Last night’s 2-1 shootout victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins may have been the Islanders biggest win all season. Coming into the game the Penguins were one of the hottest teams in the league, fresh off a win over the Atlanta Thrashers the previous night, and oh yeah their superstar captain came into the game riding a 25 game point streak. Needless to say the Islanders were not the favorites going into the Wednesday night contest.
The first was a quick start for both teams, Marc-Andre Fleury and Rick Dipietro both came up big making big saves early. The Isles had a big opportunity very early on picking off a sloppy penguins pass and creating an odd man rush. However Michael Grabner couldn’t control the bouncing puck and could get a clean shot off on Fleury.
In the second the Islanders jumped on top of the penguins 30 seconds into the period off a rebound goal by Josh Bailey. The Islanders would continue to keep the pressure on the penguins creating several more scoring opportunities including one on another odd man rush, however John Tavares couldn’t finish the opportunity due to a nice defensive play by a diving Penguins player. Another chance came when the Islanders rushed into the Penguins zone, gervais lost control of the puck in front of Fleury. Fleury tried to cover up but the puck squirted loss and Moulson put the puck into the back of the net. Unfortunately for the Islanders a quick whistle by the refs killed the play before Moulson scored. It was the Closing minutes of the second period when the Penguins finally responded and tied the game at one. John Tavares made a poor turnover in the neutral zone allowing the penguins a quick transition back into the Islanders zone. Tyler Kennedy took a bad angle shot that rebounded off the pad of Dipietro and right to Chris Conner who put home the rebound to make it a 1-1 game.
In the third the Penguins nearly took the lead when Rick Dipietro came out of his net to cut off a clearing attempt. Dipietro made a bad pass that went right to Penguin Tyler Kennedy who, fortunately for the Islanders, missed what was a sure go ahead goal. Later in the Period the Penguins would again have a chance to take the lead over the Islanders. Dipietro was forced to make a great close range save however on the ensuing scrum by the net an Islanders player covered the puck in the crease and the referees awarded the Penguins a penalty shot. Kris Letang would get to take the shot but he missed the net on a back hand try.
The New York Islanders surprised their fans and the media today sending James Wisniewski to Montreal Candiens for the Canadiens compensatory second-round pick in the 2011 draft and a conditional fifth round pick in the 2012 NHL entry draft.
Wisniewski has played in 32 games this season for the Islanders tallying 3 goals and 18 assists for 21 points. Wisniewski also was tied for the team lead in points. The Islanders originally sent a third round pick to Anaheim for the veteran defensemen back in July. As of late Wisniewski, who is described as a #3 defensemen by some, has not been able to fill the void left by top defensemen Mark Streit. Wisniewski had been averaging around 23:00 minutes a game.
When the news was released Tuesday afternoon fans had varying reaction. “Another stupid move by this team,” Islanders 411 owner Nick McGuire tweeted angrily. “This is what I've been talking about. Garth absolutely doesn't want to improve his team.” McGuire was not the only frustrated fan that voiced their displeasure. Many fans took to social media to voice their displeasure with odd timed move.
However there were some who same the move in a positive light. “Given that isles only gave up a 3rd round pick to get Wisniewski, getting back a 2nd and 5th is not a bad return,” read the official twitter page of All Habs.net. EJ Hradek of ESPN tweeted that the deal “Works for both teams.” Going on to say, “Isles lower costs & get draft picks to continue re-build, Habs get depth D with big shot to help PP” However All Habs.net felt that Wisniewski was an expensive repair to make up for an earlier bad trade.
Whatever the Case Wisniewski is now a member of the Montreal Canadiens blue line and the Islanders will most likely give the extra ice time to one of their young defensemen.]]>
You can't say Dwayne Roloson didn't play well tonight. He gave the Islanders a chance to win, especially in the second period after he faced multiple shots while the Isles spent way too much time in their own zone. That's a problem, and they need to generate more offensive chances to keep themselfs in the game.
