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2010 Archives http://www.islandershockeyblog.com/table/2010-articles/august/ Sat, 01 Nov 2014 06:41:47 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb EA Sports NHL 11: an Exposé http://www.islandershockeyblog.com/2010-articles/august/nhl-11-preview.html http://www.islandershockeyblog.com/2010-articles/august/nhl-11-preview.html

With their rival, 2K Sports, backing out from this year’s cycle of NHL video games (for X360 and PS3, at least), EA Sports is getting set to release the best installment of their NHL franchise yet. The game is rated E 10+ by the ESRB and it hits the shelves on September 7th.

Remember: the EA NHL franchise has won 22 Sports Game of the Year Awards and there’s no evidence they’re stopping now.

Now I’ll synopsize some of the salient improvements and noteworthy new features that Electronic Arts has in store for us:

IT’S A DOUBLE BLACKHAWK ALL THE WAY: Jonathan Toews, recent Olympic gold medalist from the Vancouver games and Conn Smythe trophy winner, will headline NHL 11 as the game’s cover athlete; Toews’ teammate Patrick Kane was the cover athlete of last year’s edition.

INCREASED REALISM: In puck-play (essentially the puck will no longer be chemically bound to your stick until you shoot); in goalie play (reducing the frequency of goalies playing those perfect angles); and on face-offs (allowing the puck to bounce upon hitting the ice, making it harder to win the face-off, and allowing the player to shoot directly off the face-off). The player will be able to jump over others lying on the ice (the absence of such feature has proved annoying in the previous years). Furthermore, this will be the first time that broken sticks will be included in the game.

NO MORE CANNED ANIMATIONS: Tired of the scripted, predictable reactions to hits and checks? Well, NHL 11 utilizes all-new AI programming with the ragdoll effect for all hits and checks. The game’s new physics engine was designed in part by the people who created that of EA’s boxing game, Fight Night.

Here’s what Game Informer had to say about it:

Like Natural Motion's Euphoria technology, this procedural system generates animations on the fly, getting rid of the repetitive canned animations that plague so many sports games. Whether you're on open ice or along the boards, every collision looks unique -- players can catch the buckles along the benches, get their skates tied up, or even keep their balance if the checker only gets a small piece of him. Players rebound viciously from the glass after getting checked into the boards, and if you hit your victim hard enough, he may drop his stick or suffer a gruesome injury.”

FINALLY, EH?: In addition to the plethora of European teams, those belonging to the three member leagues of the Canadian Hockey League, the OHL, QMJHL, and WHL, will all be playable in this year’s version.

HOCKEY HAIR METAL: The NHL franchise has been widely regarded for its soundtracks over the years. This year will be no different, bands including The Ramones, The Black Keys, Airbourne, Bullet For My Valentine and Megadeth, among others, will be on the soundtrack, creating an intense arena-esque experience.

LAST BUT NOT LEAST: The Hockey Ultimate Team: the one feature that EA has been touting all summer long. They call it the biggest online dynasty mode ever–essentially a large, online fantasy league. The twist is, you actually get to play in the games. Your players are virtual hockey cards, and you can buy new and better ones by winning games, thereby collecting pucks (the feature’s currency) and using them to either buy new packs of cards (players) or go to the Auction House feature where you can trade for a specific player.

 

Any way you cut it, EA Sports NHL 11 is going to be an exceptionally realistic, fun, and exhilarating experience. I strongly advise you to pre-order it now, as it will be a hot commodity, come September 7th.

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nymdavenyi@gmail.com (Dave G.) August Mon, 30 Aug 2010 00:52:53 +0000
Are YOU ready for the 2010-2011 Ialanders season? http://www.islandershockeyblog.com/2010-articles/august/are-you-ready-for-the-2010-2011-ialanders-season.html http://www.islandershockeyblog.com/2010-articles/august/are-you-ready-for-the-2010-2011-ialanders-season.html Metsrg@aol.com (Kenny Cari) August Sun, 29 Aug 2010 21:42:56 +0000 Looking Back on The 25th Anniversary Season. http://www.islandershockeyblog.com/2010-articles/august/looking-back-on-the-25th-anniversary-season.html http://www.islandershockeyblog.com/2010-articles/august/looking-back-on-the-25th-anniversary-season.html

Once upon a time, the Islanders were a young team in the process of rebuilding, sound familiar? The 1996-1997 Islanders were a team in transition, but a team that was starting to put the pieces together. Despite their failure to make the playoffs, and the organizations failure to build around the young core, it was this season that I was pulled into Islander Country and would never leave.

