Has anyone else seen that NHL Network commercial with the coach who speaks in circles? There is one going around about his team lacking the ability to finish (Failed to put the biscuit in the basket and other analogies) and the latest is the same coach talking to his team about giving 110%, 100% of the time and how if only 50% gave 110% it would be less than 100% and well….you get the idea. My point is that these commercials were made for the New York Islanders.
How many times this season have the Isles gone into a game knowing they couldn’t afford to lose two valuable points, yet play uninspired hockey? I am really starting to lose track – but it’s up there for sure. Things are getting so bad now that the media talks amongst themselves about how they really need to wake up and establish their game – the one that made them so successful at the start of the year.
Having been the 23rd home game I have attended this season (yes, I actually missed three!) – I have started to notice how Nolan goes from his normal reserved self, to that of reserved yet awkwardly annoyed. He never shows us very much emotion and I don’t know if I like that or not. To me, as a hockey player – I prefer to see a coach wear his emotions on his sleeve. I know Nolan is very well spoken and makes himself crystal clear in what he expects from his players – but something isn’t working. I was talking with Ken Rosenblatt of Islanders Outsider on the way to our vehicles tonight, and I told him that I cannot understand why a system that is clearly flawed has not been adjusted at this point of the season. For the first time, head coach Ted Nolan actually admitted his systems may have in fact be flawed tonight – and will consider adjusting numerous aspects. My question is what made tonight’s game the deciding factor? Why not 20 games into the season when there was still plenty of season left?
I figured I would be a bit different tonight and not go off on a tangent about the things the team should have done better, at this point of the season anyone who follows the team with any bit of regularity knows their faults. The effort tonight should alert management that whatever possible trades are available as of tonight – need to be explored. The further this season gets, the less confidence that I have they are capable of making the playoffs. Something else that concerns me, the team is pretty much made up of players built from the same mold – so when someone goes cold, they ALL go cold. Unfortunately it hasn’t worked in the polar opposite, because not many of them have actually been hot for any significant stretch.
Ken and I spied Garth Snow heading down the runway to the locker rooms on our way out and I commented that Snow looked as if he aged a few years since he stopped playing. I noticed that his hair was getting very grey, so Ken said maybe he wanted to appear more distinguished. Maybe the way his team is falling apart has him languishing over the possible roster moves he needs to make. At last count we have numerous players who will be unrestricted free agents come July – but who can help us bring in help to this struggling team?
The team cannot afford to lose valuable points while teams trailing us and ahead of us continue to gain momentum. The Capitals, Boston and the Rangers all won tonight – making an already tight conference even tighter. Something needs to be done, and soon.
Well – you could say I missed a bunch the past few days, but as I said over the weekend – my Grandmother passed away and I was unable to make any entries or attend the game Monday night. You could also say that I didn’t really miss anything at all I guess. I was trying to listen to the game via streaming radio on my iPhone – but it seems the new Apple firmware doesn’t like streaming as much as it did – it would work for a few seconds and then stop. I just kept checking the score on the Islanders site and got very annoyed at the resulting madness.
I watched the highlights and it confirmed my suspicions – I am glad I didn’t go. It looked like they weren’t playing smart hockey. I saw too many giveaways, too many poor shot decisions and an overall poor effort. I really would’ve liked to have been at Doolins pub yesterday for that chalk talk with the coaches as they broke down what they did right and what they didn’t do right against the Senators – I just can’t see them commending the team on many things they did right.
According to Newsday yesterday, 5 Islanders missed practice with the Flu – so maybe Influenza was the leading influence on their poor decisions?
Five Islanders — Rick DiPietro, Mike Sillinger, Bryan Berard, Andy Sutton and Ruslan Fedotenko — missed Wednesday morning’s practice at the Coliseum and are questionable for Thursday night’s home game against the Kings. Assistant coach Gerard Gallant also missed practice with the illness. Fedotenko and Sutton sat out Tuesday night’s 5-2 loss to Ottawa.
