Over the next few weeks leading to the start of the regular season, we will have some interviews with other Islanders bloggers previewing the season.
First up is a recent interview we had with Michael Hirschbein, one of the founding fathers of the FanvsFan network. We would like to thank Mike for taking the time to answer our questions and you can follow FanvsFan on twitter here.
STI: Can you give some background information on yourself for those that may not be familiar with you?
MH: My name is Michael Hirschbein and I'm one of the founding fathers of the FanvsFan Network, home to sites like islandersuniversity.com, ohlwriters.com, and profootballguru.com. I named my dog Volek because somebody needed to give David the love for his awesome goal.
STI: What are your thoughts on moves made this summer by the team?
MH: You call those moves? I call those typical NY Islander transactions. Garth doing what he does best, making something out of nothing. He is easily a Top 5 GM in the NHL. He deserves the name Garth "The Wire" Snow. Mainly because he his a waiver wire genius and I found a solid opportunity to plug one of the great HBO series of all time. If this guy wasn't on a budget, he would do more damage. Hopefully, the move to Brooklyn will change that. The guy took off the pads and kick saved his way to a General Managers position. Maybe we should give credit to Cornerstone Management in PA, they represented Garth and Paul Holmgren as players and watched them blossom into General Managers.
STI: What prospect are you most excited to see this season potentially make an impact at the NHL level?
MH: I want to see Strome make the team. Let the Nino situation echo this organization forever. Strome is NHL ready! Spending time at Bridgeport helps their ticket sales. We have 2 seasons left in Nassau, all I ask is we go all in. Letting Strome play 6 games then sending him down will be looked at as a money saving move.
STI: Kyle Okposo and Josh Bailey have been notorious slow starters in their career to this point. After the success they had at the end of last season, do you think they have moved passed their slow starts? Or will it still be an issue for them?
MH: Hard to comment. If you characterize these guys as "slow starters" I would blame Cap for not getting them ready earlier. Maybe the Isles need to put players on a training plan and diet in the off-season to for the notorious slow starters. Both guys showed more energy and passion in a shortened season then all of their previous seasons combined Let's feed off that going into training camp.
STI: Who do you think will end up backing up Nabakov this season? Will it be one of the prospects (Poulin/Nilsson)? Or will the team bring in a veteran guy?
MH: I hope Poulin is the backup. He's still young and got some playoff experience last year which should build his confidence. If you think Nabby can handle a full season you might as well tell me Jesse Pinkman is going to survive on Breaking Bad. (P.S. That show is better than The Wire.)
STI: Are you excited for the outdoor game? How do you feel the Islanders participation in the outdoor game represents a change in the way the team is viewed around the league, if at all?
MH: How can you NOT be excited for an outdoor game? What's BS, is this entire Winter Classic Stadium series essentially gave the NY Rangers 2 fake road games in the Bronx. Maybe next year they'll host it in Brooklyn at the Aquarium or Coney Island.
I think the view of the Islanders has changed drastically the past 2 yrs with guys like Tavares signing long-term. Ever wonder why the Toronto media continues to poke fun at the Islanders? Doesn't help when we attempt to circumvent the cap. The view changes because we make solid draft picks that turn into core guys. The Blackhawks are the perfect example of a team doing everything the right way and rewarding their guys. That being said, I wouldn't have rewarded Mark Streit with that contract and the Flyers faithful will chew him up when he's spending more time in the box, and less time scoring power play goals. He will be missed but was replaceable.
STI: If you could make one bold prediction about the 2013/2014 New York Islanders, what would it be?
MH: We'll make the playoffs and have the best attendance numbers since the early 90's. I think collectively, people are going to realize that the magic of Nassau is about to end. You still have "old-timers" talking about some Grateful Dead show from the 80's as if the Coliseum was a tour staple. 5 straight Stanley Cup runs ran through Hempstead Turnpike. Cue the Newsday Nostalgia pieces. I remember my father taking me to a game and watching fake Isles $ fall from the rafters after every goal. Sadly, I'm going to miss spending 30 minutes on line for the bathroom. Did Razor Ramon Security guard retire, I didn't see him this year? If your not going to miss hearing beeping horns in the parking lot after Isles wins, I might as well tell you that you never were a real Islanders fan.
STI: Of the three local teams, which do you think will have the best season?
MH: Isles have the most potential. Remember the Devils spiral after the Kovalchuk injury. Now they have an entire 82 game schedule without one of the best snipers in the NHL. They will miss the playoffs. The Rangers have the personnel but with Lundqvist entering the last year of his contract and the NY Media known for being the NY Media, it could naturally spin out of control if they start slow. Also, these beat writers have been use to 3 minute Tort pressers. Now, they actually have to miss their trains and do work which means you'll have grumpy writers on Alain. Poor Larry Brooks.
STI: How do you think the realignment will affect the Islanders chances at making the playoffs for a second season in a row?
MH: Hello! The Redwings are in the east now, which only hurts them. This team gave the Penguins the ride of its life last year. We need to build off that Nobody is going to strike Fear into us mentality. Devils advocates will say Nabby produced well because it was shortened season and then by the time the playoffs started, his tank was on empty. Longer season means you can treat injuries differently, scratch guys to prove a point, promote a guy after a good week at Bridge or demote a guy who can't get it together. We'll make the playoffs.