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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.

~Yoda


Sunday, February 28, 2010

To Wrap Up These Two Weeks...

Thursday night was an epic rematch between two backyard rivals- the U.S. and Canadian women's teams. Four years ago, the U.S. women received a shock when they failed to get to the gold medal game, losing in a shootout to an upstart Swedish women's team. Canada, of course, won gold that year. 2010 was a chance for a much younger and fresher American team, coached by none other than 1980 men's Olympian Mark Johnson, to exact revenge.

And by and large, they did, blasting aside everyone in their path (including a much different Team Sweden) to get a date with Team Canada on Thursday. However, the relaxed and composed team we saw throughout the tournament was much different- tense, nervous, playing with a ton of pressure- and as such, they were shut out, 2-0.

No doubt the disappointment on the faces of the U.S. team that night is as hard to describe as the joy on the Canadian side, as well as in the stands. But there is so much reason to be proud of the women for a job well done. It may "suck to win silver" in the words of captain Natalie Darwitz, but there is a comfort in knowing that you got that far, even if you didn't have too much competition. (Speaking of which, there's a great article on talkhockeytome.com about the usefulness of a mercy rule in women's hockey, including a comparison of development in North America to countries in Europe.) Overall, the women should still be proud of their achievements.

On to the men's game, and yet another North American matchup on the ice. Today at 3 p.m. the American and Canadian men clash in a gold medal game that the NHL is likely drooling over- after all, both teams are fully comprised of professionals from teams all over the continent. This is a great opportunity for the entire country to see what the NHL is made of- though many NHL fans will be watching, casual sports fans (like my dad) are also interested to see what will happen.

This is both good and bad- it allows the NHL more exposure, but it also makes the Games seem commercial when three decades ago, amateurs were the ones we cheered for. Indeed, the argument is that the Olympics were more entertaining and romantic when college players skated, and that could be true. But nonetheless, we will root for Zach Parise, Ryan Miller and the U.S. today at 3, and leave the debates for afterward. Right now, it's all about the game, and avoiding the MAJOR amounts of trash talk on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere!

After that is the closing ceremonies, and then this two-week whirlwind of dreams, both come true and deferred, that we call the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics will be over. I always seem a bit down after the Olympics end, because it's simply great to watch all of the events and feel as though you're a part of it all. But we'll have Sochi in 2014 to look forward to (and of course, London 2012 in the summer!). As for right now, enjoy the gold medal game and the rest of the events, everyone!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

This Just In...

Watching Canada vs. Russia game at my mom's house with sister...mom walks by TV and asks what inning it is. Yeah, she's been up since 5:30am so we'll let her slide this time. GO TEAM USA!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Monday, February 22, 2010

Just a Thought...

Okay, so... last night's USA-Canada game? One of the best of the tournament, I'm not going to lie. Brian Rafalski's hat trick and Ryan Miller's stone-wall performance in net factored heavily into it, but perhaps the most telling thing about this American team is that they work hard and they work as a team, which is something that perhaps Canada has to work on. Much as I lambasted Brian Burke for choosing some players, that formula seems to largely be working well.

However, let's refrain from calling this an "upset," shall we? True, the U.S perhaps doesn't have the same amount of talent or superstar quality as Team Canada. And yeah, we know many of our upstairs neighbors don't really respect us when we step onto the ice with them. But let's be real here- this is NHL vs. NHL. Not 1980- not NHL-quality professionals vs. a bunch of scrappy college kids. This was Zach Parise vs. Sidney Crosby, and Miller (save percentage leader in the NHL) vs. Martin Brodeur (a future Hall of Famer). We can't let the (otherwise) Canadian domination in the sport cloud our judgment whenever our country manages to beat them.

It's awesome that the U.S. came into this game and was able to get a win, of course- very morale-boosting. And they got some help from the other side, too- Brodeur was not very Brodeur-like last night. But we're far from the days of the Miracle on Ice, and we can't call this miraculous. At the most, it's simply well-deserved.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Week In Review... WINTER OLYMPICS!

So I've missed the past two Isles games due to my BIG HUGE MOVE to Buffalo and all. But at least I have the Olympics to keep me occupied during a very long, Isles-free two weeks. So here goes.

