Islanders vs. Penguins Game 2 Lineup Moves: Sidney Crosby's back; Also: On coaching information

With no action around Fleury's net in Game 1, CONSOL fossil fuel burners shut the lights off in his end as part of their green initiative. - Justin K. Aller

And the Islanders look like they're making changes too.

A mid-day lineup update (we think), as well as some food for thought before Game 2 of the New York Islanders series with the Pittsburgh Penguins:

Pittsburgh: Sidney Crosby is a confirmed return for the Penguins. James Neal, who left Game 1 after taking a check along the boards from Travis Hamonic, was not on the ice for the morning skate.

New York: As many fans anticipated, it looks like Marty Reasoner will be out. Not due to suspension, mind you; the league did not discipline him for his almost-knee on Jussi Jokinen near the end of Game 1. The modest surprise is who would replace Reasoner, who was scratched for 10 regular season games down the stretch only to return for Game 1:

Mind you, the above is not official, but solid tea leave reading from Staple (and the Post's Cyrgalis too) checking the morning skates. But-- OMG WHAT?! HICKEY?

Fans also expected a tweak on the blueline, but I can't imagine many expected Matt Carkner would be going in for Thomas Hickey. If that ends up being the move ... well it's curious because Hickey has been one of the team's best defensemen. His pairing with New York Islanders did not have a good Game 1, but no Islanders did.

If the Islanders want Carkner in there to rough up the opposition, they're sacrificing some major mobility and puck ability for it. Hang on tight.

Not Only But Also

For further discussion purposes -- when our commenters are not jumping off buildings and kicking pets due to anticipated lineup moves -- here is some great stuff from David Staple with Craig Ramsay about the late coach Roger Neilson. Neilson was an innovator who -- along with Al Arbour -- was among the first to use video analysis and attempt to capture things beyond the goals like scoring chances and specific D-zone responsibilities. Yet he had several NHL coaching gigs and never quite got his teams over the hump.

Staple's discussion with Ramsay gets to the heart of the matter when trying to approach this beautiful sport from both numbers and physical intelligence angles [emphasis mine]:

Eventually, with the advent of video, Neilson took his work to the NHL where he became known as Captain Video. "Roger started to break down the opposition and break down into chances for and against for the team and for you individually."

What did Ramsay think of that as a player?

"It can be a bit unnerving. You think you played a pretty good game and then you were minus two in scoring chances. You could look at them, it was much more difficult to look at them then. You had to go through the VHS tape, which was very time consuming."

Every player had a differing take on the scoring chance data, Ramsay says.

"Some people took it very seriously and some blew it off. You talk to some players and some players like to just go play and some take everything seriously. There are players who can be adversely affected by statistics and information. I don’t think that it’s a good idea all the time for all the players."

This is what every coach -- and indeed every manager of people -- must deal with. Even when there are insights that can be pulled from the laboratory, or from stepping outside the emotionally charged field of play (e.g. Ramsey advocates doubting your initial eyewitness impression of games), there is still the challenge of when and where to use them.

Because every player and person is different.

The best coaches figure out how to balance the information with the people, how to deploy the information in a way that produces improved human performance. General managers naturally want the most talented players who ideally also can handle the best information. (Not sure if that's gun or poem.)

But Bossy knows that is a rare combo among the world's best athletes. For a coach dealing with players who can't or don't want to handle such information, the goal is to get them to do what you want without them fully realizing it.

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