This Roberto Luongo column for Fanhouse brings the total of Islanders references to three in my first four stories for AOL. Guess we write what we know. It’s also the first time I have used the word “asinine” in an article. (Never knew it was spelled with one s). Please check out the Roberto column if you get a chance, and talk about it on NHL Fanhouse. I’m indebted for the support PB readers have shown over there.
Hungry for More Newsday Coverage: Lunch with Greg Logan yesterday at Dodici in RVC. It was nice to see him and talk over some chianti and more bowls of pasta than there were people at the table. As you’d expect, he is very disappointed to no longer be on the Islanders beat. His hope was to bring his best on the Islanders for Newsday until the day he retired. Nevertheless, he was proud of the many stories he broke and shared over his three years on the team. He is looking ahead.
As I wrote when Katie Strang was named to the beat, I hope Newsday utilizes Greg as a columnist and feature writer on the Islanders. He retains invaluable sources and still has plenty of stories to tell. Even after meeting with him for two hours, I’m uncertain what Greg’s personal wishes are. From what I’ve heard from other staffers at the paper, he’ll be assigned all over the place – from boxing to NFL games. Starting in October, it would be in the best interests of Newsday and its readers if Greg brings his knowledge and more than three decades of experience back to the Islanders in a significant role.
There’s no doubt in my mind Katie will do a superb job and will blog relentlessly on the Islanders. Die-hard fans will be very pleased with her hour-by-hour accounts on the blog. Hopefully by the start of training camp the brass in Melville will also figure out how to make their website better than vintage 1998. But if Newsday is serious about bringing the finest Islanders coverage to its readers – two stories the last two days on the Rangers – the editors will use all of their best resources.
Behind Blogger’s Eyes: A few readers have sensed a more “gloves off” tone to Point Blank since the blog is no longer team-sponsored. I guess that’s possible, or it could be just the pre-camp, no-transactions blues. I’ll also point out that no fulltime reporter on the team was as negative during last year’s nosedive as this one. I don’t need to link the stories, like the one where I compared management’s handling of Rick DiPietro’s injury to the shenanigans of my 8-year old twins. Or my borderline heckling of Coach Gordon. You can look it up.
If someone wants to question my four-decade affection for the franchise, I believe there’s still tape of my speech at the Aug. 4 Lighthouse hearing floating around.
As for the future of this blog, sorry for the drama but I still don’t know. As of today, I’d say 50/50. Hope to have resolution before the Islanders leave for camp. Trying, believe me. Appreciate so many of you hanging in and checking the site every day.
Where Are the Signings?: Labeling the signing of Rob Hennigar as “brutally misguided” was admittedly a bit over-the-top, but let me explain. As most of you know all too well, the Islanders have not dug deep very often to sign free agent college, European or first-year pro prospects. (See: Wheeler, Gilroy and Bozak in college, David Clarkson out of junior, Leino and Salmela in Europe). When the Islanders spend, they have to get it right. This goes for even cheaper buys like Hennigar.
Jack Hillen looks like a pretty good investment, Sean Bentivoglio not. (Let’s go on the assumption the Islanders’ goal is to see these guys become everyday NHL players). Trevor Smith shows a little promise, as does Joel Rechlicz in a far different role. The pugnacious Micheal Haley could become a fan favorite, but again we’re talking about a fourth-line player. Nathan Lawson is a PB favorite, but right now he’s about 73rd on the Islanders’ goalie depth chart.
As in everything, you have your hits and misses. Rob Hennigar, scouted and signed to an NHL contract at age 25 after four years in the Canadian university system, was a miss. By trying to move him all summer and getting little in return, the Islanders conceded this. Hennigar is by all accounts a terrific young man. He tore up the East Coast Hockey League last year (15-44-59 in 38 games), so there is obviously some ability there.
The Islanders need to do better. This is not about young AHLers on at least their second teams like Mark Flood and Jeremy Reich and PB reader fave Matt Moulson. This is not about former Brampton forward Jason Dale, signed to an AHL contract and far from a standout at prospect camp.
It’s worth noting the Islanders attempted to sign at least one college free agent this summer. I spoke with one yesterday who said he met face-to-face with Garth Snow, appreciated the interest and liked what the GM had to say. In the end, he signed elsewhere because he felt his new team’s system was better for him. “I know some of the Islanders’ prospects,” he said. “They are very good. The Islanders are going to be fine.” More on this player tomorrow.
But in case you are keeping score, the total number of college, European or first-year pro prospects the rebuilding Islanders signed this offseason?