Before I get to work on my mid season report card, I wanted to catch up a bit and mention some “blind observations” that have struck me from the win against the Redwings and last night’s loss to the Flyers.
First, though, a few general comments about last night’s game.
The Islanders out played, out hit and out shot the Flyers, yet still lost the game. This, to me, was quite disappointing and frustrating. Without a doubt, Sergei Bobrobsky made the difference by stopping 33 of 35 Islander shots on net, stoning Michael Grabner in the second period and stopping his penalty shot in the first.
Once again, the lack of secondary scoring did the Isles in. The top line got both goals, and this simply is not a good thing for the team. The other three lines have to put the puck in the net on a nightly basis, and now that Michael Grabner is starting to show the speed and knack of earning scoring chances that he had last season, he needs to convert them into goals much more often.
In any event, in no particular order and priority, here are my thoughts from the last two games.
• Steve Staios is most likely going to be suspended for his hit on Max Talbit with about 4 minutes left in last night’s game. Although no penalty was called on the play, the way suspensions have been handed out in the “Bannihan era”, it’s highly likely Steve is going to miss one game nonetheless.
• Congratulations to John Tavares for being chosen to the all star team. He surely deserves it. Picking up 40 points in 41 games is only part of why he deserved the nod. He has emerged as one of the best centers in the NHL, and is becoming a dominating force on the ice with every game.
• Matt Moulson was snubbed. I’m sorry, but a potential 40 goal scorer should have been selected for the all star team as well. Moulson has 36 points in 41 games.
• I wish the Isles could play Western Conference teams much more often. Besides their impressive record against the west, they are now 5-0-1 in their last 6 against the Redwings, which includes 6-0 and 5-1 victories in their last 2 home meetings.
• Nino Nieterreider needs more ice time. I’ve said it before, but in order to continue to develop, the guy has to play more. Fourth line ice time is not going to cut it for the 19 year old.
• I wrote a post a couple of years ago about the 5 reasons why I love the game of hockey and in that post, I talked about the toughness of hockey players compared to those who play other sports. How about JT taking a puck to the face and barely missing a shift?
• Mike Babcock had plenty of reasons to be upset at the end of the game on Tuesday after his team was beaten by the Islanders 5-1, but Jack Capuano taking a time out with 21 seconds left in the game should not have been one of them. If the Wings just wanted to get out of Dodge, why ice the puck at that point anyway? It can be argued that the first line of Tavares, Moulson and Okposo shouldn’t have been out there at that point in the game, but regardless of who was on the ice, Capuano had every right to use his time out.
Report card to come soon, folks. Next up, it’s the struggling and injury plagued Buffalo Sabres on Saturday in which Patrick Flatley will be added to the Islander Hall of Fame. I am personally glad to see this honor being bestowed on “Flats”.
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