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.
On March 16, 2007, his second season with the Oshawa Generals, Tavares scored his 70th and 71st goals of the season, breaking Wayne Gretsky’s OHL record for the most goals scored by a 16 year-old. He won the CHL’s player of the year award that year and returned to ‘The Dungeon’ for more work along side one of his best friends and newest New York Islander, Brandon DeFazio.
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.
It is rare when a player stays for more than three seasons with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The team exists for one purpose and one purpose only … develop talent for their NHL affiliate, the New York Islanders.
Each September, a half-dozen or so twenty-year olds arrive in Bridgeport to begin their careers as professional hockey players against bigger, faster, stronger competition.
This years arrivals could include forwards Brock Nelson, Kirill Kabanov, Johan Sundstrom, John Persson, Mike Halmo and perhaps Nino Niederreiter, each, an investment by the Islanders in the future of the franchise.
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.
With the season only a few months away and a feel that the Islanders are done shopping in free agency it seems like a nice time to take a look at possible opening night line combinations.
Moulson – Tavares – Boyes
This line doesn’t show too much difference from last season besides the addition of Brad Boyes. It is believed that Boyes was bought in to fill the spot left by PA. Playing with Tavares and Moulson should hopefully bring out Boyes old scoring touch from a few seasons ago.
The talk amongst fans all last season was, "This team needs toughness." And indeed, far from embodying Zenon Konopka's "doormat-no-longer" declaration during the 2010-2011 season, the Islanders seemed to take a step back from that mentality this past year.
...What changes this year? Well, Garth Snow must have realized that this squad just does better when their best players aren't being knocked all over the ice, and signed up some tough customers to try and change the doormat-once-more mentality.