Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Preseason Friday September 26

There were 8 more exhibition tilts on Friday night. Former Islanders are getting primed for the real deal starting October 9. FIs were factors in 3 competitions. Here is a look at their efforts:

Winger Ruslan Fedotenko is starting to look like a really good acquisition by the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Tank had 3 assists, including 1 powerplay helper, to lead the Pens' offense as they slipped past the host Toronto Maple Leafs for a 5-4 win. Teammate and fellow FI Miroslav Satan also added an assist. In a moment that could mean really good things for each player this season, Satan and Fedo each logged an assist on Sidney Crosby's goal, a potential look at an offensive line that could mean trouble for teams around the league.

Minnesota defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron had a powerplay assist on the Wild's second goal. The Wild dwindled a 3-0 lead, though, and dropped the game 4-3 to the host Chicago Blackhawks. MAB is looking to rebound from a 2007-08 season that was rife with healthy scratches both before and after his trade from the Islanders to the Anaheim Ducks. Also getting involved in the scoring was Chicago d-man Brent Sopel had an assist on the Hawks 2nd goal. Sopel is looking to recover from an injury-shortened 207-08 season.

New Calgary winger Todd Bertuzzi had his first couple of points for his new team as the Flames spanked the visiting Florida Panthers 8-2. Bert had an assist on the game winner less than 5 minutes in to the 2nd period and then added a goal less than 5 minutes into the 3rd to cap off the multi-point effort. Flames fans, who have less than tender feelings for the former Vancouver Canuck, are really going to be peering down on Bertuzzi to impress them with his performance.

Check back for more updates at FIW soon.

Preseason Thursday September 25

A hectic weekend later, FIW is back with all the updates you missed out on. We begin with Thursday night where 16 teams faced off in 8 exhibition competitions. Former Islanders were active in 7 of them. Let us take a look at their work effort from Thursday:

Bryan Berard, who is still looking to seal up a job on the Philadelphia blueline, assisted on an insurance goal against his old team as the Flyers blanked the visiting Islanders 4-0. One of Philly's camp invites, Berard is looking to continue an NHL career that has seen its share of ups and downs. We hope this former Calder Trophy winner gets offered a spot real soon.

Washington defenseman John Erkine assisted on the 4th Capitals goal as they dumped the visiting Carolina Hurricanes like a bad habit 5-2. Erskine is looking to play a full season for the first time in his career after logging 51 games with the Caps last season. Erskine has never played more than 60 games in any season since he started with the Dallas Stars during the 2001-02 campaign.

New York Rangers' backup goaltender Stephen Valiquette took the loss as the Blueshirts were downed by the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2. Vali surrendered all 4 Lightning goals on 22 shots as he clocked 59 minutes of ice time.

Colorado winger Ryan Smyth kept up his hot play as he scored another 2 points as the Avalanche beat the host Dallas Stars 4-2. Smyth had a goal only 40 seconds in to the 2nd period and then logged the primary assist on the powerplay game winner less than 6 minutes in to the 3rd to help lead the Avs' charge. Smyth has 4 points (3 goals, 1 assist) over the last 2 preseason tilts.

Edmonton Oilers' d-man Denis Grebeshkov assisted on his team's 2nd goal, a powerplay tally, midway through the 2nd period and was awarded 2nd star of the game honor after logging over 24 minutes of ice time as the Oil beat the visiting Florida Panthers 3-2 in the SO. Grebeshkov's assist came on an extra man goal by fellow FI Robert Nilsson. The goal was Nilsson's first of the preseason.

Calgary d-man Adrian Aucoin has taken his few chances to shine in the preseason when he has had them. Aucoin had a powerplay assist on the Flames' first goal as they outplayed the visiting Phoenix Coyotes 3-1. Aucoin is poised to have a major bounceback season after being plagued by injuries over the last few years.

And finally, Detroit goaltender Chris Osgood received no decision as the Red Wings edged the host Boston Bruins 4-3. Complete statistical account of the game coud not be found but we do know that Osgood played about half of the game giving up one goal before giving way to prospect goalie Daniel Larsson. No shots or minutes could be located.

