The Islanders Are Halfway There

The Islanders Are Halfway There

I feel like Peter Jackson. Not because I’m fat and furry, but because I’m telling a story that suddenly has grown into at least 3 parts, and is going to be more likely six parts regarding the Islanders off season in 2021.

In an article I wrote on July 7, 2021, I mentioned ways the Islanders could fix themselves. I’ve linked the article, but in case you’re too lazy to look at it, the article proposed the following:

  • Trade nick Leddy to Detroit.
  • Sign Zack Parise
  • Resign Kyle Palmieri
  • Resign Casey Cizikas

How did I do? I mean, some writers suggest or say or infer ideas or rumors. I predicted EXACT EVENTS. My Islanders foil Kool Aid Rob critiqued me saying that if I was so smart, why wasn’t I an NHL GM, and my family should be disappointed in my not raking in NHL GM dough. Based on Garth Snow, that dough is Cookie. But he’s probably right.

But he does have a point. Why can a layperson see so many obvious things that a professional can not.

Now, when I say professional GM, understand that a professional GM is not exactly the same thing as a professional teacher or doctor. Those jobs have qualifications.

But hockey GM? Before he had the New York Islanders playing “Smaht” and “Haard”, Jack Capuano was a hockey GM. So how hard can it be?

But I digress. The gist of the article was that the Islanders needed to do more than just add one new player.

I suggested Vladimir Tarasenko at forward, Zdeno Chara to replace Andy Greene, and to promote the most deserving AHL player at 6th defenseman to be budget conscious.

So far I’m 67% exactly precise with the moves Lou Lamoriello has made. But I think there’s a better ending to my predictive ability and actual NHL Hall of Fame GM foresight. And it’s right in the face to be snatched up.

Don’t get me wrong, Tarasenko is still a possibility. It’s just that the bait to get him has changed. The bait however will still be by trade. Unfortunately, Islander fans have two ideas in mind about what a trade means. Anything on the Islanders roster has no trade value. Also, anything on the Isles roster is invaluable. Example?

“Who would want Leddy? He sucks. We’d have to include 4 1sts to move him.”

Reality? Contract moved to the EXACT TEAM I predicted, and the return was a 2nd and a player with Detroit retaining half the salary.

#IslesKoolAid the usual zero, #IslesRealists for the win.

“Ladd is untradeable.”

Reality? Ladd moved for 2 draft picks going the other way, which is very fair.

“Bailey unprotected? We’re fucked.”

Reality? No GM in the NHL WANTS Bailey. Not without inducements to take the zilch preventing the Islanders from winning a Stanley Cup. So technically, #IslesKoolAid is right on this one. We are fucked, because Seattle didn’t pick Bailey and the Isles are still stuck with him.

“Komorov is untradeable.”

Realty? You’re going to be wrong on that call, too.

As per my thesis in this piece, the Islanders can not take a step forward without a better infusion of new blood. By new I don’t mean teenagers. By new I mean guys who did not get to the highest stage of their career and fail. Parise is baby steps toward that. Tarasenko – a cup winner – would help that. Dunn – a cup winner – would help that.

Wait, did you say Vince Dunn?

Whereas I predicted the Isles reuniting with Chara, my mistake was Lou’s ties to the New Jersey Devils. Hello, Palmieri and Parise? Greene is done, but Lou is looking to fulfill something on a personal level that most people have no understanding of. It’s called loyalty. Old school. Respect.

But I did predict Tarasenko. And I’m feeling Dunn would be something interesting. But why would the Seattle Kracken trade Dunn?

Well, anyone watching Seattle’s expansion draft would be underwhelmed. Seattle needs contracts to reach the league floor. And Dunn is a restricted free agent. Dunn can hold a new team hostage for an overpriced contract. So what would help everyone?

Trade Josh Bailey to Seattle for Dunn.

