How to fix the frugality and futility of the New York Islanders

Per Botta, The Isles know DP is now the clear-cut number 3 option behind Nabakov, and the emerging Poulin/Nilsson (the other will own the Ace job at the Bridge).

Additionally, The Islanders will not buy him out. WHY? That would be logical. Therefore it wont happen. The annual buyout hit would be 1.25 Million.

I love Rick DiPietro. He is an Islander to his core. He is in many ways an embodiment of the new hope given to us when Wang and Kumar bought the team in 2001 and the team sprinted out to an unbeaten in regulation start of 14 games. He is the last tangible vestige remaining of the 2007 team that charged into the playoffs on the last day of the regular season, gleefully eliminating the Leafs and Habs to take the last spot in as dramatic a finish as possible. He represented that new hope, but that new hope is now dead.

Rick DiPietro continuing to trot himself out there is doing a disservice to his long term health, his teammates and the fans that supported him as long as it was feasible. It is no longer feasible. For his quality of life, for is team, and for those of us forever in his corner, it is time for Rick to hang up the skates.

Rick DiPietro has managed to be well enough to play in exactly 37 of his teams last 328 games. Thats like 11% of the games for 10% of the teams caphit. Twitter’s ace Mathematician hockey  Blogger @DownGoesSpezza would explain the math is not prudent on this. 

 

Well, it’s not prudent in terms of winning hockey games. But that result since 2007 has failed to be a priority.

The priority is to keep the payroll down. Hence the student radio partnership with Hofstra, the smallest scouting department in the NHL (exactly 1 of which will be brought to the NHL Combine!), Over 35+ Incentive laden deals with a caphit egregiously higher than the payout and inflated ELCs galore. HC promoted internally rather than one who would come with NHL Experience (and a higher salary) from without. All internal criticism that might generate momentum that would require any accountability is forcibly silenced. Staff is laid off and positions unfilled as Garth is forced to assume more roles than one can count. This is a penny pinching operation.

The end date is 2015, this is about spending as little money as possible until then.

The Teams roster, with 5 glaring holes, sits at 38 million dollars. The projected cap, assuming the current CBA is more or less the template for the new one, would be 70 million next year. That would mean the capfloor is 57 million dollars, roughly.

Oh boy oh boy. Time to do some shopping!

The key here is to remember this is Wang’s Land of Scum, so all upgrades will be sought on the cheap.

First, lock up PA Parenteau. STAT. 16 mil over 4 years. Done, go to dinner.

The next offensive need is a second line center. You Give Jochen Hecht a 2 year deal assuming he’s finally healthy to plug a spot. 2 years, 5.5mil.Id toss a David Jones caliber player 2 years, 4 million.

That leaves you with almost 10 million to play with and this as your top 9:

Moulson-Tavares-Parenteau

Okposo-Hecht-Grabner

Bailey-Nielsen-Jones

Matin(Who will be resigned for like 1m per, he is RFA) anchors 4th unit.

On Defense, you have your three stalwarts: Streit, Hamonic and MacDonald. I get that we are cheap, so one spot will be a kid called up on an ELC, most likely Matt Donovan. He needs a steady veteran. You re-sign Eaton at 3m per for 2 years and then get Nick Schultz to pair with Streit at 4m per. 

You then tack extensions on to Hammer and Mac and hit the cap floor with, and this team is in a great state on ice for the first time in a while, with no ‘risky’ moves. Tack in a good draft pick and this team can finally turn a corner, assuming Wang doesnt try and cheat the capfloor with anymore Rolston class shenanigans.But since It’s Wang, we’ll resign Martinek and call it a day. Fuck my life.

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Cheating on real life with Hockey.

NP Smashing Fucking Pumpkins – Zero

Without exaggeration, hockey defines my week and by extension my life. Mondays are my Friday from my work week. Work is done and playtime can begin. All day, I have a singular focus. It starts when I get up and go into my hockey drawer and remove the things that don’t sit in the bag all week (underarmor, skate socks, hockey socks, and jersey.) I give the gear a once over, and then go off to work. I try to have a late lunch on Mondays so I’m not hungry when we hit the ice around 830. Literally, all day at work, I’m just pondering getting through the day until I can fly home, grab my gear, get a little pregame on, and take the 40 mile ride to Syosset.   Around 4pm, Im mentally checked out and I just want to go. Then, Freedom. Pop on the highway with the pregame playlist and away we go.

