‘Winless’ Isles Finally – Win

The great thing about the National Hockey League is that any team can win on any night.  The New York Islanders proved that to be true last night.

The Islanders won in a dramatic come-from-behind win against one of the more talented teams in the entire league in The Washington Capitals.  What’s more important, they finally put an end to the ‘winless’ skid that was about to hit seven and totally get out of control. So, for that, Islander Country is thankful.

It hasn’t been easy lately, nobody will deny the obvious.  Last night marked – exactly – two weeks since the good guys registered a win, and the fans were really starting to voice their displeasure on Islanders social media sites, and in person at the Coliseum.  When the Islanders went down 0-2 last night vs. one of the best teams in the league, many fans started chanting for “Al Mon-toy-a” as Dipietro gazed to the sky after letting in a rather soft goal to Alex Ovechkin from the blueline.  A bulldozing shot from one of the elite players in the league?  Absolutely.  But there was time to set up for the shot, and had he been square to Ovechkin on the one-timer, he should have been able to make the save.  Thus is life in the quest to rehab Dipietro back into the goaltender he once was.  The contract demands it so.

Rick Dipietro is now 1-1-2 on the season with a 2.67 GAA and .904 save percentage.  Truthfully, the goals against average is trending upwards, but these are not terrible stats compared to what we witnessed just a year ago:  A goaltender who oftentimes looked lost in the crease, slow to move side to side, and clueless on directing rebounds from high traffic areas.  We have to de-condition ourselves as critical analyzers when it comes to Rick Dipietro, as it is too easy to harp on what he lacks (for better or for worse).  What we can do, as critical analyzers, is relish in the fact that Dipietro started four consecutive games, has not let in more than three goals in any start this season, and has given the Islanders a chance to win in each one of his starts.  I will not invest the time to break down the statistics.  I’ll chalk last night up to nothing more – and nothing less – than a solid win at home when the boys needed it most.

After last night, Montoya, Nabokov and Dipietro have each played three or more games.  Of the three, Montoya has the better statistics in the early going in all three major categories (GAA, SVP, W-L) but it doesn’t mean much.  It looks as if the three goalie rotation will continue as no one goaltender has, how can we say this, dramatically risen above any other.  Tomorrow night in Boston against the -surprisingly – struggling Boston Bruins, the Islanders will likely revert back to Al Montoya for the start.  This would give Dipietro a chance to reflect on the past four games, practice on areas that need improvement, and ready himself for a future start.  As the Islanders embark on a short lived three game road trip (where they have been abysmal – thus far ) , Jack Capuano will likely give both Al Montoya and Evgeni Nabokov starts.  As we approach Thanksgiving, something should give.  Depending on where the Islanders stand in a position to those teams around them, I would look to this juncture as the de-facto point where Garth Snow begins to look for a move with Montoya or Nabokov on the trade front.

As it pertains to last night, the final thoughts are:  The Islanders deserved to win.  They came back from 0-2 in what could have been the defining moment in a winless skid that went from six to close to twenty-one in a New York minute, but the Islanders – led by top 3 hitter in the league, Matt Martin –  roared back.  Martin would score a much deserved goal himself to put the Islanders up 3-2 late in the second, before PA Parenteau would cap off a brilliant evening with a monumental goal with 1:47 to go in the third period.  There is something to be said about the offensive output from a team that looked as if they would be set adrift to their second consecutive shutout, and has scored less goals than any other team in the league:  This one feels good.  (A tip of the hat to Capuano, as well, for finally changing up the lines).

What lies ahead:  The New York Islanders take on a – recently – resurgent Boston Bruins hockey team.  The defending cup champs have looked miserable in the early going – mirroring many of the things we have seen in Islander country – but there was, and is, too much talent for it to continue.  They laid a smackdown on the Leafs just a night ago, and will look to continue their offensive output (will it reach 7, again?) against the Islanders.  This is a particularly big game for the Islanders in the big picture:  Win again and your back to the NHL’s version of “average”, I mean .500 %, and you head to Colorado with some confidence – or lose, set yourself two games back of .500 %, and compound an already tense lockeroom.  This is a team that needs to win again, badly, for some good vibes to reverberate through the country.  Look for Al Montoya to get the nod.

