UNIONDALE, N.Y.– The New York Islanders learned, yet again, that hockey is played for 60 minutes and not 25 or 35, failing to protect a two-goal cushion, move into a tie for the 8th spot in the Eastern conference, and begin erasing their dreadful home winning percentage. But as it stands, the Islanders continue to baffle everyone with some of the most bizarre ebb and flow hockey caught on camera. Nay, not bizarre. All too familiar. Apologies.
For me, the turning point was Kevin Poulin‘s mistake that allowed the game to be tied. The Islanders never seemed to be the same, feisty, inspired team seen the first period and half, and played as if the tying goal was the winning one. Under normal circumstances and a regular season schedule, a team can find a way back to form and shrug off a tough loss like tonight’s.
Whatever the case may be, if this homestand continues in this manner, the season is over people. Not the end of the world. No. Just the end of a hockey season for a local team. Will I still watch this team? Of course. Will I spend my hard-earned dough to buy tickets knowing that the Isles have THE WORST home record in the NHL (2-9), yes.
But I no longer believe this team can win with the staff at hand. Not because they lost tonight. Please Isles fans, I’m not that ridiculous or melodramatic. The staff at hand cannot figure out how to string wins. That’s all.
As I mentioned once before, the DiPietro move does nothing for the Isles from a tactical standpoint. We all knew this to be so, but we all felt that the albatross having been lifted would open up the clouds and allow for the light to shine on us for a change. But no. Because the deficiencies that have always plagued the Islanders still exist: No Clark Gillies type of forward to protect JT and Matty Moulson, no second line to alleviate the first line’s scoring duties, and most importantly, no real blue line defensemen.
Moreover, the Islanders must have seen Poulin’s miss and get the sensation that no matter how hard they work and/or confidence they garner, things just don’t go their way. But more importantly, seeing Poulin let in a soft goal, may have engendered a similar sinking feeling in some Isles players: Another DiPietro? Oh. Please. No.
The fact is, my fellow Isles fans, we cannot grant Poulin the exception during this truncated season that his youth or inexperience would normally beckon, be it poor positioning, etc. or that he played extremely well for 30 minutes of a 60 minute contest. Not unless you’re okay with another losing season. The fact is, my fellow Isles fans, he cost them the lead and the Islanders played like it. Played liked they lost a lot more than a lead, actually. They played the remain 30 as if their confidence was literally vacuumed out from them. The look of disappointment became readily apparent with every shift, ending with a tired first line trying to protect an empty net. Ugly doesn’t even come close to describing it.
The game opened with a New York Islanders squad playing relentlessly on the forecheck, Poulin leading the charge with some nifty saves and some acrobatics to boot. Carolina would be out-shot and out-hustled for most of the first half of the match, but after the Isles allowed two quick goals as the second period winded down, the familiar, sinking feeling of the game slipping away manifested and became fact.
The Isles would score two goals, their first multi-goal first period since the Jurassic period: Matt Moulson with his 10th of the year, and John Tavares with his league-leading 13th off another laser-like wrist shot top shelf.
The shots on goal for the first favored New York 14 to 5, and they held the Hurricanes shot-less for close to 10 minutes in the second. But once the Canes smelled blood in the water, in the form of simply taking shots on a rookie goalie, the floodgates opened and the Islanders’s lead in and hold of the game evaporated.
The Staal brothers, Eric and Jordan, combined to resurrect their team and take the tie and momentum into the third. And Bobby Sanguinetti scored his first goal of his NHL career, as the Hurricanes repeat their performance and outcome once again from earlier this season, taking two points that they initially didn’t deserve.
I will do my research, but I would bet my tickets to the Bruins-Isles game this Tuesday, the Islanders lead the league in teams that allow for first career goals against. Has to be.
Some of you may think Poulin needn’t deserve criticism, but then in my estimation, you’re satisfied with yet another failed attempt at not reaching the post-season. And we can point to this play, or that player, or that bad call, but the fact remains that the Islanders do not have steady goaltending, no second or third lines of which to speak, and a coach in way over his head.
The talent is there, but the talent is human. The talent (John Tavares, Matt Moulson) cannot withstand heartbreak after heartbreaking loss, and not somehow be affected. At some point this talent will feel the need to over-exert itself so as to compensate for the Marty Reasoners and Kyle Okposos of their world. (Why Jack Capuano didn’t sit down Okposo and start David Ullstrom is beyond me, just as taking a Timeout in the first while you’re up equally baffling.)
Maybe I’m looking at the Isles from a poor angle, (like most of their shots) maybe it’s not Capuano but Garth Snow. Maybe it’s Garth Snow that needs to go. But who’ll replace him? Maybe it is that Capuano and Doug Weight do have some know-how (jury’s still out, in my opinion) but not the talent. I’m disgusted is all. Let us hope that the Islanders can go 2-2 on National television and hand the Bruins a loss similar to the one shelled out to the Penguins a few weeks ago this coming Tuesday.
Whatever the case, the Islanders proved one thing: NEW YORK STATE doesn’t have a really good hockey team; NEW JERSEY, don’t laugh, you “ain’t” doing much better. Your numbers and place in the conference don’t fool me. Winnipeg? C’mon now. Good day to you.
Follow Rich Diaz @eyesonisles
- Congratulations JT: you’re still the best. Leads the league in scoring while on a terrible team. Good for you, sir. Good for you.
- Lincoln: won what it had to win–> DDL is the John Tavares of actors
- Django Unchained: it didn’t need to win a thing–it will live on as a cult classic. That’s better than any Oscar. When people have forgotten about
Argoall of us will still quote Django. WON what it had to win.
- Silver Linings Playbook–>Didn’t see it; can’t say I want to; will wait for TNT version. Brad Cooper funny guy, though.
- Les Miserables –> Saw the musical on Bway, loved it; saw the other movie version, hated it. Saw this one…Russ Crow, stick to being a badass that doesn’t have to sing. Won what it had to win: Anne, you had me at Bon Jour.
- Zero Dark Thirty –> What I noticed from fellow audience members: Zzzzzzzzz Oh wait is this the part where Bin Laden gets it? No? Ugh Zzzzzzz Me no like this one. Hurt Locker much better.
- Life of Pi –>wonderful book; beautiful looking movie; won what it had to win: Ang Lee, thank you.
***********The movie that should’ve won but wasn’t even nominated?: THE MASTER********** Why did it not? Because Hollywood is the land of make-believe where the truth isn’t really that important. Hey, it’s art, right? It doesn’t matter that President Carter basically said Argo was a figment of
Matt Damon’s whoops Ben Affleck’s imagination.
Anyway, who cares. Listen, stop watching bad hockey, and watch the films of Paul Thomas Anderson–> The John Tavares of directors. Now…good day to you.