The Islanders (6-7-1) look to build on their 2 game winning streak when Philadelphia (6-9-1) skates into the Nassau Coliseum for a President's Day matinee. Is there a better way to honor the great American presidents than pitting Philadelphia against New York?
After looking lost for 5 games and losing in an assortment of ways, the Isles have returned to relevance. The fans have taken their hand off of the panic button. Over the past two games, the Islanders have looked like a different team.
After coming out flat in Thursday's game against the Rangers, the Isles looked set on making their losing streak hit 6. Falling behind 2-0, in enemy territory, against a talented Ranger team, the game looked hopeless. But during the first intermission, something happened behind closed doors.
The New York Islanders opened their abbreviated 48-game season tonight with a 2-1 regulation loss at home to the defending Eastern Conference champs, the New Jersey Devils.
A sold out crowd was introduced to the 2012-2013 roster before puck drop. However, head coach Jack Capuano was missing, forcing assistant coach Doug Weight to take over along with Brent Thompson. Capuano missed the game due to a medical reason that was not disclosed to the media. It had been mentioned in the locker room that it is not life threatening, and that an update will likely be provided tomorrow.
But for the Isles, playing without their head coach behind the bench might have thrown the team for a bit of loop by the time the first period was underway. The Isles provided a lot of sloppy play in their end of the ice which resulted in poorly executed break outs and many mistakes in the neutral zone.
The Captain 'C' is an honor that is sought for all throughout the NHL. We know the value in wearing it but lately for the Islanders it has been nothing but a stitched design to add to the jersey. After Denis Potvin stepped aside there has been a lot to be desired in terms of leadership for the team.
Looking at the Islanders' current captain, the honorable Mark Streit, it is easy to see why he is the captain. He is restoring form to an honor that has lost most of its meaning through the last few captains. Streit struggled last year but as a talented player, choosing to play on Long Island, is enough for the fans to let that slide. He has been a great example for the many young players on the team through his NHL experience and international play.
The release of assistant coaches Scott Allen and Dean Chynoweth by the Islanders has led to speculation that Bridgeport Sound Tigers head coach Brent Thompson will be joining Jack Capuano and Doug Weight behind the teams bench. I hope this is not the case for three very good reasons. First, I think that coach Capuano should be allowed to select his own assistants and can’t think of any successful organization that doesn’t allow their head coach to do the same. Secondly, as remarkable a job as coach Thompson has done in Bridgeport, he has not finished his work here. Lastly, I am a selfish Sound Tigers fan and don’t want to lose him. (Okay, maybe that’s only two good reasons.)
Josh Bailey has been an incredibly inconsistent contributor for the New York Islanders. Bailey is playing in his fourth season with the Islanders, he played his first game back in 2008-09. He missed the first fourteen games of his rookie season with a lower-body injury; he would play his first NHL game on November 11, 2008 at home versus the Philadelphia Flyers. Josh recorded his first NHL point just one game later on November 13 in Ottawa when he assisted on Kyle Okposo’s game tying goal. The Islanders went on to win the game 3-1. Bailey recorded eight more assists on the road to his first goal, which came on January 2, 2009, in the same game as Doug Weight’s 1,000 point, against the Phoenix Coyotes. The game was bittersweet for Bailey, who was enthusiastic about his first goal, but disheartened by the 5-4 loss. He went on to record 25 points in his rookie campaign finishing with 7 goals and 18 assists. (Photo Credit: thehockeyjunkies.blogspot.com)
Many were immediately calling for the removal of head coach Jack Capuano at the start of the season once the New York Islanders' record began to slip from 3-1 to way below .500. However, there were some, like myself, who argued that it was premature to blame the coaching staff for the poor start due to the fact that the roster from last season hadn't changed much and for the other simple fact - the season was still young. (Photo Credit: Robert Kowal/Flickr)
Since then, the Islanders have managed to be a consistent below .500 team for the year. They have come close on a few occasions from jumping over the hurdle but would then find a way to take two steps back after taking one step forward. This past week has been the most disheartening of the year for Isles fans in relation to how the team has continued to perform. Not only have they lost games, but they have done it with such depression that even the U.S. economy cringed.
Three of the last eight games saw the Islanders either blow a three-goal lead or lose the game in the final few minutes of the third period. It started when the Islanders went into the second period against the Washington Capitals with a 2-0 lead on February 28th. The Caps would score two goals in the final three minutes of the game and then go on to have Alexander Ovechkin score the early game winning goal in the extra frame. The Islanders also had a 1-0 lead against the New Jersey Devils just this past Saturday, only to see their opponent score two goals just 14 seconds apart in the final two minutes of the hockey game. And most recently, the Islanders blew a 4-1 lead last night against the Caps to lose 5-4 in the shootout.
Rick Nash won't be donning an Islanders jersey tomorrow night; the Islanders didn't get a first round pick for Evgeni Nabokov and/or P.A. Parenteau; Al Montoya will still be on the bench to back up the Islanders number one goaltender; and the defensive play of Mark Eaton, Milan Jurcina and Steve Staios will still be seen for the rest of the season.
Staios, despite popular reports from a fake twitter account, was not dealt to the Vancouver Canucks for a 6th round draft pick.
BUT Garth Snow did manage to rid himself of the putrid play of Brian Rolston and the defensive relapses of Mike Mottau. Both were sent packing to the Boston Bruins for a couple of prospects; Yanick Riendeau and Marc Cantin.
Thomas Vanek and Tyler Myers both scored and Ryan Miller made 30 saves as the Sabres spoiled interim head coach Doug Weight’s coaching debut 2-1 on Tuesday Night.
Weight was appointed interim head coach for the game as head coach Jack Capuano dealt with a flu that has ravaged his lineup in the past three games. Evgeni Nabokov missed his third straight game dealing with the illness.
An all too similar start to the game forced the Islanders into an early 1-0 hole. Tyler Myers opened the scoring just 1:21 into the game. After a initial stop on Derek Roy, Myers found the rebound and snapped it over a prone Kevin Poulin. For the second straight game, the Islanders fell behind within the first 90 seconds.
After the New York Islanders hosted the Florida Panthers this afternoon, MET-Rx sponsored a "Skate With The Greats" game where lucky, everyday hockey players that won their sweepstakes got the chance to play against Islanders alumni and other sports celebrities. Among the active participants were goaltender Chico Resch, forwards Doug Weight, Mike Bossy, Clark Gillies, Bobby Nystrom and Butch Goring, defenseman Eric Cairns, General Manager Garth Snow (who skated out instead of playing net), and TV host and former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason.
Boomer's son Gunner, who battles cystic fibrosis, dressed for the game as well and played on the same team as his father. Both of them were on the white team which also featured Bossy, Gillies and Snow. The blue team had Cairns, Nystrom, Weight and Goring dressed as the opposition. Resch played between the pipes for the first period for the blue team but then sat out for the remaining two periods in favor of another goaltender.
Each period was 15 minutes long in running time with a three minute intermission in between each period. Penalty shots were awarded if penalties were taken; believe it or not, two were called. The first came when Boomer wrestled Weight in the corner, yanking his stick out of his hands and throwing it over the glass. Weight managed to get his stick back from the fan, who returned it willingy, and then failed to convert on the penalty shot, rifling a one handed shot over the crossbar.
The Islanders took on the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday night in both teams final game before the holiday break. With the loss to the Rangers on Thursday night, the Islanders were definitely lacking confidence and it showed.
The Isles faced a Maple Leafs team who are having a pretty good season so far. Even with some injury...