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A blog by a long time New York Islanders fan who stays true to the fellas wearing orange, white and blue…but thinks the Islanders organization has some shaping up to do.

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Excitement Returns, Along With the Hands of Mike Comrie

Islanders 4 : Maple Leafs 3 (OT)

Twas the night after Christmas, and Jason Blake was in the house,
The crowd was raucous, and.... okay, I'm terrible with rhymes, but you get the point- a 4-3 OT win won with 10 seconds left to a shootout, on the stick of Mike Comrie in front of a loud audience at Nassau Coliseum makes for a very merry belated Christmas, indeed, for these fans. This was a game that saw three- yes, three- Islanders first-period goals, the first time that's happened since Opening Night against the Sabres, and five goals in total in the first, and only one other goal scored over the remaining two periods. It was also a game that saw Rick DiPietro throw in the towel after the first period, after taking a shot to the knee during warmups and aggravating it while playing. He looks to be day-tp-day, and playing it safe I'd say we won't see him til after the New Year. As for Wade Dubielewicz, who played in his stead, he was solid, especially in overtime (22 svs overall), where he stopped some point-blank shots by Maple Leafs players. Then, as former Islander Jason Blake juggled the puck, Richard Park (who continues to have my vote with three assists on the night) stripped him clean and was off to the races up the left wing, shooting at Andrew Raycroft, who made the first save but left a big rebound for Mike Comrie, who already had one goal, to put the game away. His hands look to be returning, although his penchant for holding on to the puck too long (as usual) was still prevalent; otherwise, he might have had a hat trick or more.

The excitement was at a huge level in this game, as it has been for the last couple of games- offense is waking up, defense is becoming strong as ever, and goaltending (up until now, perhaps) has been the one solid point. One bone I do have to pick as far as the fans go is the bashing that defenseman Chris Campoli takes, especially about the game last night in which he was manning the PP on the shorthanded goal by Alex Steen that tied up the game at 3. His game may have been off last night, but during this season as compared to 2006-07, his game has improved considerably, he has become more physical, and he is also showing the offensive form that he displayed in his rookie season- plus, he's becoming more confident in his play. He has his nights where he looks a little bit lost, and perhaps last night even more so, as his D partner switched from Bruno Gervais to Bryan Berard, and Gervais was placed with Brendan Witt, as Radek Martinek suffered a bruised right leg and looks to be out for a while. Perhaps that will be changed tonight in Ottawa, but whatever the case, fans shouldn't be so hard on a player who still has time to develop and time to grow, before we should officially worry about him. As for right now... I think he has potential to be a great defenseman.

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