"Talk to me when you can't count your goals on one hand."
Newsday's Arthur Staple caught up with Charles Wang, who predictably offered no comment on the arena situation that lurks in the background of every story about the franchise.
But Staple did get Wang's thoughts on the bad first quarter and how the team will proceed, basically saying this is a journey filled with lessons and adjustments for everyone, from leadership on down to the young players upon whom so much faith rests.
The story also includes thoughts on budget:
"We're not a big-market team that can spend like some teams do," he said. "But I've never said no to what Garth wants to do. If it makes sense for our team, then we'll do it. We've tried to be conservative and make smart decisions..."
Given the team's revenue limits and budget that affects other teams (as we'll see below), I agree conservatism and smart decisions are essential in a de facto small-market environment -- that has to be why they signed the internal extensions they did this past summer, presumably locking guys up at what will eventually be discounts.
But that's also what makes the inability to salvage something for Blake Comeau a tough one (e.g. keep him around for deadline pump-and-dump?), though his 24-goal season and the arbitration-avoiding salary that resulted likely complicated that.
When Comeau Hit Waivers, Revisited
Comeau had a few claims, Minnesota and Nashville among them. The Islanders -- like many teams right now -- didn't want to take on salary, so they dropped him. A 25-year-old who scored 24 goals last season? Seems a tough way to lose a player...
No mention of what kind of salary was offered the other way -- "Let's exchange baggage!" -- but that keeps your general "What if they swapped for Tomas Kaberle?" type of roster-gazing alive. (Kaberle has 3 years at $4.25 million each, which the Canes surely regret and which you figure, if it was even on the table, might be more money and risk than the Isles would want to swallow.)
It's interesting when the league is at the point where people will only offer their problems, not even a pick, or else take their chances on a $2.5 million Comeau waivers.
That Friedman column also touched on budget restraints in Anaheim (who did not put in a claim on Comeau) and the muddied situation in Colorado. Just keeping with the misery loves company theme.
There are notes on Nino Niederreiter too, with an East Conference observer basically saying it's unconventional but in pattern with how Blake Comeau and Kyle Okposo (and now Marty Reasoner) were scratched before him.
- We mentioned this yesterday, but tonight's opponent is kind of banged up. Of course, they still were good enough to get Bruce Boudreau fired, in a "the guy scored in OT won the game" sense.
- Staple had Niederreiter re-entering the lineup (more below) thanks to Jay Pandolfo's broken foot, with Marty Reasoner looking like a scratch yet again.
- On that note, Erick Hornick makes a point we don't make enough but hinted at in yesterday's Q1 report card: Michael Grabner needs to be used on the PK. Often. Maybe Pandolfo's injury forces that.
- Between practice and landing in Buffalo, there were airplane Twitter shenanigans, recaptured by Captdallas in this FanPost.
- David Ullstrom at center? Well he got reps there in practice anyway, and loves faceoffs. Hearing Jack Capuano talk about his strengths is, well it's an official site piece but they are the same traits I hope Ullstrom can display at this level.
- Also from the official site: The rehabilitation of Andrew MacDonald
- And Ryan Strome and Brenden Kichton are invited to Canada's WJC camp. IIHF: Canada, Russia assemble players
- Fun stuff from our own Torgo, compiling which Islanders are hit the most as well as who delivers the most hits.
- Is this La Presse article (French) calling Kirill Kabanov a diver?
- Dougtone's photos from the Nov. 25 Isles-Devils game. [FanShot]
- Here's where you leave your FIG picks for tonight's game.
- Very interesting piece on watching hockey, and how it's hard for you to see everything you think you see. I would say wariness of this reality is the chief reason I try to solicit so many varied opinions around here: You cannot know everything that's going on out there.
- I don't feel any reason to ever let new Capitals coach Dale Hunter forget this, do you?
- Nonetheless, he has an NHL job: "I don’t believe in run-and-gun hockey"
- At least his owner is classy toward the out-going Bruce Boudreau.
- And on the topic of hiring villains for Isles fans, here's six challenges for new Canes coach Kirk Muller, who I'm told will report to Carolina.
- Our SBN blogs for those hires: Canes Country and Japers' Rink (Caps)
- Quisp at Jewels from the Crown doesn't like Trent Hunter (who, believe it or not, was on the Kings first line last night and pleased Terry Murray as he plead for his players to "get shots on early" or something), but RudyKelly is slightly more tolerant (which is a funny phrase I'd never thought I'd say). The Kings won anyway, with a fourth-line goal. Here's Quisp's amazing sortable database of NHL coaching records.
- On regression: "You have to feel fans of Minnesota and the Rangers are in for a shock."
- On the elusive quantification of "shot quality": Almost don't bother trying, because so many other factors are bigger, such as just getting a shot off in the first place.
- If you accept that the Islanders are in some ways trying to be a Nashville East -- climbing to the top on a budget in a tough division through slow, internal development -- then you must worry about the challenge of every decision once you get there. Here's an interesting look at the Predators struggles this year, which could be described as decline by a thousand depth cuts, and one big goalie contract.
- Sticking with the "we're not alone" theme, and the Kings: Scott Parse may need double-hip surgery, and he's had hip issues in the past. The hockey gods, they share their hate.
- 24/7 Winter Classic hype: Jody Shelley said Brandon Dubinsky plays like a weasel. Dubinsky fires back that Shelly is a terrible hockey player. Both statements may be true.
- The Russian Rocket On Putin, The Hall of Fame, Ovechkin and Sochi | CanucksArmy
- Explanation of the three-game suspension on Max Pacioretty for his hit on Kris Letang, which Letang was viewed partially responsible for.
- He should know: Is Ovechkin a coach killer? | Hockey | CBC Sports [Milbury]