"We had a little more determination tonight," said Guerin. "Our puck play all game was a lot better. We weren't just throwing the puck and making hope plays, we made good cycling plays and good stick-to-stick passes. I thought our line had a good game tonight."
"We have to keep playing the way we did tonight," said head coach Ted Nolan. "You're not disappointed in the people, sometimes you're just disappointed in their actions. We weren't making the simple plays the last few games. But tonight it was good to see the (Guerin-Comrie-Fedotenko) line cycling the puck and jumping into holes. Billy Guerin had a couple of big goals and Mike Comrie did what he does best and Fedotenko did well in his first game back."
NYI Fan Central Comments:
Let's get the mantra out of the way early.
1. I'll take any two points the Islanders can get.
2. In the end all everyone remembers is the point total.
3. A win is a win.
4. Eighth place and if they ever start scoring.
5. They got to three goals again..........................
Now that I got that out of the way, the Islanders look like a team going nowhere and would have lost to twenty eight other teams tonight with that effort. It was fun to see Wayne Gretzky behind an NHL bench at the Coliseum and his team that had not visited since 2002, but the Islanders struggle so much you cannot even apperciate the opposition.
All due respect to Bill Guerin and Ted Nolan:
Phoenix out skated and outworked them most of the game, DiPietro had to be very good and the Coyotes missed the net a lot. Phoenix had far more skill/speed than the Islanders and they are the second worst offensive team in the league.
I'm glad a few shots got through so Bill Guerin can put the puck into some open nets and Marc Andre Bergeron took a good shot from the point that found the far side on a powerplay, it's three goals but this offense looked lost.
Even worse than that I'm more concerned with that third period powerplay where they could not get out of their own way as Phoenix came at them while they kept turning over the puck until they gave up another shorthanded goal. You could see it coming as they had no idea how to even get the puck deep with a 2-0 lead and a man advantage, we have seen it a lot this season already so it's easy to see the signs.
The last few seconds of the first period they simply stopped working like they gave up or were satisfied to go in to the lockeroom scoreless. The announcers noticed it too as Phoenix came right down and almost scored the opening goal.
Where is the effort, professionalism and the trade mark of a Ted Nolan coached team?
The look on his face was one of disgust and matched the look on my face, he knew immediately.
Those two events in this game have been a big trade mark of the 2007-08 New York Islanders.
How many games can a team go deep into the second period before they score a goal or generate a high quality chance? Where is the pride in this group when they come out after another poor effort in Buffalo and cannot even work hard enough to draw a powerplay in the first period?
Of course some individuals worked hard.
Bergenehim had the effort, professionalism and came out like a player annoyed with losing the night before in the first period. He worked hard all night and as a young player once again was their best player in terms of work ethic which does not speak well of some veterans.
Jackman came up, was visible and was shooting from everywhere in one shift. Andy Hilbert backchecked after a missed shot and dove or fell to break up a play and had his chances. Richard Park put in his usual strong effort. The defenders had a solid game as a unit against a poor offensive club.
Still Phoenix was faster, won a lot of pucks, skated well in the open ice and were easily the better skilled team, it's a good thing they cannot finish.
Offensively once again Islanders were terrible despite the post game comments. Satan looks like a deer in the headlights when he gets the puck at the point and has every time Ted Nolan moves him to that spot. Thirty odd shots and I cannot remember one great save Ilya Bryzgalov had to make unless we are counting Hilbert's breakaway or the pass from Park shorthanded in the first period where the goalie gave him nothing and he shot right at the logo.
I'm not even sure how the puck got to Guerin for the 3-1 goal unless Comrie's shot off the post rebounded to Guerin which was the only weak moment the Coyote defense showed in the game.
Simon gets his mini-breakaway, drives the net and because he cannot finish does a cross check to the head? Satan slashes at a players skate because he cannot skate fast enough to fore check?
Of course the Islanders made it tough on themselves and gave up a third period power play goal because that's what weak teams do while good teams win 5-1 on a team gambling to force offense.
How many times did the Islanders have problems getting the puck out at the end of the game with Sillinger making some terrible clearing attempts? I know maybe he was tired and is usually outstanding in these situations but others teams never look this tired. We have seen clubs come in playing a third game in four days and outwork the Islanders.
DiPietro played under too much pressure and lately the shots against have gone up in big numbers. He faced thirty six shots and played well. That written his antics at the end of the game swinging at puck is not mature even if it happened to work because it easily could have wound up in his net. He also cannot afford the luxury of getting into it with other players because he is risking injury by taking head shots from opposing players.
This is not about winning a December game against a weak Phoenix club, it's about building a good team here in the long term, that was the plan.
For a team that supposedly is very close off the ice it's very high maintenance for Ted Nolan to get them to work hard on the ice for even twenty minutes, this plan is not working.