Wednesday, February 29, 2012

There's Still Optimism To Look For In The Islanders

     Having been on vacation all of last week, watching the trade deadline come and go (Isles fans should thank Boston fans when you see them) and watching the Islanders lose a heart breaker to the Caps last night, the feeling around the web was one of a lot of questioning and doubt. Why Neilson  took the faceoff and not Reasoner; why is Reasoner still on this team if not used in the right situation, like last night; Bailey trying to do too much; Capuano's decision making etc. When you sum it all up it's called growing pains and that's what the Islanders are going through right now, even the coach. Everyone will learn from this mistake(s) and hopefully move on. I'm sure Islanders fans have seen enough of this year that most are happy for spring training but I wouldn't put away your Islanders gear just yet. There is a combo that people should look at for the remainder of the year which may be a good sign in 2012-13: Josh Bailey and David Ullstrom.
     I'm not sure if people have seen the stats on these two, but when Ullstrom and Bailey are on the ice together, it makes you wonder what could have been if Ullstrom were here all year long playing with Bailey. In the 15 games both Ullstrom and Bailey have played together the Islanders are 6-5-4. Ullstrom has 2 goals, 2 assists for 4 points, while Bailey has 3 goals 4 assists for 7 points. That's almost a point every two games for Bailey, imagine a full season? Now by no means am I proclaiming the Islanders have solved the secondary scoring, but fans need to see if this duo can continue this nice pace for the remainder of the season and with Frans Neilsen playing center for a little while, it may have been that Bailey just lacked the talent around him to support the third line all of this year. Having said that, I would not be against sending Cizikas down to Bridgeport and having Nino Neiderrieter on the third line with Ullstrom and Bailey for the remainder of this year, just to witness. I also wouldn't mind seeing Bailey on the second power play unit and maybe contributing more from that end. The playoffs may be a stretch, but for me, 85-88 points is still a reachable goal if Bailey and Ullstrom can find and bring some needed support to the first two lines.

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