The Islanders have begun the process of revamping their conditioning staff and head coach Scott Gordon's assistant coaching staff. The club and former strength and conditioning coach Chris Schwarz have parted by mutual agreement. Assistant coach Dan Lacroix also has moved on; the status of assistant John Chabot has not yet been determined, and it appears likely the Islanders will add a former defenseman with Islanders ties to Gordon's staff.
>>Greg Logan, "On the Islanders Beat"
Logan has some interesting stuff in there, including the conditioning review after the 582 man-games lost to injury, and the tidbit that Chabot -- whose status has not been determined -- is very popular in the locker room. (Heh, from my distant perch, all I can gauge of the support staff is whether I like their between-period interviews.)
Some staff changes were to be expected: Last-place season or not, Gordon was hired quite late in the off-season cycle last summer.
But the addition of "a former defenseman with Islanders ties" is both intriguing and probably overdue. Logan said in his chat this week that he "think[s] the Isles feel good about where they are with their defense." If that's the case, I'm disappointed but welcome at least a full-time blueline tutor to help keep things as up-and-up as possible.
I am happy with Mark Streit and Radek Martinek (with the proverbial "when healthy" caveat), and Bruno Gervais functions well as Streit's partner. Andy Sutton is a bit of a question mark coming off two injuries, and Brendan Witt had an infamous year. The Isles would do well to target an established free agent defenseman who they think would fit Gordon's system -- and overpay him if necessary.
As for the defensive coach spot, please just tell me it's not Rich Pilon. In all seriousness, Logan says occasional visitor Ken Morrow lives in (and scouts from) Kansas City. We all know which color man was just let go by the Panthers. Any blueliner from Islanders history that you'd like to see current Isles defensemen emulate? Or is this just going to be something like Brad Shaw, the Blues assistant who had brief Islanders "ties" as interim coach but also played briefly for Scott Gordon in Atlanta?
[Side note: Great, now Logan's taken to using the "Exclusive" tag for particular posts, perhaps in response to (or as a gentle rib at) Botta's fondness for the term. Just personal preference, but "Exclusive" is a pet peeve of mine, as it dates to a time when you had to pick which paper to buy from the newsstand, so you maybe chose the paper with an "exclusive" story. But in this age of information hyperspeed, in mainstream outlets it just sounds tacky and screams "I, Dinosaur" -- even a bit insulting to the reader (I'm here reading it, aren't I?). Maybe on "exclusive" interviews/features, but on info that will soon be everywhere? It is the reporting equivalent of the "First!" comment and comes across as industry jargon extraneous to reader interests. [Ed.: You mean like this side tangent of yours? Yes, very much like that.]
Come to think of it, pretty much any time in life I hear the word "exclusive" -- be it country club, subscription benefits, or bits of information -- my suspicion alert goes off. If you need to tell me something you're selling is extra special, suddenly I have reason to doubt that it is such. (Sorry, I digress. I'm actually not a full-time curmudgeon. Just a bit marketing-fatigued.)]