October 8, 2009

The Goal Song.

Here is my suggestion.

The song: "Lithium" by Nirvana, 1992
I (crudely) spliced it in with a recording of the current fog horn. Nothing's wrong with the horn.

I like "Lithium" for this spot because the chorus is simple, easy to learn and gives fans a great opportunity to sing and shout and ruin their voices. Some of the best memories of early Isles games I have are actually the day after, when I couldn't speak.

Game Ops:
Don't not use it because you found it on a blog. It's a great idea, and you know it. Or, at least, it is vastly better than that Quarterback... Nickelback... Who-gives-a-back's song that gets played now. It sucks, and you know that, too.

July 16, 2009

I was there #1

Many of you may wonder what I do with my time when I'm not blogging. I'm glad you asked.

The short answer is that I hang out with Garry Bettman.
That's right, I was one of a select few to witness the NHL's Winter Classic 2010 announcement live and in-person yesterday afternoon. Sure, you could have watched it on NHL.com live. You could have.

I, rather, went there as "press" and was able to watch it all from the comforts of the lower bowl at Fenway Park. I saw such hockey dignitaries as league commissioner Garry Bettman, Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs, and Flyers GM Paul Holmgren. I even got some free Fenway Franks for my trouble. Mmmm... media food...

And yes, Bettman is even more chipmunk-y in person.

But yeah, the exciting part: After the official announcements were all done, all the executives,players, and politicians were all accessible on the infield for interviews, photo ops, and other PR stuff. Without an official announcement concerning *a-hem* a possible NCAA game held on the Fenway ice –– as we've heard in *cough* rumors for months, I had no real story to pursue.

Eventually, while I was scoping out people to talk to, I noticed (Boston) Mayor Thomas Menino gazing absentmindedly into the distance. So I introduced myself, and asked if he knew anything about that rumored Boston University / Boston College hockey game to be played at Fenway this January.

After a few "oh, yeah? Hm, yes, mmhmm, yesh......"s (Mumbles Menino at his finest), he confirmed that yes, there will be a game between the bitter college rivals on Fenway ice, and that an official announcement could come within a few weeks.

This is huge, let me tell you. It makes the Winter Classic so much more important... and I'm not just saying that as a college hockey fan.

The rivalry between the Terriers and the Eagles is far greater than the rivalry between the Flyers and the Bruins. I mean, come on, everyone hates the Flyers. In fact, it surpasses nearly every other rivalry –– in every sport.

And if you've never experienced college hockey, you are severely missing out on totally new take on the game. What an opportunity to become familiar with it! Listen, readers. Promise me you'll find a way to watch this game, when it happens... even if it isn't nationally televised. Promise me!

---

"It's gonna be great fun, huh?"
Indeed, Mayor Menino. Indeed.

July 15, 2009

The Bet: Summer assessment time

The trade deadline has come and gone, the 2009 draft has passed, and all the drama of July 1st –– the onset of the all-important free agency period –– has settled. Teams all around the league have lost and found players special to their causes. Through the turmoil, the Islanders roster remains relatively static, and with the liklihood of any significant changes happening soon, it's time to talk about... yep, you guessed it...

The Bet.
In case you missed the details of my March 3rd wager, you can check out all
the dirt here.

The Bet is, in short, my banking on the hopes that the Islanders will rebound strongly next season. In review:
  • If the Islanders finish top-20 in the league in 2009-10, this shrewd author receives a brand new Islanders jersey.
  • If the Islanders finish below that mark, however, this deadbeat author will unsuccessfully try to back out of buying my critical friend a brand new Sabres jersey.
So let's let everyone make their own assessment of the situation, in terms of roster changes. A quick rundown:

Significant "outs":
Bill Guerin - traded, re-signed with Pittsburgh

Mike Comrie - traded, then left unsigned

Chris Campoli - traded, still on contract in Ottawa

Significant "ins":
John Tavares - drafted, near-lock to make the team

Dwayne Roloson - free agent signing

And then the real deal-breakers... the things that will make-or-break The Bet:

The question marks:
Rick DiPietro - will he be back? Will he be healthy?

