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Written by Christian A. | 17 October 2009

Last night's 6-3 defeat to the Sabres now opens up the question once again, who should be the starting goaltender? When GM Garth Snow went out and signed two bonafide starting goaltenders many in Islanders Country believed that the situation in net was settled, that the Islanders could breath a little easier knowing that until Dipietro comes back they have solid goal tending.

For the most part that has been true, while the Islanders have lost they have managed to keep the games close (not counting last night's game) and both goalies have come up with clutch saves when they need to. That being said i have noticed an interesting trend, Roloson is guareenteed to give up 3 or more goals on nights he is starting in net.  He has 10 goals against, a 3.77 GAA, and a save percentage of .88. The most concerning trend of all is his horrible play during the Shoot out. In the 2 shootout losses Roloson let every shooter he faced score except one who's shot hit the post. For a bonafide starter Roloson has been less dazzle and more razzle during the shootout.

On the other side of the spectrum is Martin Biron, this years suprise signing by Snow.  Biron who has appeared in 3 games (the same number as Roloson) has better numbers than the ageing Roloson. In the 3 games he played in Biron only allowed an average of 2 goals in. Biron has 7 goals against, a 2.82 GAA, and a save percentage of .903. Biron though has his flaws, during the Islanders overtime loss to ottawa it was Biron who gave up the wristshot goal only several seconds into OT, but we cannot atest to his shootout skills since he has not seen one this season. 

Statistically it's Martin Biron who has played better than Roloson during the first 5 games this season, so i bring up one more question, should the Islanders Bring up someone from Bridgeport? Well if wee look at the three candidates quickly here is what we see, Lawson's GAA is 1.00, making 35 saves, giving up one goal in his 1 start. Munroe's GAA is 2.40, making 59 saves, and giving up 5 goals in 2 games started. Koskinen's GAA is 2.79, making 32 saves and giving up 3 goals in his 1 start. All three have respectable numbers, and could and maybe should be called up to Long Island. The most likely candidates would be Lawson or Munroe who both have played at least one game in the NHL. Lawson had a spectacular outing last season in Chicago in his first NHL game and getting his first win.

Tonight's start most likely will be by Martin Biron and this could be is chance to be in net for the Islanders first win. Roloson's disappointing outing last night is hard to gauge if it is a one time thing or could be a showing of what happens when he gets flustered. The goalie situation is something to watch and while we have 2 bonafide starters is it time to give one of out Bridgeport beauties a chance to start in the big leagues and risk sending someone down?

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Written by Christian A. | 16 October 2009

The Islanders are looking for their first win of the season after recording their first regulation loss on Monday. They will take on the Sabres, who are coming off a 6-2 ousting of last years western conference champion Detroit Red Wings. Winger Thomas Vanek will be out of tonight's game for the Sabres after suffering an upper body injury during Tuesdays game. To take Vanek's place will be Daniel Paille. The Sabre go into tonight's game 3-0-1 and lead the league in average shots on goal, something the Islanders defense will try to go up against.

On the Islanders side Dwayne Roloson will get the start in net against his former club tonight and Joel Rechlicz is back up with the big club for tonights game. Jack Hillin will make his regular season debut and Doug Weight will once again be flanking Schremp tonight on wing.The Islanders are also still without Frans Nielson and Trent Hunter, Here is the lineup for tonight's game:

Fowards

Moulson-Tavares-Okposo

Bergenheim-Bailey-Comeau

Weight-Schremp-Sim

Jackman-Park-Rechlicz

Defense

Witt-Hillin

Streit-Martinek

Sutton-Meyer

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Written by Christian A. | 14 October 2009

Updated 3:05 PM October 15- Charles Wang put the rumors to rest this morning telling Newsday's Eden Lankin that the Project has not been abandoned. He also released this statement:

“Yesterday’s report on the Lighthouse project which appeared in the Long Island Press is untrue. There are no plans to abandon this project which is so vital to the future of Nassau County and Long Island as a whole.