Check back for updates and news soon at FIW.

Friday, September 26, 2008

On the Move: Mathieu Schneider

After nearly 2 weeks of waiting and months of rumors defenseman Mathieu Schneider has been traded. Destination: Atlanta. The Anaheim Ducks finally offloaded the d-man to the Thrashers in exchange for aged blueliner Ken Klee and forwards Brad Larsen and Chad Painchaud. Atlanta picks up an experienced veteran in the 39 year old Schneider along with his $5.75 million dollar contract. Anaheim takes in exchange about $1.8 million in payroll not inclusive of Painchaud's minor league contract. That gives Anaheim enough savings to sign UFA Teemu Selanne.

Schneider, a 19 year veteran, was originally drafted in the 3rd Round, 44th overall in the 1987 NHL Entry Draft by the Montreal Canadiens. In 1,197 career games he has 212 goals and 490 assists for 702 points. Schneider also has a +73 rating on his career to go with 1,165 penalty minutes, 371 powerplay points (93 goals, 278 assists) and 34 game winners. He instantly becomes the most offensively prone blueliner on the entire Atlanta squad and possibly more talented than 90 percent of that team. The Thrashers will be Schneider's 8th team after seeing stints with the Habs, Isles, Maple Leafs, Rangers, Kings, Red Wings and Ducks.

We wish Mathieu the best in the Deep South and we are just happy that the whole Anaheim trade debacle is over!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Preseason Wednesday September 24

There were 10 more games on tap on Wednesday night as the NHL preseason chugs along. Teams are testing out lines, trying out invitees and prospects and generally tinkering with what they hope will be a Stanley Cup-winning team. No matter what the odds are on success, each team can dream today that tomorrow will bring hockey glory. Pundits and critics can guess who will succeed and who will fail but will and desire are the real tests of character. But aside from impassioned rhetoric, there was action to report. Former Islanders made contributions in only 4 of the 10 matchups. Let us take a look:

Viktor Kozlov had a pair of assists, including one on the powerplay, as the Washington Capitals thumped the host Carolina Hurricanes 4-1 in a preview of what is bound to be a volatile Southeast Division battle this season. The 'Canes and their "scary" new black uniforms are challenging to reclaim the division after missing out on the title and the playoffs by only 2 points. The Caps, who remain largely unchanged, are looking to build on their success. Kozzer, especially, is looking for his 3rd straight 50+ point season, a feat he has yet to accomplish on his career.

Three FIs got on the scoresheet as the Pittsburgh Penguins edged the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2. Pittsburgh's Miroslav Satan kickstarted things with the primary powerplay assist only 2:05 into regulation. The helper was the first point for Satan since joining the Pens. Teammate Ruslan Fedotenko added his own powerplay tally at the 7:52 mark of the opening frame. Tank scored unassisted and is looking to continue his strong showing with his new squad. Finally, Jason Blake assisted on the too-little-too-late goal with only 11 seconds remaining in regulation. Blake, who is seemingly re-crafting his role into that of a playmaker, is pacing the Leafs with 3 assists this postseason.

Colorado winger Ryan Smyth wants to prove that his health and his long term contract are compatible. What Smyth do show on Wednesday night is that does have a scoring touch. Smyth netted 2 goals, including one on the man advantage, as the Avalanche dropped a late lead as they fell to the visiting Los Angeles Kings 4-3 in the SO. Smyth scored a powerplay goal only 3:08 in to play for a 1-0 lead then helped the Avs reclaim the lead 3-2 with his second goal with less than 9 minutes remaining in play. However, Colorado again loss the lead. The Kings forced OT then SO. Smyth, shooting in the 3rd round of the sudden death frame, was stopped on his attempt stifling his chance for the "SO hat trick" (2 regulation goals, 1 SO goal).

