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angryjay93

New York Islanders

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New York Islanders


Team Overview: One of the most overlooked and under used teams in the league, it is easy to forget that the Islanders do boast a nice 1-2-3 combo on the front line. To be fair though, the Isles are over looked for a good reason, their absolutely pathetic defenders and goalies. Make no mistake about it, this is not a team for newcomers, seasoned veterans only need apply, and it’d be wise to have a high tolerance for defensive ineptitude.

Forwards: As mentioned earlier, the Isles have a nice trio of Pierre Turgeon, Benoit Hogue, and Steve Thomas. This is a very versatile line that can light the lamp. What the line lacks though is a true lightweight to throw his weight around and cause havoc. This wouldn’t be such a big deal if the defense wasn’t so heavy and slow, but that is the dilemma we are presented with. With that in mind, even with the lack of forward depth after the top 3, a substitute may be a wise play.

The Franchise:

Hogue-Turgeon-Thomas

Benoit Hogue: 7 weight, 4/5 skating, 3/5 shot, 4 sth & pass, 4/3 aware, Shoots: L

Despite not being among the top end 5+ speed skaters, Hogue is still responsible for being the main offensive weapon for the Islanders. Hogue really excels in open ice, he is a shifty forward who can leave slower defenders in his wake. Despite being something of a middle weight, Hogue is still perfectly capable of going 1 on 1 to drive to the net and create a deke opportunity, his supreme shot accuracy will only aid him in converting those chances into goals. Hogue can also play the role of set up man, he has a decent amount of puck skills to aid him in dishing the puck towards the middle to feed the opportunistic Pierre Turgeon. When it comes to defense, Hogue is very capable of shadowing opponents, but he’s a finesse defender in that he must use his poke check to be effective.

Pierre Turgeon: 9 weight, 4/4 skating, 4/5 shot, 4 sth & pass, 5/3 aware, Shoots: L

The prototypical goal scoring slug, Turgeon is an exceptional one timer option because he has a great knack for finding open space in the slot and then tickling the twine with his powerful, accurate shot. Remarkably though, Turgeon, despite his pristine shot ratings, can run a bit hot and cold, more than the average player it seems. When it comes to a slug like Turgeon, the defense and ability to carry the puck is the real worry here. While a decent skater, light weight teams can take advantage of him by closing off the middle of the ice and dominating him physically. Defensively, Turgeon is reduced to poke checking and holding,

Steve Thomas: 6 weight, 4/4 skating, 3/3 shot, 3 sth, 4 pass, 4/3 aware, Shoots: L

A solid, gritty, playmaking winger, Thomas doesn’t bring any jaw dropping skills to the table. That’s ok though, that’s what Turgeon and Hogue are for anyways. Thomas is a good complimentary 3rd forward because he can carry the puck up the ice effectively with solid skating skills and a fairly low weight to help him withstand body checks. Unlike other low weight, light shooting forwards on other soft teams in the game, Thomas is very adept at dishing the puck off effectively, which makes Turgeon’s one timing option that much more dangerous. He is also a solid 4 checker, meaning the idea of checking someone in AI mode is not a foreign concept.

With a solid combination of speed, shooting, skating, and grit, this line is more than capable of putting a few goals up on even the best of teams. One thing to take into consideration is swapping Thomas for Turgeon on the penalty kill. The Isles have no weight advantage on defense, thus any advantage on the front line should be utilized to the fullest.

Dale Hunter Special:

Thomas-Hogue-Volek

Dave Volek: 6 weight, 4/4 skating, 2/2 shot, 4 sth, 3 pass, 3/2 aware, Shoots: L

As mentioned earlier, the Isles only weight advantage options are on the frontline, so in the right situation it might be wise to bench the supremely skilled Turgeon for the lighter, although far less skilled Volek. What makes Volek a viable option though is his light weight and his skating skills, he is the only other 4 speed player on the roster and thus allows him to keep up better with the offensive pace of Hogue. Volek should primarily be used as a defensive force and a playmaking forward because his slap shot is utterly pathetic and it won’t beat any goalie from range. Couple that with his low awareness and his inability to fill one-timing spots, it becomes a chore to try and make him a consistent scorer.

