May 30, 2008

Where we Stand; R.I.P. Luc Bourdon

The Islanders season obviously didn't go as well as we all would have hoped, but that happens. In all honesty, I felt they were a playoff team and they had some real good chemistry in the early going. As the season rolled on, their inability to score goals began to hurt them, not to mention a lack of creativity on the powerplay.

As things stand right now, those are two of the glaring needs staring the franchise right in the face. Being that nothing can be done with this until the Stanley Cup Finals are over, we'll have to wait to see how that plays itself out. To a lesser extent, another problem for the team is a lack of prospect depth. That is something that the team has addressed.

Two games before the end of the season came, the team announced the signing of Jack Hillen, 22, out of Colorado College. Hillen was thrown into the fire immediately for the two games, both against the Rangers and really played well for someone who had only just been playing with other kids his age. Weeks later the team announced the signing of Rob Hennigar, who was the CIS player of the year this past season at 25 years of age. Hennigar was a very effective playmaking winger at the University of New Brunswick. Although these guys aren't being highly touted or anything, its great to take a shot on guys like these, especially for a team like the Isles which has a farm system that's thinner than that of many other teams.

The Isles also seemed to luck out with many of their picks from the 2006 NHL draft. The first rounder from that year, Kyle Okposo left the University of Minnesota mid-season to begin his pro career. Kyle was effective in his 9 games for the Isles. The teams 2nd round pick from that year, Jesse Joensuu, was also signed to a contract and played in only one AHL game for Bridgeport, but looked pretty good in that game. The Isles also signed their 3rd rounder from that year, Robin Figren. Figren had played with the Edmonton Oil Kings of the WHL. Figren shined at the world juniors, and upon coming back to Edmonton he continued his hot play and received some nice words from his coaching staff, when they hinted that he would be signed by the Isles. Figren will spend next season back home in Sweeden before returning to North America to play with the organization in 2009-2010. Finally, the team also signed their 4th rounder, Tomas Marcinko. Marcinko played last season in the OHL, and averaged about a point per game. It is not completely clear where he will play next season, be it here or back home in Slovakia.

Again, none of those players appear to be anything special right now, but they have all had some good success where they have played. Maybe the Isles lucked out with some of those players from the later rounds. Okposo is going to become a great player in this league, and he'll have a running mate in 3 weeks when the Isles select 5th in the 2008 NHL draft. There are a number of players at the top of this year's draft who are going to be excellent, and many can step in immediately to help NHL clubs. So that should be fun to watch. In the coming days I'll give a better rundown of where I would rank the '08 draftees and talk in depth about some of the players.

The Isles have taken advantage of their ability to only sign people with the playoffs still going on. You can't go wrong with the moves they have made. As far as solving the problems of the NHL club, we'll probably start to hear more rumors and such once trading can begin again. Should be fun when that happens.

As many of you have heard already, the hockey world lost one of their top prospects yesterday when Vancouver Canucks defenseman Luc Bourdon crashed his motorcycle into a tractor trailer near his home town. Bourdon was 21. As someone who has really followed prospects a lot, Bourdon really appealed to me and once I got to see him a bit more he quickly became one of my favorite d-man prospects in the league. Last season he got a taste of NHL life and he seemed to do well with that. He was only going to get better and would have lived up to his top 10 selection in 2005 very quickly. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family. I can only hope that we don't have to hear something like this again.

May 27, 2008

So What's the Deal?

OK, that didn't go too well, did it? Apologies to all for letting the blog to go into a coma. Obviously, we didn't intend for that to happen. We had done pretty well throughout the summer and for the first month of the season, and then things sort of got hectic for us between the radio show, school and working.

Looking at it now though, we should be able to post frequently even if it is something short. We had so many positive responses both on the blog and regarding the radio show. So, officially the blog is back from the dead.

A few things that I'm working on over the next few days for the blog. One thing I plan on doing is a small recap of where the Islanders stand right now with the signings and re-signing they have made since the season ended. Another thing I'm currently working on is a piece on my take on the whole Chris Botta resignation since that brought on a lot of discussion.

That's pretty much it for now. You'll hear from me soon. I promise.