Uniondale, N.Y. – “It’s not about effort, it’s about results. I don’t care if it’s easy for you to do, I don’t care if it’s hard for you to do, get the job done and get it done well. Do not come to me after failing to achieve your goal and say to me that you gave it your best that much is expected.” Coach Husack Robert Frost Middle School football/lacrosse.
I have never in all my days gotten those words out of my head from Coach Husack. Now true it may seem harsh to deliver this message to 13 and 14 year olds, but as a player it always stuck with me, and just perhaps it is the moral of the story from last night’s game?
For the third consecutive home contest this week the Islanders went to the locker room following the 2nd period with either the lead or game knotted at 2 a piece. (As if you don’t know what this next sentence is going to read) And for the 3rd consecutive home contest this week the Islanders lost said contest in regulation failing to earn even a precious point.
As if that last sentence weren’t poor enough? For the third consecutive home game the Islanders failed to score a goal in the final stanza. If you go back to the Panther game (last 4 games) the Islanders have been outscored 11-1 in the final stanza and are a league worst – 22 in the final period.
The Isles came out of the gates a team determined to claim their home ice and earn 2 points from the best the Prince of Wales had to offer. Out shooting the Penguins 13-0 through the first 12 minutes of the contest, I was pleased. Their effort and hard work would be rewarded when Mark Streit scored a little more then 7 minutes in. Matt Martin simply destroyed Craig Adams in a one sided fight that sparked the Isles even further.
Matt Martin (yet again) was our best player out there in the first period, and how was he rewarded by Jack Capuano? Yep, with the least amount of ice time of any player on his bench last night given only 10:41 of TOI. Now to be fair the entire team played great in the first, so to say that Martin’s first period performance stood out is simply not true.
They were buzz, buzz, buzzing in there!!! The Islanders as a unit played what was their best and most frustrating stanza of the year last evening. Best because they out shot the Pens 14-3, and dominated every facet of the game for the first 20 minutes.
Worst because they missed so many opportunities to blow the game open. Josh Bailey, Frans Nielsen, and John Tavares all should have had tallies in the first, and the game could, no should have been put away. However the Pens do what great teams do. They bent but did not break, and weathered the early storm leaving the ice only down 1-0 was a huge victory for them and a testament to their net minder Thomas Vokoun.
What’s the fastest land animal? The Cheetah… Next
The first period left me pleased and frustrated. Not just frustrated because I knew a 1-0 lead was not going to hold up versus the mighty Pens and that it should have been 4-0. Rather frustrated because of what our eyes had just seen.
We were treated to a period of excellence across the board. Line after line, shift after shift every player that hopped over those boards seemed to take a direct line at their opponent and arrive with ill intent. We saw the team that most Islander fans knows we are capable of being.
I couldn’t help but to ponder where has this been? Why is this performance not the norm? Why is this an aberration (which come on folks lets be honest here we are all friends, we all knew that this was not the norm.). Now I realize that this effort is not going to be present every night, every period, and every shift. Even the Cheetah can only run at full tilt for a limited distance. But it frustrated me that this effort can not even be duplicated for 3 straight periods let alone 3 straight games.
We left the first pleased, and hopeful that tonight the Isles could keep up this pace for the full 60 minutes. Also I couldn’t help myself, I began to ponder if this was the beginning of our playoff push? If our sense of urgency which so far this week had been sorely lacking had finally arrived?
40 minutes to go:
The 2nd period was much more evenly played with the shots split down the middle at 14 a piece. The Pens did manage to tie the game on a nice Twisted Wrister (holla John Buccigross) by Joe Vitale.
The Isles and Pens played a very exciting, open back and forth stanza one in which we saw the Islander D continuously pinching in to keep the puck in the zone, and doing it very effectively might I add.
Josh Bailey would give the Isles the lead at the 17:18 mark after a flurry of activity in from of the Penguin net with a lot of hard work by our boys we took the all import lead with under 3 minutes remaining in the 2nd.
However as it is in hockey if you do not get the goaltending you do not get the wins. Evgeni Nabokov relinquished the 2-1 lead with just 14 seconds remaining in the 2nd period. It was a very soft and inexcusable goal. He simply has to have that save, especially at this point in the period, the game, and for that matter our season.