It’s apparently so bad in Islanders country – that the players have joked about wearing masks and using hand sanitizer as a means of protection. I could give them a word of advice, one of my Uncle’s was sick – yet it spread through my family like wildfire the past few days. I normally do not wash my hands as much as I did (shaking hands and whatnot), but I did and yet I still feel like I have a touch of the flu right now.
The LA Kings make a rare stop at the Barn tonight – should be a fast skating game, I will be there tonight taking photos and whatnot. I will post a recap and hopefully a pregame post sometime later on today.
After all that worrying about DiPietro starting in tonights All Star contest, he came out strong and battled – all the while impressing those around him for his slick stick handling and puck movement. Ricky allowed one goal by Rick Nash not a minute into the period, but the East stormed back scoring 5 unanswered goals. We have seen goals by Campbell, Ovechkin (2), Stall and Markov – all absolutely gorgeous passing plays.
The funniest part was how the Versus guys were talking to Ricky in the first few seconds of the game – and unintentionally distracted him (thats what I will say anyway). Osgood must have been looking down the ice, envious of the way DiPietro was holding his ground against his fellow Western All Stars.
If Ovechkin keeps up the night – he will undoubtedly be the games MVP, who was worried about Crosby not being here again?
Personally, I feel that with DiPietro at this years All Star game representing the Islanders – it will open up the eyes of players who are not very familiar with the team or what Ricky brings to the game. They may give any offer from the Islanders this off season a better look than they may have prior to this. You can tell that DiPietro is opening eyes, and opening them wide.
Keep up the great work Rick!
Just a small update: Vokoun allowed goals by Nash (2nd) and Niedermayer in the second period. The West has outshot the East by almost 4 to 1 in the second. Kovalchuk was absolutely robbed twice in the second period by Nobokov – those were the best two chances by the East.
I had to run to my own hockey game halfway through the 3rd period – but not before seeing the game tied 7-7.
The 3rd period was the most active – seeing goals from both sides, although the East eventually took the lead for good on a goal by Marc Savard at 19:39. Your MVP of the game was Eric Staal – who had 2 goals and 1 assist. Rick Nash would have gotten the MVP in my opinion with his hat trick, had Staal not scored the game winner.
Well, that caps off an exciting weekend of events – although there are a few who think it could have been executed better. I am on the fence – I think certain aspects could have been improved because the skills competition was extremely boring. I read that the players knew the format for the “slam dunk” shootout for weeks – you think they would have come a bit more prepared or at least tried something they normally wouldn’t. In the end, the second day of the weekend was the only part that kept me interested – but even then it was lacking, not sure in what areas – just wasn’t as exciting as years past.
At least we are now able to get back into the swing of hockey – the trade deadline is fast approaching and teams that are on the playoff bubble will either move up in the standings or fall out of contention – that is the most exciting part of the year for sure.
Oh – and not that anyone is wondering, but my team won 6-3 – I had a hat trick and an assist.
I don’t think there was a single Islanders fan not concerned from the start about the health of our prized goaltender Rick DiPietro. I was nervous that he was heading to the All-Star break, and even more nervous after the game last week where he appeared to injure his knee during the game. The last thing anyone wants is an injury to their goaltender towards the most important part of the year.
DiPietro has a certain style of play, one that makes his hips and knees extremely vulnarable to injury because he is a butterfly goalie with very quick reactions and side to side movement. It’s no surprise that Ricky excelled during the shootout portions of last nights skills competition. What was the surprise however, was on a last ditch effort to make a save on Minnesota’s Marian Gaborik – DiPietro appeared to hurt his knee on the play. He could be heard over the microphone he was wearing speaking to Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas that he couldn’t continue, he “blew out his whole knee there” but that he was “alright, just didn’t want to make it worse”. I looked at my fiancee and my mouth dropped. No longer was I interested in the remainder of the skills competition, but that of the health and well being of our Number 1 goaltender.
When I woke up this morning, Chris Botta who is in attendance with The Rick – had posted an update on his blog. On Rick’s health status:
I jumped over a few barricades I wasn’t supposed to and made my way to the East locker room. I found Rick and he told me he was “a bit sore.” Then he told reporters he was “sore but it’s nothing bad and I’ll be playing Sunday.”