Hogue’s speed and one-on-one ability brings a different sort of dynamic to the team that would obviously benefit a user that is more interested in dekeing from the middle than setting up one timers and using speed on the wings. While Thomas is on his natural wing now, thus making him a bit more effective in the goal scoring department, this line is still woefully light on slap shot options and shot power in general. It will take very precise efforts from in close to get goals from anyone not named Hogue.

Other options: The Islanders lack a lot of top end depth. What they do have though is a handful of guys that might come in useful once in a blue moon and help fill out a depth chart late in a draft.

Ray Ferraro: 6 weight, 3/3 skating, 4/3 shot, 4 sth, 3 pass, 3/3 aware, Shoots: L

A poor man’s Joe Juneau, Ferraro is a man without a natural position. He doesn’t have the shot accuracy or awareness to be a center, nor does he have the skating or playmaking skills to be a productive winger. He is merely a light weight option who can sneak a slapper or quick deke by the goalie, but how often will he get that chance with such average skating?

Derek King: 9 weight, 3/2 skating, 4/5 shot, 4 sth, 2 pass, 4/3 aware, shoots: L

Built in the Rick Tocchet mold, King should never be on the ice at the same time as Turgeon, which makes him the ideal substitute if Turgeon gets hurt. A great shooter who is fairly decent at finding the open ice, he should be a solid option for one timers. Other than that though, King is a liability, hes slow, heavy, and a weak passer, if he ever has the puck on his stick for more than a split second, hes hurting the team.

Marty McInnis: 4 weight, 3/3 skating, 2/3 shot, 3 sth, 2 pass, 3/2 aware, Shoots: R

The lone pure weight bugger, McInnis can be effective in a hard hitting game, but even then, that might be stretching his limits. Possessing average speed and less than mediocre skills, McInnis will really hamper the offense, something that is a must have with such a weak defensive corps and goaltending.

Forward Rating: 7/10

Defense: There isn’t much to like about the Islanders defense, its slow, heavy, and far too focused on offensive skills. Now for something positive to say about it...their sticks won’t break, likely not very helpful since they might not be using them much.

Kasparitis-Kurvers

Darius Kasparitis: 7 weight, 4/3 skating, 3/1 shot, 3 sth & pass, 2/3 aware, Shoot: L

On a team with an average defense, Kasparitis would be nothing more than a #2 D-man option, ideally though he would be a #3 guy and the first option off the bench. On the Isles, he is the de-facto #1 guy. Sadly, Kasparitis doesn’t have a single elite skill, he’s a slightly above average skater, but everything else is merely average. It isn’t that he is necessarily a bad player, he just isn’t the top tier defensive stud that this team is in desperate need of. Try to avoid using Kasparitis on offensive rushes at all costs, he doesn’t have the skills to take advantage of such chances, he’s not fast enough to get back, and he’s the best d option, keep him back there.

Tom Kurvers: 8 weight, 3/3 skating, 4/1 shot, 3 sth & pass, 4/3 aware, Shoots: L

When one of the starters on defense isn’t a sure fire draft pick in the 12 round GDL draft, it’s a clear sign that a D-core is in major trouble. Kurvers is simply the lesser of many evils on the Isles depth chart. An average skating middle weight with 4 shot power, Kurvers is a very vanilla option. One unique thing about him though, is that he has an offensive awareness rating higher than his defensive rating, this is not a good thing. Kurvers has a tendency to get lost in all three zones when the Isles do not possess the puck. Trust me though, he is the second best defenseman on this team despite all these shortcomings.

Kasparitis-Norton

Jeff Norton: 8 weight, 3/3 skating, 2/2 shot, 2 sth, 3 pass, 4/3 aware, Shoots: L

Look a little familiar? It should, Norton is exactly the same as Kurvers save for his shooting and stick handling. Inserting Norton into the lineup is beyond nothing more than personal preference as he and Kurvers are interchangeable.

