Big picture and I write this every year around the same time you have to have ninety two points/twelve games over five hundred to make the playoffs. Last year that number in the Eastern Conference went to ninety five points so it may even be tougher.
New York Islanders went from five under and a season that looked to be over by Thanksgiving in terms of playoffs to one where bought themselves more time.
A ton of work ahead.
Now they have to keep piling up the points and staying out of the regulation losses to see if they can take that next step which is getting above five hundred.
Then we can start talking playoffs.
So what’s the secret as to why the New York Islanders have won five out of six games? It should have been more like nine out of ten given the position they have put themselves into entering the third periods long before the wins came which indicates what’s happening is no fluke with the injuries they have had.
No secret that they usually generate that third goal which is far different than last year’s club that had two goals or less fourteen games in a row. Doug Weight will do something that leads to a goal. Streit’s speed and skill have been a big positive even when he is not scoring. Hunter is giving this team goals he did not give them last year.
No secret that this group does skate better in this system and are getting better individual efforts from a lot of players.
Best kept secret for all of last year’s system and the hundred ninety eight shot against improvement is this group may even be better at it. You put a goaltender in net who makes big saves with that kind of team defense and you are going to be in every single game.
Between Witt, Hunter, Hilbert, Sutton there is always a player stepping up and making a big block and everyone is buying in. On the other end of that you have Martinek skating the puck out with Streit, Campoli, Gervais and it’s a well balanced group with whoever is out of the lineup.
Because of it the New York Islanders have been in every game but one, even nights they have not played well.
It’s no longer a coincidence.
Our poll comes to an end with Josh Bailey’s ninth game trial on Friday when Garth Snow and Scott Gordon have a decision to make.
I have no idea what will be the decision but my guess is Nielsen’s injury opens a spot for Bailey. That pass in overtime that almost won the game is a skill this roster lacks, even with Weight who has been more than anyone could have asked and just keeps piling up the points.
A spot has to be made for Sillinger and Okposo when they return, I would expect both by next week. Comrie is still part of this club and there is Nate Thompson who must be getting close to skating.
Only two things I know.
1. This club is prone to injuries.
2. The more depth the better.
My guess on who is demoted starts with who can be without going through waivers and that’s Jackman, Colliton and Fritz.
If it’s my team Jeff Tambellini stays here and keeps throwing his hits or driving the net, he is doing a few things. All it takes is that one game where something clicks, a player gets confident in what he is doing and it all changes. I could be wrong but I do not see him clearing waivers and he has nothing left to prove in the AHL.
Twenty games is not enough in the NHL to lose him now is the Milbury plan revisited.
MacDonald made his saves against Montreal and their speed does force a goalie to react different but he gave up some rebounds. With games Wednesday, Friday (noon) and Saturday Dannis or Mannino have to play one here.
Danis got his two starts on the weekend, would seem the right move to recall him and give him the game against Pittsburgh.
Practice should tell Scott Gordon the story on this which is again why talk of schedules for goaltenders months in advance are pointless.
Islanders finally get a break after Saturday.
Pock’s suspension has ended with Monday’s game. Will be interesting to see if anyone gets a game off with Witt still working his way back in (does not see Witt’s way of doing things) or another player on the backline.
Meyer has to be close to skating also.
NYI Fan Central will not have Thanksgiving day News Articles.
I may be able to post some Wednesday late articles but will pre schedule a blog with links to the Post-Gazette/Tribune.
Friday’s coverage will also have no Daily Morning Articles. I will schedule a pregame blog for the noon game against Boston and have a postgame and may be able to watch live.
For those traveling early and everyone have a very Happy Thanksgiving.
Being that we do not have any local coverage of our team from a writer while Steve Zipay is out on his beat with blog entries, articles and live chats while Mr Herrmann keeps the proverbial glass full for one club and not the other I thought I would see if the other teams in our division are being covered as poorly as our team?
