July 28, 2007

7/28/07 - Isles Uniforms '08 III (Update)

Thanks to an alert Islanders fan at Islanders Country forums, we now have another look at the new RBK uniforms for next year.

This photo is from Stony Brook University, where there was an Islanders moon-bounce set up as a promotion at the SBU Film Festival.

Hey, it's Yashin! Not sure when this was painted, but it can be assumed that (based on more recent accounts of the uniforms) it was after the buy-out and the order was simply not updated/changed.

Note some differences from the prototype leaked photograph, including blue all-around torso and white numbers. Orange tie-up laces are seen as well. It still isn't official, of course, but it is an interesting find for sure.

July 26, 2007

7/26/07 - Islanders Uniforms '08... Again

There's been a recent lull in Islanders news, so now might be a good time to discuss what's new with the uniform redesign for the Isles.

Before all else, let's just acknowledge that nobody really knows what is going on in the Islanders camp, and that everything we know is based on a leaked photo, and dozens of rumors and other conjecture.

Here is the infamous leaked photograph:


We know for sure that the photo was taken with a cell phone, and that the uniforms pictured are real. But real doesn't mean final. Many have noted the various other uniforms hanging up in the photograph, and expect that this one is most likely a prototype.

Since that photo came to light, there has been little more hard evidence out there other than "I heard from my friend..."s and more guesswork.

Then recently, a group of administrators and moderators from IslanderMania were invited to a meeting, of sorts, with Chris Botta and company at the Coliseum for a sneak peak at the uniforms. They were candid, as instructed, about the look of it, but from what they could tell us, it is a "variation of that "prototype" that we saw. But different." The general sentiment is that the new uniforms are quite nice looking, contrary to popular opinion regarding the leaked photo.

Here is a graphic rendition, based upon the accounts of the IslanderMania witnesses. I am told it is not far off. Interestingly similar to some of those early NY Islanders Country members' designs back in June.


As for when the official announcement will come, that is still to be seen. There are reports floating around that it could come as early as next week, but as Greg Logan reports, they will most likely be unveiled at the beginning or the end of Islanders training camp, September 13th or 22nd.

As for the Team Store, which recently reopened in the Broadway Mall, there are more rumors from the workers there that support a more early unveiling, possibly August 8th or 15th.

But again, nobody knows anything for sure. The new changes are coming, and we do have a general idea as to what the uniforms will look like, but now the question is a matter when it will become official. Check back here for news and updates as they happen.

Thanks for reading.

EDIT 7/28: See update and new photo here.

July 21, 2007

7/21/07 - Chris Simon Returning for 08

According to the NHL Players' Association, the Islanders have completed a deal with LW Chris Simon. The terms are $475k over one year. Simon still has a few games remaining on his suspension from his March 8th slash of Rangers' Ryan Hollweg.

This is a crucial move that absolutely needed to happen for the Islanders. Chris Simon was a big piece of the team all last season, and his absence showed during the playoff run. It's about time we move on and understand that his slash on Hollweg was nothing more than a terrible, but momentary, lapse of judgement. He is a force on the locker room and on the ice, and he will definitely be a huge boost to the Isles next season.

July 20, 2007

7/20/07 - Alexei Yashin Signs with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl

According to their official website, former Islanders captain Alexei Yashin has signed a contract with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the Russian Super League. The terms are unspecified.

Alexei played for Lokomotiv during the 2005 NHL lockout, and will be joining 2006-07 Islanders teammate Randy Robitaille.

I hope for only the best for Alexei. It was clearly not working on Long Island, and that's all there is to it. He has been a class act through the entire buy-out proceedings, and I really hope he can return to his old form playing in Russia.

July 18, 2007

7/18/07 - 10,000 Visits & A New Look

Sometime yesterday afternoon, as I returned to work muttering and grumbling about the last development in the Nassau Hub transit dilemma, Islanders Castaway received its 10,000th page visit since late March. I can't express enough thanks to the loyal readers out there who have made this blog such a success.

To celebrate this milestone, I have revamped much of the site's look and feel, changing several fonts and moving some pieces around. I also revisited the primary logo, using a few familiar pieces from Islanders logos past. I hope you enjoy the new look, and I would love to hear any feedback you have!

Also, be on the lookout for an special Islanders Castaway giveaway/contest sometime soon. I am working out the details now, and hope to have the fun going by next week! Any ideas/recommendations would be appreciated!