Other Option:

Vladimir Malakhov: 10 weight, 3/3 skating, 4/2 shot, 3 sth & pass, 4/3 aware, Shoots: L

Another 4/3 awareness? Yeah, it seems the Isles have a monopoly on these defenseman. If it weren’t for Malakhov’s massive weight and average skating, he could be a somewhat useful option. But in a league that is flooded with fleet footed, hard hitting forwards, icing Malakhov is just asking for trouble. In certain matchups, or in spot duty, Malakhov can tread water. These opportunities are few and far between though.

Defense Rating: 3/10

Goalie Zone: Look, I know the defense section had to have been pretty depressing to read, but this has to be better right? Unfortunately, no, it isn’t any better here, in fact, it’s worse. How you ask? Keep reading.

Glenn Healy: 5 weight, 2/4 skating, 4/4 aware, 2 puck control, 2/2/2/2 saves

Mark Fitzpatrick: 7 weight, 2/4 skating, 2/2 aware, 3 puck control, 2/2/2/2 saves

Healy has the higher overall rating (47 to 44), it is artificially pumped up by the useless awareness ratings though. Essentially the decision boils down to one thing. Have slightly better rebound control, or a slightly more mobile GC. For the former, go with Fitzpatrick, for the latter, go Healy. Once the decision is made though, goals are going to come in bunches either way. No non-expansion team comes close to the toxic waste that is the Isles goalie situation.

Goalie Rating: 1.5/10

Bottom Line: After the top 3 forwards, the depth of the team falls off dramatically to expansion like levels. But it’s those 3 forwards that make the Isles much more dangerous than the expansion teams and hopefully it can keep the opponent honest in their game plan.

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agree with this

they can def score plenty, especially if you like the onetimers

keeping it out is another story tho

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Now for something positive to say about it…their sticks won’t break, likely not very helpful since they might not be using them much.

ROFL. At least the heavy guys can use them for hooking.

No non-expansion team comes close to the toxic waste that is the Isles goalie situation.

I can name one: The Ottawa Senators; they're just pittiful in that position. No one in his right mind would bring Sidorkiewicz into the fold as a starter on drafts and Bertiaume, even if he's a little better than poor Peter, isn't taken in either. In the right hands, the Turgeon-Thomas-Houge triunvirate can light up the lamp, although one of those guys can get a little streaky at times.

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you're forgetting something rwd...there are essentially 5 expansion teams in the game. san jose was added in 91-92, followed by ottawa and tampa bay in 92-93. then the obvious anaheim and florida in 93-94. none of these teams had time to build yet, hence the reason they're all so crappy in the game. i'm willing to bet aj was considering all these teams when making that comment.

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Pierre Turgeon, Benoit Hogue, and Steve Thomas...

my top line in Blitz season 04 :D

very fun team, terrible goaltending. i'll get to the weight bug fix analysis later!

EDIT:

goalies have a puck control attribute, not a passing attribute. I think it affects their rebound control and how often they will fumble a puck shot around shoulder height for a bad goal. With that in mind, Fitzpantson might actually be better than Healy (as I don't know if defensive awareness does anything or not)

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you're forgetting something rwd...there are essentially 5 expansion teams in the game. san jose was added in 91-92, followed by ottawa and tampa bay in 92-93. then the obvious anaheim and florida in 93-94. none of these teams had time to build yet, hence the reason they're all so crappy in the game. i'm willing to bet aj was considering all these teams when making that comment.

you'd win that bet, thats exactly what im referring to.

As for the goalie puck control, I have a strong belief that the goalie puck control rating has something to do with passing. Guys like Roy and Belfour can really fire the puck around the ice, which makes them really dangerous because they can make the big save and set up a very quick counter. A guy like Fiset or Healy really labor to get the puck up ice with their slow lob type passes.

When it comes to rebound control, I'm not sure if thats affected by the saves ratings or the puck control.

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Pierre Turgeon, Benoit Hogue, and Steve Thomas...

my top line in Blitz season 04 :D

very fun team, terrible goaltending. i'll get to the weight bug fix analysis later!

