So as we pass the halfway point of the season, everyone begins to talk about the playoff race. The fight to be in the top eight in your respective conference. Everyone gets caught up in talking about home ice, bubble teams and clinching, and the division races fall into the background for the most part. So before that time comes, let's take what will probably be one last look at the division races before it all turns into the playoff races.
Atlantic Division-The New Jersey Devils are first with 65 points; eight more points than second place Pittsburgh. And on top of that, they have three games in hand. The Devils are leading now, have been leading for a while, and will likely finish the season atop the Atlantic.
Northeast Division-Tied for the fewest games played in the division, yet still an outstanding 10 points ahead of second place Boston, the Buffalo Sabres are having one heck of a season early on. Ryan Miller has been their MVP and if they continue this pace, should be considered a league MVP candidate at the end of the season. Boston is the only real threat to take this division title away, but 10 points and a bunch of injuries will probably keep Buffalo a the top the rest of the season.
Southeast Division-No surprise at the top, with Washington leading, but what's surprising is that Carolina is at the bottom. Regardless, Washington is 14 points ahead at this moment, and that'll probably grow over time.
Central Division-Anytime Detroit is 14 points out of a division lead you know a team is having a good year and the Chicago Blackhawks are doing just that with 66 points. They have a seven point lead over second place Nashville and have been consistently one of the best teams all year. They're likely to end Detroit's streak this year.
Pacific Division-No surprise here either with San Jose 10 points ahead of second place. Everyone behind them though is having strange seasons from what was expected as Dallas and Anaheim have struggled and Phoenix and LA have been successful. While the Kings were close to taking the division lead away, they've hit a skid recently and have fallen 14 points back. And while having a great year, the Coyotes are still 10 points behind the Sharks and can't seem to beat them. San Jose will have to endure a lot of injuries to lose their crown.
Northwest Division-And the most competitive division of them all thus far. The Wild and Oilers are out of it while the Flames, Avalanche and Canucks are at each others throats. Calgary and Colorado each have 58 points with Vancouver two behind with 56. The Flames currently hold first thanks to having played one less game so far, but Vancouver has the most wins. It's almost too close to call, but if one team is likely to fall out of it first I'd say Colorado will fade. If Vancouver continues to play the way they have recently they could very well win this thing. But that long Olympics induced road trip could kill them, so right now I'll say the Flames will win it all.
So that's the review. As you can see, maybe one reason people lose sight of the divisions is because five of them halfway through the season are already essentially won. The Northwest will sure be a lot of fun to watch though.no comments
With the decade coming to a close (well kinda) we here at Islanders Hockey Blog complied a list of what we felt were the top 10 most important and memoriable moments of the last ten years. We would love to hear what our readers think so if you disagree with some of our choices then please feel free to write in the Coment box what you would have added and taken off. So with out any further ado hear is our top 12.
10. 2004-2005 NHL LOCK OUT
Yes,this was more of a major moment for the entire league, but it still deserves recognition. Any time an entire NHL season is cancelled that is a major moment for any team. This also allowed the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers the opportunity to play two home games at the Nassau Coliseum due to the absence of NHL hockey.
9. Al Arbour Night 2007
For one night in 2007 Islanders legend Al Arbour stepped behind the Islanders bench once more to coach a new generation of Islanders. With the Coliseum sold out you knew it would be a memorable night. On this night the Islanders fell behind 2-0 in the second period, but in classic Islanders fashion they would storm back. At 8:20 in the second, Trent Hunter would score the first Islanders goal cutting the Pittsburgh in half. Then at 5:30 in the third Miroslav Satan tied it. Finally with 2:41 remaining in the game Miro Satan would fire home the rebound to clinch the win for the Islanders and Al Arbour. Following the game 16,234 fans witnessed a new banner go up for Al reading 1500, for the record amount of games he has coached.
