July 31, 2011

Attention Nassau Voters: Long Island Needs a Facelift

If someone asked me what this process was like, I wouldn't even know where to start. When you're a die-hard Islander fan who is a Suffolk County resident, words cannot describe how helpless you feel at times.

It's very painful to sit on the sidelines and not know what you are about to witness. It's even tougher when you have many friends who live in Nassau County, all of who are in their young 20's. You get responses like "voting is irrational" or so much complacency it drives you mad. One thing I'll never understand is how someone in West Hempstead can have such a blah attitude about what the surrounding area they live in looks like.

Nothing will be as bad, however, as what the area will look like with a "no" victory on Monday. A no victory means there is no building up of an area on an island that should have a sports and entertainment destination given what activities go on around here. Instead, all a no vote does is still increase taxes and put up more Starbucks, Targets, WalMarts and -gasp!- low income housing.

It's really disturbing to me to see how short sighted some folks have been in the entire process. I'm 23 years old, and graduated from SUNY Stony Brook in 2009. Since then I've heard so much about how "I'm the future" and that "Long Island needs to look after" kids like me.

That's great and I would fully agree. One problem: I don't see it. Not one bit.

There is absolutely no reason why it should take me 16 months to find work. There is no reason why I should graduate with 5,000 other students, with 17% of those having jobs on walk day. None.

I can't begin to tell you the amount of people I've had conversations with - folks entering retirement age - where I tell them what I'm being trained for at work and the programs they have me in and they think its the greatest thing ever. "Long Island needs more people like that" is usually a response I get.

But then don't try to ask them for something that helps your future. Good lord, don't do that.

A common complaint is that people "don't want to see their taxes go up." A fair complaint, sure. But a simple look at the track record of politics on LI and you'll see a trend (hint: they always go up). And what exactly have they gone up for? If you're having trouble answering that, don't feel bad (more money for snow removal for blizzards that don't happen!).

We live in a nation where states set aside money for the study of cow flatulence. Yet here, we can't get people to open their eyes about the area they live in and understand the situation. Private financing to revitalize the area around Nassau has come and gone. We had the chance to do that for a number of years, and no one had the guts to call Kate Murray and her cronies out for stalling on that. Now, we offer the only solution left. It's unfortunate we've come to this, yes. But it's all that's out there. A guys patience can only go on for so long, and I can't believe Charles Wang has given Long Island this long of a chance to wake up, but that's a story for a different day.

I know I'm probably preaching to the choir at this point. But if you were on the fence or a "no" voter who happened to stumble across this entry, know this. There are many people out there my age who are depending on you to help make this happen. Contrary to popular belief, there are many of us who want to stay here and spend our money here. But we're never given that chance.

Some of you may not think you can change the world, and are at an age where it may not seem fitting for you to pay more in taxes. But what about those who have young kids? What about your grandchildren? I can guarantee you that some of you who vote "no" will end up being the same ones complaining when your son or daughter is forced to move because of how high taxes soared when that low-income housing complex (complete with many inhabitants living on welfare) went up in Uniondale.

I have lived on Long Island my whole life, and going to Islanders games is a family affair. It brought my family closer together. My mom and dad lost track of the sport and because of me, they're back into it. If we had the chance, we'd be voting yes. But we don't have that option.

Nassau County, you have that chance to do it for us. You may not know me from a hole in a wall, but my story is on par with many others. Before you pull that lever for your vote I need you to think: Who do I know that's out of a job? Who do I risk losing that I don't want to lose? Who in my life has dreams and desires that won't come true here if I say no?

I like to think of myself as living an ultimate dream and desire. A kid always wishes he could talk to the players he idolized growing up. Thanks to the Islanders, I had that chance this past season and will continue to do so as long as voters let me. I'm not alone in this and I can see it from the various other people out there who have gone out to try and make a difference.

There are a lot of us who you'll be making a decision for. Let's keep those with high aspirations here. Let them make a difference on this Island they grew up on.



July 28, 2011

Hunter's Tenure Ends, Isles Acquire Brian Rolston from Devils

Who would have thought a late July trade for Brian Rolston would have created as much buzz and talk as it has?

Everyone seems to be making more comments than they probably should be on the Islanders acquisition of the overpaid 38 year old forward who they got in return for the 31 year old oft-injured and painfully slow Trent Hunter.

Many people right away were able to jump to the conclusion that a big motivating factor in the swap was money, and I'm sure it was - no matter how much Garth Snow tries to play it down.

