Thursday, March 17, 2011

New York Islanders Resurgence Continues to Shape for the Future

Despite what Islander fans would call a speed bump in the 6-3 loss to the Rangers on March 15, the optimism surrounding the team is reaching a point where the fans are beginning to take notice.

The Islanders have been offering, as they absolutely should excellent ticket deals and 20 dollar games for fans to come and see the young Islanders play, knowing for once that people will walk away with a positive picture of what the team is doing.

Call it luck or whatever you want but Garth Snow and his staff deserve all the credit in the world for what is taking shape.

Snow pulled Matt Moulson out of obscurity and he has become a goal scorer netting two straight 30 goal seasons.

Michael Grabner was less of a stretch because he was a high draft pick and a good prospect but he has become the kind of player in such a short time that people eventually will pay to see.

Every time he is on the ice, he seems to do something incredible.

Franz Nielsen has turned into a two way center that by all rights should be contending for the Selke Trophy if not this season then in the near future.

Kyle Okposo is doing exactly what he should, using the rest of this season to get comfortable with his shoulder and with his line mates in what has become a very cohesive unit with Neilsen and Grabner.

Then there is PA Parenteau. A career minor leaguer albeit with skill has meshed very well with John Tavares and Matt Moulson. 17 goals, 30 assists and a nice 1 year contract extension are in his pocket.

Speaking of Tavares, he has become the offensive leader this team needs to build around and his development is moving along very nicely. He is almost scoring points at a point a game and has 26 goals and 34 assists. He is demonstrating that nose for the net that you cannot teach.

The Islanders young defense also looks promising. Travis Hamonic has made incredible strides this season as has Andre MacDonald who are playing against the NHL's best lines and making excellent statements about themselves moving forward.

Ty Wishart has played well and needs polish to his game but he has not embarrassed himself in his time in the NHL.

Zenon Konopka is not an offensive force. He is a force in other ways. Excellent on face offs, a good defensive forward, a good fighter and an excellent presence in the locker room. Snow needs to lock him up to a contract.

The only player you can say that has taken a step back this year is Josh Bailey even though he has shown flashes of brilliance he needs to get more consistent.

In goal the position looked like a black hole at time this season because of injuries.

Moving forward it looks as if the Islanders will be solid in net as 20 year old Kevin Poulin asserted himself very well.

Al Montoya played brilliantly since his acquisition and has played well enough to earn a spot on the team next season and will split time with Rick DiPietro, who is going to have to show this year that he is over his injury issues.

All in all, it should be an exciting end to the season as Garth Snow's vision has begun to show results on the ice.

6 months from now when camp opens for the Islanders it will be an exciting time to be an Islander fan for the first time in a long time the Islanders will have some real expectations to live up to.

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