Tanking Begins in 4-1 Loss to Philly

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Marty Biron owns the Islanders. Weeks before this team collapsed down the stretch, Biron was playing great against them and with a depleted lineup and nothing on the line, the Isles were done before the puck even dropped.

This team is in full tank mode right now. Ted Nolan can say whatever he wants to the press, but now it’s obvious. Why else would Joey MacDonald get the start tonight after Wade Dubielewicz played his tail off against the Devils?

Dubie and KO End Skid in Dramatic 3-1 Win

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Welcome to the NHL Kyle Okposo.

I said a few days ago that Richard Park is known for bringing out the best in his linemates and so far, Blake Comeau and Okposo seem to be gelling together quite nicely.

I know many Islander fans would love this team to tank the rest of the season and get a great pick in this year’s draft, I really think that this team should continue to play hard and get these youngsters as much playing time as they can. Guys like Miroslav Satan, who have quit on this team 10 games ago, can play on the fourth line and take up space as far as I’m concerned. What that will do is effectively cut the fat off of this team and give guys like Okposo, Comeau, Jeff Tambellini and even Sean Bergenheim more confidence and the energy to work hard during the offseason, coming back better players next year.

Blast from the Past: Jiggs McDonald

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Sorry guys, I don’t have time for a full-fledged post today, so I figured I’d share this interview I did, at the beginning of last season, with you guys. I think you’ll find it quite interesting.

Hockey fans in the New York area would never believe that John Kenneth “Jiggs” McDonald, the former play-by-play voice of the Isles from 1980-1995 and one of the most respected broadcasters in the history of the sport, would ever have a reason to doubt his own ability.

DP Out for Season

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If you haven’t heard the news already, Rick DiPietro is out for the season. After going 7-12 with a 3.38 GAA after he injured his hip in the All-Star Game Skills Competition, Wade Dubielewicz will now be asked to assume more responsibility over the last eight games of the season.

Here’s Garth Snow’s take on the situation:

“Rick wanted badly to be with his team until the end of the season, but this decision was made with his best long-term interests in mind,” Islanders general manager Garth Snow said in a statement. “Rick took his game to even greater heights this season, deservedly being named a National Hockey League All-Star for the first time in his career.

Okposo Debut Thoughts and Another Loss

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It wasn’t exactly a story book start to a career, but Kyle Okposo is now an NHLer.

Above all else, in a little over 13 minutes of ice-time, Okposo proved that he can skate with the big boys and that he’s going to work as hard as anyone over the next eight games. Again two shots on goal is nothing to jump for joy about, but it’s a start.

Nevertheless, his line with Blake Comeau and Richard Park was easily the Islanders most passionate trio out there, drawing penalties and getting a cycle going on numerous occasions. Okposo was also skating very well and made a few nice passes into the slot. His hockey sense isn’t bad either, as after a mediocre first two or three shifts, he started getting to the front of the net and using his legs more. If that line is given an opportunity to gel, they can be a very fun group to watch.

KO Ready to Launch

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Well, today is the day. Kyle Okposo will make his NHL debut tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs. According to the team’s official website, Okposo will be playing with Blake Comeau and Richard Park. Talk about a high energy line in the making. As long as he doesn’t get seriously hurt, this call-up will only be a positive experience for the 19-year old and will be one of the only positive things fans can take from this season.

Okposo to Make Debut on Tuesday

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Well, it seems I got my wish. Kyle Okposo will be joining the Isles for the last nine games of the season.

“Insert breath of fresh air here.”

Like I’ve said numerous times over the past week and a half, this has been the one thing I’ve been waiting for since the Isles decline. Losing Jon Sim after two games, losing Chris Campoli, Mike Sillinger and Andy Sutton, the Simon suspension, the relative ineffectiveness of Miroslav Satan and Mike Comrie’s insistence to use the toe-drag every game more times than Eric Cartman calls Kyle Brovlovski a Jew in an episode of “South Park” have made this season a bumpy one. Nonetheless, a strong nine games from KO and some of the other youngsters can put me and some of the other restless fans in a good mood come offseason.

Delaying the Inevitable

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Sorry for the late post today guys, I been swamped at school and work and needed to relax a little bit with my girlfriend. I didn’t forget about any of you though, so lets get started.

Rick DiPietro played well enough to come out with a win last night. However, it just so happened that Jaroslav Halak played better. It sickens me to write the same thing after almost every Islander loss this season, how the powerplay wasn’t clicking and despite plenty of shots and pressure, they didn’t have enough firepower to throw a few in the net.

Open Casting Call

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Eight points behind the last playoff spot with ten games to go, the Islanders had seven Bridgeport Sound Tigers in their lineup for their last game and will probably feature something similar tonight against the Montreal Canadiens. Not good. When injuries decimate your team like this, you really need a miracle to get things done and find a way to win.

Great teams with great leaders find those ways to win, but I don’t think the Isles have that one guy that can say “Let’s do this guys; Let’s win every game we have left and shove the last playoff spot up everyone’s ass!” [That marks the first time I’ve ever used that word on this site. What word? Do I really have to say it again? I’m trying to be somewhat professional here!] Instead they have a bunch of grinders that would make great supporting characters on a great team.

What to do with…Bryan Berard

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With this season basically done for the Islanders, I figured I’d take the time to talk about an Islander that hasn’t gotten a ton of credit this season, but has nonetheless played solid when called upon.

