[UPDATE: Mark Eaton is out for six weeks with that left MCL sprain.]
Believe it or not, despite two wins in 14 games, the Islanders are still not Columbus! But they probably wish they were.
The Blue Jackets have played better lately, are slowly chipping away at the awful start accentuated by injuries, a suspension and awful goaltending, and before long Columbus should be solidly not-last in the NHL. For now, the way opinion polls and our power rankings tend to trail the flow of play, they are the only team consistently ranked behind the Islanders in the media surveys.
Another kick to the gut? According to stat tracker Eric Hornick, the Islanders' overall franchise record is now back down to .500 for the first time since 1978. It's like one more piece of dignity chipped away.
Links of misery and power tablature follow.
Islanders (Mostly) Links
- Hornick's "Skinny" from last night's atrocity.
- Newsday with the straight dirt.
- A decent-ish column from Bruce Arthur amid the Crosby hoopla as Crosby "celebrates the first day of the rest of his life."
- Add one more to the "it's the Islanders goaltending" tally. Sure.
- Did you vote for Hamonic? Reader Contest: Which NY Islander dares hit Sidney Crosby first? - Puck Daddy
- And one more from Puck Daddy: The 11 Ickiest Lines from Pierre McGuire about Sidney Crosby's Return
- Coach spec was the topic of the night: "On the odd chance Wang/Snow don't hire another buddy, Michel Therrien is warming up his snarl and bark. #Isles like him." (How does one move from the "like" list to the "buddy" list? And at which point is friending involved?)
- Schultz at IPB: Has this team tuned out another coach?
- CBS Local: Not blaming the coach, or the GM, but fearing the disaster this awful start could create.
- Kerry Fraser manages to make last night about him, a little: on other much-awaited NHL returns.
- I manage to make this link list about me, a little: I'll be doing some general columns for SBN's NHL page. Here's the first one, on healthy scratches.
- The Western Conference side is linked in the Blue Jackets note at the top of the page. Here's Copper & Blue's look at the East via Fenwick (possession data, like Corsi) and save percentage ranks. The Islanders are last in neither but bottom four in the East in both categories.
- Finally, here's a report card on a team doing much better, riding a great player's great first quarter: Mirtle on the Leafs.
- IPB talks Andrey Pedan
- NYIFYI on last night
- Very good read when considering the state of the Isles: Is There a Truly Great NHL GM?
How Other Teams See the Islanders
Via BenHasna in comments, video of Dan Bylsma's pre-game talk last night:
Media Power Rankings
Make it stop.
|Outlet||Rank||Last Week||Their Commentary|
||The team is struggling to score, goalies are getting injured, and coach Jack Capuano was upset after a 6-0 home loss to the Bruins over the weekend because his team lacks the passion it played with at the end of last season.|
||Only Ducks (0.66) have worse 5-on-5 goals-for/against ratio than Isles (0.67).|
|29||29||With only two wins in November, the free-falling Isles are the lucky ones to get Sidney Crosby's return game.|
|CBC||n/a||29||[-/- pending -/-]|
|28||25||Two wins in the last 13 games and their two best goaltenders (so far this season) are currently hurt.|
|Fox||29||29||It doesn’t matter if Evgeni Nabokov, Rick DiPietro or Al Montoya starts – the Isles haven’t allowed fewer than three goals in a game since Oct. 15.|
Sidney Crosby? Sidney Crosby. But seriously ... Sidney Crosby.
Real Power Rankings
These are before last night's loss (and other Monday games).
Our weekly "real" power rankings are courtesy of our own ICanSeeForIslesAndIsles (who is the one you'll find tirelessly compiling FIG picks in the game thread), conceived and delivers these week after week. They reflect games through Sunday.
Explanation of how he does it is in the original post. If you have any questions about it, leave them in comments and he'll likely answer. For reference, last week's post is here.