Eric Hornick's "Skinny" was filled with Grabner-iffic info after last night's game, including where Michael Grabner sits in terms of past Islanders rookies (in a word or two: very close). It also notes that Frans Nielsen's six shorthanded goals is one short of the club record for one season (Bob Bourne).
Not there but also interesting:
With 11 between them, Nielsen and Grabner are now 1-2 in the NHL in shorthanded goals. Combined, those two have more shorties than all but three other NHL teams. Separately, 21 teams have as many shorthanded goals as Grabner alone, and 17 have as many as Nielsen alone. Is it any wonder these two had a shorthanded 2-on-0 last night?
Martin's Goal: Nifty Move, Finishing a Hillen Rush
Between Jack Hillen's rush and Matt Martin's move, there was much to love about this goal. But I think I loved Micheal Haley's part the most. There Haley is, minding his own business at the blueline -- and he has pretty good wheels himself -- when Hillen comes flying by to take the puck over the blueline. Haley does well to stay on side and then surely thinks Hillen will streak down the right wing boards, like he's done to create multiple goals lately.
Instead, Hillen cuts back and forces Haley to stutter and jump up from normal leaning skating position, just to keep from leveling his teammate. Haley's ability to do this enables Hillen to carry on without breaking stride, and the seam opens up for him to feed Martin, who also crossed the line at the same time as his two teammates and streaks around Marc-Andre Bergeron to go backhand on Dwayne Roloson. What's great is the cutback was unexpected not just for Haley but for the defense, too:
It reminded me of a move you can do in rec hockey but aren't supposed to be able to do in the NHL: Use your unknowing teammate as a lead blocker as you rush the offensive zone. In hockey on the rush you want to spread the puck around (or at least spread your options) to stretch the defense, so they can't focus on a compact area and close you down. With rare exceptions from very skilled players -- and no, I wouldn't count Hillen or Haley in your expected exception -- you can work a give-and-go in tight, but generally the last place the opponent and your teammate (Haley, in this instance) expect you to go is right into your own guy.
Hillen just about did that, but thankfully Haley, though surprised, knew how to react.
On to the rankings...
Media Rankings Survey
I am starting to suspect the Portzy feller is deliberately trying to wind Isles fans up. Still, there is something entertaining about self-loathing vented outward against others' success.
So anyway, here is what they're saying...
|Outlet||Rank||Last Week||Their Commentary|
||Beating bad teams does more harm than good: it doesn't mean you're good, and it only hurts the draft pick.|
|ESPN||22||27||The Islanders have picked up points in nine of their past 10 games (5-1-4)!|
|Sportsnet (Brophy)||25||25||The Islanders have lost just once in regulation in their last 10. Even better, goalie Rick DiPietro returned from six weeks off with a shootout win over Florida.|
|23||23||A nice season for soon-to-be 28-year-old P.A. Parenteau, who leads the Isles with a point-per-game in ten games this month, giving him 18 goals and 48 points in his first full NHL season.|
"Let's face it, that team is playing well. God, I wish someone would get me the hell out of Columbus."
...And hear is what we
know imagine they're saying, in their cold dark hearts:
|Imagined Outlet||Rank||Last Week||Their Imagined Commentary|
||Make no mistake, Wrist Shots has learned Michael Grabner's Calder candidacy is in jeopardy because his team thinks Trevor Gillies is a nice guy.
Central Ohio Picayune
||I hate myself.
|Dominique, Fanboy Nation
||2||2||Honey, we're moving to Area 51 and from this point forward we only speak Danish.
|The Omen, Toronto Shameless & Record||28||28||
John Tavares isn't getting the attention on Long Island that he deserves, which is why he will sign with Toronto as soon as...wait, is reading the CBA really part of my job?
are 30-goal scorers just goes to show that |
Real Power Rankings
Our weekly "real" power rankings, courtesy of our own ICanSeeForIslesAndIsles (who is the one you'll find tirelessly compiling FIG picks in the game thread), conceived and delivers these week after week. They reflect games through Sunday (so, last night's win isn't factored in).
One thing everyone agrees on is Vancouver is the best team in the league...and Edmonton is the worst. By this measure, it doesn't look like the Isles can be caught in 27th, but they might yet leap Florida for 26th.
Note: I'm traveling the rest of the week, so if I'm less responsive than normal, just picture me without water lying at the bottom of a canyon somewhere. This place is in good hands with the regular gang.