Part II of the Islanders 2008-09 Eighteen game report card focusing on the defenders and goaltender who have played more than six games.
When Garth Snow signed Mark Streit he was quoted as saying he would solve the clubs powerplay struggles, I would not make that leap just yet but Streit has helped the unit with three goals and assist coming with the man advantage. He has not had an even strength goal yet which is where he did a lot of damage in Montreal but from game one was making plays like finding Hilbert for a goal in the opener with an instinct built for Scott Gordon's system.
The good news is reports of him being anything like Marc-Andre Bergeron in his own end of the ice were completely incorrect. Streit has played very well on defense and trusted with huge minutes where we have seen steady play in injury circumstances that would be tough for any defender along with being part of a unit that leads the league in blocked shots. In every area Streit has looked like a very good signing.
A few mistakes here and there like a bouncing puck over his stick for a goal against the Flyers recently.
Some will note his rating and say he is not doing enough but the coaches minutes tell the story of how steady he has been for the club as he wins the puck in the corners and usually makes his clear unless it's a good play by the opposition like we saw in a game against Dallas. He has tried to join the offense more and had a heck of a pass through the middle for a shorthanded assist. I'm not sure we will ever see the player who was a league leading scorer in the AHL but Gervais has done the job on a backline with injuries and done it well.
For a player who is coming off two shoulder injuries and a lot of time missed he stepped right in and played a ton of minutes and did not miss a beat with steady play and the ability to jump in the offensive zone with instincts we have seen since his rookie year. He is contributing to the offense with some key goals including one in overtime (twice) and scored against the Senators with a shot he picked a corner and hit it in traffic. Only thing Campoli can do is keep working/improving but he has been solid.
Seems the Andy Sutton from Atlanta who took bad penalties or shots hit him/went in or bad goals that found him has been gone now for close to a full year when he got locked in playing here. He returned from injury and like Campoli did not miss a beat and doing a very good impersonation of Brendan Witt blocking shots and doing it in a way where the puck goes out of high quality areas and conducts himself like a leader when he is on the ice. A few big hits but again like last season is going for the steady play and it obviously helps the club. Do not expect to see much offense but the way he is working he should not change a thing.
Pock after coming over on waivers has kind of had the start Sutton did a year ago with some mistakes and deflections that went in against him but before his suspension was playing some better hockey. Not sure where he stands when Meyer returns or his suspension ends after Monday but he's done enough recently to earn more games.
Meyer only played seven games but most of the time I saw the same very steady play from a year ago. A few other times he looked out of sync in this system which he talked about and there have been a few out of character turnovers. A few times he tried to play a little more offense.
In eleven games with the minutes he got I did not see mistakes and saw a player only getting more confident who did not look out of place on a powerplay who Scott Gordon was trusting more and more. The minutes he played were a positive for the team.
Without MacDonald's strong play beginning opening night against St Louis the team likely has only a win or two and they would never have been as competitive or in position to win so many games. He only seems to be getting better as he plays more and has not only made the saves a goalie needs to make but many he should not be making against opposing players with great reactions. He seems the opposite of DiPietro in that he does not play the puck but hold it and settle things down.
Some will feel he is having a good start for a backup goalie, fact he is playing as well as any of the top goaltenders in the NHL and has done the impossible in being the difference-maker DiPietro was at his best which is saying a lot.
Bottom line MacDonald's done everything asked and a lot more, for the Islanders to have a chance it must continue. If he keeps it up and has the club in playoff position when DiPietro returns DiPietro he will not be a lock to regain his spot as number one goaltender.
MacDonald has simply been that good.