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Guns Before Butter: Islanders' busy holiday run to the New Year

This is what's known as the Danish Backhand of Judgment. You never had a chance.
This is what's known as the Danish Backhand of Judgment. You never had a chance.

UPDATE: Katie Strang tweets that Rick DiPietro, who missed Saturday's game with knee swelling, isn't on the ice this morning.

You may be riding out the 2010 string at work or enjoying a pending break at school, but the Islanders don't get much holiday time off through the end of the year. They'll be heavy on the guns, going easy on the butter. This week, they don't play until Wednesday (home vs. Tampa Bay), but then they play the next night (at New Jersey) plus Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and on New Year's Eve (again) next Friday in Detroit.

At the end of all that, they'll be at 36 games played on the year -- and currently they sit a full 20 points behind 8th place in the East. Which means any talk of playoffs (outside the organization) is long past, and personally I accept and encourage brief call-ups and eval's like Rhett Rakhshani's one game and Nathan Lawson's NHL debut Saturday (video on that after the jump). Questions need to be answered about the progress of existing roster players and pending free agents (Blake Comeau in both categories) as well as coach Jack Capuano, but organization-wide it's full asset management time.

Though Kyle Okposo is still roughly a month away, it looks like health -- the ultimate X-factor -- is slowly starting to return {knocks on wood, tosses community projection sliderule into yulefire}. To reset where we are at 30 games in, after the jump are some team stats, questions of the day and various links from the past week:

Rates are per game. Goals against sadly includes the three shootout "loss" goals.

Stat 0.62 2.17 3.37 29.0 30.1 14.7 80.0
Rank 29th 29th 30th 22nd 16th 27th 20th

See? In a lot of categories, the Devils and others are far worse.

Nathan Lawson Post-Game Video

Talks about how he felt, Roloson calming him down beforehand, the tying goal and the shootout...

Links to Lead You Asunder

World Junior Championship: Calvin De Haan gets the "A" | Is the U.S. team really favorite? [FanShot]

Things That Don't Matter But Really When You Think About It, They Do: What is your ideal goal song for the Isles?

The Future: WebBard's weekly prospect update (including a nice piece on Colgate senior captain Brian Day) | Newsday's Katie Strang talks with Nino Niederreiter | Kevin Poulin continues to shine at Bridgeport -- as does Josh Bailey (their powerplay, too) | BC tries pegging the draft at season mid-point | Cary K's opinions after taking in a Sound Tigers game

The Past: On this day in 1985, Denis Potvin passed Bobby Orr. For me as a child at the time, stuff like that was just the norm for the Isles. Stupid kid.

Game Recaps: Our LHH recap of the Coyotes game, with several continuing discussion threads | Rob @ THW | Eye on the Isles | The Ducks were stung by losing to the Isles |

Athlete Silliness: Joffrey Lupul isn't known for being sharp, but apparently he's an astute global traveler. In all seriousness, this is a microcosm of the club and arena's image problem.


Questions of the Day

1) Who wins the WJC? And how much will you watch?

2) The Islanders play home to Tampa Bay, Montreal and Pittsburgh, and away to New Jersey (2nd of back-to-back), the Rangers (also 2nd of back-to-back) and Detroit to close out the calendar year. How many points will they fetch from these next six games?