The Islanders goaltender who only has been seen on crutches at a couple of on ice workouts over the summer, has spoken!
Rick said his rehab is on schedule and he is not going to rush back like he did last season.
I know as you the reader must be absolutely stunned at this turn of events.
Now that he has gotten the ridiculously obvious out the of the way its time to look at the Islanders upcoming season that is sure to be filled with lofty expectations if not for the team, for some of its young players.
Islanders leading scorers - 2009-10 season
1 - Josh Bailey 74GP 14g 42a 56p
2 - Mark Streit 80GP 12g 40a 52p
3 - Kyle Okposo 72GP 26g 20a 46p
4 - John Tavares 78GP 27g 18a 45p
5 - Doug Weight 49GP 10g 22a 32p
I am obviously going out on a bit of a limb here but i think Bailey is poised to be the breakout player from this season. Also on my watch this year radar are Jeff Tambelini, Sean Bergenhiem and Frans Nielson mostly because its make or break time for all of them. Either they become mainstays on the team and contributors or they are out of here.
If it were up to me, and obviously its not Tambs would be in Bridgeport and Alex Tanguay would be here in his place who is inexplicably still a free agent.
Go Get Tanguay Garth!
Tavares is going to have every Islander fan and most of the NHL watching him and a typical slow start followed by a hot end of the season is what seems to be typical with players coming into the NHL. Very few have an impact immediately.
Bailey has come this season to turn heads. Just watch.
Okposo will be expected to improve on his numbers this season. Another 15 goal season will be a disappointment. He has all the tools. 25 goals is not to much to ask.
I don't see how anyone can expect Doug Weight to play more than 50 games. Hes still got the talent that much is evident, but his injuries over the last 3 seasons have cost him way to many games to be penciled in for anything more than 50 games.
Mark Streit will be expected to be exactly what he was last season.
On how the team will perform as a whole this season?
I think the team will challenge and fall short of a payoff spot this year.
They have a lot of growing to do but they have excellent goaltending and good defenseman. The Islanders will hustle and out skate a lot of teams this season. They will work hard and start to make us believe there is something there.
They have a young group of forwards that if all breaks right can be the starting of a Blackhawk like resurgence in the NHL.
The Islanders will play meaningful hockey games this season and that is the best we can hope for right now but for the first time in a long time that's a good thing.