Slow Defense Big Early Notable on 11-12 New York Season

New York Islander Fan Central | 10/11/2011 09:57:00 AM |

Well aware it's only two games, this is not about the record but what alarming trends have been seen.

Simply put this team is living down to the worst of our expectations, token win stolen by Montoya aside against Minnesota.

Martinek, Hillen, Gervais or anyone's ability to skate the puck out or chip it to spring a rush from the boards is desperately missing.

Two poor/mediocre teams have badly out-skated and outworked the New York Islanders, in a way rarely seen during the second half of last year.

It looks like Jack Capuano got back Scott Gordon's November 2010 club again with Eaton, Mottau on the backline, which now includes Staios.

Eaton needing to dive early to break up a play, Staios watching players take the puck at the net? Mottau/Eaton/Staios struggles moving the puck all over the defensive zone, forcing the forwards back, Pandolfo's lack of speed with Reasoner?

Anyone watch the play against Florida in the third by Staios, a Panther saw him not have his angle, and he went right to the net, slow to read and react.

I liked Eaton's game a year ago and pointed out his plus rating, even through the losing streak, however you can only carry one defender who plays that kind of game.

Comeau looks completely lost as a right wing, who took some big hits against Florida drifting to the middle, while Rolston hardly looks ready as a left wing, which does Bailey no favors.

Has management learned yet, you turn Comeau into nothing but an inconsistent player, by moving him off left wing? We saw this for years with other coaches, and last season.

One offensive zone setup against Minnesota with Tavares (all individual efforts) to find Moulson in the first period for sixty minutes? Six shots after the first period?

And the New York Islanders are taking some big hits, slow plays developing are easier to defend and target forwards for legal hits.

I understand two games is just that, but the speed, jump, quick plays to spring the rush along the boards, are not there with this slower, older defense, nor does it look like it has anything to do with two games, but current resume/calendar.

It's not what we saw with virtually no healthy defenders in the second half of last season, as the Islander forwards were flying and forcing teams on the defensive.

The 2011-12 team are getting pinned in their own end scrambling to get the puck out, in a way that does not create any odd man rushes or offense because of a lack of speed to get to pucks.

It holds back the faster forwards from breaking out, and easier to defend.

The two teams the Islanders have played, stepped it up and took over the game, they saw they could play the game forcing the Isles defense. Minnesota could barely get out of their own way for a good part of the game on Monday.

The idea of Steve Staios being used as a top paring defender, is frankly alarming, and begs the question why did Garth Snow go in this direction?

deHaan, Katic, Wishart, anyone would have been a better alternative in terms of puck moving in the corners/walls to spring the forwards for rushes.

I guess the good news is Montoya has started fast, Nielsen's even strength goal puts him a month and a half ahead of last year's pace. Streit is not in game-shape, however his talent carries him to a large degree, with that brilliant shot-pass to Nielsen.

Tavares individual efforts to create chances, looks great, but far from what's expected.

Perhaps more rust comes off Staios, Mottau, Eaton, Panfolfo, Reasoner, Rolston, even MacDonald, who are hardly in game shape, but that collective defense is not getting younger or faster.

This entry is not about two games, more about something that is seemingly not fixed with the current group. It's something we did not see in the second half.

This team looked fast in Bridgeport against Boston, they looked fast against the Devils at home for the one preseason game.

Tampa, Rangers (pick a team) are going to eat this defense alive, no goaltending is going to hide this for long, if these trends continue. Wishart should be here over Mottau, deHaan over Staios.

Even a risk of calling up Donovan/Ness may have to be considered.

Jurcina is no answer.

Katic's speed would have been a huge help.

Radek Martinek's ability to move the puck in traffic, is missed....badly.

Even the defender coming in Wednesday from Tampa (Bruno Gervais) is a big improvement moving the puck vs what has been seen so far.