Josh Bailey - will his added muscle play to his strengths (har...)?

Kyle Okposo - will his numbers continue to improve to the level the Islanders need?

Sean Bergenheim, Frans Nielsen, Blake Comeau, Bruno Gervais, Jeff Tambellini - will these players mature into the effective and productive players they can be?

Trent Hunter, Doug Weight, Brendan Witt, Andy Sutton - Will these veterans provide what they're capable of and lead the youth to new levels?

~~~

The result of this bet will simply depend on these question marks. But the real thing that will keep me going –– and keep me following the team so closely this year –– is that with such levels of youth on the team, anything can happen. I don't think it's at all absurd to say that, given some real great performances, this team can push for the playoffs sooner than later.

And hey, all they have to do is clinch 20th for me to win this thing!

Thanks for reading.
Comments/thoughts appreciated.

July 7, 2009

Keepin' it Fake I: '90s THROWBACK NIGHT

Keepin' it Fake I
Introducing a new segment on Castaway in which I'll try my darnedest to make you think the Islanders are doing something they're not. I'll be planning full-scale gameday events and offseason promotions with the hopes that it will spark some discussion and get a few laughs.

Today's event:

Go back in time with the Islanders:
The '90s THROWBACK NIGHT!
DISCLAIMER -- I'm fully aware of the Islanders sacrilege I'm about to commit. Please read on:

That's right, dear readers!

Come celebrate a wavy part of your team's history! Break out the ol' teal-navy-orange-white-and-silver's and take a trip to the Coliseum for a Halloween night's timewarp.

---

If you're still reading at this point, thank you. I think this makes much more sense than it seems at first, just hear me out.

This upcoming season marks the ever-unlucky thirteenth anniversary of the introduction of that horrid logo and color redesign that shames Islanders fans to this day. It was a full-on "let's not think" decision, and even though the Fisherman years are gone, I say it's about time the team's new leadership acknowledge the blunder in the best possible way:

By revisiting 1996. On ice. In front of 16,234 fans more than ready to see this thirteen-year curse defiantly broken.

Now, I know what you're going to say: "No way. Never again. Not that nightmare." But is it really that embarrassing anymore? Would seeing the Isles suit up in the Fisherman jerseys really be that much worse than seeing your team in these lovelies?

Here's the spin: A Halloween night at the Coliseum, but instead of skanky Ice Girls in skankier-than-usual costumes and half-assed candy giveaways, the entire night is transformed into a thirteen-year timewarp.

The team can take to the ice (for one last time) sporting the Fisherman jerseys, complete with custom socks and helmets, just like the "good" ol' days.

The simpler things like the scoreboard theme and panel colors can be changed to reflect the ever-so-appealing mix of navy, orange, white, teal, and silver.

Whenever the team hits the ice –– pregame or after intermission, and anytime a goal is scored, the PA will, naturally, play Primus' John The Fisherman, which as it happens, is a pretty badass song for a hockey arena to begin with. Have a listen:

Primus - John the Fisherman


And who can forget the all-important goal foghorn! Somehow captured here in all its tacky glory and without crowd cheering (maybe the place was empty?):

The 1996 NYI Fog Horn - complete!

Getting nostalgic yet?

All this, just for one Halloween night event. This is, of course, hinging on the likelihood the Isles are hosting a game that particular Saturday, but you get my point.

You see, it isn't about having a laugh at our absurd past –– that's only part of it. It's another way to make headlines, sell tickets (yes, money, duh), and if I had a say in it, bring some good to a worthy cause: Preserving the Long Island Sound.

It's as simple as could be. 10% (a totally made up amount; I'm sure there's more to it than picking a round number) of all ticket sales for the night would be donated to "Save the Sound", an accomplished and ambitious program under the Connecticut Fund for the Environment. Check them out here.

That way, in keeping with the ...a-hem... nautical theme of the night, a seriously important resource dear to all Long Islanders can share the spotlight(/shame) and get some donations.

---

To those of you who'll say it's ridiculous, you're right.

To those of you who will argue it's unnecessary to spend the effort, don't forget that anything that will bring the Isles extra income is good for the program as a whole. And if I remember correctly, if a team uses a "4th" jersey on a one-off basis (like when the Isles introduced their '72 retro uniforms once in 2006)they hold the right to sell those jerseys to their hearts' content. Big bucks.

To those of you who will say this kind of shenanigans has no place in the big leagues, lighten up. It's sport. It's about entertainment and fun. And money.

---

For the full tale of the ill-conceived redesign, check out Botta's post from last October.

For a list of achievements by the "Save the Sound" group, click here.


Comments! Let me know how you feel about this. Would you be pumped up for something like this? Or is it yet another fishsticks embarrassment? This one took me a while, so I really appreciate the support.

-Andy

July 1, 2009

Announcing JOHN TAVARES® Mania Month™

JULY is JOHN TAVARES® Mania Month!™ Don't forget to buy any of the convenient season ticket packages! Don't worry, we'll call you and remind you to.
And email you.
Twice, just in case you forget.

JOHN TAVARES® Jerseys also available!

Spend enough money and MAYBE BECOME GRACED WITH THE PRESENCE OF JOHN TAVARES®* and also MAYBE RECEIVE A BLACKBERRY MOBILE MESSAGE FROM JOHN TAVARES®**

*Sometime this summer. Maybe.
**Only for an hour one day at camp. If He® feels like it. Maybe.

Download the OFFICIAL JOHN TAVARES® SONG†

†Not for actual download. Violators will be shunned in the eyes of JOHN TAVARES®.

