Archived Posts from this Category
Archived Posts from this Category
I made it to the game on Tuesday night, the first time this season. Not that I haven’t wanted to go earlier, I have been crazy busy during this shortened season.
From the second we pulled up to the parking, you knew that hockey was back on Long Island. Yes, it’s been back since January when the lockout ended – but it’s BACK these days. We sat in traffic just to pay for parking and had to park near Hempstead Turnpike do to the turnout. The last time that happened was my first as a season ticket holder, in 2006-2007.
It was a beautiful night Tuesday night, so many fans did as they always have during early and late season games – they tailgated. There was a buzz among the crowd, an hour before the puck was even dropped!
Inside, fans were just as plentiful – a far cry from some of the earlier games this season.
When Eric Hornick updated his awesome blog with the latest Skinny on the Isles loss to the Senators last night, one glaring stat stuck out like a sore thumb. 42.
No, it’s not the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything actually yes it is, but read on! It’s the total of third period goals allowed, which owns the title of most in the NHL. Perhaps the Islanders never have those handy towels ready. Ok, that was the last unavoidable reference to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galazy, but not towards the frustrating New York Islanders.
In any case – the Islanders were victorious North of the Border in Montreal last night, but it was a tale of three teams. I’m almost certain that you read the title and said – “Eh? THREE teams Mike?”.
So we’re just just past the quarter pole of the season and we’ve seen such inconsistency that it’s maddening. Oh to be a fly on the wall of the locker room.
We’ve seen this team come out flying and score goals in the first minute of play and dominate for a full 60, but we’ve also seen the same team come out and look lost and allow goals in the first :27 seconds or less of periods. I’ve seen blame placed upon everything from the owner, to the coach, preparedness, the captain, lack of talent, lack of defense, size – everything.
What are the answers?
That’s a great question. One that I find myself asking as I watch these games from the comfort of my living room with a scowl on my face and sore throat from yelling at the TV.
Up front we have Tavares, Moulson and Boyes. While this line has put up points and John has entered beast mode at times, he cannot do it alone. I watch this guy bust his hump game in and game out and teams pay lots of attention to him. Why? Because the talent around him while good, can’t keep pressure off of him most nights. Sure, they can compete with that first line, but he needs someone who can open up space and be as big of a threat as him so he can penetrate the defense without too much trouble and not have four guys hanging all over him.
At the same time, because he draws that many players to him those around him need to get into better position. Something that doesn’t always happen. Moulson gets to the net, creates traffic and is handy with his stick depositing shots – but only when they get through. Boyes shows flashes of being a smart playmaker, but he gets pushed off the puck and causes turnovers at times. I’d really hoped for more out of him and I’m not sure he belongs on JT’s wing.
As we move down the depth chart – we have Grabner who’s speed and defensive play cause fits but he often can’t finish. Nielsen with his defensive play, while he’s a smart player he doesn’t seem to have much as far as offense this season. Bailey has looked better this year, but we haven’t seen enough of him. Ullstrom and Cizikas have been a pleasant surprise. I’d like to see Ullstrom up on JT’s wing for a game or two actually.
Okposo. I’ve never been as disappointed in a player as I have been with Kyle. He seems lazier this year, perhaps because he opted to not play during the lockout and it’s a matter of conditioning? Two games in a row he’s taken penalties that have killed momentum and have been in the offensive zone. You just cannot do that. He’s haphazardly back checked and tried too hard to make pretty plays with the puck. He needs to use his head and slow his game down a touch. He’s been all over the place in the lineup, and last night he looked OK until he decided to be a bonehead.
Aucoin and McDonald – two serviceable guys who deserve spot duty in the NHL, but would be better served down with Bridgeport. Aucoin I’d actually go and say he’s good enough to stick, but I think it’s because of our depth issue.
Reasoner – well, we know what we have there and why the team is shopping him. He actually played ok last night in Ottawa, but as much as this team needs a veteran, he doesn’t fit and hasn’t fit since was signed. Experiment over.
If he’s waived or traded, it’s time for Niederreiter to be called up.
This has been a tough year – as noted by our waiver wire addiction.
Hickey has looked good, I like not noticing a player much until he makes that solid play and he hasn’t looked out of place. Finley, well – we could do better but he serves a purpose when he’s around. Carkner has added toughness and been an ok defenseman and I’m actually a little upset he’s been injured. They need his fire.
