So is Garth Snow giddy or gushing on this day about his team moving forward?
Last year for well over three months, this was a very tough team to play against, the young talent resigned here and bought into what worked as this club won or played well against most/all of the top teams.
This is not taking a step back to move forward, not even close.
Something changed from last season to this. One look at the defense is a good place to start.
Jack Capuano went back to his forward lines from last season as much as possible and the New York Islanders were shutout again. MacDonald and Hamonic were both minus three and had little help.
As I have been writing since the opener, no words fix players over-matched losing too many battles for pucks. It's only going to get worse now because everything has been tried, the frustration is obvious and you can see it in Tavares, Streit and many others faces.
Benching Comeau/Okposo was never going to be any kind of answer.
Bush league for Dan Bylsma to take a timeout up 5-0 late in a game, or run out Crosby again in the final minute. Not that the Islanders can put out a forward or defender to respond with a fight.
This was a Penguins team that just lost to both Florida and Tampa Bay, who recently lost to Carolina, the Isles arguably played better than they did in the shootout point they had vs Pittsburgh earlier.
Pittsburgh did not even play very well Monday night, the game opened 8-1 in shots for the Islanders (besides the Pens crossbar in the opening seconds) then Jay Pandolfo/Marty Reasoner watched Crosby fly past him at center ice on the opening goal with MacDonald getting beaten badly on the finish. Nilsson's reaction to the second goal watching him whiff with his blocker on a high point shot reflects a bad goal.
Of course, that was after Reasoner and Pandolfo got beaten again at the point, or Pandolfo took out Jurcina on the 3-0 goal.
As usual a lot of words from the players, they had a few quality chances and Fluery had to play well for his shutout, but hardly great to win.
Still the game looked like a mismatch beyond mostly individual efforts. Ullstrom played well, but if it moved Matt Martin to right wing that's not in Martin's best interest or the teams and a bad decision. Jurcina/Martin took the body a few times with Hamonic.
Rolston had his usual low percentage shots from bad angles, Grabner had some good chances as did Streit, but as usual this team lost far too many battles all over the ice, especially in the defensive zone as the usual suspects got picked apart.
Anders Nilsson made some good saves, but he still let in two goals he cannot allow.
I found it interesting once Eaton got hurt and they were down to five defenders, the Isles started skating better and drew some powerplays. Not sure if this was the scoreboard, or the game having been decided, or having three defenders who could skate out of five as opposed to six?
Eaton's sprained MCL means Mike Mottau plays which makes the problem even worse.
Ten points out of eight place, the club has not had a winning effort against a team playing well all season, they have two wins since October 15th and have looked as lost as they did on opening night unless the opposing goaltender struggles.
This club looks more lost than they did last season with one regulation win in eighteen games. The potential is absolutely there to be the second worst New York Islander team ever with fifty point or less potential.
It's not working, it's not going to work, nor is trading Bailey or Okposo revisiting the Milbury plan any answer.
I still see the Colorado Avalanche down 3-0, call timeout and a player screaming at his team like he knew the Islanders were holding on and fragile.
He was right, Colorado has one win since playing the Islanders.
If management feels Jack Capuano is contributing to the problem, or that the team is not playing to it's potential, he will likely be fired. I do not believe a coaching change fixes anything.
There are no answers beyond going back to what worked last season as much as possible, getting younger, bigger and faster on defense and at forward. Teams are not offering talent playing well so forget the trade market.
That means you send/keep Pandolfo, Rolston, Reasoner, Staios, Mottau, Jurcina, on the sidelines as much as possible and start replacing them. If you are going to lose, go down with the best possible lineup to develop moving forward.
If Wishart, Reese, Donovan/Ness or even Anton Klementyev have to come up here to make this defense faster to start a rush so be it, even if they get beaten they can skate.