What has changed in reality (players) and intangibles? That is the real question. Last season something finaly clicked with the team. Maybe it was the perfect storm. Did players play over there heads? Did the lockeroom and behind the scenes atmosphere change?
2010 2011 Lines during the 2nd half
Moulson - Tavares - Parenteau
Grabner - Nielsen - Okposo
Comeau - Bailey - Joensuu
Martin - Konopka - Haley
Which players out of those 13 are no longer on the team:
2010 2011 Defensemen
Which players of those 8 are no longer on the team:
2010 2011 Goalies
Which of those 2 players are no longer on the team:
Of the 23 man roster (for the most part) during the 2nd half of last season 10 Players 43% are either traded let go or in BP. That is a very big roster turnover. Yes DiPi, Eaton, Mottau, Streit were on the team last year but all were hurt during the 2nd Half (while the team was winning).
Goalies: We have a 3 man rotation. None of the three can get enough practice and or game time. For the most part of the season the goalies have not been the issue. But because of the 3 spots taken we lose a roster spot.
Montoya - We find out he got hurt. But he is by far the best Goalie on the team and he has only started 5 Games of the 18. Its funny that his injury is muscle pull was that because he wasn't getting enough game time or practice time. I am not sure, but I will say I am pretty it was at leat a factor in it.
Nabokov - He is the 2nd best goalie of the 3. He has started the most games 8 out of 18. He has not looked bad, but as with Montoya he is currently hurt with a muscle pull. He is trade bait at the trade deadline.
DiPietro - At times he looks ok and he is healthy. Those are the positives, but he is the worst of the 3 goalies. The only reason why he is still on this team is due to his contract. His save % is again less than 90%. He is slow to get up when he goes down to make a save. He costs the islanders 2 roster spots, because they have to keep 3 goalies due to the fact that they can't count on him to stay healthy.
Outlook - By the trade deadline Nabokov will be traded. By that time hopefuly DiPi will be hurt and the Islanders can bring up Poulin now that he is playing well again. With Poulin and Montoya we can have a very good 1 2 punch in net. If God help us Dipi stays healthy the 3 goalie situiation will continue to detreriorate.
Defensemen - From the 2nd half of last season to this season 5 of the 8 defensemen have changed. The question is if Martinek, Hillen, Wishart, Gervais, and Reese better than as a whole than Streit, Eaton, Mottau, and Staios. Besides Streit my answer is no. Lets leave Gervais and Reese off this comparison.
Martinek - When healthy is a very good stay at home defenseman. In my opinion better than Eaton, Mottau and Staios. I still think it was the right move to let him go due to injuries but he is definately better than what we have currently.
Hillen - He brought speed to the defense. Yes he had defensive lapses but, he brought the speed aspect that this team desperately needs. On paper Eaton, Mottau, and Staios are better, but in reality they are not. Because they are slow they have just as many defensive lapses as Hillen. Because Hillen is faster and brought offensive skills to the defense I would also say Hillen was better.
Wishart - Had a very bad training camp. And he has not been that good in BP yet this year. He is I would say is not as good as Eaton, Mottau, Staios.
AMac - Does not look like the same player he was last year before the injury. He does not look fully recovered yet.
Hamonic - Is making mistakes that he did not nake last season. He is young and you expect him to make mistakes, but overall he is not playing as good as last season.
Jurcina - Not playing as well as last season. Also he has the added problem of staying healthy.
Streit - Does not look like the same player he was before the injury. He does not look fully recovered yet.
The defense is old, slow, and soft. Not a good combination for a defense. Eaton, Mottau, and Staios need to waived. As much as I liked AMac and Hamonic together last season they need to break up the pair. Bring up Wishart and Reese they are not going to be any worse. Also they might even play their Asses off which is another problem on this team. If changes are not made soon this draft we will be picking 1 or 2 again
Forwards: Just like on defense Konopka, Haley, and Joensuu as a whole are they better than Reasoner, Rolston and Pandolfo? Yes on many levels. They brought Heart, Toughness, Grit. They brought intimidation and they had skill. The 4th line of Martin-Konopka-Haley was what you want. Konopka was our best FO center. Haley was like a burst of energy on the Ice and played with skill. When needed they would drop their gloves and protect their teamates. Joensuu I did not realize played as much as he did. Because Bailey and Comeau are so soft Joensuu brought speed and size to the 3rd line. During training camp Cappi did not know what to do with the 3rd and 4th lines and that is still the problem.
Tavares - Is becoming before our eyes a great player. his skating has improved and is starting to build strength.
Moulson - Is giving us what he has given us the past 2 seasons.
Grabner - After a slow start is coming around and looking more like the player he was in the 2nd half of last season.
Parenteau - Is having the same type of season as last.
Nielsen - Is best suited as a 3rd line and PK center. Since Bailey has not stepped up his game he needed to become our 2nd line Center. That should be recitified by next season with Strome coming up. As a 3rd line Center Neilsen rates with the best in the league. but he is a below average 2nd line center.
Okposo - More than any other player has hurt this team. He was given the A because of his hard play, but look at him this season he looks like he does not care. He doesnt finish checks and does not go to the corners like he previously had. He looks like he did last season when he first came back from injury. It took him about 15 games bit after that he started playing well. Yes he had trouble getting shots on goal but he at leat played with heart.
Comeau & Bailey: They look lost. Bailey has been a enigma his whole career but this year is taking it to a new level. Comeau has always been a streaky player but the Islanders have received nothing from either of these 2 players.
As a whole the forwards have been the biggest problem with the club. Their inablity to forcheck and keep pressure in the opposing teams zone has put us in the bottom of the leagur in scoring. The old vets have not helped in any shape or form. Hopefuly Nino can bring some energy back to this team.
In the 2nd half last season we had players that looked hungry. Young players that had something to prove. This season there is no heart or determination. The older players brought in to take the team to the next level have taken the heart and grit from last years team. We have 8 players 33 years or older more than any team in the NHL by 2 players. The team looks Old, Slow and Soft and we are being pushed all over the ice again. the offense was supposed to be the srength of the team is its biggest weakness. The defense is pretty much we expected, not very good. Goaltending is starting to become an issue with this 3 goalie team.
By trade deadlne Nabokov, Reasoner, Rolston, Pandolfo, Eaton, Mottau, and Staios better not be on this team. Comeau and Bailey need to turn it around or also need to be shipped out also. The spectre of DiPi is not going to go away unless he retires. It looks like this team is in for another lottery pick season, unless drastic changes are made, which there looks like nothing is happening for a while.
The biggest difference between last year and this year is HEART, GRIT, DETERMINATION, and TOUGHNESS. The players lost compared to who was added on paper looked better but in reality it did not work out that way. Snow was the architect of this disaster and Cappi is stuck with the hasbeens he was stuck with. But the Islanders need to bring respectibility back to this team and it needs to be a Coach who can also be the face of the Franchise. Somebody the players will immediately respect and FA and or traded for Vets would want to play for.