DP is hurt practically just as soon as he comes back from his umpteenth injury; Sillinger keeps bouncing to and from the IR; Martinek continues to hurt himself if he blows his nose too hard; Sutton blocks shots like an animal, but pays a price each year; and Nielsen is missing out on the first year of his NHL contract.
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The list can go on and on. It's been hard to watch games lately. It's been so bad that I've even heard season ticket holders looking to get rid of their seats because they don't have the patience to sit and watch their last place team continue to lose throughout the month of December. Management has asked a lot out of their fans this season, but I hate to say it, the majority of the fans wanted this. I was one of many that posted on these boards asking for a fire-sale to lead to a youth movement. Now we have it, and it's hard for many to face the music when you see your team at the bottom of the standings.
With all the negatives aside, there are several positives to keep in mind.
The year started off with Blake Comeau as one of the main scoring leaders in Bridgeport, and this frustrated almost everyone. Now, several games later, Comeau is on the Isles roster and is performing well with five points in 11 games, including a bit of a streak as of late with a goal in the Ranger game and an assist the night before. He responded well to being sent down to the AHL after playing almost the entire year with the Isles last season, illustrating that he has a great attitude. Comeau will probably not develop into a first line forward, but he may turn into a solid second or third liner. His hockey sense is better than most inexperienced players at his age and it shows with the way he carries himself on the ice. Hopefully he will continue to play as well as he has.
And I have to say, FINALLY, Kyle Okposo is putting up number to reward himself for his play. Alright, he only has nine points in 24 games, but he only had 5 points in 18 games before he got hurt. Therefore, he put up four more points in the six games played since his return, which is not bad at all. He has hustled every game and been noticeable on the ice by generating scoring chances and constantly getting himself into scoring position. And how did this all start? A fluke goal against Vesa Toskala in the Toronto game. All KO did was toss the puck at the net and somehow it bounced in his favor, something that hasn't occurred for the Isles most of this year. His strong play on the puck in the game against the Sabres the other night is exactly why they were able to go to overtime and steal (or earn) a point in the final 1:30 of the game. In case you don't remember, Okposo used his strength to protect the puck in front of him to dish it out to the slot where Campoli was waiting to rifle it over the glove of Ryan Miller.
Campoli is another bright spot as well. He has had a bit of a slow start due to an injury that sidelined him at the start of the season, but he still has managed 11 points in 32 games which is not to bad for a young defenseman. He had the overtime winner against the Blue Jackets back in early November and had the game tying goal with 2 seconds left the other night against Buffalo. He's shown flashes of excellence, allowing fans to believe that he could be a clutch defenseman to have on the ice in tight-game situations.
Perhaps the positive that is most worth noting is that Doug Weight has returned to the ice after missing a few game with a groin injury. Although he has become a fan-favorite, no one can ignore the value he will have at the trade deadline. The Internet is already swirling with rumors, and Newsday has cited that Snow is fielding offers, primarily looking for picks and prospects. The Isles need to obtain everything they can at this year's draft, and Weight should be one of the key veterans to be put up for sale.
This afternoon the Isles take on the Florida Panthers, a team pushing for a playoff spot for the first time in years. Keep an eye on Islander call-up Trevor Smith, making his New York Islanders debut. He leads the Sound Tigers with 18 goals and is third in the league in that category. Hopefully he will be able to show that he is capable of joining the youth movement possibly sooner rather than later.
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