At the very least I would get used to the changes at each paper since last season when I start linking to the coverage from these papers when games begin. Were going to need all the print media articles we can find to supplement poor Islander coverage.
Seems the club is doing their part and more spending money to advertise and impressed me with an ad on MNF.
First I started off with a trip to the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News combined sites which had a few updates here about a Spectrum game with a feature on Simon Gagne from September 5th.
Wayne Fish seemingly had only one update since July 5th in the Phillyburbs blog but does write about other subjects, he did have a blog entry this week on Mike Richards being named captain so he’s back working. Chuck Gormley always seems to be writing on a lot of subjects at the Courier Post along with hockey and does a few updates for the sporting news and other publications here.
Over in Pittsburgh at the Post-Gazette Dave Molinary did a prospect camp updatehere with the coverage infrequent but because of the ground breaking on the new arena they are getting some peripheral coverage and starting 9/1 Mr Molinary did start up his weekly Q & A in the paper. Seth Rorabaugh has over a hundred and seventy blog updates for the Pens in July, August and September at the Post-Gazette.
At the Tribune-Review Rob Rossi’s chipped ice blog disappeared after 7/5 but the paper did have several August updates here and he just restarted his blog with a Q & A.
Of course our friends in New Jersey must be getting no coverage at all beyond Mark Everson making the fans feel rotten about their club on occasion right?
Rich Chere & former Isles Daily News writer Colin Stephenson at the Newark Star Ledger is not getting much (if any) print space for the summer but has been blogging a lot in the reporters blog here and does an excellent job covering the Devils. On August 14th he even listed a host of other beatwriter blogs around the league here for their respective teams.
And of course we all know Mr Brooks over at the Post has to cover baseball because hockey’s not different in New York City but he does all he can to throw anything against the wall to keep some Ranger coverage going, he sounded like a man who wanted to pay Brendan Shanahan himself today so he could have someone to interview and make his job easier.
Don’t fret folks, we have that nice ad in Newsday that reads ” Your Season Starts Now ” with Bill Guerin’s picture, but that is not coverage.
Unfortunately New York Islander Hockey Coverage Season does not start now.
Sunday Larry Brooks had to get in his weekly dig on the Isles with the latest being he finally got around to events written/reported or quoted from back in March about management claims the team underachieved here under Ted Nolan.
NYI Fan Central Comments:
It has to be pointed out management back in February/March did not put it all on Ted Nolan or outright blame it all on the coach. If I recall correctly the blame was placed on everyone including the players. The fact some players were not resigned confirm this by the general manager’s actions.
Charles Wang’s I told you so comment to the coach in print about playing prospects was brutal and could be perceived as a shot at the coach but this also goes beyond prospects.
Rarely does a Sunday go by where Larry Brooks has something negative to banter about the Isles in a paper that does not provide full time coverage and he obviously has no quotes or anything current but that is par for Mr Brooks or he would not write anything at all (about anything) but this idea the Isles were just a bad team destined to finish at the bottom of the pack is simply not true in this bloggers opinion.
Mr Logan predicted them for a playoff spot, Evan Grossman who was in camp for NHL.com felt this would be a very tough team to beat and placed them in playoff position.
I predicted them sixth here before the season, I compared the scoring lost with the scoring gained and there was at best a small tangible difference.
I would suspect many who read outside predictions that never gave them a chance (nor have they ever) list them out of contention but most of those folks are the same ones trapped in the late nineties about the club which also includes Larry Brooks these days because he is out of touch with the Isles.
What we saw the opening weekend is what I expected to see. Instead we saw a club that scored two goals or less fourteen games in a row when completely healthy aside from Jon Sim which was no small loss but one the group should have overcome. The goaltending held them in but without DiPietro during that incredible stretch for him the season is over by early December with a group setting an all-time franchise low for scoring.
For myself that is underachieving.
Almost the entire roster played below their career numbers with Sillinger, Guerin, Hunter not getting their goals and unlike the previous season this club went from one of the best at even strength to one of the worst with a huge downturn in plus/minus and a powerplay likely to give up a goal or a quality chance.