Visnovsky has been as advertised. I just wish he was a few years younger because he adds an element that this team needs – a secondary power play QB. He seems to like the team, thankfully – and plays every night. Not to say he hasn’t made mistakes though.
Our Captain, Streit – he’s struggled but has given glimpses of the player he was in his first season on the team. I’ve not changed my mind in that he was a bad choice for captain. He would never do as Giroux did for the Flyers and call out his teammates. He should’ve after the 7-0 shutout though. I would have. Sometimes you need to get pissed as a leader and veteran. Just look at what assistant coach Doug Weight did with his “paint peeling” speech last week. We need THAT fire and excitement.
Strait is hurt and that’s a shame. He’s been solid and deserves that contract. A fractured ankle will likely see him gone the rest of the season. I suppose we’ll see the man-o-glass Martinek replace him this week at some point.
MacDonald – oh what happened to you? You’ve gone from a steady workhorse to someone who’s positional play has gotten away from what it was. You’re playing too many minutes friend.
Hamonic – thank goodness for you. You’re the best we have on the rear guard corps, but like your partner you are playing too many minutes. This just screams lack of depth and poor coaching.
It’s clear to me that Capuano trusts who he trusts and is hesitant to change much up. Sounds exactly the way Scott Gordon was and we know how that ended.
Nabokov has been outstanding for a player creeping up there in age. He’s been overplayed though and hung out to dry more often than not with his defense.
DiPietro – I’ll get lambasted for saying this, but he’s been ok. Not great, not good – but just ok. Sure last night he flubbed that glove save and it put the game out of reach, but when you don’t allow your goalie to see the puck you can’t expect him to automatically make a save, I don’t care who it is in net.
I’ve been writing about this team since 2006, been a fan my entire life and have seen a lot of crazy things go on with the organization.
What I cannot wrap my mind around is the lack of effort by Charles Wang to put a genuine NHL product on the ice. Garth Snow is always forced to assemble a majority of his team with tape and bubble gum and that’s no way to form a contender, let alone a professional hockey team. His hands are tied for the most part – I don’t agree with the thoughts that he’s a bad GM and I’m curious to see how good he can be if he was ACTUALLY free to do what he wants.
Sure there are a ton of issues going on behind the scenes with the pending move to Brooklyn, but enough is enough.
The Islanders are wrecking these years with John Tavares. Plain and simple.
While the farm is stocked with a ton of good prospects – we seem to be stuck in this repetitive cycle of poor management. It’s painful to watch as a fan, I’m sure it’s no better as a player.
We should be going hard as we move towards Brooklyn. The fans in on Long Island deserve to make the old barn rock at least one more time.
I’m tired of feeling as if we’re constantly lied to as a fan base – and I know a lot of other fans out there feel the same way.
I look forward to better days and we’ve been teased with what it’ll be like once we get there.
Tell me you’re feelings or ideas in the comment section. I’m open for debate.
The Islanders have completed their first two games of the season, suffering from a 2-0 loss to the Florida Panthers on Saturday and hanging on for a 2-1 win this afternoon against the Minnesota Wild.
While it’s entirely too early to accurately gauge what to expect in the remaining 80 games this season – I’ve seen, and heard a few things that are worth noting at this point.
Saturday’s game was disappointing, not only from the standpoint of it being a let-down for the fans that packed out Nassau Coliseum, but because the team looked flat and often misplayed the puck. The bar was raised really high by the organization (well, the players themselves really) – so it stung seeing the team struggle before a building filled to near capacity in their season opener.
The ice at the Coliseum looks horrible, like the players were skating in soup. At one point at the start of the second period on Saturday, the on ice officials spent about five minutes with squeegees getting the pools of water moved from the ice surface. You can only really blame the County for this one – as they are responsible for any repairs. I hope to have more on this in the coming days.
The Islanders came out relatively flat, often misplaying the puck or not making smart decisions with and without the puck. Andrew MacDonald showed plenty of rust, committed several turnovers – even though he wasn’t officially charged with any in the post game stats. Mark Streit played a decent game for someone who hadn’t seen professional action in over a year. Mike Mottau took three penalties – three too many.
The forwards were often unable to get things going, chipping the puck past Florida’s defense and just being stopped cold. Al Montoya kept them in the game though making 27 saves for the Isles. They need to do more offensively, which I’m sure they will once all cylinders are firing.