As far as I could tell, he didn’t spend any time on the trainer’s table. About 45 minutes later I saw him at the NHL bash. He was in great spirits, posing for photographs for anyone who requested and meeting up with family and friends.
Not exactly the most clear cut “thumbs up” from DiPietro on his status, but everyone who follows him knows that he will play through injuries and that really scares me. I love his competitiveness sometimes, just not when it has the potential to affect the remainder of his teams season.
Thanks for the heads up Botta, I was going to fire off an email to you as soon as I heard that last night – but I figured the rest of the contingent was on point – keep us updated!
According to Chris Botta, in yet another blog update:
Rick is in tonight.
On his way to a private lunch in his honor, Rick told us he was feeling great by the end of last night and was counting the minutes until 6:00 pm.
Botta also posts the opinion of Mattyboy – one of Islandermania’s message board members and how he felt was DiPietro playing for himself first and the team second. Botta pretty much puts that theory down – and it’s worth a read. He also touches on the bit of profanity that slipped out of DiPietro’s mouth – purely accidental I am sure as it has to be hard to remember you are wearing a microphone. Botta says he will sit down with Versus to make sure it doesn’t happen again – likely referencing how the microphone was left on…..at a time it clearly should have been turned off given the circumstances.
Well, we have seen the first event come and go, marking the first time a goaltender was involved in the relay race. Out of all the goalies, DiPietro was the only one to pot more than one goal and the only goalie to shoot from behind the goal line – as if in a game situation.
Fastest skater up next – West takes that event.
Elimination shootout – DiPietro stopped both shots he faced, but the West eventually took the round.
The young stars game was exciting, Osgood looked mighty uncomfortable out there, allowing numerous goals against from all sorts of distances and angles. The East took the first period and the West took the Second.
Next up, the “Slam Dunk” Shootout – where the players were supposed to show their flair and think outside the box. There were only two players who really took advantage of this – Ryan Getzlav and of course Alexander Ovechkin. The East wound up taking this round and eventually the entire skills competition.
Rick DiPietro stopped both of Gaborik’s shots – and appeared to hurt himself on the second play (something I had feared would happened from the get-go). He could be heard telling fellow goalie Tim Thomas that he hurt his knee, but that he was alright (Ricky was wearing a microphone for Versus). More on that story as it develops.
It’s kind of funny if you think about it, the break just isn’t always a much needed breather for the players, coaches and other people involved in the league. It is also a break for most journalists, TV crews and yes – bloggers, although not quite ALL bloggers. Islanders PR man extraordinaire Chris Botta is down it Atlanta for the festivities, giving us a ridiculous amount of blog entries and updates since his arrival yesterday afternoon – so you may want to check that out. Chris pledges to give us constant updates on DiPietro’s every move as well.
What will you see from Islesblogger? Well – I am not quite sure to be honest. There was a death in the family last night so I am a bit bummed out today. This is also the reason why I may have had a shorter fuse than normal during the in-game posts because I had been going back and forth to the hospital since last weekend. However, if you have a keen eye you will notice a slightly updated sidebar.
What’s new exactly?
I added a recent comments block and a random image rotator from my gallery. This is one of the reasons why I wanted to switch to WordPress, the widget system is really easy to work with – however you still need to play with CSS in order to get things the way you want. There are a few more things I may tweak this weekend also, so keep checking back.
