Sunday Larry Brooks had to get in his weekly dig on the Isles with the latest being he finally got around to events written/reported or quoted from back in March about management claims the team underachieved here under Ted Nolan.
NYI Fan Central Comments:
It has to be pointed out management back in February/March did not put it all on Ted Nolan or outright blame it all on the coach. If I recall correctly the blame was placed on everyone including the players. The fact some players were not resigned confirm this by the general manager's actions.
Charles Wang's I told you so comment to the coach in print about playing prospects was brutal and could be perceived as a shot at the coach but this also goes beyond prospects.
Rarely does a Sunday go by where Larry Brooks has something negative to banter about the Isles in a paper that does not provide full time coverage and he obviously has no quotes or anything current but that is par for Mr Brooks or he would not write anything at all (about anything) but this idea the Isles were just a bad team destined to finish at the bottom of the pack is simply not true in this bloggers opinion.
Mr Logan predicted them for a playoff spot, Evan Grossman who was in camp for NHL.com felt this would be a very tough team to beat and placed them in playoff position.
I predicted them sixth here before the season, I compared the scoring lost with the scoring gained and there was at best a small tangible difference.
I would suspect many who read outside predictions that never gave them a chance (nor have they ever) list them out of contention but most of those folks are the same ones trapped in the late nineties about the club which also includes Larry Brooks these days because he is out of touch with the Isles.
What we saw the opening weekend is what I expected to see. Instead we saw a club that scored two goals or less fourteen games in a row when completely healthy aside from Jon Sim which was no small loss but one the group should have overcome. The goaltending held them in but without DiPietro during that incredible stretch for him the season is over by early December with a group setting an all-time franchise low for scoring.
For myself that is underachieving.
Almost the entire roster played below their career numbers with Sillinger, Guerin, Hunter not getting their goals and unlike the previous season this club went from one of the best at even strength to one of the worst with a huge downturn in plus/minus and a powerplay likely to give up a goal or a quality chance.
Shootout games that were a staple in 2006-07 that produced a streak of only three regulation losses in twenty games that got the club to sixth place and eventually the playoffs were extremely rare last season.
Can all that but put on Ted Nolan? Absolutely not. Having written that a part of it does have to be placed on him along with everyone including the general manager with the players.
In my estimation this team underachieved huge last season and they did it when mostly healthy with plenty of rest. The goaltending kept them in contention along with some overdue scoring in stretches but overall this team before injuries or sickness took it's toll should have been a lot better. The fact they scratched together six wins in a row when against the wall says how much better they should have been all along.
For Ted Nolan's part at the end of the season he blasted his veterans aside from Guerin but did not name anyone, he threatened to skate the players every day and singled out the kids for praise often. Newsday misreported the coach threatened the players with trades.
Your in mid-December, the team has only eleven first period goals all season with most of your roster healthy that is underachieving. Individually it seems aside from Richard Park and Vasicek every forward underachieved on offense in terms of goals and those players had their twenty plus games without a goal.
It does not all go on Ted Nolan, it goes on everyone.
Espn: Teri Frei has an article about NHL coaches and wonders if the Isles will hire someone before opening night.
NYI Fan Central Comments:
I guess that's Mr Frei's bi-yearly Islander related comment.
Jacques LeMaire, Lindy Ruff & Barry Trotz among the elite? Tenure yes, results not really. How did Dave Tippett not make that group? Andy Murray's work in Los Angeles and St Louis makes him among the best in the league?
The Blues finished behind the Isles again.
So Brent Sutter and Claude Julien do a fine job with less and are not proven or suspect while Tom Renney who's club could not score with ninety milllion dollars worth of centers is proven?
Maybe Espn hockey writers should simply report based on who has an Espn zone.