Anyone who watched the Detroit Red Wings game against the Phoenix Coyotes on Versus last night had the chance to see exactly why Detroit is in the situation they are in.
Take away all the injuries and take away the fact they've primarily featured a rookie in goal. Just look at their supposed mold as a hockey team and nothing else.
Detroit is supposed to be a strong defensive team with capable players on offense, but not a juggernaut like Washington or San Jose. A defensive team that, last night and throughout all season, gave up a game they should have won.
Up 4-2 late, they take a penalty. Give up a goal with 90 seconds left, then allow Phoenix to pull their goalie and tie the game. And then they go to overtime and lose it; gaining only one point in a game that with two minutes left looked like they'd definitely be banking two points.
Yes, injuries have plagued them, but good teams overcome that. And starting a rookie goaltender is hard enough, but it has been helped by the fact that they're a defensive team. But there have been too many lapses in their game, and while Howard has played very well, he isn't at a level of play where he is capable of doing it all by himself.
Detroit currently sits in 8th place in the West, one point ahead of 9th place Calgary. If the playoffs started today they'd be in. But watching last nights game and seeing them do this time and again all year long, you have to wonder come April, if they'll still be in that position.no comments
Stolen right from the lips of the late Met, Tug McGraw, "YA GOTTA BELIEVE" is the phrase that should be circulating the Isles dressing room and Coliseum concourse. Especially since the critics had been counting on the Isles to be in the Taylor Hall sweepstakes by now, even encouraging having another lackluster season. Even I doubted the Islanders had what it took to be in the hunt, especially when I told Puck Daddy "I wouldn't reserve my playoff tickets this season." Never been so happy to eat my own words because now the Islanders sit just a win away from leap frogging the Flyers, Rangers, and Habs who all have 55 points and hold the 6, 7 and 8 spots respectively.
As fans we've watched boys become men and a team grow together so much so that this team knew from the start of this year that they were playoff material. "when April comes around, I expect us to be in position to compete in the playoffs." That was Richard Park told Islanders Point Blank back in September and everybody looked and laughed. I guess the jokes on them, since a young up and coming group of hockey players have found ways to win.
The Coliseum has even become a place to help develop talent that was given up on, as highlighted by Newsdays Mark Herrmann. A combination of patience, responsible spending, and a coach who know how to nurture young talent have all worked to put together an on ice team that's entertaining, fun and most of all competitive.
Now those words that Park said back in September are being echoed in a much more specific way by the captain. "We're good enough to beat a team in a seven-game playoff series," Weight said, "and we're good enough to be in the playoffs." The team believes this, they've felt this way for a while and you players like Rob Schremp and Matt Moulson, who have both worked hard to get here, would love for that hard work to pay off and make the playoffs. The fans have also regained faith, highlighted this past week by 2 sellouts and a strong showing during Thursday's match up against the Panthers. Not to mention that ticket sales are up 20% and team revenue is up 11% according to Islanders Point Blank.
I go back to the phrase "YA GOTTA BELIEVE" because somehow that has been the rally cry for both the Jets and Islanders, both of which coincidental sent their rookie stars to throw out the first pitch at Citi Field. The point being is even when things looked over for the Jets they perceived on using a core of rookie and vets to lead the way and nearly went all the way. Sounds familiar to the Islanders, minus a few factors, but the core is simulare. Rookies and young guns leading the way backed by some experienced vets who know how to motivate a team. So Islanders Country, "YA GOTTA BELIEVE!"no comments
I will have a Triple Feature up after this, Yes a Triple Feature. But in this game, it was Rick DiPietros return to the Coliseum. He played well enough to earn the win against the Sabres, 3-2 in the shootout. In the next triple Feature, I'll have the game against the Devils, where Rick DiPietro also played, the game against the Panthers, and finally tonight against the Devils. Thank you, and enjoy this video, while I work on the Triple Feature
USE EM' OR LOSE EM'
Welcome to another installment of Use Em' or Lose Em', this week we will be spotlighting two more Islanders players:
Jeff Tamballini: Tamballini has been a very on again off gain player who has been up and down from Bridgeport to Long Island for so long he has his a special seat reserved for him on Port Jeff ferry. So far he's matched his goal total from last season, 7, and has nearly matched his points total. He's appeared in 24 games, and recorded his first career hat trick back on Halloween night 2009. However he has failed to score a goal sine November 23 in Toronto. To make matters worse for the kid, he has been an on and off scratch since the arrival of Rob Schremp, who seems to have found his niche in Gordon's system, and hasn't played in two weeks. It seems management is scared to let him go in fear that he will become a consistent, quality player somewhere else, but after five years with the Islanders organization I say it's to set Tamby free.
IHB VERDICT: Lose Em'
Andy Sutton:Coming off an injury laden season Andy Sutton has stepped up to one of, if not the best Islanders defenseman this season. He leads the team in block shots, also making the list as one of the league leaders in that category, has been a BIG presence on defense laying into opposing teams heavy and hard, all while also managing to help further develop young D-man Jack Hillan. Sutton's contract runs out after this season and it would be wise for the Isles to hold onto this stand up veteran who knows how to bring a tower of power and pain.
IHB VERDICT:Use Em'
** no comments