The islanders tried to start their 25th anniversary season with a bang. Chicago Blackhawks star center Jeremy Roenick was up for grabs, and islanders General Manager Mike Milbury was salivating at the chance to add the 26 year old to his roster. Roenick was a restricted free agent, so the Blackhawks could match any offer-sheet that was tendered to him. The islanders and the star center quickly agreed to a deal, but Chicago insisted that the only way Roenick was going anywhere was through a trade. Trade talks between the Isles and hawks never got off the ground, and the center was shipped to the Phoenix Coyotes. This meant that the Islanders offense would continue to fall squarely on the shoulders of 24 year old Zigmund(Ziggy) Palffy.

Palffy was coming off a season in which he scored 43 goals and 44 assists for 87 points. Impressive numbers for a player who’s best center was Travis Green, a nice player better suited as a second or third line role. Ziggy was far and away the Isles best player, and aside from the overachieving Travis Green and second year power forward Todd Bertuzzi, didn’t have much help. Adding Roenick would have given the Islanders a true number one center entering the prime of his career. It didn’t wok out, so if you stopped Palffy, you stopped the Islanders.

In goal, The Isles had high hopes for Youngster Eric Fichaud from the Patrick Roy School of butterfly goalies. However, as the season wore on, it was Tommy Salo who would grow into the starters role. In front of Salo and Fichaud was the one area where the islanders seemed to be well stocked, the defense. With young defenseman Bryan McCabe, Kenny Jonsson and Bryan Berard, teamed with veterans such as Scott Lachance, Richard Pilon and Dennis Vaske, GM Mike Milbury was able to trade Darious Kasparaitis for scoring help with winger Bryan Smolinski. At the trade deadline, center Robert Reichel was added to Smolinski and Palffy, and suddenly the islanders had a top line that was hard to stop.

The season of celebration almost became a memorable one when the Isles made a late season push for the 8th and final playoff spot. The Reichel, Smolinski and Palffy line was the catalyst, along with solid goaltending by Tommy Salo in his first full NHL season. Rookie Bryan Berard was also drawing rave reviews, being compared to a young Bryan Leetch. For the first time in three seasons, there were meaningful games in front of large and excited crowds in the coliseum. Ziggy Palffy was also on his own quest for 50 goals as the season was drawing to a close.

Ultimately both Palffy and the team would fall short. Palffy finished with 48 goals and 90 points (numbers no Islander has approached since this season) while the Islanders finished 8 points out of the playoffs. After the season, Berard would win the Calder trophy as the leagues top rookie, but that was as exciting as the offseason got. Milbury was never able to secure a top line center in the prime of their career (Reichel was solid, but was on the downside of his career by this point). Within two years McCabe, Bertuzzi and Berard would be playing well for other teams. After the 1997 Draft, the Isles featured several top prospects in Zdeno Chara and Eric Brewer on defense, J.P. Dumont a scoring forward and Roberto Luongo in Goal, but impatience and shaky ownership would lead to constant turnover of the roster. Instead of building round the core, it was shipped out for quick fixes like Trevor Linden and Felix Potvin.

The season ultimately ended in disappointment, the ride was a fun one that cemented the islanders forever in my heart. It would also prove a good lesson in patience with a young team with a bunch of young players and prospects. Had the islanders built around Palffy, Bertuzzi, Berard, McCabe, Chara and Luongo who knows what could have been? Now the Islanders find themselves building around Tavares, Okposo, Bailey, De Haan, Hamonic and a score of young prospects. If the isles continue to show patience and add the right pieces to the puzzle, the islanders have the chance to redeem themselves from years of futility.

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ericsm27@Yahoo.com (Steve Erickson) August Sun, 29 Aug 2010 21:38:53 +0000
Changes to IHB for 2010-2011 season http://www.islandershockeyblog.com/2010-articles/august/changes-to-ihb-for-2010-2011-season.html http://www.islandershockeyblog.com/2010-articles/august/changes-to-ihb-for-2010-2011-season.html It's been a long very uneventful summer, hockey wise but with training camp I'm taking the opportunity to let the readers know you (aka you guys) about the changes going on for this upcoming season.  First however I'd like to thank my other writers Nick M, Dave G, and new guy Steve Erickson for stepping up and writing some great and informative pieces. With season vastly approaching and school starting up again as well I will be from my unexpected hiatus.

