Who's Fiaaaaared up for yet another HUGE tilt tonight??? Isles-Caps in D.C.

Deer Park, N.Y. – There has been so much activity this week both throughout the NHL, and right here on long Island that I feel like I just got off the Gravitron at Adventureland with my ears ringing from some Zeppelin, and what’s left of my faculties in disarray.

As you all well know yesterday was the trading deadline, and as is custom on this day every year GMs from across the league scramble to either poise their organIzations for a run at Lord Stanley, or make moves for next season and beyond. It is in my never so humble opinion the greatest of all sports trading deadlines, which is why it is practically a national holiday in Canada.

The transaction page was as expected a buzz with a flurry activity yesterday.  For a recap of yesterdays big movers and shakers please peruse at your leisure Mr. Andy (hung tough, buddy bailed out) Graziano’s excellent piece from the day prior. http://eyesonisles.com/2013/04/03/nhl-trade-deadline-day-isles-stay-the-course/#comwrap Nicely recapping the day in trades from around the league.

50 Shades of ’93

From an Isles point of view, Garth Snow opted for the Don Maloney route of ’93. Standing pat with the “lets just see what there is to see” attitude. Not wishing to tinker with what seems to be a 5 year plan that is startin’ to come together. Plus who in your right mind, could argue with modeling yourself after Don Maloney? But I digress…

Nothing for our “Captain”?

In a moment of clarity and seriousness I would have welcomed a trade for Mark Streit if it landed us a top 6 forward, pick, or prospect. The fact that no deal was struck says to me that the Isles feel they can still sign Streit after this season ends. If not Snow would have moved him even for a bag of pucks so not to loose him for nothing at the season’s end.

It dawned on me that the make-up of each individual is well, individual. Streit’s play this season has been his worst by an Islander, coming off of what was his worst season as an Islander. This may be because of one of two reasons. 1. His skills have faded at 35, and any organIzation would be nuts to give hime 3 yrs/15 million American Dollars at this stage. 2. He doesn’t enjoy and or thrive playing in a contract year not knowing his future.

To be fair my original hypothesis was leaning towards the later, but like all of my hockey hypothesis it was baseless in fact, statistics, and evidence.  It just came to me on the LIE so I figured, “sure this must be it.” However if you look back at his last “contract” year with the Habs he had 62 points n 82 games in 07-08. So foiled yet again, don’t you hate when fact disrupt your thought processes? I sure do….

This season he is on pace for 44 points, with a red flag waiving -15 thus far, following the 46 point -27 campaign of 2011-12. Today at this point a 3yr/15 million deal for a player who’s decision making has forced us to sensor ourselves in front of the offspring more then any other player (even Marty Reasoner) in the orange and blue sweaters this season seems unwise.

Mark you have these final 11 games and the post season to state your case, but as of this moment 3yrs/15 million??? How bout 2yrs/ 6.5 million? However, if I were Mark Streit, I’d be ecstatic I wasn’t moved.  He will more then likely receive what he is seeking  from someone at this point in the league no matter what happens going forward, and if a post season run happens (my fingertips to God’s smartphone) this would only drive up his stock.

So for Streit it’s a win, win not to be moved, because as much of a disappointment as he has been this season we are going to need the old Mark Streit if we are to get invited to, and do damage at the post season dance…Oh by the way the old Mark Streit would get the new Mark Streit mucho Dinero, and probably some American dollars as well too.  That’s all I got to say bout that…

Tonight’s Tilt:

Here at Eyes on Isles we should run a contest to name each game each evening. With only 11 games remaining over the next 22 rotations they can’t all possibly be “big one’s”? Well folks yes they can and are. The Isles as you well know, and as well photographed on facebook last night by our ever adoring Ranger fan’s sit in the 9th spot. At this very moment, in the Wales conference we are tied in points with our big brother, and little cousin the Devils as well each with 39 points. That’s 3 teams for 2 spots separated by less then 20 miles, with still a boatload of teams in our rear view mirror that are not fading away fast enough. You do the math!

Caps:

One of those teams chasing us just happens to be tonight’s opponent the Washington Capitals. The Caps play chutes and ladders again tonight as they entire the contest sitting in the 10th spot, but could leave the building in the 3rd spot or in the 13th spot. And we thought the Gravitron messed with our noodle? It’s true that’s how tight and crazy this season is, and how crucial every night and every game is to a team on the bubble in this topzie, turvey, conference only, shortened, mathematical disproportionate point awarded, NHL season. For all it’s flaws, one thing this is certain, it is FUN!

The Caps are a model for consistency coming in at 17-17-2 for 36 points. 8-8 at home and 9-9-2 on the road. So to make a bold prediction we could say the Isles have a 50/50 chance of winning tonight in our Nation’s Capital, but there’s only a 10% chance of that. However the Caps like us have been skating much better of late going 6-3-1 in there last ten. Winning their last contest 5-3 in Carolina, a game they trailed 2-0 early, but rallied behind Alex Ovechkin‘s 3 point effort.

