Blade Splinters: Joey, Jiggs, Josh and Mikes

Cripes, December already? Where has the time gone...

Joey, You're a Star: We mentioned last week that Joey MacDonald "led the league in wins in November" (thanks for everyone who took that three-way split poll), so of course the Isles lost two and he could only share that lead by the end of the month. The NHL's official "third star of the month" did have the most games (14), minutes (842) and shots faced (439) in the month, which tells us ... well, that the Islanders played a lot, and he played well enough to start every game.

To Block, or Not To Block: Speaking of counting stats, James Mirtle compiled a chart of shots blocked and how that category corelates to other stats (such as PK% and GAA, for example, where there is almost no relation). I don't think this is surprising, but it's worth perusing and you may disagree: The upshot is that blocking a lot of shots doesn't mean you're a great team or a great defense (honestly, I didn't even realize that was an existing meme, but I don't get out much). It just means you face a lot of shots and (I'd say) don't control the puck as much.

The Islanders are big shot blockers (by necessity, I would argue; there's no alternative for an underskilled team because controlling the puck more requires having more team skill). Detroit, by contrast, is usually near the bottom for total shots blocked and some pundits even say they have a bit of skill.

To Count, or Not To Count: And on the topic of stats, Japers' Rink had an interesting point about giveaways happening a whole lot more in D.C. than elsewhere. The [some such telecom] Center's stats folks are giveaway machines. You'd hope the league would have very clear standards about what constitutes a giveaway, but maybe some scorers missed the workshop. Something to keep in mind when the Islanders suddenly rack up takeaways Thursday in Washington.

A little more Josh Bailey: Islesblogger breaks down Bailey's ice time in the first 9 games of his young, post-hip flexor NHL career to show how Scott Gordon's confidence in him has steadily increased.

Hip issues: Mike Sillinger is ready to come back; he has been taken off IR on the Isles official roster. Colliton and Jackman are back in Bridgeport. The other tragic-hip Mike, Comrie, is skating again but his return is unknown. I will write off his unimpressive start to the hip surgery if and only if he waits for a full healing and comes back strong. I'm a bit bothered to learn he rushed back when, we now learn, his original timetable was mid-November to mid-December.

Gettin' Jiggsy Out of It: Like a lot of tourists -- a friend of mine is one -- legendary Islanders broadcaster Jiggs McDonald is stuck with a tour group in Thailand during the unrest and Bangkok airport closing. His daughter has been doing some PR to get the Canadian Embassy to help get citizens out. Sounds like he should be getting out and to Hong Kong tomorrow.

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