I don’t want to hammer the team with negatives, so let’s jump right to the positives.
Travis Hamonic threw down the gloves and jumped to the support of his teammate Al Montoya by fighting Scotty Upshall. When I asked him during the post game interviews if there was any words exchanged, or if it was just something he had to do to support his goaltender – I got one of the greatest answers one could expect from the budding defenseman.
Every time you fight, I say you fight for a couple of reasons. One is to defend a teammate, two is to change the momentum of the game and three is to defend yourself. I think that in that instance, it hit the nail on the head for all three of them. I was trying to defend Al, and you know next thing I know I turn around and he [Upshall] was in my face. That’s the part of the game that I welcome, I think it happens with the style of play that I play and at that point it was 1-0 for the other team and I felt it it was a good opportunity to change the momentum of the game, so that’s why I did what I did.
Every game the young Travis Hamonic plays – I become more and more impressed. He hits, he makes sound passes, he’s very physical and he plays big important minutes for his team. When he’s paired with Andrew MacDonald – the two of them compliment each other very well.
Fast forward to this afternoon’s game against Minnesota – the Islanders came out a very different team in the first twenty minutes. They skated, they passed and they moved the puck past the defense in a way they couldn’t manage against Florida the game before.
Andrew MacDonald played a much better game, and made up for the mistakes he committed in his first game back. At the start of the game I never would’ve pegged him to score the first goal of the 2011/2012 season – but score he did and it was a beauty. Take a look for yourself:
The Islanders second goal was even better. Mark Streit fakes a shot from the point and moves down the boards. Frans Nielsen is moving towards the Wild net and Streit executes a perfect shot pass – Nielsen redirected it perfectly to give the Islanders a two goal lead. This goal, you just HAVE to watch:
The rest of today’s game wasn’t as good – even though the Islanders managed to hang on and win 2-1. They looked fatigued as the game wore on, at one point not getting a shot for almost ten minutes and being held in their own zone for long stretches. Despite the negatives, the fact that the team held on is a testament to how far they’ve come since last season. Perhaps you can credit the veteran infusion, but you certainly have to credit Al Montoya for his stellar performance once again.
At the end of the day, the Islanders won, we heard the new Goal Song, the team moved to .500 on the season and improved their record to 1-1. It’s certainly a start.
Hockey is back! It may not be as organized or as polished as we, as fans would like – but it was great to watch and listen to the game last night.
The Islanders put forth a solid effort last night, despite being shutout 2-0 by their hosts the Calgary Flames – there were a few positive takeaways from the preseason contest however.
If you follow me on Twitter (I mean why don’t you?) you may have caught my little quip on how disorganized hockey makes my head hurt. This wasn’t in reference to any team in particular, as it was clear watching both teams (and highlights from the other games last night) that everyone is working out their kinks. It’s also important to point out, that the Islanders didn’t field a majority of the players we’ll see during the season.
As a matter of fact, the guys on TSN made a few witty comments on the overall age of the Islanders. They had joked about the players standing around in the runway leading to the ice lacking the veterans to lead them onto the ice, they joked about how you know you have a young team when half the players have to get dressed at the hotel before the game (as a peewee and midget who’s not done that?), and then referenced Ryan Strome’s baby face and how he’d get carded the first several years of his career. All light hearted stuff, but true none-the-less.
Let’s get the negatives out of the way.
The young and inexperienced Islanders defenseman often made rushed decisions with the puck, clearing the puck right up the middle, clearing the puck late or at times – right to the opposition. Growing pains, no big deal.
Milan Jurcina getting injured, wasn’t said how extreme, just that he injured his groin and missed the second half of the game.
Evgeni Nabokov doing his best DiPietro impression (I had even joked about this on Twitter) straying out of the crease and misplaying the puck a few times. Shook his rust off though.
Kirill Kabanov showing a reluctance to shoot the puck, holding onto it a tad too long and making late passes unlike what we saw a few weeks ago during the rookie game.
Rhett Rhakshani leaving the game with another injury, although not ANOTHER concussion – this time to his knee.
Offense – the team struggled against the veteran heavy Flames, getting only 13 shots on net, thats after a full 60 minutes.
