Islanders Gameday: Canucks? No problem, surely

As feared last week, Mark Eaton is indeed out for the season with Islanders Hip, joining a list of patients who will miss a half season or more including Mark Streit, Kyle Okposo, Trent Hunter, Mike Mottau and probably someone else I'm forgetting. Among the defense in tonight's lineup, unless Radek Martinek makes a sudden return [Update: Maybe.], Andrew MacDonald -- who earlier missed 15 games with a broken bone -- will be the guy with the most 2010-11 games played.

At least tonight's opponent isn't any good or anything.

Van-rink_medium                    Nyi-stickstripe_medium
Canucks (27-8-6, 1st uberalles) @ Islanders (13-21-6, 29th)
Nassau [
gloriously unsponsored] Veterans Mem. Coliseum
7 p.m. EST | MSG+, audio -
WRHU 88.7
Fighting off "yeah, wait'll playoffs?" haters:
Nucks Misconduct

If we're lucky though, the Isles won't be sans-Frans, Fransi-capped, short-Fransed, down-a-Dane, dis-Daned -- or whatever the parlance of your choice. When If Jon Sim clears waivers today, Katie Strang at Newsday reports (and for you diaspora, it is again [$5 please], though we thank the sponsor who made it viewable for all this holiday season) he'll be assigned to Bridgeport. If that's indeed the case and it's not just creating flexibility for later reassignment, then that tells me Jeremy Colliton has leaped him on the depth chart, and maybe Frans is ready to go. Both would be welcome. [**UPDATE**: Alas, we're not lucky, not like that: Rhett Rakhshani is called up; Frans is still out.]

If you can make it to the game, tonight there is a $20.11 deal (it's 2011, get it?) on tickets.

Putting my whining about injuries aside, the Isles are coming off a promising 3-2 Western trip, and they are still 8-3-1 in their last 12. There's some luck and some withstanding-onslaughts during that run, but they've found a way to take some impressive scalps -- and maybe more importantly, despite being at the non-Devils bottom of the league they're playing like they have something achievable to prove.

Luck can beat skill. Skill beats belief. But belief doesn't hurt. Has there been a shift in the team that's fed recent success? Here's the coach's theory:

"Their success has to do with a combination of things, but I think now it’s within that room," Capuano said. "It’s the belief that they have that we’re down 2-0 in Colorado and came back. We beat some good hockey teams. So I think it’s a credit to those guys and how they’re playing. I can see it on the bench too. Guys are getting a little antsy with each other now, which is a good thing because they’re holding themselves accountable."

Tonight they'll need all that, because...

So you're sayin' there's a chance?!

Lineup Notes

  • After finishing the road trip in Chicago Sunday, the Isles had an off day Monday. So not much news coming out, and look to Strang for morning skate updates. If I were Capuano, it'd be tough to resist the temptation to give Kevin Poulin another start.
  • Don't look now, but Josh Bailey has just 14 shots in the 10 games since his recall. He's 3-3-6 in that time.
  • Evaluation-wise, the waiving of Sim is nice, because that means Jesse Joensuu and probably Jeremy Colliton get longer looks. Sim gives his all and has been simply jobbed by officials lately, but on the fourth line he's just another slower guy and when he's part of that Blake Comeau-Rob Schremp combination everything needs to go juuust right for it to work. I don't have much hope for JJ, but might as well find out; and Colliton, at age 25, just might be an effective upgrade for the bottom lines.
  • Michael Grabner versus his drafting team, Jeff Tambellini versus the team that showed him the most patience (albeit with Life in Hell-like parenting). Who prevails? And which fanbase would fall into a deeper pit of loathing if their ex went off and scored a pair?

2010-11 - Michael Grabner 36 9 3 12 -4 6 0 13:22 0:18 6th of 12 66 13.6%

2010-11 - Jeff Tambellini 27 9 6 15 12 14 1 13:42 1:52 6th of 12
62 14.5%

Because you asked, Tambellini is 1 for 2 in shootouts (the Canucks, like the Isles, have only been in four and are 1-3).

League Notes

  • Seriously, is Glen Sather that popular among his fellow GMs? Why else would they keep bailing him out from his own mistakes? Wojtek Wolski is totally an enigma, but he's a younger, less-cap-harming one than Michal Rozsival. I'm starting to get angry. Even NHL 11 thinks that trade is hogwash. As if WebBard needed another reason to dislike Don Maloney, who will be on NHL Live today...
  • We all talk about save percentage as a measure with goalies, and we generally know it's way better than GAA, but what does it really tell you? Or rather, what context do you need? This is almost a must-read PPP FanPost on the topic.
  • Another month, another article on Andy Sutton trying to find his game in Anaheim. I guess he could look on the bright side: At least he's not on the Island, missing the season with a hip injury.
  • The post-WJC Central Scouting 2011 draft rankings are out. They're high on Swedes. I really want Larsson, although I realize saying that now is like being 15 and saying you want to marry that girl in chemistry class.

FIG Rules

Thanks again to everyone, especially our newer members, participating in the FIG (First Islanders Goal) pick pools. Especially for the new members, some rules to reiterate:

1) You MUST reply to the first post, or your choice may be overlooked and will not count.
2) You MUST select both a player and a time. If you don't select a time, and anyone else chooses the same player as you, they get preference.
3) Easiest way to achieve the above is to put both the player name and time in the subject line, and then put other snarky or explanatory comments in the body of the comment.
4) Picks left after the opening faceoff are invalid and subject to public shaming.

As you can imagine, it gets hairy keeping track when FIG picks are all over the place. Be even better if the first person to go a-figging would post a comment titled FIG PICKS - REPLY HERE, and then reply to that one with their pick, to begin the comment tree.

And now, as listed yesterday, your leaders:

Anarcurt (3)
cunch punch (2), Hakker (2), IDigRcks (2)
Les Beaver

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