To everyone out there reading, thank you!
Andy Facini

July 17, 2007

7/17/07 - Attendance Woes, Part II

In what I can only describe as rampant idiocy, the top three solutions to the Nassau Coliseum's transit problem were thrown out yesterday, according to Newsday.

The linked article details that the propositions for a LIRR station, a trolly service, and a monorail to the Coliseum have been scrapped. The remaining ideas for rapid transit service to the new NVMC site are: light rail transit, rapid bus transit, or an "automated guideway transit system", which is apparently a monorail on wheels.

This decision is infuriating. While the remaining three options will certainly help the situation, the real solution was to place a Long Island Rail Road station in or around the proposed Hub. As I've discussed previously, Long Island is a unique place for hockey. The majority of the fans aren't found over a 10-mile radius. No, try a 100-mile radius. LI isn't built like a city, and the task of just getting to the arena can become a real challenge for some people.

The only existing infrastructure connecting Long Island (besides the highways) is the LIRR. Regardless of how much it costs to build, and how much it costs for people to ride, for that matter, nobody can argue that direct connections to the NVMC site would provide millions (if not tens of millions) of Long Islanders with an easy way to get to the Islanders and Dragons games, not to mention the many concerts, conventions, and public functions that will be held there.

I'm not placing blame on who exactly is the loony in this situation. That is still to be seen, and at this point, doesn't really make a difference. But regardless of who dropped the ball yesterday, the site developers should still be fighting tooth and nail for the opportunity to directly connect their proposal with the rest of Long Island.

Isn't that the idea, after all?

July 16, 2007

7/16/07 - Campoli Contract Complete

And just like that, there is some news.

Despite some unfounded rumors that the Islanders were in the midst of sending him off in a trade, the Islanders today signed 23 year-old defender Chris Campoli to a 3-year contract. The exact value of the contract is currently undisclosed. This comes at a time when the Islanders are severely lacking on the blue line, and can only provide some much needed depth to the system.

Personally, I love the move. Campoli has found his way under a lot of peoples' skin lately, but I believe that he is the future of the Islanders defense. At the very least, he is expected to become a powerplay specialist, and with the right leadership from veteran defenders, could really become an all-star player in the future.

It is also telling of the Islanders future as a whole. The team is committed to building from the ground up, using veteran leadership to enhance the development of the younger players.
A great move, in my opinion.

7/16/07 - All Quiet on the Island

Perhaps too quiet. It is Monday afternoon, and there is no real news to report. But not for a lack of speculative buzz, however.

All signs point to this week being a busy one for many NHL teams, with arbitration closing in, and many teams struggling to resolve their payroll. The Islanders have been rumored to be on the verge of completing a significant trade, most likely with a team on the West coast. I would have to assume Vancouver, which is in need of scoring, and is looking to move some defenders, which is something the Islanders lack. Additionally, several UFAs are still reported to be in talks with the Isles, among them Derek Morris, Andy Suttion, Bryan Berrard, and to a lesser extent, Danny Markov.

While there is no news to break now, that may change as quickly as tonight for the Islanders. Check back here for news and developments as they happen. Thanks for reading.

July 9, 2007

7/09/07 - Islanders Press Event Recap

Well, I was wrong. In fact, I was "bogus". From the Islanders website:
Although the rumor of the new Islanders jersey being unveiled today is certifiably bogus – and there is not expected to be news of any additional free agents today – fans will want to stay tuned from beginning to end. You never know: there could be a surprise worth waiting for.
Well, a whopping 15 minutes later, and there was no real surprise. At least, nothing close to the new uniforms us fans are waiting for.

After introducing Sim, Fedotenko, and Comrie, Garth Snow presented Bill Guerin with the team captaincy, in as boring a fashion as one can imagine. It was nice to see all the new players and to have some enthusiasm going for the Islanders, but I can't help but feel gypped a little.

Hopefully, more news will come sometime soon.

And only to clear record, I was not starting a "rumor" concerning the new uniforms. That's not my game. I was offering my own speculation to a very convincing and realistic scenario. C'est la vie.

July 8, 2007

7/08/07 - Islanders Press Event Preview

On Friday, the Islanders website announced a press event to take place Monday at 12:30 PM. The event will focus on the introduction of the Islanders' new skaters; Sims, Fedetenko, Guerin, and Comrie.

From the moment I read the announcement, something struck me as strange. There is an odd kind of buzz that the organization is trying to start. Even the fact that it is being called a press 'event', rather than a press conference is somewhat interesting.

