New York Defense Simply Too Slow At Even Strength

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/30/2011 05:28:00 AM |

The same blog entries cannot be repeated every few days here.

This is simply not going to work.

A slower, less mobile defense, that is mistake prone, throws off every facet of what worked for close to four months a year ago. The powerplay was not the problem on this day.

Well aware San Jose was red-hot, Sharks goalie made some great saves or it would have been a win, and the Sharks skated like a team that just played in Detroit the night before.

Isles skated as well as they could with who they had, obviously the puck hit the glass in overtime.

Here's the big questions our fans should be asking:

1. This was the Isles best offensive game of the season? How much sustained five on five pressure did the Isles get to go with another night of no five on five goals? For myself (and broadcasters) they noted fourth line shift with about three minutes left in second, where they cycled and had San Jose pinned in.

I noticed it immediately.

That was about it for another sixty minute game.

2. How often on forecheck now are the Isles forced to simply throw low percentage shots on goal because the defense is too slow combined with Rolston/Pandolfo?

3. Then we get to the usual story, nothing personal against Steve Staios, but signing him to play with Mark Streit is a flat out joke, it's costing this club every single game to go with Mottau/Eaton.

Streit wears down too a lot more with Staios, after a year off injury that's asking too much.

Jurcina is hardly any better than Mottau.

# 24 penalty in opening seconds 1-0.
# 24 out with Streit on second goal, Streit having to work harder.
# 24 gassed and too slow, did not have his stick down or the right angle on OT goal, so that long cross-ice pass got through him for the shot. He had nothing left to pressure the player making that pass and was not skating.

Quality offensive players will pick that apart every time.

It's positioning, lack of speed, slow reaction, giving players room to work without pressure, who can already finish. Simply not being able to keep up.

What do you expect from a thirty eight year old player, who's never been a top two defender, who was a camp invite, who was out most of last season, and who's value was that of trade for Aaron Johnson/pick two years ago?

This makes the Isles collectively too slow to maintain a forecheck, it makes them play shifts throwing the puck out of their end, as opposed to skating and it hurts the cycle/forechecking which means not being able to control play in the offensive zone at five on five or sustain any pressure.

It leads to a lot of give-up plays, where the end result is throw puck at net and hope for something to happen, it's not a quality setup, even when Tavares deflects the shot in the net. This runs contrary to how Matt Moulson's success off work in the corners or passes from forwards that led to his five on five goals.

The effort was there against San Jose, beyond Rolston throwing too many bad angle shots at the net, all lines could have produced a goal off a rush against a sluggish San Jose team.

Comeau had some good shifts, with a few uneven shifts.

DiPietro played as well as Nabokov/Montoya, his stickhandling even helped start a few rushes. Goaltending has not cost them a single game to this point.

Lack of mobility on defense has cost them the identity they produced as a team from mid-Dec/mid-March a year ago.

It's not going to return unless management makes changes to the defense, by then, it likely will be too late.