Islander Notables/Ups and Downs

New York Islander Fan Central | 1/18/2011 06:09:00 PM | Comment Here

The 2010-11 New York Islanders playoff season ended (unofficially) when they lost all those games in regulation back in November and early December.

The rest is simply book-keeping and finding out who deserves to be on the 2011-12 team vs what spots they need to go out and improve upon.

At the time I wrote there would be some rough days that go with this, and no doubt there have been, also the remaining games was in effect a fifty five game preseason.

There has been an unexpected turnaround also that has produce a very good stretch, now things are leveling off, with some wins/good efforts, combined with some losses/poor efforts.

Over eighty two games that happens to virtually every team. Off the Islanders losing streak it means you can't gain enough ground to enter any serious contention.

As great as Blake Comeau's scoring streak has been, and far superior to his goal/point late scoring streak a year ago from October 13th through December 11th he had one goal and eight points. Same trends for Parenteau's scoring which for a long stretch was only on pp.

They are now turning themselves into viable options for 2011-12, they are outproducing many UFA from last summer who received a lot more money, but this year it was too little/too late.

Michael Grabner at his age has shown potential combined with a speed element this team does not have. Snow get's fifteen-twenty out of him it's a great waiver pickup.

Frans Nielsen/Trent Hunter, the loss of Doug Weight. Rob Schremp's month out. It all added up to a team that could not score at even strength. Jeremy Colliton in one game had more pp goals than all the minutes Nielsen received on the pp.

No folks, at this point Tavares, Bailey production has to be considered more of a bonus at their age. Sure Tavares has been hot, while Bailey looks like a player who needs a regular position at center, but cannot get it here, even with Nielsen out.

I have seen games where Bailey looks like a young Bryan Trottier as he takes puck at net, while others he seems lost as he bounces from wing to center.

Seeing Jesse Joensuu go back to Bridgeport at this point is not a good moment for him who has had a very good opportunity here on a team that has even been dressing seven defenders in the final year of his contract. Nate Lawson (playing for Bridgeport Wednesday night) going back to Bridgeport (at his age) so Poulin can stay is not a good thing for Lawson's future because Lawson was the one splitting time in Bridgeport the previous two seasons, who should be best equipped for coming off bench in NHL.

Sure Lawson could be back tomorrow if DiPietro needs more maintenance days, the Islanders have no reason to do anything but make sure DiPietro remains durable, even if that means a split in goaltending, but that means DiPietro could not hold job of a number one goaltender in terms of durability.

I have already been asking the question should Matt Martin being going back to Bridgeport? He's not producing or near the net enough as he was a year ago, he's far less visible in games.

All these minutes and games are going to wear on MacDonald and especially Travis Hamonic, both are young players.

In the end the New York Islanders are going to try and win as many games as possible, they are going to lose their 400-500 man games to injury. Eaton, Mottau, Hunter, are likely done for the year and that could extend to Streit. Jurcina is on his second injury and all of them are signed for 2010-11.

The injuries are going to keep coming, so will more callups/changes. The solid games/poor efforts will level off. At some point Okposo will return with Nielsen.

The callups/changes have produced a Bridgeport team almost unrecognizable from the club that played well and entered playoff contention, that is sliding away quickly now, with virtually no depth for Pat Bingham.

What's next is the Islanders go play more hockey games, that will continue into April. I suspect if Tavares keeps producing, someone will be injured and that will send him to wherever the all-star game is this year.

Washington a year ago blew the Islanders out of the Coliseum at this time, Buffalo if not awake absolutely is now after the way the Islanders took the play at them.

Regardless, I have no interest in all-star game. The process is as comical as that which negated Parenteau's goal against the Devils when Grabner was pushed.

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Tavares Hat-Trick.... New York 5, Buffalo 3

New York Islander Fan Central | 1/15/2011 10:47:00 PM | | | Comment Here

Heck of an effort and win Saturday night by New York, worth a blog entry because a lot happened.

Tavares could have had five and the Islanders could have had eight or nine if Miller was not at his best. This kids hands, move to the net are getting better and better, he looks very comfortable/confident in front of net. Miller made right play on all three goals.

Of course, even Mick Vukota can score a natural hat-trick here back in 1989 which was ironically a 5-3 New York win.

Vukota got his with about forty seconds to spare vs Tavares.

Early (aside from Grabner's speed or a Comeau miss in front, Tavares-Pareneau 2-0) the first period offense came mostly from the point, but second period the Islanders simply dominated with a level of skating and skill that was a lot of fun to watch.