New York:

As for our boys, the Saturday loss in Pittsburgh not with standing (haven’t we heard this, this season before?) have been playing our best hockey of the season. Winners of 2 straight and 5 out of our last 6. Outscoring our opponents 17-10 over the last 6.

The power play which had begun to look slightly derailed at times thankfully righted itself and has gone 2 for 3 over the last two games, scoring a key goal in each. The penalty kill although not statistically impressive in raw numbers does come up with the big kill when needed. Having not allowed a goal short handed in our last 3, and has shut the door in 9 out of our last 11. Allowing only 4 goals in the last 29 man down situations.

Rest is key to Health:

Huge for us is the fact that we were finally able to give Nabby a rest and earn some points. Prior to Kevin Poulin‘s 23 save winning performance over the Jets on Tuesday night. Evgeni Nabokov was the only net minder who even earned a single point for us this season. What a relief it is to finally say we got a winning performance from someone other then Nabby.

Look for a well rested Nabokov tonight in Washington as one can only hope he continues his stellar play versus one of his favorite opponents. Nabby is an awesome 12-1-2, 2 by way of shutout, with a 2.17 GAA and a .924 save pct. in his 15 career starts against the Capitals. So we have that goin for us tonight which is you know, nice.

Debut “T” is silent:

Congratulations to Anders Lee on not only making his NHL Debut Tuesday night, but as we all enjoyed watching your first ever NHL goal. More importantly congratulations on playing on a line with Matt Martin, and Casey Cizikas. Son, we are all hoping that you are a BIG part of our organization going forward to Brooklyn and beyond… A bit of advice, watch Matty, and Casey and do what they do, and you will be just fine. Welcome kid and keep up the great stuff!!

In Hypothesis:

Well boys, this is it! This is what we as Islander fans knew was coming one day, and are thankful the day is today. We enter the final stretch of the season bouncing on the bubble that is playoff life or death. We enter the final 11 games tied for 7th or in 9th place depending on your point of view. Will we make the post season? Of course we will. Why? Because we will out hit, out work, and out muck you in the corners the likes of which has Pat Flatley smiling somewhere.

Tonight like any of the remaining 11 if we out hit our opponent we will win. If we role 4 lines we will wear them down. Tonight we just need more of the same to keep this post season train rolling. Tonight like every night, we expect to win. Get the 2 points boys, some how, some way, so we can begin to distance ourselves from those in our mirror. OK Pom-Poms down.

Quick Side Note: OHHHH But it Matters not!

How wonderful was it the other night versus New Jersey to be treated to the play-by-play call of Jiggs Mcdonald? I mad my 6 year old stay up in the room just so he could hear his voice as he called the game. Jiggs has such a “sweetness” that only he brings to the game of hockey, he just makes the atmosphere in the living room feel of hockey. So glad to have you back Jiggs, even if it’s just temporary it is such a treat. Wish you were our everyday play-by-play guy, well maybe someday. Jiggs will again be calling the game tonight, then back again for the all important Ranger game. Well Jiggs with the post season push “just nicely under way” let me just say thank you for making this end of what has truly been a fun season, now just that much more great! You are the greatest play-by-play man in the history of sport. No one does it better.

Game notes:

  • Isles are 2-0 versus the Caps this season, and look to complete the season sweep tonight. The last time the Caps winless versus an Islander squad was in 1981-82. The Caps were 0-7-1 against New York that season.
  • Isles have won 5 out of their last 6 on the road and 7 of their last 9. Hence #roadwarriors as Matty Martin has so eloquently deemed them.
  •  Jack Capuano now ranks third in Islanders head coaching history with 78 wins, three behind Terry Simpson for second place. Look out Terry !
  • The Caps traded highly touted prospect Filip Forsberg yesterday to the predators for sleek forward Martin Erat. Erat has 4 goals and 21 points this season.

Projected Lines:

Forwards 26 Matt Moulson – 91 John Tavares – 24 Brad Boyes

12 Josh Bailey – 51 Frans Nielsen – 21 Kyle Okposo

40 Michael Grabner – 10 Keith Aucoin – 13 Colin McDonald

27 Anders Lee – 53 Casey Cizikas – 17 Matt Martin

Defensemen 47 Andrew MacDonald – 3 Travis Hamonic

14 Thomas Hickey – 11 Lubomir Visnovsky

2 Mark Streit – 7 Matt Carkner

Goaltender

20 Evgeni Nabokov

Thanks everyone enjoy what is a great season!

Scotty Bonner Tryin to capture the Spirit of the Thing…

P.S. Have a Nice Day !!

:0) Follow Scotty: @moosiestmoose42

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Tags: Alex Ovechkin Anders Lee Caps Garth Snow Islanders Jack Capuano Jiggs McDonald John Tavares Kyle Okposo Kyle Okposo; New York Islanders; Josh Bailey; Loves The D; John Tavares; Michael Grabner; David Ullstrom Lubomir Visnovsky Matt Martin Matt Moulson New York Islanders Washington Capitals

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