Talking about shootouts, a pair of FI teammates had attempts in the Florida Panthers' 3-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers. The newest Florida defenseman, Bryan McCabe won the game on his SO attempt in the 5th round. Winger Richard Zednik, playing in his first game since the near life ending skate accident that sliced a neck artery nearly 8 months ago, missed on his SO attempt in the 4th round. Zednik did play over 16 minutes managing 2 shots. He also found himself in a little scrap and got slammed for 5 penalty minutes! But the really story of the game was the matchup of the ridiculously long, hyphenate-monikered goaltenders. This has to be a record folks: Florida's Chris Beckford-Tseu v. Edmonton's Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers. You have got to love that!

Check back for more news, updates, recaps, etc soon with FIW.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Preseason Tuesday September 23

There were 7 more exhibition games on the schedule Tuesday night. Former Islanders contributed in 4 of those games as far as we can tell (no box score was available for the Islanders/Bruins tilt. It's 2008 people!). Things are already heating up on the barely hardened ice. Here is a look at the FI contributions:

The oft-injured Tim Connolly was credited with the lone assist on the too-little-too-late goal as the Buffalo Sabres fell 3-2 to the host Montreal Canadiens. Connolly is looking to play a real full season for the first time since 2002-03 when he played in 80 games for the Sabres. Over the last 3 seasons he has suited up for only 113 regular season games but has played in 24 playoff tilts. Connolly was on a torrid pace last season before becoming sidelined by hip bone spurs.

New York Rangers' goaltender Stephen Valiquette made another preseason appearance on Tuesday taking over for Rags' rookie Miika Wiikman midway through the second period of their 3-2 loss to the host Tampa Bay Lightning. Vali stopped all 4 shots he faced including an incredibly low 2 in the 3rd period. As of now, Valiquette is receiving little actual challenge for his backup spot from prospect Wiikman whose name sounds like a new Nintendo character.

Defenseman Adrian Aucoin had a powerplay helper on Calgary's second goal as the Flames fell in a close one 3-2 to the visiting Florida Panthers. Aucoin is trying to follow up last season's strong return to form when he netted 10 goals and added 25 assists for 35 points on 76 games. The 76 games was the most he had played in a season since before the lockout when he suited up for 81 competitions with the Islanders during the 2003-04 campaign

Finally, Roberto Luongo played a strong half a game stopping 13 of 14 shots in receiving the win as the Vancouver Canucks edged the visiting Edmonton Oilers for a 2-1 win. Luongo is the jewel in the Vancouver crown, one that must lean on its backstopper in an attempt to avoid the tarnishing that has come with their offensive woes in the past couple of years. Luongo is 1-0-0 on the preseason with a .929 save percentage.

Check back with FIW soon for more updates, recaps, highlights and rumors of all things Former Islander.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Preseason Monday September 22

The volume of preseason tilts took a major turn up on Monday as 15 teams faced off in 8 games around the league. But what, you say... 8 games should mean 16 teams! In a weird move reminiscent of MLB's spring training, the Los Angeles Kings had a rare split squad situation on Monday as part of the team played a home game against the Phoenix Coyotes and the other half faced off against the St. Louis Blues in Kansas City, Missouri. An oddity, for sure. Nevertheless, Former Islanders were active in 6 of those 8 games. Here is a look at their work effort from Monday night:

Winger Brad Isbister, playing with his new squad, the Ottawa Senators, is hoping to secure some NHL work for this upcoming season. Isbister helped his cause by assisting on the lone Sens' goal as Ottawa fell 2-1 to the host New York Rangers on the tail end of their preseason home-and-home series.

There could be a little battle brewing in New Jersey for the world's cushiest backup goalie gig. FI Kevin Weekes and born again Devils' backup Scott Clemmensen both saw time in goal as the Philadelphia Flyers handed visiting New Jersey a 4-1 loss. But despite splitting playing time, Weekes took the loss as he surrendered 2 goals on 14 shots. Clemmensen fared slightly better stopping 7 of the 8 he faced. We are waiting with baited breath to see who gets the most coveted bench warmer position in all of hockey.

