Two weeks ago, he young Islanders were being talked about as the “real deal” and “a team to pay attention too”. That was Friday Oct. 22nd, the next night they went out and played a sloppy game against the Florida Panthers (a team they can never seem to beat). They then played a pair of back to backs against the Canadians and were beaten both nights, even though they outplayed them at the Coliseum in the second game. Then came the Flyers game, which they were humiliated in just about every facet of the game, how did they follow that game up, with an equally if not worse game against the young Carolina Hurricanes.
Five straight losses, has the fan base in a tizzy. In less than three weeks the Islanders have gone from contender to an “AHL franchise”. According to fans in a live chat last night, we can blame everyone from Rick DiPietro, Scott Gordon, Charles Wang, Gary Bettman, Garth Snow, Mike Milbury, Doug Weight, Radek Martinek, Bruno Gervais, etc for this epic collapse (yes there is sarcasm in that statement). The Islanders got off to a good start, and they have put up two really bad games in a row….let’s not burn down the village folks. Don’t get me wrong, there are some major concerns for this team, but anyone who thought it was a foregone conclusion that the Islanders were a playoff team (especially after the extended losses of Streit and Okposo) was just not being realistic. This season was going to be a battle from beginning to end, and gaining points in 4 out of the first 6 games was exactly what it was, a good start.
Let’s get into some of the troubling things I’ve seen over the past few games.
We all knew it was going take DiPietro some time to get his game back in order. That to me isn’t the troubling thing. What bothers me most, is it seems the team plays much better in front of Roloson than it does for DiPietro. Maybe it’s because they aren’t used to him, I have no idea, but I’ve watched the games against Montreal and then the last 2 against Philly and Carolina and you’re watching two completely different teams. The rumors or thoughts that his teammates just don’t like him is just untrue. I’ve seen DiPietro around his teammates and he is just one of the guys, so I’m not going to sit here and pretend like I know what the answer is, all I know is that someone in the know needs to figure it out and soon. Now, remember that the Islanders are playing 3 defenseman short now with MacDonald, Streit and Jurcina all out, it can’t go unsaid that since Hillen and Gervais have been back in the lineup the defense has not looked anywhere as crisp as it did the first 10 games.
OK, first, I know you’re down 5-1 in the 3rd period, but can someone please explain to me why Josh Bailey, Frans Nielsen, Rob Schremp, and Doug Weight are all out on the same power play? You have every playmaker on the team on the ice at the same time, and your top goal scorers are on the bench. Second, why isn’t Michael Grabner on the Power Play? He has obviously shown he can score, put him out there, let’s see what he can do. In a game where the whole teams seems to be standing around watching the game, put your “4th line guys” out there. Hunter and Martin should have been given more ice time and a chance to jump start the team.
Other than Matt Martin, (who has 26 hits in his first 4 games this season), the team has stopped hitting. For example, the Islanders had 22 hits registered against the Hurricanes, 8 of them belonged to Martin. That means the other 23 other players had a grand total of 14 hits for the entire game, and Martin only played about 11 minutes. You can give Bailey a pass since you don’t know if he’s 100% yet, Hunter does what he can, and Konopka is Konopka, but Comeau, Moulson and Wisniewski have to pick up the slack a little.
I know some of it has to do with the Power Play being so good, but Wisniewski and Mottau are -10 and Tavares is a -9…..eeeeek
What Does it All Mean?
It means the Islanders are in trouble. There are no breaks in the schedule as after Ottawa tonight, they have their
blood bath rematch with Philly on Saturday night, followed by a West Coast swing next week. They need to get going before they are buried in last place by the time they start to get a little healthy.
I won’t mention that Scott Gordon is in the final year of his contract or the fact that during my interview with Isles GM Garth Snow his response was “winning” to a question about Gordon’s long term security on Long Island. It’s way too early in the season for that kind of talk, but if this continues, that conversation will heat up fast.
Dwayne Roloson will be in net tonight, and I am interested to see how the team responds to having him back there.
Please tell me why it’s such a big story that Sidney Crosby decided to drop the gloves last night?….it’s not like he fought Steve Ott, Matt Niskanen is the Stars equivalent to Jack Hillen.
Note to Coach Gordon….please, please, please give Michael Grabner a chance on the PP…..
Coach says some player’s ice time will be affected after last night’s debacle…..we’ll see…
About the Author: The New York Islanders have been a huge part of my life since I was 7 years old, and during the past 27 years I have experience many ups and downs with this team. The back end of 4 straight Stanley Cups, the Drive for 5, the Easter Epic, trading of my heroes John Tonelli, and Kelly Hrudey. Mike Bossy's early retirement, Pat LaFontaine for Pierre Turgeon, Dale Hunter, David Volek, Ron Hextall, Al Arbour's retirement, Bill Torrey to Florida, Mike Milbury, John Spano, The Milstein's, Hoistgate, the sale to Charles Wang, Draft Day 2000, Alexei Yashin and Michael Peca, Milbury's "reassignement", 40 days of Neil Smith, Ted Nolan, The Lighthouse Project, Kate Murray, Scott Gordon, going from 5 to 7 to 9, Josh Bailey, John Tavares, Calvin deHaan, El Nino, the 2 Kirill's and hopefully.....much, much more. I have been an Islanders blogger for the past 3 years, starting on Myspace, then for IslesNation.com and currently for HockeyIndependent.com, and I have been selected to the 2010-2011 New York Islanders Blog Box. I am an IT Manager for a quite large facility working for a government agency. I am married for 7 years to an incredibly patient woman and am the proud father of a beautiful 1 year old daughter. Email: email@example.com Twitter: Twitter.com/tonystabile