Shootout games that were a staple in 2006-07 that produced a streak of only three regulation losses in twenty games that got the club to sixth place and eventually the playoffs were extremely rare last season.
Can all that but put on Ted Nolan? Absolutely not. Having written that a part of it does have to be placed on him along with everyone including the general manager with the players.
In my estimation this team underachieved huge last season and they did it when mostly healthy with plenty of rest. The goaltending kept them in contention along with some overdue scoring in stretches but overall this team before injuries or sickness took it’s toll should have been a lot better. The fact they scratched together six wins in a row when against the wall says how much better they should have been all along.
For Ted Nolan’s part at the end of the season he blasted his veterans aside from Guerin but did not name anyone, he threatened to skate the players every day and singled out the kids for praise often. Newsday misreported the coach threatened the players with trades.
Your in mid-December, the team has only eleven first period goals all season with most of your roster healthy that is underachieving. Individually it seems aside from Richard Park and Vasicek every forward underachieved on offense in terms of goals and those players had their twenty plus games without a goal.
It does not all go on Ted Nolan, it goes on everyone.
Espn: Teri Frei has an article about NHL coaches and wonders if the Isles will hire someone before opening night.
NYI Fan Central Comments:
I guess that’s Mr Frei’s bi-yearly Islander related comment.
Jacques LeMaire, Lindy Ruff & Barry Trotz among the elite? Tenure yes, results not really. How did Dave Tippett not make that group? Andy Murray’s work in Los Angeles and St Louis makes him among the best in the league?
The Blues finished behind the Isles again.
So Brent Sutter and Claude Julien do a fine job with less and are not proven or suspect while Tom Renney who’s club could not score with ninety milllion dollars worth of centers is proven?
Maybe Espn hockey writers should simply report based on who has an Espn zone.
Islanders website has the video of Wednesday nights open house at the Coliseum, video runs about thirty three minutes.
Michael Bossy appeared briefly in the video late and talked about the year he was drafted.
Time for a little trivia for the blog readers here.
Who was the player the Islanders were considering with Mike Bossy before scout Henry Saraceno talked Al Arbour into getting him the home run hitter with the fifteenth pick?
NHL.com: Adam Kimelman has a full feature on Bob Nystrom with his comments on the 1975 comeback against Pittsburgh.
St.nu spors: Elite prospects.com has this as a doubtful rumor but does have an article from a newspaper a few days ago on Frans Nielsen going to Timrå.
NYI Fan Central Comments:
Take it with a major grain of salt but it is an article from a newspaper with what appears to be a professional writer which is the criteria I use reading rumors. I cannot even tell you what it says and eliteprospects has Yashin’s rumors right next to it and lists this as doubtful. This could be a Bruce Garroich kind of article but what’s notable is it’s about Nielsen.
Having written that all I do know is Frans Nielsen may have to play in the NHL next season or be close to a situtation where he needs to be exposed to waivers to play for Bridgeport.
One period, one goal against for Rick DiPietro.
The Western Conference scored their only goal in the opening twelve seconds while DiPietro was talking on a live microphone through the first period.
A few very good saves, one great one on Cory Perry.
Former Islander goalie Chris Osgood let in five but also made a few great saves. Eastern Conference while DiPietro was in had a big edge in the play.
Mike Emrick did a great job letting him do play by play in the final seconds.
MVP? Doubtful because he did not have to make a ton of great saves.
Eric Staal of Carolina won the MVP, Nabakov of San Jose was outstanding in the second period as was Tomas Vokoun of Florida.
Globe and Mail: David Shoalts felt Rick DiPietro was the games best player for the first twenty minutes in his recap.
Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio is in Binghampton blogging on the AHL all-star games and skills competiton reporting on how Jeff Tambellini is doing for the Canadian all-stars.
AHL.com: Recaps the skills competition which the Canadian all-stars lost.
