Friday, October 2, 2009

Yesterday's News... what I have been readin' (title hat tip to Whiskeytown)

Wang and Rechler Play Hardball

In comments at yesterday's announcement of a lease agreement between the Lighthouse Development Group and Nassau County for the development of the 77-acre Coliseum Property, the developers declared that they are no longer open to suggestions for changes to the scope of the project from the Town of Hempstead.

For months now, Charles Wang has insisted that he is willing to consider such changes if the town would just sit down with him and say what those changes might be. This is an unfortunate turn in strategy because it eliminates a significant pathway to making the Lighthouse, in one form or another, a reality. It was the prospect of such discussions that always caused me to believe that this project would eventually get done. With the option of negotiating the development eliminated, I'm far less optimistic. It was the one major chip that Wang and Scott Rechler could offer, and it has now been pulled off the table.

Not that you can really blame them. The impression one gets is that the town board could go on for at least another year doing what they're (not) doing without realizing that engaging in such a negotiation had become critical. With Wang's deadline of certainty for the project scheduled to pass tomorrow, he had to make a bold statement to acknowledge the lack of progress. Yes, Wang is playing by his own rules, which don't always seem conducive to helping the cause he professes to care so much about. But anyone who has followed his style over the last ten years know this wasn't going to go any other way.

Weight Named Captain

I'm a little turned off by the trend of handing over the leadership reins of a team to the young star before he's old enough to rent a car. So I'm pleased to see the Islanders (players or coach/GM) not do something showy like name Kyle Okposo, Josh Bailey, or even John Tavares captain at this juncture. On the other hand, in addition to all the other things Islanders fans are starving for, I'd like to see the team with a captain who's going to be around for more than a couple of seasons.

Obviously, then, the player vote that awarded the captaincy to Doug Weight leaves me with mixed feelings. His tenure could be as short as six months. But when you consider the makeup of the team, as well as the makeup of the player, it's clear that Weight is the best man for job right now. The fact that Weight is so enthusiastic about his service makes the choice all the more appealing.

That Kyle Okposo received an 'A' ahead of someone like Trent Hunter did cause me to raise an eyebrow. While I understand the inclination to give the younger players representation in the team's leadership structure, and I've stated previously that the team already seemed to gravitate to Okposo in his first full year, I'd rather see a more veteran presence in that role while Okposo focuses completely on being the best player he can be. Will it really affect his development? Nah, probably not. But I'm all for the idea of guys putting in their years of service as a way to earn such an honor. To that end, I'd prefer to see Mark Streit take over from Weight before seeing a Bailey, Okposo, or Tavares ascend to the captaincy.

Matt Moulson and the Roster

This year, the role of former Cornell Big Red player who has toiled mostly in the minors but now has his best chance to stick in the NHL will played by Matt Moulson, following on the heels of the successful, yet ultimately fruitless, stint of Mike Iggulden. Congratulations to Matt for making the squad and appearing to be the recipient of a plum line assignment. Point Blank has Moulson playing alongside Tavares and Okposo at today's practice. He sure picked the right guy to have chemistry with.

Despite his impressive preseason, Moulson has his work cut out for him if he wants to stick. Today's practice included five full lines of forwards and the news from Mr. Botta that Weight is possible for tomorrow's opener. Who would have to lose their spot once everyone is healthy to guarantee that Moulson remains an Islander?

Well, Rob Schremp is certainly going to get his shot once he's had time to acclimate or he would not have been brought in. That leaves Jon Sim, Jeff Tambellini, Joel Rechlicz, Nate Thompson, and Tim Jackman as possible bubble players. And precedent would suggest that Blake Comeau hasn't quite won full immunity yet.

But Thompson tends to play. Jackman could sit here or there, but seems fairly well entrenched. Rechlicz will no doubt see his time in the press box and in Bridgeport. For Sim and Tambellini, it's all about performance. Sim has added the pressure of not necessarily being part of this club's future plans. But it would be fun to watch both him and Tambellini make lineup decisions more difficult. It's remarkable how much competition there is on a consensus 15th place team.

The Opener

Ha, wouldn't you know it. The season opener (at home!) against the defending champs with their two all-world stars. The debut of the team's first #1 overall draft pick since Rick DiPietro. Catching up with old friends for a welcome night of hockey. And I won't be there. Or, probably, see very much of the game. Such is life!

But I hope everyone in attendance and watching at home has much to cheer about!

1 comment:

7th Woman said...

I was happy for Doug. I was pulling for him all along. Truthfully, I don't think it will be another Bill Guerin situation come March. I think he'll live out the year contract in an Isles jersey.

Okposo may be young, but he has become very strong in the dressing room, so, hey, we'll see how well he can lead.

Matt Moulson is the luckiest player on our roster. I think he was hand picked.

Sorry you won't be here tonight Ken.
Take Care!