Now time to talk about the changes first I'd like to welcome Steve Erickson to the Islanders Hockey Blog staff. Steve is a long time Islanders fan and spent last season helping run stats and other duties with the Islander media Relations department at the coliseum press box. He will be giving his insight on all things Islanders and NHL related and once again say welcome aboard Steve.

The second and biggest change for the site this upcoming season will be our inclusion into the New York Islanders Blog Box program. After a try out and interview process Islanders Hockey Blog has been selected as the newest member of the NYI Blog box which enters its' fourth year this season. What does this mean for the site? More access to the team, even higher quality of articles and even more insight about the Islanders.

So get set Isles fans this should be a fun year.

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ChristianArn312@aol.com (Christian A. ) August Fri, 27 Aug 2010 18:11:35 +0000
My Thoughts On The Signings So Far, DP, Camp http://www.islandershockeyblog.com/2010-articles/august/my-thoughts-on-the-signings-so-far-dp-camp.html http://www.islandershockeyblog.com/2010-articles/august/my-thoughts-on-the-signings-so-far-dp-camp.html  So, in this offseason, the Isles signed forwards PA Parenteau, Zenon Konopka, Jon Sim, Andy Hilbert, and Rob Hisey. They also resigned Trevor Gillies.

Obviously, the resigning of Sim and bringing back Hilbert are for Bridgeport and will be call ups when needed. They also signed Hisey, along with Hilbert and they are all on 2 way contracts for one year. Some people say Hisey could be like Schremp, we'll see.

Training camp is coming up, and there still hasn't been names of the players attending for a "tryout". I guess we won't know for sure untill September. Katie Strang should find out, as her Twitter status says.

So, atleast we know the Isles will get a foward, and HOPEFULLY a top 6. The problem is, Snow has offered alot to already signed players like Frolov, but they just don't wana play on Long Island. I wonder why...

On DP- Let's just see if he really will come back for training camp, and if he doesn't play any of the games in the first week or so, then we know something is up. The has been multiple rumors if the Isles will sign Niemi or not...I think they're just waiting to see DP's status, and hopefully, he'll be 100 percent this season. I know I've been doubting him alot, and it's certainly hard not to, as he has played below 15 games the past two seasons, coming back and injuring himself again, but hopefully, this is the year where he stays healthy.

I doubt we'll be hearing any more rumors regarding the Isles, since they're shooting to get their guy in training camp, but we might hear a little something spark regarding trades, or goaltending. Nothing much, though.
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ayoxitsniick@aol.com (Nick McGuire) August Tue, 24 Aug 2010 17:07:20 +0000
Frans Nielsen: Breakout Islander for 2010-2011. http://www.islandershockeyblog.com/2010-articles/august/frans-nielsen-breakout-islander-for-2010-2011.html http://www.islandershockeyblog.com/2010-articles/august/frans-nielsen-breakout-islander-for-2010-2011.html

He’s automatic in the shootout, reliable on defense and maybe the best passer on the team. When talking about the Islanders young core, Frans Nielsen is still usually overlooked. It’s true he’s not as young as the Tavares, Okposo, Bailey group, but at 26, Nielsen is still only entering his third full NHL season. His offensive game continues to show growth while he has quietly become one of the leagues best defensive centers. This upcoming season, Frans Nielsen won’t be an islander secret anymore.

The forehand to backhand move that’s befuddled goalies on breakaways and shootout attempts (11-19 on SO attempts over the past 3 years) is Nielsen’s biggest weapon, but it’s his passing that’s caught my attention. His ability to move the puck up the ice and make a crisp pass into the offensive zone goes overlooked if you’re not paying attention. His ability to see the ice and make the smart and safe play is something a young team needs. Thirty Eight points may not look all that impressive, but when you consider he spends a majority of the time on the third line at even strength, you realize there’s much room for the numbers to climb. For a team that finished 28th in goals against, the young Dane’s +4 is very impressive, and when you factor in Nielsen usually played against the other teams top scorers, you realize how important he is.

Frans should see increased ice-time and more power play time in the 10-11 season, giving his offensive game a chance to prosper. On the defensive side, he will continue to be one of the Isles top shutdown forwards. In just is third full season as a NHL regular, the rest of the league will find out what most Islanders fans already know, Frans Nielsen is a darn good hockey player. 

