any interesting developments.

Thanks for reading.

June 22, 2007

6/22/07 - Draft Day I

Today is the day!

The NHL Draft will begin tonight at 7:00PM EST at Nationwide Arena in Columbus. Expect a lot of buzz to be generated over the next 48 hours, as teams choose their draft picks, trade out players, and unveil their new uniforms. Although the Islanders currently do not have a first or second round draft choice, that may change rapidly in dealings with other teams.

Unfortunately, I will be unable to update Islanders Castaway with the latest news and draft buzz until later tonight at the earliest. Until then, I recommend you check out the great sites ain IslesNet, located on the lower right of this article.

Thanks for reading, and let's keep our fingers crossed for an exciting and productive draft!

June 21, 2007

6/21/07 - Update II: New Bruins Uniforms Announced

Officially announced at the official Bruins website, the team has changed their look for the 2007-2008 season.

The new "B" spoke logo is very sharp, and I love the retro secondary logo.

This confirms the rumors regarding the "alternate" Draft Day caps for sale at NHL.com, and reinforces the notion of big changes to come soon.
Note: the Draft Day hats being more believable now, I think it's safe to announce that the Islanders will see a return to royal blue, or at the least, a lighter shade of navy for next season.

More updates as they break.

UPDATE: 4:00pm

It seems the Bruins have taken the leap and announced their new RBK Edge Uniforms for 2007-08. Here they are, courtesy this article at HockeyJournal.

They are great. A return to the vintage design for the B's, and finally, the proof we needed to stop sweating about those horizontal lines. If the Caps' and Bruins' decisions to return to their traditional roots is any indication, I think a lot of Islanders fans are going to be very pleased when the new uniform is announced.

Tomorrow promises to be an explosive day for hockey. Let's all keep an open mind and an open ear for all the developments that are sure to happen in the next 24 hours.

June 20, 2007

6/20/07 - Islanders Uniforms '08 - Part II

Today, the Washington Capitals new uniform was leaked on their website. This was, of course, to be expected to happen at some time; it's actually a surprise it took so long for this to get out.

As you can see, the Caps have made the return to the classic red, white, and blue color scheme, and have redesigned the old logo.

Even though the photo is of less-than-great quality, the uniform looks very sharp. I am glad to see the primary "eagle" crest design get the boot, and the new font for "Capitals" combines old tradition with new style.

What is interesting to note is that the Caps' design is not just a re-colorization of the original All-Star Game templates. This is a very good thing to see; one of the rumors floating around was that the new team uniforms were going to be based upon the All-Star Game designs. . In the same boat of such rumors, though, it is evident that there are no horizontal stripes shown in this photo. Granted, the image is cut off and the uniform may very well have some stripes at the end of the sleeves or the waist, but there is no evidence to debunk this troubling rumor.

What does this mean for the Islanders?

Well, if you still want to believe what the Caps uniform failed to disprove, the Islanders may lose the traditional orange/white stripes on the sleeves and waist. Yes, this would be a huge loss, but I still have faith in the people behind the redesign, and I don't think us Islanders fans have a lot to worry about. I also don't think we have to worry about those under-arm and side vertical stripes, as seen on the All-Star prototype. If the Caps didn't adopt it, then it must not be necessary.

In related news, the NHL Draft Day baseball caps were unveiled recently, and several of them raised a few eyebrows around the league. "Alternate" designs of these hats were found on the league server, among them one with the new Capitals logo. Some of these caps aren't yet available for sale, and speculation is that the league wants to wait for the official announcements.

The Islanders' own Draft Day cap is stirring up a little buzz, as well. As first noticed on IslandersCountry, the cap is colored royal blue, and not the navy blue the team has used since 1995. This seems to conform recent rumors about the return to royal for the Islanders, including supporting theories on the color design of their new website.

Other thoughts:
It is reported that the new Columbus Blue Jackets' logo will be their current third logo; the Ohio flag wrapped in red, white, and blue.

According to extra images found on the NHL store server, the Bruins logo may face a slight change in the "B" font.

There have also been rumors of the Buffalo Sabres having a total redesign again, amid much criticism of their new 2006-07 crest.

Friday is the day for all fans waiting for the official uniform announcements. Even before the 2007 NHL Draft kicks off in Columbus, several teams are already planning their official announcements. More is sure to come, and as Draft Day comes closer, the possibility of more leaks will be high. Keep it here for updates and thoughts.

June 18, 2007

6/18/07 - Bergenheim Back for 07-08

Islanders TV is reporting that Sean Bergenheim has negotiated a deal that lands him back on Long Island for the 2007-2008 hockey season. Bergenheim signed a 1-year contract, and will appear at Islanders training camp in the fall.

For the full story, visit the Islanders web page and watch the Islanders TV article featuring GM Garth Snow and Asst. GM Ryan Jankowski.

June 16, 2007

6/16/07 - Hockey Night on LI Recap

Today, I co-hosted the Hockey Night on Long Island radio show, along with Alex and special guest Tom from IslesInfo.com. The original special guest, Shawn P. Roarke, did not call-in as expected. Nobody's quite sure what occurred in that respect, but a Alex and I were very grateful to Tom for calling in on such short notice.

We had a great show, where we talked about today's Samsonov trade, the Isles' new website, the upcoming draft, and of course, lots of free agent speculation and thoughts. Some callers brought up interesting points, and made for a generally solid discussion.