Bryan Berard.

No More Continues…10

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Well, if you didn’t see it before, the writing is on the wall. The Islanders season is finished. Nothing short of a 10-game-winning streak and the crash and burn of the five teams ahead of them can secure them a playoff spot. And that my friends, isn’t happening.

Nevertheless, I love reading quotes like this from the youngsters on the Isles:

“To be how close we were a few weeks ago and to be where we are now is frustrating,” Comeau told the AP. “Until we’re mathematically out, the guys in this room are going to keep pushing hard. Nobody is ready to lay down and die yet. We’ve got a great attitude in this room.”

Game Over

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Eight goals on 44 shots.

That pretty much sums it up for me.

For a guy that made the All Star team and looked like he’d finally matured, Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro has been reduced to a child once again. He’s wandering out of the net, giving up soft goals and doesn’t have the same poise and resolve he had earlier in the season. The way he skated off the ice after the game showed me that he is a defeated man. Once flooding with confidence and charisma, DP looked like some took a crap in his cereal. Even though the Isles defense was far from perfect, this team hasn’t played phenomenal in their own end all season. For most of the season, DP was the X-factor. Now, it looks like he’s self-destructing and taking the team that depends on him along for the ride.

Do or Die

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This is a game the Islanders have to win. No beating around the bush. It is a must win. It doesn’t matter how it gets done. It just has to.

Rick DiPietro has to shake the cobwebs and get his act together right now. The powerplay has to produce, now. Players like Miroslav Satan, Ruslan Fedotenko, Bill Guerin, Mike Comrie and Trent Hunter have to step up and play big time minutes and prove that they’re worth the money they signed for.

Stopping the Slide

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Rather than discuss the Islanders next game, which is on Tuesday, against the Tampa Bay Lightning, a team that has even more problems than they do right now, I’m going to talk about what this team can realistically do if they don’t want to waste this season.

1- Get more traffic in front of the net.

Another Loss to Philly, Dumb Questions

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Another loss, is it time to throw in the towel? Seven points out of a playoff spot with 12 games left to go, time to panic? I would think so my friends, I would think so.

Something is wrong with Rick DiPietro. The passion he had earlier in the season that was a driving force in keeping this team in the playoff picture is gone, to only be replaced with the immature and inconsistent goaltender that used to hang out on Long Islander last season and the year before that.

Bickering and Play the Babies!

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“One Eyebrow or Two?”

That’s what Islanders GM Garth Snow had to say on the radio the other day when asked if Ted Nolan’s decision to play Wade Dubielewicz instead of Rick DiPietro on Thursday against the Rangers.

This is Snow’s second season as Islanders GM and let me say that I think he has a [Ric] flair for the dramatics. Last season, he made a huge move at the deadline and this year, he’s gotten into verbal fisticuffs with a few people in the college hockey scene and now it seems he’s starting to argue with his coach. Right now, this is probably the last thing this team needs to deal with. Instead, they should be focusing on getting some goals.

Scouting Report: Kyle Okposo

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Sorry guys, but I didn’t have time to catch the game last night, I was swamped at work. I’m going to watch it tonight and give some analysis tomorrow. However, I do have something special for you guys that I did a few days ago…

Since being drafted by the Islanders in the first round of the 2006 entry draft, Kyle Okposo has marveled fans and media alike. Possessing a howlitzer of a shot and a gritty, blue collar temperament on the ice, Okposo looked to have a bright future developing with the Golden Gophers of the University of Minnesota. However, the 19-year old shocked the hockey world and decided to leave the college hockey ranks and join the Islanders AHL affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers instead.

Round 2- Put Bergie on the First Line [No Exclamation Point Needed]

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Round two begins.

If the Islanders ever needed a win this season, it would be tonight. Hopefully, they learn from the mistakes they made on defense and play tighter against the Jaromir Jagr, Sean Avery and Brandon Dubinsky line. Even though they weren’t a huge factor in the outcome of the game, they had way too much room on the ice and the Isles were lucky it didn’t come back and hurt them.

Tambo and Dubie Step Up in Shootout Victory at MSG

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50 plus shots the other night against Florida= no goals. 18 shots against the Rangers= three goals. Either the Islanders were that good on offense or Henrik Lundqvist was that bad. In the end, I think it was a combination of both. Aside from a few sloppy plays on defense, the Isles did a decent enough job limiting quality opportunities from Jagr and company as well, putting them in a situation to squeak out with a 4-3 win via the shootout.

Wade Dubielewicz may not be the most talented goaltender in the NHL, but I think it’s fair to say that he may have the biggest heart. For a guy that plays once a month, he sure does show up when this team needs him, doesn’t he? Aside from the one goal in the shoot out, Dubie did everything he did to keep this team in the game and made more than his fair share of solid saves.

The Search for Goals

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With three loses in their last four games, the Islanders have put them in a hole similar to last season. They’ll have to run the gauntlet and defy the odds again. However, they don’t have players like Ryan Smyth, Alexei Yashin, Jason Blake and Viktor Kozlov to carry the load offensively. With character guys like Andy Sutton and Mike Sillinger also out and youngsters Bruno Gervais and Chris Campoli on the sidelines as well, the Isles will have to get a blue collar performance from the rest of the team if they have any chance.

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