Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Schremp Quotes from Newsday

I had to laugh a little at the quotes from team brass in Katie Strang's Newsday article about the Islanders claiming Rob Schremp off waivers. This is what you want to hear about the gifted player with upside who has yet to fulfill his potential:

"He's a highly skilled, offensively gifted player with great vision. He's at an age where he is still maturing as a hockey player and a person, so there's upside there for our organization," Islanders general manager Garth Snow said. "To take a chance on a player like this, it seemed like it was a no-brainer to claim Rob."

This, not so much:
"He's got incredible skill," Gordon said. "On a breakaway, he can make a lacrosse-style goal. His hands are really good."

Let's not start out by setting expectations so low that a trick shot is one of Schremp's main selling points. Leave the scoop-n-shovel to the NCAA kids and the minor leaguers. We want to see if Schremp can actually cut it as an NHL regular without being known as a one-shot wonder who encourages labels of immature and unprofessional to be cast the Islanders' way.

On the other hand, he would probably get along really well with John Tavares's uncle.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Schremp Will Try to Make It on the Island

The Islanders have claimed 23-year-old Rob Schremp off waivers from the Edmonton Oilers. Schremp, described in the club's press release as a left wing, is more commonly known as a highly skilled centerman who has yet to break through at the NHL level. Schremp has logged seven games total in the NHL, accumulating 3 assists, all in four games last season.

In the AHL, Schremp has been a steady scorer with totals of 47-124-171 in 216 games with the Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins and the Springfield Falcons. The Syracuse, NY, product also made his mark in the OHL. As a junior player, Schremp piled up 154 goals and 230 assists for 384 points in 247 games as a member of the Mississauga Ice Dogs and the London Knights. His final season in junior hockey resulted in a 145-point season on 57 goals and 88 assists, in 57 games.

The Oilers drafted Schremp with the 25th overall pick in the 2004 draft.

With the Islanders already short a few regulars up front, this is precisely the kind of opportunity that could allow Schremp to prove that his minor league feats can translate to the NHL. There is little risk for the team, which suddenly has an interesting replacement to look at while Franz Nielsen recovers from his knee injury and Doug Weight gets back up to speed after nursing a groin. While of the classic criticisms of Schremp may play out, this is the perfect time to see if there's something there.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The NHL Protects Its Players

Dear Sidney Crosby,

We are pleased to inform you that can proceed with the 2009-10 NHL season with a clear head: Pascal Morency has been suspended. You can look forward to October 3rd's contest against the New York Islanders without fear. Morency and his antics have been taken care of. You and the rest of your NHL colleagues can go about your business. We have you covered.

Best wishes for a smashing season,
The NHL Head of Discipline

To be fair, the rule by which Morency was suspended for a total of ten games does aim to protect players. But it also protects the league's image (whatever that is). But all you need to know is that Kyle Okposo had several cuts on his face and minor swelling. Dion Phaneuf caused those injuries to the head with a textbook (read:rulebook) charge. Phaneuf has been cleared of wrongdoing and faces no discipline. So, Sid, you and your brethren are not as protected as you think. And it's absurd.

Hoping for some amped up coverage of the Isles in The Daily News this year? Well, that particular news organization could teach another news organization a thing or two about how to redesign a Web site. You can actually still read The Daily News online. But here's what you can't do: go to the Islanders page. Because there isn't one. Here's the nav bar on the Sports home page:

And try to find an article on the Islanders on the Hockey home page. The only reference currently there is to Mark Feinsand's wonderful column from the Summary Essay Series about growing up an Isles fan and taking his son to his first game. Otherwise, you wouldn't know there are two other hockey teams about to begin their seasons.

Speaking of Newsday, nice to see Greg Logan's name pop up in the byline of some Jets articles over the past several days. It was disappointing to find out that Greg's exit from the Islanders beat was not by his own wishes. I hope he is finding his new assignments to be satisfying, but he will be missed at the Coliseum and On the Islanders Beat.