On to the positives
Evgeni Nabokov made 15 saves in the two periods he was in net. It took him a bit to shake the rust off, but you can see by his positioning and rebound control that the talent is there. I kept shaking my head ACTUALLY seeing him in net and hearing the phrase “Save Nabokov!”.
This youngster has zip, playmaking ability and that moxie you just cannot ignore. He hasn’t looked too far out of place against the big boys, I expect him to get an extra look and perhaps the nine-game treatment.
Here is a kid that not longer than a year ago was labeled a headcase and another problem child Russian. He turned things around in for himself and is taking camp as serious as anyone. He’s looked sharp on Strome’s wing and may find himself in Bridgeport this year should his play continue.
Marty Resasoner looks a bit rusty, granted he’s nursing his knee – but he showed some poise last night.
Jay Pandalfo made some heady moves with the puck last night. I like him for the fourth line if he gets a contract.
Steve Staios needs a contract. I’ve liked what I’ve seen and heard from him all of camp and preseason. He rounds out the defense nicely and adds needed depth.
Trevor Gillies has been hitting, they have been hard and clean. It looks like he spent his offseason really working on his game. (Now with video!)
With the a-team at home likely watching on Long Island last night – it was a decent game to watch overall.
There were some roster trims today via waivers, I’ll have something on that later on tonight.
So, I’m not sure if you know this – but hockey was back today at Nassau Coliseum.
It wasn’t quite what the Orange vs Blue scrimmage was earlier this summer – I think the Islanders learned what worked and what didn’t since then, like having the players wear their full jerseys, WITH numbers (a godsend for us media types located high above the ice….).
In all seriousness though, I felt they did a great job putting the scrimmage together. This time around, it wasn’t just prospects and camp invitees dazzling the crowd of 1500 with nifty passes and toe drags, instead it featured many of the players we will see on a daily basis during the upcoming season, which was a nice taste for a September afternoon. Those missing were those a bit banged up, Captain Doug Weight (shoulder), Kyle Okposo (shoulder), Rob Figren (foot), and Franz Nielsen was also absent and seen walking around the halls during the post game scrums.
The energy was high this afternoon and it was evident from the opening faceoff that the players missed catering to their fans and playing the sport they love.
From the puck drop on, I noted to those around me how strange it was heading Rick DiPietro quaterbacking the players from the goal mouth – I couldn’t honestly remember the last time he was in as good of a mood or as vocal. Not even when I went up to Bridgeport to see DP in his return to action was he as comfortable or vocal (and we know why now…). Continue Reading »
I don’t know if everyone else saw the game last night, but it was – how do you say, more of the same. Or was it?
If you wish to read my ridiculously bleak and furious tone during the game, head on over to my Twitter Feed to read my list of troublesome habits and areas of improvement the Islanders need in order to actually compete this season. I took part in a healthy debate with many of the other furious Isles fans last night too – which is always fun.
Instead of listing what went wrong first, let’s list the things that actually went O.K. for the Islanders:
Unfortunately, I have a laundry list of things the Islanders did not do well last night:
I am sure you get the idea at this point.
My honest opinion of what is ailing the Islanders late in games, isn’t fatigue and the blame cannot be places solely on the coaching staff either – look no further at the makeup of this team. Young players without much NHL experience. Sure, there are veteran players strewn about the team, but this is the type of game you will have with a cast of kids and AHL players. That’s what a rebuild is, and this is what happens to a team rebuilding.
When Pittsburgh and Washington drafted Crosby and Ovechkin respectively, they did not just wake up one day and decide to light the league on fire – it took time, effort and most importantly – patience. The Islanders are not a player or two from being competitive, they need serious upgrades on offense and defense in order to have an even (keyword) spread of talent across four lines.
But that’s just this bloggers opinion, so take it how you will.
With the 6-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight, coupled with a 4-2 Tampa Bay Lightning loss to the Capitals – the Islanders have “clinched” the 30th position and the best shot at the number one pick in the upcoming draft.
The Islanders can win out their final two home games this weekend and still finish with the fewest amount of points – guaranteeing them no worse than the second overall selection, but giving them the best (48.2% chance of picking 1st and a 51.8% chance of picking 2nd – nhlscap.com) chance at landing the number one overall selection in Montreal.
The Draft Lottery is being held up in Toronto next week (Tuesday April 14th) and will be televised on Versus. So Islanders fans, in less than a week – we will know for sure which selection we will receive for all of our pain and suffering this season.