I came across this handy schedule of events for this years All Star Break:
ALL-STAR BROADCAST SCHEDULE
All-Star Special – Meet The Players (NHL Network, 9:30 a.m., ET)
All-Star Special – Red Carpet Arrivals (NHL Network, 4;30 p.m., ET)
Dodge/NHL SuperSkills Competition (VERSUS, CBC, RDS, 7 p.m., ET)
On The Fly Final, Special All-Star Edition (NHL Network, 10 p.m., ET)
All-Star Special – Pre-Game Show, Live From The Locker Room (NHL Network, 4:30 p.m., ET)
2008 NHL All-Star Game (VERSUS, CBC, RDS, NHL Radio, 6 p.m., ET)
On The Fly Final, Special All-Star Edition (NHL Network, 10 p.m., ET)
What’s new in 2008? Per an NHL press release:
NEW YORK – TORONTO (January 24, 2008) — Six of the NHL’s most prolific and creative scorers will showcase their best moves in quest of a ‘perfect 10′ when they square off against All-Star goaltenders in the inaugural Breakaway Challenge, the signature event in Saturday’s Dodge NHL SuperSkills Competition at the 2008 All-Star Weekend in Atlanta (7 p.m., ET, VERSUS, CBC, RDS), the National Hockey League and National Hockey League Players’ Association announced today.
Three shooters from the Eastern and Western Conference will have two attempts to perform a highlight-reel trick while attempting to score. Shooters can start their routine from anywhere in the offensive zone and have full access to the offensive zone, including behind the net. NHL penalty shot rules do not apply. A panel of celebrity judges will evaluate each attempt and give a score of one to nine points. Scoring is based on creativity, execution and ability to score. An additional point will be awarded for a goal for a maximum total of 10 points per shooter.
Celebrity judges are former Thrashers captain and fan favorite Scott Mellanby, former University of Georgia and Atlanta Hawks basketball star Dominique Wilkins, actor Taylor Kitsch and broadcaster Bill Clement.
The Breakaway Challenge highlights the most sweeping changes to Dodge/NHL SuperSkills since the event’s inception in 1990. Also new for 2008:
Rookie scoring leader Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks and first-year defenseman Tobias Enstrom of the All-Star host Atlanta Thrashers headline the 16 ‘NHL YoungStars,’ who will face off in a three-on-three event over two periods of six minutes’ running time. Comprising the best of the League’s stellar rookie class in 2007-08, the eight-player Eastern and Western Conference YoungStar teams will be shooting against goaltenders named to participate in the NHL All-Star Game the following day.
A New ‘Obstacle Course Relay’
The opening event of the competition, the Obstacle Course Relay, will comprise two rounds (45 seconds each) of the obstacle course, involving three players and one goalie per team. The first player starts with a puck from behind the net and proceeds to stick-handle the puck through a line of stationed pucks set up within the face-off circle. When he is finished, the second player (positioned outside the blue line) will attempt to make four “saucer” passes over a barrier and into a net at the far side of the rink. When he is done, the third player will attempt to “one time” four passes at a target in the net. The final leg of the relay will see the goalie attempt to shoot four pucks into the goal at the other end of the ice.
A New ‘Fastest Skater’
The Fastest Skater contestants will face a different test this year. Starting from a standing position at the goal line, one skater from each Conference will race to the far blue line, a change from past competitions in which skaters completed one lap around the perimeter of the ice surface.
Returning to Dodge/NHL SuperSkills are the popular Accuracy Shooting, Hardest Shot and Shootout competitions. In Accuracy Shooting, Marian Hossa of the hometown Thrashers and Eric Staal of the Southeast Division-rival Carolina Hurricanes will compete for the Eastern Conference in a rematch of the 2007 All-Star SuperSkills competition in which the pair tied for the SuperSkills title by each hitting all four targets in five shots. Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara, who captured the 2007 Hardest Shot competition with a blast measured at 100.4 miles per hour, will attempt to defend his title for the Eastern Conference.
Scheduled to participate in the Breakaway Challenge are Eastern Conference forwards Ilya Kovalchuk of the All-Star host Atlanta Thrashers, Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals and Martin St. Louis of the Tampa Bay Lightning, who will face Western Conference goaltenders Manny Legace of the St. Louis Blues, Evgeni Nabokov of the San Jose Sharks and Chris Osgood of the Red Wings. Western Conference forwards Pavel Datsyuk of the Red Wings, Marian Gaborik of the Minnesota Wild and Ryan Getzlaf of the Anaheim Ducks will oppose Eastern Conference goaltenders Rick DiPietro of the New York Islanders, Tim Thomas of the Bruins and Tomas Vokoun of the Florida Panthers.