Jason Blake is healthy. That is more than can be said for Toronto's hopes this season. With all that aside, the Maple Leafs looked good as they steamrolled the visiting Buffalo Sabres 7-4. Blake has 2 assists including a powerplay helper on the game winning goal to help lead the Blue and White charge. If there is the potential bright spot this season in Ontario it could be the return to form of Blake who spent much of last year playing through a cancer battle. His perserverance landed him the Bill Masterson Trophy, an honor reserved for only the bravest of players.

It was Pittsburgh versus Tampa Bay redux on Monday as the two teams capped off their preseason home-and-home series with a little rendevous in Florida. The Penguins, not in the mood to be beat twice but cautious of overworking the big names sat most of their stars and still managed a 3-2 win over the Lightning. Receiving the primary assist on Pittsburgh's second goal with less than 2 minutes remaining in the first period was winger Ruslan Fedotenko. Tank, whose playing time was hampered by injury last season, is looking to find a spark with his new squad. Fedotenko played over 18 minutes, managed 2 shots on goal and got into a little scrum!

Jason Krog, looking to make a return to the NHL for the first time since the 2006-07 season, assisted on the game tying goal then notched the winning goal in the SO as the Vancouver Canucks edged the host Edmonton Oilers 4-3. Krog, last year's AHL scoring leader, could be one of the answers for what is on paper a very anorexic Canucks' offense. In inane news, Former Islander Draft Pick (FIDP) Ryan O'Marra suited up for the Oilers. O'Marra, picked in the 1st Round, 15th overall in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft by the Isles, was packaged with Robert Nilsson in that now infamous Ryan Smyth trade. O'Marra skated for only 4:41. This is possibly the last time we will mention O'Marra bask in this rare reference.

In the final game of the night, the Los Angeles Kings second squad beat the visiting Phoenix Coyotes 6-4. Center Derek Armstrong notched 2 goals for the Kings and received second star honor behind prospect Oscar Moller. Moller impressed by scoring the game winner and adding 2 assists including the primary on Armstrong's first tally. Armstrong is looking to have a bounceback year after struggling through much of the 2007-08 campaign.

Check back soon for more preseason recaps and FI news.

Preseason Saturday September 20

The NHL preseason officially kicked off on Saturday with 2 enticing matchups and, of course, some Former Islander action. Here is a look at what happened in the first games, albeit exhibition, of the 2008-09 season!

Stephen Valiquette gave up 3 goals on 11 shots and took the loss as the host Ottawa Senators beat the New York Rangers 3-2. Vali was yanked midway through the second period to give some opportunity to Ranger prospect Miika Wiikamn (way too many "i"s). Valiquette starts off the preseason with an 0-1-0 record.

The newly forged Tampa Bay Lightning, minus most of their stars, took on the host Pittsburgh Penguins, and most of their stars and shocked them in a 5-4 SO win. Wyatt Smith scored Tampa's second goal as they overcame 1-0 and 4-3 deficits to force OT. The goal was the first for Smith with the Lightning as he battles for a regular spot in Tampa. New Penguin Miroslav Satan missed his attempt in the first round of the SO.

Check back soon for more preseason happenings at FIW.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Former Islander Camp Invitees

Three Former Islanders have received invites from NHL clubs to tryout for a contract. While never a guarantee of a contract offer, most invitees do eventually garner enough respect to receive at least some sort of deal. For players with NHL experience an invite probably means at least a 2-way contract with the chance of limited playing time in the NHL a distinct possibility. Two of them, defenseman Bryan Berard and center Jim Dowd, will flex their muscle as they show off for the Philadelphia Flyers. Dowd will be trying out for the same job he had last year with the Fly Boys: fourth line checking center. Berard, who was in his second stint with the Isles last season, will attempt to crack the lineup of a 7th NHL team.

Now FIW has learned that veteran d-man Jamie Rivers has received an invite from the Atlanta Thrashers. The move makes sense for both sides as Atlanta has possibily the thinnest blueline in the entire league and Rivers is looking to resume his career in North America after playing 18 games for Moscow Spartak in the now defunct Russian Superleague. In those games, Rivers had 3 assists and 42 penalty minutes. He also played in 4 playoff games compiling 8 penalty minutes.

