“How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable,/Seems to me all the uses of this [team at present]” to misquote Shakespeare. I enjoyed watching [live!] hockey after so long a wait, yes. But that which was on display this evening wasn’t too much to write home about. Sorry. Maybe all of you saw it differently, but I cannot say that I was overly impressed with any one particular player at present. (Maybe Nino, but that’s about it.) I’m afraid that some things are still in need of serious tweaking. In short, I don’t feel as if the Isles are even remotely close to being game ready. Perhaps I’m exaggerating, etc. But perhaps I’m not.
Please spare me the usual comments, by the way: it’s a scrimmage! what do you expect from players on extended hiatus? etc. As I mentioned in an earlier article, the Isles must hit the ground running, and this evening I saw little from Blue to convince me that times are a’ changing for the better out at the Island.
The first period saw a quick goal by Matt Moulson, following up on a point shot taken by Mark Streit. As the period progressed, however, White began dominating Blue’s end of the ice with ample shots (not many but enough quality opportunities to put up some scores) and some decent puck cycling, which led to two goals, the one from Aaron Ness being the prettier of the two–a slick wrist shot from just inside the blue line, completely fooling Evgeni Nabokov; Nino Niederreiter opened up the scoring for White with help from Ryan Strome and Dallas Jackson. Again, of all the Islanders Nino played with an edge, with gumption, with spirit. Guess he’s given GM Snow something more to think about.
The first period also demonstrated a lack of communication on and off the ice, as Blue was called for three penalties for Too Many Men, the first leading to Ness’s goal. Overall, Blue looked haggard, disoriented, flat-footed, and both goalies looked a bit rusty.
Second period action saw Blue fight back with goals from Matt Moulson (2 for the game at the close of period 2) and another by Kyle Okposo, both on DiPietro. John Tavares showed his usual skill, offering some keen passing and solid board work. At the close of period 2, White went ahead with goals by Johan Sundstrom and Scott Campbell, showing that Bridgeport has speed and accuracy and talent to offer.The rest is pretty much White’s game, beating Blue in regulation 5-3.
For me, tonight is a case of the Islanders having a solid youth team and a lackluster pro team, as has been case for quite some time. No mystery. It obviously remains to be seen whether or not some of the Soundtigers trade up for Islanders uniforms, but as it stands, it’s a mediocre team at best out on the Island. I love these guys but objectively speaking, you cannot lose to young bucks and expect to go anywhere.
Again, please don’t tell me it’s a scrimmage. Islanders: it’s January 16th, let’s get it going, please.
Also, was it me or did Streit look a little flat-footed himself? Anyway, not much checking obviously, so it remains to be seen whether or not the Isles’s defense is game ready at present.
Overall, I was none to impressed, but certainly glad hockey is back. In any form. I’ll die with this team, for sure. But I’ll be damned from this point onward to hold my tongue when I see something I dislike on that sheet of ice.
Taking a break until Saturday. Here’s to hoping the Islanders work out all the kinks in time for the Devils.
Follow Rich @eyesonisles