On the heels of all our Nino Niederreiter "stay or go?" discussion, something Scott Gordon said yesterday, as reported by Chris Botta, reminded me of the unpredictable human side of this game: "We didn’t play the last four games with the oomph we played the previous three. There was a feel-good feeling in the locker room (as a result of the victories). Now we need some practices to get out of some bad habits."
Bad habits. Letting some early wins go to your head. It makes sense: The Islanders won two games last week that I thought they probably didn't deserve, then lost in Florida in a game where they played a good final two periods but were playing catch up thanks to a hole those bad habits dug them in the first. An early deficit seldom cares how hard you worked to erase it. As has been the case often in this young season for a team whose 5-on-5 GF/GA ratio is just 0.73, their special teams gave them a chance.
Their roster still in flux, we still don't know this team yet -- and they don't know themselves. They've had a tough road with an abridged preseason and road-heavy early schedule. They've also had their share of luck -- yet their only two regulation losses came in two of their better games (Well, two periods each in Washington and Florida). Will some more practice time this weak cure bad habits...or just try to mask flaws? It's what makes October's uncertainty fun.
After the jump, our power rankings survey and some links on Nino Decision: 2010 and other matters.
Survey of Media Power Rankings, Oct. 25
Continuing last week's feature (stolen from Japers' Rink), we have a drive-by of various power rankings to gauge the mainstream media's view of the Islanders. If there were disbelievers last week (there were), they've adjusted their opinions, as the Isles' ranking improved in every poll we sampled.
Which is funny, since in the past week the Islanders played two fairly weak games that they won (Toronto and Tampa Bay) plus a decent game (save for the first period) that they lost in Florida. For those of you really into power rankings, check the table below and then also take a look at From The Rink's aggregated table. (Also USA Today's wild matrix by Jeff Sagarin has the Isles 10th.)
|Outlet||Rank||Last Week||Their Commentary|
|CBSSports (Oct. 25)||15||24||James Wisniewski is providing offense from back with a point in every game he has played so far.|
|Col. Dispatch (Portzline, Oct. 25)||15||24||A surprising power play is keeping the Isles on a hot streak; 11 man-up goals, only four fewer than New Jersey's total.|
|ESPN (Oct. 25)
|Sportsnet (Brophy)||9||11||John Tavares scores all three goals in a 4-3 loss to Florida two games after scoring the OT winner against Toronto.|
|TSN (Cullen)||9||11||The Islanders' power play has been terrific (26.2%).|
|SB Nation (conf)||6||5||The Islanders are likely playing over their injured little heads, but hard work can beat listless talent on a lot of nights in the NHL.|
Something to do with a decent powerplay, it seems.
- The 9-game decision for Nino Niederreiter and his fellow 2010 draftees is all the rage: Spector [Fox Sports], Botta and Schultz [Fanhouse], Allan Muir [SI], while the Cult of Hockey has a long and interesting argument on Taylor Hall. New (thanks noomz): ESPN-NY also covers it, with stick-tap back to garik16's post.
- Michael Fornabaio has his Sound Tiger chat today at 1:30 EDT...
- ...and the official site delivers a Sound Tiger update.
- If you missed it, the scoring chances from the Isles-Panthers game as observed by Derek Zona.
- Via Anarcurt's FanShot, Buccigross discusses the three metro teams and how they should operate, with some restrained praise of Garth Snow.
- Friday's home game, the second of a home-and-home with the Habs (who beat Phoenix in OT last night), will be Hockey Fights Cancer night.
- 7th Woman talks about the NYI Booster Club.