A 454 game veteran, Rivers last played during the 2006-07 campaign with the St. Louis Blues. In 31 games he notched 1 goal and 3 assists for 4 points with 36 penalty minutes. Originally drafted in the 3rd Round, 63rd overall by St. Louis in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft, Rivers has played for the Blues, Islanders, Senators, Panthers, Red Wings and Coyotes. On his career he has 17 goals and 49 assists (66 points) to go with his 385 penalty minutes. In addition, Rivers has a career +4 rating with 6 powerplay tallies and 2 game winners.

We wish Jamie the best in his tryout with Atlanta.

Not Quite a Signing: Jim Dowd

Much like defenseman Bryan Berard, veteran center Jim Dowd is attending Philadelphia Flyers' training camp on a tryout basis. If Dowd does he thing and continues to impress the Flyers' brass he could forseeably lock up a contract in the next few days. Dowd played for Philly last season in 73 games notching 5 goals and 5 assists for 10 points.

A 16 year veteran, Dowd has suited up for the Devils, Canucks, Isles, Flames, Oilers, Wild, Canadiens, Blackhawks, Avalanche and Flyers. His 10 teams is second only to Current Islander Mike Sillinger for most in the history of the NHL.

We wish Jim the best in trying to secure employment for next season.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Preseason: 10 Former Islanders to Follow

As training camps start up around the NHL, we are compiling a list of the Top 10 FI storylines to follow during the 2008-09 season. For many of these players this may be a season of redemption while for others it is chance to continue their shining play. Here they are in no particular order.

1. Olli Jokinen (C, Phoenix) - Jokinen leaves South Florida via trade to join the Coyotes after years of trade rumors. For years the heart and soul of the Panthers, O-Jok now gets a chance to show off what he can do with right winger Shane Doan, the long-time heart and soul of the Phoenix squad. Given that he now has quality teammates to pair with on the 1st line, Jokinen should easily rebound from his poor season last year in which he dropped 20 points in production. A reliable player, he has not missed a game over the last 4 seasons, Jokinen should easily return to the 90 point range and could potentially challenge for his first 100 points season. Finally, there is some hockey to be excited about in Maricopa County.

2. Bryan McCabe (D, Florida) - Taking Jokinen's place as the top billing FI for the Panthers, McCabe lands in South Florida in a lateral trade that takes him from one underperforming team in the Toronto Maple Leafs to another. After the atmosphere got toxic in Ontario, McCabe must have been willing to sign off his no trade clause to go just about anywhere that was not Toronto. McCabe is looking to bounce back from an injury-shortened season with little offensive upswing. A powerplay quarterback by nature, the oft defensively inept McCabe is looking to return to offensive form. After 3 straight 50+ point seasons, McCabe is looking to rebound from last year's 23 point effort but may struggle at times with a team that looks ill-prepared to find the back of the net. Time will tell if the McCabe-to-Florida experiment works out.

3. Todd Bertuzzi (LW, Calgary) - Well rumor has it that friend Jarome Iginla pushed the Calgary brass pretty hard to pick up Bertuzzi only shortly after he was bought out by the underwhelmed Anaheim Ducks halfway through his 2 year contract. While Bertuzzi performed fairly well with the Ducks, he must have left some in Anaheim wanting more. Depending on his health, Bert might not make it back to the 80 game-per-season pace but he could reasonably make it back to the 50+ point plateau like he had for 6 straight seasons in Vancouver especially if he gets playing time with Iginla.

4. Robert Nilsson (LW, Edmonton) - Nilsson had a solid first full season with Edmonton, even if the media was not interested in his story. Now Nilsson is primed for a full on breakout in his fourth season and expect his play to shine, especially if noted Oilers' rookies Sam Gagner and Andrew Cogliano suffer sophomore slumps. Nilsson has the ability to sparkplug the Oil offense at times. Even if he only gets 3rd line minutes, Nilsson could easily top the 50 point mark for the first time in his career.

