Hi! It has been a while since I was blogging but Alex and I have been preparing a lot for the summer episodes of HNLI. The last few days have been very sad in Islanders Country. After an extremely busy opening day on Sunday, the Isles had fallen short of signing all the top unrestricted free agents that were out on the market. It started with Jason Blake, signing a five-year deal worth $20 million with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Although it seemed as if Blake was not going to re-sign with the Isles, it was still sad to see him leave Long Island, where he just experienced a career season and many good ones before that. Also, Tom Poti, by far the most underrated Islanders defenseman of last season, signed with the Washington Capitals a four-year, $14 million contract. I would have liked to see Poti be an Islander for the future because he was very quietly successful and seemed to always have a good shift on the ice (he had a lot of ice time). All hockey fans knew that the Isles were desperately trying to resign Ryan Smyth, who was acquired minutes before the Trade Deadline from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for three first-round prospects (Ryan O'Marra, Robert Nilsson, and a 2007 First-Round Draft Pick). However, it was devastating to see Smyth sign a five-year contract worth $31.25 million with the Colorado Avalanche. It was reported by Newsday's Greg Logan that the Isles actually offered more money ($32.5 million for five years) than the Avs but it seems as if Joe Sakic and others in Colorado were able to successfully lure Smyth back to the Western Conference. When the signing was announced at about 11:00 PM Sunday, Isles Country froze and was dead silent. The trade had brought so much noise and attention to the Island on that afternoon in February and that noise seemed to escape just as fast it came. As Isles fans were use to seeing not too long ago, the media has began to bash the Islanders for not being able to sign any of these big free agents. To add to all of these names the Islanders missed on, many of them were able to find their way to the Atlantic Division, with Chris Drury and Scott Gomez both being signed by the Rangers (17 minutes apart to be exact), Daniel Briere signing a huge deal with the Flyers, and the Devils who today signed Dainius Zubrus. And we can’t forget the Penguins, who seem to be quickly fitting all of the pieces of the puzzle with Crosby, Malkin, and Staal. It was amazing to see the Islanders roster to shrink and become much weaker than the other teams in their division all in one day. Sunday felt like one of the longest days and it kept getting worse for Islanders fans. With a lot of negativity being expressed towards the New York Islanders by their fans, the Islanders have been expressing patience and that the team is searching for the players that will fit into the Ted Nolan game-style. I think that the Isles were alarmed by how much money was being given to these players but that should be no excuse. They should have been able to get at least of these players. Also, Greg Logan reported today that Garth Snow, Islanders GM, thinks one reason some of the top free agents would not sign with the Islanders was because of the facility that the team plays in (the aging Nassau Coliseum). I guess we will just have to wait it out and see who the Islanders sign...
*The Islanders signed winger Jon Sim to a three-year $3 million contract, and Andy Hilbert to a two-year deal worth $1.35 million.
*Victor Kozlov, who also had a career season with the Isles last season, signed a two-year deal worth $5 million with the Washington Capitals. Richard Zednik, who was acquired before the Trade Deadline and was only to play a few games with the Isles, signed a two-year deal, $3.25 million contract with the Florida Panthers.
*HNLI announced that the next episode will be a 60-minute edition on THURSDAY 7/5/07 at 5 PM EST. Be sure to call in, IM or e-mail us during the episode with your questions and comments.
*HNLI will publish Free Agency Updates throughout the summer when important Islanders signing are made. Remember, you can sign up for e-mail updates with our blog entries in the e-mail by typing your e-mail address in the Feedblitz box which is located on the right column of this site. This is a very useful tool especially during the Free Agency period and it allows you to read our blog entries while reading your other e-mails.
*Have a Happy Fourth of July!