Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tambellini & Comeau In The Hot Seat

A lot of Islanders fans are ready to dismiss Jeff Tambellini before the season begins. There is also a concern about Blake Comeau, and the possibility of losing his position to someone like Jesse Joensuu or Trevor Smith if they have a better camp.

For both players, there are no excuses this year. Both Tambellini, and Comeau need to step into their roles this year, and come out of the gate blazing. If they do not, then It will we worst for them then it was last year. Comeau was sent down at the beginning of the season last year because he was not ready with Gordons system. He remained down in Bridgeport until December. Since coming back though, he established new career highs in games played (53), assists (18), points (25), average time on ice (16:16) and shots (78)..(NYI.com)

Tambellini, was reduced to the fourth line for most of the regular season, after signing a two-year, one-way contract. Like Comeau, Tambellini struggled in the beginning of the season, was sent to Bridgeport for roughly a week, and then showed promise after December. Tambellini also established new career highs in games played (65), goals (7), assists (8), points (15), average time on ice (13:06), penalty minutes (32) and shots on goal (98) (NYI.com).

Now in all honesty these numbers are nothing to be impressed about. However, if we take a look from when Gordon decided to give the younger corp more ice time, this is what happened. In 37 games played, Comeau had 4 goals and 14 assists for 18 points. Tambellini played in 33 games, scoring 5 goals (not including shoot outs) and had 4 assists for 9 points. Comeau primarily played on the third line, while Tambellini was on the fourth line.

If they were to continue that pace for an entire season, Comeau could be at 9 goals, 31 assists, for 40 points. Not bad, but definitely needs to score more goals on a third line. Tambellini, would be on pace for 12 goals, 10 assists, for 22 points. That is almost what a fourth line player should be doing. Problem is: Tambellini is not supposed to be on the fourth line.

Towards the end of the season, with Tambellini improving, came some praise from head coach Scott Gordon."Tambellini is starting to find his way around the net." "His consisten
cy with finishing checks, getting in front of the net and in right places has resulted in him getting more opportunities." -Scott Gordon: March 9th, 2009

Comeau does have a slight advantage over Tambellini, in that Comeau is only 23, while Tambellini is 25, and Tambellini is now in a contract year. However, if someone from Bridgeport is looking good during the season, and Tambellini, or Comeau fail to get their careers going, don't be surprised if we were to see a call-up.

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