Blame For Islander's Ridiculous Injury Records? No

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/29/2011 07:42:00 AM |

Simply put when you lose 402, 582, over 600 man games/300 more in AHL last year, it might be easy to blame training staff or Islander doctors for the last four years.

Frankly speaking, hockey fans blogging are not medical experts, (neither are professional writers) no one should pretend to insult their readers otherwise.

Having written this, the Islander doctors/training staff cannot be blamed for what's transpired, it's painfully obvious when we have seen several players injured in games.

NYIFC is going to examine this topic.

In the past the only thing the Islanders can be blamed for is what happens with twenty nine other teams who decide on signing/trading for players with an injury history.

This was why players like Bryan Berard had to earn contracts on tryouts, everyone knew the risks going in.

Andy Sutton signed here and his injury history spoke for itself, it did in Atlanta before that. In Anaheim, it surfaced the first game he played there while Wisniewski was durable here, but had some injuries on his prior teams.

Sometimes it's not supposed to make sense.

Witt had injuries in Washington, after a few durable seasons here started breaking down after his early contract extension. Gervais, Radek Martinek had a long history of injuries/bad breaks in games. Obviously Mike Comrie had plenty of injury baggage, as did Andy Hilbert. Bergenheim usually had an injury or two a year.

Tim Jackman took a shot to his face via a few Calgary Flames before he signed there.

Nielsen also has been hurt a lot, we all remember what happened with Nokelainen, and Ryan O'Marra after his trade.

Nassau Coliseum?
Outside of Jon Sim, and perhaps Kevin Poulin, I did not see the Nassau Coliseum ice directly cause an injury. The configuration in Montreal did cause an injury to Max Pacioretti with that Plexiglas box at center ice.

Kevin Poulin has his own history. Martinek got hurt in New Jersey on a rut, so did Nielsen on Mottau hit when he was a Devil. Weight was a lot of circumstances the last few years. Sillinger was incredibly durable before his hip went. Hunter got hurt by a bench door opening at Msg, he seemed to be hurt too often to blame it on anything directly. Hunter dove to block tons of shots, when you do that there are going to be injuries.

Anyone who remembers the Sean Brown knee on knee with Hunter in 03-04, knows we never saw the same Trent Hunter again, after that beyond the infrequent mentions on television about braces on Hunter's knee every year.

No doubt Guerin played hurt/recovering after his shoulder surgery.

Players with long histories of being injured have to play the game that got them into the NHL, which catches up with them and why teams sometimes move on from resigning them. Kenny Jonsson's concussions were no one's fault (beyond Gary Roberts) same was with Paul Kariya long ago or Crosby now.

Going back further, everyone saw what Yashin getting caught in a rut did to his final season where he was on a ninety point pace. He played hurt for about eighteen games after coming back, before having to be shut down again by Ted Nolan when he did not get much sympathy.

As for Eaton and Mottau, they were solid bets on injury front coming here, both durable. Mottau got a puck to the eye that will likely change his game forever by his own words, but like Eaton had to have hip surgery, which was notable here because after sitting from an eye injury you should not need hip surgery.

Mottau did an interview with a local paper this summer that explained what happened in depth.

Streit got hit by a soft-check in a scrimmage game. Okposo got hurt in his workout regiment. Comeau got hit in Pittsburgh, Nielsen turned the wrong way against Gaborik, which has been noted in many of Martinek's injuries.

Jack Hillen was not the most durable player.

We all know DiPietro had routine knee surgery/hip surgery in Vail, Colorado, where most players go. The knee swelling lingered, he had a second surgery where even the noted James Andrews was involved here.

Three Islander goaltenders went to the World Championships, two left injured. That cannot be placed on the team and suggests the club withholding permission on some players (who sustained injuries) was the right move.

As most players claim come March, April or later, everyone is playing hurt at that point. Daily workouts, practices, games all takes a toll from summer training through a full season.

Scott Gordon's Overspeed?
Not buying his system for a second caused the injuries it did. Guerin, Weight had nothing but praise for him in his first camp. If Gordon's system produced injuries that would have been prevalent in his AHL/ECHL career and likely taken him off the NHL radar.

Prospect Front:
If you want to extend this, it goes to the prospect front as well. deHaan, Koskinen, Brock Nelson, more than a few others.

Players who show up out of shape/or struggle usually see the door quickly, Kabanov was out early last year, Robert Nilsson was out of Ted Nolan's camp in the first days.

What's Next?
Impossible to blame Andrew MacDonald or anyone for blocking shots/getting pucks to the face getting hurt because that's the job.

Can Eaton, Mottau be more durable? What about Streit's shoulder first time he takes the same kind of hit at full speed? The history suggest yes. The last two years for Jurcina suggests no, but before that absolutely.

Former Islander Adrian Aucoin, had some very rough years in Chicago after leaving the Islanders to become durable again so anything is possible.

Anyone who claims any franchise should have depth to overcome this many injures at so many levels, is simply not being honest or lacks knowledge of a team to make such claims. The record suggest any franchise where this many players sustain injuries is not going to overcome that.

Colorado, Edmonton are good recent examples of this.

Bottom Line:
If I read one quote from a coach, player, agent, quoted league official, or doctor former or current that the New York Islanders handled a player's recovery incorrectly or caused an injury, NYIFC would have written about it.

Most former/out of the NHL players do nothing but complement the organization and that includes Michael Peca, who sustained a horrible knee injury here, and would have had reason to second guess coming back too early in hindsight in 02-03.

It says a great deal Trent Hunter, who signed a five year contract, had praise for Charles Wang the day after being traded, Hunter was with the organization the longest.

Meanwhile you have Satan, Yashin, who would likely take any offer to even tryout for this team in September.