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ericsm27@Yahoo.com (Steve Erickson) August Mon, 16 Aug 2010 18:10:08 +0000
Isles Inviting Unsigned Free Agents To Camp http://www.islandershockeyblog.com/2010-articles/august/isles-inviting-unsigned-free-agents-to-camp.html http://www.islandershockeyblog.com/2010-articles/august/isles-inviting-unsigned-free-agents-to-camp.html According to reports, the Islanders sent out emails to agents of NHL players stating that if any NHL player is unsigned, they are welcome to come to a "tryout" at the Isles training camp. This would be a great idea by Garth, who will get his shopping done cheap. Now, we would definitely getting our top six forward that we all wanted.

I would expect to see Miro Satan at camp, if he decides to attend, because it doesn't seem like he's going to sign anywhere. It took him half a season last year to even sign with the Bruins. I would love to have him back on the Isles, and we'll see how it goes. Another forward in mind would be Billy Guerin, which I don't really think the Isles want him back, even though there's been some mild talk about a possible return to the Isles for Guerin.

The Islanders already have Weight, whom they will resign sometime this week, according to Dee Karl. They honestly don't need Guerin, but if he attends camp, I would expect to see him make the team, if the Isles are okay with it. And maybe, we'll see Mike Comrie, who recently got married to Hilary Duff today (congrats to him). Comrie apparently didn't fit well in Coach Scott's system, but he can find the back of the net, if healthy.

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ayoxitsniick@aol.com (Nick McGuire) August Sun, 15 Aug 2010 22:16:42 +0000
Isles Looking For The KO Punch. http://www.islandershockeyblog.com/2010-articles/august/isles-looking-for-the-ko-punch.html http://www.islandershockeyblog.com/2010-articles/august/isles-looking-for-the-ko-punch.html Kyle Okposo of the U.S. scores on Kazakhstan's goaltender Alexei Kuznetsov during their Ice Hockey World Championships match in Cologne May 15, 2010. REUTERS/Grigory Dukor (GERMANY - Tags: SPORT ICE HOCKEY)

Kyle Okposo starts his third full NHL Season at the tender age of 22. Although he may be young and rather inexperienced, he just might be the most important player on the Islanders roster. The seventh overall pick in the 2006 NHL Draft has drawn comparisons to a young Jarome Iginla, in both his mixed heritage and his playing style. Islanders GM Garth Snow continues to look for scoring options to support his young forwards like Okposo, the young wingers development this year could put him into star player territory.

It took Jarome Iginla until his fifth NHL season to crack the thirty goal/seventy point plateau, and in his sixth season he broke though with over fifty goals and ninety points. The Islanders can’t afford to wait that long for Kyle to develop. Okposo’s ceiling may be lower than Iginla’s, but a thirty goal and sixty-five point seasons should be reasonable expectations for the 2010-2011 season. While Okposo’s scoring climbed from thirty-nine points to fifty-two, his goal total only rose by one, from eighteen to nineteen. The spike in assists could be due to playing with a better supporting cast, with the John Tavares/Matt Moulson combination and the developing Josh Bailey and Blake Comeau, but the goal total was disappointing. On the power play, his goal total went from nine to four, while his assists on the PP rose from four to eighteen. It could just be that KO is a better set-up man than a scorer; bust when you see him shoot the puck, you know he can score more. Another troubling statistic was his minus twenty-two, compared to his minus six the previous season. The 2009-2010 Isles were a terrible defensive team, something Garth Snow has addressed in the offseason. This should be the last time we see Kyle that far in the red.

Beyond the stats, there were times where Kyle seemed frustrated on the ice with his own play and with his teams play. Just by watching him, you can tell he cares about winning and losing beyond his own stats. His play on the defensive side of the game has improved, even despite his minus twenty-two. Coach Scott Gordon has entrusted him as one of the teams top penalty killers. Many have talked about Kyle as a potential captain for the franchise after Doug Weight moves on. With his combination of skills, intangibles and passion, he could be the perfect leader for a young Islanders club.

Year two wasn’t the season the Islanders, their fans and Kyle himself had hoped for. Moving forward, with the maturation of John Tavares, Josh Bailey, Rob Schremp and the rest of the Islanders young core, Kyle should continue to develop his offensive game. When the trio of Tavares, Bailey and Okposo were teamed together on a line, there seemed to be instant chemistry between the neophytes. After an offseason of work and growth, that trio could become a real force for other teams defenses to deal with, led by the young winger from Minnesota.