That second period was a lot like the effort against Vancouver (after first) and several teams recently. Aside from Bailey, everyone was getting chances or kept moving, the Islanders overwhelmed Buffalo and put on pressure they could not stand up against.

So Jurcina get's a penalty at end of first for high-sticking Vanek who is kneeling in crease, next period a 5'5 Sabre makes contact on Milan Jurcina, draws blood but no call with all these officials on ice? Comical, because rule is you are responsible for your stick.

Rick DiPietro played very well, however his stickhandling at the end of the first led to Buffalo keeping the puck in which gave them a powerplay, then another, which led to their 1-0 goal. That may not be fair but as soon as that puck was barely kept in the Sabres got in close and forced a penalty, you could see it coming.

Either Hamonic/MacDonald spread full out to break up a 2-1 in the second which was great and led to Islanders getting a 2-1 the other way. Gervais was outstanding along with all the defenders tonight.

MacDonald has twelve points since December 18th, he is also -8 since 12/27 to go with huge minutes he is given.

Third period was too much of same script, I almost expected Capuano's time out after the first minutes. They have to keep pushing play, not sit back and let game come to them.

Grabner has been so due, his speed every game is generating chances on every shift, and that was a fantastic shot to beat Miller, and finally take off the pressure.

Buffalo was a desperate team 5-1-1 that needed a win tonight to keep pace, both teams could have scored a lot more but in this one New York was the better team.

Would it be a Buffalo-New York game without Hecht scoring? Officiating was again very questionable tonight.

Steve Montador was doing a lot of solid hitting tonight against Islander players, the Islander staff should be showing that footage in meetings.

Round one of four goes to New York, next up what seems like a Devils team that is showing signs of getting it's game back under Jacques Lemaire.

Jon Sim:
If the Islanders and Jon Sim parting was amiable, I have no problem with it. If it was not he signed a two-way contract and was obligated to see through the agreement he signed last summer when he was free to sign with any other NHL team. Bridgeport could have used his scoring on a six game slide and a veteran to help them as he has in the past.

I don't understand why his scoring was missing this year, last year he had thirteen goals and some big ones to keep the club in games. I do believe he got a fair chance this season and played hard, but without the production. Given the current standings, it made no sense to keep him up here, but without Rhett Rakhshani, Nielsen and Okposo this team could well be short a forward in a game they may not want to dress Trevor Gillies.

I'm going to miss Jon Sim, of course I wish him the best of luck in Switzerland.

Did you really expect anything but overt negativity from the Dolan's paper after a big night from Tavares and some very good play that has draw praise from opposing players around the NHL?

You think this paper is in business to hype the New York Islanders or credit DiPietro for solid play, it's not happening.

It was a hachet job, designed to be as negative as possible, surprised Baumbach did not lobby for more Al Arbour wins to be taken away.

The good news was Dolan's spin-doctors had nothing new from Wang's December interview, this article was growing stale sitting around waiting for release, so why not pick a night after a good win/Tavares hat-trick to drive away fans?

No arena in the NHL is older than Msg, which is a dump, you think Dolan's paper will ever write that or about the thousands of empty seats at Knick/Ranger games from their mediocre/poor teams?

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15/21 Points Earned/No Ground Gained In Playoff Chase/Half-Way Point

New York Islander Fan Central | 1/10/2011 07:38:00 PM | Comment Here

Not much to write that the title does not tell us.

You want to talk playoffs? Win against Vancouver, then earn sixty of remaining eighty two points for a ninety four point season which this year may still not be enough in this conference.

Tuesday's game (which will likely be played regardless of weather) marks only the half-way point of the 2010-11 season, hopefully the Vancouver media can check it's 1982 grudge at the door for a franchise that has never won anything, but not likely.

As for the Islanders earning fifteen of a potential twenty one points and holding their own vs some top teams left the Islanders still seventeen points out of the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.

In short, it changed nothing in terms of playoff picture.

Don't get me wrong here, some good wins (pp/flash goal based) but usually out-shot badly. The Edmonton game was the singular game the goalie did not have to be the clubs best player and they lost because pp could not finish.

Still, even in Hawks game their goalie had to be good. Capuano was right that there is no excuse for the Islanders effort given the Hawks were playing their fifth game in eight days.

Disappointing DiPietro's health again failed the team after Roloson was traded, if it's not knee related, it's likely not career threatening, but groin injuries and goaltenders are never a good mix. This was his time to work off rust and see if he can carry club, it's disappointing and reaffirms the decision to use high picks on goaltenders.

Instead both Lawson (goals against Hawks beyond first was not his fault) and Poulin stepped up and played well. I don't see a problem in the teams net costing them games on a regular basis.