The two Islander goals were scored by Rob Schremp, who beat Henrik·Lundqvist glove side, and PA Parenteau who's been on a hot streak. The rest were all Rangers, with Gilroy netting a pair.
Islander Players Of The Game
I would award PA Parenteau the "player of the game". In just his last six games played, he has netted four goals and three assists for seven points. He's certainly helping the Islanders offense through their recent struggles.
The next player of the game I would award would be Dwayne Roloson. Before tonight's loss, Roloson has only given up one goal a game for three straight games and he stopped 106 out of a total 109. He was also awarded the NHL's first star of the week.
The Islanders will look to improve their 10-19-6 record when they faceoff against hot Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins hold the first seed in the standings with a record of 24-11-2. Crosby has a 24 game point streak, and the Isles will look to end it on Wednesday night.]]>
Of course going into the game most of the chatter was about Josh Bailey’s return to the Isles roster. Most of the post game revolved around John Tavares though. During the middle of the second period Tavares took two penalties in the span of three minutes. Although the penalties did not cost the Islanders on the scoreboard it did seem to some to have been penalties taken out of frustration by the young star. Although Islanders head coach did not agree with that assessment when asked during the post game press conference. “I think you can’t look at that,” Capuano told reporters. “When John starts to score it will come in bunches. If he wasn’t getting the chances as a staff we’d be concerned but the last couple of games he’s been around the net and he’s had some chances. He just hasn’t put the puck in the net.” A very true statement indeed by the head coach. Prior to last night’s game winner, Tavares has not had a goal since Thanksgiving eve against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Although John had not been producing scoring wise, it does not mean he wasn’t being productive in other areas. Two areas of John’s game that seem to be over looked are both his playmaking skill and his defensive awareness. John has some of the best passing skills and hockey sense on this young Isles roster. An attribute you saw on display last night when he was able o quickly find PA Parenteau who then scored to tie the game. It’s a facet of John’s game that has been there since day one and seems to get overlooked.
Another is his, as mentioned before, his defensive awareness. “Johnny does so many great things away from the puck that maybe some people don’t notice the whole time,” Travis Hamonic said following last nights win. “Especially as a defenseman when you’re watching plays unfold you see Johnny doing all the small things. His back side pressure is something that really helps me out personally, he keeps coming back and tracking back. Just because he’s not scoring five goals a game doesn’t mean he’s not doing stuff. “
Tavares’s game winner was a welcomed sight to many and the 7,000 plus that showed up were happy to see him get the game winner. For head coach Jack Capuano, he saw an overall good performance. “He’s a puck position kind of guy but good game for him in the second half here tonight. Hopefully he can build off it.”
Then there was the work of Islanders goalie Dwayne Roloson. Again Roloson did what he does best, keep his team in the game. Roloson saved 34 of 35 shots faced including being peppered 16 times in the first period. “(Roloson) was probably our best player tonight, for sure, Capuano said after the game. “Rollie kept us in the game. You give a team like that with a power play like that six minutes in the first period we were really fortunate to come out of that period one nothing that’s for sure. He gave us a chance to battle back and we did so you know lot of credit goes to Rollie tonight.” Roloson earned first star honors last night as well.
The Penalty Kill
Although the lone Lightning goal came on the power play the Islanders penalty kill was outstanding last night. The Lightning came into last night’s match up with the third best power play in the league compared to the Isles who came in with the 19thbest PK. Well seems as though the Islanders got the better of he third best power play in the league. The Islanders were able to force the puck out of their zone, had a very hot net minder and even had several shorthanded scoring opportunities that were nearly converted to goals. “I think it was just our hard work meeting our hard work,” Travis Hamonic responded when asked about what went right on the penalty kill. “There is always the old saying that the power has to out work the penalty kill but from our stand point on the penalty kill you want to out work the power play. I thought the guys did a really good job killing some key penalties for us and the main thing was that all the clears we were getting went down the ice.” Hamonic continued, “It’s frustrating on the power play when you have to keep going back to break it out and I thought we frustrated them throughout the game kept wearing them down.”