It appeared that our 3rd period woes had started 14 second earlier last night as the air was just let out of my living room, as my beloved and faithful mutt Lord Stanly made his way to his corner whenever his daddy gets upset and sounds like Bill Cosby censoring himself for not to scar the ears of his small tender brood as the stanza ended yet again 2-2.
A quick side note on this one. Again we see John Tavares cleanly losing a key faceoff, if he so much as ties this one up and the Pens do not get the free rush up the ice there is no opportunity. Still Nabby has got to make this save!
Woody da Wabbit.
The Islanders seemingly can not have a big enough lead leaving the woods for the third period, to be tied at the end of 2 unfortunately as any Islander fan will have to attest to simply doesn’t leave us all warm and fuzzy on the inside as it should.
I don’t honestly know how much more of this we can take. For the 4th game in a row and Lord only knows how many times this season the Islander jerseys emerged from the locker room for the 3rd but pretty much nothing else.
Again we sat back and watched a team pounce on us from go and get an early 3rd period goal. This time it was Islander Alum Brent Sutter‘s Issue Brandon Sutter (whom I felt was a steal for the Pens the moment they traded Jordan Staal for him. I was told I was crazy.. No I’m not… No I’m noT…) scoring at the 1:46 mark for what proved to no one’s shock to be the game winner.
And what, I say what in tarnation is our “Captain” Mark Streit doing on this play? Mark buddy you are hurting your trade value get your act together… And while you’re at it give me that “C”! JT, JT ! Right here… Oh there you are… Here you go son, it’s your team. Take it and win Captain!
The rest of the third went, well, we lost 4-2, as suddenly a team that earned 28 shots throughout the first two stanzas forgot and abandoned what had earned them their 28-17 shot lead and mustered only 7 shots over the final 20 minutes. Of which mind you we had 2 power play opportunities.
The most alarming and disturbing aspect of this one is the FACT that John Tavares during the final and most crucial power play we received with under three and a half left lost not one, not two, but three offensive zone face offs during said opportunity.
Dear Jack Capuano, why not have Kyle Okposo take a crucial faceoff down the stretch as he was 6/9 on face offs last night while the rest of our organization went a putrid 17-27 winning only 17/44 face offs for a 38.6 % rate of success. You can’t win and control the game if you can’t win the face off circle. JT we love ya, you have to do better than that down the stretch though.
As Islander fans we are a social experiment in patients and perseverance. However my patience for Coach Capuano is at an all time low. Of course 3 straight home losses, a home record of it embarrasses me to type 5-11-3, a third period +/- that is unexplainable, and now the misuse of available talent have me searching the web for how much a ticket costs to get on the “Fire Cappy” bandwagon. And trust me personally it is not east for me to join anything entitled “Fire Cappy”.
I can’t stress it enough I have said it time and time again. Play Matt Martin more, and reunite him with Casey Cizikas, and Colin McDonald. I don’t know how many times I have to climb the highest mountain (Bald Hill) and scream this for all to hear? If this and our on ice results do not change I shall be forced to purchase this non-refundable one way ticket to Doug Weight street!
Listen to the question posed by “The Maven” Stan Fischler at the 1:46 mark below…
Do you really need me to tell you that is we don’t fix our third period woes we aren’t going anywhere? I have way too much respect for you!
- Isn’t it time we had some “legacy” around here? I would love to see Brent Sutter‘s and Bobby Nystrom’s kids on our OrganIzation. Return a sense of history to our squad. And oh by the way both kids can play.
- Our goaltending is becoming a problem, again we outshot our opponent this time 35-25.
- In all 3 home losses we have been outshot in the final period (no shock there).
- The Pens are now 11-0 in March!
- Matt Martin led the team with 7 hits in only 10:41 of ice time… 0:00 on the power play again!
- Sunday versus Florida is a must win. A 4th loss in a row at home with only 16 left would all but do it for us, but if we win… STILL IN IT!
- Stay tuned on the bottom of this piece for a video as a thank you for reading, and to hopefully send you off in a good mood despite our recent struggles! The greatest “Captain” in history.
Thank you, enjoy your weekend everyone.
Tryin to capture the Spirit of the Thing…
P.S. Have a Nice Day !! :0)
Follow Scotty: @moosiestmoose42
Follow Eyes on Isles: @eyesonisles
Follow the Dream @battle4theapple
And don’t forget to upload the new Fansided App, so you never have to miss an “Eyes” piece again… Which is nice…