The 2008 Dodge/NHL SuperSkills events will be staged as follows:
1) Obstacle Course Relay
2) Fastest Skater
3) Elimination Shootout
4) YoungStars Game
5) Accuracy Shooting
6) Hardest Shot
7) Breakaway Challenge
Complete SuperSkills event descriptions and official rules are available online at NHL.com. Player assignments for all events will be released when available.
The 2008 NHL All-Star Weekend in Atlanta will feature live national broadcasts of the Dodge/NHL SuperSkills event on Saturday, Jan. 26 and the NHL All-Star Game on Sunday, Jan. 27 on VERSUS in the United States and CBC and RDS in Canada. NASN and other international broadcasters will provide live coverage of both the Dodge/NHL SuperSkills event and the NHL All-Star Game to more than 115 countries and territories in Europe. NHL RADIO on Westwood One will provide exclusive national radio coverage which can be heard on stations around the United States and Canada as well as on XM Satellite Radio’s NHL Home Ice and NHL.com.
How many of you can picture Rick DiPietro firing pucks the length of the ice and stopping some of the leagues brightest starts in the shootout? I know I can, cannot wait to see that. It sounds like the NHL has really done a bunch to spruce up this event – an event that doesn’t really get the ratings it should.
The Islanders (53 pts) sit one point ahead of the Bruins (52 pts) for 7th place in the Eastern Conference, so there is no doubt that this game will be nothing short of exciting. Moving into the All Star break, this game could potentially be a tie breaker down the line when the season winds down. It is also important in terms of momentum, because of the break – it’s always good to head into it off a pair of big wins.
This is also a big night for the Rangers (GASP!), because they sit two points back of the Islanders looking up towards the teams above them. Tonight the Rangers face Atlanta for the second straight game – and it’s a night featuring the retirement of Leetch’s jersey so they should be pumped up. Should the Islanders win and the Rangers lose – there is MORE space put between their biggest conference rival, if they lose – they will be tied for 8th.
7:09 PM First period under way!
7:10 PM Islanders going right on the power play, Kessel for hooking off a faceoff.
7:12 PM A very confident shot by our newest scoring machine – Witt, gives Thomas trouble. Power play over – 0/1
7:18 PM Sutton looking confident tonight – defensively and jumping in offensively!
7:23 PM As I have a mouthful of the pizza I just whipped up, Bergeron gets called for interference.
7:24 PM Puck almost trickles in, they push it back out and DiPietro gets screened – 1-0 Bruins
7:25 PM Well….we know who is fired up tonight – Bad defensive pinch, Bruins lead 2-0
7:34 PM I know the secret to heating up the Islanders – HOT SAUCE. I mixed in a bit of Mad Dog 357 with the pizza sauce……anyways, congrats are in order to Richard Park for his 500th career game!
7:38 PM Some good pressure by the Hunter,Tank, Sillinger line – Sillinger pushes it over the net.
7:40 PM Satan picks up a loose puck and gets off a good shot, nobody home for the rebound
7:43 PM Comeau is playing some great hockey – he has so much confidence tonight.
Well, that certainly didn’t go as planed! The Islanders found themselves outworked, out hustled and quite simply – out played. This team continues to puzzle me because they fail to show up on most nights. It’s not that they are playing completely horrible – but to be on the losing end of a two to nothing deficit in the first period of an important road game is unacceptable in my eyes. Where is the intensity, the drive, the passion? This team is supposed to be a hard working team – I just don’t know if that description fits their play tonight. There are still 40 minutes of hockey left, let’s hope the master motivator gets the team back in the game during the second period.
8:05 PM Sutton hit the post!
8:12 PM Savard caught Comrie up high – Isles power play upcoming
8:16 PM 0/2 on the power play – Savard scored from an impossible angle – 3-0 Boston
8:21 PM Thomas putting on a clinic tonight – outstanding saves here tonight.
8:25PM Comeau draws a tripping penalty after a series of nifty stick handling moves while breaking through the neutral zone. This guy needs to get more ice time.