If you missed the show, and would like to listen to the tape, visit the Hockey Night on LI radio website. You can find today's and any of the other 16 shows available online at any time under show archives.

Thanks to those who tuned in!

June 15, 2007

6/15/07 - Hockey Night on Long Island: Saturday at 3:00PM

Our friends over at Hockey Night on Long Island have humbled me with an invitation to co-host tomorrow's matinee show. Unfortunately, regular host Steve is unable to make it tomorrow, and I was offered the chance to fill in for him. Of course, I accepted.

The show starts at 3:00PM, and the (very) special guest will be NHL.com's senior writer, Shawn P. Roarke.

If you haven't tuned in before, you're in for a treat. The boys run a great show, and have had a great lineup of special guests from around the league. Tomorrow's show promises to be yet another interesting discussion.

Please tune in online at 3:00PM. As always, you can call-in with your thoughts and commentary at (718)-664-9597, or shoot Alex an instant message at hockeynightli on AIM.

Hope to hear from you there!

June 11, 2007

6/11/07 - The Calm Before the Storm

For the Islanders, this offseason is key. Our recipe for headline-busting news: one part crazy owner, one part powerful GM, two parts unrestricted free agents, and a liberal amount of building momentum. The buy-out of Alexei Yashin was only the beginning in an offseason that will be full of drama and anticipation.

Anyone that has been even loosely following the team can tell you that the buzz surrounding the Islanders is as high as it's ever been, and that there is certainly something exciting happening within the organization this year.

The team has shown by example that it is dedicated to bringing respect and a competitive team back to the Island, and with any luck, the fans will respond in numbers. For a change, the Islanders are turning heads, and not because of scandal and controversy. As hollow as the rumors surrounding Smyth, Blake, and the rest of the league truly are, it's clear that more and more people on Long Island are listening and waiting for the next big announcement.

Like I said, this offseason is key. Long Islanders are interested in the Islanders again, and so far, the organization has made all the right choices. If there was ever a time to get excited about the future of the team, it is now.

This post is meant to boost that notion, and to set a tone for which the next two weeks will most assuredly be kept. There's no new information here, no rumors to analyze or news to break. Just a little thought for the rest of the month. July 1st can not come soon enough for hockey fans on Long Island.
Try not to bite your nails too bad, everyone.

June 6, 2007

6/06/07 - Breaking News - Yashin Bought Out

According to Newsday, the Islanders have announced the contract buy-out of captian Alexei Yashin. It will cost $17.63 million, and according to Ted Nolan, it was a "hard decision, but when push came to shove, it was the best decision for this organization to give Yash a nice, fresh start."

Read the full article here. More to come soon.

June 4, 2007

6/04/07 - Islanders Uniforms 08: Predictions and Thoughts

Amid the ongoing, tumultuous flow of rumors, news, and speculations concerning the free agent pool, I'd like to take a little time to step back and change the topic a little. If you're looking for the latest free agent talk, please check out our pal Carey over at Isles Blog.

As you probably know already, the NHL has decided to change the standard uniform design for all teams next season. The new model, designed by Reebok and dubbed the "RBK Edge", includes high-tech lightweight materials, form-fitting measurements, moisture-repellent fabric, greater breathability and motion motion range, and (reportedly) they can make espresso.

They debuted this January at the 2007 All-Star Game in Dallas, and were met with rave reviews from the players, but less-than-rave reviews from the fans. The players say that they're comfortable, maneuverable, and dry. The fans, naturally, resisted the change. And of course, there's little doubt that this change is largely motivated by the league's desire to rake in a lot of extra cash.

But as time went on, and the idea of the uniform redesign sank in, it started seeming less and less of a bad idea. If the players will benefit, then it should be good for the sport. And that's always good for us fans.

But now it's nearing truth time for the new uniforms, and we're all getting a little worried about the impending changes again. Information has been very sparse in regards to the changes that will take place, and it's no doubt the league will keep it that way until the last minute. What we do know (or think we know) is that the league has encouraged all teams to use the template design that we saw at the All-Star game to redesign their uniform design for next year. If this is true, it is worrying.
Honestly, the uniforms aren't that different, fundamentally. They looked really good in Dallas, but that graphic design is unique, and just does not agree with the "look" of a lot of the teams in the league.

The other bit of information that has been rumored about these new threads is that it is very difficult to print up horizontal stripes on the new material. What that means is up to a great amount of interpretation, but if it means the removal of horizontal stripes from uniform designs, there is going to be a huge amount of backlash from virtually every team's fans-- because, to a point, we're all traditionalists, and 90% of the teams feature horizontal stripes and color changes on their uniforms.

I find that rumor hard to believe -- based on the long tradition of horizontal stripes in uniform design -- but the fact that the All-Star uniforms didn't have such horizontal stripes leaves little comfort for those who doubt.

In any case, those with some ties to the Islanders have heard a few rumors about the Islanders' future look, and others have interpreted those rumors à la photoshop. Here's some from the fine artists at IslandersCountry:

Courtesy "RumMunkey"

Courtesy "SteveDepot"

Courtesy "bvon44"

They're all great renderings, and I'd actually be happy if these were anything like the final cut. Remember, these are fan ideas and are based on rumors, so don't take these as more than they are. We won't know for sure what the new Isles uniforms will be until they are officially announced.

It's going to be an interesting offseason for our Islanders, to say the least. The Capitals are set to unveil their own uniform design early this summer, so maybe we will get a better idea soon.