In other news:  According to Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun, Snow has been working the phone lines for a taker on the struggling Blake Comeau.  Comeau, who makes 2.5 million for the year, has been in Capuano’s doghouse and continues to look snakebitten on the ice.  Let’s just say this is not how the Islanders envisioned the streaky forward capping off a 46 point season in 2010-2011.  If Comeau doesn’t start to improve, and we’re thinking fast and soon, the forward is a likely candidate to be traded.

M.Manzo

Advertisements

Isles Roundup

 

Here we are, almost ten games into the hockey season, and already many of us find ourselves thanking the National Hockey League for the more recent five day layoff.  It gives us a chance to collect our thoughts.  And become less angry.

After a recent debacle versus the San Jose Sharks on home ice which saw four, yes four officials make an absolutely mind-blowingly bad call against the good guys in overtime, the Islanders find themselves on the cusp of – either – a six game winless streak or a three game undefeated-in-regulation streak.  It is that cut and dry, folks.

It hasn’t been sunshine and rose pedals (Well, for Josh Bailey it has been).  Lets bask in a quick recap before the tenth game of an already draining season.

  • Josh Bailey is still vacationing on Josh Bailey island.  We await his return.
  • Blake Comeau, with just 1 shot in his first 4 games (before watching from the sidelines for two games) has returned in almost Blake Comeau-esque fashion.  It looks like he made his return from Blake Comeau island.  Welcome back.
  • Rick Dipietro made his first start in the what-the-hell? game vs. the Sharks on home ice.  He actually looked serviceable and decent.  I know, Isles fans, it’s almost too good to be true.  We thank Mr. Rick for resembling a major league goaltender, if only for the night.
  • Brian Rolston has been taking a tremendous amount of shots, but has yet to hit the opposing teams’ nets.  We will announce in grand fashion when this becomes reality.
  • Travis Hamonic is struggling.  The good news?  It’s only nine games.  The bad news?  He will continue to log big minutes as a cornerstone defenseman for this franchise.  If he doesn’t improve, and we’re thinking in a leaps-and-bounds sort of way, the Islanders may find themselves in trouble past the ten game mark.
  • John Tavares – with seven goals in nine games – continues to look dominant.  Should he fall back to Earth, Islanders Nation may grow more worried.
  • P.A Parenteau, who had a torrid start through three games, is starting to resemble the late, and always great, Oleg Kvasha.  The moves are there, yes.  The determination is not.  He needs to minimize the dangerous cross ice pass to nobody, and start firing more shots on net.  A playmaker for sure, but a top winger for any team needs to be more responsible on the ice.

The next game, November 3rd vs. the Winnipeg Jets, has the Islanders in a position to  – either – gain points for the third straight game, or push a winless streak to six games.  More importantly, the team can end the first ten games at the National Hockey League’s version of .500.  Apparently we will take any milestone we can garner.

And after all the emotions thus far?  We take it and run.

(Editorial Note:  At some point, Ken will put up a splendid piece on the always intriguing Blake Comeau.  We wonder if Ken is on Bailey island? )

-M. Manzo

A Sunshine-less Road Trip

Well.

What you can say is that the New York Islanders are at the National Hockey League’s version of .500 just six games into the early season.

What you can’t say is that they have looked much improved doing it.

The Islanders looked poised and ready for a dominant roadtrip: They would play a Tampa Bay Lightning team that had lost five straight games and a Florida Panthers team that would get a much different Islanders team than the one they fared against opening night.  Um.  What we can say is that it didn’t quite work out in the good guys’ favor.

