For archives and record-retrieval purposes we like to make sure each game has a recap of sorts associated with it, so gloss on by if you're done with last night's game (and apologies for this being very late, and interrupted by other breaking news).
First off: The lineup. Marty Reasoner was scratched, removing one of the four centers who has played every game this season. This seemed like a nod to Micheal Haley's callup, creating a traditional "energy" line (with all the risk that entails, including an early penalty on Haley for a high hit). Yet it put Jay Pandolfo of all people into the center role there, and Jack Capuano has put Haley (who apparently has played RW at Bridgeport) into the LW role while forcing Blake Comeau to the right side where he has never, ever looked comfortable.
Comeau then had 6:45 of ice time, lowest on the team. Was this some message from Capuano? And if so, was it to the player or to his GM (or vice versa)? In what may be Comeau's last game as an Islander, he was put in an unfamiliar role with a line that didn't have much hope of doing much, while players like Marty Reasoner and Nino Niederreiter watched from the pressbox.
There may be more things going on between team and player than we know, but that added one strange chapter to an already odd saga.
I poorly emphasized this in the brief post-game +/-, but to me the concern with Rick DiPietro isn't any individual goal -- of which there were at least two bad ones, though I heard different national broadcasters differ on how bad Scott Hartnell's topshelf odd-angle goal was.
The greater concern is his ability to stop shots on average, and his apparent discomfort in recoveries. He clearly makes good saves at times -- all goalies do -- but he clearly on aggregate is giving up too many by NHL standards. Whether a fan, a goalie expert, or the team itself thinks this is just another step on the long road of physical recovery and regaining form is up for some debate, but with each further game and each continued apparently awkward recovery the chances of that look slimmer and slimmer. Al Montoya is off of IR as of today, and I expect he'll be used heavily.
Kyle Okposo Returns; Michael Grabner Paves the Way
Great game from Okposo -- finally -- getting out of his slump and potting two goals. But let's not miss who made those two goals happen: Michael Grabner. The speedster's underrated passing has been a delight to see this season, and he made two fine passes to set up those goals (Josh Bailey of course had a critical part in the second one) and Grabner scored a goal himself.
It was good to see Okposo alive again. But it's great to see Grabner's game continue to shine at both ends.
Other: Haley is no quick fix
Nice piece on a blogger friend in the Montreal Gazette on stats:
"It's a product of everything being pushed on Gomez because he's struggling. Every tiny mistake he makes gets magnified out of proportion. So you start looking into different things to see if your perception reflects reality."