Get to the rink and I’m chirping in the room. Hit the ice and I seek out my running buddy, Kathy of SuperHockeyMom.com to chirp her ear off. Sorry, I went to the Mick Foley school for Cheap Pops and Plugs.

 Go through a few drills which are always informative and get a light sweat going, then we it’s game time. It’s interesting, some folks don’t even watch, heads down waiting for their next shift. Some are just hydrating. Some are engaged, chirping everything and barking advice or encouragement. One guess which category I’m in.

After the game, we shoot the shit in the lockerroom for 5 minutes, my specialty is self deprecation. I get out of the room, and there’s Kat waiting for a quick postgame chat.  Ever thoughtful!

The moment I leave the rink, I’m starving, thinking of survival food. Tuesday is a rest and school day. Wednesday is a “school and the next week’s school work” day. Oh, and NEW COMIC BOOK DAY. Yeessssssss.

Thursday work is back, back through the system with the riff raff again. Friday, Friday is the day I start to feel it again. By the time Saturday is upon me, I’m already plugging. I see Sunday as the last hill to climb before Hockey Day and my Hockey Day routine.

 Holy Hot Dogs in a Handbasket, do I love hockey. It’s given sorely needed structure and rhythm to my life, and an escape from “Hey Ranger! Do birds eat other birds?”

Seperation of Church and Vinny

I love my family. I really do, more than anything. My mother, who died when I was 5, loved her family and her God. I was raised, since birth, in a fairly strict conservative household, son of a Corrections Officer / Vietnam Parachute Instructor and a Catholic School Teacher. Alright, so strict is an understatement. I went to Catholic School my whole life until I enrolled at Brooklyn for my MA. My family is staunchly Roman Catholic. I’m not one to suffer in silence, in fact I’m a bit of a bitch. But with this, for my family, I sat through homily after homily about ‘unconditional love and understanding’ from an organization whose leader Benedict said “homosexuals are the greatest evil in the world”.   My Cardinal! The Cardinal of the diocese where I went to school and said “Our Fathers” and “Hail Marys” for most of my life,  said religious people of all creeds need to unite against homosexuality. Well, that my friends  is it.

God hates?

Tonight, as amendment 1 was being passed despite some of my friends valiant efforts against it, I decided to tell my father I wouldn’t be going to any more church functions. I cannot abide this organization that speaks of my ilk and I being the devil. He’s stunned and I’m crying.

I sat there on Sunday, listening to a priest lecture how Jesus loves all, but those nonbelievers without Jesus will die cut off and alone.

Frankly, fuck that noise.

I’m going to the two Christenings over the next few weeks I committed to, because I love my cousins deeply, but that’s it.  Wedding, Baptism, Communion, Confirmation, all those fun family events are taken from me by a church of which I’ve done nothing to. And that’s fine, but I’ll be damned if I’ll attend any services in a Catholic Church and make them think I support the Church’s archaic homophobic homophobic bullshit.

I don’t believe in lamenting regrets, but this is something I should have done long ago.

My mom died believing in Jesus and Unconditional Love, not this sham you call a ‘church’ wrapping hate and fear in ‘the Good book’.

I’m gay. I didn’t choose to be that way. I was Catholic. I chose to stop that. One day, you’ll bury me, and it won’t be in a Catholic Cemetery.

I’m cool with that.

“Unconditional”.

The Anatomy of a Fluke Goal

NP: Rancid – The Last One To Die http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrKwymyErf8&ob=av2e

Everybody wants their first goal to be one for the books, ya know? Roaring down the off wing and firing a one timer glove side popping the water bottle. That was my vision, anyway. The reality of the first I potted wasn’t anywhere near as cinematic.  I corralled a loose puck the goalie kicked out along the goalline, yelled “slot!” whirled to pass it there, and shanked it… the goalie had committed to my intended pass and thus was off the post, it trickled off his pad and in. He was pissed, I was confused and then euphoric.

