Thursday, January 31, 2008

Kings @ Islanders Tonight

The Islanders currently hold the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. They will likely have to play a solid effort in the season's final two months to keep ahead of the bottom teams.

The Islanders hope to avoid their first six-game home losing streak in seven years Thursday night when they face the Los Angeles Kings. In the first game following the All-Star break, the Islanders spotted Eastern Conference-leading Ottawa a three-goal lead and never rebounded in a 5-2 loss Tuesday.

New York (24-21-6) was hurt by the absence of two regulars - left wing Ruslan Fedotenko and defenseman Andy Sutton - who both were out with the flu.

Sean Bergenheim and Bryan Berard scored for the Islanders, who dropped to 1-3-1 in their past five games overall. They are 0-4-1 in their last five games at the Coliseum, their longest home drought since a seven-game slide from Feb. 27-March 29, 2001.

The Islanders haven't won at home in 2008, as their last victory at the Coliseum came against New Jersey on Dec. 29.

There are still a few player (Sillinger, Berard, and DiPietro) that may not be available to help the Islanders try to end their home skid. All those players did not practice on Wedsnday. Stay tuned for more updates to see if there are any more players either not playing or being called up.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Three Key Players To The Second Half

After watching at least 40 of the Islanders soon to be 50 games this year, this is a team that reminds me of the Devils organization, where defense is first priority, a lot of one goal games, a top netminder, and no matter who is inserted into the lineup, the system is working to the teams benefit. Many believed that this would be another non-playoff year for the Islanders, and quite a few thought the same about the Devils this year as well, but after the first half, the Devils are in first place in the division as of this blog, and with a win tonite will secure a 7th place playoff spot for the Islanders. Not bad for two teams that have the lowest goals produced in the conference.

But the Islanders have three key players that, if they can produce, will not only spark their own confidence, but the rest of the teams as well, and could possibly improve that 7th place standing. The first key player is Ruslan Fedotenko. When Fedotenko scores, the Islanders are 6-2. Trent Hunter, a popular trade rumor around the internet bloggers of Long Island, is having possibly his second best season as an Islander, who is on pace for 42 points, and was recently given an "A" while Brendan Witt was out. If he and Sillinger can get the puck to Fedotenko more, and scores a few, watch the confidence go up in Fedotenko and that whole line. The next key player is Sean Bergenheim. He's only scored 3 goals, but the Islanders are 3-0 when he scores, and no, none of those games were when Fedotenko scored either. He is starting to catch on to the game and has 2 goals in his last 13 games, which is an improvement from the first time he scored in October. The line of Vasicek, Satan and Bergenheim are the best defensive minded line the Islanders have and you'll see the point totals go up for everybody, if Bergenheim gets hot. The third and final key player is Blake Comeau. He has 4 points in his last 8 games and is always improving. Nolan will most likely give him more time on the ice to improve and may actually imrove the goal scoring of a few forwards who could use the goals. If Comeau can get Witt to score, he can get anyone to score.

If these three can step up and improve, watch the points continue to go up, despite the rest of us on our seats, sweating out every one goal game we see this season.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Campoli Next Player Finished

Losing Campoli really hurts. Signing Meyer was a good move for this and next year. I think Johnson needs to now step up he way Meyer did when Witt and Martinek went down. Both Johnson and Meyer can score a few goals, but as long as they both play smart defense, the Islanders should be in good shape. I would really like to see Johnson play a lot of minutes and see some offense form him too. We'll see.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Johnson ToPlay Saturday

Aaron Johnson will get the start on Saturday against the Flyers who will be replacing Campoli. I do like Johnson and his potential on the powerplay, but he's a younger Bergeron, so I'm worried about his physical defensive play. If he can turn a few hits ala Freddy Meyer, and have the defensive prowless, then the Islanders may get away with not having Witt for a game or two.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Bootland for Keith

From NHL.com

UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) -The New York Islanders acquired right wing Matt Keith from the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday in exchange for right wing Darryl Bootland.
Keith will report to the Islanders' AHL affiliate in Bridgeport. The 24-year-old Keith has two goals and three assists in 24 career NHL games, all with Chicago. This season, he had five goals and five assists in 34 games for Portland in the AHL.
The 26-year-old Bootland had an assist in four games for the Islanders this season. In 28 games for Bridgeport, he had two goals and eight assists. He has a goal and two assists in 32 career NHL games with Detroit and the Islanders.

My opinion, this is just a small move to replace Comeau in the minor leagues. It may have a small indication towards the trade dealine, but Keith is nothing more than a possible third liner in the NHL which the Islanders have plenty of. Bridgeport is just loading up for the playoffs.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

99 Coming Back to Haunt Me

I need to take some of Islanders fans back in time a bit, and also do a little history lesson for some who may not remember. Atleast 10 years ago, The Islanders had the Utah Grizzlies, coached by Butch Goring, as their minor league affiliate, which would be today, Bridgeport. But Utah was never permanent. In fact, back then nothing was permanent on the Island. I'm going to rattle off a few names that, in my opinion, will sound familiar to a few, but needed extra "seasoning" in the minors before being rushed to the NHL, like so many youngsters were back then in this organization: Mark Lawrence, Vlad Cherbeturkin, Vlad Orsagh, Pavel Varobiev, Brad Isbister, Jason Holland. Even if the likes of Connelly, Pyatt, and Jokinen, and Mezei, were in the minors for a season, the Islanders may not have been set back and who knows, what that 2000 draft would have looked like. Now to the present. We have quite a few youngsters already playing right now Both Campoli and Gervais are 23 and Johnson is 24 for the defense. Campoli and Gervais play a ton of minutes and the team has played the most one goal game differentials besides the Devils. When Johnson comes back from injury, it will be like a trade for late in the seaon to help this team. The young offense now playing: Bergenheim 23, Comeau 21. But in Bridgeport you have Tambellini 23, Walter 23, Okposo 19, Colliton 21 all ready and developing . My point is this. As Islanders fans we should be grateful that this year we can say "we're still in the playoff hunt even though we revamped our team and spent MILLIONS LESS to do it." The kids are not going to win us the Cup this year. Period. Keep the kids down until it is neccesary to bring them up or else the younger fans will endure what some of has had to go through 10 years ago.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Bergeron Will Be On The Island Until.........

I think Bergeron will be around on the Islanders until Campoli or one of the younger defensmen steps up on the powerplay, and score more goals. I'm not dicrediting anything that has been said about him, however, in light of hi power-play goals which leads the team, we may have to be patient and wait for someone else to step up.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Thanks Again Dubie

This past week showed us why the Islanders need Dubie. When was the last time there was an Islanders goaltender with a .500 percentage or a winning record in a single season? Yes it is Garth Snow, but he did it in the 2001-2002 season. Snow's record at the end of that season was 10-7-2. So why is this so important? Let's remember a bit here. 2006, the backup was still Snow, but his record was 4-13-1. He was replaced the following year in 2007 by Mike Dunham, who did not make that much of a difference posting a 4-10-3 record. What's my point? The Islanders finally have a goaltender that can backup a team when their superstar goalie goes down. Dubielewicz career is short, but has a winning record at 11-7-1. Not bad, but you know that the players will be behind him if he is to be called upon once more.

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