Hockey From The Blind Side, Blind Observations From the Islanders Win Over The Flames


Gary summed up the New York Islanders win over the Calgary Flames at the NVMC on Thursday evening. It was, without a doubt, a big win for the Isles.

It is getting a little unnerving to give up the first goal of a game and to do so with under five minutes into the first period. I believe this was the seventh time the opposing team has scored prior to the five minute mark in the opening period of a game.

Fortunately, though, the Islanders did turn it on and pick up their game. Yes, I would call it outright domination at times, and this was a Flames team that had been playing pretty good hockey. The Islanders snapped a four game winning streak the boys from Calgary had been riding.

I will confess that it still bothers me that the Islanders lost Blake Comeau without any compensation at all, but, at the same time, 5 points in some 17 games with the Flames and from all reports, there being no sign of a 24 goal scorer indicates that he hasn’t picked up his game much with the scenery change. He might have had two shots on net against the Islanders, and he wasn’t at all noticeable out there. I have also caught a few Flames games via NHL GameCenter since Calgary grabbed Comeau off wavers, and I didn’t notice him much either. Note, as well, that I was a Blake Comeau fan, and I am not intending my comments as a knock on him. In fact, I wish him the best of luck and feel that he can be a 20 goal scorer in the league.

In any event, here are some thoughts of my own from the game, some “blind observations” I offer you;

• John Tavares continues to emerge as a “star” in the NHL. The maturity and confidence grows with each game, and he is absolutely an entertaining and exciting player to watch. Was his goal a thing of beauty? Unfortunately, Butch Goring was finishing a point when the goal was scored, but I’ve read descriptions of it in a few places now.

• Kyle Okposo fit in just fine on the top line. Yes, I am an Okie fan, but his name was called as much as JT’s and Moulson’s throughout the game.

• Let us not overlook the fact that Evgeni Nabokov seems to get better each game. He definitely looked like the Nabbie of old last night with a number of his saves last night.

• Matt Martin had another solid game. Maybe, he didn’t appear on the score sheet, but 7 hits and just being a physical presence out there continues to be noticeable to me. When he starts to put the puck in the net more and takes full advantage of his tenacity in going to the net, he will be a real force on the ice.

• If anything will be the weak spot of this team in the overall picture, it might be the defense. I’m sorry, but we need more than “serviceable” guys on the back line.

• The offense has to do more in the long run. The Islanders had no trouble scoring goals the last half of last season, and we have 4 guys who had 20 or more goals last season still on the roster. The top line can’t do all the scoring. Yes, all four lines played well last night, and, yes, Miikka Kiprusoff played well, but in order to win and give your goaltending a chance to win, your team has to score more than 2 goals (remember that Rolston’s goal was an empty netter), a game.
• It was nice to hear that the Islanders had over 15000 at the game last night. They need the crowds to come out and support the team.

• Is Travis Hamonic only 22? This guy is logging minutes, blocking shots, firing the puck and taking the body like a long time veteran.
• A-Mac is coming back to form. I believe Hamonic and he will be the #1 paring on defense for all situations on the ice, if they are not there already.

So, our good buddy, Ryan Smyth and the Edmonton Oilers come to town on Saturday. They have been playing much better this season and will not be an easy opponent. In order to get back into the playoff picture, the blue and orange are going to have to pick up where they left off against the Flames and come to play.

Lastly, from Eyes on Isles to you all, have a happy, healthy and safe New Year!

God bless

John Panarese

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