EDIT:

goalies have a puck control attribute, not a passing attribute. I think it affects their rebound control and how often they will fumble a puck shot around shoulder height for a bad goal. With that in mind, Fitzpantson might actually be better than Healy (as I don't know if defensive awareness does anything or not)

I think puck control is rebounds as well I normally lead stat lgs in goalie assists and cant really see a difference in who the goalie is passing it out

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I think puck control is rebounds as well I normally lead stat lgs in goalie assists and cant really see a difference in who the goalie is passing it out

whats with the jeff norton card? Is that the guy who is with tiffany granath from playboy radio?

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Agree with just about all of this. As an Islander fan (Yes you may mock me) this team represents the glorious run of 93' where they took out upset the defending champion Pens without Pierre Turgeon. I tend to move Hogue to center, putting Thomas on the left and Turgeon on the right for my forward line-up. Glenn Healy is a disaster. You have to really work the manual goalie to make him at least mildly passable.

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Don't know why, but I LOVE playing with the Islanders. Not because I can turn them into anything special, but they're a team with character, in that way everyone finds with at least 1 NHL94 team.

To me Turgeon is the one true bit of class on the team, & I always thought of him as having the best 1-timer in the game. IMO he could be an absolute star in a better team like a Boston or Vancouver, who lack a real top-class center. I can't speak highly enough of him and would rate him right up there above someone like La-Fontaine, and certainly Cliff Ronning. A real gem.

There seems to be a bit of a Hogue love-in here which I can't understand. To me he's just a bit of pace to get beyond the defenders and set up the Turgeon 1-timer. A good player to have, but I can't fathom for the life of me why anyone would put him in the centre ahead of Turgeon!

As mentioned though, they're horrible on defense, and if you're playing with line changes they have no depth at all past Sc1, although King was one of those players that always seemed to pop up with important goals for me and became a bit of a folk hero for me. Disappointed to see him poorly appreciated here as I do think he's an excellent back-up player to have and does have his uses.

Being competitive with the Islanders is how I measured my success with them, because they're certainly not going to win any trophies!

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There seems to be a bit of a Hogue love-in here which I can't understand. To me he's just a bit of pace to get beyond the defenders and set up the Turgeon 1-timer. A good player to have, but I can't fathom for the life of me why anyone would put him in the centre ahead of Turgeon!

Turgeon is a victim of the weight bug if you're playing against someone in real life. They'll use whatever light guy they have (Roenick, Ronning, Juneau..) to run him over before you can pass it to him for a one-timer. Hogue's speed makes him really useful, plus his 3/5 shot is decent; he's also reasonably light so can't be pushed around too much.

Oh, I see I never made a weight bug analysis.. I'll have to get to that!

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Turgeon is a victim of the weight bug if you're playing against someone in real life. They'll use whatever light guy they have (Roenick, Ronning, Juneau..) to run him over before you can pass it to him for a one-timer. Hogue's speed makes him really useful, plus his 3/5 shot is decent; he's also reasonably light so can't be pushed around too much.

Oh, I see I never made a weight bug analysis.. I'll have to get to that!

Well, my school of thought is that quality is going to win through in the end. The opposition can't keep Turgeon quiet, or on his backside for the full 3 periods. It's a racing certainty he's going to find himself with 4 or 5 great opportunities in every game, and will pretty much always take 2 or 3 of them minimum. I think he's that good. Hogue will probably have the extra muscle to make 5 or 6 opportunities maybe, but will he have the quality to take them like Turgeon will? So do you go with the weight advantage or the technical skills?

Me, i'd always go with Turgeon. He's one of my favourite players in the game and I really rate him as one of the "elite" players.

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LOL turgeon rated as elite?

what smoz said, he will get run over and is a major defensive liability vs wgt buggers as he cant check for sh it.

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Me, i'd always go with Turgeon. He's one of my favourite players in the game and I really rate him as one of the "elite" players.

I like Turgeon a lot myself, but its safe to say he is not elite. Guys like Roenick, Bure, Yzerman, Selanne, etc., those are the real elites of the game.

I dont have a list made up, but I'd easily consider him a top 50 forward in the game, and probably in the top 25 for pure goal scorers because of how deadly his one-timers are.

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LOL turgeon rated as elite?

what smoz said, he will get run over and is a major defensive liability vs wgt buggers as he cant check for sh it.