- United States has gotten 18 medals so far, leading the competition. Evan Lysacek (men's figure skating), Shaun White (no surprise, men's snowboarding), Lindsey Vonn (women's downhill skiiing), and Shani Davis (men's speed skating- 1000m) are among the gold medalists.

- The first Canadian gold went to a young man by the name of Alexandre Bilodeau, for the men's moguls in freestyle skiing. Canada has 7 medals total.

- Men's ice hockey started off with both Canada and the U.S. winning their first two matches. The States beat Switzerland 3-1 and Norway 6-1; the Canadians beat Norway 8-0 first, then the Swiss 3-2 in a shootout. I got to see the Swiss game- a great contest that was, and one in which Jonas Hiller stood on his head for the White Cross. Too bad Sidney Crosby could be used twice in the shootout (and what kind of dumb rule is that, anyway?)

- In women's ice hockey, predictably, both the U.S. and Canada are kicking butt and taking names. Canada beat Slovakia 18-0, Switzerland 10-1, and Sweden 13-1; the U.S. beat China 12-1, Russia 13-0 and Finland 6-0. Can't wait to see how the gold medal game turns out.

Forgive me if I don't cover more; however, I don't really care to know more about the Olympics besides hockey, snowboarding and the occasional speed skater. No offense meant to the other great sports out there; I just haven't had the time to watch everything. Also, I should just come out right now and say I am supporting our only Isles representative, Mark Streit, and Team Switzerland in Men's Hockey; however, GO USA! for everything else. :)

Enjoy, everyone!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

GO TEAM USA! & HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Much Effort, Not Enough Finish

Islanders 1: Penguins 3

The Islanders had some life in them. They had jump, and feistiness, and net presence. They had everything we've been asking of them since the 7-game losing streak had begun.

They were missing the key component- the ability to put the puck into the back of the net.

Ultimately, it was a lack of finish combined with some harmful mistakes that got Chris Kunitz two goals, Evgeni Malkin a goal and an assist, and the Penguins another win over the Isles, 3-1, at Mellon Arena last night. It was New York's seventh consecutive loss at the Igloo, and one in which perhaps the result looked a bit worse than it should.

The first period was a good showing- tightly-played and with plenty of bad blood. Matt Martin figured pretty heavily into that; as Mike Rupp tried to go at it with Andy Sutton (retribution for Sutton's hit on Pascal Dupuis last time these teams met up) Martin hovered near them and started yapping at Rupp, as if to let him know that he wasn't about to let him beat down on his teammate. Then a few minutes later, he got into it with Tyler Kennedy and proved to be a good match. That kind of toughness is refreshing to see, after games in which the Isles were just flat-out smacked around on the ice.

After a scoreless first in which John Tavares and Doug Weight each had chances- and hit either posts or the side of the net- the Isles failed to make good on a 5-on-3 power play opportunity, and then Kunitz scored his first of the night. The offense failed to get back into the defensive zone in time, leaving plenty of space for Kunitz to tuck the puck in past Dwayne Roloson's right pad. Shortly afterward, Sidney Crosby and Bill Guerin had a 2-on-1 chance which somewhat handcuffed Guerin. Still the puck fluttered to the net and an alert Roloson made a great save. Roloson also took part in some of the feistiness, roughing it up with Rupp a bit after Rupp whacked at him. The resulting 4-on-4 play led to a Malkin goal off the faceoff- a blast from the point that also beat Roloson down low. That somewhat killed the Isles' momentum, and though they still worked hard, frustration mounted (especially for Tavares) as nothing got through.

In fact, it took until 9:38 of the final period for someone to get past Marc-Andre Fleury, who had made some good saves but hadn't had to really be stellar. Frans Nielsen won the faceoff cleanly and went right to the net, where Gervais made a nice pass to him. Nielsen got the puck just around the left pad of a sprawled-out Fleury to cut the lead in half. It still looked manageable for the Islanders... until Mark Streit drifted too close to Blake Comeau, who was carrying the puck into the offensive zone, and Comeau lost the puck. Bill Guerin picked it up and swiftly headed the other way, passing to Kunitz, who put it right past Roloson for his second of the night and eighth of the season. 3-1 Penguins, 14:48 of the third, and the Isles couldn't rebound.

