Islanders Bits: Better living through scratchery

Which one of you is scratched next?

Injury Update: Evgeni Nabokov's groin injury is believed to be a 3-4 week thing, according to Staple.

I'm one of the last ones to read much into a game or two, but ... is Jack Capuano's scratch approach having an effect? Blake Comeau's early season scratches didn't exactly spark the team. But Kyle Okposo -- he of the "A" on his chest and the five-year deal in his pocket -- when Capuano scratched this member of TEH CORE, did it have an effect on the rest of the lineup?

The Islanders played much more comprehensively against the Rangers (granted, the rivalry often brings that out) and last night featured more of the same against the Canadiens. The statistician would say merely that the bounces and percentages finally edged back in their favor, but it's hard not to search for deeper meaning when Jay Pandolfo is your first star of the game.

And maybe it's not only Okposo's two scratches but also Nino Niederreiter's arrival that sends a message: You all have underperformed, and there are others hungry to take your jobs.

On paper I don't like the concept of leaving Okposo out twice in a row. But from a people management standpoint -- and what has marked this season more than decent players playing poorly? -- clearly stating that even the on-all-marketing-materials Okposo isn't safe sends a fairly motivational message.

"It's desperation and determination. That's what we need from every guy," Capuano said last night. That and quick, wide passes that stretched the Habs defense last night.

 

Islanders Links

Post-game Coverage: Newsday's recap | Post with DiPietro's "blind squirrel" quote | Our LHH recap and +/- thread | NYIFYI | Okposo NetEyes on the Isles | The Skinny

Hockey Inside/Out mourns a third consecutive Habs loss to the "lowly" New York Islanders. Seriously though, a fun description there of Alexei Yemelin's string of errors on the Pandolfo goal. Remember when he was a big deal because he laid out a guy in preseason? Goodness, we fans need to learn about sample sizes over and over and over.

That goal was Jay Pandolfo's 100th in the NHL and first in this league since February 2010.

So we have an injury: And then there were two: Nabokov hurt vs. Habs | ProHockeyTalk

Final thought on last night: Cammalleri seems to compensate for his size by wielding his stick in a very dirty way.

Meet Ed Westfall, first captain and Saturday's honoree, who retired just before the dynasty began. According to Butch Goring on the broadcast last night, the old fellas give him trouble for that and Clark Gillies says, "We'd have won six [Cups] if he'd retired two years earlier."

The Sound Tigers goalies like Mikko Koskinen but are kind of glad to have nets to call their own.

Newsday before last night's game: Kyle Okposo benched for second straight game

If you missed it yesterday, Jiggs and Westfall will be in the booth for the second period Saturday night. Westfall enters the Isles Hall of Fame that night.

Who else belongs in the Islanders Hall of Fame?

The Billy Smith podcast with the Score's Backhand Shelf guys. (You have to scroll waaaaay toward the end of the podcast to get to the Smith part. But he has some interesting things to say. FanShot here.)

 

Hockey Links

The Coyotes comments about their former goalie Ilya Bryzgalov were kind of stunning. Ilya won last night, by the way.

NHL Twitter visualizer on Facebook.

Oh my: Patrik Stefan, you now have company.

Micro-analyzing a Jarome Iginla game, shift by shift. Iginla's minus-10, 4-5-9 in 17 GP so far.

The Devils have fourth-line issues. [ILWT]

Draft-gazing: WHL: The fantastic five, omissions from first Central Scouting list - Buzzing The Net - Junior Hockey Blog - Yahoo! Sports and also: Initial rankings from Central Scouting rank Yakupov first

 

So, of teams that started hot but are not supposed to stick around: Last night the Maple Leafs were humbled in Nashville, the Panthers delivered a comedy of turnovers in St. Louis, and Edmonton got spanked by ... Ottawa? I suspect some teams are coming back to Earth. And the Islanders' turn to mislead us is due some time this season, too.

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