Man, it only took a couple of days to wipe out so many of the good feelings built up through the first eight weeks of the season. The question is now being asked by many: is it time for the Islanders to push the panic button?
It was only a few short days ago Islander fans and media alike were waxing poetic about the “special” season taking place over in Uniondale. The team was going to close out its time at the Nassau Coliseum with one final hoorah for the fans.
It’s good to root for the New York Islanders now. The team is humming along at 19-7-0, atop the Metropolitan Division, one point off the top of the league. Even the most optimistic of Islander fans could not have predicted this tear the team has been on. It’s been a fun two-month ride to start the season, a feeling that has been absent all too often in recent years.
While people have (rightfully) given large amounts of credit for their success to new-comers like Jaroslav Halak, Nick Leddy, and Johnny Boychuk, is it time to finally give coach Jack Capuano a little love?
Michael Grabner has been activated off the injured reserve and is close to making his debut in the Islanders line-up this season. He was seen this morning practicing with Frans Nielsen and Mikhail Grabovski, although it has yet to be confirmed if this is the line he will be playing with tomorrow night when they visit the Ottawa Senators for the second half of a home-and-home match-up.
Where Grabner would fit has come into question, given that the current line-up has done very well this season (18-7-0).
The New York Islanders played in a packed house filled with two fan bases that were seething with animosity towards one another. In previous years, a visiting division rival fan base would overtake the Coliseum and diminish most “Let’s Go Islanders” chants.
Not this year.
On a night where the team was honoring Islanders legend, Denis Potvin, Isles fans quickly extinguished the chants from New Jersey fans and drowned out their support (as well as throw in many other chants as well) with ease as the home team fought for a 3-1 victory in front of a sold out Nassau Coliseum crowd.
The Islanders play host to the Tampa Bay Lightning Tuesday night as they look to exact revenge on the Lightning for Saturday night’s 5-2 defeat in the Sunshine State. The loss snapped the Isles’ five game win streak but they will look to start up another one at the Nassau Coliseum against a loaded Lightning team.
The Islanders will host the Colorado Avalanche Tuesday night at the Nassau Coliseum as the Isles look to extend its winning streak to four and improve to 10-5-0 on the season. It will be the Islanders first home game back after a 3-2-0 road trip out west but will be slightly better than a stop-over before the team hits the road to Florida for two more the rest of the week.
What a difference 24 hours can make.
On Wednesday night as the Islanders prepared to face-off with the Anaheim Ducks, there was a feeling of “here we go again” around the club and fans. An overtime victory in Anaheim followed up by a shoot-out win against the Stanley Cup Champion Kings Thursday night and the good vibes were rolling again on Long Island.
In 2009, the Los Angeles Kings selected Brayden Schenn with their first round pick. Formerly a star with the Western Hockey League's Brandon Wheat Kings, and brother of highly-touted defensive prospect Luke, who was picked a year prior, Schenn possessed different kinds of skills that would encapsulate a top pick.
"When [scouts] talk about a comparable player in the National Hockey League, think Mike Richards of the Philadelphia Flyers," TSN's Bob McKenzie said moments after the pick. "This guy is a complete package in terms of being a prototypical second line pro center in the National Hockey League who can do everything. Offense, defense, and most importantly, winning hockey."
Fast forward to 2014. After scoring his first NHL goal at the 2012 Winter Classic, and completing his first 20-goal campaign, the now-23-year-old centerman has accumulated 94 points in his 204 games.Those numbers are good for a 0.46 points per game rate.
The Islanders host the Dallas Stars Saturday night at the Nassau Coliseum as they look to win their second game in a row coming off a thrilling victory Thursday night in Boston. (Image credit: flickr/ chiefx70)