Tuesday, November 22, 2011

New York Islanders: Embarrasment on a National Scale

There is one thing about being an Islander fan that us Islander fans never seem to get used to. That is being embarrassed. That is just what happened against two of the leagues best being completely out-played, out-worked, and out-classed against the Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins.

One of those things is understandable. Being outclassed by the leagues best is OK for a young team supposedly on the cusp of a major step forward.

Being out-worked is not one of them.

How many times has the opposition scored the first goal? While you think about that, how many times has the opposition scored on the very first shot of the game?

The Islander started this season like we all expected them to. Hard working, fast skating and competitive. What has happened since them is absolutely unacceptable. So what are the major problems here? Is it time to clean house?

Think of it this way. The Islanders have failed every test set before them this season to this point. One quarter of the season is over and there they sit again, at the absolute bottom of the NHL with one point separating them from the even more disappointing Columbus Blue Jackets.

The difference this season from last is that the Islanders actually look worse than they did during their horrid but similar futile stretch last season. Maybe we would see one game like the one we saw last night against the Penguins. But how can you show an utter lack of caring and work ethic for so many games in a row?

Its disgusting, disappointing and something needs to be done about it. Its almost like the Islanders believed their hype and thought all they had to do was show up and presto! They would be competitive every game. The Boston Bruins alone have made a mockery of the Islanders this season with how they have bombed them off the ice like they are a High School team. Last year the Islanders would have been in the faces of the Penguins and Bruins and both teams may have left the Islanders with two points, but they would feel those effects of a hard fought contest and not the pond hockey exhibition the Islanders are putting on these days.

What can the team do? The Islanders core of Tavares, Moulson, Okposo, Bailey, Streit and DiPietro, are all signed to contracts. The veterans on the team, Rolston, Pandolfo, Eaton, Mottau, Jurcina and Staios all have little or no value.

Jack Capuano has been absolutely lost behind the bench and appears to have lost his young team already and who could blame them. Putting Grabner with Tavares and Moulson makes no sense whatsoever. None of the three is a play maker as they are all shoot first guys. Benching Okposo for three games does what exactly besides wreck his confidence? What on God's green earth did anyone have to gain by starting rookie Anders Nilsson last night against the Penguins? Your paying Rick DiPietro to play hockey and he has not been horrible this year, so why the heck do you go with a rookie?

It's no secret that the fans have turned on Rick DiPietro. It was in my mind the biggest danger when he signed his 15 year contract. Not injuries, not poor play but his own fans turning on him which seems to inevitably happen with players signed to very long contracts.

That being said, why the hell didn't Rick start last night? Say what you want it makes absolutely zero sense to stick the kid in goal last night. None at all.

Jack Capuano gave the Islanders something last season. He gave them an attitude, some confidence, and a strong work ethic. Why has the team taken such am incredible step backward is beyond any one's comprehension to explain. The second half of last season the Islanders were a team no one in the NHL wanted to play. Right now, the Kellenberg High School team could kick their ass.

Someone has to be responsible. Something has to be done. What exactly that is is up to one man, Charles Wang and secondly Garth Snow assuming Snow gets to keep his job.

Maybe its time to bring in a veteran coach and a veteran general manager and let them have a go with this team and give them more than 30 days to do it.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

New York Islanders: Same Old Islanders?

Well this is not how we expected the season to go did we?

The Islanders sit at the bottom of the Eastern Conference and are risking digging themselves another impossible hole that could result in the team's season being over before Christmas again.

The numbers are ugly, the performances of late have been ugly.

What the heck is going on? This year was supposed to be different. This was the year the Islanders made a run at the playoffs and were competitive. The Islanders right now have three major problems that are fixable. Can or will they be fixed before its to late?

1) Porous defense. Plain and simple the team is allowing way to many good offensive chances against. Its kind of hard to win games when the other team is up one zip on you in under a minute into the game. The Islanders have had a lot of problems this year and letting the opposition skate directly down the ice after the opening face off and score has got to stop.

Marl Streit and Steve Staios have been the only defensemen to play anywhere near his ability and even Striet is a minus six. Its easy to see why GM Garth Snow took the shot at Christian Erhoff in the off season. The rest of these guys are not performing. Mike Mottau, Milan Jurcina, Mark Eaton, Andrew MacDonald and Travis Hamonic have all bee mediocre at best.

So what do you do about it? Bring back in the young guys who finished the season last year? Do you make a desperation trade? No you cannot do that. What you can do is hammer the point home with the group of verterans you have that its time to wake up before your playing meaningless games in December.

2) Goaltending Merry Go Round. All three net minders have been good. Is it a major distraction when the team has no idea which of the three goaltenders its going to be? I doubt its a major distraction, but it has to be at the very best a little distracting.

All three goaltenders have played from good to very well this year, with Al Montoya being the best of the three. Its time for the team to pick two guys and run with them. If that means trading one, then get it done soon.

3) What the heck is wrong with the secondary scorers? Islander fans have been waiting for what seems like years for Kyle Okposo to emerge as a bona-fide NHL player. Blake Comeau has been abysmal, and Josh Bailey has not been good. They are all now liabilities to the team. In a combined 40 games they have one goal and four assists and are a minus 16.

The three of them need to have a stunning turn around. Tavares, Parenteau and Moulson cannot do it all by themselves.

The Islanders are headed for another lost season if things do not turn around and this time they cannot blame injuries for it. The team has looked disjointed, uninspired and lost at times. Something needs to happen soon before the hole gets to big to climb out of.

Friday, November 11, 2011

New York Islanders: Islanders Play Two Games in One Night

No its not what your thinking. They did not get rained out and play a double header. Don't you know true double headers do not happen any more?

That aside, the Islanders were dominating the Colorado Avalanche last night just about through two periods leading three zip late in the second period.

Then something happened.

The Islanders totally imploded after the Avalanche scored a late second period power play goal.

Then the Avalanche came storming back in the third period putting 16 pucks and two goals on the Islanders before ending it on yet another power play in overtime.

Not to say the Islanders did not have their chances and they did not play a perfect game mind you. Goaltender Al Montoya bailed them out in the second period when the Avalanche threw 19 shots at him and some really good chances also.

Three goal leads in the NHL are supposed to be safe leads. Now this is obviously not the first time a three goal lead has been blown, but this is a game that should have been all Islanders at the end. It wasn't.

So what went wrong? The first thing you can look at is that what was supposed to be a strength for the Islanders is looking like a weakness. They allowed 47 shots on goal. Now The Avalanche are a good young team but no one is confusing them with the Capitals.

The Islanders defense has been spotty this season with the lone bright spot being Mark Streit.

What can the team do to fix the problem? Well, they tried to fix the problem with someone named Christian Ehrhoff in the off season but he decided he did not want to be on the Island.

The Islanders are going to have to make due with what they have and they have a compliment of defenseman that should be able to handle it. Hopefully they can straighten this out and find five guys to play with Streit that can hold the opposition down.