I have to be honest with my readers, I don't know what to make of Michael Grabner yet. Maybe it's because I have not seen a New York Islander show such a combination of explosive speed, now mixed with scoring in so long, or because he's scoring now with outside shots, breaking through players.
He's only getting better by game, and creating four/five great chances a contest.
Don't know where/if, it ends and frankly at a loss for words (as Howie Rose was) beyond absolutely loving what I'm watching. I can write Nielsen needs his even strength goals, and Okposo numbers can't just be assists for his offensive skills.
Now they have to get Bailey, Comeau, Schremp to make that leap and provide consistent scoring.
Hamonic and MacDonald keep getting better and better. Jurcina shooting/scoring from outside on five on three low-percentage. Ty Wishart got his first.
Koskinen looks like the first goal bounced on ice aka Toskala, did not see other goals as being his fault. Montoya did not look ready and Lawson seems very close.
In two weeks the NHL trade deadline will be here. Will Konopka's outspoken protection of this team and obvious loyalty be taken into account if Snow receives an offer?
It could be a quiet day for Snow, it could also be the end for Weight (if he's close to playing) Martinek, Konopka, Gervais and perhaps others.
Frankly, I see Nabokov's career over unless he comes to New York hat in hand and asks to be a part of the team for a full year next fall. I don't see Snow letting him near this group if he decided to report tomorrow. He's going to learn what suspended indefinitely means in a league where teams don't tolerate this conduct.
My guess is he will go to the mat this summer and take his chances of being declared a free agent first and a lot of media will have his side.
Based on league comments, he's going to lose.
Mixed emotions on final suspensions. Trevor Gillies to my knowledge had no career NHL suspensions, I have seen a lot of first timers get far less or nothing for head shots. Gillies shot to the head, his stick-work afterward was far over the line, his yelling off the ice, makes for good entertainment, but not acceptable one bit in my estimation. Go to the lockeroom, quit the taunting at someone hurt on the ice.
I get where Garth Snow is coming from, he has to protect his player, but like Chris Simon there is a time actions cannot be defended.
Matt Martin is a repeat offender, it did not look like a sucker-punch and simply put down his man with a push/shove when he did not want to engage a fight and covered up, he did not Bertuzzi-Moore his head to the ice or even close.
There should be no rule or excuse that protects a coach for any player going over the boards under any circumstances ever, which is why we no longer have bench clearing brawls in this league. Dan Bylsma should have been suspended and the Penguins fined for their actions Friday for not controlling themselves if that is the precedent the league wants to set, one they failed to do with Boston against Montreal.
In the media game it comes down to Mario's spin-doctors vs the spin-doctors who remember Lemieux has whined before vs his teams fighting majors and employing Matt Cooke. It's sad watching Kevin Allen of all people maneuver delicately in his article protecting Lemieux.
Virtually nothing comes down to honest views of what simply happened. As critical as I am of Colin Campbell here, and don't like his Islander-only statements, I do believe he was fair enough with the suspensions of players.
The fines are another matter, that seemed about the laundry and to single out one team reflects some obvious bias, Snow made his point.
Funny how Pittsburgh now receives excuses for not having their top players out, how other media defends their teams for struggling with so many players injured?
Too bad they are not objective enough to point that out about this team, I guess when you have led in that department 3/4 years no one notices.
If I'm going to criticize Howie Rose, he has to get his due just as loud here when he gets it right, his comments on suspensions were on the money Sunday, and he said it as well as I could write it here.
What's going on in Bridgeport right now is very rough, this is a team that simply cannot win any kind of game. They lack the veteran scoring, they have too many players up/out. Rhett Rakhshani went to the AHL all-star game, had a bunch of points and has been hurt since. They score and lose, they don't score and lose.
I don't see Pat Bingham as the problem at all, when Bailey was there he helped turn it around for a long stretch.
Jesse Joensuu NHL/AHL is a puzzle to me, has some great goals driving to middle of ice with a nice shot even at this level, then he disappears for games on end. I do want to see more next season with a two-way contract.
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