Now that the Islanders season is over, I get to talk about some of the things I don’t often get to do during the season – equipment reviews!
If you go back several weeks, I posted a preview of what I knew of MLX skates as I eagerly anticipated the arrival of my custom tailored pair.
During my initial talks with MLX, they directed me to a section of their website that shows you how to measure up your feet – in order to get the perfect size skate. Keep in mind, you’re still able to pick whatever you like, such as a little extra toe room, or toes right to the toe box. Regardless of what you choose for yourself, fit with these skates is phenomenal. I’ll touch on that more later on.
A quick background on MLX as a company:
MLX is a company partially backed by none other than Mario Lemieux, and headed by Founder/CEO Dave Cruikshank – the former Chicago Blackhawks skating coach AND former US Speed Skating Olympian. Cruikshank wanted to incorporate some of best attributes of high end speed skates and move them into the technology for hockey skates. Cruikshank says this best himself; “The goal was to determine how to make a hockey skate that would deliver the performance features necessary for the game of hockey at the highest levels, but also deliver the speed attributes from speed skating.” MLX does this by using lightweight carbon fiber and other materials, that can be heated at home in your oven and MOLDED to your feet. It’s pretty cool stuff and works well.
After some confusion and shipping delays, my skates arrived 2-3 weeks after I had provided them with my sizing. The company had great communication with me through the process and apparently, my skates were SO custom that they had to be special made to my specifications. Talk about service.
The skates came shipped with some paperwork explaining the prep work needed, a Torx T-20 driver for the screws on the skate, some extra hardware, stickers, two sets of “shims” and even a skate key.
I’ve been skating and playing hockey for a long time, granted – it’s not at a level of any of the pro’s but I know when I have stumbled upon something that works. You can imagine I’ve been through quite a few different skates over the years, Easton, Bauer, CCM, Graf, and most recently – a custom set of Graf skates I had made through Joe Ferraro. I know I am getting ahead of myself here in this review – but the MLX skates are the most comfortable, fastest skate I have ever laced up.
So the Islanders lost in a tough way last night against their rival New York Rangers 4-2. The game was a fairly entertaining game, and although the Islanders played much better than they have in the last few – it wasn’t enough to beat the red hot Rangers.
For long stretches of time, the Isles were out muscled, out played and out hustled. They did manage to turn it around for a bit towards the end of the first period, and then again during the second with a few power plays but ended the second period down 2-1. The game got chippy at times, with Mottau and Avery fighting and then Martin and Eminger as well.
Nabakov absorbed lots of contact, as have his fellow keepers had the previous games – it’s no wonder why the league is looking into ways of protecting goalies.
There were the typical gaffes, bad passes, blocked shots, poor clearing attempts and a few miscues around the net. But none took the cake like Josh Bailey’s bone headed backhand clearing attempt late in the third. An ill advised attempt that was up the middle of the ice and went directly to Brad Richards who scored the game winner. Josh Bailey may find himself on the outside looking in, as soon as tomorrow nights game.
The team clearly responded Kyle Okposo’s benching last night, but they were just no match for the stronger and more talented Rangers.
During the post game, it was your typical somber and quiet locker room. The players were milling about, with Austrian news crews going through and interviewing Grabner, Niederreiter and Streit, in German. I could barely hear Moulson in his scrum, he was monotone and looking at the floor for the most part. The only thing I managed to understand was how the team is frustrated and that they know they can play better.
Tavares’ scrum was no different, as he is already a quiet person. However, you could literally see the pain and frustration in his expressions and through his words.
I am not going to lie, I’m glad they are frustrated and mad. A team that accepts defeat and begins to expect losing isn’t a team I would want to watch – so perhaps this is another learning experience for the young crew.
Listening to head coach Jack Capuano speak during his post game press conference – it was good to hear that he felt there weren’t any passengers and he saw lots of effort last night. He admitted that they had paid the price on the 5 on 3, and nearly scored right after killing it off.
The Islanders 3rd jersey was revealed tonight at a special event, it had been speculated about for months and was even leaked to a few different websites. Unfortunately, it was that black design that just wouldn’t go away – which I admit I don’t hate, but I don’t love it either. It reminds me too much of the jersey the Mets wear and I really don’t want to emulate that team any more than we already do.
Please, tell me what you think in the comments. Although, I may regret that.
November is typically a tough month for hockey, teams begin to gel and string together wins – like the Rangers have or; in the case of the Islanders, begin to struggle due to weaknesses.
The Islanders have struggled mightily the last few weeks, they’ve had trouble scoring, hitting, and skating. They also have far too many players who are struggling offensively, or just struggling in general. Back on November 1st, I had started a post outlining all of the offensive woes of the current roster – but I got side tracked with the SEMA Automotive show in Las Vegas. I’ve taken on some more responsibility with my friends TV Show and Website – Motorz TV.
In any case, players up and down the roster are struggling – Blake Comeau, Josh Bailey, Kyle Okposo, Brian Rolson, and Marty Reasoner – just to name a few. Head Coach Jack Capuano has stated several times now that there are certain players that are simply along for the ride and not bringing what they can to the game. He’s done little to wake his team up however, only scratching Blake Comeau for two games last month. If you have players who feel they automatically deserve a roster spot, sorry they should be sitting.
Thankfully, Nino Niederreiter returns tonight from his two week conditioning stint in Bridgeport. His style of play and energy should be a welcomed and much needed boost for the slumping Islanders.
Newsday’s Arthur Staple reported via Twitter earlier today, that Capuano will not speak about his roster adjustments until closer to game time, but – he did say that Evgeni Nabakov will be in goal for the Islanders tonight.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise – but the Islanders need to execute their shot selection better. The last handful of games the Islanders haven’t been able to get through their opponents forecheck, or even establish anything once they gain the offensive zone.
Defensively they’ve been no better, as they’ve allowed the first goal on the first shot against way too many times. They have also made a ton of mistakes, miscues and not been hitting aggressively enough. It’s almost like the entire team is afraid to be physical, well – aside from Martin and Streit.
Pressure – simply put, pressure the puck carriers coming into the defensive zone. Put pressure on the opponents defense to force turnovers and for once, just shoot the puck. The team has held onto the puck for way too long at times, it’s almost as if they haven’t learned anything last year.
Fortunately, the Islanders always seem to step up their game when it comes to their cross-town rivals. If there was ever a game that the team would break out of their funk – tonight would be the night.
I know that everyone watching in that arena will be amped up to see some spirited hockey, but will our Islanders?