The New York Islanders dropped game two to the Washington Capital to start the season and Isles Twitter is imploding already.
With another loss for the New York Islanders, it’s all doom and gloom in the wonderland called Isles Twitter. From calling for the head of Travis Hamonic to the usual rehashing of Josh Bailey’s uselessness, it’s all happening here, folks. But here’s a recap in case you missed the good stuff.
There needs to be some kind of petition, sit in or hunger strike to get Johnny Boychuk more power play time (I say again and again). He makes things happen and this time it wasn’t the rocket doing it. Overall, though, he had a pretty strong game, rushed the zone, put himself in front of the goalie, and got pucks to the net. It’s the Boychuk the Isles need to see all season.
The fact that the Islanders put their PK to the task five times against the Capitals is not a good sign, but let’s chalk up at least two of them to Mathew Barzal’s rookie jitters. The penalty kill was stellar and that’s a good sign going forward.
Another good sign was Barzal’s ability to rebound. Perhaps due in no small part to Ryan Strome’s sense of humor and attempt to keep the kid loose. Good show on Strome’s part there. Added to that is the fact that he looked better yet again.
This was not your World Cup exhibition Thomas Greiss. This is the Greiss we got last season who came in strong, kept the boys in, and gave them a chance to win. He came up big, especially in the first period when the Islanders were killing off Barzal’s penalties and couldn’t muster a shot on goal themselves.
So Hamonic loses an edge and opens the door for Daniel Winnik’s game winner. It was an unfortunate play, but it’s an expensive aside.
Again, there’s no sugar coating that Hamonic and Nick Leddy as a pair haven’t looked particularly strong in their own end in these first two games. Leddy had his offense offerings with some pretty zone entries and rushes tonight. He also did some good work against Alexander Ovechkin on the penalty kill.
There’s some real anger happening in these parts. Do we really hate Travis Hamonic? No, because being a fan is fickle and goes where the wind blows.
And there’s always this:
There’s still the expectation of more out of the defense pairing eating up the big minutes. There’s an absolute need for more from them.
I have never been on the bash Bailey train, but two games in and I’m feeling the pull despite my more rational nature. The thing is that my frustration isn’t with Bailey. It’s with Jack Capuano and his use of Bailey. I’ve come to terms with what Bailey can do and it belongs on a third/fourth line. Not on the first line with John Tavares.
Hamonic’s edge was ugly. Barzal’s second penalty was too. Worse than those things though is Tavares, yet again, having to make do. I think Andrew Ladd will happen. Brian Compton hit that nail on the head when he said the World Cup and Tavares’ absence from camp didn’t help. Also remember it took time for Tavares to mesh with Thomas Vanek but when it happened, man did it happen.
This experiment with Jason Chimera on the top line is a joke. It makes the Islanders a joke and if you don’t think it helps bring that level of respect Tavares should have, down, you’re deluding yourself.
You want fast? You’ve got Joshua Ho-Sang in Bridgeport. You’ve got Anthony Beauvillier watching from the box. Give JT the fresh blood, not another grizzled veteran who played fourth line on another team and was expendable to them.
All in all, better effort, but as venerable Coach Eric Taylor would emphatically say when fired up, not nearly good enough.