I promise you this much, I want the Isles to absolutely kick the crap out of the Flyers and Bruins this weekend. I am “back” to being an Isles fan first – that’s for sure.
A brief note: There is an extremely GOOD chance that I will be attending the draft again this year in Montreal. I will know more in the next few weeks and be sure to get the news out as soon as I figure out the plan.
From here on out, it’s Tavares, Hedman or BUST!
Edit: As reactions roll in, I will be sure to post links back to those blogs speaking about the same subject.
First “at bat” is Ken Dick over at Okposo Net (Soon to be Tavares Net?). Ken and I were notorious for yelling back at opposing fans whenever they would tell us we were in last place – by saying “Tavares, Tavares”. The other fans, lacking a good comeback – would just say, you’re right.
The boys over at Hockey Night on Long Island have put up their take on securing the 30th position.
Voice of the Islander Fans has his hilariously real take on things as always.
Chris Botta tells us there is “No reason to Vic around” and gives a whole list of reasons why we should announce our intentions to pic Tavares right after learning if we get the number one pick overall right after the announcement of the Lottery next week.
Dee Karl (Aka 7th Woman) gives us her “Unique Perspective” as the she always does – and goes on to say that Garth Snow should just call in sick the day of the lottery – just in case he has any ideas.
James Mirtle goes all statistical on the Isles locking up the best chance at the number one pick and talks about the other teams filling in spots 29-25.
Gary Harding joins the fray, he gives us his reasons behind why we should draft the one we call JT.
Things are getting interesting, yes?
What a game!
Kyle Okposo just scored his fourth goal in four games for the second time this season to defeat the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 in overtime. It was Okposo’s 16th goal of the season.
No matter the outcome, I still have a problem with being conflicted with the Islanders play as of late. I have a constant eye on the standings I’ll admit – so with each solid game and each point earned in the standings (7 in last 4 games – eeeek) we creep further out of the league basement and make the Tank for Tavares almost a thing of the past. (Note: The Lightning have also won tonight, so the Isles maintain their four point
lead cushion in the standings for the bottom (ie: LAST PLACE)).
I always want to see the Islanders do well, especially when the drive is being led by the team’s future. Players like Jesse Joensuu, Mike Iggulden, Blake Comeau, Jack Hillen, Frans Nielsen, Jeff Tambellini, Sean Bergenheim, Kyle Okposo, Josh Bailey et. al. make this season really exciting because we are witnessing a glimpse of our future. We are able to see our team grow and learn with each other, sometimes with really exciting results.
Last week I was asking everyone if Okposo could reach the 20 goal plateau this season, his first full NHL season. Now, I am starting to wonder if I should be asking if he can reach the 30 goal mark – he is doing THAT good lately. I know, let’s not get ahead of ourselves – but it’s certainly a very bright spot in an otherwise tough season.
The Tavares Hunt will continue – it’s still a long, yet short road trip against a group of tough teams.
About to call into the conference call to hear everything that has or has not transpired today.
I am going to record the call with my fancy device that allows me to do so with my digital recorder. I will either transcribe it or post the clip in it’s entirety.
More in a few!
Update: Well there were technical difficulties in the call. I think I heard Garth Snow say three of four barely audible words. Guess I have to wait for the press release – nothing went the Islanders way today, clearly.
Update #2 Per the Islanders official press release:
The New York Islanders have traded Bill Guerin to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for a conditional 2009 fifth round draft selection. The team has also activated defenseman Thomas Pock and center Nate Thompson from the Injured Reserve while reassigning winger Jon Sim to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League.
The conditions of the Guerin/Pittsburgh trade are as follows: If Pittsburgh reaches the playoffs, the draft pick is upgraded to a fourth round selection. If Pittsburgh advances past the first round and Guerin plays in 50 percent of those first round games, the draft pick gets further upgraded to a third round selection. The fifth round selection originally belonged to Tampa Bay.
“The entire Islanders organization has the utmost respect for Bill Guerin and we sincerely thank him for his time on Long Island and as the team’s captain,” said Islanders General Manager Garth Snow.
Guerin recorded 16 goals and 20 assists for 36 points in 61 games with the Islanders this season. Since signing with the team as a free agent on July 5, 2007, he played in 142 games and recorded 39 goals and 41 assists for 80 points. Guerin was the 11th captain in franchise history.
