What Happened??

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.

Line Combinations

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.

Ugly +/-

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…

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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: ajstabile@gmail.com Twitter: Twitter.com/tonystabile

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  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Islanders Blog Box and Anthony Stabile, Anthony Stabile. Anthony Stabile said: ew #Isles blog up…http://bit.ly/drcwFH [...]

  2. Isles27 says:

    First and foremost this team is horrible in their own end right now and when DP is in goal it’s even worse because he has not been a calming influence back there he has in fact made things worse with his wandering act and giving up soft goals. Let’s see if things run more smoothly in their own end tonight with Roloson in goal. People talk about wait until this guy gets back or that guy gets back but just check the Isles record this season with MacDonald in the lineup and without him in the lineup. Second they can’t generate anything 5 on 5 it seems most of their goals this season have come on special teams. Players who got off to good starts have disappeared. You’re right about the hitting it seemed everyone was hitting the first week or two now only a select few are. Having said all that the bottom line is that they are still not that good a team that will get blown out if they don’t give it 100%, they can’t just get by on talent like some teams can.

    • jpwjr1199 says:

      SNAFU for the Islanders, eh 27? As usual, they still have not a number one goalie nor the abundance of top talent to win and contend. It’s gotten pretty boring and I’ve, admittedly, become quite boorish about it!

      • Isles27 says:

        I didn’t expect much this season but there are no reasons for these non competitive blowouts. One more thing Goring is beyond horrible if you believed what he was saying last night you would think DP had played a good game.

        • jpwjr1199 says:

          27, to be truthful, there is both a general and specific reason for the blowouts.
          The general reason is the lack of true competitiveness on a consistent basis due to lack of talent depth (which has been exacerbated and exposed by injuries). The specific reason is Rick DiPietro.

          • Isles27 says:

            Much better effort tonight, much better team game especially in the defensive zone but unfortunately Roloson gave up 2 soft goals and they lose another one. I’m sorry but you can’t play the guy once a week and expect him to be sharp he’s not an NFL quarterback. This team needs above average goal tending to win and right now the goal tending the past few games has been below average. Missing those 2 breakaways also hurt,the 4-1 final was deceiving the Isles played well tonight. Martin has a pair no question about that, I like how he answered the bell at the end of the game.

          • Isles27 says:

            Oh and then that wide open net that Weight missed when it was 0-0 didn’t help either then there was that 5 min PP where they did nothing.

        • RobC/KO21 says:

          Goring has no place as a color commentator…His vocabulary is horrible and he stumbles over his words…I said it many times, The Jaff was awesome and getting rid of him is par for the coarse for the Isles who arent trying to build tradition…Do you see the Yankees getting rid of the commentators/analysts that fans get used to and learn to like???They don’t because the Yanks are about tradition and the Isles arwen’t anymore…This scares me because that doesnt bode well for our future on Long island…

          • jpwjr1199 says:

            Rob, I think you’re reading into the decision to put Goring into the booth more than a bit. He may not belong in the booth, but if the Islanders were trying to build a “faux” sense of tradition, putting an ex-Islander with four rings there would be one way to do just that.
            Now, I agree that Jaffe was very good and deserved to stay, but I think you’re harping on a peripherral issue, here.

          • Isles27 says:

            I think getting rid of Jaffe and replacing him with Goring is just another bad decision in what is a long list of bad decisions made by Wang, that’s what the problem is, it’s not just a couple of bad decisions the list is long. He also decided this off season to raise ticket prices and the parking fee great decisions considering the team sucks right now. I think Goring might be getting on our nerves now because the team is losing but the bottom line is he doesn’t belong in the booth. 4 rings or not he’s horrible.

        • jpwjr1199 says:

          Oh, I agree with you. Wang has badly mismanaged this club. There is no denying that. It’s just that even a well-managed club could have things like the Goring to the booth move – it’s just a business decision.
          However, if you think it’s indictative of Wang’s overall blase attitude over the year to year success of the team and his unwillingness to spend $$ to get out of the cap floor, then I’d have to agree again.
          I just don’t think you can lump all decisions into the same ball of poo. There are bad peripheral decisions that are not important to the day to day of the club, such as Sparky the Dragon, having 7pm starttimes with many fans working in NYC needing to catch an early train to rush to games (it’s irrelevant, now; however, if the Isles have any REAL sustained success, watch how quickly they go to 7:30p), the IceGirls, etc. Even the problem of the ticket prices becomes peripheral, when the Islanders win (I mean really win, aka 100 point pace and 2 or more rounds of playoffs for at least season and a half) because people will spend to see that.
          It’s the mismanagement of the team that annoys fans, and although the management has improved in recent years, the bar was set so god-damned low that any pathetic step in the right direction seemed acceptable to many people (fans, media, and team).
          I think fans, even loyal fans, are finally seeing through the rouse.
          And, ya know, if Snow starts to lockup some of these RFA’s long-term (Bailey, Okposo, Schremp, Comeau, Hillen specifically), I will change my tune big time.
          It’s funny how the above, which is probably the most pivotal issue hockey ops wise for the Islanders IS NEVER EVEN DISCUSSED (I can’t italicize – I’m not screaming just emphasizing). That’s striking to me.

