Islanders Carolina Pregame Thoughts

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After an abysmal defeat the other night against the Stars, things aren’t going to get any easier for the Islanders today, as they face off against the Carolina Hurricanes. While this isn’t the same Carolina team that won the Stanley Cup a few years ago, they still have players who can produce on offense and without their two best defensemen in the lineup in Brendan Witt and Radek Martinek, things aren’t going to be easy for them tonight.

In the games the Islanders have won this season, it’s easy to see how hard they’ve worked in both ends of the ice. Practically swarming the puck the entire game, the Isles have proved Scott Gordon’s coaching system works, as long as they stick to it. However, for the majority of the young season, the Isles have looked tentative and seem unable to push the kind of pace on the ice they need to in order to win hockey games.

Perhaps as the season gets going and they get key players back this will change, but as of right now, this is starting to look like the beginning of a very long season.

On another note, according to Newsday, Andy Sutton is very close to returning and Mike Sillinger skated with the team for the first time this season a few days ago. If Witt is out long term, Sutton’s return is a crucial one. Even though he isn’t the defender Witt is, he’s a solid defenseman who can even help out on the powerplay if he has to. He’s also the crease clearer this team desperately needs right now. Guaranteed if Sutton is the lineup against the Sabres and he was on the ice for a few of those goals in front of the net, there could have been a few that he could have got in the way of. His toughness too is something this team desperately needs as well.

The same thing goes for Sillinger, who if healthy, gives this team an offense threat and a guy that can win important face offs. With Mike Comrie, Doug Weight, Sillinger and possibly Josh Bailey at center, the Isles will be solid depth wise at that position. Nothing against Frans Nielsen, but he’s another youngster on this team that while showing flashes of brilliance at times this season, has for the most part, looked out of place.

Can’t think about any of this tonight though, as the Isles will simply have to stick to the guns they have and hope they’re firing.

It is something to think about as the season continues though.