5. Jason Blake (LW, Toronto) - According to Maple Leafs' (interim) GM Cliff Fletcher things do not look good in Toronto. With that said, things could be a struggle for left wing Blake who lost his top center, (Mr. Never Gonna Decide My Future Because I Make Swedish Players Look Like Indecisive Morons Who Believe Bodies Begin Decaying At 37) Mats Sundin. Since Sundin will most likely not return, especially soon, Toronto is going to struggle on offense. Blake turned a negative into a positive despite dropping from 40 goals down to 15, he partially compensated by notching a career high in assists (37) and winning the Bill Masterson Trophy for perseverance in the face of his cancer battle. Blake will be lucky to get that many assists again and may even drop below the 50 point threshold if he continues to struggle finding the net. A sub-50 point season would be his first since before the lockout but on the other hand would could be wrong and Blake could return to 25+ goal form, that is if the Blue and White can find ways to click offensively.

6. Chris Osgood (G, Detroit) - Osgood literally had the Conn Smythe Trophy stolen from him by Euro-trashy Henrik Zetterberg. That bit of bashing aside, Ozzie is primed to backstop one of the most potentially offensive lineups in the history of the NHL. It is always hard to say that a team could repeat as champions but the odds are really on Detroit's side to pull of the feat especially since they not only kept their core but actually got better with the acquisition of Marian Hossa. With Dominik "the Dominator" Hasek officially retired, again, Ozzie takes over the reins of #1 keeper and will see increased play time in front of backups Ty Conklin and Jimmy Howard. As a full-fledged start, expect Osgood to hit the 30+ win plateauf for the 7th time in his career and his first since 2001-02 when he was the Isle starter. The real question is will Ozzie be able to continue the stellar play and diminutive goals against average playing a full season?

7. Zdeno Chara (D, Boston) - It is fairly obvious that FIW are not big fans of Detroit, especially the European players who strut like they own the ice and snap up awards based on reputation and not on deservedness. Much like Osgood was denied the Conn Smythe to pave way for superstar Zetterberg, Boston's Chara was robbed of the Norris Trophy for best defenseman so Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom could add another one to his mantle. Chara, coming off the heals of his best season, was robbed and rather blindly at that. While it is always dangerous to predict an improvement over a career year, Chara is squarely in line to get better. Now 31 years old, Chara is coming off his first 50 point campaign and with a Bruins squad that is more and more imposing Chara will be the leader on the blueline especially on the powerplay. Expect Chara to at least cap 50 points again but it is very possible for him to even top 60 points, especially if he does not sit out any games with minor injuries like he did last year.

8. Miroslav Satan (RW, Pittsburgh) - Satan, coming off the single lowest goal scoring season of his career, has been given a golden ticket. Offered a spot with the Penguins, Satan could not refuse. Now that Satan will be given playing time with Sidney Crosby and/or Evgeni Malkin, Satan should return to the offensive form that made him a goal-scoring powerhouse in the NHL for nearly a decade. Look for Satan to easily top 60 points for the 7th time in his career and maybe even hit the 70+ point mark for the 3rd time. If Satan stays fully healthy the skies the limit in Pittsburgh, especially since players like Miro benefit from having world class linemates. The first season Satan came to the Island the management predicted 50 goals for Satan (ha!) but Satan could potentially hit 40 goals for only the 2nd time and first since 1998-99 while with Buffalo. Stop laughing! He honestly could.

9. Richard Zednik (LW, Florida) - For all you hockey critics out there, yes hockey is a violent sport. Yes, we fans do like to see blood on the ice after a good fight. But the kind of blood spilled by Zednik over 7 months ago was the kind of horror scene that sticks in the memory for years to come, a scene that reminds us that while hockey may be a lifeline to millions of fans, life can be lost in an instant. Zednik battled life and death but now returns to the sport he loves, albeit with a neck guard. The emotional pick on this list, Zednik is a storyline you cannot help but watch. While it is doubtful that a full season would get Zed back up to the 50 point mark, Zed could reasonably shoot for his 6th 30+ point year especially after flashes of brilliance before his untimely accident last season. Zed is a streaky scorer and the tough times will be tempered with the good but look for him to prove that he is still a solid player even if in reality he is not 2nd line left wing material.

