NY Islanders News

Gary’s Islander Review – #7 Trent Hunter – and some Canuck thoughts.

By Gary Harding
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An enigma to say the least.

He started off well.  Playing his physical self, getting on the score sheet  (well – not as much as I originally thought).  He had a goal and three assists in 17 games with a -4 and 23 penalty minutes.  However, I think that he is realizing that his offensive output is not part of his game.  It is the mucking, grinding, getting dirty in the corners type of game that the coaching staff is looking for.

However, he suffered a foot injury on Oct. 15 at Pittsburgh and returned to action on Oct. 21 at Tampa Bay after missing two games.  Then the final downfall, on November 24th, he suffered a grade three MCL tear in his left knee.  That was the end, just like that.

Hunter has a long term contract at $2 million per season for another three years (maybe 2 – not sure).  The contract is a kind of a bargain, if he plays a full season.  What he needs is a lot of prayers and wishes for good health; because when he gets just that – he is a positive contributor.  He can make a difference and allow a player of skill with goal scoring touches be more effective.

As far as a grade, I would have to give a C-.  If the pace was through a full year, I would have to go to the D range, but I am giving the benefit of the doubt – due to the injury.  I know that he is rehabbing real hard to get back to the lineup.  The contract and player can be dangled in a trade too, if some of the other possibilities happen (Nino, for example).

As far as the playoffs go – I, of course, am very happy with the play of the Vancouver Canucks.  They started slow, but have progressed nicely.  Yes – they held serve at home, but after the Sharks tied the game at 2, the aura of Vancouver changed, and they showed just how they were the President’s Trophy winners this season.

Can you say that the “TWINS” are back?  After some brain farts in the first two series, they boys are back.  What a bang-bang play that opened the scoring last night.  They are just amazing, and I get more and more impressed with they way the read off each other.

Also – quite impressed with the play of Kevin Bieksa on the back line.  A while back this season – he was not in the best of favor with the Vancouver fans, but in the last two weeks, has been a real STUD.  Scoring a Gordie Howe hat-trick this game, his stock has gone up considerably.

Roberto Luongo has given up a sloppy goal here and there, but has made some impressive stops when he has needed to.  I just think his confidence is brewing greatly, and will be tougher as the games go on.

However, the next two are at the HP Pavillion “Tank” and the San Jose crowds are awesome.  They are going to have to keep their game simple, try their best to counteract the San Jose matchups, and get the opportunities in front of Niemi early and often, to keep that rancid crowd out of the game.  I also like to watch San Jose, and it is tough for me to ‘pick’, but Vancouver has to pounce on them, and do it often, if they want to make their first FINAL since 1994.  At least they will not have to play a New York team, so there is a chance.

Missed the green men last night – they were not there, but I heard that a ‘busty’ girl was there trying to distract the San Jose players in the box.  Got to admit, I am getting more and more into them…..  If you like them, and you are on facebook, check them out at https://www.facebook.com/#!/canucksgreenmen

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