It's crossroads time, the point where players show us whether they can keep a spot or it's time for others to get a chance.
Contract or not this is Rick DiPietro's crossroads moment.
Management has put the team back in his hands as the full-time starter. The Islanders have won recently with goaltending making far too many saves, while being outplayed/outshot but scoring timely goals they could not produce earlier.
Bottom line DiPietro has to stay healthy, he must provide the steady play Dwayne Roloson has and he cannot surrender the soft goal/mistake he has this season (including the huge one against Pittsburgh) trying to do too much.
He has to be the goalie he was in the second half of a lost 2005-06 season, this is his crossroads moment, whether he wins or lose is not as big a story as if he can keep this team in games with his play.
Nate Lawson this season has not started enough this season to be effective, he was also injured.
This is Nate Lawson's crossroads moment, he is here because he has played well the last two seasons for Bridgeport in a straight split of games so he is used to sitting and playing one game a week. Koskinen's hip injury last year helped him fall back into a 50/50 split.
What's yet to be determined is can he be effective starting a stretch of games?
The Islanders did not use top picks on goaltenders so an un-drafted spot starter claims a full time NHL job unless he is flat out great and leaves management no choice.
Lawson has to prove himself when he plays that he can perform at this level. Kevin Poulin, Mikko Koskinen, Anders Nilsson are waiting for their chance maybe as soon as next season, or if DiPietro does not hold up, this season.
Make no mistake, standings aside this is Jack Capuano's crossroads with many of his AHL prospects on this team. He's out-gunned, out-manned, on a team with far too many injuries and with an interim tag, if the recent streak continues and the team makes a run at a playoff spot, he's given management a reason to remove the interim tag and retain him as head coach.
It's not a very fair place to put Capuano in to prove himself, however he was not given the interim job based on Bridgeport's struggles this season, which have turned under Pat Bingham.
*Islanders look like they have something to work with at center given how well Casey Cizikas has performed at WJC. He has to be signed by 6/1.
Brock Nelson vs Cizikas/deHaan Monday at WJC semi-finals.
Ty Wishart's Interview Sunday during Sound Tigers game.