This is starting to sound like the Youths on Parade Show, but while doing site housekeeping I re-read my "How Islanders Youth is Served" post before the just-commenced jolly weekend of Islanders victories, which included this:
With two matinees on tap and injuries still the rule, it will be a busy weekend and a good chance to peek at the Islanders youngsters who will have greater roles in the years to come.
Well, how did you like the peek?
- Jeff Tambellini: 2g, 1a
- Kyle Okposo: 2g
- Mike Iggulden: 3a
- Josh Bailey: 1g, 2a
- Blake Comeau: 1g, 1a
- Oh, and Sean Bergenheim: hat trick
Not bad for a couple of lazy afternoon games. The Tambellini part is particularly scary, in a dare-we-be-optimistic? sort of way. Islanders fans have been through the ringer watching the AHL star's up-and-down development travel like a sine curve along with his ice time, under two NHL coaches. One of those coaches, who scratched him healthily this season, said:
"I think he's just starting to find his way around the front of the net," Gordon said. "That goal he got tonight, his consistency of finishing checks, getting traffic on the goaltender and he's getting into the right places."
Of course, the thesis behind that pre-weekend preview was how the synchronized relationship between Scott Gordon with the Islanders and Jack Capuano with the Sound Tigers is doing an organization good -- and that Chris Botta was subtly directing fans to that point in an "I told/am telling ya' so" sort of way.
Sure enough, like pre-tremors before the main event, today Botta has a fuller piece about the details of the Gordon-Capuano relationship. It reads like a how-to on organizational development and again raises the question of how much of a blind spot this was for Ted Nolan when he returned to the NHL after a decade away.
Two days -- heck, four games -- does not a success make. The kids have not yet "arrived," although reading between the lines like the Reverend Zamboni at The Palm Isle sure tells you how happy they are.
We haven't even turned a corner ... yet. But a hint of "The Plan" coming together explains why there are some bright eyes and bushy tails in Islanders Country after this weekend.