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So here we are. Isles vs the Thrashers. Looks like Dubie starts against a returning Lehtonen. It looks like a better crowd than the shameful fan support for the Ottawa game.
CJ Papa reminds us how poor the Isles PP has been. This is simply because teams seem to have them very well-scouted now. Time for the PP unit to adjust, and get the basics down pat. After being stifled for a bit, even the basics have kind of lagged lately.
Atlanta has not exactly been on a tear. And this is the kind of game that could be dangerous if the Isles don't take them seriously. Lehotonen is looking for his first win, coming back from a groin injury after a horrid start and the firing of Bob Hartley.
I'm it for the Blog Box tonight, so far. So either I didn't remember to put on my deodorant OR I need a mint really BAD.
Puck is dropped, and only a few seconds later a Thrasher is planted into the boards. However, Dubie shows oodles of rust when Atlanta zips down the ice and plants the puck right into the net.
Kovalchuk weaved right past the defense less than a minute in for the ONLY shot on goal. 1-0.
Did I mention Atlanta was dangerous? This team is desperate for a win. Isles will need to tighten up, and put the nose to the grindstone. This will not be a walk in the park.
Isles D has not quite contained the Thrasher forwards, however, they might be starting to adjust. We shall see.
I just saw some lady with Orange hair.
And that spares me from seeing the Isles scored on once again.
The Isles are making Atlanta seem like Detroit tonight.
3-0 Atlanta. We are only at 12:52 into the game.
Some moron's saliva is raining on me as he screams for Dubie to leave the ice. Always a joy being in the blog box. The mood has pitched.
Boulton with a goal. Hossa with another.
Dubie makes a save, and the crowd cheers jeeringly. Dubie is not a happy camper. The question is, does too much time sitting really help or is Dubie really the answer, despite all those good vibes when he did perform last season. Tough questions, and I am not so certain of the answer. But recall Dubie was abit shaky when he first came in when Ricky went down and Dunham failed. But he righted himself and got stronger. Overreaction, despite passion, is not always the right course. Dubie should get better, BUT Isles are in a real hole here.
Dubie should have had some saves, but the defensive breakdowns are pretty horrific right now, as well.
Bergie, fresh from his non-injury with a hooking penalty.
PK does its job, and we are even strength.
Some mysterious man sits with me in the blog box. To be honest, how funny would have it been to have the Isles bring Aaron Johnson to join me. Sadly, nope. Just some dapper fellow taking pics.
3 min left, thank merciful god, to this period. D is making some plays now. An Isles tally would do a lot to provide a small patch to the gaping wound. The Isles need to take something positive from this period. So far, a small victory is that the Isles D are making more plays, and Dubie might have settled a bit.
1 min left to period.
Yes, that DONG is to signal that Atlanta has scored again. 13 shots, 4 have gone past Dubie.
Isles do the smartest thing this period and try to muck it up with some fists. But not much but some barking and pushing.
(END of 1st)
Some kids come out, and the short goalie looks more settled than Dubie against the tides of other kids. Someone sign him fast!
A fan came over to comment to me that the Isles really are not the type of team to be able to score 4 goals. He's right. But this will really be a measuring stick to their heart and finding a way to dig themselves out.
PP woes and first line power outage thoughts need to all be put away in the 2nd period. There is still 40 min to play, and a good crowd to redeem the night.
Might be tough. But crazier things have been known to happen. What will determine it is if the Isles come out hot and ready, which they were NOT in the 1st period.
Another fan came by to say hello. He read my blog earlier today and declared: "BD, we forgive you!" Thanks, pal. Appreciated. He also asked for Hilbert to be jettisoned like a rocket to the next space shuttle. Actually, he didn't say that exactly, but I am a creative writer. So, allow me to package it with a bit of flourish.
As to the ongoing Hilbert talk which goes on here, on HFBoards, the Isles forums and all over...lets all remember that the kid is a very skilled defensive player with tons of heart and a lot of ability to get himself in the right spots. Now, yes, his inability to close the deal reminds me of myself with a girl in high school. But, defensively reliable players are not a dime a dozen. Maybe he should move to line 4. But the guy is not a bad player, just not really creating enough points for a 3rd line that gets a lot of icetime.
The Isles might swing into a decision shortly, perhaps before the new year, of what their need really is, and to try to make that deal happen before the prices start escalating.
And if they do, it will not be a top tier player. It will be the type of motif of how they went about this year, grabbing key cogs to a bigger picture. So all you peeps all thinking St. Louis from Tampa is coming because he HAPPENS to be friends with Ruslan Fedotenko...well, you have another thing coming.
((start of 2nd period...in this chapter, will the Isles score a goal?))
Dubie is back in goal for period #2. Isles are on a PK as Sutton gets a double minor for roughing at the end of the 1st. Kovalchuk has a slashing penalty.
Kozlov had the 4th goal in the 1st period. I forgot to mention that between moans and groans.
