Kukla's Korner Hockey
For those who wondered whether a buyout of center Alexei Yashin might be a condition that had to be met if the Islanders hope to sign free agent Ryan Smyth, apparently it’s not. Negotiations have yet to begin in earnest with Smyth, but general manager Garth Snow Thursday expressed strong support for Yashin, describing him as “a vital part of the organization.”
from the New York Islanders,
After six days and just under 55 hours of driving – 54 hours and 27 minutes to be exact – Jeff Tambellini finally made it home to his house in Vancouver.
Despite the existence of faster travel in the form of trains and planes, Tambellini has chosen to make the long journey from Long Island to Vancouver the past couple of years by car – well more specifically, his Cadillac Escalade.
“It’s my prize possession,” said Tambellini sitting in the comfort of his house in Vancouver. “I can’t leave home without it.”
Even before he suffered two concussions in a 12-day span during March, Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro was playing hurt for the final two months or so of the regular season. Earlier this week, DiPietro underwent successful arthroscopic surgery to repair a labral tear of his left hip.
For the next two weeks, DiPietro will be on crutches, and he is required to rest for the next four to six weeks.
Ryan Smyth will not be back on the Island. Money will not matter, the ability to win the Cup will.- Pierre McGuire
more playoff talk from Pierre at NBC Sports...
from David Kolb of MSG Network,
Momentum was on their side.
Yet the team never capitalized.
What went wrong?
While Coach Ted Nolan could be the best off-ice coach in the NHL, his in-game managing could be questioned. Nolan kept his faith in certain players that were either playing too much or were simply miscast.
For instance, for some time Chris Simon was playing not only on the first line, but had significant power play duty as well.
The same can be said about Randy Robitaille, a player that by no means deserved the ice time he received. He proved time and time again that he is amongst the worst defensive forwards in the NHL.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Everyone is against the Islanders. Everyone is even against the Islanders’ Ice Girls. Woe is the Islanders, for they get no respect from anyone. Ryan Hollweg should have been suspended too, not just Chris Simon.
Steve Begin was at fault for Rick DiPietro’s first concussion and Sean Avery for the second. All those goals that didn’t count should have, and those that did count shouldn’t have.
If you don’t believe it, just ask them. Wait. You don’t have to ask them. They’ll tell you anyway, all day, every day….
Nolan played the victim card for the years he was out of the NHL. Now he and his team play it routinely. It’s time to lose it, permanently, before the victimization angle evolves into a cycle of self-fulfilling prophecy.
from Greg Logan at On the Islanders Beat,
Now that Smyth’s Long Island experience has ended after 24 games, one of which he sat out with an injury, it’s the right time to share his comments about what it has been like to wear another uniform since his stunning trade on Feb. 27 from Edmonton. My first question to Smyth was about a recent poll conducted by The Hockey News in which the Islanders were rated as the third-worst team to be traded to in the NHL. Oddly enough, they finished behind Buffalo and Smyth’s beloved Edmonton.
“Ever since I’ve been here, the organization has been great, the players have been good,” Smyth said. “I have no regrets. The longer you stay, the better you feel.”
more from Smyth…
from Mark Herrmann of Newsday,
They have taken on the personality of Nolan, who has been preaching all year about his goal for the franchise: “Change the culture.”
“I think that the past couple of years,” goalie Rick DiPietro said, “we’ve been known as a team that wasn’t able to bounce back so well from adversity. I think we’ve done a great job of that this year. But the end result is the same: We’re out in the first round and I don’t think anybody is happy with that.”
Hurting is a good sign. The Islanders were in position to be one of those just-happy-to-be-here eighth seeds. Instead, they left thinking they should have done much more. That’s a change in the culture.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
So while the Isles were going out of their way to criticize the league for a few controversial calls this week, the team’s management all the while knew they were in effect playing with a player soon to be deemed ineligible.
So while the league can puff out its chest today and cite Hill’s 20-game suspension announced late yesterday afternoon as evidence of a league drug policy that works, the incident may have actually opened up a bunch of new questions.
When was Hill caught?
Should he have been suspended pending his appeal?
How long did the appeal take?
Should that appeal have been heard before the playoffs began?
From NHL Press Release,
NEW YORK/TORONTO (April 20, 2007)—New York Islanders defenseman Sean Hill has been suspended 20 games for violating the terms of the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program. The suspension begins with tonight’s Stanley Cup Eastern Conference Quarterfinal game against the Buffalo Sabres.
Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the suspension is accompanied by mandatory referral to the NHL/NHLPA Program for Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health for evaluation and possible treatment.
The player’s contract expires with the conclusion of the 2006-07 season. Any portion of the suspension that remains following the Islanders’ participation in the 2007 Stanley Cup Playoffs would resume, without pay, at the beginning of any successor contract.
Updated 6:03pm ET:
Islanders’ spokesman Chris Botta said Hill did not travel with the team to the arena for Friday night’s game. He said he did not know whether Hill had travelled back to Long Island.
The nature of Hill’s infraction was not immediately clear. An NHL spokesman said the league was obliged to honour the player’s confidentiality and would not comment.
Note: There appears to be no indication of when Hill was tested. Sportsnet also reports that Hill isn’t expected to make a statement till Saturday.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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