          • Isles27 says:

            If Wang wanted to save money he should have dumped Carlin and given Goring his spot and kept Jaffe that would have been a more understandable business decision. This team right now has bigger problems than this. The “kids” look lost out there and they don’t seem to have progressed since last season. If they didn’t have that good start the first couple of weeks their numbers would be even worse. Tavares seems to be out there for every even strength goal against and it’s getting to be more than a coincidence. Bailey has been invisible since returning from his injury. I can go on. You can debate whether Bailey and Okposo should be locked up long term, personally I don’t think they have done anything yet to merit that, but what have Schremp, Comeau and Hillen done to make you want to lock them up long term? That I don’t get. On last night’s game the Flyers were sleepwalking the first 2 periods, while the Isles missed numerous chances to score, flipped a switch in the 3rd got the go ahead goal and left with 2 points. They do seem to look better and play with less chaos in their own zone when Roloson is in net.

        • jpwjr1199 says:

          27, my entirereply was wiped out, but I encourage you to look at my article in the rumors section (although there are no rumors in it). If you think signing Bailey and Okposo to long-term deals is a debatable issue, then I argue that you are conceding that the entire rebuild is a fraud, and watching this team is a complete waste of time. They have selling a rebuild here for the better part of three seasons. What is the sense of rebuilding the team if you just let your prime assets go without getting anything of value in return. Cardinal sin #1 in management is losing assets without any return. MY first post was better and more thoughtful, but it is in never, neverland, now. Please do check out my article!

          • Isles27 says:

            We already have DP and Yashin tied up with long term contracts you want to add guys like Schremp, Comeau and Hillen to that list? Like I said to do it with Bailey and Okposo is at least debatable but I’m not in favor of signing anyone long term unless they have proven themselves in this league to be above average players and as as far as I’m concerned none of these players have so far. You can rebuild without signing players to long contracts, you don’t have to let them go if you don’t sign them long term, let them earn that right to have a long term contract. Make a list of players around the league who have long term contracts and see if the players you mentioned belong in that group.

  3. jpwjr1199 says:

    What happened with what? People who said the Islanders are a real deal after eight games are morons and people who are calling for heads after fourteen are also morons. I like this site, but am hoping for more substantial threads/blogs in the future.

    As I said in another comment to another thread, the Islanders are at least a number 1 goalie, stud defenseman, another upper echelon center, and one or two penalty killing specialists away from being any sort of real contender for the Stanley Cup.

    Anyone who thinks otherwise is delusional.

    I understand that Snow, and the Isles’ fanbase, is hopeful that the Islanders are Cup contenders by next season. Perhaps, this year will see Joensuu get a real shot at playing with this club, even if it is on the 4th line and the same can be said for Martin. That is all I hope for from this season, really.
    Then, perhaps next year when DeHaan, Hamonic, and Neiderreiter join the club, the Islanders will be closer to contenders.

    However, here’s the rub. I do not see how the Islanders will have a legitimate number one goalie, another top center, and the PK specialist they need unless they go the UFA route since there is no one I am aware of in their system that fits these missing pieces.

    Maybe Garth Snow needs someone assisting him to give him this point of view?
    Or, more likely, it is irrelevant because the owner will not raise salary beyond the floor until he realizes, or just fails completely at attaining, his real estate empire on Long Island.

  4. RobC/KO21 says:

    I noticed that Comeau hasnt been crashing bodies like he was at the end of last season, which made him really effective and creating space for himself and his teammates…Like you said nobodies actually hitting exept Martin…Bailey looked like a superstar before his injury and no hes not shooting the puck…Also PA needs to shoot the puck quicker instead of trying to taking his sweet time…

    They played a decent game last night compared to the last few but they havent been shooting the puck instead of looking for the perfect play…Thats what happens when they lose confidence in scoring, they try to make the perfect pass instead of shooting and crashing the net…

    Remedy, shoot the puck, crash the net and hit, hit , hit…then we will get back on track

    • jpwjr1199 says:

      I’m sure your remedy is not without merit. Problem is in a highly competitive league with a lot of teams, any strategy is quickly adjusted to by the other teams within a matter of a few games. Once the opposition has the adjustment to any strategy (even the shoot first and crash the net for rebounds, which, btw, if not balanced with any other style has its liabilities), then unless a team has the depth of talent to quickly counteradjust to the oppositions adjustment, then it will not lead to consistent performance. Gordon is a good coach, but any coach needs the horses. He just doesn’t have enough of them, now.

  5. HyeDray says:

    My take on my post today was mostly geared toward the fact the team was not skating — they seem to be getting to the puck late, and when they have it — bad decisions. the biggest bad decision — not shooting.

    Great analysis on DiPietro Tony. I still like the idea of sending him to Bridgeport via waivers.

    • RobC/KO21 says:

      Would the Isles dare to send DP down???I doubt it, although he needs to earn his spot back instead of just giving it to him…Roli is a fierce competitor and like Isles27 mentioned, he needs consistent playing time to stay sharp… also like is fiesty attitude back there…Hopefully Gordo givs the starting job to the man who deserves it but I’m afraid DP’s albatross of a contract is playing a huge role in the playing time decisions which has become a determent to the teams development and chemistry

    • jpwjr1199 says:

      HyeDray, Could it just be as simple as that they’re not very good? This team (NYI) is razor thin at full strength. With injuries, they simply cannot consistently be successful.