"It definitely weighs on you......but now the pressure is off," Kyle Okposo told Newsday last night after the Islanders 3-2 win at Madison Square Garden. Okposo showed off a little for the Garden crowed with 2 assist including a spectacular play that saw Okposo sneak by Michael Del Zotto balance on one skate then feed the puck to the wide open Blake Comeau. Okposo also scored the game winning goal to break his 18 game goal-less drought that has plagued him and his chances of making the US Olympic squad.
With Team USA selection just five days away many analysts have counted Kyle out. While Okposo has not been a goal scoring machine this year, he has another major quality that would be key to any Olympic squad. Determination, this has been an aspect of Okposo's game that has made of for his lack of scoring. He leads the Islanders in assists(20) and has been one of the top special team players for the Isles.
His hard work and determination was on display last night, where he finished a +3, playing one his best games of the season. In what Howie Rose called "poetic justice" Okposo found the cure to the snake bite that has plaques him all season. "It was definitely a fun way to do it," Okposo said about breaking his goal drought.
Just five days until Kyle finds out if he's off to vancouver in February or if he has a well deserved break for that time. Either way, last nights showed fans, both Islander and ranger, how valuable Okposo is. His play making skills and determination are two assets team USA should not over look in their selection process.no comments
The Islanders had Christmas come early as santa rewarded their hard effort with a 3-1 win over the Maple Leafs. The win snaped a 3 game losing streak that saw the Islanders losing to the Rangers, Canadiens and Lightning. The Islanders did not play horrible but faced several hot goalies and their penelty was awful.
Last night fans saw the Islander play shut down defense as if they were Darrell Revis and the New York Jets Defense. Andy Sutton would be Revis if we had to compare last night blocking several shots, being everywhere on the ice and getting some big hits including one on Leafs star Phil Kessel. The Islanders managed to hold the leafs to just 13 shots through two periods (5 in the first and 8 in the second). "we just kept it simple," John Tavares told reporters after the game."we didnt try to do too much."
The Isles D held down the fort through the firts allowing only 5 shot to get to Rolie the golie. The second period would have a very scray moment midway into the period. At that time Nate Thompson got cliped by the skate of a Maple Leaf player that barley missed the eye of Thompson. Later just after a power play ended for the Isles Trent Hunter was able to fire a shot that got by Gustavsson to give the Islanders the 1-0 lead. A few seconds later former Islanders Jason Blake would have a goal disallowed because of a blatant high stick. So 90 seconds after Hunters goal Blake Comeau would force Gustavsson to commit to his left side, allowing Comeau to feed the puck behind the Toronto goalie right to a wide open John Tavares. This would Tavares's first goal in seven games.
The Islanders had a scare in the third period, pulling one of their let their opponents score moves scaring every Islander fan in the building and watching home on TV. They would hold on behind some impressive saves by Dwayne Roloson that Scott Gordon called "important." The Isles would get one more on an empty netter by Blake Comeau.
The Islanders D started to fall apart in the third allowing 14 shots on goal while only getting 7 shots that period. The power play, which has been a major downside for the Islanders stayed that way, "We gotta start getting it going and producing more," Tavares said regarding the Isles lack of power play. The penelty kill, which has hindered the Isles the past several games, came up huge tonight succecsfully killing both Toronto power plays.
The Islanders along with the rest of the league have today and tommorow off before going back to work to take on the Rangers at the Garden. Speaking about the upcoming game it's importance Scott Gordon had this to say, "Two points are always gunna be important. We're in a situation where realisticly we gotta aim for that 8th spot. Theres alot of teams bunched in that area and whether it's the Rangers or anybody else thats in that area those are the ones that are going to be real important."no comments
The Maple Leafs make their annual holiday trip to Long Island tonight for a 7 P.M. match-up. This years game comes earlier as the previous 2 took place the day after Christmas, December 26. Islanders line-up is the same tonight as it was Monday against the Lightning. Here is the Maple Leafs line-up courtesy of Islanders Point Blank:
Ponikarovsky - Stajan - Kessel
Blake - Grabovski - Hagman
Stempniak - Primeau - Kulemin
Wallin- Meyers - Orr
Komisarek - Kaberle
Beauchemin - White
Schenn - Finger (Exelby)
The Islanders have a good track record against Toronto during the Holiday season. In their meeting during the 2007-2008 season the Islander won in dramatic fashion, Mike Comrie scored the game winning goal off of a rebound shot from Richard Park with 10 seconds left in overtime.
In the2008-2009 the Islanders won another memorable game over the Leafs. Rick Dipietro made a surprise start to the delight of Isles fans in attendance. He made 28 saves in 29 shots, along with Kyle Okposo, Freddy Meyer scoring and Bill Guerin netted his 399and 400th goals of his career. To top it all offkeanu reeves was in attendance while in town filming "The Day the Earth Stood Still."
Other Islanders News:
-Matt Donovan made team USA in the World Junior Hockey Championship.
-Islanders prospects Calvin de Haan and Travis Hamonic both got points in team Canada's game against Sweden.
-Finally check out IHB's Isleslights for the month of Novemberno comments
So, looking over past pieces, I realized all of them were just writing, which, being a blog site, there's nothing wrong with that. However, I love numbers and stats, and use very little of them throughout anything I've written thus far. Therefore, I developed my own formula for creating a power ranking system for the NHL teams.
That system combines the following: Winning percentage, goal differential, power play percentage and penalty kill percentage.
You add those four things together and get a number, the bigger the number, the higher that team is ranked. Below is the results of using that system. Teams are listed in the position they ranked, along with their actual league standing in parenthesis. None of the numbers are provided below, just the results, for that would be a large and complicated table to try to produce on this site considering I compiled and calculated all the information in an electronic spreadsheet. If anyone wants to see the specific numbers bad enough, feel free to e-mail me and I'll send you a copy of the file.
So as you can see a lot of teams flopped around. Some teams higher than what they really are, others lower. Special teams played the biggest part in altering where teams landed versus that of where they really are. Three teams, the Capitals (3), Ducks (22) and Hurricanes (30) finished in my rankings in the place they actually are in in the NHL standings. The Flyers moved up the most in my rankings, a total of eight spots placing 21st when they're 29th in the league. And the Predators fell the farthest, landing 13th when they're 6th in the league, dropping seven spots.
So that's that, a new power ranking system thrown together here. Let me know what you all think of it and perhaps I'll post updates to this system a couple times later in the season.
And to all the readers, please have a merry Christmas, happy holidays, and happy new year. I look forward to continue writing come 2010.no comments