As far as the status of the Lighthouse project, we have submitted to The Town of Hempstead and Supervisor Kate Murray all the studies and required documents. A lease has been negotiated. Supervisor Murray and the Town Board need to make a decision on the zoning.
Long Island stands in this defining moment waiting for an answer. Yes or no.
Moving forward, we will not discuss any meetings in the media. Any reports of meetings should be considered untrue.
My heart is still on Long Island. I love Long Island. This is where the Islanders belong. Let's play hockey."
I guess we can put this nightmare past us.

Updated 11:45- Lost in all the ranting and raving was a piece on the Spin Cycle found by Michael Schuerlein aka Islesblogger. The Newsday Piece while re-stating the facts of the LI Press piece, comes up with a source of their own "close" to the Developer who says the project has not been abandoned. Note this article was posted at 10:13 pm

Update 10:44 PM - After Emailing the Long Island Press they finally responded. How do they explain beating out ever major newspaper on Long Island? "Right place at the right time, Christian," the Long Island Press responded. I also asked how high their source was, that i never got an answer to.

Updated 10:15 PM-B.D Gallof is reporting per his source that the Lighthouse Project is meeting right now. He also feels the Long Island Press story and source are not telling the whole story and is advising not to buy into the hype. For the full story Click Here. Also Chris Botta will be on 1050 ESPN Radio in a matter of minutes.  

 

Has the Lighthouse Project reached its end? according to the Long Island Press it has. The report, posted this afternoon says that "the ambitious Lighthouse Project has already been abandoned internally by New York Islanders team owner Charles Wang."

"The source has also indicated that reorganization has already begun within Wang’s company, reassigning some top-level executives who have been key members of the Lighthouse initiative to work on other unrelated projects." All of this coming from unidentified sources somehow involved in this projects. The LIP's source gave lack of financing as the reason, a shaky one at that. 

Islanders Point Blank's Chris Botta Tried contacting the Lighthouse Development Group, but his call have gone unanswered. Although it seems they  have spoke with no news media outlets. Same goes for Town of Hempstead officials and the people at RXR.

Some have already started to speculate on twitter about the sources authenticity and Sean Leahy of Puck Daddy speculates it could just be another move to get the Town to approve the project.

This odd turn of events comes the same day Newsday ran an article about the majority of Long Islanders who support the Lighthouse. The Poll showed 51% of LIers backed the project due the taxes it could raise along with the jobs it comes with. That was a major moral boost for Lighthouse supporters and the first Lighthouse article since the Islanders season opener/ Deadline of certainty. The LI press article now has many pondering "how real is this?" No one knows for sure right now, but we'll keep all our readers posted on any further developments.

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Written by Eric Ritter | 14 October 2009

Injuries will continue to play a part in Buffalo's fate this season as it has in recent years as Thomas Vanek went down with an injury in a 6-2 win over Detroit on Tuesday, October 13th.  Head Coach Lindy Ruff said he'd miss "weeks" and in coaches talk, who knows how long that means; it could be 12 days, it could be 4 months.

An injury to Ryan Miller late last season is what most likely kept Buffalo out of the postseason as they were unable to earn enough points down the stretch.  Now with Vanek injured, the strong start the Sabres are enjoying may be affected.

Sabre fans will hope for a speedy recovery to one of their top offensive players otherwise they may face a third straight year watching the playoffs from home.

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Written by Eric Ritter | 12 October 2009

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Written by Kenny Cari | 11 October 2009

I am the new Photographer, Kenny Cari. I will be taking pictures at tommorrow's Islanders vs.Kings game @ 2 PM at the Nassau Coliseum. The game will feature the Los Angeles Kings, who this season are 2-2-0, with 4 points, and the Islanders, who are 0-0-3, with 3 points. I will be there taking pictures, and I plan to have the slideshow video done by that night. Have fun watching the game, and if anyone is going, please enjoy yourselves. Also be sure to check this site for the pictures that me and Christian will have on the site. no comments

Written by Eric Ritter | 11 October 2009

It was May 5th when surprising news broke that the Phoenix Coyotes franchise had filed for bankruptcy.  What was even more surprising was the intent with which the move was made; to hand the team over to billionaire Jim Balsillie and move the team to Hamilton, Ontario.