8:29 PM Pathetic effort on the power play – they look lethargic. 0/3
8:30 PM Sutton called for holding….and thus the self destruction begins.
8:31 PM Just as the Bruins power play begins, it ends – Kessel on the power play makes it 4-0
8:32 PM How bad is it, when you cannot put the puck in an open net? TWICE! I am about to turn this game off.
8:34 PM 1 minute left in this tragedy of a second period
Pucks into skates, sticks, shin pads, side of the net, wide, high, out of play, anywhere BUT into the net or anywhere near the Bruins goaltender at times. I am absolutely sick and tired of this on again off again effort – there is absolutely no consistency with this team. I know the sky isn’t falling – but management needs to do something to shake up this roster. Where is everyone? Our star players aren’t performing and our fourth line is the only one consistently doing anything.
I know I sound negative, I love the Islanders – I do. I just cannot bear to watch this kind of hockey…..it is quite simply – PATHETIC.
9:01 PM Sillinger with a sizzler makes it 4-1 Boston
9:10 PM I am fighting passing out because I had a long day – but the overall poor play isn’t helping matter much. Blind passes, poor positional hockey…..Comrie just being lazy – what else is new?
9:14 PM Hunter tackled breaking into the zone, no call.
9:15 PM Best news of the whole night – Atlanta is ahead of the Rangers 1-0
9:16 PM Vasicek looked like he was going to kiss Krejci there……
And Boston wins 4-2 – thank god they have a few days off, I will allow this to sink in and me to cool down from being so annoyed. Level-headed recap tomorrow.
So I had a whole game post here….and I somehow lost it. Don’t know what happened…..
Not happy right now.
What did I like about the game? A bunch – three shorthanded goals – two on the same penalty kill. Lots of breakaways, a great Bergenheim goal, Witt’s second of the season and a hard working Comeau empty net goal. For a while I was calling our penalty kills the Power Kill….to recap Park scored shorthanded, Sillinger twice – almost thrice!
I had a bad feeling when the Canes made it 4-3, but Dubie played very solid and the team managed to pull out a win – eventually getting an insurance goal and then the empty net goal. The Islanders really capitalized on all of the chances tonight, I think they had like 4 breakaway goals tonight – this team rarely gets one let alone 4 in a single game. Penalties continue to be a problem, however the penalty kill was effective (you could say that…) at killing off most, only allowing one power play goal against.
This was a really important night, the Devils and Rangers both won – so we continue to hold a two point lead on the Rangers.
The team must have taken what they learned yesterday afternoon and grown from it – because they certainly never gave up tonight. It was good to see that they stuck to their guns and kept the pressure on.
Great game boys! Keep the ball rolling into Boston and take those to points too!
Not really what I was expecting today, but news is news – especially when it is GOOD news! The Islanders have announced that they have signed Journeyman defensman Freddy Meyer IV to a two year contract extension.
Per the Islanders Website:
The Islanders have signed defenseman Freddy Meyer to a two-year contract extension through the 2009-2010 NHL season.
In recent weeks, Meyer has filled in more than capably on the blue line when Radek Martinek, Brendan Witt and Chris Campoli were sidelined with injuries and he has emerged as a regular on the Islanders defense, often playing more than 20 minutes a game. Earlier this season, Meyer was lost on waivers to Phoenix but was reacquired by the Islanders when the Coyotes tried to put him through re-entry waivers.
“Freddy has earned this contract extension with his talent, work ethic and perseverance,” said Islanders general manager Garth Snow. “He has been through a lot this season, but his attitude never wavered. He is a solid defenseman in all aspects of the game and we’re pleased he has made a commitment to us for two more seasons beyond this year.”
Meyer joins fellow D-man Radek Martinek and winger Richard Park who have also received contract extensions earlier in the season. I think this is a great move, because Meyer has stepped up his play and filled in nicely. Even in his limited role earlier in the season, he stepped up and made that smooth pass of hard hit – which is something we have come to love out of Meyer. Kudos to Snow for locking him up, but much like the trade of Bootland – does this open up the door for something bigger? Has the team determined that someone is now expendable? Time will tell I guess, this organization is watertight when it comes to it’s plans.
