So, I've been incredibly lax and MIA in blogging this season, and I hope you forgive me. I've pieced together most of my Isles info from The Hockey News, Twitter, the NYI website and some very blurry feeds on channelsurfing.net. I tell you, being an Isles fan in Buffalo is not the greatest. *sigh*
Anyway, I just took a look at the Isles' player stats, so I figured I'd make some observations. Here goes.
- John Tavares is the leader of the pack, with 13 goals and 14 assists for a grand total of 27 points. Not bad, considering around this time last year he was mired in a slump that pretty much killed all chances of him getting a Calder nod. I think if he can keep on pace and fix his awful plus-minus (currently a team-low -15), he'll get up to 30 goals or more.
- Matt Moulson has a team-best 14 goals, as well as 7 assists. Great pace for another 30-goal season, if he can keep his hot streak up! I don't think there's any doubt about this guy anymore- he's gritty, he's smart, and he works well especially with Tavares and PA Parenteau.
- Speaking of Parenteau, he's kind of tapered off since his hot start, but he still taps in a good goal every now and then, and last game I saw him in (on a line with MM and JT) he was excellent, making great plays that turned into either scoring chances or goals. Seems like he has good chemistry with those two, which is good to see.
- Josh Bailey started off on top of the stats chart, but now has 10 points total (6 G, 4 A). However, since coming back from his time in Bridgeport, he's been a lot more confident on ice. He had a three-point night against the Devils and has since been fairly quiet, so it's up to him to start charging to the net more and getting those pucks in.
- Rob Schremp has equaled his goal total (7) from last season in the beginning of January, so it's safe to say he's developing well and anything after this point will be considered an improvement. He's got wicked hands- time to put them to use.
- Milan Jurcina, who's just received a contract extension with the Isles for one more year, has the best +/- on the team- a 1. Not extremely impressive, but at least there's some good news. If he can stay healthy and become an anchor for the blueline in Mark Streit's absence, it'll be even better.
- Two semi-disappointments: Doug Weight and Rick DiPietro. Both have struggled with injury, so it's understandable that they haven't had the best numbers; however, both also play key roles in the Isles' system- Doug as captain, Rick as the main man in net now that Dwayne Roloson has (sadly) departed for Tampa Bay. Doug has doubled his goal total from last year, but with only nine points, and now out with a back injury, you have to wonder if he might be done completely. And Rick, now battling an adductor muscle strain (hip) and a question mark for tonight's game in Edmonton, has a 3.45 GAA and .889 save percentage. Not wonderful numbers if you expect him to shoulder the load now. Kevin Poulin has been recalled from BPT on an emergency basis, so if Rick can't go, expect him and Nathan Lawson to see a bit of ice time.
- Lawson, meanwhile, has been solid in relief. In a 5-2 win in Calgary, after DiPietro bowed out, he made 28 saves and allowed one goal to hang on. While some say Poulin is better, I personally don't see anything wrong with either of them- even though, granted, Calgary have had their own issues on the ice lately.
That's pretty much all I've got. Isles play the Oilers tonight- puck drop at 9 p.m. I hope to catch this one online, but if not... hellooooo, nhl.com highlights.