Archive | March 2016

Pikiell Leaves Stony Brook: Was it the right time?

By Brett Malamud

Steve Pikiell agreed to become the ninth head coach in Rutgers University men’s basketball history, and was introduced by the Scarlett Knights at a press conference on Tuesday.

Pikiell comes from the defending America East champions Stony Brook Seawolves, who were knocked out of the NCAA Tournament by Kentucky last weekend. Led by senior forward Jameel Warney, the Seawolves proved that they were the top team in the America East, after being picked first in the conference’s preseason rankings, and winning the regular season title.

The coach hasn’t always had it easy though. In his first three years at the program, Pikiell compiled a 20-67 record, placing last in the conference each year. That sparked a turnaround in his remaining eight seasons, as the Seawolves never placed lower than fifth in the conference, and finished in the top two in six of those years. In fact, Stony Brook never had lower than 22 wins in six of the last seven seasons. However, until this season, Stony Brook found itself without a conference title, and advanced to the conference title game four times, falling short in each.

Pikiell

Many fans and administrators blamed the coaching for the losses, but failed to realize something important: it was the coaching that got them to the title game again and again. If it were not for Pikiell, the Seawolves would not have seen the road past America East powerhouse Albany, who advanced to the NCAA Tournament for three straight years, before getting knocked off in the America East quarterfinals by Hartford this season. Without Pikiell, we probably would never have seen Warney in a Stony Brook uniform, where he’d go off for 43 points in the America East title game and get doused in confetti in IFCU Arena—his home court—in front of a capacity crowd.

Pikiell received several offers in the past from mid-major schools, but never wanted to leave, always sticking to the fact that he enjoyed coaching the Seawolves, but the case for leaving now is an easy one. Rutgers offered Pikiell an $8 million deal over five years. But with the forthcoming departure of seniors Warney, Carson Puriefoy III and Rayshaun McGrew, Pikiell made the easy decision that, if he was going to begin a rebuild, he would do it at the Big Ten level. While Rutgers is arguably the worst job in the Big Ten, the offer was one that Pikiell couldn’t refuse. It was a no brainer.

So while the fans and administrators will be upset that Pikiell is leaving, they need to stop and thank him for sticking with a team that was built from the ground up, and for bringing the Seawolves to a place where no other Stony Brook coach brought them—to March Madness. Pikiell helped to put Stony Brook on the map, and for that, he deserves to go out on top.


Brett Malamud is an English Rhetoric Major at Binghamton University. He is the co-founder of dabuzzza.com. His favorite athletes are Derek Jeter and Todd Bertuzzi. You can follow him on twitter at @brettnyy

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2016 NHL Trade Deadline Reaction

By Brett Malamud

Trade deadline day came and went, and there wasn’t too much going on. Let’s take a look at what happened in the days leading up to the deadline:

Winnipeg Jets trade Andrew Ladd, Matt Fraser and Jay Harrison to Chicago Blackhawks for Marko Dano, 2016 1st-round pick and conditional pick in 2018 Draft

Reaction: The Ladd-Chicago reunion will bring cup memories back to fans, and should be a good acquisition, but at what price? This is an example of just one of the numerous over the top asks for rental players. Chicago overpaid but if that means a Stanley Cup, it won’t matter to them

Carolina Hurricanes trade F Eric Staal to New York Rangers in exchange for F Aleksi Saarela, 2016 2nd-round pick, 2017 2nd-round pick

Reaction: I thought that Carolina would receive more for Staal. Seems that the Rangers got away with one here, and have a depth forward to help them towards a playoff run.

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Eric Staal should help the Blueshirts down the stretch (Via Rangers)

Washington Capitals trade F Brooks Laich, D Connor Carrick, 2016 2nd-round pick to Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for F Daniel Winnik, 2016 5th-round pick (previously acquired from Anaheim)

Reaction: One can’t help but feel bad for Brooks Laich. The longest-tenured player on the Capitals, and finally as they’re poised to make a deep playoff run, they deal him. Winnik isn’t a huge get for Washington, but he can’t hurt their chances.

Arizona Coyotes trade F Mikkel Boedker to Colorado Avalanche for F Alex Tanguay and prospects F Conner Bleackley and D Kyle Wood.

Reaction: Both clubs walk away making a good deal. Boedker will help by putting the puck in the net, and the ‘Yotes get two prospects with potential.

The New Jersey Devils trade D Eric Gelinas to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for a 3rd-round pick in 2017.

Reaction: There was no room for him in NJ, so Gelinas is dealt. Will get an opportunity out West. Good return for him

Calgary Flames trade D Kris Russell to the Dallas Stars in exchange for D Jyrki Jokkipakka, F Brett Pollock and a conditional 2nd-round pick in 2016.

