It's been difficult to find any glimmer of hope when it comes to hockey these days. The NHL recently stated that both the players union and the owners are "taking a step back from negotiations" after three straight days of talking. But all this means to the common hockey fan is one thing: more waiting. (Photo Credit: hockeymedia/Flickr)
Impatiently waiting to hear when the 2013 season will actually start (if it ever does) as the October 11th season opener for several teams inches closer to cancellation. The Islanders are still set to take on the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday, October 12th before taking the ice for their home opener against the Philadelphia Flyers the following night, Saturday, October 13th. But let's face it. Those games aren't happening.
In fact, this is one blogger who will be shocked if any hockey fan gets to chant their usual "Hoctober" rally cry for the first puck drop of the year. (But hey, Gretzky thinks that there will be hockey by January! Woop-de-doo!)
But some news leaked today that could spark some interest for Islanders fans. It might not exactly be the glimmer of hope that everyone is waiting for, but it is definitely news worth looking at.
The New York Islanders were already stuck with a major problem before the NHL lockout began; now that problem has only gotten greater.
There are only three seasons (the lockout included) scheduled until Charles Wang's Islanders will be in a new home. Whether that new home is the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, a new or renovated arena developed at the Hub in Uniondale or Quebec, Seattle, or another city due to relocation is unknown. (Photo Credit: Nuke812/Flickr)
Despite the fan banter and lack of talks between the powers that be, Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano was accepting RFQ's to be granted permission to develop the site that holds the Nassau Coliseum. Some developers made it clear that they would want to keep the Islanders in their plans. However, there has been little discussion since then and it remains uncertain as to what will happen.
It's official. The NHL has officially locked out its players for the 2012-2013 season until a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is agreed upon between the owners and the NHLPA. Despite the players openly stating they were willing to continue negotiations under the current agreement to avoid a work stoppage, Commissioner Gary Bettman refused the idea, having been long prepared to lockout his players heading into last night's deadline. (Photo Credit: clydeorama/Flickr)
Many fans already plan on boycotting merchandise until a solution is found since there is no telling of how long this lockout will last. There is hope that a season can still start on time, but both sides are still far apart on resolving the matter, indicating that there might not be hockey in October after all.
The only good news for Islanders fans is that GM Garth Snow locked up one of his core members for the next four years. Matt Martin signed a new contract with the Isles just before the past CBA expired.
The New York Islanders will finally have a better picture of what their defense will look like in 2013 as Lubomir Visnovsky's arbitration hearing is set to take place in just three days on September 4th. (Photo Credit: Bridget Samuels/Flickr)
As many of you know, Visnovsky filed a grievance with the NHLPA stating that the trade from the Anaheim Ducks to the Isles voided his No-Trade Clause and that the Ducks never approached him about the deal when they should have. However, the Ducks state that his NTC was used when the Edmonton Oilers dealt him to the Ducks in 2010.
If Visnovsky wins the decision, he remains part of the Ducks organization. If he loses, the trade stands and he is a member of the New York Islanders.
In a normal year, Kichton’s NHL Entry Level Contract (ELC) would have already passed from negotiation to signing. This year negotiations have yet to begin.
Several weeks after multi-year, multi-million dollar contracts were being handed out like Hershey Bars on Halloween, seventy-thousand dollar a year ELC’s are being withheld while meetings in Toronto and New York drag on to the inevitable.
There was likely a reason that Islanders RFA's Rhett Rakhshani, Mark Katic and Justin DiBenedetto opted for Europe before being tendered their qualifying offers by GM Garth Snow. A potential lockout is looming that could delay or even cancel the 2012-2013 season and these young prospects still need to play in order to continue their development.
There is only 24 days left for the NHLPA and the owners to reach an agreement on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement or the season will be locked out, likely forcing a later start date than October 11th.
Hockey fans can look back to the 2004-2005 season that was entirely scrapped from a lockout due to disagreements on a new CBA between the NHLPA and the owners.
The Islanders still remain without a complete roster for this upcoming season and one of the biggest names missing at this point is Matt Martin.
Martin is coming off of his rookie entry level deal and is looking to be signed long-term much like some of the other young Islanders core pieces. Drafted in the 5th round (148th Overall) in 2008, Martin has been a great late round gem for Garth Snow.
Isles fans have a way of forcing themselves to see the positives in most murky situations. They could hold a polluted, cloudy glass of water to the light and say “...at least its water!” The fan base is thirsty and have been parched for entirely too long. Saving the ‘stranded on an island’ metaphors, most fans that attend and/or watch each Islanders’ campaign needs something to bring them back after being consistently let down. (Photo Credit: Flickr/slidingsideways)
For the older generation of fans, the original cast that were around since the dynasty days, the reasoning is simple. They seemed to have accepted their apparent, under the table deal with the hockey demons as an exchange for those years as hockey’s prestige.
For the fans that weren’t around for those glory days, they hold on to moments or streaks of greatness. They hold the 1992-93 Islanders dear to their heart spending their days cursing Dale Hunter’s existence and asking hypotheticals about Pierre Turgeon’s unforeseen injury. They remember a good 1993-94 team that got dismantled by the Cup bound Rangers in a 4 game sweep but took the loss thinking they’d be right back eventually. How could they not?
In the 2011 NHL Entry Level Draft, the Islanders selected two players from Sweden, John Persson and Johan Sundstrom, who will most likely be starters for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers this season. Each has taken a different path to reach their goal … a full time job in the NHL.