MSG+ will carry tomorrow night's preseason home game against the Devils. No word on whether the Calgary radio guys will be doing the broadcast.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Islanders Season Preview on Illegal Curve

Illegal Curve has posted its 2009-10 Islanders Season Preview. Please head over to read some thoughts on the upcoming season from IC's David, as well as from Dominik of Lighthouse Hockey, Paul from Islanders Blogger, and yours truly.

My thanks as always to Illegal Curve for asking me to participate. They're a great crew with a top-notch site and it's always a pleasure to work with them.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Morency Suspended, Phaneuf Not

Point Blank has the news that Pascal Morency has been suspended indefinitely for his role in the post Phaneuf hit action, ostensibly to keep him out of Saturday's rematch.

Via Kukla's Korner, Elliotte Friedman twitters that Dion Phaneuf will not be suspended for the crushing hit on Kyle Okposo last night because a review determined that the hit "wasn’t late, was not targeting head, did not launch or leave feet before collision."

So at least we have this week's explanation.

Here's a comment I made on the previous post that I want to "promote to the main page" (copyright Lighthouse Hockey):

...These things always come down to judgment and perception. I'm not so quick to dismiss the charge call. Rule 43.1 states:"Charging shall mean the actions of a player or goalkeeper who, as a result of distance traveled, shall violently check an opponent in any manner. A “charge” may be the result of a check into the boards, into the goal frame or in open ice.

"Stu Hackel of The New York Times estimates that Phaneuf lined up Okposo from 45 away. Stu's take on the incident is definitely worth a read.

So many want to assign blame to Okposo for having his head down. The sequence suggests that having his head down may have been an unforunate byproduct of the contact with Dawes. But, setting that aside, if Okposo is expected to be responsible for knowing where Phaneuf is on the ice, is it too much to ask for Phaneuf to be responsible for knowing where Okposo's head is when he hits him? And make every effort to take him off the puck without attempting to destroy him?

I'd like to further add that one of the reasons Islanders fans are so upset about this incident is that they know concussions are like a cat having nine lives, and Okposo just lost one of his lives. But the truth is, with concussions a hockey player doesn't really get nine lives; he may only get three or four. The thought of Okposo being on the road to the devastating effects of multiple concussions before his career has barely started is almost too much to bear.

By the way, when does the statute of limitations run out on comparing every neutral zone, questionable, skate-and head-shaking hit to Scott Stevens? What Stevens was able to do doesn't necessarily legitimize anything that any other player does today.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Okposo Carted Off on Stretcher; Isles Lead 3-2 Midway Through

Hold your breath, Islanders fans. Just past the five-minute mark of tonight's preseason game in Calgary, Kyle Okposo absorbed a hit from Dion Phaneuf and didn't get off the ice. He left the playing surface immobilized on a stretcher. No replays of the hit were made available on the streaming broadcast.

The Islanders lead 3-2 on goals by Trevor Smith, Blake Comeau, and Matt Moulson on the power play. Martin Biron played the first half of the game and has now given way to Kevin Poulin. It's a testy affair and promises to get even testier down the stretch.

Update on Okposo to follow when available.

Update: Chris Botta reports that Okposo called his father to say that he's all right. That, of course, pending a medical update from someone other than Okposo.

Point Blank also links to video of the hit on Fanhouse. Phaneuf is simply the next in a too-long line of guys who has no respect for the amount of damage he can inflict on another human being. You can't let up in the heat of the action? Of course you can, especially in an early preseason game. Phaneuf could have played the body any number of ways without taking the livelihood of a promising young player in his hands.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Hockeyville Coverage on GHL, LH

The venerable hockey history blog will be providing in-depth coverage this weekend of the Hockeyville festivities in Terrace, BC. This year's participants in Hockeyville are the Vancouver Canucks and, of course, your New York Islanders.

GHL's Joe Pelletier will be covering the events, which include visits by Don Cherry and the Stanley Cup and culminate in Monday night's game, for his own site, The Hockey News, and the Islanders.

I'm sure you can look forward to some great historical pieces on both franchises, as well as live coverage, photos, and interviews from Hockeyville 2009. GHL may be the best place to follow the Islanders during their first weekend of training camp—don't miss it!

Update: And how could I forget that Lighthouse Hockey will also have a man on the scene!