In his final 12 games versus the Islanders as a Maple Leaf (back through 2007-08), Tomas Kaberle had 2 goal and 10 assists for a steady point per game. Defensemen who play the powerplay will collect their points as easy as door prizes, but there was something about Kaberle's dependability and smooth passing; you just knew he was always going to show up on the scoresheet.
Now Kaberle's not our problem, at least not until March 11 when the Isles next face the Bruins. In his absence, the Leafs are in a position the Isles know well: Gauging who will step up after a veteran gets hurt or is cast adrift. Sometimes that leads to happy surprises (hello Andrew MacDonald, please enter Teh Core). Other times that leads to newly exposed vulnerabilities. [Insert your personal scapegoat here.] The Leafs are hoping Luke Schenn is part of the former.
Just as soon as Brian Burke off-loaded Kaberle and Francois Beauchemin, he's back on the hunt for reinforcements -- possibly even before tonight's game. It's a tough road, this rebuilding stuff. For those who pine for the priciest wine on the list each July 1, I ask this: How do you suppose the Leafs are feeling about that Mike Komisarek signing right now? If you answered, "Great!" then your 2008-09 player files need the latest service pack update.
Notes Found on the Street
- UPDATE: Radek Martinek is out with a "lower body" injury; Bruno Gervais steps in.
- Once-heralded Swedish goalie import Jonas Gustavsson is coming back soon from his latest heart surgery.
- Speaking of Burke's attempts to supplement his rebuild on the black market, college import Tyler Bozak has had quite the rough season.
- For the Islanders, Al Montoya -- aka Goalie #6 -- gets another start tonight.
- As expected, yesterday's thorough destruction of the Panthers was another reality check.
- Evgeni Nabokov (general body suckitude, 4 to 72 months) will be a scratch for this one.
- As Katie Strang pointed out, this will be one of those cool Ontario homecomings, particularly for Micheal "E before A" Haley.
- Afternoon TPS Report Distraction Dept.: Again, you got Michael Fornabaio's Bridgeport chat at 1:30 here, Christian's 5:15 interview with Calvin de Haan expected here, plus Matt Moulson on NHL Live either at the official site or at nhl.com.
Fun Stat Line Destined for Regression:
|2010-11 - Al Montoya||4||195||3||0||-||4||1.23||86||82||.953||1|
Your FIG Policy Update
By dicatorial decree, we're using the rest of the season to figure out how to best handle the FIG (First Islanders Goal) picks, which have taken off way beyond what we ever imagined. They started out as picks you leave only in the game thread, but then some people couldn't make the game thread -- they were even going to the game, go figure -- so we let people leave their picks in the morning (or afternoon, in this case) preview.
Now I notice today they accidentally spilled into the power rankings post, you eager rascals you. (Sorry about the late preview, but on back-to-backs it's fun to let the post-game reactions breathe a little. Also: Lazy blogger.) Anyway, the desire with the FIGs, I think, is to make them fun but not let their sheer volume dominate threads where other discussion is taking place. I think JP's FanPost idea -- a dedicated post for every 10-game stretch or so -- is currently my favorite, but I'm open to all opinions and feedback on that.
In any case, for now leave your FIGs here or in the game thread. Format remains: PLAYER's LAST NAME (assist1, assist2), [Time of goal]. Time is now only the last tiebreaker. For your pick, reply to the subthread where someone has already picked that guy. Thanks for your patience on this.