Saturday, May 23, 2009

Stuck Between a Radek and a Park Place

I'm going to start off with something on the personal side today, both because it affects this blog and might be a minor source of amusement to some.

This time of year is challenging for a hockey blogger, especially one that covers a non playoff team. The last game was over a month ago. The draft and free agency are over a month away. The news surrounding the Islanders is far from uplifting. Any excitement raised by the expectation of adding a world-class player in June is mitigated by the increasingly murky future of the franchise.

If you're like me, you're growing weary of Town of Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray being the most significant figure in all matters related to your favorite hockey team. And I don't say that to discourage the many talented bloggers out there who continue to pound away at that story. It is a necessary evil. As a fan community we are fortunate to have multiple resources digging away at Lighthouse (non) developments.

But back to my original point, which was that this time of year requires a little extra effort. During the season, topics for discussion nearly write themselves, at the very least, every day there's a game and often on the days in between.

Normally I would spend this time of year coming up with different approaches to providing content: looking back at past players, clearing the notebook of quotes I never got to post, analyzing the fan base and readership through Web metrics, etc.

This spring is a little different. Okay, way different.

My wife and I are expecting our first child shortly. We've simultaneously been going through the process of finding a house, negotiating, trying to encourage the bank to move things along as fast possible, nailing down a closing date, etc. If you can help it, I don't recommend preparing for a new baby, buying a house, and preparing to move all at the same time. (Note: if it's a baby you want, though, become an Islanders blogger—that seems to work.)

Here's where we get to the slightly amusing (I hope), Islanders-themed part. The baby is due about a week before the draft. A few days ago, he was nearly granted an early exemption (that's not the amusing part).

As I was making my way to the hospital, one of the many things running through my head was that we still hadn't settled on a name. My wife later told me that thought was also going through her mind.

We've pored over hundreds of names, restricting ourselves to a finite set of first initials based on loved ones we've lost and want to honor. This goes for both the first and middle names.

Out of our search and discussion, two of the choices that have emerged as possiblities for the middle name are Radek and Park.

Though you may find it hard to believe, those names emerged with no influence from me. It was my wife who first put a star next to them (metaphorically). She has certainly heard of Radek Martinek and Richard Park, but I can assure you that neither popped into her head when she made note of the names.

So there I was the other day heading to the hospital in the back of a cab, which of course got stuck in traffic on the FDR, thinking, "Oh my God, my son is going to end up being named Something Radek Rosenblatt or Something Park Rosenblatt, and all of my blogger friends are going to make fun of me!"

Well, as you already know, we've had a little more time to contemplate things. I'd say, at this point, the chances are remote that Radek or Park makes the final cut (though I do think they are both kind of cool). My wife, at least, has more time to think, as she is now on bed rest. We hope that the little guy waits a while longer before declaring free agency.

We wouldn't want him to miss the combine.


Oh, what the heck, one Lighthouse comment. As many of you know, Chris Botta asserted yesterday that the Town of Hempstead will take no action on the Lighthouse prior to Charles Wang's season-opener deadline for finding out where the project stands. At that point, the Islanders' owner can either call his own bluff, or take the teeth out of any further negotiating tactics he might employ. I expect him to do the former, and immediately begin exploring all avenues for ridding himself of the Hempstead and, possibly, the Islanders.

The funny (ha, ha) thing, of course, is that it has seemed all along that Ms. Murray was striving to make sure that the Lighthouse had no impact on the upcoming election and her legacy. Now, for many Nassau residents, the Lighthouse is the mother of all campaign issues. But with the Democratic party yet to announce its candidate to oppose the incumbent, and no perceived enthusiasm over the chances of any one particular candidate, it appears that those hopeful for a change in leadership, and subsequent change in the fortunes of the Lighthouse project, will have an uphill battle to fight.

The grasping-at-straws alternative is to hope that, once re-elected, Ms. Murray herself has a change in attitude toward the project, when it no longer directly impacts her next term in office. But there's always another term, and another office.


Despite the substantial amount of time we've spent discussing the merits of keeping Joey MacDonald or Yann Danis, it's hardly surprising that neither is expected to return, as anticipated by Greg Logan. According to Logan, a Danis encore remains a remote possiblilty if he's willing to settle for a two-way deal. If not, I'm satisfied to see the depth chart at Bridgeport remain in the hands of Nate Lawson and Peter Mannino.

The success of this move is predicated by the Islanders actually going out and getting a goalie like Craig Anderson to backfill Rick DiPietro. Anderson is variously being referred to as a 1A or 1B goaltender. I don't know whether to split the difference and call him a 1A.5, or just see how he likes being called Chico.

The Isles should still bring in a third veteran goalie for training camp, just in case the 1A.5 ends up being the only #1. I'd rather see Lawson and Mannino continue to play in the AHL next year than serve as a sparsely used NHL backup.

1 comment:

Dominik said...

Excellent story all around!

My Czech roots make me favor Radek, but I have a sneaking suspicion I don't get a vote :)

Good luck with all this, man. That's quite a load of to-do items.