Reaction: The Stars overpaid. Period. Yes, they get a shot blocker, but he’s a rental. The Flames on the other hand will be rooting for the Stars in the playoffs, as if the Stars reach the conference finals, the pick becomes a first rounder. They also get Jyrki Jokkipakka, who has become a household name, at least in my household (yes, really). A good deal for the Flames here. 

The Carolina Hurricanes trade D John-Michael Liles to the Boston Bruins in exchange for a 3rd- round pick in 2016, a 5th-round pick in 2017 and F Anthony Camara.

Reaction: The Bruins will like having blue-line depth by adding JML.

The Buffalo Sabres trade F Jamie McGinn to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for a conditional 3rd-round pick in 2016.

Reaction: I like this deal for the Ducks. They needed a good winger, and they got one in McGinn.

Florida Panthers trade F Brandon Pirri to the Anaheim Ducks for a sixth-round pick in 2016.

Reaction: How did the Ducks get away with this? A sixth rounder? Really? The Panthers could have gotten more for Pirri. 

The New Jersey Devils shipped F Lee Stempniak to the Boston Bruins in exchange for a second-round pick in 2017 and a fourth-round pick in 2016.

Reaction: The Bruins get another good player in Stempniak. Will be a good addition with Boston. As for the Devils, I was a bit surprised that they dealt him, but in a tough Metropolitan Division, it’s understandable why they did.

 

The Montreal Canadiens trade winger Devante Smith-Pelly to the New Jersey Devils for winger Stefan Matteau.

Reaction: Two young players get swapped. Here’s hoping it works out this time for them.

Ottawa Senators trade F Shane Prince and 2016 7th-round pick to New York Islanders for 2016 3rd-round pick

Reaction: see https://dabuzzza.com/2016/03/01/the-curious-case-of-garth-snow-and-the-fresh-prince/ 

The Calgary Flames trade forward David Jones to the Minnesota Wild for goaltender Niklas Backstrom and a sixth-round draft pick.

Reaction: Won’t really help either team. Each player’s career is basically done.


Brett Malamud is an English Rhetoric Major at Binghamton University. He is the co-founder of dabuzzza.com. His favorite athletes are Derek Jeter and Todd Bertuzzi. You can follow him on twitter at @brettnyy

 

The Curious Case of Garth Snow And The Fresh Prince

By Brett Malamud

Fans of the New York Islanders were anticipating a big trade deadline day for their club on Monday. The team sits in third place in the Metropolitan Division, now seven points behind the rival New York Rangers, with three games in hand. All along, Islanders general manager Garth Snow remained adamant in keeping his team’s first round picks, as well as his top four prospects — forwards Mathew Barzal, Anthony Beauvillier, Michael Dal Colle and Joshua Ho-Sang — in any deal for a potential unrestricted free agent forward. Snow’s goal was to add a depth forward without giving up any major piece. When the day was all said and done, the Islanders finished a quiet trade deadline day by making just one NHL deal, acquiring prospect forward Shane Prince and a 2016 seventh round pick in exchange for a 2016 third round pick.

 

The Good

Shane Prince for me is a familiar face. As a Binghamton University student, I have had the opportunity to watch Prince many times with the Binghamton Senators. The 23-year-old is extremely quick and has great hands. He reminds me of a young Kyle Okposo, who was projected to be a second liner, and that is where Prince is projected to wind up as well (Okposo ended up a first liner, and Prince could end up one too if his development pans out). Prince is also a versatile forward who can play both at the center and wing positions, which should help the Islanders going forward. It’s also being reported out of Ottawa that the Senators were actually seeking a second round pick for Prince, and settled for the Islanders third round pick (the Islanders actually do not have a second round pick in 2016, as it was traded in the deal for Johnny Boychuk at the start of last season).

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Shane Prince has some quick moves, and Islanders fans will come to admire them.

Over the last week, the Islanders were linked to numerous names on the trade market, such as Andrew Ladd and former Islander P.A. Parenteau. The Islanders certainly spoke to the Winnipeg Jets at some point this season about Ladd while shopping defenseman Travis Hamonic, after he requested a trade to a team located near his home in Western Canada. However, the asking price was far too high for Snow’s liking. So rumors swirled all week of a Parenteau-Isles reunion. It was later found out that Toronto was seeking a second round pick, a price that Snow wasn’t going to pay. According to Newsday’s Arthur Staple, Snow didn’t even have Parenteau on his radar, leading to speculation that Toronto started the rumor to attempt to start a bidding war. By the 3 p.m. deadline, a Parenteau deal was not made, and the high asking price was certainly the reason why any deal including him didn’t come to fruition. All in all, the Snow stuck to his guns and kept his key pieces on the roster, which is certainly a win for New York.

