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Islanders Bits: Home for practice, power rankings survey

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On the heels of all our Nino Niederreiter "stay or go?" discussion, something Scott Gordon said yesterday, as reported by Chris Botta, reminded me of the unpredictable human side of this game: "We didn’t play the last four games with the oomph we played the previous three. There was a feel-good feeling in the locker room (as a result of the victories). Now we need some practices to get out of some bad habits."

Bad habits. Letting some early wins go to your head. It makes sense: The Islanders won two games last week that I thought they probably didn't deserve, then lost in Florida in a game where they played a good final two periods but were playing catch up thanks to a hole those bad habits dug them in the first. An early deficit seldom cares how hard you worked to erase it. As has been the case often in this young season for a team whose 5-on-5 GF/GA ratio is just 0.73, their special teams gave them a chance.

Their roster still in flux, we still don't know this team yet -- and they don't know themselves. They've had a tough road with an abridged preseason and road-heavy early schedule. They've also had their share of luck -- yet their only two regulation losses came in two of their better games (Well, two periods each in Washington and Florida). Will some more practice time this weak cure bad habits...or just try to mask flaws? It's what makes October's uncertainty fun.

After the jump, our power rankings survey and some links on Nino Decision: 2010 and other matters.

Survey of Media Power Rankings, Oct. 25

Continuing last week's feature (stolen from Japers' Rink), we have a drive-by of various power rankings to gauge the mainstream media's view of the Islanders. If there were disbelievers last week (there were), they've adjusted their opinions, as the Isles' ranking improved in every poll we sampled.

Which is funny, since in the past week the Islanders played two fairly weak games that they won (Toronto and Tampa Bay) plus a decent game (save for the first period) that they lost in Florida. For those of you really into power rankings, check the table below and then also take a look at From The Rink's aggregated table. (Also USA Today's wild matrix by Jeff Sagarin has the Isles 10th.)

Outlet Rank Last Week Their Commentary
CBSSports (Oct. 25) 15 24 James Wisniewski is providing offense from back with a point in every game he has played so far.
Col. Dispatch (Portzline, Oct. 25) 15 24 A surprising power play is keeping the Isles on a hot streak; 11 man-up goals, only four fewer than New Jersey's total.
ESPN (Oct. 25)
11 17 Quickly making believers of fans, as they rank third in goals per game despite injuries to key personnel. How long can they keep it up? No reason to expect Scott Gordon's hardworking crew to quit now.
Sportsnet (Brophy) 9 11 John Tavares scores all three goals in a 4-3 loss to Florida two games after scoring the OT winner against Toronto.
TSN (Cullen) 9 11 The Islanders' power play has been terrific (26.2%).
SI (Muir) 7 9
A nice week was highlighted by a pair of hard-fought OT road wins over the Maple Leafs and Lightning. Saturday's 4-3 loss to the Panthers was a sloppier affair, but it did feature the first career hat trick by John Tavares and another strong performance from Rangers' cast off P.A. Parenteau
SB Nation (conf) 6 5 The Islanders are likely playing over their injured little heads, but hard work can beat listless talent on a lot of nights in the NHL.
Average 11 16 Something to do with a decent powerplay, it seems.