8. Drafting Rick Dipietro
The Islanders made history in 2000, drafting Boston University goaltender Rick Dipietro number one for the first time in NHL history. Earlier the Islanders traded away goalies Kevin weeks and future Olympian Roberto Luango to Tampa and Florida. Thus making the pick even more important to the Organization at the time. “It feels unbelievable,” Dipietro said about being the Islanders future. “It’s a lot of pressure, but it’s something really want to be able to jump into and handle and I think it will be a great fit.” Dipietro ha yet to play a game in the 2009-2010 season because of injury the past two seasons.no comments
Dwayne Roloson came up big last night stealing a win for the Isles in a poorly played game by the home team. In a night that saw an announced attendence of 12,192, a large crowd for a Tuesday night, the Islanders once again put up another lackluster performance. For most of the game, the shot clock showed nearly a 2 to 1 ratio in favor of visiting Blue Jackets, who recorded 42 shots on Roloson, compared to 25 Islanders' SOG.
The Islanders started the 1st playing decently although only getting 5 shots on net. However, 10 minutes into the period, It was the Islanders who drew first blood, Kyle Okposo fired a shot from the high slot that bounced off Mason's glove, and over his head and safely into the net thanks to Josh Bailey (who would be later credited for his 8th goal of the season.)
The rest of the game became the horrible play we saw during sunday nights game against the Flyers. The Islanders tried to make fancy passes and could not do the simple clean passes we had once saw from them. They couldn't control the puck, and didn't finish on their checks. They paid in the 3rd as RJ Umberger was able to spin around and score his 13 goal of the season tying the game at 9:47 into the third.
So with the game heading into OT the Islanders finaly woke. In the 5 minutes the Islanders had two scoring chances, 5 shots on goal, and Josh Bailey almost won it but hit the post in waining seconds of extra time. However the score remained tied, so we proceeded to a Shootout. Scott Gordon sent a recently returned to the roster Jeff Tambellini, Shootout master Frans Nielsen and a surprising pick of Robbie Schremp to face Mason. Columbus sent Kristian Huselius, Rick Nash and Fedor Tyutin to face Rolie the goalie. Tambellini? missed wide, Huselius? stopped by Roloson, Nielsen? His famous backhand-deke stopped by Mason, Nash? Stoned by Rolie. Then it came down to Schremp, He came in got Mason to commit to the left side the went top shelf on his right side. That would prove to be the game winner as Roloson denied Tyutin to let the team hit the showers with 2 points, and a 2-1 victory on home ice.
In other news: Jiggs McDonald, the long-time voice of the Islanders, filled in for the current voice of the team, Howie Rose on MSG+. He was given a standing ovation at the Coliseum as he was announced on the Jumbotron.
(This article was written by both Christian A., and Dave G.)no comments
"It definitely weighs on you......but now the pressure is off," Kyle Okposo told Newsday last night after the Islanders 3-2 win at Madison Square Garden. Okposo showed off a little for the Garden crowed with 2 assist including a spectacular play that saw Okposo sneak by Michael Del Zotto balance on one skate then feed the puck to the wide open Blake Comeau. Okposo also scored the game winning goal to break his 18 game goal-less drought that has plagued him and his chances of making the US Olympic squad.
With Team USA selection just five days away many analysts have counted Kyle out. While Okposo has not been a goal scoring machine this year, he has another major quality that would be key to any Olympic squad. Determination, this has been an aspect of Okposo's game that has made of for his lack of scoring. He leads the Islanders in assists(20) and has been one of the top special team players for the Isles.
His hard work and determination was on display last night, where he finished a +3, playing one his best games of the season. In what Howie Rose called "poetic justice" Okposo found the cure to the snake bite that has plaques him all season. "It was definitely a fun way to do it," Okposo said about breaking his goal drought.
Just five days until Kyle finds out if he's off to vancouver in February or if he has a well deserved break for that time. Either way, last nights showed fans, both Islander and ranger, how valuable Okposo is. His play making skills and determination are two assets team USA should not over look in their selection process.no comments