Seattle benefits. Bailey and Eberle can combine to form….something. Maybe Seattle can become the best #IslesKoolAid first line in the NHL, and Bailey will prove how amazing he is. My guess is about as amazing as arena food Seattle gets contract security. They acquire a “top 6” forward for a defenseman that may bend them over. Seattle hits the cap floor. Joy! Just…don’t hold your breath waiting.

And the Islanders? They wrap up the defensive acquisitions that they need to and waylay a rookie from joining the league for one more season.

And Tarasenko? After the St. Louis Blues management trash talked VT, they ruined his asking price. So if I’m the Islanders? My offer is salary offset and a 1st. So see ya Komarov, Hickey, and a 1st. Next years first will be 32rd anyway, as with the removal of Bailey from the top 6? The Islanders become instant Stanley Cup favorites.

But Tarasenko has a messed up shoulder! He can break? True. 100% true. So what to do?

Make the trades. If Tarasenko does go down with an injury? You have $7.5 million to replace him. For this season and probably next season, if the team is smart. You know what you can acquire for $7.5 million?

Here’s an example: Patrik Laine. He just signed a 1 year deal with Columbus, which has a history of losing trades for good players. A pick and a prospect gets that deal done. Also, anyone else that has a cap hit under $7.5 million and is productive. That’s a long list.

And you want to know what else? The Islanders with Komorov, Hickey, and Bailey gone can roll 4 productive lines. Looking back at the Tampa Bay elimination series, what line could you call effective? The first one? 2 goal scorers on line 1 is not effective. The second line? One goal each is not effective. Did Tampa’s second line only score 3 goals in 7 games? Isles third line? No goals whatsoever? Ouch. Isles 4th line? They don’t score, they break balls. And they did…although there was zero significant, momentum changing hits from that entire line over 7 games. But at this point, they are the identity line. Sadly, our identity is almost aggressive enough hits, and low scoring.

You may say, why do you want to unload Bailey? In the playoffs, his game always steps up. Statistically, that is true. So let’s do a fast review of Bailey’s “stepping up:”

First two playoff series ever? Isles lose. Losing isn’t stepping up.

Then Florida? Thomas Greiss and Fuckface Scumbag puts the team on their back. Isles win, then promptly get destroyed by Tampa Bay. Amazing that Tampa Bay has been competitive since 2016. We have 2 competitive years out of 20 and we want to retire 23 numbers.

The most recenf ECF against the Lightning? What did Bailey produce? What, 20 points? How many came in the Eastern Conference Finals?

Reality says, when the going gets tough, Bailey is wet toilet paper. Smears shit all over himself, does nothing for his team. Ask Yanni Gourde, who was assited on his game winning short handed goal by I Josh you not Bailey. #Elite.

If assists to opponents counted, Bailey would be the next Wayne Gretzky.

Also…that’s it. Baileys first decade in the NHL was 4 playoff series, 3 losses, 1 miracle. What changed since then? Bailey? Or the coaching staff?

It is insane to think that Bailey is a catalyst.

To wrap this mini reality lesson up., Bailey is absolutely replaceable, and is overdue to be replaced. Look at hockey reference for his modern counterparts, production wise. Most of those guys were on 4 or more teams, because they produced as much as Bailey, which means they were unimportant.

The Islanders are a team that is built for the playoffs. They are the second best playoff team of the last 2 seasons. The issue is that those seasons were shortened.

So if the Islanders roll the same team in a shorter season, when that late season decline starts, the team can in reality fall out of playoff position. And a playoff team that doesn’t make the playoffs is kind of like when a tree falls in a forest and nobody is there to see that tree fuck up.

In short, the Islanders made one significant change. On the third line. The need a significant first line change, and a significant top 4 defense change. And could make a cap saving statement in goal, but I don’t think Lou or Barry Trotz trusts Ilya Sorokin that much yet. Thus, they have no free salary cap money to sign free agents. Personally, if we are not promoting young talent, I would like Sami Vatanen and Vince Dunn to fill out the defense at the expense of Greene at Bridgeport, but cap space is cap space.  

