Boy, never have the words of the classic Shirelles tune felt so true as they do today. Last night the Islanders had one hell of an evening and not in a good way. After announcing that Calvin de Hann would go under season ending shoulder surgury, Jack Hillen got beamed in the face by an Alex Ovechkin laser beam, Then the Islanders got crushed by the high flying caps. Needless to say last night wasn't our night.
But with "every day like this" comes a new day and renewed hope, this time in the form of Dustin Kohn, who tallied his first NHL point in his first NHL game. Kohn was well received in his first stint on Long Island and will now get an extended opportunity due to the extent of Hillen's injury. "I really don’t know how long I’m going to be here,” Kohn told Newsday. “So I just want to make the most of the opportunity and just contribute the best I can and just play solid. Continue to get better every day.” Kohn performed at a -5 with 2 goals and 15 assists down in Bridgeport and was a +1 during his 2 games on Long Island. The Islanders have had several pleasant surprises on the blue line with Andy MacDonald and the now injured, Jack Hillen, and hope to find the same luck with Kohn.
The Isles did get one lucky break last night with Hillen's injury, it comes close to the Olympic break which will limit the amount of games he will miss.
Another issue that has now been thrown back into the spotlight for fans is the need to bring in another veteran defenseman before the trade deadline passes. With Sheldon Souray on the open market fans would love for management to make a move on him, but Chris Botta has already put the axe in that. You never know though. HockeyBuzz, the leader in hockey rumors, is reporting that the Islanders have shown some interest in Lighting defenseman, David Hale. The 28 year old American blue liner's stats do not jump out at you as he has only managed 4 point in 35 games.
The most appealing player on the trading block, other than Souray, would be another Edmonton Oiler, Lubomir Visnovsky. Visnovsky was featured on TSN's top "10 players expected to be traded" and would be a good asset on the Isles blue line. His 9 goals would lead all Islanders defenseman and his 29 points would tie him with Mark Streit for most points by a defenseman. Also 4 of those 9 goals came on the Power play along with 15 power play points, something the Islanders could desperately use on their less than stellar power play unit.
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