Step right up folks, men, women and children of all ages – give the wheel a spin. Everyone is a winner!
Round and round she goes, where it stops nobody knows – injuries for everyone!
Ok, ok – before we begin, I have many questions. Does losing and injury go hand in hand? Do injuries happen more to teams in that downward and never ending spiral towards the league basement? Do the Islanders require some sort of spiritual intervention to help rid them of the dark and evil forces that have taken over their teams health?!?
I admit, I may have gone a tad far with the last question – but inquiring minds want to know.
We are two years removed from a season that saw the Islanders lose a league record man games lost to injury (and one that earned us the right to draft Tavares first overall) – and it appears they are looking to shatter that poor statistic this season before we even hit the midway mark. Just a little while ago, Newsday’s Katie Strang tweeted that defenseman Mike Mottau who nearly lost an eye in Atlanta last month (and was just recently cleared to play) will miss the remainder of the season with a hip injury that requires surgery. She claims that the injury was lingering and actually happened prior to the eye injury.
If that’s not enough, the oft-injured Rick DiPietro has been placed on injured reserve with swelling on his right knee. The jury is still out on this curious move, as the swelling has been called minor and his being held out as “precautionary”. One always fears it could be more than meets the eye, but it could also be simply for book keeping purposes.
Let’s recap shall we?
Player – Games Missed
Mark Streit – 30
Kyle Okposo – 30
Milan Jurcina – 18
Andrew MacDonald – 15
Doug Weight – 12
Trent Hunter – 11
Rob Schremp – 11
Mike Mottau – 10
Jack Hillen – 7
Bruno Gervais – 4
Mark Eaton – 3
Michael Grabner – 3
John Tavares – 3
Radek Martinek – 2
Josh Bailey – 2
Rick DiPietro – 1
Total: 162 games lost to injury
The longer players such as Okposo, Streit, Mottau, Weight and now DiPietro stay out – the more this total increases by FIVE every single game the Islanders play. The totals do not include games scratched – for those wondering as it’s not a game lost to injury.
But you know, the games lost to injury have NOTHING to do with a long losing streak or a lack of scoring, right? It may not be the SOLE cause – but it’s a large one.
Over the last few weeks, it’s been rather hard to muster the energy to constructively write about our Islanders. It’s rather tiresome reading all the negative junk on the internet, the media and of course the message boards consisting of FANS of this team. I choose not to ignore it, (I actually read everything) but turn a blind eye in a sense because I don’t necessarily agree with common fan opinion.
Between injuries, the young and often inexperienced roster and of course – the controversial bargain basement roster price narrowly making the league mandated salary cap floor – don’t make being a fan of the Islanders easy when they aren’t playing well.
Fans had lambasted Garth Snow for now addressing fans, so he does a live chat on Islanders TV only for those same fans to now turn around and blast the questions he answered.
Fans are calling for Charles Wang to step up and address fans during these trying times as well. But allow me to say this – for everyone claiming that Charles Wang is TOO involved, you now want him to make a statement? He’s made numerous statements on this very subject, he asked us to be patient while we watched Garth Snow to stick to his plan a plan that has seen us draft well and grab talent from the waiver and free agent wire.
Good things come to those who wait – we just have to stay patient.
Speaking of patient…or should I say patients – what’s this story about a nurse calling out the Islanders while they were visiting a hospital? Wrong time and wrong place. I am a season ticket holder as well and I wouldn’t dare have the audacity to speak like that to players in any situation. Shame on you, especially in a hospital when players are doing something respectable.
Same goes for Opie, it’s one thing that you have money – it’s another to literally throw your tickets out the window. There are plenty of young kids who would still give up anything to attend a hockey game, even one where perhaps the Islanders lose. Poor judgement, but hey that’s what your show is built around right?
Now that my rant is over, let’s look at the game last night against the Anaheim Ducks.
For starters, I missed the game last night as I had LASIK done and literally couldn’t open my eyes – I slept through the night and only watched the highlights this morning.
Defense. The defense looked outstanding with youngins’ Andrew MacDonald and Travis Hamonic leading the charge and shutting down the Ducks top line. Each player played over 20 minutes last night respectively. We also saw the return of Milan Jurcina who’s missed quite a bit of time with a hamstring injury as well as Radek Martinek who was hit by a shot in the hand last week. It certainly had an effect on the outcome of the game having the veteran presence back there.
Scoring. The Islanders scored three goals, something they have actually been doing quite regularly – however they scored three in the first period and three in 99 seconds. We saw another power play goal, this time scored by PA Parenteau off a slick feed by Tavares behind the net. Next up, Comeau was found alone out in front less than a minute later and the Moulson scored thanks to a nice turnover caused by offensive zone pressure. DiPietro would eventually secure the win for the Islanders making 30 saves and giving up two goals, one to former Islander Jason Blake.
The Islanders played their positions well, they finished their checks and most importantly held onto the lead through two periods – something they have not done well at all this season.
The young players are coming along nicely, although John Tavares continues to struggle without a veteran or scoring winger on his side – I am sure Garth Snow is looking for the right piece without having to give up too much in return. He’s spend quite a bit of time restoring his cupboard – why be in a rush to ship those pieces out.
As fans we have to remember that our one job is patience. I don’t like spending my hard earned (and as of late) harder to hold onto money more than the next person – but I am still here to support my team through thick and thin.
Calling for the firing of a GM that has worked his butt off to restore the damage done from years past, and for an owner to sell is just plain silly right now. It can ALWAYS be worse, look no further than the Islanders recent history to be reminded how much so….