But here is what I do know. With the offseason moves of Tampa Bay acquiring Brent Seabrook’s dead contract? They have the funds to reload the bottom six that left, and they have locked up Brayden Point for the productive part of his career.

And the Islanders? They replaced Palmieri with Palmieri. They replaced Lee with Lee. They replaced Eberle with Whalstrom. They replaced Dal Colle with Parise. They haven’t replaced Leddy. Teams that win cups tend to make multiple substantive changes, as I demonstrated here.

Some people think that Bailey should retire with the Islanders as a career player. If Bailey was a true Islander? He would gladly leave the team so that they could win a Stanley Cup two, and then sign a one day contract at the end of his disilustrious career to truly become an Islanders legend.

You telling me that’s an improvement? If so, I have a bag of dogshit you may be interested in acquiring.

The Islanders went from losing in 6 to Tampa to losing to 7 in Tampa. Trotz went from being run over by Hedman, Kucherov, Pointe, and Vasilevski to just being destroyed by Pointe and Vasilevski.

Tarasenko and Dunn for Bailey, Hickey, Komarov, and a draft pick. Less than that? Next season is going to be more of the same.

What Went Wrong?

What Went Wrong?

From Left: Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton, Chris Paul (Getty Images)
After my previous article, I ended on a cliffhanger ready to discuss the reasons the Suns blew it instead of the Bucks turning on the class. Yes, I said blew it because after taking a 2-0 lead, Phoenix should not have gotten “sun-burnt” for the other 4 games of the NBA Finals!

The Suns had a 2-0 lead leaving Arizona and entering the deer’s cage in Wisconsin. After they were blown out by 20 points in game 3 heads sunk and morale dropped after such a humiliating defeat. They picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and blew a 6 point lead after the 3rd quarter to be defeated 109-103 with Khris Middleton putting up 40 points.

Now we all know that Giannis scored 42 and 50 in games 5 and six respectively, but that is not what should take the highlights; Devin Booker’s inept defending should. Yeah, he did score back-to-back 40 point games, however, his defending or lack-there-of was what ultimately costed the Suns. Booker was tasked with guarding his opposite number Jrue Holiday and it was the latter who was more successful. Holiday held the 24-year-old to 0-7 from 3 point range in the decisive game six.

Speaking about Holiday, he was the key to the Bucks breaking their 50-year drought for an NBA title. Everyone with eyes could see that a more composed and defensive guard was needed to help Giannis and Middleton to get over the hump. Jrue came in from the Pelicans in 2020 and signed a 4 year, $134 million contract extension with Milwaukee after their win against the Sacramento Kings and is viable if he exercises his 5th-year option in his current contract that they took on from the Pelicans. Don’t get me wrong I believe, no I know, that Jrue Holiday is one of if not the best defensive guard in the NBA, but his performances against Brooklyn were all but worth every penny and I was one to question the decision.

Monty Williams consoling Devin Booker (Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press)
Back to my original point of this follow-up, what went wrong was the mentality, the desire, and the fight. Monty Williams lost to Mike Budenholzer who in my opinion is the most overrated coach in the NBA behind Frank Vogel of course. The Suns were indisciplined as well as Crowder and Bridges were constantly in foul trouble through games 3-6 costing the team valuable points in those games. Monty, who I thought was a bit over his depth going into the finals is 0-3 when his teams are facing the eight ball. That record cannot build morale in a championship-chasing dressing room. This also leaves a heap of unanswered questions which would have been answered if the Suns would’ve won.

Will Ayton get his max extension? The Bahamian was the 2nd best Centre in the playoffs baring Joel Embiid even though it was his first-ever appearance, and who could forget that last-second slam against the Clippers in game two of the conference finals. It would be in the Suns’ best interest to keep this superstar with Devin Booker to build a legacy for the future. And the contract situation, with Chris Paul, Mikal Bridges, and Cameron Payne just to name a few out of a contract, what will the Phoenix team look like for the upcoming season? All that is definitive is Booker will be there and they would want to remain competitive for many years to come.

