MacDonald, Skinner Earning Spots

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/14/2008 11:58:00 AM | |
I know when a team is at the bottom of the league to write about positives can be called reaching by some but to not credit MacDonald for his outstanding play overall since opening night would not be telling the Islanders story very well.

Most Islander fans were not doing cartwheels when he received a one-way contract which many felt was the beginning for the end for Wade Dubielewicz but to this point MacDonald has played like a number one goaltender is this league on a club with so many critical players out regardless of where he played last season.

This is a goaltender who has had other looks in the NHL and it did not last, he played well in Bridgeport last season but not to a level where he was dominating with some shaky stretches.

We can talk about games the Islanders have not held leads but to put that on MacDonald (aside from his delay of game in Atlanta) does not reflect how many times he has given this club a big save or outright robbed some players even in games the club has lost as he did with Asham on Monday and as far back as the home opener against St Louis where he made the early lead stand up.

He is making a very good case so far to see more games than a backup would normally
play when Rick DiPietro finally returns if he continues to perform at such a high level. To be fair he has done what Dubielewicz did and that's make DiPietro's loss something this organization can get through while remaining competitive in games.

No one should take that for granted.

Brett Skinner has played nine games so far and if anyone has looked closely he has been on the ice at the end of some powerplays. For the most part he is not very noticeable in a way that means he is playing minutes and not making mistakes. On a roster dominated by players in the red so far he is a plus two with his only negative game the opening goal against Philadelphia Tuesday.

Scott Gordon usually gives him around twelve minutes a game and to this point Skinner is making a case at age twenty five where he can be counted on to fill a lower pairing role on a defense that never seems to stay healthy. He may not stay long with Martinek's eventual return but he's done a very solid job.







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