Garth Snow, General Manager of the New York Islanders has announced in a recent press conference that in the past week, reality has hit the New York Islanders with a bad loss to the Panthers in Florida, and back-to-back losses in the home and home to the Habs of Montréal. “With 3 consecutive losses, the Islanders have dropped in the standings and slipped in the minds of many Isles fans,” said the GM. “While some may decide to move the hands of the clock closer to Midnight, I like them just where they are. I’m sure the trade rumors are going to begin to pop up on any number of blogs and boards, but we are going to maintain our course of moving the franchise forward without the nuclear option,” continued Snow in a confident tone.
Okay — I would hope that you can see this is my poor attempt at humor — and to those of you old enough to remember the Doomsday Clock from the Cold War days, I hope there is at least a courtesy smile on your face. But despite my not giving up my day job — I agree with my fictional press announcement and must suggest that we need to relax. It is 10 games into an 82 game season, and while you may lose some ground in the first few weeks of the season, you have time to close the gap and make up time. It is no where near close to midnight for the New York Islanders of 2010-11.
What has gone wrong over the last 3 games? Why the skid?
I’m not sure much of anything has gone all that wrong. But there is going to be some ebb and flow both to the Isles, and other teams over the course of the season.
First — The Islanders are not going to sneak up on anyone — especially in the Eastern Conference. Not anymore. The word is clearly out and the team is not a joke — not anymore. A third of the credit goes to the man in the picture above. The easiest part of his job is now done. Drafting well, having the smarts and patients to keep the players he selected, and letting the develop properly. The hard part is ahead of Snow. Who stays, who goes of the prospects and picks to add a needed piece or two via trade? A question for the days, weeks, months and season or two ahead. The second third goes to Scott Gordon — who has implemented a viable system for the team, and got the boys to buy into and learn the systems. The team now has something it lacked for years because no one in the GMs seat had any patience with the long list of coaches who came and went in 1-2 year stints — an Identity. Finally, the last third — and in some ways the key part of this — the players have been executing on the ice, and off the ice with their workouts, strength training and commitment to being better players.
Second — The Islander ran into a very good Habs team this past week. The Canadians are no joke. They are well coached themselves. They have highly skilled personnel that know how to win. Several players have Stanley Cup rings — Brian Gionta and Scott Gomez both have cup rings with the Devils, Travis Moen won it all with the Ducks, and Hal Gill won it with the Pens. They should be a playoff team and could make some noise this Spring should they remain healthy, and on pace. (Anything can happen, but they are a good club.) As for the Panthers — well, Thomas Vokoun always plays us well, and we did not get the big goaltending we needed to hold on in that one.
Third — The injuries continue to mount. In fact — someone tell me — have the Islanders played a game without losing a player? I just learned that Milan Jurcina is out after a hamstring injury last night. It appears to me that Bailey, Moulson, Comeau and Hunter — while all playing — likely are still banged up. And let’s not forget, some key guys are still out. Despite this, the depth on the team is holding tough, and playing good hockey.
However this continues to shake out — including what is likely to be a tough game tonight against the Flyers, the Islanders are doing well. So the point is, why move us closer to blowing up the team because of a few losses? Despite the tough loses to the Habs, the team played pretty good — particularly in last nights contest. One mistake cost us the game. They do need to be a bit more aggressive and playing with more urgency to be sure — but that should not be the signal to begin to trade away important young pieces. I raise this because the aforementioned blogs and boards will undoubtedly begin to suggest trades are needed, and more importantly then a few raging Islanders’ fans who think everyone who wears the blue and orange should be as great as Bossy, Trottier and Povin, past GMs have gone the nuclear route and gone with “established” name players that lead the team to a low point in 2008.
Now it seems again — the man in the picture above is not that kind of guy. He is much more inclined to let players develop, and stick with a plan. And as much as the Islanders don’t want to use the words — they are still rebuilding. And if that is indeed the case, then you don’t use atomic weapons to blow up the building you are trying to build — right?
Doomsday is not here — “there is still plenty of time on the clock,” so says Garth Snow — I hope.
El Nino back to Portland
While some disagree, this was the right decision in my mind. Nino didn’t play poorly, but he did not “need” to be here and undergo the same baptism by fire that Josh Bailey and John Tavares endured in previous seasons. The Islanders are boasting significant depth this season throughout the lineup. Defensively as well as on the forward unit. Michael Grabner, Matt Martin, Jesse Joensuu are all here, and in the case of Martin and Grabner, they are already contributing. Robbie Schremp is close to returning, and Kyle Okposo will enter the conversation by the end of November. Snow is 100% correct in his assessment that Nino needs the ice time, and situational play on a regular basis, and he wasn’t going to get it in New York this season.
The Islanders have begun to function just like all of the other teams. The draft picks now have to be more than ready to make the team. They have to be good enough to take a job from someone else rather then just walk onto the ice.
Congratulations Matt Martin
While he almost had a Gordie Howe Hat trick, Matt Martin took on big Hal Gill, hit everything in sight, and scored his first ever NHL goal. Martin played well in other call ups, and while I may be in the minority, I believe he should be in the NHL and with the Islanders if he is going to continue to play at the intensity and level we saw last night. Should Martin make a spot for himself, the odd man out has to be Jon Sim — who has not played poorly, but has not played so well that Martin can’t take his spot away!
Filed Under: New York Islanders
About the Author: A graphic designer who loves the game....and knows that age has slowed him down — but the passion is there. Islanders fan since the 70s, Dad, Husband and Coach of the Flying Tiger's Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: http://twitter.com/FilamentDesigns