However, some thought that this couldn't possibly be all Snow was working on and that it had to be a part of a bigger deal. As we sit here on Thursday night, it appears that is the case.

It appears now that Rolston comes in to replace one of the current forwards, at least one of which could presumably be moved to bring in a top defenseman.

Photo by C. Hessel
At any rate, the Hunter for Rolston swap by itself is still a good one. It's not earth shattering, but it's a slight upgrade. Hunter had trouble staying on the ice and went through some prolonged scoring slumps. Rolston is far from the player he once was, but can still contribute 15-20 goals in a checking line role while playing all three forward positions and still be solid enough defensively to get tome PK time. He's also still got that powerful slap shot that will be useful on the power-play.

At the very least, it's better than Alexei Yashin! (Note: I'm not completely against the idea of Yashin back on a one-year deal, but understand what his buyout represents. I'm not going to go into much detail about the rumors on him since I truly think it's helping out a friend to get a better deal in Russia).

I'm noticing a lot of people reading too much into the deal, saying you can do better for the money. Yes, you absolutely can - but when you look at how far behind this team is in overall salary, you can't think about it. Its irrelevant. Snow has maintained all off-season that he wants a top defenseman. There is no reason why picking up $3 million should cause him to deviate from that. If it does, then shame on him.

As far as "helping the Devils out," who cares? If you honestly thought that the Devils were going to have a problem signing Zach Parise to a long-term deal, then you clearly have not been paying attention to the way this league operates. Just look at the New York Rangers. If the Devils want someone signed, they'll get them signed.

As mentioned earlier, this appears to be a precursor of some kind to another move with Rolston replacing a body. Good. It's nice to finally be a part of some exciting rumors now.

Who would move in a trade? Josh Bailey? Blake Comeau? Both? It would all depend on who is coming back. You can safely assume though that the player coming in return would be a defenseman.

Things just got a little more interesting around here. At least it's something to track for a bit to take our minds off of the referendum stuff.

More to come after the possible move. Also look for a referendum related post in the next day or so with my thoughts - those of a 23 year old Long Island kid.



July 2, 2011

Islanders Sign Marty Reasoner for 2 Years

The Islanders didn't jump into the fray with some of the other players in what is a fairly weak free agent class, but were able to address one of their needs.

The Islanders signed center Marty Reasoner to a 2 year, $2.7 million contract. Reasoner is a fine 4th line center and will replace the departed Zenon Konopka, who is still searching for a new team.

Reasoner put up 14 goals and 18 assists in a slightly more expanded role than your run-of-the-mill 4th line center last season for the Florida Panthers. He was also in the top-10 in the league in faceoffs.

One of the key things with Reasoner is that he's been around the league for quite some time, and has always been regarded as a leader on and off the ice. He'll fill in the leadership role very well.

Often the Islanders put Konopka on the ice in crucial situations, especially if they needed a faceoff win on the PK. The problem there was that when he didn't win the faceoff, there wasn't enough time for him to get off the ice and a 5-on-4 seemed to become a 5-on-3. Reasoner is the better all around player and can play defense, especially on the PK where he averaged 2:45 of ice time.

It's a nice start as far as upgrading one minor area, but certainly wasn't the top priority. Garth Snow really seems to want to add a top four defenseman, and while he admitted a lot of what's left on the UFA market isn't exciting he still has some lines in those waters. However, a trade is a more likely scenario here to fill that role.



July 1, 2011

It's Free Agent Frenzy Day (And Canada Day Too)!

Good morning everyone and welcome to July 1st! The day many hockey fans look forward to in general.

A lot of guys have elected to re-sign with their respective teams, while a few realized that they could cash in on a weak market. Some had their rights traded, and they cashed in big time (Steve Montador). Christian Ehrhoff said no to the Islanders and before I could get a post up about it, and signed a deal that blatantly circumvents the cap with Buffalo (10 years, $40 million with $18 million in the first to years).

As hockey fans, we love days that have player movement. It's hard to judge what the Islanders will do now after losing out on Ehrhoff, but they have plenty of time to make their team. There are some solid pieces out there though for teams looking to improve, and a few players that if signed by the Isles will only help them in getting out of lottery territory.

As is the case every year, we'll be doing our live show today from 12 - 4 PM. We're going back to our roots at WCWP. You can listen to us through the WCWP sports website.

Special guests today include Kevin Allen, Andy StricklandPat Hickey and Ted Wyman.

We'll give you details about how to submit your questions be it through AIM, chat rooms or by calling in to the show. Be sure to listen to what we say for details.

Enjoy the day everyone!