Jeremy Colliton? This is why I love doing this blog. I followed him as the Islanders kept qualifying him when he went to Europe. This is a 25 year old player who's a second round pick and was producing in Bridgeport. He produced more pp goals in one game than Frans Nielsen all season.

Colliton does have to clear waivers for those wondering. I would like to see Nielsen, Colliton on this team right now and Sim (waivers/paper transaction Monday) helping Bridgeport or Matt Martin sent down to have the impact he had last year with his offense.

What would you have me write about injuries? It's going to be a 400-500 man game season again which media never writes about. Eaton joins the ever-growing list to a defense that is mostly signed for 2010-11. Is there a need to rush Okposo-Streit, given standings?

Hillen's been a lot better lately and settling down. When Martinek returns I expect
Reese to go back down. Still, despite pp successes, there are no goal scorers on this team from point.

Tavares is showing some nice signs of improvement lately, the moves to the net, the confidence in traffic, the goals have been something too.

Forty one games down as of Tuesday night/forty one to go, hopefully at the very least they can build a core group of players to carry into next season where they don't have to rely much on UFA.

Good news is that's it for West Coast road games.

Bad news is New York returns to the worst hockey media coverage in the US, and have a lot of games to be played without the long breaks they had earlier. Only the negative stories will receive attention regardless of players who have earned some positive press.

What a shock Jamie Langenbrunner being held out by the Devils so he could be traded was not met with the fire-storm of negative media the Islanders received when Bill Guerin was held out before being traded, not.

Looks like Cablevision just traded another front-loaded contract now that the bulk of the money has been paid. That has to be at the top of the next CBA changes.

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Crossroads For DiPietro, Lawson, Capuano

New York Islander Fan Central | 1/03/2011 01:12:00 AM | | | | | | | Comment Here

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.


New York Trades Dwayne Roloson To Tampa Bay For D Ty Wishart

New York Islander Fan Central | 1/01/2011 11:19:00 PM | | | Comment Here

Islanders website: Reports the New York Islanders have acquired defenseman Ty Wishart from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for goaltender Dwayne Roloson. Wishart will report to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Wishart, 22, was the San Jose Sharks’ first round draft choice, 16th overall, in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. Currently in his third professional season, the 6’4”, 222-pound defenseman from Belleville, ON, has 18 points (four goals, 14 assists) in 31 games with the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League.

Canadian Press: Has comments from Tampa GM, Steve Yzerman.
"In this trade we give up a promising, former first-round pick. We wish him luck in the Islanders organization," Lightning GM Steve Yzerman said in a statement. "In Roloson we have acquired a proven, veteran goaltender who will provide stability in net."

Nate Lawson is expected to join the Islanders in Calgary.

NYIFC Comments:
I know nothing of Ty Wishart beyond him being traded from San Jose to Tampa for Dan Boyle, his size is an element the Islander prospects lack.

As for Garth Snow this is a very risky move on several levels given what Dwayne Roloson may have brought in a later trade (first round pick/NHL forward) and how well he has played for this team over two seasons, to say nothing of DiPietro's recent health status.

Roloson was a respected/calming influence on this team, and kept them in many games.

At best, this means another defensive prospect (who could not crack Tampa's mediocre defense) already joins an already very young defense, who need to provide a spot for Calvin deHaan and many prospects next season and moving forward. There are many defensive prospects already in Bridgeport. Garth Snow signed Jack Hillen, who claimed it was like adding a first rounder.

Bridgeport's roster and performance of Figren, Marcinko, Joensuu mandated a forward prospect be brought in with a first-round background over a defender. Kohn, Katic, Klementyev, Ness, Kessel, Donovan suggest they have plenty of defensive prospect depth to the point Jared Spurgeon and Jyri Niemi were traded/not signed.

Spurgeon has played in the NHL for the Wild this season.

The competition for Roloson could have brought a better return near the deadline, it also may have helped the Islanders maintain their recent win streak and move up the standings so this will not go over well when it does not replace Jon Sim or Dylan Reese, Bruno Gervais.

Of course there are two sides to this.

What if Vokoun or Brodeur hit the market at the trade deadline or Rolson plays as he did in the second half of last season or he does get injured? The Flyers were not desperate last season, neither were Washington, Chicago and a lot of teams that needed goaltending on deadline day would not pay the price.

This is similar to the St Louis-Montreal trade.

The Islanders have a lot of prospect defenders and on paper few spots, this one is a former first round pick and he has size most of these other players lack.

This officially ends the three goalie system in Bridgeport. If Rick DiPietro's knee swelling returns or he is ineffective, this means two goaltenders immediately go into the NHL off Nate Lawson's one start. It likely means Anders Nilsson has a place to play next season and a contract.