Cm punk Returning to Wrestling?

Cm punk Returning to Wrestling?

Never say Never in the Wrestling industry. After a seven year hiatus from in-ring competition Phil Brooks, AKA CM Punk could be returning to the Squared Circle. Cm Punk Was with the WWE from 2006 until his departure from the WWE in 2014. It would be the last time fans would see Cm Punk on WWE TV due to the unhealthy relationship with Vince Mcmahon and WWE. Cm punk stated in multiple interviews that he would not return to wrestling due to the treatment he undergoed. Time after Time and year after year rumors and speculation of Cm Punk returning would be of interest among wrestling fans but eventually would be denounced.

There have been reports stating that AEW All Elite Wrestling Have a Done Deal with Cm Punk but it’s important to remember no public statements from AEW have been released and will not be until CM Punk has made an appearance. Cm punk could appear at All Out in his Hometown of Chicago,Illinois or the night before. Dwayne “The Rock Johnson ” once said to cm punk that he has one of the most creative and innovative minds when it comes to Wrestling and he was right. Cm punk held the WWE Title for 434 days. Imagine what punk could do in AEW as a world champion. There are endless amounts of scenarios for matches and segments such as Cm Punk VS Kenny Omega or CM Punk VS Hangman Adam Paige.One thing is for certain. AEW will never be the same when and if Punk does appear.

BUCKS IN 6

BUCKS IN 6

Photo Credit: USA TODAY (Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo)
After 50 years of anguish, 50 years of agony, 50 years of despair, finally you must now Fear the Deer. The Milwaukee Bucks ended their 50-year drought for an NBA title as they defeated the Phoenix Suns 105-98 in game 6 in the NBA Finals on Tuesday. The Budenholzer coached Bucks have reached the pinnacle of the NBA for the first time since Kareem “Sky-hook” Abdul-Jabbar led them to the title in April 1971.

The Bucks were led by the best player in the world Giannis Antetokounmpo with a staggering 50 points and 14 rebounds. Even though he made most headlines for the fifty-piece he scored, and he ordered from Chick-Fil-A, it was Jrue Holiday who was the deciding factor, putting on a monstrous defensive performance to restrict Suns G Devin Booker to just 19 points and shooting 0 of 7 from 3-point range.

Holiday also contributed heavily on the offensive end as he delivered 27 points and 13 assists to help carry the Bucks to their milestone. The unsung heroes of the finals who won’t get the plaudits are Bobby Portis Jr. who stepped up heavily from the Conference Finals when the “Greek Freak” injured his knee. Portis averaged 7.7 points in the finals including 16 in the series clincher. Khris Middleton, the Robin to Giannis’ Batman, scored only eleven points in game six, however his clutch shot with under a minute to go when it seemed the Suns were making an unprecedented comeback, to put the Bucks back up by 6 and virtually seal the game.

Photo Credit: Mark J. Terrill ( (From Left) Chris Paul #3, Coach Monty Williams, Jae Crowder #99, Devin Booker #1)
Within all the euphoria of the Larry O’Brien trophy coming to Wisconsin, fingers were pointed on the Suns, not for losing to a masterful MVP and his role players, but the way Phoenix blew a 2-0 series lead in one of the biggest times of each of those players career. It could be down to Devin Booker who was virtually a non-existent player when it came to the defending, Jae Crowder who was always in foul trouble early in the game, or it could be down to NBA Awarded “coach of the year” Monty Williams who is 0-3 when his teams are facing elimination. Enough said I must say congratulations to the Milwaukee Bucks for winning the 2021 NBA Championship and for showing that you don’t need a super team to achieve success.

