We figure a nice recap every ten games would be a nice way to track the Isles “progress” over the course of the season. So far, sans for a couple players stats, it has been exactly as predicted; more of the same. The Isles are hovering around .500, and if the playoffs started this week, they’re a cusp team. They have a few bright spots and few spots that are glaring in the opposite direction. For the most part we will try to save opinions for our other Pulitzer Prize worthy write-ups. This one, we will simply state some facts, current statistics and a few observations.
John Tavares – JT91 is putting up consistent points and has certainly not played his best hockey yet. This could be a memorable season for scoring for John “I could have been a dentist” Tavares.
Kyle Okposo – for the most part Kyle has continued his play from the post season. His tenacity hasn’t been as consistent but if this is the worst that he plays all season, this will be Okposos’s best of his career. Extra credit goes to Okposo for being the only one to defend John Tavares after Steve Ott manhandled him.
Josh Bailey – even we can’t say anything bad about Josh bailey right now…I mean we can, we just won’t. Kudos to him for getting some points in month that doesn’t start with the letter M.
Frans Nielsen – Frans certainly will not score 40 goals and put up 100 points, like he is on pace for, but like Okposo and bailey, it is nice to see the early production. The plus 5 is nice as well.
Honorable mention –
Matt Moulson’s departure may be an improvement for this team. Thomas Vanek can score all on his own, as he was doing this year in Buffalo. Maybe JT91 and Vanek together is a good idea, or maybe Vanek rounds out a second line. Time will tell.
Matt Donovan and Brock Nelson – For being benched while under producing “acquisitions” play, they have performed as well as one could expect. Brock looks like he has the makings of a solid third liner and Donovan looks like an offensive d-man. Yes they make rookie mistakes. That’s because they are rookies. What is PMB’s and Brian Strait’s excuse?
Coaching – Where do we start? How about where most teams try to build a team; from the net out. Evgeny Nabokov cannot play 90 percent of the games. Kevin Poulin needs to be utilized. There should be no riding the hot hand. When the playoffs come, it can be assumed, if the Isles are in them, that Nabokov is the guy they will call on. Without rest now he will not be up to the task.
Matt Donovan needs to play. Even if the D is completely healthy, he needs to be in the lineup. In the absence of Visnovsky, he should be on the first power play unit. On the other hand, Matt Carkner needs to not play. Even if the entire defense gets AIDS., he should not play. I think even our most critical readers will agree with that one.
MacDonalad and Hamonic’s plus/minus. Plus/minus is certainly objective and is certainly a team stat, however your best D pair should not have the worst plus/minus on the team.
P.M. Bouchard and/or Peter Regin need to watch a game or two from the press box. This honor should not just be handed to Brock Nelson. Please, tell us why they shouldn’t be on this list? were doing.
The 4th line has given up more goals than any other line. Stop letting them halt the momentum after a goal. When starting a shift, they have looked out of sync and overanxious. Rolling four lines does not always work. Put them out there mid shift and they will do better. How many times does someone need to get kicked in the head before they realize they should get off of the floor?
John Tavares – is one of only three players in the top 20 in scoring with a minus.
Evgeny Nabokov – it’s not his fault he is being overused, but a big save once in while would be fantastic.
Matt Carkner is the worst defenseman taking a regular shift in the NHL.
John Tavares, Kyle Okposo, Michael Grabner, Joshua Bailey and Frans Nielsen are all on pace for career years. JT and Frans are on pace for 100+ points, Okposo and Bailey are on a 90 point pace and Michael Grabner has been a point a game player.
That’s not a bad way to start the season. However, this is…
The other forwards have a combined 4 goals. Cal Clutterbuck, Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Peter Regin have a combined 2 goals.
The 4th line has 2 goals and a combined 3 points while compiling a minus 13. Being that PMB and Cal Clutterbuck have a combined fewer points than Nino Niederreiter. I guess Minnesota knew what they were doing.
The defense, though it would be nice for them to get a goal here and there, has been pretty standard for the talent the Isles have. Without Lubo, someone is going to have to take the reigns and we feel Matt Donovan can do so. However we are not the coach.
The biggest plus thus far has to be the offensive production. As a whole, the top line forwards have been producing consistently. We hope it continues.
The two biggest minuses that stood out thus far are:
1-) JT91 took bruising at the hands of Steve Ott and the only thing that happened was Okposo holding him. No heart, no guts, it starts from the top down.
2-) It wouldn’t be blog from Matt and Dan if we didn’t at last mention Garth Snow! Griffen Reinahrt, without being given a chance to play, was returned prematurely to his junior club. Would he have been worse than Brian Strait or Matt Matt Carkner? Viz gets hurt and the best thing Snow could do was sign, Martinek…again. We know that you can’t recall guys from Juniors and hind site is 20/20…well ,unless your Garth Snow, who does the exact same thing after seeing it didn’t work in the past. Surely Matt Carkner had his second left foot turned into a right one and can now skate, and surely Radek Martinek decreased in age and isn’t the same player who barely played LAST year. Garth “Gun Shy Since ‘09” is awful. Until he makes a move to improve this team, expect more of the same…really, the team is almost identical to last years, it is literally more of the same.
*This article was written prior to Saturdays game. Since then the Islanders lost to Flyers and traded for Thomas Vanek.
The good and the bad.
The Good –
The Islanders beat Pittsburgh and are currently in the 8th seed if the eastern conference.
Thomas Vanek should certainly help with even strength scoring.
The Bad –
The Islanders lost to the Flyers. Completely unacceptable. Toss another reason on the fire as to way Jack Capuano should be fired.
Last we checked, Thomas Vanek doesn’t play defense. We are not talking about a two-way game. We like the trade but it would have been nice if Garth Snow addressed the defense or goaltending. You know, the glaring weakness from the offseason.
About the Author: We are two long time hockey fans who certainly have our own opinions and points of view. Feel free to share yours. Follow on twitter @joshbarely