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ericsm27@Yahoo.com (Steve Erickson) August Fri, 13 Aug 2010 16:17:00 +0000
If Not Now, When? : A Proposition to Garth Snow http://www.islandershockeyblog.com/2010-articles/august/if-not-now-when.html http://www.islandershockeyblog.com/2010-articles/august/if-not-now-when.html “An ostrich with its head in the sand” wouldn’t be too far a metaphorical euphemism from what Garth Snow has been acting like, of late.
Balking at a deal with Kovalchuk, failing to land Paul Martin, failing to present a deal to Stempniak, having yet to offer anything to Antti Niemi...
And we’re supposed to pat him on the back for landing this guy.
The Islanders need to get serious, now. They need to make an offer to Niemi, and make the right moves to land Stempniak, or else, we’re looking at another grim season on Long Island.
We have the money, but the problem is, so do many other teams–Namely, the Coyotes, who have offered Stempniak a low paying deal (ostensibly so the 28 goal scorer will lower his asking price).
On the Niemi front, there is no word whether talks are going on or not between the Islanders’ management and the goalie. Many teams have expressed in Antti’s services, including the Sharks, Capitals, and Oilers.
It’s time to act. Mr. General Manager, here is my apostrophic proposition to you:
Us Islanders fans have remained loyal throughout the last 28 seasons, and no exception to the past few that you have served as our GM. It has not been a glorious 28 seasons–over those years, we have two division championships to show for. In fact, we have not won a playoff series since the 1993 Patrick Division Finals. You promised us a new team, you promised us success. You know just as well as I do that Jon Sim and Dustin Kohn are not “stanley cup caliber”. There’s quite a lot leaning on these next few seasons. They will determine whether we remain at the bottom of the NHL, whether Charles Wang decides that losing millions per year on a dead-end franchise is “worth it”. Your job, Mr. Snow, leans on it. The future of the Lighthouse leans on it, the future of the Islanders leans on it. If you do not make this team substantially better by dipping into the plethora of free agents currently available, 2015 will be here in a flash, and in a flash, the Islanders will be no more.
Get out there, make the calls, and land the players. Because if we do not act now, then when? More importantly, get your head out of the sand.
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nymdavenyi@gmail.com (Dave G.) August Thu, 12 Aug 2010 21:04:13 +0000
Winning The Draw http://www.islandershockeyblog.com/2010-articles/august/steve-erickson.html http://www.islandershockeyblog.com/2010-articles/august/steve-erickson.html

As the August days creep closer to September, Garth Snow continues to put the finishing touches on what he hopes will be a playoff caliber roster. Finding another top six winger remains on the to-do list. The offseason agenda so far has focused on adding defense and toughness to a young and inexperienced roster. Additions of Mark Eaton and James Wisniewski have bolstered the defense corps, it is another area that, if improved, could bring the Islanders from cellar dweller to contender, and that’s winning face-offs.

The Isles finished twenty fourth out of the thirty teams in face-off percentage last season (at 48.2%), with only one player cracking the top forty, and the was the departed Richard Park (51.5%) at thirty two. Frans Nielsen was the second highest, ironically finishing fifty-first in the league at an even fifty percent. Youngsters such as John Tavares, Josh Bailey and Rob Schremp didn’t even place in the top seventy (Tavares finished 71st with a 47.7%).

Throughout the 2009-2010 season, the Islanders power play depended on the opening face-off. If they won it, they usually were able to set up and generate chances, if they lost the draw, they spent a majority of the time chasing the puck and failing to set up in the offensive zone. On the penalty kill, it was too easy for the opposition to win draws and generate chances of their own, while putting the Isles on their heels. An improvement in the face-off dot would help the Islanders keep chances against them down, putting less pressure on the defense and goaltenders, while giving the offense more chances to put the puck on net. There were many games last season where the Islanders would be outshot by a double-digit margin before the first period had even ended. This was directly related to their inability to win draws in the defensive zone and clear the puck

As a smaller club, it was easy for the opposing teams to out muscle teenagers such as Bailey and Tavares on draws; this should improve as they grown as players and as men. However, if the islanders want to make the jump this season, an emphasis on winning the draw could be the difference between all those one-goal losses and push the islanders into playoff contention.

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ericsm27@Yahoo.com (Steve Erickson) August Thu, 12 Aug 2010 16:55:30 +0000