I can't say that every Isles fan wanted a youth movement, but close to the majority did. The result thus far has been tough games with blown leads, merciful losses, and pounding headaches, but I hate to say it, this is what we asked for.
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This is not a bad thing. It is what's to be expected. I'll admit, I myself was making those typical claims of 'trade this guy' or 'bring up so and so'...but that will not change anything. I still believe the Isles need to bring in a top tier forward, preferably a center. No offense at all to Weight, Comrie, and Sillinger, but these are not the guys who are going to open up the ice for the younger players to thrive...but a first line center will command top dollar asking price - most likely our first (and possibly first over all) round pick, and I don't think any of us are willing to give that up.
Tavares and Hedman. As fans we need to tell ourselves that after every game. One of these two could be that all-star forward that we desperately need as soon as next season...it's just a matter of getting there.
If it wasn't for the fact that the Islanders are pushing hard for the Lighthouse Project to get passed while the economy is in such a bad state, I would not be worried so much about our team losing. Wang has stated that this is an all or nothing deal, and many fans like myself are worried if that means this team will be moved if Wang's dreams do not come true. Let's admit, none of us like to lose, but it would be easier to swallow if we knew the renovations of the Coliseum were getting started this summer to lock our favorite team in place for a long, long time. But that still remains to be seen.
A reason to maintain hope is that Witt, Martinek, Meyer, Bailey, and Sillinger are within weeks of playing again. Both Bailey and Silly have been skating, so they're closer than our greatly needed top defenseman, but never-the-less their presence should help. I'm still dying to see what Bailey may be capable of, but we should also understand that if he does not put up any points that we should not claim him a Draft Day blunder. He's still only 18 and is making a huge leap from the OHL to the NHL. A small, nine game taste, should increase his appetite when he gets sent back to encourage his development.
All in all this team is starting to score goals. They may not be high scoring games, but the kids are starting to contribute. Nielsen had a great night with a goal and an assist; Campoli two goals the other night against Columbus; Tambellini dropping the gloves at the Garden...over time we will begin to see more and more coming from the young guys.
Take a look at the Devils Zach Parise. Right now, according to TSN, he is on pace to score 62 goals after already have 9 goals and 14 points in 12 games. However in his first NHL season he only scored 14 goals and 32 points in 81 games. My point is that progress takes time, and I think we can expect players like Okposo to develop the same way. Parise adjusted to the NHL rather quickly, but that can't be said for all.
Despite the consistent third period downfalls there is still reason to believe that this team will eventually be able to compete, so do not freak out just yet.
Hopefully they'll play for 60 minutes instead of forty this Saturday when they host Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
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