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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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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Schremp, Roloson Stave Off Blue Jackets

Blue Jackets 1: Islanders 2 (SO)

So it took a shootout, but the Islanders managed to make their final home game of the first decade of the 2000s a win. It came at the artistic hands of Rob Schremp and the pads of Dwayne Roloson, who stood tall in the skills competition to win the two points for the Isles.

Over the years, I've grown to like, then dread, then detest the shootout, for different reasons. I now see the point of the purists who argue that it's nothing more than a gimmick designed to pull in fans, and while it does its job, I can't help but think that it doesn't do much for the game. I think it might also give teams a bit of an excuse not to push as hard in the preceding five-minute overtime, as they figure they'll just send out their snipers to strut their stuff against each goalie and be done with it. That shouldn't be the attitude, but sometimes I feel as though it is.

That said, the shootout does do a service to some teams, particularly if they- like the Isles- give up leads frequently, and if they- like the Isles- have a guy like Schremp in their lineup, who has a shootout bag o' tricks, if you will. On this night, he opted to hesitate until the very last minute and made goalie Steve Mason move first, then roofed the puck neatly over the sprawled netminder for the only shootout goal. Then Roloson took defenseman Fedor Tyutin wide and cemented the win for the Isles. All of this after only one goal by the Isles' Josh Bailey (or Kyle Okposo- kept going back and forth) and one by the Blue Jackets' R.J. Umberger, the Jacket with perhaps the most presence on the ice tonight.

This was a needlessly hard-fought win for the Isles, yet hardly unexpected. When you give away the puck, miss the net, and flub passes this much, it's bound to happen. And after a lucky bounce that turned into Bailey's goal, the tying goal at the beginning of the third period was scored thanks to the mass of Islanders blocking Roloson's sight of the puck. Nothing new. Slowly they allowed the Blue Jackets more time on offense and stayed hemmed in their own zone, trying and failing to get the puck out along the boards. The defense did all it could just to get to OT afterward, and then played well through the five-minute period- yet on offense, the best they could muster was a Josh Bailey post and a Mark Streit elbow- no, not an actual elbow; he hit the spot in the net where the crossbar and post meet, needless to say, not breaking his now 21-game goal-less streak. Shame.

A win's a win, however, and the Isles will gladly take this last one at home for the year 2009, traveling next to Ottawa to take on the Senators for New Year's Eve. Let's hope we ring in 2010 with another two points!


Notes: Nate Thompson will be out 1-2 weeks with a shoulder injury; Jeff Tambellini has replaced him in the lineup... John Tavares has had 1 goal in his last 10 games- that hurts our offensive output... CBJ goalie Mason had come into this matchup with nearly a 4.oo goals-against average on the road; he allowed only one in regulation tonight, as well as Schremp's shootout winner...the penalty kill for the Isles has allowed no goals in four games, after allowing practically 2 a game.


Bryan said...

This game was the first time I was able to see a shootout live. I never minded the shootout, but seeing one in person was an awesome experience. The shootout was originally intended to be a bone thrown to the fans after the lockout, and the fans responded by giving their loudest cheers of the night. Whether the shootout is actually fair or not is up for debate, but I can definitely tell you that seeing a shootout is far better than going to a game that ends in a tie.

AngieOnTheNYIslesScene said...

I just think it's a lazy way to ensure a winner. Maybe the 5-minute overtime would be enough- it would certainly push the teams to work harder, IMO, rather than slug their way through the OT in anticipation of the shootout.