While captain Crosby was point-less in this game, it barely mattered- Malkin and Kunitz were more than capable of picking up the slack, and Fleury made all the saves he had to in order to preserve the win. Malkin now has points in his last 11 games, and as a team the Pens have gotten eight straight wins on Igloo ice. As they keep going, the Isles have a couple of days to figure things out until their game against the Lightning at home. I don't know if I'll be able to watch that one; I'm currently in the middle of getting my computer and my notes together, packing it all in and heading to Buffalo. Sabres country, I know, but where else to talk about hockey in the great state of New York? They're crazy about it up there- about as in love with it as I am- and while I'll miss watching my boys in HD on MSG Plus, well... you gotta do what you gotta do. I'll keep up with them though. :)

Notes: The Isles only had one true penalty in the whole game? Niiiice... Fleury is 5-0-1 in his last six against the Isles... Tavares is still looking for his first goal in a while. He's goal-less in 12.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANGIE!!



You're the BEST!





DP has nothin' on you #39 except for a few years in age...well that and a few surgeries.

Love ya sis,
xoxo
Christine

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Isles Stop Losing Streak At 7

Predators 3: Islanders 4 (SO)

Well, it took a couple of call-ups and Martin Biron in net to do it, but the Islanders finally pulled off a win!

Now, that's not entirely fair, I know, and it did happen in the shootout, but a win is a win, and they did it in typical Islander style. Freddy Meyer got things going, receiving a great pass from Rob Schremp and blasting it past Pekka Rinne. After that, the Predators thought they had scored on the "shot" of Patric Hornqvist; however, video review showed that there was a distinct kicking motion made to push the puck through the five-hole on Biron. The Predators would tie it anyway, as Biron had trouble holding onto the initial shot by Ryan Jones, letting it pop up into the air, and then as he fell back into the net, Cal O'Reilly received the rebound and put it over the goal line.

Two minutes later, Nashville took the lead. The Isles got caught on a line change, and Jerred Smithson hit Joel Ward for a breakaway, which he scored on. Andy Sutton proceeded to smash his stick apart on the crossbar after the goal, frustrated that he wasn't able to get to Ward. Bruno Gervais got the tying goal on a 5-on-3 with 57 seconds left in the period.

Four minutes into the third, Steve Sullivan got a one-timer past Biron just seconds after a 5-on-3 for the Predators had ended. After that, the Isles tried their best, but Rinne made some great saves to keep the score in his team's favor. It wasn't until Martin Erat took a bad penalty for boarding John Tavares that New York finally broke through.

Martin Biron had dashed to the bench, giving the Islanders a 6-on-4 advantage. Newly recalled Matt Martin passed to Mark Streit at the blueline, who took his time lining up the shot, then let loose, ripping it past Rinne with 11.1 seconds left in the third period to tie it at 3. Streit isn't one to show much emotion when he scores, but no doubt he and his teammates were feeling all sorts of relief for the tying goal.

Overtime produced nothing, so on the game went to a shootout. First came Frans Nielsen, who smoothly gave the Isles the lead in the skills competition with his signature backhand deke. Then Biron stopped Sullivan and David Legwand before attempting a risky pokecheck in the third round on Erat, which kept the Preds alive. In the extra round, John Tavares lifted the puck over Rinne's right pad, and then Biron stopped Hornqvist to seal the deal. JT got the first star, but credit Streit with the tying goal, Biron with the great saves in the shootout (winning his first start since December!) and Meyer for being an all-around demon defensively on the ice, as well as scoring a goal.

The Isles don't have time to savor this one, however, as they travel to Pittsburgh for a game tonight against the Penguins- permitted the weather allows. It's coming down out there right now as I type, and Pitt's already been hit with the "Snowpocalypse," as they're calling it, so who knows what's going to happen for tonight. If the game goes as planned, however, we're talking a 7:30 start, 7:00 pregame on MSG Plus 2. It's the Isles' fourth time playing the Pens, and the second matchup at Mellon Arena. We already know what to expect- the big guns, Crosby, Malkin, and Staal, among others, will be ready to go after having a couple of days off. The Isles have to fight fatigue and avoid a "hangover" after this morale-boosting win.

LET'S GO ISLANDERS!!

Notes: Martin had two assists and three hits, factoring in pretty darn well... Jeff Tambellini and Doug Weight were healthy scratches for tonight, while Rick DiPietro dressed as backup instead of Dwayne Roloson... the Isles were 2-6 on the power play last night, a very big improvement... last time the Preds visited the Islanders was Oct. 16, 2006, and they won 2-1 in (you guessed it) a shootout.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Mark is Missed... Once Again

Why I'm giving this any sort of recognition is beyond me, but humor me for just a second.

If you're a male, imagine life as a female hockey fan for just a moment. You root as hard for your team as the boys do, you're passionate and informed- yet even if you're well-respected and liked among your inner circle, even if you know all you can possible know about the sport and your team... someone always has to come along and treat you like a piece of meat. It's happened to me, it's happened to Christine, and it's happened to a few of the women I talk to on a daily basis.

The offending person in this instance is a man who goes by the name of @MotherPucker on Twitter, and who has his own website- Motherpucker.ca. He calls his site "Hockey News Minus the Typical Editorial BS," and that's all well and good. He also has some good content on his website, which I'm sure he's worked hard on, giving hockey news and opinions a fresh, fan-oriented spin. But he is also responsible for one of the most pointless contests I've seen in a while: The "Twitter Hockey Hotties" playoffs.

Now, I will be the first one to admit to you that a woman can be good-looking and knowledgeable. I believe that to the fullest. But it doesn't mean that all they should be noticed for is their looks. And while Mother Pucker and his readers insist that the contest is based on hockey knowledge as much as appearance, the title of the contest could have fooled me. It gives off the impression that you can have as little as one mention of the sport, and as long as you have a nice rack, you're in. I mean, just take a look at the pics these women have as their avatars, and you can be damn sure that no matter how smart some of them may be, hockey factored only slightly into the equation. Of course, you can't help but think that perhaps some of them have wanted this type of attention by the look of their pictures, and that's not okay either. Celebrate being an attractive woman, yes, but looking seductively into the camera or lying on a bed with your chest pushed up to your chin definitely sends some mixed messages. It's always been a double-edged sword, and that's something even I have worked hard to remember.

I might be one of those typical "editorial BS-ers" that he writes off as being lesser-than, but it doesn't stop me from having an opinion about this mess. We as women have to stop giving this any kind of credibility or encouragement. It's great if you're a beautiful woman, and there are many ways that you can show that off- many that don't involve you looking as though you'll tear off your clothes at any moment. And for their part, men could do well to stop treating us as though our boobs are all that matters. There are a ton of smart, well-rounded women out there who deserve to be noticed for much more than their looks.

Any questions? Comments? General complaints?

Preview: Isles vs. Predators 2.9.10 NVMC

The last time these two teams met was in October of 2006, when Paul Kariya clinched a shootout win for the Preds. Now, Nashville will face off against a very different Isles team- one in which only four of the Isles from that 2006 team remain (Richard Park, Bruno Gervais, Trent Hunter and Radek Martinek).

Not only that, but there has been a shakeup in the lineup. Bridgeport Sound Tigers Jesse Joensuu and Matt Martin are on the Island for tonight, while Martin Biron gets the start in net. Captain Doug Weight will be a healthy scratch for tonight. Joensuu has the hot hand lately (17 points in 18 games). The Isles likely hope that his size and developing skill, along with Martin's toughness, will rejuvenate the demoralized offense and get the Isles back into shape.

Coach Scott Gordon has also messed with the lines, putting John Tavares between Blake Comeau and Sean Bergenheim, two physical players who will probably try and use their aggressive forechecking to push into the offensive zone and free up JT for a one-on-one opportunity. It'll be interesting to see how the power play fares with Weight out of it. Likely Mark Streit will once again be doing much of the work on the first PP unit, unless JJ or MM get some PP time. (See what I did there?)

With all of that said... it should be an interesting matchup!

LET'S GO ISLANDERS!

This Just In...

It has been confirmed that Jeff Carter is a pinhead.

Marilyn Said It, Oh Yes She Did

My mom is no Billy Jaffe but then again, Jaffe didn't knit and crochet us Islander gear when we were kids.

Marilyn: who is playing?

Christine: washington caps and pittsburgh penguins

Marilyn: what's the score?

Christine: well the penguins were up but blew a 2 goal lead in the 3rd period, now they are in overtime.

Marilyn: that sounds like something the Islanders would do.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

This Just In...

MSG Plus 2 sucks.

No, like, hardcore sucks. I don't know what was more annoying last night- the terrible audio or the flickering, discolored picture. I had to keep flipping channels to get the original picture back, often to no avail, and I could barely hear Howie and Billy between stoppages of play. Add to that another Islanders loss, 3-1, and it made for an overall terrible experience.

In what I could see of the game, Frans Nielsen was the lone Isles goalscorer (shorthanded), and youngster Andrew Peters got a win in his NHL debut, in relief of goalie Cam Ward (back problems). Jussi Jokinen and Brandon Sutter scored for the 'Canes, and Joni Pitkanen sealed the deal by capitalizing on an Isles turnover and catching Rick DiPietro out of the net as he tried to get an extra skater on the ice. The Islanders had some good jump, but unfortunately their offense is still not working out. Don't know what it is, don't know what needs to be done to fix it, but it's frustrating to watch.

And a note to MSG Network: Fix MSG Plus 2. It may not be HD, but it doesn't matter; that channel is just painful to watch. There's no excuse for it. Do something.

Snow Shovel 1 : Maddy 0

video

Saturday, February 6, 2010

RIP Brendan Burke.

This morning, I found out via Twitter that Brendan Burke, the youngest son of Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke, was killed in a car accident (link: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/brian-burkes-son-killed-in-auto-accident/article1458392/ ). The 21-year-old had only just come out as a gay man to the hockey world and was striving for acceptance when his life was tragically cut short.

Though apparently some people have awful things to say about the poor man still, prompting editor Greg Wyshinski to have Yahoo! close comments on writer Sean Leahy's Puck Daddy article (and to that I must say: Karma will get you, not to worry), many more people have still shown their support for him and have offered their condolences to Brian and the rest of the Burke family. A blogger named wraparoundcurl has also offered up a wonderful post here that asks people to donate to PFLAG, an organization that, in her words, helps families bridge relations after someone comes out of the closet. Though I hope to God that people take the opportunity to learn more about it and try to understand what it means, I simply wish to extend my condolences to the Burke family. This is a tremendous loss, and I can imagine how hard it is for them to cope with it at this time. Brendan was an extremely brave soul, and I am certain that, were he to have lived longer, he would be a voice for all those athletes struggling with their sexuality.

Rest in peace, Brendan. You will be missed.


Preview: Isles vs. Hurricanes 2.6.10 NVMC

This is the final meeting between these two teams for the season. The Islanders lead, 2-1-0, but the Hurricanes have the most recent win- a 4-1 lashing at the RBC Center just last week. They also have a big injury that might harm them tonight.

Cam Ward sustained an upper-body injury (to my understanding) prior to a 4-3 win at Buffalo and went to Raleigh for further evaluation. Chad LaRose, Scott Walker and Tuomo Ruutu are also out, while Erik Cole is questionable. The Islanders would do well to capitalize upon the somewhat decimated 'Canes lineup and try to get something going offensively. And wake up that power play somehow, too.

LET'S GO ISLANDERS!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Witt Clears Waivers

In my hullabaloo about Josh Bailey and the Isles' poll, I forgot to mention that Brendan Witt cleared waivers last night and will be playing in Bridgeport. The Islanders apparently have no intention of putting him on re-entry waivers.

Witter had a couple of good years with the Isles that got overshadowed by injury, frustration, and a disagreement with the new system Scott Gordon had in place. Even so, he definitely loves the game and was a great addition to our team, and as a big supporter of his, I'm sad to see him go. As I've said before, best of luck, Brendan, and I hope you do well. Thanks for providing us with some great hits and warrior attitude. :)

Isles Improve Play, Don't Improve Offense

Islanders 2: Lightning 5

What on Earth do the Islanders have to do to get a win around here?

