NY Islanders News

It always seems tohappen

By John Panarese
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Yes, you can say there is just 3 games to go for the 2009-2010 NHL season for the Islanders, and the Isles are out of the playoffs, but it is still more hard luck for the boys. Just when Blake Comeau was truly realizing his potential and playing with confidence and consistency, he breaks his foot blocking a shot. Thus, his season has ended a bit early than the rest of his teammates.

I was disappointed and frustrated when Rob Schremp’s season came to an unexpected end with his knee injury, as we were starting to see that “kid” start to show his skill and real capabilities. It seems that just about any time we get a guy starting to really step up and shine, it’s either too late in the season or the guy in question gets hurt. I’m sure that there are fans of other teams that can bring up examples of their own, and, no, I am neither crying or whining about “bad luck” and all of that. Still, it is quite frustrating and discouraging when you have a guy who has finally found his way have to shut it down for the remainder of the season because of an injury. Blake was doing his job, but it just seems to typify the luck of this hockey club over the last few years.

I guess, the “good news” is, despite losing Blake for the rest of the season, we were finally starting to see what our 2007 draft pick has to offer the team. I have always hoped that Blake would really begin to step up and add yet another future piece to the picture of a potential championship team, and I was pleased to see him be so dominant of a force on the ice and leading by example. On the power play, penalty kill or even strength, Comeau was being productive and successful, totaling some 35 points in just over 60 games. What a turn around from the earlier season, healthy scratches. Besides stepping up with his physical play, he was doing all of the “little things” coaches love to see in a player. Frankly, he was impressive to watch and one could have only wished that he had gotten it together two months earlier.

Overall, though, if there is a “consolation” prize to all of this, we now have another guy who has definitely taken strides forward in his development. Besides Kyle Okposo and Josh Bailey, consider Comeau, and Schremp as building blocks along with JT and Moulson for a truly competitive team. If Sean Bergenheim can put together a stretch of fine play earlier in a season and remain consistent, Frans Nielsen continues to get better and better, and Trent Hunter can stay healthy, we could have more than a few 20 + goal scorers in the lineup. On top of that, we have plenty of guys on the back line who are blossoming as well to add further depth to the development scheme of Scott Gordon’s lineup.

Yeah, things are great in theory, and I am perfectly aware that we still have a lot of questions to be answered. The Isles are still a few years away from becoming a “true winner”, and I am not at all counting chickens before they are hatched. Nevertheless, one cannot deny the positives we have seen this season, and Blake Comeau is certainly an aspect of the New York Islanders that brings us hope for our future. It surely makes me look forward to the 2010-2011 season, and discovering how much further this team will grow and develop together.

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