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Rangers 2 (EN), Islanders 0: Isles offense returns to empty

Even though the officiating was hideous -- penalties assessed on Jon Sim went from abjectly false, to wrong but at least plausibly misinterpreted, to pure joke to the point you ponder an official's bias against Sim -- the story of this shameful sweep was the Islanders' continued failures on offense. They managed 12 even-strength shots, 17 total, and that's just not going to get it done. Typically when a team is behind in a game, as the Isles were for almost two periods, they outshoot their opponents because the team with the lead plays more conservatively. Not tonight.

Game Sum | Event Sum | Corsi - H2H | Recaps: NHL - BB - Isles

Final - 12.3.2010 1 2 3 Total
New York Islanders 0 0 0 0
New York Rangers 0 1 1 2

Complete Coverage >

The causes, beyond the overarching (and unnerving) matter of the Sound Tiger-heavy talent at hand, depended on the line: The JT/PAP/MM line was guilty of making ill-advised plays near the blueline and a failure to get the puck deep and sustain pressure, but those guys did combine for nine shots. The lines overall were jumbled by Jesse Joensuu's 19 minutes in the box for retaliating for Ryan Callahan's blindside elbow to Frans Nielsen's jaw, which drew...wait...that can't be right...two minutes. {cough, did someone mention officiating?}

So with an uninspiring Islanders performance at hand, the highlights of my night were meeting a few of you and a bunch of fellow bloggers at the Puck Daddy Irish Times shindig, and of course the Killing Joke concert I chose over the third period. The concert was one of the best shows I've seen in my life; at least one of us got some consolation.

Game Highlights

Notes and What-Not

Since it's late and I'm on a concert high, I'll resort to mostly links:

  • That powerplay goal, which unfortunately came off a bogus call, was a brutal double-screen by the two Islanders forwards Zenon Konopka and Matt Martin. Tsk.
  • I'd agree the Callahan hit wasn't "malicious" exactly -- probably more just careless; and it only drew a minor so I can see the league letting it go. (Of course, Thomas Pock once got a five-game suspension for a careless elbow to the head. Colie, you're doing a heckuva job. Don't let 98% of hockey-aware North America tell you any different.)
  • Jack Hillen's return to the lineup was so-so, but watching the two of them based on current form alone (not development concerns) that Travis Hamonic would already rank above Hillen on the depth chart.
  • The Isles only had two powerplays, but Jack Capuano sounds appropriately furious [Newsday, sub.] with the effort:

"I'm not going to waste around [time] with the same personnel," Capuano said. "If guys aren't willing to do it, other guys are going to play. We've gone over this. I don't mind not scoring on the power play as long as they're doing what we ask. I don't care if it's five defensemen or five rookies at this point."

  • The official site recap also had that Capuano quote, as well as him being pleased with a few things the team did ("good road game"). I read this as him having the Islanders playing far more conservatively -- total shots in this game after the previous night's goalfest were only 21-17 -- in the hope that the undermanned Isles can steal some games while overmatched.

Brandon Dubinsky apparently still thinks Jon Sim was running their goalie. Now, we know what Sim's game is -- to get under the other team's skin and hang around the net. So I'm not going to defend his overall game or counter charges that his purpose is pestual [not actually a word, but I like it]. But...I mean tonight he was shoved straight into Henrik Lundqvist to the point his face was what made contact with Henrik first. If you're trying to run someone, you don't facebutt them. On this planet, only one referee and Brandon Dubinsky think that was a legit call. The second call was at least in the ballpark: Sim stopped and turned at the edge of the Rangers goalcrease, and on his spin there was contact with his hip; but Lundqvist made a Roloson-quality meal of that and drew the call.

One more bit on Sim: I don't do this much, but when the ref watched Dubinsky crosscheck Sim two separate times within 10 feet of the ref, yet decide to send them both off (Sim for diving), that's when I seriously entertained the thought that one of the refs (veteran Bill McCreary or Frederick L'Ecuyer) doesn't like Sim's pestual game [told you I like this word] and is going out of his way to make a point. Which is a serious charge, but you look at that tape and tell me.

  • Dwayne Roloson took the high road to an impressive and sincere degree by not criticizing the refs [Islanders Point Blank] (To be clear, if it wasn't abundantly clear in the lead, I see this loss as completely on the Isles. But ref performances like that do make this sport unnecessarily galling.)
  • Lundqvist: "You could see they were just waiting for us to make a mistake." [Post] Indeed. Passive game all around.
  • The NHL recap aptly depicts two teams heading in opposite directions.
  • Well it's like a new streak has begun. And losses/quasi-losses in 16 of 17 [Mcgowan - THW]
  • 7th Woman picks out some individual numbers and general thoughts from the game.
  • Sometimes guys get cracked and keep playing because it's tough to tell the difference between losing your wind and suffering an injury that your brain remembers long after the adrenaline subsides. I hope that's not the case with Nielsen and we don't hear about something in a few days. That's the last thing this team needs.

No Prospect Report Sunday (Gameday)

So WebBard and IslesOfficial and I will be at the game Sunday afternoon versus the Flyers, in the fan role. Sitting in section 113, wearing a white 51 Nielsen jersey most likely -- the one I bought from, which has the ridiculously cheap iron-on instead of sewn-on number/nameplate (seriously?!), and now the nameplate almost completely fell off tonight after minimal use. Thank you, RBK! You're the best!

Point being, maybe I'll just be wearing a 51, or maybe nothing of the sort at all, but if you're going to the game Sunday and care to say hello somewhere, give a shout in comments.