The Islanders first arrived in the Sunshine State as a team coming off three straight wins, with a lockeroom that seemingly came together after the lifeless game against Florida on opening night.  Although the combination of Mark Streit and John Tavares had carried the Islanders’ offense through much, if not all, of the three game winning streak, the Islanders would come alive in Florida with plentiful goals and desire!  That is what we had hoped, at least.  What we feared: The continued absence of secondary scoring and the troubling signs on the backend would undoubtedly catch up to the Islanders, despite the winning.  Sure enough, reality set in and the Islanders looked miserable for two straight games away from home.  So we cannot say the signs weren’t, and still aren’t, there.

Fact is, the Islanders may stand at 3 wins and 3 losses, but there are some noticeable holes in this lineup. The offense has gone missing (Both Josh Bailey and Blake Comeau are having an extremely difficult time acclimating to the new season) and the defense looks out of sorts.  Mark Streit has been more than amicable in his start to the season after a year without, and not much more can be said about one of the NHL’s brightest young stars, John Tavares.  But it isn’t enough.  It absolutely cannot be enough.  The trio of Streit, Travis Hamonic and Andrew Macdonald have all been serviceable, but the bottom pairing of Mark Eaton and Mike Mottau is struggling mightily.  Steve Staois, the 38 year old training camp signee that preached to New York media (before the season started) about how the Islanders looked and sounded “young and hungry”, has played more hungry than much of his counterparts.  To be frank, his play on the ice would lead you to believe that he was younger than many of his teammates.  That’s how puzzling the effort has been lately.

But the season is still young, and we still believe in Garth Snow and his confidence that this years team can make the playoffs.  Afterall, we did see a gutsy win over the team from New York City that left us feeling all warm and fuzzy inside, and we did see a romping of the Tampa Bay Lightning.  The win over the Minnesota Wild was part goaltending, part luck, but you take it all the same.

If this years Islanders are going to be any different, they must learn to put bad games behind them (in this case, a two game roadtrip) and respond in grand fashion.  The first way to end this bare-bones-effortless-two-game losing streak would be to come out hard at home against a Pittsburgh Penguins team that will be seeking retribution for last years slug fest on February 11th.  The second way would be to actually win the game.

And the third?  Well that would be to add more Sunshine on the road.  Or should we say, offense.

In light of all the doom and gloom, there are some positives to take away from the ice, can you believe it?  The Islanders’ powerplay continues to play well; scoring two more tallies against the Panthers, and the penalty kill continues its fearless shot blocking display.  Let’s hope there is a little more to talk about the next time around.

What Lies Ahead:  The Islanders play the Pittsburgh Penguins at Nassau Coliseum, Tuesday October 25th.  The Penguins are coming off a 4-1 win over the New Jersey Devils, and have won three overall out of their last three games.  This game will have a much edgier vibe, where the guess is that it will be a grinders game.  And we all know how much grinding the Islanders have done over the past couple of games.  Is the sarcasm lacking?  Al Montoya may get the nod.  Last but not least, Ken will put together a piece on the former 24 goal scorer, Blake Comeau.  Could he score 24 goals again?  Is he a core player for the Islanders? We’re wondering, too.

-M. Manzo

Bailey Swimming in the Deep End

Josh Bailey will be trying to keep his head above water as the Islanders organizational depth rises, season by season

Josh Bailey, Garth Snow’s first pick of the rebuild, taken 9th overall in 2008, has – somewhat – struggled since his NHL debut in the 2008/2009 hockey season.  Garth embarked on this rebuild with the idea in mind to restock a prospect pool that was completely barren and bereft of future National Hockey League talent. Josh was, in turn, rushed into NHL action due to the unfortunate, and dire status of the team at that current juncture.  The excitement from drafting so high combined with the lack of quality talent at the NHL level led to the premature start to a young, and promising, career.  In hindsight, this sudden move really stunted his development.  This was one of the very few questionable moves Garth Snow has made in his four years at the helm.  Since then, he has revitalized the Islanders prospects pool to be considered one of the best in the NHL re: Hockey Prospectus ranks the Islanders’ system 2nd in the NHL; Hockey’s Future website ranks the Islanders’ system 6th in the NHL. In other words, it’s now worth talking about.

Snow has had a unique advantage (when it comes to evaluating talent) that most General Managers in the NHL don’t have:  He played fourteen years  – professionally – as a goaltender.  He also graduated from the University of Maine with a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration.  Combining experience with expertise, Garth has a keen eye in landing some top end talents through the Draft, as well as with Free Agency and Waiver-wire acquisitions.  The proof: Signing Mark Streit to a four year deal when he was wildly considered a defensive liability for the Montreal Canadiens, Finding Matt Moulson toiling in the AHL and giving him a shot to become the now back-to-back 30 Goal scorer he has become and claiming speedy and talented winger Michael Grabner off waivers, just to name a few.

As Bailey continues as a non-story, aside from a brief dominating performance to the start of the 2010 season, the ship has begun to sail on Josh Bailey and his “lock” on the current roster.  As the system grows deeper and the line grows for talented prospects in waiting, Josh Bailey may be starting to feel even more pressure. One player Snow targeted this past draft, taken at 5th overall, may – soon – have Bailey on the outside looking in.  It could be as early as next season and his name is Ryan Strome; a slick offensive center who possesses an instinctively gifted skill set, excellent hand-skills and a bag full of tricks with the puck on his stick.  He has been regarded since the draft as the future of the Islanders’ second line center position, right behind star John Tavares.  With Bailey’s struggles well documented the past three seasons, the seemingly open door with Josh will soon start to close.  The coaching staff is partly to blame for bouncing Josh Bailey from Center to Wing, and back again, through his early career, while never having established linemates to learn and grow from.  While he has show small glimpses of being more than able, for the most part, it just hasn’t worked at this level.

There is external evidence to suggest that Josh Bailey and the Islanders are not as close off-the-ice as previously thought.  Josh and his agent were hours away from not being part of the Islanders this season (Charles Wang has a rule of not suiting up if not signed by training camp) when they came to a last minute agreement on a two year deal worth 2.1 million.

Garth Snow wasn’t knowingly going to make the same mistake twice by rushing Ryan Strome into the NHL, as he came off a stellar 103 point campaign in the Ontario Hockey League.  He was sent back to the Niagara Icedogs to play his final year of junior hockey, with the idea in mind to put some muscle on his 6’1 frame and play for Team Canada at the World Junior Championships.  Both are experiences Josh Bailey, for reasons touched on above, never had.

As Josh Bailey works through the kinks on a short term contract (that could be tradeable by Garth Snow), the uncertain future has to be a pressing thought on both the GM and player’s mind .  A majority of opinions suggest that Josh has to exceed expectations this season as the third line center for this team, with the other lines being set down the middle.  Along with some fairly decent wingers on his left and right in veteran Brian Roloston, the emerging Matt Martin and streaky Blake Comeau, Josh has more experience now than he likely ever will.  If this is as good as it’s going to get for Josh at this level, the time is now or never.  He simply has no other choice.

Garth wasn’t going to handcuff himself by handing Bailey a five year deal like he did with both Grabner and Okposo, two teammates who have shown more at this level.  Garth has left his options open and will make decisions accordingly moving forward.  Overall, one has to think Garth made the right decision for the future of this franchise when it comes to Josh Bailey.  For Bailey himself, the two year contract could very well become nothing more than a figment of his imagination as both sides continue to look for a catalyst to jumpstart a situation that continues to grow more awkward.   For Garth Snow, this is only the beginning of many more tough decisions involving the Islander youngsters, and Josh Bailey will undoubtedly sink or swim based on the merit of his play.  And for a team trying to navigate upstream for the first time in decades, Josh may very well become “man overboard”.

-K. Eoviero

Second Loss of Season and What Lies Ahead

Al Montoya looks on as the Lightning score

The second loss of the 2011-2012 season was not a high note in the early going here, with a mirror performance of Opening Night; and we all know how spectacular that was to be a part of.  The second loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning was painful.

After coming off three straight Wins, each one different than the last, the Islanders came out lethargic and slow.  The speedy Isles were not so speedy, instead they were getting beat to lose pucks along the boards and playing with a sense of urgency that can only be found in Bantam leagues.

Roughly two minutes into the hockey game, a turnover in the Lightning zone lead to a mono-a-mono staredown between Kyle Okposo and Tampa netminder Matthiew Garon, just below the hashmarks, but the struggling forward was unable to hit what seemed like a wide open net.  The stage was set from here, with the Isles looking part lost, and just plain bad.

The Lightning would eventually cash in on two power play goals, and ride out a gutsy finish for a team that needed it badly.  The Lightning had started the season poorly, losing five straight games before tightening up defensively versus the Islanders and putting together a much better effort.  For the Islanders, the game was puzzling for a team that seemed poised for a solid roadtrip.  “Not going to lie, I think we are ready for a pretty good roadtrip” said Tavares, after the Islanders tough win over the Rangers.  Are they?

Al Montoya was solid in net for the Islanders, and was hardly the reason they lost.  Montoya made 26 saves on the night, however one goal did go in as a result of a turnover he made behind the net.  Otherwise, a few posts and defensive breakdowns, and Montoya was more the victim of bad defensive hockey than anything else.  Young defenseman Travis Hamonic had a couple of rare turnovers that lead to potent Lightning chances, and much of the defense around him didn’t fare much better.  The pair of Eaton-Mottau had a rough outing, although Mark Eaton had the better play of any other defenseman on the night.

Secondary scoring continues to be a problem for the Islanders.  Enough has been said of the Islanders’ hopes riding on the progress of the young players, but there needs to be actual progress from the young players if the Islanders are to have success this season.  It is becoming a tired listen, but it is still reality.  Michael Grabner got his second goal of the season, but outside of that scoring chance, there was not much of anything generated Tampa’s way.

The New York Islanders need to put this one behind them and regroup for another tough challenge against the Florida Panthers.  Ironically enough, this game comes off the heals of a game we felt it resembled the most; the one against those Panthers on opening night.  For the score to good the good guys’ way, they need to assert themselves from the beginning and get dirty instead of cute.  If the goals are to come, they need to start battling.  Rick Dipietro may get the start.

What lies ahead:  Ken and myself will continue to update the blog after Game Night with our thoughts, with quality reads on various players on the team.  Coming up, Ken will provide some insight into the frustrating Josh Bailey situation, and why it’s worth paying attention too.

M. Manzo

Blog back up; Isles’ Fast Start

Tavares, Moulson come up big in Win over Rangers

In the days since the referendum failed, it was increasingly harder for me to log onto this blog and post anything about the Islanders, considering the heartache that followed in the days after.  Yet, two months later, some feel good stories in Islanders Country, and a blazing start, I’m back at it with the “other” blogger Ken – to discuss and talk all thing Isles.  For my own sake, and the state of the franchise, we will hold off on all business dealings with the Islanders.  From here on out, it’s all hockey.  We will treat this blog as a way to brush up on all the latest in greatest in the Country. Let’s have at it!

  • The Islanders open up the 2011-2012 hockey season 3-1, their best start since 2002, when they started 4-0.  The most impressive part of this red hot start, besides the play of budding superstar John Tavares, is the quality of the opponents whom have since lost to the Islanders.  Both the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers have a wealth of offensive weapons and goaltending between the two.  Neither mattered in impressive victories for the good guys.
  • John Tavares, the 1st overall pick in 2009, records 8 points in the first four games, with all 8 points coming in a two game span.  The noticeably stronger, and more confident Tavares, had 4 points in just five minutes of ice time against Tampa.  He followed up a superb game against Tampa by posting a hatrick, and an assist, against the cross-town rivals.  Howdoyasay, Dominant in Tavares’ world?
  • Evegeni Nabokov, who famously spurned the Islanders after he was claimed on waivers last year, finally showed up to training camp after the Isles refused to let him go.  After being a healthy scratch for the first two games of the season, he finally suited up against Tampa, playing back up to the other “red hot” goalie Al Montoya.  Evgeni finally got his chance against the Rangers, playing in front of a raucous Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum Crowd, playing solidly in net.  He made more-than-a-few quality saves in the first period, and held the wall together even after the Rangers had tied the game twice.  Veteran Leadership and Experience, check!
  • Speaking of Al Montoya, it should come as no surprise to Islanders fans everywhere with how well prepared Al was to start the season.  In the early going, Al leads the NHL in G.A.A with 1.35 (Minimum three starts) and is second in Save Percentage, posting a sparkling .953 in the early going.  The Islanders may have anticipated a three ring circus in net, but with much maligned Rick Dipietro on IR again(I’ll spare the jokes), the tandem of Montoya and Nabokov could be just what the doctor ordered for the speedy, and testy, Isles.

Here is where I will discuss the positives, and negatives, of the Islanders roster here in the early going:

  • Positive: How about P.A Parenteau, who should be called, Prove-it-Again Parenteau.  The first liner’s (for now) 6 assists lead the entire NHL thus far.  The top line of Moulson – Tavares – Parenteau has been red-hot for the Islanders, and if things continue, young forward Nino Niederreiter will have to work his way into the roster.  The young power forward was slotted to play alongside Moulson and Tavares coming out of training camp, but an early groin injury has kept him out of the lineup, and the trio of Moulson-Tavares-PA has stayed together.  What chemistry they have displayed.  Keep it up, boys!
  • Positive: Rough and Tough forward Matt Martin being used on the Islanders Number 1 powerplay unit, which scored twice against the Rangers, once because of the work of Martin in front of the net.  The toughest Islanders forward, who also has some sleek moves, has emerged as a reliable workhorse for Jack Capuano.  Last season, Martin focused more on his work as an enforcer, but that has changed.  The hits remain, and so does the policing, but the forward has become a mainstay on the Isles’ roster.  Great work, Matt!
  • Positive: After a sluggish first game against the Florida Panthers, the Islanders’ young duo of Travis Hamonic and Andrew Macdonald have picked up right where they left off.  Travis had 5 shots and an almost breakaway against the Rangers, and Andrew has given the Islanders their second most ice time in the early going.  It seems as if the praise never stops for these two, but they are now woven into the fabric of the Isles’ top four defenseman, and will be for a long time to come.
  • Positive: The New York Islanders’ penalty kill.  The Islanders brought in veteran, and former New Jersey Devil, Jay Pandolfo, to play on their Number 1 penalty kill unit, and although met with criticism at first, you don’t hear too many complaints right now.  The well-seasoned vet has provided an immeasurable presence on the first unit, leading the Isles to a perfect 4 for 4 kill against the Rangers, and 14 out of 15 penalty kills early on.
  • Negative: The duo of Josh Bailey and Blake Comeau, whom played together on the third line before Comeau rode the pine against the Rangers, are not playing quality hockey in the early going.  Josh continues to struggle, and has recently been a teeny, tiny bit more noticeable with his work in the defensive zone.  Comeau – however – only had 1 hit and 1 shot on net in 3 games.  In turn, Jack Capuano scratched the former 24 goal scorer against the Rangers.  If Blake is to become part of the Isles’ core, like he feels he is, he needs to be better and more consistent.  After coming to terms on the eve of arbitration on a new contract, the forward will have nothing handed to him.  Seeing as the deal was just made for one year, it could be said that Comeau may have to work extra hard to stay with this emerging group of forwards.  Wake up, Blake!

