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Snow Never Came - Chapter 2 - Preseason Continues

Boston Bruins v New York Islanders
2-0 in pre-season, start planning the parade!
Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

In part 1, I laid out the need for assistant coaches and scouts, choosing a strategy and setting lines. We took care of that on stream 1.

I would have liked stream 2 to be tonight (Wednesday), but a little nor'easter got in the way of that. I’m thinking now it might not be til Saturday before I can stream again, but I don’t want to hold off on the game too long.


We’ve chosen to play a high tempo, high-risk game. To that end, we’ve chosen strategies that should help us win games:

Offense - Shero System

This system developed by Philadelphia Flyers coach Fred Shero in the 1970’s. Adapted from the tactics introduced by the Soviet coaches a few years earlier, Shero’s approach focused on puck control and disciplined offensive positional play to reduce offensive zone turnovers - and added a notable overlay of violence absent from the Soviet approach. Requires good puckhandlers who aren’t afraid of going into the corners, and some competent tough guys. Counterable by creatively aggressive defending and a refusal to be intimidated.

Defense - Neilson System

A defensive system innovated by Roger Nielson in the 1970’s that saw some re-adoption in the mid-2000’s. It relied on bringing the wingers back deeper into the defensive zone, pressuring the opposing forwards into turning the puck over and limiting their room to maneuver. Best executed by a team whose forwards can operate efficiently along the boards; speedy players aren’t utilized quite as effectively as the team isn’t in a good position to break out rapidly. Can be countered if the opposing team can shoot effectively from the outside, has defensemen who can exploit the extra room they’re given, or if their forwards can simply muscle their way through the extra pressure.

Power Play - Modified Overload

This modification of the Overload system uses a little more of the offensive zone, almost approaching an umbrella formation, and changes the approach of trying to create 2-on-1’s via mutual support to pulling the defenders out of position. A little less demanding on the playmaker by allowing his teammates to find openings, but requires that those players be effective at finding that space. Defendable by disciplined positioning and, as with the regular Overload, effective play along the boards.

Penalty Kill - Aggressive Forecheck

A penalty killing system that tries to break up the power play team’s rush long before it reaches the defensive zone. Creates a significant risk of odd-man rushes if the forecheck fails, but will also generate more shorthanded scoring chances from turnovers on the breakout. Requires fast forwards who are effective checkers. Vulnerable to teams with significant puckhandling skill and poise to maintain composure on the breakout, and fast forwards of their own to create chances against the outnumbered defensemen.

We let our new assistants suggest line combinations, and they came out pretty good.

At even strength

Jason Blake - Alexei Yahsin - Miroslav Satan
Chris Simon - Frans Nielsen - Trent Hunter
Jeff Tambellini - Victor Kozlov - Aaron Asham
Blake Comeau - Mike Sillinger - Mike York

Richard Park and Andy Hilbert are the extra forwards.

Chris Campoli - Sean Hill, Tom Poti - Radek Martinek, and Brendan Witt - Andrew MacDonald are the D pairs. Denis Grebeshkov is the extra D.

PP Unit 1 is Simon, Kozlov, Satan up front, with Nielsen and Campoli on points.
PP Unit 2 is Blake, Yashin, Hunter, with Hill and Poti.

PK Pairs are Satan, Nielsen - Simon, Park - Kozlov, Blake


We skimmed over these quick in the stream. The salary cap is 44 million, the floor 18 million. We have a cap hit of about 26.5 million on the books, with about 12 million in cap room with which to play.

Mr. Wang has set our budget at $55,650,000 for the season, 12th in the NHL.

Our payroll is about $28.5 million. We’re spending about 1.3 million on staff.


Our first decision was how to deal with an out of shape Rick DiPietro. We chose to criticize him privately. He said we were blowing it out of proportion and is a little unhappy, but there was no effect on the morale of the rest of the team.

Our first game was against the Colorado Avalanche in Denver. The Isles won 3-2.


1 - 19:14 - NYI - Hunter (1, ES), from Simon (1), Nielsen (1)
2 - 03:22 - COL - Wolski (1, ES), from Svatos (1), Stastny (1)
3 - 01:25 - NYI - Kozlov (1, PP), from Simon (2), Satan (1)
3 - 06:37 - NYI - Satan (1, ES), from Campoli (1)
3 - 19:14 - COL - Sakic (1, ES), from Stastny (2)


2 - 04:12 - NYI - Asham 2 Interference
2 - 11:22 - COL - McCormick 2 Delay of Game
2 - 12:53 - COL - Sakic 2 Crosschecking
3 - 1:16 - COL - Boychuk 2 Interfernce
3 - 2:51 - NYI - Simon 2 Hooking
3 - 11:24 - COL - Sauer 2 Slashing, 10 Misconduct
3 - 11:41 - NYI - Campoli 2 Hooking
3 - 16:13 - COL - Leoplod 2 Boarding


DiPietro 29/31; Budaj 21/24


NYI: 13-5-6-24 COL: 11-12-8-31

Power Play

NYI 1/6 COL 0/3

Mike Sillinger suffered a foot injury and will miss a few days.