Well, I tell you what, if you put him in that Boston team or Vancouver or Montreal they'd score a lot more goals, and be a lot more dangerous as a result. Maybe someone has had him as part of a strong line up in the Blitz league and can give their opinion? Would be interesting to know

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Maybe someone has had him as part of a strong line up in the Blitz league and can give their opinion? Would be interesting to know

You can't really compare classic Turgeon to blitz Turgeon because they are 2 totally different players. The blitz version is much more adept at absorbing checks from the smaller and faster players. Turgeon still gets run over by guys like Lindros and Iafrate, but there are far fewer players in Blitz who can dominate him physically than in the classic rom.

In the blitz rom, Turgeon is probably in the top 25 among forwards. It could still be argued that the classic elites Roenick, Yzerman, Bure, Selanne are still better than he due to comparable shots and better skating despite being light. And now also players such as Neely, Lemieux, and Lindros are better as well due to having comparable stats to Turgeon and having more of a physical edge in their games.

By no means am I bashing Turgeon, he's still extremely useful in both roms, more so in blitz. But its tough to say that in the overall scheme of things, that hes an elite player on either rom.

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These write-ups are Aj at his best its too bad we can't put him there instead Ron Barr in classic game would be pretty funny and way more accurate.:.:: Also maybe an artificially Aj drafter for GDl would tAke some programming but would live alot longer than him lol

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Weight Bug Fix Analysis

Forwards

The Islanders gain a bit on their top line, but lose a lot in offensive depth once their weight buggers are nerfed.

Improved

Pierre Turgeon changes into a respectable power forward with his 9/3 weight/checking(8.9 combined checking effectiveness). Matt Hurray had 90 goals with him in Blitz 5. He's a late-first/early-second round pick with the weight bug fix and should be your centreman. He'll be able to stand up to most forwards and defense in order to get off a slapshot or onetimer, but his checking is actually a bit disappointing, due to his high weight reducing his manoeuvrability somewhat.

About the Same

Benoit Hogue, at that middle 7 weight, is still a great player. A lot of the D can knock him over now, but with his speed, you'll have to make a mistake for them to be able to connect. His Blitz stats aren't impressive, but that's due to him playing the past 3 seasons for a coach who can't score (me!). With his speed and 4 passing, he makes a great winger. In a pinch, he can sub in at centre and use his speed for breakaways and his accurate 3/5 shot for some onetimers.

Steve Thomas is a bubble player in Blitz -- you hope you have someone better to be your 3rd forward, but you also feel bad leaving him on the bench. He's a tad light at 6 weight, but his 4 checking gives him a 7.9 combined checking rating, so he can contribute more defensively than a typical 3rd forward. Thomas is another victim of my anemic scoring (4 seasons)

Derek King you might think would suddenly be an imposing power forward with his 9 weight and 4/5 shot, but his 3/2 skating and pathetic 1 checking (6.4 combined checking rating) make him a huge defensive liability. He couldn't even consistently crack the starting line on AJ's Blitz 1 rejects team.

Weakened

Dave Volek, Marty McInnis, and Ray Ferraro were decent subs with the weight bug, but are now either too slow or too weak to survive.

Defense

The Long Island defense can now make it a long night for opposing players, having two respectable pairings (well.. 1.5).

Improved

Uwe Krupp becomes one of the most sought-after defenders in the game, with his imposing 14/3 checking (12.6 combined -- 6th best in the league, 4th among defenders). His incredibly high weight and 2/2 skating will make him very hard to use, but in the right hands, he can put up 300 checks in a season and help you win you an "A" league Stanley Cup. Outside his checking, he has 3/4 awareness, 3/2 shooting, 2 StH, and 3 passing.

Vladimir Malakhov has at least one big fan: FlamingPavelBure has drafted him in all 5 Blitz seasons. 10/3 wgt/chk (9.6 combined), 4/3 awareness, rare 4/2 shooting, 3 StH, and 3 passing; there are many better defensive-defenseman and many better offensive-defensemen, but few with his combination of checking ability and offensive prowess.