The 1st Period
While for the most part the Islanders did a lot of things right, they were very sluggish in the first period. They were out shot 16 to 3, gave up their only goal of the night and looked very lethargic. They also took three bad penalties, one of which was turned into a goal for the opposition. Poor first period that luckily was corrected during the intermission.
Post Game Quotes
John Tavares on the win: “We had a slow start. It took us a while to get some more pucks to the net, but it seemed after PA’s goal we started to really start moving out feet, really start getting it in and challenging their D and start to pick it up. Got opportunities, killed a big penalty there with under 10 minutes to go and it was a good all around team win.”
John Tavares on moving forward: “The last three games have been something to build on. We just gotta make sure we keep focused on that and we can't get complacent at all. We gotta know how tough it's been for us the last month and a half and you know we'd like to move forward to get something going here.”
Jack Capuano’s thoughts on the team: “We feel as a staff they got to believe right now. They’re a good bunch of kids, they work hard, they get along, and they’re high character guys. They’re working hard and that’s all we can ask for. That’s a pretty good hokey team that we played. We didn't get a lot of grade A chances tonight. We had a few chances but I like the way that we competed and that’s all you can ask for.”
Josh Bailey’s thoughts on the game: “I thought we played well the whole game. They were out shooting us for a while there pretty bad. When I looked up at the shots I was surprised to see they were out shooting us that bad. I think we were getting good pressure we just weren’t getting pucks to the net. When we started changing that we got the PA goal and just kept trying to build off that.”
Travis Hamonic on the last several games: “I don’t think there’s a heck of a lot of difference. The last couple of games the guys are playing very confidently. We’re really pushing the pace offensively we’re getting a lot of shots every night, we’re throwing a lot of stuff on net and pucks are going in for us. It’s a lot of fun to be playing when you’re winning. It’s a great feeling in the dressing room right now but that’s the nice thing about this league you get to go right back at it tomorrow night. We have a big test in
Travis Hamonic on how to keep the momentum going: “You just gotta find what really helps and works for you and you gotta keep doing it. There is an old saying that hockey players are a creature of habit and I firmly and strongly believe that. You do the things on the ice that make you successful and repeat those things when it’s working for you. For us we just have to approach every game like it’s a new one.”]]>
So today it was tweeted by the Islanders official Twitter account that Rick DiPietro was placed on the IR due to knee swelling. At first I thought to myself "he's done" but Dee Karl pointed out in a blog that in order for the Isles to call someone up from Bridgeport, someone has to be placed on the IR due to the roster freeze and I guess the odd man out was DiPietro.
In the same tweet, the NY Islanders Twitter account also reported that defenseman Mike Mottau - who was just recently cleared to play after a puck to the eye - will be out for the remainder of the season due to a right hip labrum tear. Myself and many others don't understand how an eye injury goes from a hip injury, but it's another loss for the Islanders.
Fourth liner Matt Martin was suspended yesterday by the league after delivering a hit to Vernon Fiddler, which was called a charging penalty by the refs.
Tomorrow night the Islanders will take on the Tampa Bay Lightning. The puck drops at 7pm and the Islanders desperately need a win. It will be interesting to see who starts in goal. The last game played against the Lightning, the Islanders won in OT from a goal from Matt Moulson after Smith was battling with the puck with his glove. The refs took some time to review before it was called a goal]]>
The Anaheim Ducks come into the Coliseum tonight fresh off a win over the Washington Capitals last night. The Ducks limited the Caps to just a single and Ryan Getzlof tallied the overtime winner with just 56.6 seconds left in the OT period.
The Ducks are also 4-0-1 in their last 5 games, defeating the likes of the Oilers, Flames, Wild and of course the capitals.
Teemu Selanne has missed the past three games with a Groin issue and Aaron Voros is out 3-4 weeks with a fractured orbital bone.