Islanders website: Has the recap of tonight’s 5-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers where Bill Guerin felt the team was sitting on the lead while Ted Nolan said the team did not play very smart after the first period with the forwards cheating by getting too far ahead of the defense.
NYI Fan Central Comments:
This loss stings worse than any this season to date because it was a game that the Isles were playing well and on their game. This is the kind of game you expect it to be a lock for them to get points from.
They did not even get it to overtime.
They did generate offense and were outworking Philadelphia despite falling behind and scored three goals Biron had little or not chance on which this team rarely does. Berard made a great pass to Park, Satan made a great play to hold the puck and feed Vasicek and Guerin snapped a great shot from his spot for the 3-1 goal.
For some reason the Isles powerplay could not generate chances with the lead after that to keep the pressure on Philadelphia and then Hatcher fought Hunter, the Flyers got position in front of the Islanders goal and overpowered Bergeron-Johnson for the 3-2 goal and that changed all the momentum. The Isles for all the second period and until Comrie’s chance about four minutes into the third had no pressure on Biron.
Meanwhile Philadelphia started earning powerplays and got a big break on the tying goal where a hard dump in with the powerplay seemed to hit two players going for the puck and went right in front for the tying goal and another hit the glass on a dump in which gave the Flyers the lead for good.
What was more disturbing was the Flyers were getting some great chances that DiPietro made some big saves on. The final goal was a play that was supposed to be icing but not called, Meyer tried a long pass which was intercepted and became a two on one which led to the 5-3 goal which was the final.
Philadelphia outhit the Islanders in front of both goals in this game which also was not a good sign. Hunter got bounced around good, three Flyers went to Guerin on one play.
The opening goal off the Johnson’s stick changed the passes direction which gave Hartnell position to beat Sutton for the shot.
Overall the Isles defense did not play a terrible game, Berard had two very good assists, Bergeron made a few good plays. The problem was the Flyers were able to play them physical. That second Flyer goal where Johnson and Bergeron were overpowered was not good.
Tough loss, no breaks either but after the first period Isles did not create any breaks for themselves and this is another game Isles did not seem comfortable on home ice. That goal off the glass was a killer but you cannot play one period in this league and this had the look of a game Isles could have made 5-1. Almost seemed like the Islanders wanted to get into a high scoring game after the first and they did have too much separation from the defense and the forwards were up looking to attack.
Richards made a fantastic shot for the 5-3 goal too. Have to admit Flyers defense was better than I have seen it in a few years.
That’s three losses in a row at home for the first time all season. Felt like the kind of loss you look back on as a turning point if the club falls out of contention.
NHL.com: Reports Rick DiPietro will be the Islanders representitive at the All-Star game in Atlanta.
Martin St. Louis
Islanders website: Confirms the announcement and that DiPietro just completed a one-on-one interview in Calgary with Islanders TV.
NYI Fan Central Comments:
Flat out thrilled someone as deserving as DiPietro finally getting his due and a spot among the elite goaltenders and look forward to all-star weekend. I’m a little surprised Tomas Vokoun got in over a Martin Gerber or a Tim Thomas.
As an older fan it’s tough to remember back to the days of Bill Smith being an
all star and if I recall correctly he won the MVP in 1978. I do not recall Kelly Hurdey being selected as an Islander.
All I can do is repeat what the Islanders website wrote….CONGRATULATIONS RICKY.
Newsday: Greg Logan blogs about Rick DiPietro being named an all-star with comments from Ted Nolan & Mike Keenan.
“He’s been terrific for us. People here in the west don’t have a chance to see him that much. But we know what kind of goaltender he is, and the people here in the west can see what kind of goaltender we have on Long Island.”
ITV.com: Rick DiPietro gives a quick one minute interview with comments on being an all-star.
Newsday: Greg Logan asks Miroslav Satan about his line demotion, the move back to the first line left wing spot later in the game as the combinations were juggled and his shootout goal.