Darius Kasparitis gets a slight upgrade with the weight bug fix, due to adding his 4 checking to his 7 weight, giving him an 8.6 combined checking rating, which he can use to full effect with his 4/3 skating. If you can't handle Uwe Krupp's behesloth skating, The Disease is ready to tear some MCLs with too-low hip checks. He's not quite good enough to get first line minutes in Blitz, but he is dependable replacing a penalized defender.

Richard Pilon has one of the worst names a defenseman could have, but with the weight bug fix, you could do a lot worse. 9/3 (8.9) checking and 3/3 skating are serviceable. If he gets the puck, you're probably best off dumping it right away, though, rather than rolling the dice on his 2 stickhandling and 1 passing. His awareness is an absurd 1/2, as well, so I'm not sure he even knows which way to skate when he gets the puck.

About the Same

None of the other D get any worse, but none of them get better to the point you'd actually want to use them. Scott Lachance (8/3 wgt/chk, 2/2 agi/spd, 3 pas) is the best of them defensively. Tom Kurvers (8/2 wgt/chk) has a 4/1 shot, 4/3 awareness, and 3 passing and stickhandling so could be considered an ok offensive defenseman -- but this team already has Malakhov to fill that role.

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Weight Bug Fix Analysis

Great job on the weight bug fix analysis Smoz, I always love reading this stuff and the links your provide to the blitz page are incredible, I really wish I could do something similar for my analysis.

Just wanted to build on a couple of things you wrote about. I totally agree with you about Pierre and I think thats reflected in some of the earlier posts in this topic. Almost all 5 speed players stilld find a use in Blitz and Hogue is no exception, but he still among the mid-lower teir for 5 speed players.

King was a part of my Blitz 1 team, and he can be useful against slower heavier teams since he is pretty tough to run over with a body check. Still, he had issues skating into scoring areas consistently enough and he just didnt convert enough of his chances.

On defense, Darius was on my Blitz 1 team as well and rode pine behind Bob Rouse and Michel Petit. It's kind of nice having a 7 weight player who can hit, but hes not fast enough to use it consistently on the likes of a Yzerman or Roenick, nor is he big enough to affect a Kontos or Sandstrom. Like you said, he's built for that #3 role.

I'm not a big fan of Krupp, his mobility is a major concern, the 3/3 skating of mcsorely is a noticable improvement in the same weight class. I'd rank the Isles defense in this fashion; Malakhov, Kasparitis, Kurvers, Krupp, Pilon, Norton, Lachance. After the disease though, the order could easily be flipped around based off preference and I wouldn't put up much argument.

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These write-ups are Aj at his best its too bad we can't put him there instead Ron Barr in classic game would be pretty funny and way more accurate.:.:: Also maybe an artificially Aj drafter for GDl would tAke some programming but would live alot longer than him lol

Question Smoz, is this doable?the first part, not so much the artifical AJ part, but I do have a narcissistic need to see myself plastered all over the team matchup screen. Also, if Molson wants to sponsor my Team Matchup analysis feature, thatd just be swell. I will take my payment in beer...the entire payment.

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Question Smoz, is this doable?the first part, not so much the artifical AJ part, but I do have a narcissistic need to see myself plastered all over the team matchup screen. Also, if Molson wants to sponsor my Team Matchup analysis feature, thatd just be swell. I will take my payment in beer...the entire payment.

Sure, it's possible to edit the Ron Barr picture (it's replaced with Jim Hughson in Clockwise's 2011 ROM) and the text. The text is boilerplate, though, it says the same thing for each game and subs in player names. Kind of a shame the teams don't have separate blurbs.

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Separate blurbs? You mean kind of like the modded NHLPA 93 roms as well as the Sega CD versions?

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Separate blurbs? You mean kind of like the modded NHLPA 93 roms as well as the Sega CD versions?

I know NHLPA93 SNES has different blurbs for each team. Not sure about the others.

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CB Notes

Forwards

Benoit Hogue: While easily the Islanders best puck carrier, Hogue may find it preferable to pick his spots a bit more often. Any of the heavy mobile blue liners such as Ellett, Bourque, and Stevens could give Hogue some issues and it would be best for him to dish off to Turgeon at that point. Aside from that, Hogue should have the majority of the defenders eating from his hand and he can now use his speed to pressure a Sweeney or Lidstrom into making a mistake they previously weren't prone too.

