Isles Jettisoned; Visnovsky Not The Answer, Other Observations

Last night, the New York Islanders lost 5-4 to the Winnipeg Jets in overtime. Although the Islanders gained a very important point on the road, there were no moral victories in this one. It was a very tough loss for the Isles fans, who saw their team score three straight goals to pull ahead 4-2 in the third, only to give it all right back in the final seven minutes of regulation.

Former Isles goalie Al Montoya, who had a terrible end to his Islanders career, picked up the win while Evgeni Nabokov made 30 saves in a losing effort. John Tavares picked up three points in a span of 9:31, including his first goal of the season only :22 into the third period. David Ullstrom continued to impress, as he, along with Matt Moulson and Mark Streit, added the other three Islanders’ tallies.

Unfortunately, this one had fans yelling at their TV screens, repeating “Same old Islanders”. It sure looked like it. A defensive collapse in the final ten minutes of play, plus a poor 60-minute effort, had the Islanders on their heels. Travis Hamonic, playing in front of family and friends, left the game shortly after assisting on the Islanders third goal of the game, and the wheels fell off.

Now, Islanders fans are crying for Visnovsky (Oh yea. That guy.), who is expected to be on the Island by February 11th, the latest. The only thing is, this one wouldn’t have ended up any differently if Vis happened to be here.
Let us remember that Lubomir Visnovsky is a power-play specialist. When Garth Snow brought Lubomir Visnovsky into this organization, it was with the thought that he would further improve a power-play that finished 8th in 2011-12, and provide the Islanders with, arguably, their best puck-moving defender on the roster.

The thing is, the Islanders have a good power-play. They’re operating at a solid 22.2% through their first five games, with power-play goals in four of them. The team has plenty of weapons with the man advantage. They proved that last season, and they have proven that this season, thus far.

Now, this isn’t to say we cannot use a defenseman like Lubomir Visnovsky. I mean, the Islanders claimed Thomas Hickey, who made his NHL debut last night, with hopes that he would be able to fill the void that Lubomir “left” when he refused missed his flight to join the team. Lubo is just not the type of defenseman the Islanders need at this moment.

The Islanders need a shutdown defenseman. Travis Hamonic is the closest they have to that. Without Hamonic, the Islanders defense is missing it’s most unique piece. Hamonic had 7 hits against Winnipeg, and was, by far, the most physical Islanders defenseman last night. The only problem is that Hamonic cannot be on the ice for the game’s entirety.

Which is why the Islanders needed to take a look at Joe Finley, who has been the scorn of many Isles fans since he was picked up less than two weeks ago. The organization needed another shutdown guy, and seeing that Finley stands at 6’8, and was part of the top shutdown D-pair in Buffalo’s AHL Affiliate, the move to claim Finley was a no-brainer.

Unfortunately, it hasn’t panned out, so Thomas Hickey replaced Finley in tonight’s line-up. This takes us full circle, as Hickey’s style equals Visnovsky’s style, which does not equal a shutdown defenseman.

I would love to see Lubomir Visnovsky score a few goals in an Islanders uniform, but that won’t solve the barrage this team faced in their own zone last night.

A few other notes from Winnipeg

-Clumsy turnover for Eric Boulton, who saw a little over 3 minutes of ice time.

-Reasoner over Cizikas was the unpopular, and wrong decision. Reasoner played less than 8 minutes, and was as much of a non-factor as ever.

-Keith Aucoin played well, until overtime. Yikes. Happens, but that was lazy.

-Evgeni Nabokov probably wanted those third period goals back.

-John Tavares scored three points in less than ten minutes to start the third period. Hate to criticize him after those numbers, but imagine he played like that for the entire game? Was invisible through the first two periods, and finished the game with a -1.

-Thomas Hickey played well, but nothing special. A few offensive chances, but that’s it. No reason to anoint him as our savior. Still expect him to be in on Tuesday.

-Matt Martin was looking to hit people tonight, especially after taking the first blow at the beginning of this one.

-Kyle Okposo, where art thou? Your name would have been cleared if you scored that goal in overtime, but close only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades. Trade bait when Bailey gets back.

-Confused to why Brad Boyes isn’t on the first line with Tavares and Moulson. I thought that was the whole point of letting Parenteau walk.

-”No kidding” is all I want to say to people complaining about Carkner’s speed. He’s not here to be a stud. Carkner’s here to fight people, and protect our team. That’s it. 6th defenseman at best.

-Beautiful deflection by Matt Moulson.

-David Ullstrom is very strong on the puck. Talk about someone earning his ice time. He wants that thing.

-Mark Streit is tacking on the minuses. He’ll be gone by the end of the year if he keeps this up. JT is our next captain anyways.

The Islanders play the Penguins on Tuesday night, which will be televised on NBCSN. There should be no Crosby’s return debacle this year. Islanders need two points from either Pittsburgh or New Jersey if they want to close this road trip out the right way.

The Islanders are 2-2-1-0 through five games.

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About the Author: Writes at Islanders Op-Timism. Islanders Season Ticket Holder who tends to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Hofstra Graduate currently working at Portnoy, Messinger, Pearl & Associates. I definitely want to end up working within the world of hockey. Blog: E-Mail: Twitter: @ChrisTriants

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