Thursday, October 2, 2008

A New Beat; Will the Islanders Be Prepared?; and Josh Bailey Signs

Starting in the very near future, a new beat will be appearing here on Islanders Outsider. Sprinkled in among the outsider's perspectives, media watches, game reports, and general bloggystuffs will be analysis of the Islanders from a fantasy hockey perspective.

This territory was formerly covered in the Blog Box by Tim Marino, operator of The Fantasy Fancy. Tim has joined Jim McGlynn and Jon Jordan in stepping aside from the Blog Box to pursue other endeavors (Jon continues to provide top-shelf coverage of the Tampa Bay Lightning on HockeyBuzz.) All three of these gentlemen are good people and quality bloggers. Their presence in the Blog Box, actual and digital, will be missed. They are welcome to contribute to these pages anytime, and I hope we have not seen the last of their participation in the Islanders vibrant online community.

With Tim's blessing, I will attempt to answer two main questions for fantasy hockey players: Who on the Islanders' roster can contribute to your fantasy team, and how? I'll look at those questions from the standard 5x5 league angle, as well as try to help out those of you who can benefit from stats like hits, blocked shots, and faceoff win percentage.

The Islanders, of course, are not blessed with a roster full of superstar stat producers, so the pickings may be thin at times. (And thankfully the NHL still keeps track of stats like hits, blocked shots, and faceoff wins so we have a little more to talk about.) But as an enthusiastic participant in fantasy hockey, I feel that it is a fun component of fandom that also provides a worthwhile service to other fantasy players.

Thanks again to Tim for handing off the beat, and stay tuned!

As for last night's exhibition game with the Devils, the result only concerns me as a symptom of a larger problem—that the combination of a shortened training camp, a pile of injuries, and a new system to learn are conspiring to keep the Islanders from hitting their stride in time for the start of the season.

It really seems as though the team will have turn on like a switch in order to hit the ground running next Friday in New Jersey. With only three preseason games remaining, we hardly have a well oiled machine here. Maybe those three games will be sufficient to get enough players reasonably fit and comfortable with each other and the system. But, right now, I feel like they need more time.

One thing that will take getting used to is the new injury policy. The idea that players will just not be around with no indication of what they injured, how severe the injury is, or when they will be back is bizarre. But when Andy Sutton is not in the lineup opening night, we'll just have to accept that he's not available and won't be until we see him in uniform again. It's sort of like the NHL's own Witness Security Program. If you see Mary McCormack moving stealthily through the corridors of Nassau Coliseum, don't be alarmed. She's just doing her job.

At least we know where Josh Bailey is today.

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