 

The Bad

Many had high expectations for the Islanders this trade deadline to upgrade in a big way. I’d agree that the Isles are one major piece away from being a legitimate Stanley Cup contender. They failed to acquire that big piece, and the fans are certainly letting the team hear it on social media. As for the rookie acquisition, Prince has just three goals and 12 points in 42 games this season for the Senators. He hasn’t been able to get it together this season, even though he was so dominant in the minor leagues (he had 28 goals and 65 points in 72 games for Binghamton in 2014-15). He also couldn’t progress up Ottawa’s lineup, remaining stuck on the team’s fourth line.

Of course this raises the question: “Where does Shane Prince even fit in to the Islanders roster?”

I believe that Prince could see time on the second and third lines, with Mikhail Grabovski still out till the weekend. Prince may see time on the second line with Frans Nielsen and Kyle Okposo, or with third-liners Brock Nelson and Anders Lee. He should not be on the team’s fourth line, as the phenomenal chemistry between Casey Cizikas, Cal Clutterbuck and Matt Martin isn’t worth tinkering with.

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Shane Prince had 28 goals and 65 points in 72 games for the Binghamton Senators (AHL) in 2014-15. (Via Getty)

 

Bottom Line

Not to bail out Garth Snow, but trades are a two-way street, and the other team does have to accept the deal as well. Many people forget that. In fact, with high asking prices, it’s tough for teams to decide to settle and accept deals for below a player’s value (ex. Drouin, Yakupov, and Eriksson staying put), especially in a high-pressure situation such as a trade deadline day. We may never hear what deals were in the works for Garth Snow on Monday afternoon, but I can assure you that although he only made one NHL deal on deadline day, Snow wasn’t twiddling his thumbs all day. Some deals just don’t work out.

No, this deal doesn’t make the Islanders an elite team. We know that. They got a young prospect who will make an impact as a depth forward. No, I do not believe that the Isles are a cup contender this year either, but they should be able to get past the first round. Kyle Okposo is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year, and while reports say that he’s destined to leave the Islanders, never say never.

The same reports came out last season about defensemen Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy, before they were signed to long-term extensions. Garth Snow keeps his organization tight lipped, so who really knows what Snow is going to do? The team will also have to re-sign pending UFAs Frans Nielsen and Matt Martin. It’s probably more likely that the team re-signs Nielsen and Martin rather than Okposo, but again, anything is possible.

With rising prospects Barzal, Beauvillier, Dal Colle and Ho-Sang, the Islanders find themselves with a bright future. In fact, Dal Colle and Barzal may be on the team come September, and Ho-Sang may start the season in Bridgeport.

If they were to deal any of their current players for an impact player such as Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, or Max Pacioretty (Again, just examples of the kind of player that may be available), the Islanders would become a contender. The Oilers seem like a likely candidate in that department, knowing that a Travis Hamonic trade to a Western Canadian team may involve Edmonton. The Islanders would obviously inquire about Hall but Eberle has been linked to them as well. If Edmonton came to the Islanders on draft day and offered Taylor Hall for the Islanders’ 2016 first round pick, Anders Lee, and Travis Hamonic, would you do it if you were Garth Snow? Now Edmonton fans, before you freak out, realize that GM Peter Chiarelli’s ship can’t sink any deeper. The Oilers would get their defenseman in Hamonic, a young forward in Lee, and another first round pick, plus free up $6 million a year for four years in Hall’s contract. That’s a lot to spark a quick turn around. From the Islanders’ perspective, imagine paying for Hall in the place of Okposo, letting him walk, and freeing up room for Ryan Pulock and Dal Colle/Barzal. It’d be a different team than the one out on the ice now. This may not just be a trade for EA Sports, but also for the Islanders and Oilers to examine.

But that’s talk for the draft, which is still 114 days away. For now, the Islanders acquired a potential top-six forward in Prince, and didn’t have to give up much to get him. They also didn’t break the bank for a pending UFA. Yes, Prince is having an off year, which drove his price down, but again, he’s very talented. If he comes around, he’ll be a great addition to this Islanders team who needs to shoot the puck more. I won’t call this trade a “steal” but rather a very good trade.


Brett Malamud is an English Rhetoric Major at Binghamton University. He is the co-founder of dabuzzza.com. His favorite athletes are Derek Jeter and Todd Bertuzzi. You can follow him on twitter at @brettnyy