With the Isles set to concluded there home and home mini series with the Rangers tonight at MSG, they are once again trying to dig themselves out of a hole that they themselves have dug. A sloppy yet gut wrenching 6-5 loss last night at the coliseum can be blamed on turnovers, countless defensive lapses, failure to clear the puck, failure to protect the puck, failure to clear bodies from in front of your net, and not have the mindset to protect a lead.
Being that I am unable to catch the majority of the games since I live in Las Vegas, and the only time I have been able to catch any games on tv is if they are on NHL Network, Versus, or can catch them online(being is that if I won't get charged any cash). So for the most part I listen to the radio broadcast on the team website. But from watching the highlights on the NHL Network, and NHL.com the teams flaws in both zones are telegraphed so much Stevie Wonder can see it a mile away.
While the Isles have had some offensive success the last 3 games scoring a total of 10 goals in that time frame. But nobody should begin to think they are starting to click offensively on all cylinders. During the 14 game losing streak they averaged under 2 goals a game, and outscored by a gigantic margin. Plus they didn't score 10 total goals until they reached there 5th straight loss. In total during the 14 game losing they scored a whooping 21 goals So if they go on another long skid they are ahead of the pace offensively from the last streak.
The only bright spots offensively have been John Tavares, and Matt Moulson. Both of them are actually on pace for 30 goals this year, which is all and good, but when nobody else is scoring it don't mean jack squat. And having Jon Sim play on 2nd line and get power play time just shows how much they are lacking offensively. Putting a career 4th liner on your 2nd line makes you the joke of the 29 other team locker rooms in the league. Michael Grabner has been showing signs of improvement at times, and I think he could have good potential with that great speed he has. P.A. Parenteau is to inconsistent, takes his time in transition from offense to defense, and even vice versa. He has zero jump in his skates so the numbers he has put up don't fool me one bit, and doesn't know what a real one-timer is. Blake Comeau is a guy who if he played the rangers every time I swear this guy would score between 40-50 goals. In 16 games against NYR in his career he has 10 goals and a handful of assists. It only frustrates you more as an Islanders fan when he shows these flashes of great skill, but then goes into hiding for a good 10 or 20 games. As I said in a previous blog entry about Comeau is that this is a make or break year for him. If he doesn't learn to be consistent every game during the season, then I can't see how he gets brought back next year. Either he will play on another NHL team next year or he will be playing in europe with a failed Islander in Robert Nielson.
The defense which has been banged up but has no real threat offensively besides James Wisniewski, and Mark Streit. But Streit is on IR due to shoulder surgery and most likely won't be back this year since the team has almost no chance at making the playoffs. Mark Eaton, Mike Mottau(currently injured), and Milan Jurcina who were acquired over the summer after garth snow's failure to sign big name UFA defensemen like Paul Martin(signed with Pittsburgh), and Anton Volchencov(signed with New Jersey) have played big minutes, but have hardly produced any firepower from the blueline. Others such as home grown defensemen Jack Hillen and Bruno Gervais still can't get out of their own way, and continue to be orange cones on skates for opposing forwards to skate around with hardly any effort. The only true bright spot on the blue line the last couple of games is rookie Travis Hamonic who registered an assist last night and it was also his 1st career point in the NHL. The kid is already showing signs that he will be a stud when he becomes a full time NHL player.
The goaltending is a whole other topic I don't want to waste time on, since DP was solid in his previous 3 games by showing flashes of his former self (even staying in the net, and not playing the puck constantly) before the Rangers put 6 past him last night. And Roloson has been our best goalie this year. Look past the record he has. His overall numbers don't lie.
So we are now just over a quarter past the season, and the Islanders are in the eastern conference basement once more. And are dead last in the overall league standings. I do think that by the end of the month it will be safe to say that we will be a lock to be going for the 1st overall pick in this summer's entry draft. But with the way New Jersey has been playing this year that may not be the case. For me the countdown to drafting top prospect Sean Couturier from the Drummondville Voltigeurs of the QMJHL began just before the Isles fired Scott Gordon. The kid is a stud, and has drawn comparisons to Eric Staal, and Vincent Lecavalier from many scouts. He is the top prize, and I say he is exactly what we need. 4 months left in the season, and 6 left before we draft in the top 2 once more. It's gonna be a long grueling amount of months before we have some sort of reason to celebrate.