Other highlights including a lot of banter on the bench, where I yelled “kick it to the trailer at the point!” to which one of our guys muttered “they have no idea what that means.”  We had a backup goalie in on the backhalf of the game and while I don’t begrudge the kid at all, he’s clearly still learning (like me) or rusty (also like me), but I sold out to block a few shots and passes as best I could… only to have them trickle off me and into the net or to another guy for a tap in.

I did manage to neutralize the best player on the ice during a one on one rush, which honestly made me happier than the goal. Defense first.

In the lockerroom, lamenting the ugliness of my goal, one of the boys chimed in “they all look great in the statbook.” Touche.

The best view I had of a goal from the pine belonged to Kathy. There was a pile up in front and she pinced down from the D and put a seeing eye puck over a defenders stick and through the goalie. Pure goalscorers goal. Don’t tell her I said that though.

Fuck, I’m sore today.

I think after yesterday, my +/- is shit and I now know what Milan Jurcina feels like, but I’ll take 1 G 2 A in 4 games. Pretty sure I’m having a better season than Marty Reasoner already.

A brief game by game for the previous weeks for those asking:

First night, I sucked so mightily. Winded, awful. Had a HELL OF AN ASSIST though. Regrettable performance but I was just glad to be there.

The next week, my skating and stamina were a tad better, but I was absolutely lost in the drills before the game. Sigh. Got a cheap assist on the game winner though.

Last week was my best performance, even though the stat sheet showed nothing. Felt great, won puck battles, even made a few nifty passes.

This week, happy with where I chipped in on offense, but unhappy with a few exceptions (had 3 takeaways) in my Dzone play, way  too much chicken without a head.

That’s it til next week. I will see you then… or I will see you another time.

The VinDex: My list of teams I cheer for and wish to see destroyed.

Isn’t that title catchy? I think so. Anyhow, there are teams I follow, and loathe. I got this together at the urging of Kit_Myster, who bombarded me with the roughly 40 teams she roots for. 40. My eyes bled, my soul hurt. Here’s my handy dandy list.

 

  1. The New York Islanders
  2. The Miami Dolphins – with these top 2, is there any question why my sportsfan life is COMPLETELY miserable?
  3. Atlanta Braves – restorers of my faith in sport and fleeting sanity.
  4. Notre Dame Fighting Irish – Cheer, Cheer.
  5. Florida Panthers – Love the Cats and their Rats.
  6. Baltimore Orioles
  7. Team USA – Always. America.
  8. Bridgeport Soundtigers – Isles top farmteam.
  9. Barrie Colts – Everybody needs a Junior hockey team.
  10.  Cincinnati Bengals / Chicago Bears / Oakland Raiders / Houston Texans – lesser NFL roots

And Team Anti-Vinny, a ten pack of things I hate:

  • 10.   The Roman Catholic Church – That’s gonna get me some hatemail, but that’s what they get for gaybashing and basically supporting AIDs in Africa.
  • 9. New York Yankees – What I hate but secretly wish all of my teams were
  • 8. Pittsburgh Steelers- Classless organization parading around like they don’t proudly defend a 3x rapist.
  • 7. New York Mets – Everytime I try not to hate them, their fans have the gumption to act condescending to their rightful master, the Atlanta Braves.
  • 6.  Philadelphia Flyers – a vile den of scum and villainy
  • 5. Boston (All Teams) – Pats, Sox, Bruins. ICK.
  • 4.  Philadelphia Phillies – I detest this team, so very much.
  • 3.  New York Jets – That asshole Fireman. Their asshole coach, douchebag fans…
  • 2. Pittsburgh Penguins – The League’s favorite sons, my ancient enemy.
  • 1. New York Rangers – Du Hast.

Commence hatemail.

The comeback trail: Don’t make me be that guy again

NP: Kirby Krackle – The Villain Song ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tm9U0Q-HuqQ )

Firstly, hat tip to Kathy (read superhockeymom.com) and Kit (who really needs to frigging blog more) for urging me along on this. Lastly, Kaitlin has been busy offering advise when not raising DGSpezza’s Lizard spawn. Thank you all.

