A few general observations on the Islanders and the conference.
* This stretch of two goals for ten straight games will end but it may mean surrendering more goals to make it happen. That's how the trends for things like this usually run. Of course this kind of scoring slump for the Islanders is approaching all time record lows for the franchise.
* Islanders have no real options, they break up the defense and give up on a Campoli, Gervais, Hunter or Bergenheim to improve the scoring it may hurt in another area. Islanders have to hold onto Kyle Okposo and their first round pick.
* Outside of Washington at the bottom and Ottawa at the top there is no real separation between the teams in the mix of the playoffs or out of the mix. Islanders are five points out of fourteenth and only three points out of second overall. A poor week or a winning streak can change everything quickly. New Jersey had found their game under Brent Sutter and is in right in the mix despite some poor goals from Martin Brodeur against Dallas. Atlanta will come in here with their season turned around and playing well. The word for this is parity and for the Islanders to keep their place they will have to keep finding ways to win games and add points. Last year they lost in regulation only twice in twenty games in the second half, that's what the need to do here.
* How is Boston and Montreal with such low expectations from the so-called experts finding ways to win? Bruins keep losing players and keep finding the win column. Buffalo is getting over it's changes in the summer and it's recent injuries and is starting to get it's game together. Rangers are trapping like they prefer a low scoring game and holding back Jagr who cannot find anyone to put on his line despite the ninety million they spent on centers for him. Seems like there is some bickering on that team too with Lundqvist calling out his defense for losing a shutout and Avery refusing help from Shanahan. Between Jagr losing his guaranteed contract unless he meets incentives and trading away his center in Nylander is there any reason why he's going to stay loyal to the Rangers unless it means more post-career hype and money from Msg?
* I feel terrible for Jason Blake having Leukemia, he says he feels better than he did a year ago but he simply cannot finish and is the anti-Joseph Vasicek in terms of shooting percentage. For all the Leafs problems they shutout the Senators last week so again a good week and all is forgotten, even if the political climate in Toronto seems to suggest John Ferguson is about to lose his job regardless. When a gm wants to fire a coach and is refused there is no point in keeping that gm.
* SouthEast Conference seems more scary than ever. Carolina looks dominating at times, Tampa's scoring will keep them in the race and Florida who is usually a terrible team early and relaxes once the pressure is off and does well down the stretch is off to a better start. No way Jacques Martin keeps his job if it comes down to him or Olli Jokinen after all the years and money they have invested in their franchise player. Atlanta is back to being an offensive threat every game even if Lehtonen has been injured and erased it's 0-6 start.
* No doubt Rick DiPietro will be named to the all-star team because every team has to have one player and he's earned it with his play.
* On the media end of things it's about time the press conference is shown live for the fans. Ted Nolan does enough, he should not have to do a special hallway interview with Deb Kaufman after games. I want to see and hear the media's questions from this market and outside markets.