Top Shelf: Islanders Daily — Thanksgiving Day Edition — 11/28/13

Nov 27, 2013; Uniondale, NY, USA; The Winnipeg Jets celebrate a goal by Winnipeg Jets Islanders during the second period of a game at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Islanders drop their 9th game of the month, slipping further into obscurity with their loss last night on home ice against the Winnipeg Jets.

Coach Jack Capuano negated any notions that his team lacked structure and/or poise throughout the evening, citing momentary and/or isolated errors that were the Islanders’ undoing.

But closer inspection negates said negation, as the Islanders have yet to decipher the mystery of the faceoff win (especially in their own zone) not to mention plagued by neutral zone turnovers that undoubtedly become high-percentage scoring opportunities, which force goaltender Kevin Poulin to make elaborate saves.

Last night’s performance was nothing short of lackluster in tempo and surreal in its disappointment, undercut by lethargy and confoundedness.

Michael Grabner and Josh Bailey continue to struggle on both ends of the ice, and with that, the Isles ability at procuring secondary scoring–a key to their success late last season.

The Power Play would go 1-for-4, with Andrew MacDonald temporarily bringing back some life on that side of things, but overall, special teams lack creativity and a killer instinct.

Looking through a Gestalt-like lens unveils a disjointed and dispirited Islanders team, and the Isles 1st and 4th lines aren’t enough in gauging any positives from which to move forward; in fact, those aforementioned lines and their success only help to cast a light upon the deficiencies among the remaining men that comprise the team.

In other words, no longer can one say, “Well, at least John Tavares is scoring, or is one of the best forwards in all of hockey.” etc.  As with all team sports, if the talent and success are found in pockets and not distributed evenly, there is no success of which to speak.

In fact, what you have is wasted talent and, moreover, frustration that leads to mistakes that leads to more failure.

The New York Islanders are not a terrible team, but they are certainly playing that way.


The silver lining is indeed Kevin Poulin, who continues playing great hockey, with a key save late in the third on a breakaway attempt from Evander Kane–a save that showed a mature, stalwart goalie who can offer the Islander much in the way of steady netminding once the defensive woes are remedied, be it now or next season.

Suffice to say that Evgeni Nabokov must do more than just recover from his injury to earn his spot back on this team. And if nothing else can be taken from this past month’s series of games, then let it be Kevin Poulin’s emergence as a legitimate NHL goaltender with talent, courage, and skill in tow.

The job is now for Poulin to lose or keep.

Captain John Tavares scored his 11th of the season by simply barreling through his opponent and sneaking the puck between Al Montoya‘s pads to bring the Isles within one.  And the Islanders would finally awaken and bring some intensity to their forecheck with approximately 3 minutes left in the game–which obviously is what not to do at this level.

But a ticky-tack Hooking call on Pierre-Marc Bouchard at the 17:44 mark of the 3rd all but diminished the Isles chances of tying it up.

Nothing more can be said other than the Islanders have 6 players playing their hearts out (those who comprise the 1st and 4th lines, respectively) and a goaltender who’s GAA is suffering due to a lack of concerted effort by his defensive core. The rest of the team is absolutely flat and/or befuddled when on the ice.


Be thankful on this Thanksgiving Day that the Isles still have a chance at turning things around, especially with a player of John Tavares’s caliber continuing to make plays happen.

But whatever the injuries, whatever the issues regarding chemistry, things need to be shaken up and straightened out in time for December, because another month like the one about to finish would all but fracture this team’s chances at making the post-season.


From all of us here at, we’d like to wish you and your loved ones a very happy, healthy Thanksgiving.

Now go watch some football.


Remaining November Schedule (2 games remaining)

  • Home Games: DET 11/29 (4PM); WSH 11/30
  • Away Games: -0-

In Case You Missed It

Presser Points


  • Captain John Tavares with his thoughts

Around the NHL

  • MTL @ BUF: 3-1
  • CAR @ NJD: 4-3
  • OTT @ WSH: 6-4
  • NSH @ CBJ: 4-0
  • PHX @ MIN: 3-1
  • STL @ COL: 4-1
  • BOS @ DET: 1-6
  • PHI @ TBL: 2-4
  • NYR @ FLA: 5-2
  • TOR @ PIT: 5-6
  • LAK @ SJS: 2-3
  • CHI @ CGY: 3-2

Across the Sound