Pock has played in 41 games this season and has scored one goal with two assists for three points. He missed the Islanders’ last 13 games with a hand injury. Pock was claimed off waivers from the New York Rangers on September 29, 2008. In 100 career NHL games, Pock has scored eight goals with nine assists for 17 points and 51 penalty minutes.
Thompson has played in 28 games this season and has scored two goals. He missed the Islanders’ last 12 games with a shoulder injury. Thompson was claimed off waivers from Boston on October 8, 2008. In 32 career NHL games, Thompson has scored two goals and registered 42 penalty minutes.
Sim, who cleared waivers earlier today, has played in 49 games with the Islanders this season and scored nine goals and six assists for 15 points. In 51 career games with the Islanders he has scored nine goals with seven assists for 16 points and 44 penalty minutes. Sim was signed by the Islanders as a free agent on July 1, 2007.
It’s amazing sometimes what happens when you subtract a few players close to the deadline. It seems that it really unites the remainder of the team and they support each other even more – as well as give a solid effort, if not the most solid effort of the season.
This was clear last night as we saw an awesome effort from Sean Bergenheim from the puck drop. Bergy had jump in his step and almost scored right in the first minutes of the game. Devils backup extraordinaire Scott Clemmensen made a marvelous save, and it gave me the impression he would have one of his normal outings and do everything he can to keep the Devils on their hot streak. However, Mark Streit would find Bergenheim streaking down the right wing and he would beat Clemmensen this time to give the Islanders a 1-0 lead.
The Islanders would play well the remainder of the first, but the Devils kept up with their pace – often times getting numerous scoring chances themselves. At one point I remember looking up at the scoreboard astonished that the Devils had around 24 shots in the second, shots that I really didn’t remember them having. In my ever present restlessness during the game, I bounced around from my seats in section 309 and spent the second period in the Blog Box in section 201. I think I do this because I get to see the Islanders attack in all three periods honestly – as my seats give me a good view during the first and third periods.
The Islanders would put good pressure on for parts of the second period, Jon Sim intercepted a clearing attempt and beat the lone Devils defender deep and score on a backhand fivehole to give the Islanders a two goal lead. I literally had to rub my eyes when I realized he was the player to shoot as he has scored goals in consecutive games for the first time this season. It was good to see him get on the board again because I felt he would be more active in the points department but have been pretty disappointed by him. As Dom from Lighthouse Hockey says – if anything it increases his trade value with every point he notches. Dom even says he wishes he would go on a tear so we can sucker a playoff team into giving us “at least a 6th round pick for him”. He has one year left on his contract at an affordable $1 Million dollar – chump change I say.
During the third period the fun would continue – the Devils David Clarkson would sit for 4 minutes for high sticking and the Islanders got set up on their power play. Not long into the first half of the power play – Blake Comeau fed a nifty pass to Kyle Okposo who one-timed it past Clemmensen for a three goal lead. With the Islanders still on the power play, Brendan Witt would take up his new position in front of the net and Bill Guerin fired a point blast past Clemmensen for their fourth goal of the game and second of the powerplay. This time when I looked at the scoreboard, the Devils had been out shooting the Islanders by about 8 shots – again surprising me because I just didn’t feel like they had that many. Call it disbelief because Yann Dannis would have a solid game stopping all 40 Devils shots and actually achieve his shutout for once. He has flirted with the no-no several times this season, but a late goal would always spoil his bid. Dannis is really coming into his own as a goaltender – I actually like his play better than that of Joey MacDonald who seems to allow a bunch of flukey goals or become victimized by deflections off his own men. Now that Campoli is gone, maybe he will fair better as it always seemed to go in off of his leg and/or skate.
The shutout was the first shutout by the Islanders ALL SEASON, and really seemed to put an exclamation point on things here as the season is winding down. The game last night really proves how effective the Islanders can be when the team works together and executes Scott Gordon’s systems properly. Dean MacAmmond would make his debut last night and fit right into the team. Dee Karl aka 7thWoman – claims his seemless fit is due to his 15 year career – but I actually think he fills a void for the team. As a veteran center – he won key draws for the Islanders last night and looks to be Mike Sillinger-esque in that area winning 7 of 12 faceoffs and playing a respectable 13 minutes 8 seconds. MacAmmond also wasn’t shy last night – Jon Sim would continue to play the role of antagonist and cause a scrum in front of Clemmensen. MacAmmond would jump in the pile and take a huge elbow to the jaw for his new teammates – that is the true definition of a veteran and hockey player. It was good to see honestly.