Slater for hooking. Isles go on PP. Isles had some opportunities, and now they are on a PP needing a much needed stepping stone for the long climb back into this game.
Thorburn faces off versus Sutton, and it's more like Tyson vs Spinks. Sutton uses Thorburn's head as a landing field for his fist. Nice to see some good bad intentions to make an appearance. Also a good thing is anyone who plays the Beastie Boys in a hockey venue. Fight For Your Right to Party hit the loudspeakers during the fisticuffs.
The blog box might be empty, but I've been visited more times than Ebenezer Scrooge. Really awesome to see. Too bad the team is screwing the pooch tonight. But these nights happen.
5:25 left to the 2nd period.
22 shots for the Thrashers, and a lowly 13 for the Isles. that means 5 shots in a period that needed them to come alive.
ATL gets a penalty to offset the Isles one that was still on the clock.
Isles with 3 shots so far.
And at 11:06, three more. ATL with a penalty. The illustrious fallen from grace Gary Gallant run powerplay is about to run again. Isles must get anything going, something to walk away from this game with a positive note.
ATL almost had a shorthanded goal.
Isles ring a post.
Another PP with nothing to show for it. Isles are getting a lot more shots now. They now have 21 from 13 at the start of the 3rd. So the O is trying.
Tied at 26 shots apiece now.
Time for me to pack up. Will wrap up later. About to head downstairs, where the people on crutches this time will be egos, likely.
Nolan was surprised the team played so badly. He felt that, though he doesn't put too much onus on the pre-game skate, they looked ready. Obviously they weren't. He felt the team effort wasn't there.
In the lockerroom, Witt looked like he was being interviewed at a funeral. Very dire and quiet look to him. I missed what was said because he spoke extremely low, makingme cup my ear to get a shred of sound. So instead I got his facial expressions, which went was tight and gritted, clenched in frustration of a bad night.
Guerin smouldered and bore the brunt on his shoulders. He was sitting waiting for the press to hover. He felt that the team left Dubie all alone at times, and he had no excuse or reason besides that the team did not come to play tonight. And above all, he mentioned that Nolan was not happy with the team. Guerin explained that Ted doesn't ask for much, except that you leave it all on the ice. Then, well as long as you do that, you've done what you can, whatever the result. Well, tonight Nolan had some words for the team, said Guerin.
Say what you will about Guerin's power outage, he stands as captain. When I first met him in that NYR/NYI preseason slugfest, he seemed their leader, conscience, and spirit. And even now, amidst from frustrating times, he still takes the weight of that mantle on his shoulders while still being that focal point, candid and sincere.
Then came Sillinger, who is worth his weight in gold. Faceoffs and elder statesman leadership exudes from him. While Guerin bore the brunt of responsibility and frustrations in the lockerroom, it was Silly's interview that seemed to be a breathe of fresh air to the calvacade of player beating themselves up. He admitted they did not perform like a team that had a system. They, after the 2nd goal, fled away from it for some reason. But you have to take this game and forget it. They have a game in two days, and practice tomorrow where they need to get back to those basics, rush the net, etc.
That kind of alternative view helps a lockerroom and helps a team. A good dynamic of leadership for this team. Lets hope the team listens to both Silly and Guerin, taking ownership and stepping forward without the self-flagellation that reminds one of Paul Bettany in the DaVinci Code.
I keep reading of demands for a trade to happen, as if this will solve all their problems. As if this was suddenly a losing team. Holy overreaction, Batman!
None of these guys are going anywhere. All this talk about a deal being made, like some top tier guy is going to come here for a song. If the Isles make a deal, it'll be for a role/character player, just like the rest of them. Slides happen, crappy games happen. This team got buried by a desperate team who came in hungry and ready to get a win with their main goaltender, and they played like it. The Isles fell apart.
As for ongoing issues of Bergie, Hilbert and others not quite playing that well, tonight, they had good company. I don't think it's time to panic as a fan. And Bergie was quite active and with some jump this evening. Sillinger noted it, despite that he didn't tally a goal, Bergie was noticed.
I said it at the beginning of this live blog. Atlanta was dangerous. The Isles were not. Atlanta played urgent, desperate, and the Isles folded under their pressure. No regroup. No positive things to take away from it. Maybe thats the most disturbing thing about this years team. That versus Toronto, Carolina and here, was complete regression and wreckage of a system when things don't quite go their way.
So it begs the question: do they fully trust and give themselves to that system, if that is the case. I think not. And THAT is a problem.
By the way, those who read about my Ottawa gaffe will get a chuckle that I was ribbed by Chris Botta and Corey Witt over it as I went down there. Botta pointed out Bergie, making sure I saw him. Witt motioned that Aaron Johnson was "over there".
Laugh it up boys
I earned it. But all past, and now, like the Isles, back to basics.
On Monday, the Isles face Boston.