Gordon commits to youth, hopes for speed

Strangely, some observers cite the Islanders' number of veterans, or the roster's "average" age, as reason to scoff at the notion of a youth movement. But most of these veterans are stop-gap mentors on short-term deals who will fill out the roster and carry the team while the team accumulates, retains, and develops its prospects.

The youth movement is a decisive shift in philosophy. It's not about finding a magic box of young studs -- it's about the commitment to youth. No one (well, almost no one) is claiming the current crop of green NHLers will carry them to the promised land now.

On that note, the overarching storyline for this year will be how the youngsters perform and how they're evaluated after what should be considerable more ice time under new coach Scott Gordon.

Jeff Tambellini, come on down. In Gordon's thorough interview with Newsday, he mentioned replacing the lost "scoring" of Miro Satan and company with more minutes for guys like Sean Bergenheim and Tambellini:
"If Bergenheim scored 10 goals last year and you give him more minutes, does he score 16 goals? Jeff Tambellini played a minimal amount of minutes. What happens if his ice time doubles?"
Gordon also acknowledges the Great Tambellini Mystery (i.e. "Is he legit, or is he just a AAAA player?"). Brackets in the following are my explanatory notes:
"Somewhere along the way, he's not being himself. From what I've been told, he hasn't had the confidence up here that he has down there. If we can get him to be in the right state of mind, hopefully, he moves closer to the 38 [goals he had in the AHL] than staying near the one [goal he had with the Isles]."
The other interesting part of the interview is his discussion, not for the first time, of increasing team speed through intelligent play. You could understandably call that a pipe dream; or you could call it good coaching. Either way, it will be fun to watch develop -- and fun, particularly, to see how the veterans on their last NHL legs receive it.

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