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"The Skinny" By Eric Hornick Eastern Conference Round 1, Game 5 Carolina 6, Isles 3 Carolina Wins Series 4-1 School is out. Jack D...

Friday, August 27, 2010

Tavares working hard in off-season

From Katie's blog--  always a good sign to see a potential star willing to work hard.


For third straight summer, John Tavares works hard on skating, eyes improvement

When skating instructor Dawn Braid first took to the ice with then-OHL standout John Tavares, she couldn't pick him out from the rest of her

pupils. That quickly changed, however, once the 17-year-old approached her afterwards and asked for additional help one-on-one.

Despite the acclaim Tavares had already garnered as a star sniper in junior hockey, the precocious teen knew the one consistent knock on his game—his skating—and he chose to proactively combat such criticism.

So the summer before he became the No. 1 overall pick in the NHL draft, Tavares enlisted the help of Braid, the Director of Skating Development at the Athlete Training Centre in Mississauga, Ontario in his effort to improve.

"For the last few years I've been working on my skating efficiency, technique and mechanics," Tavares said. "Lately, it's just been the little things to keep in mind over a long season—how to stay sharp, increase speed, generate space for myself in corners whether it's with crossovers, strides or pivoting. All those little things helps me."

Tavares is coming off a successful rookie campaign--24 goals and 30 assists in 82 games--but he's not about to get complacent.

"I'm only going to be 20 years old this season so I still have a lot to learn but obviously I want to keep improving. I want more responsibility this year and to contribute on a nightly basis.

Braid, a former skating instructor for the Toronto Maple Leafs, works with hockey players of all levels, but said what stood out immediately about Tavares was his tremendous work ethic.

"He's an extremely hard worker and he's hard on himself. That's one of those things I value while working with a player," Braid said. "John has taken that weakness that everyone comments on and he has worked really hard to get better."

When Braid first begins working with a player she videotapes his forward stride, analyzes how to make it more efficient, and then shows the player visually.

From what she videotaped of Tavares two summers ago, there has been "a huge change," Braid said.

"People would be extremely surprised at the strides he has made."

In addition to becoming more powerful and quicker, Tavares is now working to improve his game down low.

"That's' where we can make him better. If we can make him more agile on his skates down low, he's going to be able to cover more ice, create more space for himself and explode out of a tight turn with crossovers, not short, little, choppy steps."

How exactly do they achieve that?

"We might change how he how he carries his upper body or suggest he carry a lower knee bend while skating, He can become more agile through edgework, pivoting, even stopping and starting," Braid said. "It's all the little things you do in tight that allows you to make more room when you win that battle."

As an instructor, half the battle for Braid is already won.

"Not every player is willing to do what he is with me," she said. "It's becoming more popular as players improve and the game has gotten so much stronger with skating, but the fact that he took it upon himself to come to me showed that he knew this was something he needed to work on."

"John is a person who has succeeded at each level," Braid said. "As the years go on and he matures, his potential is unlimited. I think you'll even see big changes this year."

Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since 1982. Visit my blog: forever1940.blogspot.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

From Newsday: Yet another Coliseum plan

Mangano creating plan to redevelop Nassau Coliseum hub
August 25, 2010             by WILLIAM MURPHY                     /

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano has proposed using long-term borrowing -  
and ultimately taxpayer dollars - to redevelop the area surrounding  Nassau
Coliseum, including the possible renovation of the Coliseum  itself, according
to county documents and officials briefed on the plan.

Mangano and his aides  declined to discuss the plan, for which he has submitted
legislation  that would have to be approved by voters. But the presiding officer
of  the county legislature said it was his understanding that the bill was  
filed with the clerk of the Legislature on Aug. 17 in order to meet the  legal
deadline for getting a referendum on the ballot in November.

The filing "preserved  a one-month window to try and resolve whatever it is they
want  resolved. My sense is that everything is in a flux," Legis. Peter  
Schmitt, a Republican ally of Mangano, said in an interview Wednesday.

"It's a placeholder. If a determination is made to go  forward . . . it had to
be filed," Schmitt said. "My sense is that  nothing is going to get done in the
next four or five weeks, so it's  going nowhere."

The leader of the Democratic minority on the legislature, Diane Yatauro of Glen
Cove,  said she hoped Mangano was not asking taxpayers for "a blank check" for  
what was once envisioned as a privately financed development anchored  by the
Lighthouse project.

During all the years  of talks about redeveloping the hub, county officials
expected to help  with some financial incentives, but never envisioned providing
upfront  funding.

"Now, all of a  sudden, county taxpayers may be asked to chip in at a time when
the  economy remains tough and many are without jobs," she said.

A spokesman for Charles Wang, Lighthouse developer and owner of the Islanders,
said he was interested in learning about the referendum. "We continue to talk to
the county," spokesman Michael Picker said.

Any projects would be  financed by issuing bonds that would be paid off,
typically over 20 or  more years, with property tax revenue, according to
details of the  plans. Property owners would see a special line on their tax
bill  identifying how much money was going to finance the projects.

There was no cost  estimate in a sketchy administration analysis submitted to
the  legislature. It likened the plan to the two environmental bonds totaling  
$150 million that were approved during the administration of former  County
Executive Thomas Suozzi. The county has budgeted $9 million this  year to pay
the debt service on the money that has been borrowed to date  under those bond
acts, according to the Office of Legislative Budget  Review.

Officials of the Town of Hempstead,  which controls all-important zoning for the
area, said they had been  informed of the plan in general, but would not comment
because they had  not been provided enough information. "We're always interested
in  proposals that advance reasonable development in the area," town  spokesman
Michael Deery said.

Deery said county  officials had not indicated the plan was tentative or a
placeholder, and  said one of the possibilities discussed was the renovation of
the  Coliseum.

With Randi F. Marshall
 Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home
telecasts since 1982. Visit my blog: forever1940.blogspot.com and follow me on
Twitter @ehornick

Isles on National TV

The NHL released their National TV schedule today.

Isles will appear on Versus twice:  10/13 in Washington and 2/2 in
Pittsburgh.  The 2/2 game is non-exlcusive in the NY-area so there will be a
local telecast.

Isles are listed once on NBC's schedule as well -- as an option on January 23rd
-- Looking at the list of games, I would say it's a pretty safe bet that it
won't be shown:

Sun. 1/23/2011 Florida New Jersey
Sun. 1/23/2011 Buffalo N.Y. Islanders
Sun. 1/23/2011 Philadelphia Chicago  <===  bet the house that this will be the
national game!

THe NHL Network US schedule has not been released.

For Canadian viewers 
Isles will appear on NHLN-CA  11/10 and 12/5
On CBC 2/5  --likely only in the Ottawa region
On TSN 10/27, 11/4 and 1/13
No TSN2 games are scheduled

RDS -- all 5 games vs Montreal
RIS -- 2/11 and 4/8
 Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home
telecasts since 1982. Visit my blog: forever1940.blogspot.com and follow me on
Twitter @ehornick