New York City, N.Y.– The most promising bits of news of the night for the New York Islanders happened off the ice, as earlier trade rumors became bonafide fact: Boston Bruins goaltender and Stanley Cup champion Tim Thomas has been traded to the Island to help with the salary cap, and, of course, to stop some pucks. (Wish to see him sooner rather than later.)
Secondly, Lubomir Visnovsky will practice tomorrow as an official New York Islander, doing everything possible to put as much distance between himself and his discourteous/unprofessional reaction to being traded to the Islander. Nevertheless, he is much needed on this debilitated squad.
More on the aforementioned another time…
Tonight the New York Rangers defeated the Islanders by a score of 4 -1, two of which came on their anemic, but vastly improving Power Play.
In all, the Rangers were the more aggressive, assertive, and assured squad this evening. And although nothing separated both teams with regards to SOG, tonight the Rangers were the true protagonist in the never-ending tragic-comedy that is New York Islander hockey.
The Islanders are now close to being 0 – 20 on the Power Play, sinking fast, and with no clear-cut, immediate solution in tow. Moreover, the once formidable PK unit is dwindling each game, letting in at least one goal a game since returning from initial road trip to kickstart the season.
Fans are simply hoping for a pair of wins, who once were gleaming with pride at perhaps overtaking the New Jersey Devils and ownership of the Eastern Conference. At the rate they’re going, the Islanders will be fortunate enough to say within sight of the 8th spot.
Lack of creativity, vigor, intelligence, and drive is rampant in all aspects of Islander hockey, expect for one individual: John Tavares. And the shame of it all is that he’s playing some of this best hockey ever, and no one is truly noticing it because of the lack of talent and cohesion surrounding (not surrounding him.)
Of course we can find salvageable moments here and there: Michael Grabner will score on a breakaway one day (I just know it–being sarcastic), Evgeni Nabokov will find his San Jose form before he retires, and the coaching staff will wake up and return to the road trip game plan that saw the Islanders atop the NHL for special teams. (What did you guys do, leave the playbook somewhere back in Boston? Toronto? Winnipeg?)
As it stands, the Islanders are playing dreadful hockey, and aside from the Washington Capitals, no one is falling faster as this once promising squad of ragtags.
The Rangers’s 19 year old J. T. Miller took a chunk out of the Islanders early on with his first goal as an NHLer at the 1:29 of the first, and it would prove to be the game winner, as the Islanders’s kissed the canvas often in this otherwise lackluster rivalry matchup.
Miller showed poise throughout tonight’s match, and on this first real scoring opportunity of the game, his forechecking abilities show tremendous promise–an attribute of which the Rangers are in desperate need:
Approximately 13 minutes later, the Rangers would score again, this time by the streaking Marian Gaborik, as five Islander players (Frans Neilsen was without a stick for the duration of the play) stood around looking at the Rangers set up the for the goal. Nabokov basically was as the victim of a Gaborik-led turkey shoot.
The Islanders would have a Power Play opportunity as Rick Nash was sent off for Holding at 15:49, a mere minute and change after the second Ranger goal, but the Islanders would prove impotent once again on the PP this and the other five occasions afforded them.
The only tally for the Islanders comes at the 11:13 mark of the second, as Tavares capitalizes on a 3 on 2 rush resulting from a poor line change–a much deserved goal for one of the finest players in the NHL. There wasn’t any hesitation on Tavares part, and by the looks of the shot, one could tell that as soon as he took possession the shot was his and only his to take. No passing. No tricks. Simple sniper shooting:
The last 10 minutes of second period hockey saw some strong netminding by Henrik Lundqvist, as the Isles picked up their tempo a bit, forechecking with some purpose. But Miller plays spoiler and scores on the Power Play at the 18:11 mark, shutting the door on any possible comeback for the Isles.
The third period was all Rangers: chances, shots, energy, goaltending, etc. The 4th tally comes on an absurd empty net goal, which still has me puzzled, for Coach Jack Capuano pulls Nabokov much too early.
In suma: the Islanders are only getting worse, and there appears to be no stopping the bleeding at present.
Nothing more can be said at this time, expect that perhaps Visnovksy’s return and the Thomas signing may get them thinking differently about their chances.
Follow Rich Diaz @eyesonisles
- Every New York Islander fan and player should shake Tavares’s hand. He’s the franchise, people. That’s all there is to it. He has 12 points at this juncture. 12!
- Old Philosophy 101 riddle: If Atlas is holding up the World, what exactly is holding up Atlas? (Substitute Atlas for Tavares and World for Isles, and you have an even denser puzzle to figure out.)
- Tim Thomas to the Islanders: nice distraction, Garth. Now let’s see what you make it. Good day to you.