Going the negative route is simply something I don’t desire to do or enjoy doing, for that matter. I don’t play the game of hockey nor can I physically do so. Thus, I never feel truly comfortable negatively criticizing anyone who does play the game. I don’t know what it’s like to take the ice or have to do so for 82 games, and I can’t even imagine myself doing such a thing.
With that said, though, last night was a display of hockey that left a bad taste in my mouth …. HORRIBLE taste …. to be honest. There is no other way to describe it.
On a night honoring the first captain of the organization, #18, Ed Westfall, one would have expected quite a bit more passion and spark to their game. This was a home game for the Islanders, and a rematch against a team that embarrassed them on the road just a few weeks earlier. All signs should have pointed to an effort that would have matched what one would expect to see.
However, when the proverbial smoke cleared, the Isles were crushed 6-0 by the Boston Bruins. Rick DiPietro started the game n net, and gave up 3 goals in the first period. Then, rookie, Anders Nilsson made his first career appearance in net for the Isles, and after no goals being surrendered in the second period, the Bruins got 3 more in the third. Frankly, other than DP basically passing a puck directly to Nathan Horton and giving Horton a “gift” goal, how much was actually the fault of the goaltending can be debated.
Without a doubt, the Boston Bruins are the defending Stanley Cup champions, and a solid, talented group of guys. They are big and fast, and there is a reason why they won it all last season. Nevertheless, the New York Islanders should not have been handled so easily last night. The Isles are a MUCH better team than that, and it was honestly an embarrassment from a passionate fan’s perspective.
To me, Jack Capuano summed things up pretty clearly after the game by saying this to the media,
“When you play this game, you need to play with fire. You need to have passion. You need play with determination. You need to play with desperation… When you lace up your skates, the guy across from you, the guy on the left and the right of you, they need to know that you’ve got their back and you’re going to play for one another. That just didn’t happen tonight.”
Where was the passion? Where was the desperation? Where was the leadership? Where was the consistency and effort we saw throughout most of Thursday’s game against the Canadians?
Someone has to step up for this team. Maybe, they need to have a closed door, team meeting like the Buffalo Sabres held. There needs to be accountability and responsibility among the group. I personally don’t understand why Kyle Okposo has been a healthy scratch for the last 3 games, as if he has been the one guy to blame. I think one doesn’t have to look far to be aware that more than a few guys who take the ice each game have been responsible for lack of good play and generally sleepwalking through too many periods.
The bottom line is the 20 guys in the lineup each game are good enough to win each night. I have no doubts this team can compete and be successful. I have no doubts Jack Capuano and the coaching staff believes this to be the case, as well as Garth Snow. There is talent on high among that locker room, and potential not yet tapped. Overall, though, this team HAS to start showing that potential and talent, and demonstrating the fire and passion and desperation we saw the last half of last season. This cannot continue to go on like this.
It doesn’t get any easier for them either. A trip to Pittsburgh on Monday and then a home meeting with the Flyers on Wednesday are the next two games for the Isles. Rebuilding or not, developing or not, a game like last night is simply NOT acceptable at this point in time.
With that said, however, all that can be done is to forget about what happened and move on. Monday is another game, and there is surely plenty of time to redeem themselves. Hopefully, it starts against the Penguins with a strong, consistent effort Monday night in Steel town.
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