In last nights game against the high flying St. Louis Blues, the New York Islanders got a strong sense of just how much an experienced and great coach can do for your team. The fundamental game that the Blues played was an absolute beautiful spectacle. It is tough for Isles fans like myself to think about how much better this team would be with a coach like Ken Hitchcock, but last night;s game should be a strong indication to our extremely well managed team (sarcasm) that a coach along with a solid defenseman will be our priority this summer.
With that being said, I have read a lot of criticism about how we played last night in islanderspointblank.com in the discussions board, and this needs to stop. St. Louis is one of the best teams in the league and currently on of the hottest teams in the leauge. We enetered last night with a first time defenseman, and what almost appeared to be a first time goaltender in an extremely rusty Al Montoya not being able to cover his five hole for the life of him. Although a few of the goals were not his fault, big saves needed to be made, and this was Al's chance to prove himeself and steal a few more starts for himself by playing well against one of the top teams in the leauge, like Evgeni did against the Flyers a few weeks ago.
On the positive note, Nino Niederreiter played probably his best game of the season last night. He showed a few flashes of brilliance. The first was on the pass to reasoner who should of went short side, or dragged back to his backhand (even though noone expects him to put these away), and another play when he held the puck alone for about 10 seconds, cutting back and forth in the offensive corner to the left of Elliot, while eventually finding open space toward the slot, taking his space, and taking a shot that was unfortunately blocked by the Blues defence. His insanely quick release, good body strength and positioning, and ability to find space were all the things he showed tonight on an AHL caliber Islanders fourth line, and all the reasons we drafted him 5th overall.
Now on to Islanders coaching. Last night, Brian Rolston again started on the thrid line playing valuable thir line minutes. He also played almost half of our top power play minutes at 4:17, in which went 0-5. His play is obviously not NHL caliber anymore and his leadership role seemingly gets shunned by his linemates and teamates rolling his eyes at him every time he gets off the ice after a terrible offensive play.
Back to the point, when the Islanders are down 5-1 with alsmost half the game to go, and Nino is showing these signs of brilliance and confidence, and rolston is showing these signs of age and lacklusterness, how does Jack Capuano not deem it plausible if not necessary to promote Nino Niederreiter and demote Brian Rolston? ITS A NO BRAINER!! The game was clearly over as Montoya wasn't pulled and we were down 5-1 with one of the best goalies in the league in the opposing net. These are the moves that can help Nino and our team. There is no risk in promoting him to boost his conficence in a game that is already over. To not promote him in a close game when he is playing well and Rolston is playing his typical AHL caliber game, is one thing. But to not concider a promotion in a game like this, is exactly what gives the Islanders organization the reputation it has.
Its unfortunate, but just think we have 8 more months before PANDALFO REASONER and ROLSTON ARE DONEZOOOOO!!!
Playoffs still in sight though fans... we must STAY POSITIVE as Nabby is on his way back and its only a matter of time before JT91 starts his domination once again!!