“At the beginning, I didn’t know what to think,” Satan said. “I just waited for a chance. All you can control as a player is how hard you play your shift. So, when I get a chance, I try to play as hard as I can. It was unexpected. But it could be a wake-up call for our line, basically.”
“I was on the left side, which is not the right side. If I can say that,” the Slovakian sniper said with a laugh at his play on words. “I don’t know if I will play there next game, but if I will, it’s going to take two or three games to get the steps and measure up the distances … But I started basically with the fourth line and ended on the first.”
South Bend Tribune: Steve Wozniak reports former Islander assistant coach Jeff Jackson called Garth Snow after his comments about Don Lucia’s Golden Gophers program and talks of his own NHL prospect he current coaches and what it means for the Notre Dame program.
“I talked to Garth the day after,” said Jackson. “I don’t like commenting on these things, because I don’t know what happened behind the scenes.
“The only thing with Garth, and I told him this — was that the player has some responsibility for his development, more responsibility than the coach. A lot more.”
Newsday: In a stunner Newsday’s Greg Logan released a
mid-morning article with a full mid-season report with the paper also promising a weekly Thursday feature called The ‘Insider’ which will offer analysis and commentary, plus a minor league report in the future.
“We’re way ahead of schedule from where people had us predicted at the beginning of the year, which is a good thing,” Nolan said. “But I think the best thing about the second half is that we haven’t played as good as we can with everybody playing the same way on the same nights. We haven’t played at a consistent level yet with all four lines going at the same time. It’s something to look forward to in the second half.”
NYI Fan Central Comments:
Excellent mid season review by Mr Logan across the board. A weekly on-line feature sounds promising and long overdue with prospect reports.
Starters for the All-Star game were announced Tuesday:
F: Sidney Crosby, Pens
F: Vincent Lecavalier, Lightning
F: Daniel Alfredsson, Senators
D: Andrei Markov, Habs
D: Zdeno Chara, Bruins
G: Martin Brodeur, Devils
F: Henrik Zetterberg, Wings
F: Pavel Datsyuk, Wings
F: Jarome Iginla, Flames
D: Nicklas Lidstrom, Wings
D: Dion Phaneuf, Flames
G: Roberto Luongo, Canucks
NYI Fan Central Comments:
One player from each team has to be selected. My guess is from the Islanders it’s Rick DiPietro or Brendan Witt.
Goaltenders are tougher to get in with only two spots so I’m not sure DiPietro is one of them.
Cannot see Martinek, Campoli or a forward.
Newsday: Katie Strang reports Rick DiPietro will not be suspended by the league for wearing pads and updates the injury situation of Martinek and Aaron Johnson who could be headed to Bridgeport for conditioning but will go on the trip with the club.
Islanders website: Previews the upcoming road trip and has some side items.
Sometimes there is nothing like a good, old road trip,” said head coach Ted Nolan. “The guys get a chance to go out and have dinner together and hang out with each other, especially since we have days off in between the games. I’m looking forward to the trip.
“This is prime time for hockey. Right after Christmas, the New Year begins and so does the stretch run for the playoffs. This is what it’s all about and why we play.”
Eagle Tribune: David Willis reports former Islander Scott LaChance is now an assistant coach at Andover.
“I am really happy to be able to spend time with my kids after moving around for so many years,” he said. “Down the road I could see (coaching) as something I would like to do. But I don’t know if I would want to coach outside of high school. It’s nice to be able to grow into something. I like where I am now.”
Sound Tigers website: Has the recap of Bridgeport’s win at Norfolk.
AHL.com: Reports on Bridgeport’s 4-3 shootout win at Norfolk Friday night. Jeff Tambellini had a goal and two assists, Frans Nielsen had a goal and an assist, while Andy Srtich had a goal in his Sound Tiger debut.
Ct Post: Michael Fornabaio blogged on the Sound Tigers win at Norfolk, but the Ct Post at this time does not have a game article.
Virginian Pilot: Paul White’s game story on the Admirals shootout loss to Bridgeport.