It appears that Islander Mania is reporting that Campoli will be undergoing season ending shoulder surgery and that Meyer’s extension is the result of that development. Nothing concrete yet – but I will check some sources.
CONFIRMED PER ISLANDERS INSIDER
CAMPOLI’S SEASON IS OVER
Chris Campoli, one of the Islanders’ top young defensemen, will have shoulder surgery on Thursday and will be out for the remainder of the 2007-08 season
Defenseman Chris Campoli will have shoulder surgery on Thursday and will be sidelined for the remainder of the 2007-08 NHL season.
The 23-year old defenseman will have his surgery performed at the Cleveland Clinic by Dr. Anthony Miniaci, the head team physician of the Cleveland Browns. Dr. Maniaci was a prime consultant for the National Hockey League Players Association for many years and continues to evaluate and operate on many NHL players at the Cleveland Clinic.
The 6-0, 200-pound Campoli played 46 games for the Islanders this season, his third with the team after being selected in the seventh round of the 2004 NHL Draft. He had 4 goals and 14 assists for 18 points this season. In 177 NHL games, the Ontario native is 14-52-66.
“It’s a tough break for Chris. He’s been such a good player and he’s shown a lot of heart this season while battling the injury,” said Islanders head coach Ted Nolan. “The good news is that he will be under the best medical care and he has so many good years ahead of him. With Chris out, an opportunity opens up for someone to take advantage of. Thankfully, we had depth at the start of the season with at least 9 quality NHL defensemen. You can never have enough of them.”
Earlier today, defenseman Freddy Meyer was signed to a two-year contract extension through 2009-2010.
In what could prove to be a huge boost to a struggling defense, injured anchormen Brendan Witt and Radek Martinek are both set to return from injuries this afternoon for a MLK Day matinée. Not that the defense has been horrible – but they have been severely lacking in size, with Andy Sutton being our only d-man who is on the topside of 200 pounds and over 6 foot tall. With the loss of Campoli while Witt and Martinek were out – players such as Meyer, Gervais, Bergeron and Johnson were forced to play extended minutes and did an exceptional job all things considered.
Witt, who missed four games with a sprained ankle, and Martinek, who was sidelined for almost a month with an injured lower leg, have been sorely missed. The Islanders have played the past four games without both, and with the shoulder injury suffered by defenseman Chris Campoli Wednesday night against the Devils, the team has been down to six healthy defensemen. The Islanders had to rely on Freddy Meyer, whom they had released and reclaimed on waivers, and Aaron Johnson, who finished a brief conditioning stint in Bridgeport after being out 2½ months with a knee injury.
When you have guys like Witt and Martinek in the lineup, they help solidify a complete defensive core. Guys like Meyer, Gervais, Bergeron and Campoli are young – smooth skaters who can jump in offensively and guys like Witt, Martinek, and Sutton are solid veterans who aren’t shy of physical play. They use their bodies to do everything in their power to prevent shots and passes from getting through, which was something the team sorely missed against the Flyers.
Moving into this afternoons game against Carolina – the front half of a rare home and home series, it is an extremely important game and a very valuable 4 points up for grabs. New Jersey defeated Toronto last night, the Flyers topped the Senators yesterday afternoon and Boston jumped ahead also defeating the Rangers 3-1. If the Islanders wish to keep their playoff hopes alive, they need to capitalize and play their game against the Canes. Hopefully the return of Witt and Marty elevate the play of their teammates.
As I said I would, I uploaded the photos from the Flyers game, check out the gallery for the new photos. I will be at the game this afternoon – and I will likely make it over to the Blog Box for the 3rd period. Look for some updates from the game!
The night began like most nights, a chill in the air and a long walk across the parking lot at the Coliseum. Once inside – despite being early to ensure a bobble head, you could tell that the night would be a sellout. Why wouldn’t it be? It was a Saturday game and also Town of Hempstead night – one of the many nights this season where residents of the particular town get reduced admission.