The Return of Wrestling Fans

The Return of Wrestling Fans

On May 30th 2021 All Elite Wrestling welcomed back full capacity crowds at Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, FL for one of their biggest spectacles of the year. The show featured The Young Bucks, Jon Moxley, PAC, Kenny Omega, “Hangman” Adam Page and Britt Baker (she’s a dentist you know.) This show was electrifying and truly showed what wrestling has been missing since March 2020 when the sports world shutdown.

Fast forward to the week of July and we could all see the effects of what professional wrestling has been missing; the heart beat of every company. On July 7th AEW became the first major promotion to return to touring where the impact of fans who haven’t seen the likes of Cody Rhodes, Chris Jericho and MJF in almost two years. The crowd was hot and their impact was felt immediately when AEW shockingly debuted Malakai Black (FKA Aleister Black) to a huge reception from the Miami crowd. The show, dubbed “Road Rager,” did a phenomenal job setting up Fyter Fest Night 1 which featured Darby Allin vs. Ethan Page in a Coffin Match and Jon Moxley vs “Machine Gun” Karl Anderson in a battle for the IWGP US Championship.

The following week the most mainstream promotion, WWE, joined the hot upstart AEW with their own touring schedule that began with a go home show before their annual Money In The Bank Pay Per View. The effects of a crowd was felt right off the bat as Edge received a pop that we have not heard in a very long time. In my own opinion, the WWE Main Roster will benefit greatly from the return of fans as it often felt robotic watching show in the infamous ThunderDome. The return of Finn Balor proved that, as he returned to the main roster for the first time since returning to NXT, to also receive a huge pop.

The historic week in professional wrestling concluded with a very well done Pay Per View in “Money In the Bank.” The show pre-show tag match was one of my favorites as The Usos won Tag team Gold, this match should have been on the main card over The Raw Tag Team match which was mediocre at best where AJ and Omos retained. The best match of this show by far was Charlotte vs Rhea where you really saw the impact of fans right from the bell as chants of “We Want Becky” rained down to a disgruntled Charlotte. The pure talent of both of these women forced the hot crowd right into the match, this was certainly a match to remember. Later in the show’s main event the influence the fans have on the quality of show was prevalent once again as one of the greatest of all time John Cena returned to the company he was the face of for 15 years in one of the most memorable returns of the current decade so far.

The Impact of fans returning post pandemic cannot be underestimated, they have always been the heart beat of this great sport. The following weeks will certainly continue to showcase the importance of fans as AEW continues the tremendous Kenny Omega/Hangman story line and WWE starts the road to Summer Slam.

Who is the best running back in the NFL?

Who is the best running back in the NFL?

By Buck Reising -October 20, 2020
In a recent ESPN Instagram post, reporter Jeremy Fowler states his top 5 best running backs in the NFL in 2021.

The list goes Derrick Henry, Alvin Kamara, Dalvin Cook, Nick Chubb, and Christian McCaffrey. All running backs had great years yet, and this list is interchangeable.

For one, each running back hasn’t had the best past when it comes to post-season success. For example, Henry losing to the ravens in the first round, both cook and McCaffery missing the playoffs, and Nick Chubb losing against the Chiefs this past season, not to mention Alvin Kamara’s subpar performance as well in the postseason.
This list is very interchangeable not only because of performance but also in stats. For example, although his season was riddled by injury, McCaffery’s stats were 225 yards and five touchdowns. However, his performance in those three games he went off. I could bring up his career stats, except this is only based on this past season.

Christian McCaffrey of the Carolina Panthers during their game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Charlotte. JACOB KUPFERMAN / GETTY IMAGES
Next is Nick Chubb, whose stats were better than Kamara’s but by a little. Chubb had 1067 yards with 12 touchdowns. In comparison to Kamara, who had 937 yards with 16 touchdowns.
Photo by: 2019 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images
Lastly, Dalvin Cook should be second behind Henry. Cook’s stats was 1557 yards with 16 touchdowns.
Photo Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn (USA TODAY Sports)
Statistically, this list is inaccurate because it should be Derrick Henry, Dalvin Cook, Nick Chubb, Alvin Kamara, then Mccaffery.