~~~
Have a fun FA Day, everyone.
-Andy

June 7, 2009

06/07/09 - Destined for success?

The last time our Isles finished with a record as miserable as this year's was at the end of the 2000-2001 season. The team went 21-51-10 for a grand total of 52 points.

The record this year, of course was 26-47-9, resulting in 61 points.

In 2001-2002, the Islanders bounced off the floor, and rose to 5th in the East with a 42-28-12 record. With 96 points, they narrowly lost out to the Flyers for 2nd place at 97 points.

Keep up the faith, Isles fans! With a good draft and some extra help this summer, we can have something to be proud of next year!

May 29, 2009

05/29/09 - Pöck to Switzerland

Just since I haven't seen this elsewhere yet... I figured I'd throw it up here.

Thomas Pöck has signed with Rapperswil-Jöna of the Swiss National League A, according to the team's website. The financial terms are unclear, but the contract will be for 2 years.

It's not a big deal to most Islanders fans, especially with the draft just weeks away, but Pöck played hard for us when he was on the ice. Good luck in Switzerland.

May 15, 2009

05/15/09 - On the draft

Not to completely ignore the amazing experience of the Terriers' Frozen Four victory in D.C. ... Perhaps something about that is to come soon.

A quick thought: With the No. 1 pick this year, GM Garth Snow can't go wrong by trading down the 1st overall pick for the 2nd.

Why? The player available at #2 (be it either Tavares or Hedman) should be just as great as the #1. So why not spare ourselves the stress and future guilt (?) from debating the #1 pick and trade down to #2 and pick up another asset or two at the same time.  There's two scenarios that could play out in this case:

  • Despite the expected outcry from nearly all Isles fans if Snow goes for Hedman with the pick at 1 or 2, it would be a much easier decision to accept in the light of gaining something additional from a trade. And don't forget the "there was no other choice" factor in consoling angry fans.
  • If Tavares is still available at #2, then it will likely be regarded as a genius move by Snow for picking up a little something on the side.