Very risky move on a lot of levels, this does not seem to solve any need in the short-term, and is questionable in the long-term.

The eighth place team in this division is five games over five hundred, the Islanders are eight games under/16 points/five teams below them.

Sure the standings scream it does not matter but whether it be DiPietro/Lawson or someone else they have to be the teams best player most nights lately facing 30+ shots.

Of course you wish Dwayne Roloson nothing but the best in departing.

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Outplayed/Outshot Not A Formula For Sustained Success

New York Islander Fan Central | 1/01/2011 11:09:00 PM | Comment Here

Shots against sometimes does not tell the entire story, we have seen the Islanders take fifty/sixty shots and lose the last few years.

Recently the Islanders have been piling up points, however the shots do reflect how they have been outplayed in many recent games.

I liked what I saw in the Pittsburgh game, the Islanders did not out-shoot the Pens, however they did create more than their fair share of quality chances.

Having written this many of these other games the goaltender had to be the teams best player and that's not a formula for building something successful. The Wings game easily could have been over early, the response to start the game not acceptable considering what happened against Pittsburgh. Beating the Devils 5-1 looks great on paper, but when you watch the team get outshot and pinned down for long stretches of a 35-14 shots against game that is far from a good effort.

I'll take the wins, the flash goals off faceoffs which are a credit to Konopka, the forwards driving the net. The Wings got some absurd calls and non-calls (Bertuzzi interference on Roloson) to score the 3-2 goal.

Again, wins aside, being outplayed to this degree is not how you sustain a winning team over the long-term.

Sixteen points, five teams out of eighth place.
Montreal (the team James Wisniewski was traded to) five games over, New York eight games under.

Win another nine out of ten, we can talk about getting into a playoff race.
Not before.
The pp has been a lot better lately. Parenteau, Comeau, Schremp are producing well. Tavares has been on a nice stretch, Bailey looks like a top six forward, but needs to be a top two center.

Defense has been stretched thin, I would love to see more rushes like the one Hillen had against Pittsburgh, and Martinek back healthy.

This has been a very competitive team with Jurcina and MacDonald healthy. Hamonic looks very good.
I'm happy for James Wisniewski that he scored the two goals in Montreal's win vs Florida, he may just be back next summer but Garth Snow's depth chart on defense has many forwards signed already.
A little surprised no one claimed Brian Rolston at half price. Found it surprising Lamoriello/teammates are taking about his character/ability and how he can help a team, then Jacques Lemaire back for only a few days and declares Rolston was out of shape?

Good way to scare off any team interested, did not make much sense.
Forgive me, but no interest in Winter Classic, delay/rain/snow/whatever. When the New York Islanders are involved, I will attend. As long as Comcast Flyers, NBC/Ebersol/Flood agenda dominate decision-making for hockey it will not be successful and seasonal at best in terms of being on television.

Who signs up to show hockey and does not start showing games weekly until the end of January?

My viewpoint is the concept of an outdoor game is also getting stale.
Jiggs McDonald sounded fantastic against Pittsburgh, he was razor sharp and if he was nervous (as he mentioned other times) it did not show.

Still, as great as it is for him to do games Howie Rose should be doing his job or submitting his resignation to Cablevision. He can take his vacations during baseball season.

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Wisniewski Goes, Hamonic Stays, Expecting Rolston or More Moves

New York Islander Fan Central | 12/29/2010 01:26:00 AM | | Comment Here

Folks, this season is over.

I have been writing that for quite a while.

Demote Hamonic, the only defender here, who did not have to clear waivers or trade Wisniewski heading into UFA in sixty odd days?

I liked Wisniewski, he was the closest thing the team had to Mark Streit in terms of a veteran pp point man and player who could absorb his minutes.

Bottom line James Wisniewski had zero even strength goals this season. He had only eight points at even strength and out of his twenty one points, most of them were in October. Anaheim moved him so Andy Sutton could get a two year contract to play forward.

Wisniewski was minus eighteen, Mark Eaton is minus one and has had only one negative rating game since mid November and even managed a +2 with no points Monday in a 7-2 loss.

Eaton, Jurcina, MacDonald are three of the six defenders when Martinek returns, that leaves a choice of Hamonic, Gervais and Hillen for the fifth/sixth spot.

Bottom line, Montreal's supplemental pick at 50th and a possible 5th in 2012 and Hamonic stays with MacDonald.