10. Roberto Luongo (G, Vancouver) - No FI list like this could be complete without one of the best goalies in all of hockey. While Boston d-man Chara climbed mountains in Africa during the offseason for charity, the biggest mountain to climb might be Luongo and his task ahead in Vancouver. The Canucks, not renowned in recent years for their offensive prowess, feasibly have no actual offense to bank on aside from the Sedin twins and an unreliable Pavol Demitra. That means Luongo will have to bring back his near-Hart Trophy winning effort from 2 years ago when he almost proved to the league that he was MVP material. Though Luongo has 3 consecutive seasons with 35 or more wins, do not expect him to make it 4. Until Vancouver figures out how to compile a team that clicks and can tally real goals, things are bleak for Luongo and Co. But Luongo is about proving the naysayers wrong and he might just do that, might.

Check back soon for more FIW news, highlights and updates.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

On Waivers: Mathieu Schneider

Word coming out of Anaheim is that the Ducks have placed defenseman Mathieu Schneider on waivers. Slated to make $5.75 million this season, the final in a 2-year deal signed last offseason, the Ducks are presuming that a team will pick up Schneider (hello Los Angeles, Colorado, Islanders?) and his contract before he clears re-entry waivers. Anaheim is trying to avoid a buyout situation where they would be hit hard financially in their attempt to clear cap space for the return of Teemu Selanne. With Schneider the team is about $1.3 million over the cap and without they have about $4 million dollars available for Selanne who would probably pull in about $3 million (assuming, sorry). FIW will keep you posted as this story develops.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Updates: Zhitnik & Robitaille

Well we have learned some news on a couple of FIs:

It appears as if defenseman Alexei Zhitnik's tryout with Dynamo Moscow of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) has turned into a full-time position. Despite searching we at FIW could not find any contract terms for Zhitnik though we did find out that he has 1 goal and 2 assists for 3 points in his first 5 games. We wish Alexei the best in the KHL.

Winger Randy Robitaille has signed with Lugano of the Swiss National League A (NLA). Robitaille left a position with Yaroslavl in the old Russian Super League early last season to join the Ottawa Senators when things were looking up. Well things bombed in the northern capital and Randy was among the players cast aside. According to sources Randy signed a 3 year deal yet financial terms were not found. Robitaille returns to the league he led in scoring during the NHL's 2004-05 lockout when he notched 67 points (22 goals, 45 assists) on 36 games with Zurich. We wish Randy the best in Switzerland.

Check back for more news. We are buzzing with excitement as training camps are just around the corner!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Update: Richard Zednik

Remember that time, only 7 months ago, when Former Islander Olli Jokinen nearly killed FI teammate Richard Zednik? Well if you do not you must have slept through the only major event to happen all season for the Florida Panthers. This article here at TSN catches up with Zednik who returned to the ice on Tuesday with the Panthers as they begin practicing for the upcoming season. We wish Zed the best this season!

P.S. Maybe Jokinen was shipped out of Florida not because of years of persistent trade rumors but because it would just be bad "mojo" to have Zed and him play together again. Think about it.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

UFA Signing: Brad Isbister

Finally, we have some late offseason FI signings going on. Word coming out of Ottawa is that the Senators have inked winger Brad Isbister to a 1 year, 2 way deal. Financial terms of the deal have not been released. This is good news for the AHL's Binghamton Sens who gain a veteran presence in the locker room. Oh, good also for Isbister if he does in fact ever get called up to the Northern capital. Update: The NHL portion of the 2 way deal would pay Isbister $650K for a full season or more likely, just under $8K per NHL game he plays this upcoming season. There is no way to really ascertaion the AHL portion of the 2 way deal.

A 10 year veteran, Isbister is joining his 7th NHL franchise. Originally drafted in the 3rd Round, 67th overall by the Winnipeg Jets (yeah that long ago) in the 1995 NHL Entry Draft, Izzy has played for the Coyotes, Isles, Oilers, Bruins, Rangers and Canucks. Last season in Vancouver, Isbister had 11 points (6 goals, 5 assists) on 55 games for his first 10+ point season since 2005-06 while with Boston. Isbister has played in 541 NHL games having notched 222 points on 106 goals and 116 assists. He has a career -43 rating with 26 powerplay tallies and 16 game winners.