Then it hit me. The Islanders are planning more than just an introduction of their new players. They are going to introduce the "new look" of the team. Literally.

Expect the Islanders to unveil their new 2007-08 uniforms at this press event. Of course, I could be wrong about this, as I have no 'inside info' to the situation, but everything seems to be falling into place just right.

A team that, after a series of embarrassing losses at the dawn of free agency -- trying to recover and rebuild -- is a perfect candidate to make yet another big announcement to keep moving forward. We already know that the team has had uniform prototypes made up for a few months now. Factor in Friday's other announcement of the new players' official uniform numbers, and I believe you get the picture. The situation is just right.

The event is scheduled for 12:30, and will be covered on the Islanders website, and on IslesTV. You can be sure that it will be exciting, uniform announcement or not.
Thanks for reading.

July 5, 2007

7/05/07 - Islanders Completely Restart

It's funny, how fickle we Islanders fans are. Just four days ago, we were crying our eyes out and lining up to return our season ticket packages. But suddenly, in the span of under three hours, life is good again on Long Island.

GM Garth redeemed himself today by signing veteran winger Bill Guerin and hard-nosed center Mike Comrie. They were signed to a 2-year, $9M contract and a 1-year, $3.4M contract, respectively.

Between today and yesterday's addition of Ruslan Fedotenko, the Islanders have regained a solid first line, and can finally fill a full four lines of forwards. There is yet some work to do, but major problem number one has been addressed, and the team is rebounding well indeed.

With players like Guerin and Sillinger, the Islanders certainly have enough experience and veterancy to lead the team.
With players like Comrie and Hunter, the Isles also have enough youth and talent to turn a lot of heads yet again.

So, before you decide to proclaim "Garth must go", and before you turn in your season tickets, think again.
Patience has paid off.

The Islanders haven't gone anywhere. They're just going to be a little different. Again.

July 1, 2007

7/01/07 - Islanders Face a Complete Restart

Gutted.

The New York Islanders no longer bear any resemblance to the team that surprised everyone in 2006-07. Tonight, after the first day of free agency, the Islanders retain four of their top ten scorers in 07.

Jason Blake signed a 5-year, $20M contract in Toronto.
Ryan Smyth signed a 5-year, $31M contract in Colorado.
Victor Kozlov signed a 2-year, $5M contract in Washington.
Tom Poti signed a 4-year, $14M contract also in Washington.

That's a loss of 232 points from last season. Add in the Yashin buy-out and Robiataille's decision to play in Russia, and that number jumps to 322 points that the Islanders currently have zero replacement for.

That should pretty much speak for itself.

After all that, how could there be any reason to keep the faith?
Consider this.

Rather than spending an exorbitant amount on the other free agents this afternoon, the Islanders held the line. As much as this non-action may have contributed to Smyth's decision to leave, this also leaves the team with one of the biggest cap spaces in the league. And not for lack of choices, either; some major players are still available.

Look at the Rangers. Today, they picked up both Scott Gomez and Chris Drury. Two big-name free agents, for sure. But take another look. The Rags gave up $7.3M a year in cap space to Gomez for the next seven years, and $7.05M a year in cap space to Drury for the next five. If either of these players doesn't work out, or becomes injured, the Rangers just committed salary cap suicide. Not to mention the fact that an all-star at every position doesn't equate a winning team. Look at the Yankees. What place are they in?

That aside, the average age of the Islanders just fell a considerable amount as well. Though a lot of fans doubt the Isles minor-league status, the truth is that there are a lot of determined young skaters out there waiting to fill the Ted Nolan mold.

Unfortunately, the biggest blow the Islanders suffered today was not on ice, but rather off ice. There's no doubting the organization is nearly undefendable in the eyes of the rest of the league. Attendance... well, that will probably end up being the biggest joke next season.

So in this pit that the Islanders have gone so gracefully headlong into, there is nowhere to go but up. It will be very interesting to watch Snow and Wang pull the team out of this tailspin.

But don't give up yet, Islanders fans. It's still only July 1st, and while the team has a long way to go before September, try to have a little faith in the team. It will be a hard sell to the remaining free agents and any other potential players out there (especially without Smyth sticking around), but rest assured, the Islanders will be there in the fall, and they will show up to play. Wether it takes the signing of a few fresh free agents (at inflated prices, of course), or a complete team restart with a roster of unknown faces and possible suprise talents, the Islanders aren't out of the picture, not in the slightest.

Let's see what tomorrow brings. And let's leave it at that for now.
Thanks for reading.