One of my closest friends once told me “You’re so much jollier now that you’re fat.” Backhanded compliment, forehanded insult, whatever. It’s true.

But, the thing of it is, for finding my comfort level in my own skin, my Comedian-esque acceptance that “Life is all a joke.”, and dammit, I’m gonna laugh till the end… well, something was missing.

Something to get the ole juices flowing. Something that hurt. Something that brought me to that place where I haven’t been in years.

Time for a moment of confession: Like Adam Proteau, the changed man, noted in “Fighting the good fight”, he used to play like a prick.

Image

No. Apologies.

So did I. And I revelled in it. Dirty as a pig in mud. SQQQUUEEE motherf’r.

Hipchecks into cars, attacking FRIENDS surgically repaired legs, boarding people into fences.

My finishing move, if you will, was the textbook Bryan McCabe can opener. ( watch the 2:30 mark: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y577VoH1LfE). I loved that thing. It was my ‘break glass in case of emergency’ move. My backwards skating was always god awful, and still is. But goddamn if that wasn’t the way to neutralize somebody with speed.

You call it tripping, I call it “F*ck You.”

Image

CABER!

So anyway, I basically took 10 years or so off from hockey, and when I came back, now on ice instead of roller, my meanstreak is gone.

Hockey is a fickle, fickle mistress.

I played 2 games like shit, got 2 apples.

Tonight, I played by far my best game. Active stick in the D zone, takeaways on the forecheck, generating 3 or 4 scoring chances… nothing on the stat sheet, including a game winner against (let the record show I had my man. Or woman in this case. Kathy was actually getting an earful from me as the puck went in).

That said, I had a moment of glee. Generated a scoring chance after taking the puck away from someone (who apparently hates me?) and took an elbow to the chops as a ‘how do you do’ and a two handed slash across the wrist as I actually got open for a half second in the slot.

I would’ve lost my frigging mind in the old days. Face wash, slewfoot, hook, a little tit for tat. But today I laughed it off, I was so happy to be on the ice. And so happy to generate 3 scoring chances ( i really need to work on my finish in front) by getting to the prime real estate because my legs were with me for the first time in 3 weeks.

I laughed today about getting the business. LAUGHED. LOLROFLLMAO, Laughed. I laughed about someone hating on me. Two things I used to go off the deep end about.

It used to bother me to no end when people had an issue with me. That’ll occasionally show up now and then, not as a big thing, but I genuinely want to be liked, kinda like an attention starved puppy. Now? Less so. I’m just comfortable with who I am and overjoyed I’m playing the game I love again.

That said, one too many chirps or shots behind the play and it’s inevitable I’ll return fire. Because as much as I enjoy hockey… I enjoy being the bad guy almost as much. It’s better not to make me that guy, for everyone.

Realistically, I won’t regret it. I’ll probably enjoy it.

Addendum: The drills tonight were fun. My skating is not where it needs to be, yet, but it’s getting better. My passing? God gave me hands. I don’t know why, but I can dish that fucking puck and stickhandle in a phone booth. As these were stickhandling/passing drills, I was gleeful. Tape to tape, half a rink away. I was surprised. My skating still sucks and needs to unsuck. My stamina is getting better.

As I limped in the door tonight (nothing nefarious… I went to chip a puck by a far superior player and ate the glass at full speed when he ducked and dished, probably rolling my ankle in the process) I was smiling.

I put myself in position where I had to get slashed because I was in on a prime scoring opportunity.

Just don’t take happy smiley nice guy Vinny for granted, because Vinny smiles just as broadly when he’s being a world class piece of shit.When I play, and I play LIKE THAT? I apologize for nothing and regret less.

As the song mentioned at the outset goes:

“The old fire started again burning
It found me itching for a fight
So kicking sand into some kid’s face
I found my way back home because
I missed you, I missed you and I’m pissed…

Feels good to be bad, so watch out,
Watch out, watch out,
Watch out, watch out, watch out… Cause I’m back.”

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Say Hello to 'The Bad Guy!'