The next test for the Islanders comes in the form of the Tampa Bay Lightning, whos goaltending and defense has left a lot to be desired.  Roloson, who was re-signed at the age of 42 after a dazzling run to the Eastern Conference Finals, has let in 12 goals in the last 5 periods of hockey.  The Islanders may be able to wreak havoc on a porous defense, but the stars up front for the Lightning would love to engage in a track meet with the Isles.  Look for Al Montoya to get the nod.

– M. Manzo

The ‘Deal’ On A Thin Line

When Charles Wang and Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano announced an unprecedented revenue-sharing deal with Nassau County, many felt the timing was conspicuous, at best.

It is, after all, uncertain times.  Period.  Nassau County has seen its worst monetary deficit in the history of the county; with property taxes rising amongst some of the very worst in the United States.  The people who reside in Nassau County, few who represent the Orange and Blue, could imagine such a deal being tabled in such crisis times.  Yet still, Charles Wang and Ed Mangano felt that if the Islanders were to remain, the greater good would have to prevail.

Public works projects, such as the one being tabled on the seventy-two acre lot in Hempstead, New York, are non-existent here on Long Island.  Charles Wang had his massive Lighthouse Project tabled at the expense of protecting “suburban life” – Kate Murray circa 2009, although the entire bill was to be footed by the assets of which he calls his own.  The influx of jobs and revenue, which would have been superior to any other project on Long Island since the development of Levittown, could have laid the foundation to a circle of money being made, with money being spent.  The people, those who wanted to “protect suburbia”, won.

Two years later, Charles Wang has emerged from the shadows to give it his “last go” with Nassau County (his words).  As it stands, this is the very last chance for Nassau County to retain its only major professional sports team, even in a time of economic uncertainty.  This is the very last chance for Nassau County to experience the potential steady flow of new jobs, revenue, and grace of a man with billions who has invested more in Long Island than few before him.

“It’s so important to do this for Long Island,” Wang said. “It won’t solve all our problems, but without it the future is bleak . . . We believe that we’re a catalyst. If we can be that catalyst to start the rebuilding of Long Island, that’s what we’re trying to do . . .”

The project estimates:  Over 3,000 jobs created during the re-construction of Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, 1.2 billion dollars in total revenue, 11.5% of all annual revenue to be paid directly to Nassau County and its citizens, and the beginning of a revitalization for the New York Islanders, Nassau County, its residents, and many professional acts who will choose to visit the new facility to entertain the masses.

See, this is not a project directly linked to a major league hockey team.  In this instance here, a professional sports franchise will partner with a principality to deliver a steady stream of revenue and jobs, a combination that cannot be duplicated without the financial support of Charles Wang and his hockey team.  This becomes a partnership that will merely support the continuous supply of entertainment and major league acts for its residents and those who call Long Island home.

Beyond attendance numbers for the New York Islanders and the merits of how those numbers will increase or decrease, this is a project that – like it or hate it – can begin the healing process for a county that needs it most.

But like many before him, time is running out.  In just seven days, the vote to allow Nassau County to borrow up to four hundred million dollars from its empty chest, will take place.  The many positive aspects and potentials of another landmark proposal will be -either- met with too much opposition, or too many proponents.  The media blitz from the Islanders has been in full effect for a week, with another heavy round expected in the days leading up to August 1st.  The New York Islanders, a professional team playing in a minor league facility, will have its future with Nassau County, and Long Island, laid to vote.  In seven days, Long Island will have its future as an ideal destination with entertainment and its lone professional sports franchise, laid to vote.

“Like any other business thing, you look at what it is and you decide then,” he said. “I’m not about to start over and negotiate because we’ll run out of time . . . So if we run out of time, we’re not going to do it, that’s all.”

They say the grass is always greener on the other side.  On Long Island, the grass may always be greener as the opportunities continue to present themselves.

But as of right now?  It’s just not.

-M. Manzo