Expect Jonas Hiller to start in net for the Ducks. Hiller 15-11-3 on the season with a save percentage of .919%
As for the Islanders they will be getting back Milan Jurcina and Radek Martinek for tonight’s match up. “They give us size and they give us experience,” Head coach Jack Capuano said. “The last few games we let the young guys from
Rick Dipietro will get the start against the Ducks tonight. Dipietro’s last start was against the Atlanta Thrashers; a 5-4 loss in front of 10,050.
Travis Hamonic and Andrew MacDonald will play on the same line as well for tonight’s game. Jack Capuano spent part of his media scrum praising the two youngsters. “Their earning their minuets; they move the puck (and) they join the rush,” Capuano said.
Jesse Joensuu called Frans Nielson “arguably the best player on the team.”
“He playes great hockey. He’s good defensively, he battles hard, makes good plays, good passes and seems like he never takes nights off.”
PA Parenteau had some interesting things to say this morning.
Parenteau talks Power Play streak: “Hopefully now we’re going to get a little streak going. It so important in this league to score some power play goals and have a good PK too. We have to keeping doing what we’re doing best shooting the puck and making plays. It was a pretty big relief when comes scored the power play goal the other night.”
Parenteau Talks hospital Visit and losing streak: “I think it put things in perspective for you when you go to the hospital to see sick kids you realize your losing streak is not that bad after all. It was fun. We have a good group of guys here (and) we had fun when we did that. So now we have to put this bad streak behind us.”]]>
Last Friday Youtube sensation and Oiler rookie, Linus Ormark mad his NHL debut at Rexal place against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Omark then made a top ten worthy shoot out goal to win the game for his team. The goal (seen below) stunned the 16,000 plus and brought them to their feet.
However other players were less than impressed with Ormark’s shootout move. "He's a young kid. Whatever he did, it worked," Martin St.Louis said after the game. "Do we need that? I don't know. It's kind of a slap in the face a little bit, you know? Maybe it's a little too much, I don't know. To get beaten in the shootout and to get beaten with something like that, it's tough to take, but he did it and it worked."
Penguins star, Sidney Crosby was asked about the move as well. “Takes a lot of confidence to do something like that,” Crosby told reporters when asked about it, he too did not look pleased. “Most guys’ first shootout attempt in the NHL (are) just worried about getting a shot on net, other than doing that.”
“It’s not my style to be honest with you,” Mathieu Darche told TSN. “I wouldn’t do that. I don’t think that should be done.”
But should you be surprised that the NHL traditionalists are coming down on Ormark. Remember personality and fun is a sin to those guys, especially if you’re a rookie. Remember Canadians rookie, PK Suban, who was benched for not conforming, being an interesting player on and off the ice, and refused to kiss the rear of the more famous players on the ice.
Yes, Vancouver Sun columnist Cam Cole wrote a great piece about Suban, but I have to speak my piece. It’s unfortunate that the moronic traditionalists in the media and in the locker rooms can’t appreciate what these kids have done and been doing. The old notion that players need to earn their right to chirp at players more famous than them, that creativity is somehow discouraged and somehow labeled as showboating is beyond ancient. That being a “quotable, fun loving” player is a bad thing has hurt the sport more than helped it.
The fact that guys like Chris Pronger can chirp and act like an immature dirt bag, but a guy like PK Suban, who is quotable in the post game or stands up for himself on the ice, is then scrutinized by the likes of Don Cherry, Mike Richards and other NHL vets is a sad thing.
Then Linus Omark puts on a spectacular show in the shootout and then is called a show boater and scrutinized in the media and by his fellow players.
It’s a sad day when you can’t be yourself in the NHL. That players who have fun or show any sorts of character are casted high above to the press box as punishment or debated on TSN. So the NFL is the “No Fun League,” maybe fans need to rethink who the real no fun league is. Maybe it’s the NHL that is “No Fun”]]>