What started out promising turned into yet another mess, this time against the Lightning. Jeff Tambellini was back in the lineup tonight, but as expected, he didn't help out much against a Tampa Bay team that had its best players on their A game. Steven Stamkos scored twice and had an assist, Martin St. Louis scored one and tallied an assist, and Vincent Lecavalier scored on a complete gaffe by the Isles' D. Alex Tanguay also put an empty-netter home to give the Lightning the victory and get them even more comfortable in the top 8, and Antero Niittymaki made 34 saves to get the number-two star of the game.

Granted, Matt Moulson scored his 21st of the season, and Jon Sim's gate-crashing paid off with his 8th of the year to give the Isles the lead in the second period- ever so briefly, before St. Louis squeezed the puck through Dwayne Roloson on the short side. But ultimately what changed the game for them was the eventual game-winner by Lecavalier. Practically everyone was involved in the play in the offensive zone, and before anyone could cover the points, Sean Bergenheim coughed up a centering pass to Victor Hedman. Hedman hit Alex Tanguay with a lead pass, and Tanguay and Lecavalier were off to the races on a 2-on-0. Roloson had no chance. After that, the Islanders couldn't buy a goal- tons of missed shots, shots that hit the post or the side of the net, and much frustration on the faces of the players in white, orange and blue when all was said and done.

In other news, I hope Mark Streit is okay after being crunched into the boards by Todd Fedoruk. It looked like a bit of an awkward hit, and he got up kind of slow afterward, though looked to be all right. Or so I believe.

So now it's back to Long Island for the Isles, who have lost six straight and remain completely motionless in 13th place. They face off once more against the Hurricanes at home on Saturday, and I hope to God that they take the good parts of last night's game and run with them against this Carolina team. Sooner or later, something's gotta give.

Now for something else I wanted to comment on, related to the team: There was a poll placed on the Isles' website related to second-year players, and asking which of three sophs have been the most-improved: Drew Doughty, Steven Stamkos, or Josh Bailey. Now, I don't know about you, but if I see a guy like Stamkos, who just scored his 30th and 31st goals of the season, and a guy like Doughty who now has 42 points on the year, and then look at Josh Bailey with his 27 points and career-high 13 goals, I think this comparison is a bit unfair. This is not a knock on Bailey- I think the guy can be a very good player, especially since he's shifted over to left wing from center, and he's probably a good kid. But there's no way you can compare him to the other two, especially since the others probably have a much better support system in terms of veteran presence and the like. Bailey is one of many young players still trying to find their feet in the NHL, and while he has a captain in Doug Weight who's won a Cup, let's face it, there's not much veteran influence there. All three of these guys are still developing, but no doubt the other two have a leg-up on Josh where that is concerned.

With all of that said... till next time.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Yes, Virginia, there is Sports Psychology

Ok so not Santa but well there is no Santa...however there is sports psychology although with hockey fans, many poo-poo it or are too busy focusing on stats to take it into consideration.  No matter how many times game announcers make mention of the mental aspect of hockey, no matter how many former players talk about their experiences with mindset - it rarely gets talked about in depth.

It’s good to see an article on nhl.com entitled DiPietro: Mental wear always tougher than physical where DP briefly offers insight into the mental strain of having been injured thus out of the game for a while and of course coming back in. From what I’ve seen so far since his return, this once sullen looking goalie seems to be smiling more often, which is not only good for the mind but also a good release for the body. He also seems to have a deeper appreciation for being able to play at this professional level which as a woman I gotta tell ya – you got that right mister.

LET'S GO ISLANDERS!!

Preview: Isles @ Lightning, 2.4.10 St. Pete Times Forum

With the weight of a five-game losing streak on their shoulders, the Islanders march into Tampa tonight to take on the Lightning, a team that has surged into the top eight in the conference to everyone's surprise. On top of that, they've already won the first two meetings between the two teams, 4-0 at home and 4-2 at the Coliseum.

But the Isles should be feeling some sort of desperation to get back on track. After all, they're slipping quickly out of playoff contention, and they've got a team right behind them- the Leafs-that has made some drastic moves to get better. If this isn't the fire under their butts that they need, then nothing is. Plus, they've had three days to rest between Sunday evening and today, giving everyone some time to regroup and figure out what needs to be changed.