As if the NHL and Gary Bettman didn't already hate Balsillie enough after attempts to buy and move both the Nashville Predators and Pittsburgh Penguins, this was fuel to that fire as Balsillie thought he had found a way around the owners voting process and that he would be given his team no questions asked.

An offseason long court battle drug on for months and as the 2009-2010 NHL season was set to get rolling, the case came to a close; the decision, no sale to neither Balsillie nor the NHL.

This means now that the NHL will do whatever it can throughout the regular season to find a person or a group of people willing to buy the team and willing to keep the team in the desert.  While having a seventh team located in Cananda would likely produce more fans and revenue than one in Phoenix, Bettman doesn't want to look like a hypocrite.  He was adamant about how he and the league were committed to all 30 franchises, and where they were located, so it's quite clear that Bettman doesn't want to see one of those teams relocate only five years removed from the lockout season.

When the team is sold and to who it is sold will be another multi-month endeavor that will go on throughout this season.  The time for schematics of the franchise can wait for another time, though, the season has started, so let's talk about the actual game of hockey.

The Coyotes had their first three games on the road, going 2-1, but were ready to open up for their first game of the season at home.  News broke days before the Saturday match up with Columbus that Jobing.com Arena was sold out.

After finishing 28th in average attendance in the league last year, Phoenix stepped onto the ice in front of a capacity crowd of 17,532 fans.  The "Welcome Back White Out" saw the thousands of fans wearing white t-shirts and the team, although at home, wearing their white road jerseys to match the fans.  (This move actually makes sense, unlike the "white outs" the Penguins have at home during the playoffs, despite the fact they're wearing the black home jerseys, go figure)

The fans were pumped and electric, ready to support a team they almost lost.  But in the two hours and seventeen minutes it took the game to be played, fans at the game or watching at home realized why hardly anyone goes to see this team play.

Everything was aligned for Phoenix to win this game:  The offseason turmoil, the subsequent sellout to show support, an adrenaline filled arena screaming and backing their home team, an opponent in Columbus playing their third straight road game and starting their backup goaltender.  Every angle you could possibly take on this game there was an advantage for the Coyotes.  Even if it was the first road game of the year for Columbus, it still would have favored Phoenix, but a three game road trip, especially early on in the season when the players are still trying to get their legs under them, and they're already playing a trio away from home?  Come on.  We probably didn't even need to watch this game; just chalk up two points for Phoenix.

But then you look at the stats and the final score, and you think to yourself, "This is why no one cares."  A 2-0 loss, shutout, at home, blanked by a backup.  Seven power play opportunities, including a 5-on-3 for over a minute and a half, you outshoot your opponent nearly 2:1, racking up 36 shots to their 19.  All of that considered, and you can't win the game?  You can't even score one goal?

You look at this team's makeup:  Dave Tippett, a coach who two years ago was in the Western Conference Finals with Dallas.  Young, up and coming players like Yandle, Hanzal, Boedker and Mueller.  Veteran leaders like Upshall, Doan, Aucoin and Jovanovski.  And a solid goalkeeper in Bryzgalov.  All that, plus again, the offseason, the emotion of the home opener, and you lose?

It was unlikely to think or believe that the Coyotes would sellout a bulk of their games this season, or possibly even another game this year.  Fans may have been more likely to pay attention, but consistent sellouts were unlikely.  And after the performance they gave to their fans at the first home game of the season, now there's even more reason to doubt they'll fill every seat every night.

If you want to generate interest and sell tickets, you need to win games, everyone knows that.  Now more than ever, the Coyotes franchise, players and fans realize that.  So for that team to come out and drop a fat zero in the goal column, it's like they're begging to be relocated.

Much was made of their 2-0 start, but two games later, they're 2-2, and played a game nothing short of embarassing in front of the fans that came out to say they do care.

If there are 10,000 less fans at the next Coyotes home game, not even Bettman can put on blinders and say the reason isn't because the on ice product is just time and time again, disappointing.

Phoenix's play this year will do one of two things; pack the seats or pack the franchise's bags.  Early indications, it's the later of the two.

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