Wednesday, November 10, 2010

New York Islanders: What the Heck Happened?

The Islanders were 4-1-2 and could have easily been 7-0 in their first seven games. Seven games later they are 4-8-2 and look like the team that the so called experts predicted we would all see.

What are the reasons the Islanders have taken a seven game nose dive? Let us examine.

1) Injuries.

Who says you cant use injuries as an excuse for losing?

This may be the most stupid, un-true sporting cliche in the history of organized sport.

So if the Indianapolis Colts are 7-0 with Peyton Manning and he gets injured and the Colts then proceed to go 0-7 without him can you blame injuries then?

What if Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Mark Tiexiera, CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte

Yes Injuries are a part of the game and all teams have them but the Islanders seem to be snake bitten and have been at the top or in the top 5 in man games to injury over the last 4 years than any team in the league.

Back to the current Islanders we are not talking about the obvious injuries to Okposo and Streit. No the ones to Andy MacDonald, Milan Jurcina, Josh Bailey and Blake Comeau.

Yes I know Comeau and Bailey are back but has anyone seen the fire in them we saw before they got hurt?

Nope. Neither have I.

It can not be overstated how much the injuries to Jurcina and MacDonald have hurt the team. Mostly because the team has had to depend on the ridiculously over-rated Radek Martinek who seems to be on the ice for every bad goal against and Bruno Gervais who you can sum up in one word - soft.

Martinek and Gervais are left overs from a time in Islanders history where all you had to do is show a little bit of talent on an awful team then that means you belong as a top 4 defenseman.

In both cases they are 6th and 7th defenseman at best and are proving it on a nightly basis.

2) Goaltending.

It was supposed to be a strong point for the team with a healthy Rick DiPietro and a solid back up in Roloson and neither has come close to expectation. I said in an earlier blog article that the biggest thing the Islanders had to do to make themselves a playoff team was improve their horriffic goals against totals froma year ago. This has not happened because of shoddy defense and bad goaltending. The Islanders sit at 29th in Goals Against.

3) Effort.

How did the team go from working hard every shift on the ice to a team that looked like it was skating with shoes on against the Flyers and Hurricanes? You can only blame the coach, but I wont place the blame entirely on the coach.

Play hard or your out has to be the team's mantra. If the team does not improve and the good thing is there is plenty of time for them to straighten it out Gordon will be fired and the team can only look inward for its lack of effort.

The good news is it is really early in the season and the Islanders have plenty of time to right the ship as they say.

Hopefully they will not dig themselves in such a big hole to get out of because playing .500 hockey the rest of the way will not get the team to the playoffs.

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