A few words defending the Isles

New York Islander Fan Central | 3/19/2008 01:09:00 PM | |
I kind of laugh at some of the stuff I read at times.

* The Islanders should have shut down Rick DiPietro, he was hurt at the all-star break and has been hurt ever since.

* The Islanders should have traded everyone at the deadline and been sellers despite just having won six games in a row to climb within a few points of the final playoff spot.

There are times to be critical and times to take a step back because some of this stuff is over the top unfair. No doubt anyone writes anything about the Islanders in a paper that goes in this direction the fans jump all over it to second guess.

Let's take these one at a time:
* I reviewed Rick DiPietro's performance game by game since the all-star break last week and every single goal he allowed. I did not find anything that would suggest he was hurting the club by playing with an injury and in fact most of the time the goals allowed were about the plays made by the opposition or poor defense by the Isles. A lot of games he kept the Islanders in the game and he was in goal during the winning streak which no one talks about.

Long time hockey fans read all the time at this point in the season everyone is playing with a few injuries and no one is completely healthy. Why should DiPietro shut it down if he and the medical staff felt it would not be a problem to continue to play and any problem could be dealt with later?

* As for the trade deadline I thought Islander fans wanted a general manager who was willing to not be like Mike Milbury and settle for trades that help the opposition while only giving the Isles a marginal return or maybe would have traded Okposo, Bergenheim or Blake Comeau for some short-term scoring?

What gm breaks up a team that fought to get back into contention by trading it's core veterans for second round picks or lower? What team in this league in contention dumps it's players for picks at the deadline this year and decides to play for next season?

Already seems like that third rounder for Bergeron came at a high price of his point shot but with all the defenders under contract for next year or restricted they clearly had enough of Bergeron's defense.

Garth Snow reportedly wanted a first round pick for Mirloslav Satan and the player had the option to decline any potential trade. Did you really want the Islanders to hand another team Ruslan Fedotenko or Josef Vasicek for a marginal pick after these players helped the Isles get into contention?

I'm not thrilled with Bill Guerin or Mike Comrie's overall performance but keep in mind you move these players for draft picks ou have no one to keep you in contention after working to get back in that position and come July will have a major problem signing anyone to play with Mike Sillinger and Trent Hunter who would be the only veterans left.

And please let's be realistic, Bill Guerin and Mike Comrie are not Marian Hossa or Brian Campbell or Brad Richards. We saw what the market was for them, if you expected that kind of return for any of these players in this kind of draft class I suggest that's not realistic.

Hard to find any blame here for anyone beyond the fact last year's team had a little more skill and this years team lived up to what many considered a lack of speed and scoring.

I like Richard Park, but for all his hard work he's a fourth line player and so is Andy Hilbert because neither one can score enough to play on a club's top three lines. Josef Vasicek is not a reliable first or second line player and Ruslan Fedotenko at best has been inconsistent as he was in Tampa and has proven he's a third liner. Bill Guerin is not a first line winger and Mike Comrie is not a first line center. Miroslav Satan hurt or not has been disappointing for the better part of two years and it's fair to write he is not a first line talent any longer.

One other thing. Given all the injuries that have happened since the trade deadline and all the callups there are not many more players that can be called up.

The good news is they have worked in Bergenheim for a full year and he looks like a player who is better many nights than the veterans around him. Blake Comeau looks good too as does Colliton and Frans Nielsen. Kyle Okposo and another franchise talent at forward make for a very good group moving forward which does include Jeff Tambellini.

Steve Regier is closer than some may notice after a good year in the AHL. Ben Walter had a good year. Trevor Smith, Sean Bentivoglio and injured Jason Pitton are also part of this and not AHL depth veterans. On the backline Dustin Kohn is getting his seasoning as a second round pick. Robin Figren, Jesse Joensuu, Rhett Rakhashani, Tomas Marcinko are only getting closer and better.

Entering last summer the Islanders had no prospects in their lineup. You wish to be critical that's fine but let's see the big picture and be critical for the right reasons.