Pierre Turgeon: In some instances managers found it best to park Turgeon on the bench, doing so now would leave a big CB check hole in its forward rank. Turgeon's 9 weight will give him a new dimension as he does have the speed required to make lighter players around the league sweat a bit. Pierre can easily pick apart unsuspecting teams with his finishing ability via one timers or dekes. Guys like Roenick and Yzerman will still give Turgeon fits, but he should be able to give hell to plenty of the 4 speed centers that he will be matched up against.

Steve Thomas: Without a doubt Thomas remains the best weight bug option for the Isles and will provide the best possible balance to this line. Thomas will likely still maintain his issues goal scoring as his low stick handle attribute will do him no favors trying to work into the heart of most defenses but this was something that users already dealt with. Thomas maintains his strengths as a pesky winger out on the perimeter who can make life difficult for anyone who comes across his path.

Dave Volek: If Thomas goes down then Volek should be the first man up as he is just an offensively downgraded version of the man he replaces. Picking the appropriate spots in which to use Voleks upgraded stick handling should help him maintain production similar to Thomas.

Ray Ferraro and Marty MacInnis: New York's sketchy depth takes a hit as Ferraro and MacInnis now become points of focus for other teams defenses. Be careful about who these guys are deployed against as anyone faster, more skilled, and/or bigger should be able to run amuck.

Derek King: If I've said it once, I've said it a million times, 2 speed forwards are almost never a good idea. King will have issues applying a CB check and will still be easy pickings for almost any defender. Unless the lineup has been crippled by injuries and penalties, just keep King parked next to the backup goalie.

Brad Dalgrano: 11 weight, 1/2 speed, 1/4 shot, 2/2 sth and pass, 3/2 aware, Shoots: R

WTF DID I SAY ABOUT TWO SPEED FOWARDS!? NO! OK!? HELL NO!!!

Brian Mullen: 6 weight, 3 everything else, Shoots: L

I feel bad having ripped upon every single Islanders depth option so far and so I feel obligated to suggest a warm body who could easily be iced over MacInnis and King. Mullen is a respectable veteran with respectable skills.

Defense

Darius Kasparaitis: A classic average middleweight, Darius's overall effectiveness doesn't change much despite being able to hit sub 5 weight forwards and get hit by 9 plus weight defenders. Still the obvious #1 in this meager blue line corps.

Tom Kurvers and Jeff Norton: With 10 weight forwards still rarely being iced, these two had little body checking ability to speak of. Now that the two can knock around a 6 weight forward they have been upgraded from expansion team fodder to passable #2's. Don't underestimate this development as this will hopefully keep more pucks away from Glenn Healy.

Vladimir Malakhov: If feeling so inclined to really go nuts with the CB check, Malakhov is available for such a desire. He isn't a great stay at home defender and his opportunities to body the opposition may be limited. Regardless, icing the team's most skilled defender now becomes a viable option which is a welcome sight.

Uwe Krupp: 14 weight, 2/2 skating, 3/2 shot, 2 sth, 3 pass, 3/4 aware, Shoots: R

If for whatever reason you need to sell out for a CB check option, Krupp is the man for the job. Being the only right handed option in the back for the Isles, Krupp can be slotted in behind Thomas who is the best weight bug checker on the team and allow the Isles to be extremely flexible on that side of the ice. There are obvious downsides to Krupp, he is slow, cumbersome to move, and is terribly vulnerable to anyone else in the league while he has the puck. Krupp is the epitome of CB overkill.

Bottom Line

The already terrible forward depth has been whittled down further and the Isles lack flexibility up front to play the match up game. Mercifully, the three forwards they do have are diverse enough to compliment each other well. Where the Isles really make up ground is on defense, plenty of options are available here to help deal with any of the tricky players that can take advantage of the Isles forwards. The slipshod goal tending of Healy will still prove too much for the defense to overcome and thus keeps the Islanders among the worst non-expansion teams.

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