Interesting that the Islanders -- last in the league standings, last in goals against, and 22nd in goals scored -- are acknowledging a need for guys who can and will shoot the puck. The call-up of Trevor Smith being the latest example, as the line of Blake Comeau/Mike Comrie/Kyle Okposo continues to provide the best signs of offensive life during this recent stretch.
What Smith might not realize just yet is that the Islanders are pretty excited to add a player with his goal-scoring touch to the lineup. ... If there's one thing the Islanders can use right now, it's a finisher, and Smith might be just that.
"I thought he had some good chances to score and he made good decisions with the puck," coach Scott Gordon said of Smith's debut. "One of the things I liked about his play is he shot the puck. He wasn't afraid to shoot it, and you can't have enough of those guys."
The Isles of course could use finishing -- who couldn't? -- but clearly their GA is the greater problem right now. That brings to mind the whole Gordon system talk again, and Brendan Witt's displeasure with how they play.
But wait: Is it all about goals against?
The greater problem still is five-on-five play, where both their porous defense and their inability to score really stand out. The Isles are 28th in 5-on-5 GF per game, which shows that their decent power play is somewhat masking the fact that they have problems at both ends of the ice.
Part of good 5-on-5 play is not just skill or defensive discipline, but skill mixed with hockey sense: The ability to play both ways and snipe a goal when the opportunity presents itself (That last description kind of defines Mike Sillinger's career, and perhaps defines Mike Comrie's greatest weakness.)
It will be interesting if guys like undrafted Trevor Smith can add something on both sides of that coin.
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