Six More Weeks to Wait…..

Commentary, Islanders, Off Season 2 Comments on Six More Weeks to Wait…..

Hickey re-signs for two more years

Is it just me, or when we were growing up, it seemed like Summers went by so quickly?  You just started enjoying the July 4 celebrations, and before you know it, bang, Labor Day weekend, and back to school.  It always felt like it flew by.

Now – at the midpoint of July, the middle of a heat wave that is driving us all to cooling stations and pools, it is six weeks away from the start of training camps and a full NHL hockey season to come!


These are dog days, for sure.  Although I love the warm weather, the pool, baseball, hotdogs (well – its a tough time to eat ONE these days).  But other than the Friday night Islander fix on MSG+, it is hard to get through these days.

But as an Isles supporter, I am satisfied that this team is building TOGETHER.  Although so many in the nation want this team to get stars, move up the salary ladder and get big names, I am happy with the situation they are in.  The team announced the signing of Thomas Hickey last night, so all are in the fold.

I am sleeping comfortably (well with the fans and A/C on, of course), knowing the makeup of this team is set for a good while to come.  Although the possibilities that many of us will be watching these potential celebration games from our homes as opposed to live in an arena, we will still be witness to it.

So the biggest question may end up being, who will be on JT and Matty-Mo’s line come camp and the start of the season?  Will Ryan Strome make the jump (my bet is on that)?  Or will one of the former Wild players (Messrs. Bouchard, or Clutterbuck) make the move?  Will it be Josh Bailey that will get the chance?

The only thing I hope does not happen is that Michael Grabner falls back on the depth chart and loses confidence.  I still believe that this man is a special player and can be a big help to the overall development of the hockey team.  Being placed on a third line, is not the best place for his speed and overall offensive acumen.

As far as the “D” goes, Lubo has some experience as a top line guy.  Now, he just has to “BE” the guy.  Hammer, now set for the next seven years, just has to continue his development, and be the MAN shutting down the Crosby’s and Ovechkin’s of the league.  Also, Brian Strait will now have the chance of solidifing that Top 4 spot that he wanted to covet as a Pittsburgh Penguin.  This position fell into his lap, and he has taken advantage of that in his short time here on Long Island.  Matt Carkner and Andrew MacDonald will round off the crew.

We all know about the goalie situation, and at least it is set up to go as of now.

But all I can think about now – is that we have SIX MORE WEEKS TO GO!  Oh well, I have Duck games to keep me busy; the NHL Booster Club Convention is in a couple of weeks in Savannah, GA.  That will be cool.

But alas, SIX MORE WEEKS!  Can you stand it?



Gary Harding

Gary Harding is the Lead Writer of Isles Talk. A former President of the Islanders Booster Club, and a season ticket holder for over 24 years, Gary qualifies as a ‘long suffering’ Islander fan. He, and his wife, Claire, sit in row A of Section 317, and attend just about every game possible, as well as a few road games in the year, too. He has been a member of the“Islanders Blog Box” since 2008; a project that allows bloggers like him, to be able to obtain media credentials to Islander home games, and get the perspective of reporting a game, just as if he is a full blown member of the media. Starting in August of 2013, John Panarese and Gary are talk show hosts on SPORTS TALK 1240 - a Part of the Sports Radio New York group on WGBB AM-1240. John and Gary are on at least once a month - talking about New York Sports (with a little Islander influence). Gary, born and raised in Levittown, on Long Island, and worked for a major car rental company for almost 26 years, and now is a Process Improvement Analyst for Icon Central Laboratories. He has been married to Claire for 7 years. They met on a bus trip to see the Islanders play in Montreal. Gary also is a fan of the New York Mets, Long Island Ducks, New York Jets, Everton of the English Premier League, and is a big fan of the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. Gary is also an accomplished bowler, having achieved perfection on May 4th, 1994, by bowling a perfect 300 game. His highest league average ever was 219, and highest series was 798. Gary also just had weight loss surgery in May of 2013. In the four months following surgery, he has lost nearly 80 pounds, and feels great. For further information on bariatric surgery options, check out Long Island Obesity Surgery. Favorite Isles Moment – Everyone says the cups. They were great. However, I was not a season ticket holder, or going to the games, so my favorite, was the 1993 march to the semi’s – beating Washington and Pittsburgh – the best was seeing Darius Kasparitis punching Lemieux like a rented Mule! Funny how a few years later, they were teammates. Of course, Montreal had NINE guys on the ice when they scored in Overtime in Game 3 of the Semi-Finals. Favorite All time Isles player – Tie – Bossy and Trottier on Offense, and Glenn Healy at the net. (Remember Pens fans, Trottier TAUGHT Mario how to WIN!) Favorite Current Isles player – Okposo and JT – of course – with a close third to Michael Grabner; and with every day appreciating the play of Andrew MacDonald and Travis Hamonic. This year, I am on the Matt Donovan bandwagon. (If I dont - his mother may hit go after me with a Skeet Gun!! LOL!) Favorite NHL City – Not Long Island – Vancouver with a close second to Ottawa – followed by Montreal (spot a pattern here?) Favorite player – not an Islander I like watching Ovie! – He is animated, funny and makes his mark. Also enjoy watching the Sedin twins play. Also - with his last name being the same as mine - Josh Harding of the Wild. Team I hate the most (what do you think?) Gary currently resides in Halesite, Long Island. His e-mail address is


  1. Bobby Sayers July 28, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    I sure hope you are right, I really, really want Ryan on that first line. My head spins at the thought of the fire power on that line. This will be, for a small number of spots, the most challenging training camp in years.

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