Did you know this about the Town of Hempstead?
It is comparable in population to San Francisco or Jacksonville. It is significantly larger and more populous than Boston, Baltimore, or Seattle. It occupies the southwest part of the county. If it were a city, it would be the 14th most populous city in the nation, just above San Francisco, California. In terms, of land area, it would rank number 67th among US cities.
The other reason for the sellout; the Philadelphia Flyers were in town who were only 3 points ahead in the standings – so there was a large contingent of out of state fans at the barn. If there was ever an important game – it was tonight. Divisional games at this stage of the season are ALWAYS 4 point nights – ask any of the players and they are aware of that. So what was the problem tonight?
The game started and the Park was called for a borderline tripping call, it didn’t take Philadelphia long to score on the power play, given they have the leagues best power play and all. However, Richard would redeem himself not long after while on a breakaway. The game was tied….but not for long.
Philadelphia began a parade to the penalty box and Bill Guerin would score on the power play. 2-1 Isles, the team was chugging away out shooting the Flyers by a very big margin – so much so that the Flyers elected to take an early timeout. Josef Vasicek would score next, while parked in front of Biron to make it 3-1. Scottie Upshall would then trip DiPietro later in the period and receive an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for arguing the call towards the end of the period. The Isles could not score with the time left, so the power play carried over to the second period. The Flyers killed off the remainder of the double minor and from then on the Islanders were outplayed in just about every aspect of the game.
One of the biggest things that I noticed was a reluctance to shoot the puck. There would be prime chances while someone was in front of the net, and they would elect to pass almost every time. It was driving me crazy watching a team that outplayed the visiting team in the first period, to play the complete opposite 20 minutes later. Since the Blog Box began, I have NEVER asked Ted Nolan a question – I have my reasons for not doing so – but they were more nerves than anything else. Tonight, there was a very long lull in the questioning from the media – so I jumped in with the beauty:
“Did you feel there was a reluctance to shoot tonight?”
As the coach was answering me, I noticed Mark Herrmann of Newsday jotting down a bunch of notes – I could tell I asked a good question because Ted had a very long answer. When I got home tonight, I was extremely surprised to see the answer to my question as the lead quote in Herrmann’s article for tomorrow’s paper. Here is the quote and link to the online story:
“A reluctance to shoot, a reluctance to back check, a reluctance to chip it in,” Ted Nolan said after his team turned its early lead into a 5-3 loss Saturday night at Nassau Coliseum. “It was just a total team fall-apart.”
I could go on for hours about what the Islanders did or did not do tonight – but it’s not necessary. Instead I will direct you to some of my fellow Blog Box bloggers – who have also given their take on what transpired tonight. 7thwoman has an excellent perspective on the game, Tom Liodice of The Tiger Track did an excellent job live blogging like he always does, as did B.D. Gallof of Hockeybuzz. I am sure the other bloggers will update at some point between tonight and tommorow – I will update as they give their take.
If I learned anything tonight, it was that the Islanders have somewhat of an identity problem – as if they are uncomfortable in their own skin and that I should really ask more questions. I guess I do know what I am talking about after all.
Procrastination is a funny thing, what some push aside to the “unimportant” or “it can wait” piles – eventually needs to get done at some point. Not that the photos I have taken aren’t important – but I have been really busy with work lately and add in the “Holidays” excuse before that.
Once I realized just HOW MANY photos I needed to sort through and get uploaded – I almost lost it. I just finished sorting through close to 1000 photos and uploaded the “keepers”. Not every photo I take (or any other photographer) will make the final cut. A majority of the time, because hockey is so fast paced the photos will come out blurred or there will be a spectator right in the way of the action. These photos don’t need to be posted, so thus the importance of picking through the pile of digital photos.
Below you can find the list of games and links to the respective game albums:
Some of my favorites:
Check out the the gallery and let me know which album or photo is your favorite!
From here on out, I will be uploading the game photos either right after the game – or the next afternoon after work.