In all, you can't really lose out by having the #2.
We have the #1, so I propose the Isles trade down and see what else they can get in addition to a top-level draftee in either Tavares or Hedman.

More soon.

March 30, 2009

03/29/09 - "Drunk" Blogging the NCAA

Okay, so I'm not drunk... but I'll explain that later.
But it is post-game, and I've got things to say.

Boston University topped the University of New Hampshire earlier today, 2-1, with a clinching goal in the final minute of play. Islanders draftee Corey Trivino scored the first BU goal, and his line looked good on every shift.

In other NCAA tournament news, Bemidji State beat Cornell University in stunning fashion to become the lowest-seeded team to make the Frozen Four... ever. Which is pretty hilarious when you think about it.

But I want to discuss the BU Terriers here. Assuming my audience is primarily Islanders fans, I'll try to keep it pertinent to 2nd-round draftee Trivino and Long Islander and free-agent to-be Matt Gilroy. Or at least, keep it interesting in general.

Enough can't be said about this year's Terriers. Rival teams have poured over the tapes and made countless line matchups, but not one has been able to reliably find a chink in the Boston armor. Really, it is something special. But anyone who knows BU hockey can tell you that this year's sense of team and community is nothing new.

After today's win, the Terriers took the busride back from Manchester, NH to Commonwealth Ave. It took less than an hour for a handful of players to turn up at a local bar, where they were met with a rousing welcome from us loyal fans. This marked the second time this year the players and the fans met at a campus bar after a victory -- the first was as per a longstanding BU tradition after our Feb. 9 Beanpot victory.

And while it's obvious that the players -- with their freshly-awarded NCAA REGIONAL CHAMPIONS baseball caps -- are the focus of the bar, there's no one happier to be there among the fans. All the Terriers (particularly the seniors) are smiling wide, cracking jokes, and laughing at the replays being shown on TV. It is obvious that this is a team that really enjoys being a team on and off the ice.

But really, what team wouldn't, with success like this? BU is 33-6-4 this season, and virtually every player is enjoying career-best production and statistics. It's only when one considers exactly who is on the Terriers that this team's attitude becomes really amazing.

With headline-making players like Sr. forward Brandon Yip, Soph. forward Colin Wilson, and Sr. defender Matt Gilroy, the possibility of individualism on this team is undeniable. It is a credit to the legendary coach Jack Parker that these players -- some of whom are graduating and likely have NHL aspirations in the fall, and some of whom may turn pro even before their collegiate tenure here is over -- are keeping their noses down and focusing on the whole.

And that is making all the difference as BU skates headlong into the Frozen Four. As a BU fan, I watch in awe of history in-the-making. As an Islanders fan, I am not only learning how to enjoy supporting a winning team, but I'm watching how a real team is put together and how it works. It may seem complicated here, but it's something that I sense is happening with the Islanders, especially with the growing number of rookies playing at the NHL level for the first time together.

I really urge all Islanders fans to watch the Frozen Four telecasts on ESPN2 April 9th and 11th... not just for the Terriers, but for some great college hockey. This tournament has been as ridiculous as it gets: final-minute goals and stunning comebacks have become the norm, and BU is the only #1 seed to advance past the preliminary rounds.

So, yeah. Two beers with my friends and the players at the bar,
Go BU.

March 29, 2009

03/29/09 - BU vs. UNH on ESPNU

Alright, here we go - the NCAA tournament regional finals. Today's victor will skate into the Frozen Four in D.C. April 9th and 11th.

Yesterday's game was an 8-3 show of Terrier dominance. Make sure you don't miss out on today's inter-conference grudge match.

5:30pm, ESPN-U

GO BU!

March 28, 2009

03/28/09 - BU vs. OSU on ESPN2

Trivino, Gilroy, Wilson...
It's BU hockey.

You've basically got no excuse to not watch this one.
ESPN2, 5:30pm.

