Retaining focus without a win in 2009

Knowing I wouldn't get to see the Islanders-Devils game live (I was at the Blues-Blackhawks game instead), I nonetheless kept an eye on [Kiel] Center's out-of-town scoreboard -- how very old-fashioned and iPhone-less of me, I know.

When the 3-1 final flashed on the screen, my thoughts turned to the cumulative effect of all this losing on the Isles' young players. The Islanders have a not-all-that-hidden agenda of at least resignation at this point: No matter what happens, no matter how many losses pile up, the focus is on developing roles and responsibilities for those who will be on the roster next year. It's style over substance, or means over ends, at least.

Game Summary | Event Summary | nhl.com Recap

Granted, this atmosphere didn't hurt Joe Sakic's career any. But you still wonder how elite competitive athletes handle this from day to day. So it was disappointing (but not shocking) to hear that the Isles -- who at least have put in good efforts amid their losing -- laid a tepid one against the Devils, victimized by speedy Zach Parise and friends again.

On that note, Islanders Outsider got some great quotes out of Blake Comeau (last night's lone goal scorer), talking about what they work on in practice and how to keep a winning-hungry edge despite the mounting losses. It's good reading from a an Isles fan who also spoke very reasonably and panic-free about the Kansas City stuff on yesterday's "Hockey Night on Long Island" blog/podcast.

Overall, it sounded like a good game to miss, and I may "delete without watching" from the DVR. In addition to Newsday's K.C.-free recap, the coverage around the Islanders' blogosphere is comprehensive:

Quick reactions: The lack of scoring punch is getting alarming, as is the inability to make the power play work without Doug Weight (a reason to re-sign him?). ... With the weight of the captaincy on Bill Guerin's shoulders, his scoring pace has drifted as it does from time to time. ... Sorry about Campoli, but I'll be excited to see Hillen get another look after a solid half-season of seasoning in the AHL. I look at him like I looked at Campoli several years ago, and I hope the result is even better.

Seven losses in a row now -- 18 in the last 21 (plus a shootout loss) -- with the powerhouse Capitals due Monday afternoon. That, that doesn't feel so good.

Mood of the moment for me: Keep Weight, wait-and-see on Guerin, deal Comrie, Witt and Martinek (his injury curse has finally gotten to me) if suitable offers come in.

Anyone else should be dealt (or kept)?

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