Mark Eaton

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Isles Evaluations: Getting Defensive

The New York Islanders have 34 games remaining on the season, having surpassed the mid-point of the season a few games ago. They currently sit 13th in the Eastern Conference and ten points out of the last and final playoff spot, trailing the Tampa Bay Lightning, Montreal Canadiens, Winnipeg Jets, Toronto Maple Leafs and New Jersey Devils.

With the second half of the year already seven games in, the Isles find themselves in a tight spot. There is still hope that they can compete for a late season rush, hoping to charge their way into the playoffs. However, losing both games to the Leafs this week, only earning one out of possible four points, has hurt their chances drastically. But if the Islanders commit to another second half-season in which they suddenly play their best hockey in the final stages of the year, they might just meet my prediction of falling just short of the post-season between the 9th and 11th spots.

Earlier this week I took a look at the team's forwards and how they have produced so far while considering where they might fit in the team's future.

Isles Look to Tame Wild

The New York Islanders will take on the Minnesota Wild tonight. The Islanders have been playing well lately, staying in every game they’ve played since breaking their long losing streak almost a month ago. Despite a 4-0-2 stretch which saw the young Isles climb back up the standings, their most recent games, regardless of their improved play, have not yielded the type of success they have needed in the standings. They have walked away from recent games where 2 points was well within their grasp.

There are many stages to a rebuild, and the Islanders seem to be on the right track for a slow, steady, and successful one. We saw this season during their long losing streak, that unlike last season when they took the ice for each game with a look of despair, that this team comes out of the locker room hungry and expecting to win every time they play.

The next lesson that this young group needs to learn is simple: Finish Games.

Can the Third Jerseys Break Up The Isles Losing Funk? Gameday vs. Philadelphia

The Islanders will don their brand new black third jerseys tonight as they look to rebound after their second straight shutout loss. Tonight, the Isles will take on the Philadelphia Flyers at the Nassau Coliseum. The Islanders head into this game 5-10-3 and the Flyers are 11-6-3.

With the recent loss of Mark Eaton on the Isles blue line, the Islanders called up Micheal Haley from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Not only will Haley provide toughness into the Isles lineup, but he can create a few scoring chances here and there.

Coach Jack Capuano has yet to announce tonight's starting goaltender, but it could be either Rick DiPietro or Anders Nilsson, who made his NHL starting ...

Where Have The Isles Gone?

Before I begin to talk about the current state of the New York Islanders, I have to ask where this team that is portrayed in this YouTube clip (courtesy of user bufmemaud) has gone?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1E5f7dVNMnY&feature=related

"We saw it last year, I saw it. I saw the energy and the desperation in our game last year. The second half, we had the best record in the National Hockey League after the All-Star break. We were physical. We were tough to play against."

-Islanders head coach Jack Capuano after the New York Islanders 6-0 loss Saturday night to the Boston Bruins.

Ask the Boston Bruins and Sidney Crosby and the rest of the Pittsburgh...

And The Islanders Will Finish In....

The New York Islanders are in the middle of training camp; plenty of fresh faces are looking to surprise the coaching staff and crack the line-up while a few other seasoned and whithered faces look to continue their NHL career with an impressive tryout.

But what everyone is hoping for is a successful season that will result in the Islanders FINALLY making the playoffs after the slow and steady rebuild began three seasons ago.

Let's take a look at some of the major events that have transpired in Islanders country during the off-season thus far:

1. General Manager Garth Snow re-signed Kyle Okposo and Michael Grabner to five-year contract extensions at an affordable pri...

A Look At the Defense on the Island

There had been talk since the start of free agency that the Islanders were going to look to add a top six forward as well as a top four defenseman. So far, General Manager Garth Snow has traded Trent Hunter to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for veteran winger, Brian Rolston. It was seen as mostly a cap floor move as his salary brings them closer to that goal, but he also will provide veteran leadership, a booming slap-shot and a top-six presence as long as he stays healthy.

But the defenseman has yet to be found.

The Islanders went into the off-season with six defenseman already under contract with Mark Streit, Andy MacDonald, Travis Hamonic, Mark Eaton, Mike Mottau and Mil...