Update: puck will drop at 5:56 due to UNH-UND overtime.

GO BU.

March 18, 2009

03/18/09 - Quote of the Year

“I can’t tell you how much I’d kill to be in the playoffs next season in an Islanders uniform. This place has come to mean a lot to me. They gave me a chance last summer to prove I had something left, and we proved it together. I’m going to play next season, and I hope it’s here.”


-Doug Weight
Per islanderspointblank.com/


I hope so, too, Doug.

March 16, 2009

03/16/09 - The Islanders Can't Even Lose Correctly

This afternoon's 4-2 win in Chicago made it clear: The Islanders can't even lose right anymore.

How is it even possible that the league's last-place team can do anything wrong at this point? Actually, it's pretty straightforward:
Start winning. A lot.

With 6 wins in 10 games, the Isles are doing a great job of screwing up their prime positioning for this year's draft selection. Yeah, yeah... I hear it now. Winning is always something that is good. But that's not going to stop me from complaining about this hot streak like it was a cold streak.

Of course, no team will actively tank a season. That's just not good for anyone involved, from players to fans. But there are certain things a team can do to ... well, tank. At least passively.

But even these methods are failing the Islanders. Shortly ago, the notion of a draft day boon was undoubtable. Today, it is again up in the air. And let's be honest: It's not really about taking the season for the #1 pick. It's about being smart, and treating the tail end of the season like a trial-by-fire prospect camp. And by all accounts, the Islanders are the masters of this approach. Just ask the Bridgeport-Port Jeff ferry service.

Hell, why NOT throw in a rookie goaltender against a top-8 team!? Let's see what he can do!
  • 2008/09 NY Islanders: The end of decades of mediocraty ...or... A lesson in Murphy's Law?
- - -

But don't get me wrong!
A note to the players ~
Congratulations to Peter Mannino on his 40-save debut win and the rest of the Islanders rookies for pulling together such a bang-up job over the past stretch. I'm your biggest supporter, and can't wait for you guys to tear it up next season. (And you're making me look like a genius for making that bet.)
Thanks for reading.

March 8, 2009

03/08/09 - The Bet.

2008-2009 is a wash. That much is clear. But dammit, I'm not giving up on this
team.

I've already done the "keep-the-faith" speech. Been there. And besides, with as many "wait 'til next year" seasons as we've seen in the past decade, that sort of thing may be getting a bit hackneyed.

This time, I'm putting my money where my mouth is.

And so, to silence a certain loudmouth critic, a bet was made:

  • If the Islanders finish top-20 in the league in 2009-10, this shrewd author receives a brand new Islanders jersey.
  • If the Islanders finish below that mark, however, this deadbeat author will unsuccessfully try to back out of buying my critical friend a brand new Sabres jersey.

A bold wager indeed.

The way I see it, this bet entirely depends on how the youth of the Islanders comes out next year. With a healthy DiPietro (perhaps not a safe bet in itself), Hunter, Sutton and Meyer, and the further development of this year's rookies and prospects, I give myself a better-than-50/50 chance of winning.

Of course we'll have to wait and see, but that's the fun, isn't it?

February 7, 2009

A Note

A welcome to all the new visitors from my Hockey Night on Long Island appearance.
As you can see, nothing has really been happening on this blog since last September. Is it dead? Not quite. Here's what happened:
  • Started the fall semester
  • Became an editor at our daily paper
  • Got sick
  • Buried in classes/editorializing
So yeah, with the Isles on the skids all year, I didn't really prioritize Islanders Castaway. I figure that there will be a lot to say soon, though, with the upcoming draft and growing interest in NCAA players like Matt Gilroy. So keep it here every once in a while to see if there's anything I can provide. As always, I'm trying to bring readers something they can't find elsewhere. If you want game reviews, opinion calls, and repeated speculation, check the Blog Box.

Thanks for keeping with me,
Andy