Friday, October 22, 2010

Short Take on Rypien's Short Suspension

Here's what the NHL should have considered when handing down its suspension of Rick Rypien of the Canucks for shoving and grabbing a fan: What would the suspension have been if Rypien had thrown a punch?

I have to imagine it would have been a lot more than six games.

Rypien's thought process short-circuited. He and the NHL are fortunate that the circuit that shorted was the one labeled "Shove and Grab" rather than one next to it labeled "Punch." That's how close an NHL fighter came to punching out a fan on live TV with no provocation other than a sarcastic comment.

The result of the loss of control is not what should have been punished. The loss of control is.

And, while we're at it, it's really annoying when Gary Bettman feels compelled to put an everything's-okay-here spin on matters:

"Fortunately, this incident is not typical of the way NHL players conduct themselves and is not typical of the way Mr. Rypien had conducted himself during his career."

It happened. We all saw it.

Hey, these Islanders are pretty good.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Flatley Joins MSG

Neil Best is reporting in his Watchdog blog that MSG has hired former Islanders captain Pat Flatley for its Hockey Night Live! studio program. Flatley takes the seat formerly occupied by Butch Goring, who recently moved into the broadcast booth alongside play-by-play man Howie Rose to replace the controversially departed color analyst Billy Jaffe.

It's an interesting choice for Islanders fans as most still have very fond memories of Flats, including his on-ice style and off-ice personality. But Flatley hasn't been close to the Islanders in 15 years, so it's a little strange to think of him as being the Islanders voice on Hockey Night Live! There's a disconnect there that Flatley will have to resolve by spending some time getting close to the team again. Still, I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what he brings to the table.

Lighthouse Hockey Season Preview Roundtable

Please visit Lighthouse Hockey for an entertaining and interesting Season Preview Roundtable featuring several familiar bloggers, a few singers, a few actors, and a number of fictional characters—including a delicious and structurally challenged gingerbread man.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Gordon Should Name Roloson Starter

While significant injuries to Mark Streit and Kyle Okposo have curtailed expectations for an Islanders playoff run in 2011, the braintrust of the organization has no choice but to proceed as if that run remains very much in the plans. Therefore, all roster and lineup decisions must address the two-headed monster of maintaining forward momentum of the youth development while attempting to win now.

In a sport that breeds constant chatter about players knowing their jobs, roles, and responsibilities, Coach Scott Gordon has not named the owner of one very important job. Who is the Islanders #1 goalie?

Gordon can go a long way toward starting the season with an air of stability by naming Dwayne Roloson his starting goaltender. Right now, it is the best option for the Islanders to play to their competitive peak.

Roloson played his best hockey last season when he served as the team’s undisputed #1. Sharing the duties with Rick DiPietro and Martin Biron seemed to soften what had been a very sharp edge in net.
It is in the best interest of this year’s team to have an established starter, whether it be Roloson or DiPietro. But, for this season, it should be Roloson for roughly 55 games. The soon-to-be 41-year-old demonstrated last year that he is more than capable of holding down the job and leading the team to victories. The Islanders will get the most out of him in this role.

DiPietro has not been a starting NHL goaltender since 2008. The team should not put itself in the position of forcing itself to see if he can do it again now, and risk losing him for another year or more. Let him re-acclimate to the rigors of an NHL schedule by not playing too much of it—let him play enough to show that his body can absorb the beating it will take, restore his technique and reflexes, and re-build his stamina.

If DiPietro has trouble getting into a rhythm due to sporadic starts, so be it. What the Islanders can get out of him this season is still a question mark. Let him answer that question over 25-30 games. Then, next year, Garth Snow can decide whether to re-sign Roloson as a backup or, more likely, promote one of Kevin Poulin, Nate Lawson, or Mikko Koskinen to serve as DiPietro’s understudy.

If it were clear that DiPietro would outplay Roloson this year, I’d say give him a shot to take the job. But I don’t see how you can say that. The Islanders have a greater chance of getting the most out of their goalies, now and in the future, by giving the starting job for 2010-11 to Roloson.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Islanders Find a Home at 30 Rock

Okay, somebody's gotta fill me in. I don't get to watch much TV anymore, and when I do it's usually on the DVR. And I don't think I saw a single episode of 30 Rock last year. I happened to catch a new episode last night. So here are my questions:

1) Is Paul Giamatti a regular guest star?
2) Does his character, Richie, always wear a John Tavares jersey?

Good job by the Islanders getting their brand some high-profile exposure. The episode also featured an Islanders pennant on a background wall about four minutes in, which is when I turned the show on. At that point I hadn't even seen Richie in all his home-blue-91 glory, which he wore for the duration of the show. Later, the show's dialogue even had Richie describing himself as an Islanders fan.

To answer one of my own questions, it seems that this was Giamatti's first appearance on the show—at least according to IMDB. But, as chronicled here, it certainly was not the first appearance of an Islanders jersey on the show.

Maybe we can have an escalating battle between Entourage and 30 Rock to see which show can feature the most Isles paraphenalia. If only Hockey Night Live! were this friendly to the Islanders! (I filled out a blogging survey yesterday saying that my style wasn't snarky.)

Update: Here's a good thread on the topic from HF Boards, including a screen cap. I was making dinner while this on and completely missed the Matt Moulson part.

Update: Things are coming in fast and furious now. I'm not surprised that this was also discussed on Twitter, where it was suggested that the mention of/slagging on Moulson may be due to Giamatti being a Yale grad. Yale and Cornell are picked to finish first and second, respectively, in the ECAC this year. I also had no idea that Giamatti is the son of the late Bart Giamatti, former President of Yale and Commissioner of Major League Baseball.