The Eyes on Isles staff got together to reflect on the New York Islanders season and compiled the top 10 goals of the year. Each of these goals were important for some reason, we’ll rank them and tell you why. Here’s number five:
It doesn’t feel too good when you’re called out in front of your peers for your lack of productivity in the workplace. And generally, you like to respond to that criticism, or just passive-aggressively mope and start looking for a new job. That could have been the case when New York Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano called out some of his players last April.
Before a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Capuano went to the media to call out the play of Josh Bailey, Ryan Strome, and Brock Nelson. Saying the three in question need to “pick their s—t up.” Amongst other things.
It was a pretty harsh raking over the coals from a coach to his players in front of the watchful eyes of the camera. How the players reacted would be seen that night against Tampa.
Three players were called out by the coach on April 4th, but only one answered his call via the box score that night. And that was Brock Nelson.
The criticism didn’t seem too fair for Nelson. By that point in the season, Nelson was sitting on 38 points with another five games to play. He was riding a three-game pointless streak but had just put up three points over the three previous nights.
He certainly wasn’t consistent, but we already know that there isn’t a player in the league that is. Scoring comes in waves. Of the three players called out Nelson definitely had recourse.
But instead of moping about, Nelson went out that night against the Lightning to proved himself to the coach. Pouncing on a counter-attacking opportunity made possible by a great up-ice pass from Kulemin.
That goal would prove to be his last until the first round of the playoffs. But the importance of the goal was how Nelson dealt with adversity and what kind of character he possessed.
Nelson had two options when faced with his coach’s criticism. He chose to prove himself on the ice. Of the three players called out by the coach Nelson was the quickest to respond. Bailey would end the regular season without a point after Capuano’s comments. Strome would notch two assists the next day against Washington.
Bailey would end the regular season without a point after Capuano’s comments. Strome would notch two assists the next day against Washington. Both Bailey and Strome would see time in the press box in the playoffs as Capuano sought to inject some life into his roster.
The importance of the goal wasn’t that it change the outcome of a game (the Isles beat the Lightning 5-2 that night), nor did it change the course of the season. What it showed was the character that Brock Nelson possesses.