As far as the New York Islanders are from eighth place in the East, that's how far the second-place Boston Bruins are from the top seed in the East. Wow. In fact, at just 5-4-1 in their last 10 games, the Bruins are now just three points ahead of Ottawa in the Northeast (though with three games in hand).
The Isles, an even worse 3-6-1 in their last 10, end a 0-2-1 road trip today in the hope of changing that zero. Then of course they pick right back up tomorrow afternoon (3 p.m.) playing host in the first of three consecutive with the Devils. Speaking of Devils...
Today should be interesting for the usual "Who carves out a role?" questions we are now going all-in on, but also of course for renewing acquaintances with Brian Rolston and Mike Mottau. SB Nation's Bruins blog takes a look at those two acquisitions with what you probably expect, but also this:
"Oddly enough, it wasn't that long ago that Mottau was a pretty useful player." (Aside: It's true!)
Nabokov is in goal. Nino will be in for Grabner, who is sick. #Isles— NYIslanders (@NYIslanders) March 3, 2012
Capuano says #Isles will dress 7 D for warmups. Reese may be in for Jurcina, game-time decision. Also Nino on LW with Cizikas, Okposo.— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) March 3, 2012
And also this, which is well-intended but ...:
The negative GVT is bad. The -12 rating is poor and the 9 points in 50 games pathetic. But looking at Rolston's advanced stats, something jumps out: his relative Corsi is a very healthy 5.6, meaning that Rolston was outshooting his Islander teammates...
For his career, Rolston is averaging a shooting percentage of 8.9%, and for the three years previous to this, he was in the mid 8s. This year? A Scott Gomez-esque 3.6%. Players don't just fall off a cliff like that.
Oh, yes they do. Or rather, they usually don't -- and many of these citations are the same cases we've been making when trying to understand who is the chicken and who is the egg on the unproductive lines Rolston found himself on with the Islanders this season.
But if you can remember a threatening shot Rolston took that had more than a 4% chance of going in this season, aside from his empty-netter, you have a better memory than I.
Leave your First Islanders Goal picks for today's game in this thread.