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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.

Islanders 2014-15 Season Mantra

Try not. Do...or do not.


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Off the Bat, Need for Comfort "Outside Comfort Zone"

Islanders 1: Devils 2

The key to start a season off on the right foot, for a team, is to be comfortable on the ice no matter what, to have fun and play your hardest, and also to make sure you know what you need to accomplish. The key to start a season right for a fan is to make sure you come into the game without any ridiculous expectations- in other words, know your team.

There's not much that we do know regarding the Islanders as of yet, other than that they are very young and that there will be a ways to go before anything is truly accomplished. Very little will be established regarding this team in Game 1 of the season, especially when your own coach is green and only getting used to the NHL stage himself.

The game began with a twist of suspense, as Scott Gordon decided to go with Joey MacDonald in net instead of Rick DiPietro (who, it is now reported, is suffering from swelling around his surgically repaired knee http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=252313&lid=sublink01&lpos=headlines_main), a move that he later said was to ensure "that Ricky comes back game-ready." That gave MacDonald the chance to show what he is capable of, and show he did, as he stopped all but two shots in the entire game (27 saves).

The Isles started the scoring off on the power play, with Doug Weight banking a shot off of the skate of Paul Martin and past Brodeur for a 1-0 lead. But Zach Parise came back and scored on the Devs' own power play 3:01 later. Then in the second, the Devils took the lead :49 in, on a terrific crease-crashing play by Patrik Elias off a feed by Brian Gionta and Brian Rolston. After that, the Isles would get PP chances that were lost by a static, unimaginative system and equally throttled by a characteristically strong Devils defensive corps. Defensively, they committed some mistakes that led to chances for New Jersey but were foiled by MacDonald. On the other end of the ice, Martin Brodeur shrugged off the one he allowed, and made 26 saves, including an amazing arm save in the last minute, to notch his 539th career win (12 shy of Patrick Roy's record).

Other than MacDonald, other bright spots were the young players Jeff Tambellini (who showed some good positioning and offensive prowess) and Kyle Okposo (who will hopefully become as dynamic as the club is expecting him to be). Also, Jon Sim showed that he can definitely provide a presence early on, with his reckless, go-get-'em playing style and net-crashing. On D, barring an unlucky turnover which resulted in a goal, Brendan Witt provided his usual shot-blocking that was sorely missed in the last few games of the season, and Freddy Meyer made some solid plays. And lastly, new coach Scott Gordon acquitted himself well over three periods of play, being very involved with his players and talkative behind the bench.

Overall, surely he knows things should and will improve from this point on, starting tonight against another young team in the St. Louis Blues, Doug Weight's old club where he played with old friend Bill Guerin once. The home opener starts at 7 p.m. tonight, and will now most likely not include DiPietro, who will be monitored and evaluated as day-to-day with his knee swelling. Tonight perhaps will feature some more offense and a more fluid PP out of the Isles, and some more solid goaltending from MacDonald. Scott Gordon says he hopes to push his players out of their comfort zone as far as speed and work ethic go... and for the next 81 games, I'd pay close attention to just how far this young team will push themselves.


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