NHL News - 9/20/06

Boston trades Marc Savard, C, 29 to Pittsburgh for Sergei Conchar, RD, 32

Thursday, Sept. 21, 2006 - Preseason Game #2 vs Chicago Blackhawks

Final Score: Islanders 3, Blackhawks 2


1 - 11:52 - CHI - Vrbata (1, PP), from Seabrook (1), Keith (1)
1 - 13:30 - NYI - Simon (1, ES), from Poti (1), Hunter (1)
3 - 05:32 - NYI - MacDonald (1, ES), from Blake (1)
3 - 08:36 - NYI - Hill (1, ES), from Campoli (2), Kozlov (1)


1 - 10:44 - NYI - Nielsen 2 Hooking
2 - 03:44 - NYI - Satan 2 Hooking
2 - 13:27 - CHI - Homqvist 2 Roughing
2 - 14:26 - NYI - Campoli 2 Delay of Game
2 - 14:28 - NYI - Nielsen 2 Roughing
3 - 0:11 - NYI - Simon 2 Boarding


Crawford 18/21; Dubielewicz 25/26


CHI 8-7-11=26; NYI 7-7-7=21

Power Play

CHI 1/5; NYI 0/1

Moving ahead

Free agent news - There’s a 6’2, 210 lb, 23 year old goaltender who just completed his first full season in Finland’s top league. We was 12-17-3 with 3 shutouts and a 2/73 GAA. He’s going to play over there again this year, but can be signed to an NHL deal.

We don’t have much in-house scouting on him, but the consensus is he would be replacement level in the NHL now, but could become an all-star. I’m hiring a 9th scout to be able to go look at him.


Should we offer this free agent Finnish goaltender a contract?

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    Yes - DiPietro’s contract is only 15 years, not forever
    (12 votes)
  • 72%
    Yes - We need a backup that isn’t Mike Dunham
    (73 votes)
  • 10%
    No - We’d only ruin him, anyways
    (11 votes)
  • 4%
    No - Our goaltending situation is set!
    (5 votes)
101 votes total Vote Now

I have placed a few players on the trade block:

LD Mark Wotton, 32, 6’1”, 195 - half star player at the bottom of our D depth chart
LD Alexei Zhitnik, 33, 5’11”, 225 - 1 star player near the bottom of our D depth chart
C Shawn Bates, 31, 6’0”, 210 - half star player near the bottom of C depth chart
C Mike York, 28, 5’10”, 185 - 1 star player near the bottom of the C depth chart

Wotton, Zhitnik, Bates each have 2 more years at $450,000 on their contracts, and are currently in Bridgeport. Bates has the same contract term but is with the big club.

There currently isn’t much available on the trade block.

Eric Boulton, LW, 30, Atlanta - 2 star rated at B confidence level
Pat Vandermeer, LW, 30, Washington - 2 star rated at C confidence level
Raitis Ivanans, LW, 27, Los Angeles - 2 star rated at C confidence level

Please share any ideas you have about trades we should consider making in the comments.

You’ll need to tell me which team, who (players or picks) to try to get from them, and which players and picks you’d offer. If enough people like a proposal, I’ll give it a try.

Upcoming Free Agents

We do have some players in their final contract years:

On the roster now:

Trent Hunter, RW, 26, last year of $875k deal
Chris Campoli, LD, 22, last year of $850k deal
Blake Comeau, LW, 20, last year of $850k deal
Andrew MacDonald, LD, last year of $850k deal
Frans Nielsen, C, 22, last year of $850k deal
Denis Grebeshkov, LD, 22, last year of $805k deal
Jeff Tambellini, LW, 22, last year of $545k deal
Andy HIlbert, C, 25, last year of $450k deal

From the next poll, I will meet the demands of any pending FA who garner at least 25% of the vote. I will offer a contract and sign the first thing they request, both term and dollar. If they don’t make 25%, but someone requests it in a comment that gets at least 6 recs, I’ll also offer them a deal.


Whom should we offer whatever they want?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    Trent Hunter - 3 @ $935,000
    (6 votes)
  • 0%
    Chris Campoli - 3 @ $1,190,000
    (1 vote)
  • 3%
    Blake Comeau - 3 @ 1,130,000
    (4 votes)
  • 0%
    Andrew MacDonald - 3 @ $925,000
    (0 votes)
  • 84%
    Frans Nielsen - 3 @ 1,140,000
    (89 votes)
  • 1%
    Denis Grebeshkov - 3 @ 875,000
    (2 votes)
  • 1%
    Jeff Tambellini - 3 @ $600,000
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    Andy Hilbert - 2 @ $495,000
    (1 vote)
105 votes total Vote Now

I’m going to play out the rest of pre-season. The schedule:

Sat. Sep 23 - @ San Jose (Dunham)
Sun. Sep 24 - vs San Jose (DiPietro)
Tue. Sep 26 - vs New Jersey (DiPietro)
Thu. Sep 28 - @ Edmonton (Dubliewicz)
Fri. Dep 29 - @ Anaheim (Dunham)

When we stream Saturday night, we’ll look at the pre-season numbers, including the Corsi’s and Fenwicks. We’ll also try to make the trades from the comment section.

But for now, the snow must go... I have 18 inches to go shovel!