I don’t know what got into me last night, I generally don’t ask many questions because someone normally beats me with what I wanted to ask or I give the main stream media it’s chance to meet their deadlines out of respect. When Mark Streit was done talking to the likes of Dan Martin and Greg Logan, I jumped in there and asked him a few questions of my own.
I asked Streit how important it was to come out and get a big win after some player transactions and he had this to say:
Well I mean, it’s obviously nice to get a win, but it’s part of the business. You feel bad when you lose teamates that you have been working with for a while, especially a guy like Campoli whos been here his whole career – MC too, they are both really nice guys. It’s tough, it goes fast, you don’t see them from one day to the other and just hope the guys are doing really well. It’s good for them and hopefully it works out for them and you’ve got to move on and just focus on the game, try to get a win. It’s great for Danis too, his first game after and he gets a win – it was certainly sweet.
I followed up with asking if there was an extra sense of urgency to get the win for the coach or some of the other guys this close to the deadline that would maybe save some jobs. Streit gave me another great response:
Everbody in this league wants to win every game. Nobody in this league goes out and says OK we are not playing tonight, you don’t do that. You want to play hard and then some nights you play a team that plays really well, and they get a little lucky. They work hard, maybe you have a tough night and then you lose. You know NOBODY wants that. I think the important thing is you don’t let your head hang and be negative about it. You have to turn the page, come in the next morning work hard and you know, focus on the next game and just try to do your best out there and try to win. There is nothing else you can do, if you are mad about it and your grumpy the next day, and negative it doesn’t do anything. You have to turn the page and move on and just try to do better and learn from it.
It was really the first time I got to speak with Streit at length, he is such a well spoken and positive guy. It makes me so happy that he chose to sign with the Islanders for such a long period – we really need a guy like him. It’s even better that he is having such a great year, it has been a long time since we had a player like Mark. I topped off my little interview with a “Danka” – knowing he is fluent in German, I think I caught him off guard but he replied with a “Bitte” and smiled. Just had to plant the seed for later I guess.
Having finished up with Streit, Sean Bergenheim strolled into the room and we joined the scrum in front of him. I waited patiently again as the main stream guys did their stuff and once the area cleared out I asked Bergy a few questions of my own. I wanted to get his opinion on the same things I asked Streit – but these were more important because of the way Bergenheim has struggled and found himself in and out of the lineup and the subject of trade rumors himself.
I started with the same question on the importance of a 4-0 win the day after player transactions and if there was a sense of urgency because of them:
Yea, we lost two great, great guys from the team. They are two great players and I hope they will do really well there, but at the same time we have to continue to do what we can here. Some guys may get more ice time than others, but this is a chance for other guys to come in and show what they can do. Certainly, I think many of the guys wanted to show that they could play more minutes. With these guys gone now, we can show we can play them [more minutes].
My follow up question seemed like a natural one because he focused a bit on the extra playing time afforded to different players in the wake of the trade of Comrie and Campoli. I asked if personally being in and out of the lineup and not getting as much as a chance this season, if he felt affected the day after the transactions and caused him to come out with more of a spark which lead to his strong game. I asked him if his spirits were lifted and if it sent a message that says “I deserve to be here and deserve a shot”. Sean replied in a way I wasn’t expecting – and I was really impressed with another player who just plays the hand he is dealt and carries his head high
I don’t really think that way, because I think every player has to beleive in themselves. I beleive that I do belong here and this trade did not affect me in any way. As far as me being in and out of the lineup this year, it has been a really frustrating season. Right now, what I am focusing on is just to play my game, and play the way I thought I played last year during the last part of the season. I have just been feeling more comfortable out on the ice and lately it has feet much better.
I know this much about Bergenheim – if he continues to play the way he has been playing, he will not be going anywhere for a long time. Home grown players don’t exactly grow on trees in Islanders country. Once he figures out what his game is (and I feel he is on the road to finding himself) he will be the force he was at the end of the season last year in which he referenced. We are getting glimpses of the future of what Garth Snow is looking to accomplish, and the future looks pretty good.