Streit, Eaton, Mottau, Hamonic, MacDonald are all signed for 2011-12. Hillen is an RFA and there is deHaan, Kohn, Katic and others.
I can absolutely see Brian Rolston being claimed by Garth Snow on re-entry waivers Wednesday at 2.5m to help Tavares/young players. Well-regarded veteran who scored twenty goals last year and is very durable. He comes in with much better numbers than Guerin or Weight a few years ago.

This team desperately needs a character veteran, it's not easy to find without a front-loaded contract.

Rolston's signed for 2011-12, he is over thirty five and will get his 2.5m regardless so to sign him is a big risk. The Devils pay the other half if claimed.

I'm aware less than two weeks ago I wrote an entry on 12/15 titled No thanks to signing Rolston I just don't see another veteran scorer who they can sign this off-season.

Also, I will admit he was more durable and productive than I had thought when I did that entry on 12/15. At five million I would not take him under any circumstances, at 2.5m given the twenty goal seasons virtually every year I would now take a chance.
Marek Svatos re-enters the NHL via Wade Dubielewicz rules a few years ago from Europe, but is only signed for this season. For the Islanders a season going nowhere in terms of playoffs if they put in a claim. It takes Sim off that third line and down to Bridgeport but blocks Joensuu/someone else.

New York passed, Nashville claimed him.
Quick Hits:
Frankly I saw the Islanders play better in many of their one-goal losses, than the 9-1 combined wins over the Devils and Canadians. Scoring flash goals are fine, but they were outshot and dominated for long-stretches of both games to where, despite winning the game seemed a mismatch. It extended into Monday and Jack Capuano sounded a like lot Scott Gordon when the team was 4-1-2 about how his team was being outplayed, outworked after the Devils/Canadian games.

Monday night it caught up to them on the scoreboard. Wining 5-1 at Devils and being out-shot 35-14 does not impress me. The Islanders played far better in the first Coliseum game against Montreal where they carried the play but only had Matt Martin's goal to show from it.
I have no idea where the Islanders go from here if Rick DiPietro's knee swelling acts up again. Nate Lawson got to sit on Bridgeport's bench Wednesday the first time he has done anything since his start here.

Too long. The three goalie system is too big a drain in Bridgeport.

If a contract cannot be done with Roloson, it's time to make a trade.
Parenteau is outproducing Kovalchuk and on pace for 15-20 goals season with forty plus points, after Moulson obvious this gm/staff can identify talent.

Schremp has fourteen points/twenty games, Grabner eight goals. Comeau has picked up his game/scoring and Bailey looks good. Tavares is around net and had ot winner against Tampa, creating chances.

Eight losses by more than one goal/open nets all season, Frans Nielsen one even strength goal. He got his best chance of season in New Jersey and turned into Viktor Kozlov, actually taking himself to a poor angle.

Can they put defense and scoring together now?
Wang said he's not selling, glad because reality is no one is buying this team and gutting prospect pool to spend 50-60m for mediocre UFA. Only a corporate owner can offer front-loaded contracts.

Too bad no one asked Bettman about front-loaded contracts/old buildings but he did press Wang-Snow on questions.

If you believe Jaffe-Goring was about anything other than Msg saving money on their own employees contracts you are kidding yourselves. The Islanders do what they are told or will be hidden even deeper on Dolan's network-newspaper.

Have a Happy New Year.

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Scoring From Defenders A Huge Problem

New York Islander Fan Central | 12/20/2010 04:33:00 PM | Comment Here

Milan Jurina is back in the lineup, granted he has a one year contract but does not have much value in trade market.

Unless Radek Martinek and James Wisniewski can come to terms on a deal one of them will likely be moved before the trade deadline, do you even want to sign players who could get hurt for 2011-12 before this season ends?

Eaton/Mottau, both are signed for 2011-12. Could be traded, but perhaps not.

Short term (barring injury) this team should get back it's full starting defense from opening night (less Mark Streit) so again it will come back to Gervais on the sidelines with likely Jack Hillen, however an interesting choice will have to be made.

Do you send back Travis Hamonic or leave him with Andrew MacDonald? If Hillen/Gervais are already sitting, who sits so Hamonic can stay in the lineup?

Plus next fall likely brings deHaan, Streit and perhaps a defender as a top pick, to say nothing of Bridgeport/college prospects/UFA market.

For those scoring at home, New York goals in 2010-11 season from defenders?

Even Strength: Jurcina/Martinek, one each.
PP: James Wisniewski, two.
Shorthanded: Jurcina, one.

Total goals from defenders, thirty games: Five.
Scoring among NHL defenders.

Fair to say, it's a factor in the offensive struggles. Cam Fowler has three goals in Anaheim.

MacDonald can score from point but injury set him back in that department.

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