The big picture has not really changed since our last blog entry a week ago.
That is a good news/bad news thing for the 2009-10 New York Islanders.
The good news is a lot of younger players up front are still carrying the club playing fourteen of seventeen on the road leading the league in back to back games that defeated a red hot, high-scoring Atlanta team. In others ways it is frustrating because you are going to get ups and downs that come with development which we saw in Tampa on Saturday.
The bad news is the record unfortunately goes hand and hand with this which means a team at five hundred which in the NHL is a non-starter for playoffs but keeps them in contention for now.
Statistically the team that was in the middle of the pack scoring about a week ago when we did the last update is now having some games in hand made up by other clubs and went from around fourteen-sixteen to near the bottom five which is in line with the struggling powerplay.
However the expectations are higher, that's always something you strive for and the club continues to play very competitive hockey.
Let's look at the big picture.
We all know the playoff formula, about twelve-fourteen over five hundred, about ninety two-ninety five points is what it will likely take.
When the Islanders finally come home next week they have to get on a roll and win some games in a row. NHL five hundred with a lot of ot losses equals an eighty point team that does not qualify for a playoff spot.
If everyone noticed, I never put Kyle Okposo in the same category with Nielsen, Tambellini, Bergenheim or Blake Comeau. It is simply still too early in his NHL career to expect production on a regular basis. What Tavares and Bailey give them also go into that same category. If Okposo and these players are generating quality chances they are playing well, goals will come. Same goes for a first year full time player in Jack Hillen and Andy MacDonald for the time he is here.
Sure there is pressure but a good kind of pressure. What you hope for is more scoring balance like Nielsen, Bergenheim and Tambellini giving them some goals while Bailey, Tavares and Okposo have hot stretches. It goes without writing it Hunter cannot go ten games without points, same for the other veterans.
Obviously the situation with Sim is not perfect on right wing or Comeau/Schremp not playing and some forwards out of position. We all know Nielsen has to finish as well as Tambellini/Bergenheim. I have written about this before. Scott Gordon is going to play his checking line for now and despite lack of goals have been earning their ice-time.
Big picture is this team comes home and continues working hard. I don't want to hear about injuries when the Devils and other teams are making due with many more and dominating games, if the Islanders work hard and win, great.
If they work hard and it's not enough, so be it.
Yes, you can lose and work hard. Never mistake the final score for effort, some nights the other goalie is better, some nights you don't get the breaks. Insert cliche.
Big picture, just keep working hard.
* If Garth Snow and Scott Gordon feel a move has to be made on defense it will happen, most teams are looking for the same thing so expecting a big impact defender, it's not happening unless a quality player or top pick go to another team.
With the contracts signed here already on defense and the prospects in the system, don't count on it. Andrew MacDonald again looks solid, I expect if it's Kohn or Katic or Wotton/whoever from Bridgeport they will get the job done.
Defense is chemistry, not names. Look at the Canes-Bolts cup defense in terms of names. Snow and no other general manager are getting a Niedermayer-Pronger defense unless they pay a huge price.
* If Snow wants Kirill Petrov in North America fine, Anton Klementyev's WJC status should have nothing to do with that.
* Keep all three goalies until Rick DiPietro can play on a regular basis for a least a full month after he returns. I prefer all three goalies remain for the rest of this season regardless. I could care less about the fourth, fifth rounder or future considerations, keep the depth and let someone sit in the stands unless another team is offering an impact player or a first round pick.
* The media work has been so substandard for the most part I cannot even be bothered to waste my time writing about it. Hopefully you can read between those wanting page views/sensationalism vs quality information which has been painfully lacking.
I appreciate all the folks joining NYIFC on twitter or following the twitter box here, having written this I respectfully ask unless you are interested in the Islanders, hockey or sports, do not subscribe to my twitter feed.
I feel the current format is working fine, you are getting a ton of updates on twitter daily on the box directly here or from twitter page, no point doing tons of individual blog entries.
My advice, just keep checking this page, I'm posting articles and doing a lot of what I did the last few seasons, just with less words.
Love the media twitter box and the loads of updates it's providing. Things move quickly whether it be Bob McKenzie with fifteen twitter entries in a row or Michael Russo/Michael Fornabaio, the idea is a ton of fresh content that is Islander or NHL centric.
New York Islander Fan Central Twitter Page
New York Islander Fan Central Audio-Podcast Homepage