A sampling of Islanders fodder for a Sunday [updated/modified with a photo, just because I like this photo]...
... A nice New York Hockey Talk is lined up by Rob Kowal tonight at 9 p.m. on WGBB 1240, with Al Arbour and Kyle Okposo among the guests. Brendan Shanahan, too (okay, so he was a Ranger/Devil, but he's always good for a quote and a yarn).
... I know we like to parse Scott Gordon's post-game comments, even when he doesn't often provide much detail for us to chew on. But his comments after the loss to the Bruins were a pretty apt encapsulation of the state of the team. After the jump is some of those Gordon quotes plus more in video, as well as a prospect rating link (including Kiril Petrov), and video of the Michael Ryder hit on Comeau (it wasn't in the NHL clips):
- "The [Bruins were] playing with urgency, and we didn't match it. ... We didn't finish a hit, I don't think, in the first period, and that was addressed after the first." Said Okposo and Blake Comeau came out hitting in the 2nd.
- Gordon called the play the last two games disappointing, crediting both losses to mental mistakes: The Isles played (even in Atlanta) "with energy," but are making mental mistakes with turnovers, poor hits, poor changes.
- "I'm tired of it, it's gonna stop, and I've addressed it with the team." That said, he did note the thin defense excuse as "a huge disadvantage."
It's a thin line between expecting playoff-caliber performance of your team while also acknowledging that the team is hardly playing with a full deck. I'm fine with that in Rebuild: Year Two, but that's why this summer is so important: The entire club (including Garth Snow and Charles Wang) better treat 2010-11 as a year where short-deck excuses no longer apply.
Scott Gordon Post-Game
Michael Ryder's hit on Blake Comeau
It was a penalty -- one the Islanders couldn't take advantage of -- but nothing more than that, in my view. Thankfully no damage done.
Finally, here's a take on some of the Islanders top prospects from The Pipeline Show, a blog and radio show that focuses on NHL prospects. We haven't talked about Kiril Petrov here much lately (sort of waiting for updates, no?), but they of course call him the top Isles forward prospect, and they cite his post-WJC ice time comments as a sign he should be headed to these shores for 2010-11. Let's hope so, but when dealing with Russian prospects in this transfer agreement-deprived era, I'll believe it when I see it.
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That's all for now. As a fan, I don't have much trouble switching gears depending on the reality of the situation. In this case, with 17 games left, I'm not only focused on the progress of the young players, I'm also keenly interested in how the locker room and the coaches handle this "desperate" position in the standings, as everyone inevitably transitions from distant playoff hope to resignation about another high draft pick.
While there is a segment of fans who just want as high a 2010 draft pick as possible, the fact is the path to that reality will include a lot of disappointed players and big player-management challenges for the coach: "Try your hardest, but I know you all aren't collectively that good, and the important thing for this franchise is what comes after some of you are gone," is sort of a hard message to manage, ya' know?