We wish Brad the best with the Senators, whichever Sens team he suits up for

In Honor Of: Trevor Linden

The Vancouver Canucks have announced that the recently retired Trevor Linden will see his #16 raised to the rafters as he will join the team's Hall of Fame. The ceremony will take place on December 17, 2008 as the Canucks host the Edmonton Oilers. Linden will be only the 2nd player on the team to see his number retired following in the lead of #12 Stan Smyl who spent all 12 of his pro seasons with the Canucks (8 as captain) and to this day is still 3rd all time on the team's points list (3rd in goals, 2nd in assists). Linden ranks 2nd all time on the team in points (2nd in goals, 1st in assists). Linden was captain of the team for 6 seasons before his odyssey brought him across the league and back again.

Congratulations on a great accomplishment, you earned it Trevor.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

UFA Signing: Jeff Hamilton

Jeff Hamilton is returning to Chicago! The Chicago Wolves that is. The right wing signed a deal with the AHL affiliate of the the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday. Terms of the contract were not disclosed but we here at FIW are hoping it is a two-way deal that might see Hamilton playing some NHL time in case of any Hawks' injuries. With the signing, Hamilton joins the defending Calder Cup champions.

If Hamilton does not return to NHL play, thus ends a meteoric rise for the winger that saw himself go from zero to hero (not really) to zero again. An undrafted signing, Hamilton played 14 games for the Blue & Orange between the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons before his relationship with the Islanders was inexplicably derailed. During the 2006-07 season, largely a snoozefest for Chicago, Hammy surprised everyone by notching 39 points (18 goals, 21 assists) on 70 games including two 4+ point efforts (2 hat tricks). The surprising play wowed the execs and scouts in Carolina so much that Hamilton secured a 2 year deal prior to last season. Awe turned to "d'oh" as Hammy underwhelmed the Carolina brass with a meager 24 points (9 goals, 15 assists) on only 58 games with the 'Canes last year. Carolina decided to buy out the remaining season of his contract this offseason. A 142 game NHL "veteran," Hamilton has 71 points on 29 goals and 42 assists including 11 powerplay tallies and 5 game winners.

FIW has been trying to track Hamilton's movement for a while now and today's news comes as a breath of fresh air as we eagerly and impatiently await the start of the 2008-09 season. We wish Jeff the best with the mighty AHL Wolves.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

On the Move: Bryan McCabe

Here at FIW we are hoping this post is not too presumptive. Reports out of Toronto have it that Toronto Maple Leaf defenseman Bryan McCabe will be moved around 11 pm EST tonight in exchange for Florida Panther d-man Mike Van Ryn. Word also has it that Toronto is adding a mid-round draft pick with McCabe to sweeten the deal. We will update on that as more becomes known. Update: It's official! The move was made late last night as the Panthers did in fact send d-man Van Ryn to the Leafs for McCabe and a 4th Round pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. Case closed on the McCabe rumors.

Originally drafted in the 2nd Round, 40th overall in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft by the Isles, McCabe has spent the last 7 seasons in Toronto following two and a half on the Island, two and a half with Vancouver and one with Chicago. Quickly promoted to assistant captain in Toronto, McCabe was under the microscope for most of his tenure with the Blue and White due to the lucrative contract he had inked. A 917 game veteran, McCabe has a 115 goals and 303 assists for 418 career points. He has a career +37 rating with 1,574 penalty minutes and 20 game winners. A force on the man advantage, McCabe has 59 powerplay goals and a 151 extra man assists along with 4 shorties and 9 shorthanded assists for 223 points on the special teams. Florida picks up the last 3 years of his contract and will pay McCabe $4.15 million per year since the Leafs have already paid the $2 million bonus that was due to Bryan on September 1.

We wish Bryan the best in South Florida no matter how lateral this move may be.