Mr. Lebowski: Are you employed, sir?
The Dude: Employed?
Mr. Lebowski: You don't go out looking for a job dressed like that? On a weekday?
The Dude: Is this a... uh, what day is this?
If you're like me, you may be traveling here and there in mid-summer, or simply spending way too many days -- nah, just enough, actually -- lounging by the pool with a White Russian (whether liquid or human is per individual taste). Fortunately we have a ribald old band of hockey obsessives here chewing over any scrap of Islanders news, both real and contrived. Some recent fodder that may or may not have already been discussed in the threads:
Fourth-line Faceoffs: The Lightning re-signed ex-Isle Nate Thompson for $625,000 (per CapGeek), avoiding arbitration. Raw Charge reacts as Scott Gordon might: Praising his faceoffs and defensive game. I mention this non-event only because it will be interesting to see what ex-Bolt Zenon Konopka brings to the NYI, as the two teams essentially chose one over the other, for better or worse. CapGeek puts Konopka's salary at $600k. (Woo, savings!) (Woo, checking-line forward debates!)
Savings? Like We Need Savings?! As of today, CapGeek lists the Islanders cap hit at about $36.5 million, which would be about $7 million short of the cap floor. That's without counting Matt Moulson's pending deal (whether via arbitration or otherwise), Doug Weight's pending deal (likely filled with bonuses that increase its cap hit), plus either Nathan Lawson's $500k or another healthy goalie's salary. Remove Micheal Haley's $500k from that (assuming he starts in the AHL) and you have room for another (young?) forward or two, plus perhaps a different defenseman depending on how training camp jobs shake out.
Mark Gandler's Annual Alexei Yashin Propaganda: As discussed in this FanPost, Yashin's agent is again doing the annual "Oh he could so totally return to the Islanders, you have no idea" drill. As I implied in the faux dialog in the first comment on that post, I don't buy a lick of it, and I bet the reason Charles Wang is mentioned is to get people to think it might happen:
"Alexei has a great relationship with its owner. That's why if he decides to come back to the NHL, then he will first have negotiations just with [the NYI owner]."
Mention Wang, and people say "Well, I guess you never know." Mention Garth Snow and people know there is an actual NHL GM with a growing track record involved.
The Other Toews Exits North Dakota: This was a "worst-kept secret" type of deal, but David Toews is indeed leaving North Dakota for the WHL [FanShot], though where exactly has not been announced. Had he had a better 2009-10 this maybe wouldn't have happened. Of course, had he had a better year was looking to leave, you could see Garth stepping in to shepherd his development. As it is now, the younger Toews' career is at a major crossroads.
Favorite Missed Islanders Prospects: The topic of the weekend around here was your favorite missed prospects of yesteryear. You know, the guy you sold your friends on only to find him flop, hurt, traded or (in my case) never live up to the player you created on EA Sports' NHL game.
So Long, Wrecker: The Islanders have terminated Joel Rechlicz' contract, so it looks like he won't be around the Sound Tigers. Michael Fornabaio has a roundup of their new schedule implications and the various holes yet to be filled in their lineup.
Cupcakes! I didn't fancy the PR bait on this one, but plenty did. And it's summer, so why not? The Islanders new official cupcake drew predictable commentary from both The Sporting News blog and Yahoo's Puck Daddy -- which of course sparked a brief trend on Twitter, because hockey fans cannot go very long without turning any even tangentially hockey-related topic into an obsession. Plus, I mean who doesn't like cupcakes?
When Will John Tavares Peak? Fun food for thought at From The Rink: When, really, is a high-end hockey player's peak performance age? The post doesn't involve Tavares (or any Islander), but this major question, or bet, will always be a topic when considering how and when to extend players like Tavares and Kyle Okposo. Either way, Moulson should be at or entering his peak right now. (On that note, here is an nhl.com list of the top NHL regulars 21 or under, featuring two Islanders.)
Ryan Smyth's Remnants: Robert Nilsson was bought out, but Ryan O'Marra gets another year with the Oil. Alex Plante, the 1st-round selection from 2007, is entering the second year of his entry-level deal.