Islanders bar team blogger

The Islanders have informed the writer of a popular blog that covers the team he no longer will be given media credentials.

The move has been protested by the Professional Hockey Writers Association and prompted a meeting Wednesdaybetween NHL and Islanders officials in an attempt to resolve the matter.

Chris Botta, who writes NYI Point Blank, worked for the team for two decades and was its vice president of communications when he resigned in May 2008.

He said at the time the parting was amicable, and soon the Islanders approached him about writing a blog, which they initially sponsored. It has grown to an average of 1.5 million page views per month, he said.

"I want to let the process play itself out,'' Botta said last night, "and I'm very hopeful that cooler heads will prevail.''

The reasons behind the action are not entirely clear. Team spokesman Kimber Auerbach said, "We funded his blog for the first year. When that changed he went from reporting the news to making the news.''

Auerbach added, "We have not stopped his blog. There are lots of bloggers out there who write from their homes, their couch, outside the arena. He just won't have access.''

Botta announced an indefinite, self-imposed suspension of the blog Tuesday as the league sought to mediate the matter. Auerbach said "nothing really changed" after the NHL met with the Islanders. In the regular season teams set their own credential policies.

Why bar Botta, who is also senior NHL writer for AOL Fanhouse, now? "It was just stuff that kind of built up,'' he said.

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