Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.
Coming on the heels of a no-goal call that was overturned in the Sabres’ favor in Game 3, Campbell figured tempers might be running hot in the Islanders’ front office, where it’s an article of faith that NHL headquarters is anti-Islanders. “We understand the Islanders think they were hard done by,” Campbell said Thursday in a telephone interview.
“We understand Garth Snow is a rookie general manager, and Ted Nolan has to play the cards he’s got. When things don’t go the way you want, we’d understand they want to play that game. But at the end of the day, we’re looking at a level playing field ... I tell the managers every year that a controversial area is goal reviews. When you have two happen in your home arena, they’re going to say they got screwed.”
For another point of view- David Kolb at MSG Network,
A few minutes later we learned that “The War Room” in Toronto said that it was the on-ice official that called it a non-goal, as referee Mike Leggo claimed rule 78.5 (ix) was the basis for his decision.
Rule 78.5 (ix) states, When a goalkeeper has been pushed into the net together with the puck after making a save … the goal is disallowed.
Problem here is A) the puck was loose before contact was made with Miller; and B) It wasn’t an Islander player that slammed into Miller, it was clearly #21 Drew Stafford.
added 8:04am, Friday April 20th, IF you haven’t seen the video of the disputed Witt non-goal, here it is...
from Dave Caldwell at the New York Times,
“There are no quitters in here — there’d better not be,” left wing Ryan Smyth said in the dressing room.
The Islanders face elimination from the Stanley Cup playoffs, and the end could come Friday, when they face the deeper and more talented Sabres in Game 5 of a best-of-seven series in Buffalo. The Sabres lead three games to one.
Islanders Coach Ted Nolan told his team to forget about the negative aspects of Wednesday’s 4-2 loss, in which a potential game-tying goal by defenseman Brendan Witt with 1 minute 42 seconds left was waved off.
From Mark Herremann at amNewYork,
Oddly enough, for the second time this week, the action was frantic in Toronto, perhaps hockey’s greatest hotbed. They’re not playing hockey there now, but they’re watching it in league headquarters. And for the second time in two games, the watching went against the Islanders.
Actually, this time, the trained eyes in the NHL’s home office didn’t make the ruling. They just conferred with referee Mike Leggo, who had ruled that Brendan Witt’s apparent tying goal with 1:42 left in Game 4 didn’t count because Sabres goalie Ryan Miller had been pushed into the net.
The Islanders have video that suggested otherwise, but, hey, as they say up north, “That’s hockey.”
From Tim Graham of The Buffalo News,
The Buffalo Sabres posted the NHL’s best regular-season record with speed, skill and depth.
Co-captain Daniel Briere mentioned another element the Sabres have been able to feed off: contempt.
Briere noted a healthy disdain for the New York Islanders has contributed to their 3-1 series lead in their Eastern Conference quarterfinal.
“I think the first couple games there wasn’t enough emotion. There was no hate out there,” Briere said after he drew an aggressive penalty that led to Chris Drury’s winning goal in a 4-2 Game Four victory Wednesday night in Nassau Coliseum. “I think slowly we’re starting to see guys hate each other. We’re getting sick of playing against the same guys over and over.
From David Shoalts at the Globe & Mail,
The Buffalo Sabres may have to make one lineup change for Wednesday night’s game against the New York Islanders.
Centre Tim Connolly is “sore” according to Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff and may not be able to play.
Connolly missed almost all of the regular season with a concussion and stress fracture to his leg.
“I hope he can play, but we won’t know for sure until later,” Ruff said after Wednesday’s game-day skate.
However, this came as news to Connolly, who said he felt “fresh.”
from Mark Herrmann of Newsday,
Here’s the plan: Everybody immediately starts praising Alexei Yashin. Writers opine about how much he means to the Islanders, fans chant his name during long stretches when he is off the ice and shriek uncontrollably when he takes a rare shift.
Anyone who goes to Game 4 Wednesday night against the Sabres must reminisce about the good times and mention he is just inches from turning it all around. Finally, and pay careful attention because this is the most important part, shamelessly beg that the Islanders keep Yashin.
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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