April 21, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Kings goalieJonathan Bernier
(45) celebrates the 4-3 overtime victory with goalieJonathan Quick
(32) against the Dallas Stars at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Astoria, NY – In the lull separating Games 3 and 4 of the Stanley Cup finals between the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins, there was a minor flurry of NHL activity yesterday afternoon.
The event that set off a relative firestorm of trade rumors in the Twitterverse? Reports of Islanders GM Garth Snow fielding a phone call from Los Angeles Kings GM Dean Lombardi.
A phone call. And no, I’m not lying.
NHL prognosticators, bloggers and armchair GMs sprang into action on the interwebs, spinning various trade scenarios involving Kings backup goaltender Jonathan Bernier and any combination of Isles draft picks and über-prospect Nino Niederreiter.
While I can appreciate Islanders fans literally starving for news regarding the team, let’s remember that Snow won’t make any move—no matter how potentially season-altering—unless the price is right.
Sure, Bernier is 24 years old. And sure, he went 9-3-1 in 14 games played this season with a 1.88 GAA and .922 SV%. But the reality is that he’s a career backup goalie whose numbers in a contract year belie his true level of play.
Snow has proven his commitment to the Islanders’ rebuild: the front-office philosophy of signing solid players with strong character to reasonable deals has been a hallmark of his tenure as GM.
Bernier is being shopped around by Lombardi, so Snow answered the phone when he got a call from a Los Angeles area code. There isn’t anything to the story more substantive than that, no matter how much the Isles’ fan base wants Snow to pull the trigger on a blockbuster deal.
Then again, if the price is right—meaning Lombardi needs to keep Niederreiter’s name out of the conversation—there’s no reason to think that Snow would turn down an offer that makes sense for the franchise.
The important thing to remember is that the Islanders don’t need to make a deal, regardless of the players available on the market. This team isn’t poised to seriously contend for a Stanley Cup until the 2014-15 season; there is no need to rush the process simply because the team is on the rise at present.
Patience, Isles fans. Patience.
There will be plenty of opportunities for Snow to make big-time moves for this team; all we have to do is trust the system. After all, it’s gotten us this far.
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Floating Around The Twitter-Sphere
The Philadelphia Flyers were making noise in NHL circles again yesterday, and for much the same reason for which they originally made headlines after agreeing to contract terms with former Islanders defenseman Mark Streit. The Flyers were linked to a potential trade for Bernier, despite their current salary cap troubles and recent track record of overpaying and/or stockpiling goaltenders. But hey: the Flyers, AMIRITE?
I’m sure Isles fans will agree, the offseason has been very New York Jets-y for the Flyers, considering the circus-like atmosphere around Wells Fargo Center. It almost makes you wonder if Jets head coach Rex Ryan is commuting between Florham Park, NJ and Philadelphia, PA; it’s under two hours, door-to-door. I’m just saying…
<sarcasm>Lest we fall victim to overhyping the Islanders’ first postseason berth since 2007, or the fact that this team is one of the NHL’s brightest collections of young talent, let’s all focus on the somewhat awkward hockey setup at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.</sarcasm> Or at least, that’s what Twitter would lead you to believe, based on the overwhelmingly negative reaction to pictures recently released that show an off-center scoreboard and a horseshoe seating arrangement for future Islanders games. But hey, that’s what the offseason is for, right? Overreacting to any bit of NHL news, no matter how ridiculously it overshadows the on-ice product.
Take it from a man who always has his finger on the pulse of the Isles: Bernier, while talented, is as-yet unproven as an NHL starter. He may have 62 games of NHL experience, but his starts came at opportune times (read: against weaker opponents). The Islanders already have two high-level goaltending prospects in the pipeline; take that for what it’s worth.
Last Night In The NHL
The NHL was dormant last night, as the Blackhawks and Bruins enjoyed an off day from their Stanley Cup finals series. But you already knew that, because if you’re like me and spent last night flipping channels until—disappointingly—settling for Game 6 between the San Antonio Spurs and the Miami Heat, you are well aware that there was no hockey on TV yesterday. Because I don’t feel like re-living the halfhearted attempt I made at watching the NBA Finals, let’s just leave it at that.
As a reward for reading this far, please accept this video as a token of respect from the EYES staff. No, we didn’t make it, but that doesn’t mean we won’t take credit for bringing it to you. (Sidney Crosby has sick hands. Yeah, I said it.)
(And if the embed code isn’t working, here’s the direct link.)
As always, thanks for reading us at EyesOnIsles. Keep it right here for all of your NHL playoff coverage and Isles offseason news. Be sure to check the menu bar at the top of the page for ways to connect with the EyesOnIsles staff; we’re always happy to talk hockey.