Following Tuesday's night's loss to the defending Stanley Cup Champs, the news got worse for the Islanders as Miroslav Satan has been declared a no-go for tonight's game against the surging Pens. Despite being without Sid the Kid, the Penguins sit in third place in the Atlantic, just a win behind the top-seeded Devils and a point behind the second place Flyers. With Mike Sillinger out for the next three weeks, Satan sidelined for a time yet to be determined, and others constantly battling the flu-bug, a huge opportunity for the kids from the Bridge has approached them while they’ve been playing their best. Currently the Islander’s sit last in the NHL in scoring, and after being shut out two nights ago, while only scoring five goals in their last five games, it only seemed a matter of time before a change was going to occur.
Whether it is a matter of luck, chance, or Nolan's need for a change, the young guys shed a glimmer of hope in what’s been a tough few weeks for the Islanders and its fans. Tambellini arrives at what appears to be the prime of his AHL career, leading the league in goals with 28 and sitting fourth in points with 56. His center man, Frans Nielsen, is expected to be joining him on the same line tonight as well, according to the New York Islander’s web site. Hopefully their magic will be seen at the big show as well as the Isles AHL affiliate. With youngster Blake Comeau all ready having impressed the coaching staff, he will get a chance to play with Tambs and Frans, forming a line of what we all hope to be a case of Bridgeport running to the rescue.
In addition to Tamby, Nielsen, and Comeau making their strides in the NHL this season, Jeremy Colliton gets another chance to play for the big club. In 2005-2006 he played in 19 games, posting one goal and one assist. This year with the Sound Tigers, after battling through injuries and recovery, has managed to put up 10 points in 22 games (5 goals and 5 assists) as a checking-line center.
Even if these young guys are not our saving grace and this team still misses the playoffs, what most fans and I hope to see is a bright future that we can expect to hit us as soon as next season. The kids obviously have talent, and with a group of solid veterans that the Islander’s currently have, hopefully it won’t take long for these little caterpillars to blossom into huge butterflies. Plus one cannot forget to acknowledge the heavily touted Kyle Okposo. In only 11 games played this season in the AHL after coming over from the University of Minnesota, Kyle has already posted 10 points, (2 goals, 8 assists). Believed to possibly be the next Jarome Iginla, it sends chills up most fans’ spines knowing that we may see him in an Islander’s uniform sooner rather than later.
But for now we remain sitting in 13th place in the Eastern Conference, looking at the playoff seeds from a distance. But hopefully, even without reliable forwards such as Silly and Miro, this injection of youthful enthusiasm will jumpstart a resurrection of competitve hockey. This team has shown that it has the potential; it’s just a matter of turning everything around..and these kids may help start it tonight.