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Monday, February 18, 2008

The Comeback Kids Strike Once Again

Islanders 3 : Sharks 2

It looked all but hopeless, as Rick DiPietro got up and shook off another San Jose goal early in the third period, this one off of the stick of Joe Thornton. By no means had the game, to that point, slipped out of the Isles' reach entirely; however, judging by the way the Isles have fallen behind in previous games, it would be understandable if, just for a second, the sellout crowd was braced for a loss at the Coliseum.

But the Isles had other ideas.

Erasing a 2-0 deficit the Sharks had built over two periods (Marcel Goc scored the other goal late in the second period), Andy Hilbert scored his seventh, and Mike Comrie his 18th, and then, a little over midway through the third, Freddy Meyer, an unlikely sniper, scored what became the game-winner off of a cross-ice pass by Sean Bergenheim. 3-2, Isles, final.

After enduring a first period without Ted Nolan (he was attending to a matter that I will touch on later in the post), the Isles found their legs and also fell behind, after some strong goaltending on both ends by All-Stars Evgeni Nabokov and Rick DiPietro. Then, as they battled back to get on the scoreboard and back into the game, and Meyer scored his second goal of the season to put them ahead, the Isles played with a focus and a determination that earned them their fourth straight win, pulling them ahead of Atlanta and Washington for tenth place in the Eastern conference and one point (one point!) out of a playoff spot. It looks to be a good run, with some dark spots.

One is the potential loss of another defenseman, Andy Sutton, who had up until now filled a big spot in the already depleted defense with a physical presence and effective shot blocking. Late in the third, he went down hard, grabbing his left leg. That turned out to be a hamstring injury, once that may have been a spasm, but judging by Ted Nolan's claim that he will be re-evaluated tomorrow, it may be more serious, which is not a good thing for the Isles, who have Witt and Bruno Gervais skating but not one hundred percent, and can ill afford to lose another blueliner.

Another is the injury to young left winger Blake Comeau, who was boarded hard by Murray of the Sharks in the third period and got up woozy, helped off the ice by two teammates and the trainer. He seemed to be favoring a leg, but anything could be wrong with him, especially considering how he went into the boards (practically headfirst). Nothing is disclosed as of yet, but hopefully it's not too serious.

And now for more serious news.

Ted Nolan was missing in the first period, attending to a "personal matter", one that turned out to be connected to a terrible tragedy. Mickey Renaud, 19, captain for the OHL's Windsor Spitfires (also the team Ted's younger son, Jordan, plays for), collapsed and died today in his home in Tecumseh, Ont. He was a draft pick of the Calgary Flames and had attended camp with the NHL club this past summer. A potential NHLer, he had been progressing steadily prior to his death. During the first period of the Isles-Sharks game, Ted was consoling his son, who had taken the loss hard.

This is a terrible loss for the Spitfires and the OHL, and for everyone who is affected by this, including Jordan Nolan, we extend our condolences.

link- http://www.globesports.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080218.wrenaud0218/GSStory/GlobeSportsHockey/home

Rest in peace, Mickey.

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