How odd was last night? Jon Sim has scored 21 goals as an Islander in 21 separate games, several of those coming on nights when Sean Bergenheim or Trent Hunter also scored. But never have all three of them scored in the same game. Grinders with a touch of scoring punch, unite!
I'm an NHL fan. The playoffs drive my pulse whether or not I'm emotionally invested in the participants. (That's diplomacy-speak for, "I have not had a dog in the playoff fight in three years. It's cold in here.")
So as the Islanders season winds down, you'll see a lot of playoff bits here, as well as Islanders "report card"-type analysis. Around here, there will be draft talk, Bridgeport playoff (hopefully) talk, franchise planning talk, and general NHL stuff. Whether you tune out after the Isles are done or follow the playoffs no matter what, it will be worth your sticking around. (On that note, if you haven't submitted your own end-of-season Islanders awards, here's the thread.)
More coverage from last night's 6-4 win, plus league-wide links, after the jump.
Links and Sundry
>>About that general NHL stuff: For Center Ice subscribers and Web-savvy addicts, tonight features two intriguing showdowns for the low-hanging playoff seeds: Calgary-Colorado and Montreal-Philadelphia. If you want to gawk at the fans agonizing over the stakes, SBN's sites for those teams are: M&G (Calgary), Mile High Hockey (Col), Broad Street Hockey (Phi) and Eyes on the Prize (Habs).
>>About last night ... more coverage of the Isles win: Post | FanHouse | Daily News (w/ random Moulson non-contract bit) | Eric's 'stat trick' | Broad Street Hockey | Phi. Daily News | Inquirer | BS Bull (Inq. blog) | Incredibly, the Flyers have resorted to signing Sebastian Caron.
>>An update on Taylor Pyatt, one year after the death of his fiance at age 27.
>>An interesting missive and discussion at Copper & Blue that gets to the heart of why it's important to use more than goals/points/GAA/plus-minus to try to under what's happening on the ice. Regulars probably know that I like checking "advanced" stats for deeper perspective on what's going on. (You cannot watch all 18 skaters' every shift on any night, and the standard stat sheet cannot tell you the full story.) But these stats are hardly what drives my appreciation of the game. Regardless, a balance of observation and checking your observation against numbers is required. Watching this game is about entertainment, in whatever form floats your boat.
>>Finally, this quote -- from an old-school soccer coach, Peter Nowak in Philadelphia -- has been tickling my fancy for the past week. Because it speaks to the situation every coach, in any sport, on a "rebuilding" squad faces:
"Sooner or later, these young men with great potential will realize that potential needs to be shown on the field. It’s good for a coach to have a team with potential, but potential will get you fired at some point."
With a GM who trusts him and wants a long-term relationship, Scott Gordon has the luxury to try to bring such potential along slowly. But you know that a few years from now, reality will need to catch up with potential. Or else.