Wednesday, February 9, 2011

New York Islanders: Mess in the Crease

The Islanders situation in net right now could not be written in the cheesiest B movie as a believable situation.

It reeks of a bad luck that stinks as high as the roof of Nassau Coliseum.

The Islanders have had 6 different net minders in Islanders uniform and 5 that have seen in game action.

The latest fiasco sees Kevin Poulin, the 20 year old who has been a bit of a phenom for the Islanders so far putting up all-star numbers in albeit limited action this season has injured his knee in warm-ups before the game against the Maple Leafs last night.

The Islanders announced today that Poulin has a dislocated knee cap and is out for the season.

As a result, the very shaky 22 year old Mikko Koskinen was thrust into NHL action he was not ready for and he showed it yielding 5 goals on 27 shots and 2 on the first 2 shots he saw.

How did we get to this point where an NHL team had to go to the Odessa Jackalopes to find a goaltender?

Brief History Lesson -

The Islanders started this season with a seemingly healthy Rick DiPietro and 41 year old rock Dwayne Roloson. On paper a very solid 1-2 punch in net.

With the Islanders revamped and very deep veteran defense the goals against average should come way down, right?

Wrong. Why you ask?

Injuries are a problem for every single team in the NHL. That is a fact. For whatever reason the Islanders seem to be snake bitten in a way that would make Murphy's Law seem like a fall back for the team.

Estimates put the Islanders man games lost to injury so far this season at around 360.

The league average is somewhere around 150.

Lets go through the list of players that have been or are injured this season for the Islanders and the amount of games they have been out with a minimum of 3 games to this point-

C - John Tavares - 3
RW - Blake Comeau - 4
RW - Michael Grabner - 4
C - Frans Nielsen - 7
C - *Doug Weight - 37
G - *Rick Dipetro - 7
RW - *Trent Hunter - 36
G - Nathan Lawson - 8
D - *Mark Eaton - 21
D - *Mark Streit - 53
RW - Kyle Okposo - 44
D - *Mike Mottau - 35
D - Radek Martinek - 11
D - Milan Jurcina - 37
C - Josh Bailey - 4
D - Jack Hillen - 10
G - *Kevin Poulin - 1

The * means the player is out for the season.

I do not care if you are the 2010-11 Islanders or the 1982-83 Islanders. This many injuries will kill your season.

The Islanders have 7 every day players out for the season. 3 players on this list are goaltenders and they are all hurt at the same time.

That's how Joel Martin rose from the "elite" ranks of the CHL's Odessa Jackalopes to the NHL.

Will Joel Martin see some NHL action this year?

Well if Mikko Koskinen's performance against the Leafs is any indication coupled with how Islander goaltenders are dropping like Rick Dipetro after Brent Johnson gets a hold of him then I would say it is a safe bet.

There is one man to blame for the state of the Islander crease. Who is it you ask?

Garth Snow for trading Roloson? Nope.

Charles Wang for whatever fans want to blame on him this time? Nope.

Rick DiPietro for having a glass face, knees and hips? Nope.

Try Evgeni Nabokov. Nail on the head. This guy has the gumption to spurn the NHL in free agency and run the the inferior KHL, stink up the joint there so bad that his team sends him packing.

He then manages somehow to get one of the elite teams in the NHL in the Red Wings to sign him in hopes of coasting his way to a cup watching Jimmy Howard do all of the work and then whine when a team has the "audacity" to play by the rules and claim him to bolster their depleted crease.

Turns out that team was the Islanders.

Nabokov said this pearl of wisdom when the Islanders claimed him. "I was surprised they picked me up. I was like, “Wow, what’s the point?"

Whats the point? The point is Evgeni that the team is in desperate need of a goaltender. You ruined your value so much by playing so poorly in an inferior league that all you could do was sign a $570k contract which would prorate at around $250k.

That makes you very desirable to a team like the Islanders. Either you understand that or you don't.

Snow called Nabokov directly and when he identified to Nabokov who he was, he promptly was hung up on.

Charles Wang called Nabokov directly and was also spurned.

Is Nabokov a 35 year old 10 year NHL veteran or a 8th grade teenage girl?

ESPN caught up with him and the goaltender told them he was sticking to his decision to stay home.

In the immortal words of Christian Bale - Ohh Good for you.

Don Meehan, Nabokov's agent must be pulling his hair out. Did he not explain to his client that this could happen? Did he not understand the NHL's waiver process for signing players to contracts who have played professionally in other leagues?

Meehan also went on record to Bob McKenzie of TSN saying the goaltender would report to any team that claimed him because he is looking to audition for a contract next season.

Really. I guess any team except the Islanders.

Has an agent ever fired a client?

You would think Nabokov would realize by now that if he does not report to the Islanders and finish the season as he is under contract to do the Islanders have the right to "toll" his contract for next season, essentially making him Islander property for the entire 2011-12 season at the same value of the contract he signed.

Is there any chance the Islanders say well OK, well be the better people here and even though you insulted us, spurned us, hung up on your GM, and basically called the organization a joke and let you go sign with who you want?

No Way.

If Nabokov does decide to report to the Islanders next year I say put him right between Zenon Konopka and Trevor Gillies in the locker room.

Before you ask the question why the Islanders would put a claim in on Nabokov like some others have, think about this.

The Islanders have a guy on their roster serving as backup that came from the CHL's Odessa Jackalopes.

That's why the Islanders claimed you Evgeni Nabokov.

The Islanders are the bad guys here? Anyone who thinks this is clearly on some type of hallucinogen.

St. Louis tried to bring in Kyle Wellwood and Marek Svatos only to have them claimed by Nashville and Vancouver.

Did they whine and stomp their feet and stay home like Evgeni Nabokov?

Instead of proving yourself with the Islanders for less than half a year and getting your choice of where to go next season now you can look forward to sitting on your rump in your house cursing Garth Snow until 2013.

Moving forward, Garth Snow is currently raking the muck of the NHL to try and find a veteran goaltender to fill the void for the rest of the season.

Names being considered are Micheal Leighton, Mike Smith and Jonas Gustavsson.

Whatever the Islanders have to give up even if its a 7th round draft pick is directly on Evgeni Nabokov's shoulders.

He is the bad guy here.

Please place your comments below.


TheMetalChick said...

The Islanders have had 6 different net minders in Islanders uniform and 5 that have seen in game action.

There have actually been 7 Isles goalie uniforms... but one of them refused to put it on!

FCT said...

This is True..

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