Excuse the really cheesy play on words in the title of this post, because it has mixed meaning as you will soon find out. Instead of posting any kind of opinion, live blog or rant last night – I decided that I would be better off going to bed early then attempting to post in the state of mind I was in after the game.
Just a quick note before I get too involved with the issues at hand, if you take a quick peak to your right, you will notice that I have added two RSS feed buttons to the top of the sidebar. I am constantly trying to improve the functionality of the site, and one of the things I noticed was the difficulty in finding my RSS feed. Not everyone uses Firefox (which makes it really easy to subscribe) and the only other mention of the feed was in the very bottom of the sidebar. For those who may not know, an RSS feed is a way of the blog communicating with any flavor of feed reader you may use, so that when I update – the reader updates YOU to new content. I also use a service that will send out a daily email update (once daily) for those who many not use RSS in the first place. I know, things always appear complicated at first – but I promise it is really easy to use!
Islanders at Penguins
Last night the Islanders took on the Pittsburgh Penguins for what many were hoping would be a quick and painless event. The Islanders had faired pretty well against the Pens this season and they were even without Sid the Kid. The Islanders came out with energy, the Bridgeport line was flying all over the ice and cycled the puck well. Colliton hit just about everyone, as did Fedotenko and Hunter. The Islanders would tally the first goal of the game (a rare event) when Conklin misplayed the puck behind the net allowing Hilbert to corral the puck and dish over to a wide open Comrie for an empty net goal. The Islanders lead wouldn’t last however, as the Pens scored on a powerplay tying the game at one. As if Comrie didn’t impress enough, he would eventually drop the gloves against Pittsburgh’s Talbot – in a fight that seemed to be more of a wrestling match than anything.
During the second period, the Pens went up again and the Islanders would eventually tie the game once more on a power play goal by Fedotenko. Another Islanders penalty resulted in a second Pens power play goal by Whitney. The Islanders wouldn’t tie the game back up until another power play goal of their own, by none other than Comrie. The game tied at 3, the pressure was put on by both teams and the Pens would capitalize on a bad clearing attempt with just over three minute remaining on a shot that was deflected off the stick of Brendan Witt. In the final seconds, a flurry in front of Conklin with an extra attacker for the Islanders causing trouble we would see the puck trickle across the goal line only to be waved off with .4 seconds remaining. Game, set and match.
Overall, I felt there was a much better effort by everyone and the Brideport line of Tambellini, Nielsen and Comeau played outstanding, as did Colliton. I felt that puck movement, speed, the breakout and even backcheck was much faster, smarter and well executed. Pressure was on the Pens for the entire game and there wasn’t any indication of someone taking a shift or period off.
Mike Comrie wants to stay on the Island!
No, you don’t have to read that twice – he really wants to stick around (or so it seems). There has been a lot of talk around the internet on how much the Islanders could possibly receive in return for trading Comrie to a contender. There has also been a bunch of talk about how man wouldn’t really miss the toe-drag and his periods of lazyness ala Yashin. I know that I haven’t been the kindest to Mike, but its more frustration than anything. I like what he brings to the team and I really feel like he could excel when completely healthy and paired with forwards who are a bit more offensive minded and unafraid to go to the high traffic areas. Look at last nights game as an example, he shot the puck and actually skated so its not surprising to see him pot a pair.
How do I know he wants to stay? Greg Logan’s Islander Insider, an online article posted on Newsday’s website every Friday has excellent quotes from Comrie:
Comrie likely would be valuable in the trade market. Two NHL scouts at the Pittsburgh game marveled at his second goal and how he scored through a tiny opening. But Comrie said he has no desire to leave.
“This is an organization I want to be a part of,” said Comrie, who will be a free agent this summer. “We’ve got a great core group of guys. We’ve got an ownership that wants to win. They treat us extremely well. I feel we’ve got the best coaching staff in the league, and it’s a situation that I want to be a part of. I think we give ourselves a chance to win every night when we compete. We’ve had a few injuries, but you’ve still got to give yourself that chance.”
So, Mikey apparently likes the Island and Ted Nolan, so as the Islanders only real scoring threat and “top center”, I think he is one of the pieces you need to keep in order to build a successful team around. Hopefully the rest of Islander Country gives him the benefit of doubt this season and welcomes him back with open arms next year. We have no Kozlov, Blake or Yashin this season and need to retain the players who have points – thus making the argument to keep Comrie even stronger.