If only, man. If only.
There was a tough 2-1 loss last night on a powerplay from a much-questioned penalty call, but the mood among Islanders followers is upbeat. As scary as the second period was, the third period response gave people more confidence in a team performing without its best players.
And with good reason. People who know more about crunching numbers than I do are tracking scoring chances in each game for several NHL teams, to see what greater truths can be revealed. The person tracking the Caps, whose SBN handle is "Knee high to a duck," showed us his tracking from last night, where the Islanders had the better of play at 5-on-5.
Other Recaps: Newsday | Okposo Net called Doug Weight's assist "handsome"... | ...and Hornick noted Weight's first career assist was before Nino was born | 7th Woman experienced the Yin and Yang of announcers | Harding at Eyes on the Isles
People are talking up Scott Gordon right now for how his team plays despite a basement payroll and several major injuries. Here's Joe Beninati, your Caps and Versus announcer from last night, on the game and that topic:
The Islanders always plays the Caps tough, and tonight was no exception. Bruce Boudreau credits their team structure and their work ethic, one he says equals any other club’s in the league, for making them a difficult opponent.
- Josh Bailey is to be on NHL Live or something like that. [NHL Video Center]
- This was from before last night's game, but I think the point stands: The Isles are playing admirably well considering the injury hits. [Islesblogger]
- Chris Botta's video post with Jon Sim explaining the Art of Agitation. [Point Blank] Cue 35 comments ripping Sim for being a 3rd/4th-liner who doesn't score like a 1st/2nd-liner.
- Around here: If you didn't put your location in at the Lighthouse Hockey user map post over the summer, it's still open. Also: Debate on Wiz's suspension continues in Ozzy's FanPost.
- Speaking of Sim: Unlike the similarly named-after-brevity Jon Sim, fellow "agitator" Steve Ott cannot stay out of the box. [Defending Big D]
CBA Fun With Quisp: Our favorite CBA pedant takes on the Devils' laughable roster situation. [Jewels from the Crown]
- Not shocking but fun: Marty Turco's claim on the Blackhawks starting gig isn't exactly solid. [Puck Update]
Not shocking and not fun, but he's a Canadien so it will be swept away: What's this? Maxim Lapierre dangerously checking someone from behind?! But, I mean, he's NEVER done this before. People who disregard the health of their colleagues do not deserve careers.
- The Ducks, who have looked remarkably awful, picked up their first win. [Anaheim Calling]
- Tomorrow's opponent lost to the Leafs, meaning Pittsburgh is still winless at the new [organized fossil fuel burning] Center. Uh-oh. [Pensburgh]
Blake Comeau, Dwayne Roloson Post-Game
Comeau didn't agree with the call and said the ref "said I looked like I was trying to hit him high, so he had to make the call."
Roloson liked that the Isles kept quality chances down even during the 2nd period, when the Caps dominated.
Scott Gordon Post-Game
Gordo loved the third period -- except for the call, which he disagreed with. He said the Caps player pushed Comeau's arms up. But Gordon said poor puck management in the second (i.e. turnovers) cost them, but he was happy with the rebound and the transition game in the third.
He also praised Roloson's performance.
And finally, for posterity, Nino Niederreiter's first NHL goal, which sadly was narrated by Caps announcers on Versus: