Kukla's Korner

The Islanders Informer

At Least There Are 81 More

The Coliseum was rockin’.  The fans were ready.  The season ticket holders who have had season tickets for all 40 seasons were at center ice for puck drop.  The hype was there.  The expectations were justified.  The team did a great job with the player introductions.  But, there was one thing missing.  The team forgot there was a hockey game to be played.  They didn’t show up.  There is no excuse.

There is no excuse for being flat after storming onto the ice in front of a sellout crowd, having no legs under you, and not being competitive.  The Islanders showed no heart last night.  The Islanders brass spent the offseason shoring up their core and making sure that Mark Streit was going to be 100% healthy at the start of the season.  The Islanders had everyone healthy and everyone had a pretty decent training camp.  It is one thing to come out flat in the second game of a back-to-back.  It is a completely different thing to come out flat in the first game of the season. 

I don’t want to make too much of one game, but there were very few positives to take out of last night’s game for the Islanders in a 2-0 loss to the Florida Panthers at Nassau Coliseum.  The Coliseum was as loud as it has been in a long, long time.  I don’t know who deserves the most blame.  The players are obviously the ones who ultimately need to go out and perform on the ice.  If you need extra motivation to get pumped up for the first game of the season, then you need to be playing a different sport.  The team looked slow, like they didn’t want to be on the ice, and like they weren’t very well conditioned and ready for the season.

Hopefully the team just had a bad game.  If the Isles play 81 more games like the one last night, it will be a very, very long season.

Positives: Brian Rolston was very aggressive shooting the puck.  Every time that Rolston received a pass on the point, he was looking to shoot and throw the puck at the net.  The Isles younger players need to learn that getting the puck on net is the only way to score goals.  Rolston led the Islanders with five shots on goal and he directed many, many more towards the net.  Streit looked like he was 100% healthy and played almost 25 minutes of ice time.  Michael Grabner looked as fast as ever and created a few really good scoring chances.  If Grabner gets the puck on the wing, watch out.  Veteran Steve Staios showed why he made the team.  Staios was solid on the blueline and played a very aggressive, competitive game.  Staios mixed it up when he needed to in front of the net and protected Montoya all night.

Negatives:  I know that Andrew MacDonald was coming off of an injury, but he looked out of position for most of the game.  MacDonald frequently turned the puck over, wasn’t strong on the puck when he did have it, and was caught out of position in a few instances that gave Florida good scoring chances.  Mike Mottau needs to learn how to stay out of the penalty box.  Mottau took three bad, bad penalties.  Two of Mottau’s penalties were within five minutes of each other in the first period and gave the Panthers some momentum.  If Mottau is going to spend the season in the penalty box, he needs to be a healthy scratch for the majority of the season.  The Islanders took seven penalties in total, leading to one Panthers power play goal. 

The Islanders play the Minnesota Wild in a 1 PM matinee matchup tomorrow afternoon at Nassau Coliseum.  Hopefully the team will remember to show up. 

Follow me on Twitter @TheIsleInformer.

Filed in: New York Islanders, | The Islanders Informer | Permalink
  Tags: andrew+macdonald, brian+rolston, mark+streit, michael+grabner, mike+mottau, steve+staios

Comments

Avatar

I wish people would stop drinking the Kool Aid.  Make no mistake about it, this was a lottery team last season and yesterday they iced a roster with no significant changes.

Posted by Chris on 10/09/11 at 07:09 PM ET

Avatar

No significant changes?  Streit missed all of last season.  Nabokov is with the team now.  Staios was signed.  Pandolfo was signed.  Grabner, Comeau, Bailey, Tavares are all one year older.  There are high expectations for this team.

Posted by William Morrison on 10/09/11 at 07:40 PM ET

Avatar

I’ll give you Streit, but Pandolfo is not a significant change and neither is Staios (who is a downgrade from Wisniewski).  Nabokov wasn’t even in the lineup last night.  Grabner and Tavares are poised to improve but theres a point where players are going to be limited by the quality of their linemates and I feel they are close to that ceiling.  Bailey is a bust and they need to cut their losses and trade him while he still has perceived trade value.  Comeau is Kvasha 2.0…flashes of brilliance but only when he feels like playing that night.

Every other team in the Eastern conference has improved with the exception of OTT and possible exceptions of the Isles and Philly.  PIT, WSH, MTL, BOS, Tampa are playoff locks, leaving 3 more spots up for grabs. Buffalo, Florida, Winnipeg, the Rangers and Devils have all improved and you better believe the Devils will be nowhere nearly as bad last year. Carolina is also always in the mix for a playoff spot.  Comparing the Isles to the other teams in the east who have upgraded in the offseason, the additions of Rolston and Reasoner aren’t gonna cut it as far as going from a lottery team to playoff contender in the face of this competition.

To sum it up, the Eastern conference is tough and every game is a must-win this season and the Isles shit the bed big time last night.

Posted by Chris on 10/09/11 at 09:08 PM ET

Avatar

Every game is a must win?  Really?  Yes, the Isles played a horrible game last night, but there are 81 more games to go.  You can’t make too much out of one game.  Bailey is still only 22 years old and can eventually be a very good 2nd line center in the NHL.  You think Tavares is close to his ceiling playing with Moulson and Parenteau?  Moulson had 31 goals and 22 assists last season and Parenteau had 20 goals and 33 assists.  If anything, Moulson and Parenteau make Tavares’ ceiling higher.  Nielsen and Okposo are great compliments to Grabner’s speed.  They don’t limit his ceiling at all.  The Eastern Conference is tough, but if the Isles play hard every night and play up to their potential, they have a good, young team and should be in playoff contention throughout the season.

Posted by William Morrison on 10/09/11 at 09:42 PM ET

Add a Comment

Please limit embedded image or media size to 575 pixels wide.

Add your own avatar by joining Kukla's Korner, or logging in and uploading one in your member control panel.

Captchas bug you? Join KK or log in and you won't have to bother.

Smileys

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Feed

Most Recent Blog Posts

About The Islanders Informer

Welcome to The Islanders Informer.  TII will be a forum for discussion, debate, and both Islander and hockey related news. 

I'm an attorney by day and hockey fan by night.  I'm always open to feedback, suggestions, agreements, disagreements, opinions, and discussion. 

Feel free to email me with any suggestions or comments at williamvmorrison@gmail.com.  Follow me on Twitter  @TheIsleInformer.