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So, I'm officially loving this whole Billy Guerin, Islander captain thing!

In the preseason, I made a sarcastic comment along the lines of, "Hey, a captain willing to fight! How about that?" That wasn't so much a tip of the cap to Guerin as it was one more, "Piss off!" to Alexei Yashin (whose name I will now refuse to utter ever again in my blog. In fact, any future references to said overpaid, underachieving Russian sissy will now go by an acronym of that description - O.U.R.S. ... Catchy, I like it!) Anyway ... Guerin is a leader, plain and simple and it's blatantly obvious to see during a game.

The Isles got up early last night with a Sean Bergenheim goal in the first period. That was a treat to see, as it was Bergy's first since his return from his adventures in Europe. I love Bergenheim's game too, have since his first debut, and I only see great things for him in the future. He's all energy, all the time and any offensive output the Islanders get from him is gravy. I see Sean being a 20+ goal guy eventually.

The captain's first tally of the game made it 2-0 (you know, the most dangerous lead in hockey?) and that's how the second period ended.

After a disallowed Ruslan Fedotenko goal (come on, Toronto ... that was mularkey) the Caps fought back to tie things up on goals by Alex Ovechkin (love watching this guy, even if he's scoring against the Isles) and Tomas Fleischmann. Then, The Guerin, Bryan Berard, Chris Campoli Show took things home with a bang.

Guerin's hat trick was the easy highlight of the night but the play of both Berard and Campoli was what stood out to me. Offensively, Bryan Berard is doing exactly what he was brought in to do. (Three Isles power play goals last night says all you need to know about that right there.) And Chris Campoli has been outstanding this season, in my opinion. 6 points in 7 games thus far is wonderful, but what's stuck out about Campoli's game to me is what seems to be an upgrade in the tenacity department. I'm starting to feel as though this kid might really turn into a special defenseman. And, though I singled him out before the season started as the Islander d-man most likely to be dealt, given the current surplus, I am thrilled that he's here and hope he's an Islander for a long time.

That said, my only real concern at this point is that surplus on defense. Aaron Johnson took up a 4th line forward's spot last night (come on, Teddy ... we can't throw Darryl Bootland in there?) and Marc-Andre Bergeron took in the view from the press box once again. Bergeron's upside is too great to have him sit for any length of time (though, the way Berard and Campoli ran that power play last night ...) and Johnson's a defenseman by trade (but maybe Nolan just wanted him to get some game action.) Still, hanging onto 8 d-men doesn't make sense forever. Brendan Witt and Andy Sutton aren't going anywhere, neither are Berard or Campoli. Bruno Gervais has played well, though he has options and can be sent down. Maybe Radek Martinek might ultimately be the odd man out? Hmmph! I guess it's a good problem to have.

It's one game, I know. It's only 7 games in, I'm aware of that. But the 4 Islander wins this year have all really gotten me going. This team continues to play like that ... who knows?

Um ... real quick before I go ... anyone seen who's in the Atlantic Division toilet right now? Just making sure ...

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Filed Under:   Islanders  
October 19, 2007 10:57 AM ET | Delete
Good read, keep up the good job
October 19, 2007 11:34 AM ET | Delete
OURSes? I don't think they exist/Westley
October 19, 2007 2:25 PM ET | Delete
Nice win by the Fishsticks last night JJ! Billy Guerin will score 30-40 this year and making him Captain was brilliant. As a Flyers fan, I really respect the game you guys played last week - it was a hard fought contest and the Isles will definitely be neck and neck with the Flyboys for the playoffs. Good luck Isles! Great read JJ! SYF
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