However, it'll be a tall order. The Lightning have all of their studs raring to go, including Vincent Lecavalier (13 points in 11 games), Martin St. Louis (18 points in 17 games, including goals in four straight) and Steven Stamkos (seven-game points streak). Also, Antero Niittymaki has been stellar- 5-1-1 in his last seven, and 13-9-5 overall this season. With John Tavares stalling, Josh Bailey out of the lineup (sent home with an upper-body injury), and everyone else trying to get their acts together, the Islanders will need to really bring their A game tonight to have a chance at beating this red-hot team. And above all, their goaltending and overall defense needs to be better. We'll likely see some changes in the line combinations with Bailey's absence, and perhaps Blake Comeau will be put back into the lineup tonight.

With all of that said...

LET'S GO ISLANDERS!

P.S. No word yet on Brendan Witt going elsewhere. My guess is he'll be a Bridgeport Sound Tiger by the end of the day.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Brendan Witt Placed On Waivers

Veteran defenseman and all-around badass Brendan Witt was activated off of injured reserve today- only to be placed on waivers, according to Newsday's Katie Strang. This news comes after rumors of the Isles trying to shop Witt, with little success.

The 34-year-old tough guy struggled with a knee injury and a -18 rating before being placed on IR. If he clears waivers, he will go down to Bridgeport. GM Garth Snow says that this move is more indicative of the play and development of young blueliners such as Andy MacDonald and Jack Hillen, rather than Witt's play. However, it's little secret that Witt has had a hard time fitting into Scott Gordon's system of play, not to mention keeping off of IR. No doubt frustration has also gotten the better of him.

At any rate, should Witt end up somewhere else, we wish him all the best wherever he goes. I had become one of his biggest supporters during his time on the Island, and I still think he brings his all to the ice, no matter whom he plays for. Best wishes.

Packs of Abandoned Beagles Terrorize Long Island

Packs of Abandoned Beagles Terrorize Long Island

Crappy article title...'terrorize'...poor snoopy pups...stupid humans at it once again.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Cue the Sense of Urgency

The Islanders are losers of five straight games.

Yeah, five straight. A far cry from their run just a couple of weeks ago. As it is, save for the final period of their game on Saturday afternoon against Philadelphia, they have definitely deviated from any game plan that remotely works against opposing teams. As a result, they are mired in 13th place while hotter teams close in on the final playoff spots.

What I have to wonder is... how long will it take for the boys to snap out of this funk? They've been playing as though they're unsure of themselves, as though they're afraid to do anything rash, but the result is they're giving up positioning, not playing physically enough, stalling on offense and more or less a disaster on defense.

If all this sounds harsh, then perhaps it is, but it's the truth. According to Doug Weight, the team has been talking it over and trying to resolve the issues on the ice, but talk can only go so far. It's time to execute- time to really turn on the jets and go back to the way it was before the game against Pittsburgh. Makes you wonder if this would have happened had Andy Sutton not gotten suspended.

Some say the team is too young and (still) not talented enough to sustain a winning run, and perhaps that's true. After all, like I've said before, it's a tight Eastern Conference, and there are teams here with talent and experience. The Isles have some of the former (raw, but existent), and not enough of the latter, to compete for very long. Still, we must have high hopes that somehow the Isles will go down fighting. If nothing else, I would like for this team at the end of the season to be able to say they have made some tremendous strides, and for the most part, I would have to say we've done that so far.

Let's see how much further we can go.

In Other News: The Rangers acquire Olli Jokinen and Brandon Prust from the Calgary Flames in return for Ales Kotalik and Chris Higgins. So much for that... the Flames continued their firesale by shipping off Dion Phaneuf, Fredrik Sjostrom and Keith Aulie to Toronto for Matt Stajan, Niklas Hagman, Jamal Mayers and Ian White... Toronto also received Jean-Sebastien Giguere from Anaheim for Jason Blake and Vesa Toskala. Giguere was appointed Toronto's starter for the rest of the season. We shall see how this pans out.