For NHL observers, it's tough to separate the current trio of non-playoff stories that are: Glendale ponying up another $25 million just to cover Phoenix Coyotes losses (and hope to keep the team), Atlanta Spirit Group doing what it can to shed its sports arena properties ASAP, and Nassau County asking for a referendum to support what was once a privately financed (if much bigger) arena redevelopment project.
Ironically, the guy who looks good in all of this? Charles Wang. Daniel Friedman goes into this contrast among the three teams (and owners) at THW, where Wang looks like a knight. In our strange tale, Nassau Republicans (well, Ed Mangano and Kate Murray) now paint Wang as welcome partner in all this. And Democrats who have reservations about the referendum are nonetheless grateful for Wang's efforts to keep the team around.
One of those Democrats, County minority leader (and Lighthouse Project supporter) Diane Yatauro, spoke with Chris Botta at length about the issue in a good listen at SNY Point Blank. A little more on that, plus hockey links, after the jump.
Some of the salient points of that Yatauro interview are outlined in this FanPost by DP. For Yatauro's part, she said County legislature Democrats had several questions for Mangano, including the proposed contract with the Isles, how MSG fits in...
"...lot of questions -- we've been asked to be patient until they're in a position to answer them for us.
"Now that this is some sort of happy medium [between the Lighthouse Project and doing nothing], we just want to make sure the County is protected -- without this being some sort of tax."
Yatauro also clearly has issues with the Aug. 1 date, since it would be a special referendum that could cost the County extra money it can't afford to spend. (Wang has reportedly offered to pay for the election costs -- if it's a win.) She'd prefer it be added to the ballot in November.
There's plenty more in that interview, but one other interesting point was her opinion of Murray putting on a happy face with Wang at the press conference, after blocking Wang's proposal for so long: Murray was "disingenuous." Yatauro subscribes to a theory we've heard before about Town of Hempstead blocking the LHP: "it came down to the housing, which would have changed the demographics of the Town." In a word, political.
Which is why this is actually a hockey site. On to the hockey links...
I Like Hockey
- First part of an English-translated fantastic interview with Stefan Persson. Seriously, tons of good stuff in there, with more to come.
- NYIFYI was originally a proponent of signing Michael Grabner short-term. But given recent events, they see multiple motives and positive vibes from Grabner's five-year deal.
- The official site talks to Kirill Kabanov's coach in Lewiston and reports on a very happy coach who thought Kabanov was at times the "best player in the league."
- VOIF continues its 5 Reasons The Isles Make The Playoffs in 2011-12.
- Mock Draft Note: For those of you signed up or expressing interest in a LHH Mock Draft, stay tuned in the next couple days for a plan. I figure we should get that off the ground before this weekend. (Have I mentioned I'm a poor planner?)
- Casey Cizikas on the OHL final loss, and the chance at a rematch in the Memorial Cup: "We are not going to forget this." Tons more previewing this weekend's Memorial Cup here and here and here from the "underdog" Majors.
- A report says the Fighting Sioux expect Isles prospect Jason Gregoire to make a decision "soon, perhaps within the next day or two." He'd be a senior if he stays.
- Gregoire UPDATE: As Hanrahan pointed out in comments, Gregoire has elected to turn pro...but not necessarily with the Islanders. They have 30 days or thereabouts.
- The Sudbury Wolves have drafted Calvin De Haan's little brother, and by "little" they mean little amiright?
Playoffs & Such
Behind the Net with a fantastic takedown of another silly Cox column, this on NHL expansion and economics over the next 20 years.
If you missed or abandoned last night's Bruins-Lightning game, you missed one wild ride. It's probably not fair to call it a "classic" given the multitude of comical defensive errors, but it ended up being a one-goal game with a myriad turns. The goal that brought Tampa Bay back within one bounced off Tim Thomas's exposed face after his own defenseman fell on him, knocking his mask off. Just seconds before, Sean Bergenheim missed a wide open net in one of those frustrating "It's right here but I can't corral the sucker" scenarios.
And that was just one play. There was TBL scoring just 13 seconds into the game, multiple Bruins powerplay goals, more breakaways than a Grabner family reunion, and Dwayne Roloson getting chased from the game after two periods -- basically, about 20 storylines in one night.
(Oh, also? Tyler Seguin is good. Second NHL playoff game and he ties a rookie record with four points in one period. Apparently it's a rule now that every time Seguin gets a break and a juke, a Lightning defenseman must wipe out.)
And finally, restricted free agent Daniel Carcillo was suspended for doing Daniel Carcillo things.
Tonight, the West Coast teams go at it again at 9 p.m. EDT on Versus/CBC. We'll have more here between now and then.