In a move that may reflect some semblance of a healthy lineup -- no, seriously -- the Islanders announced Radek Martinek is expected to play tomorrow night against the Maple Leafs, so Ty Wishart has been returned to AHL Bridgeport.
|2010 - Ty Wishart||13||1||3||4||1||8||1||12||15:45||0:43||0:17||19|
At even strength, Wishart played about a third of his time with Milan Jurcina and about the same amount with Jack Hillen. A quick-and-dirty look at his microstats hints at some intrigue in this FanPost, but buyer and sample size beware. Not listed in the stat line above is 20 blocked shots, which the Islanders are known for and which puts him in similar company on a per-game basis as his teammates.
Overall, not a bad 13-game debut for Wishart. It had its bright and low moments, as you'd expect from any introduction of a young defenseman. First impression is there is definitely something serviceable there, and Garth Snow did well to get an actual player in the Dwayne Roloson rent-off. Wishart looks like a player who will get that classic "I wish he'd use his size more" tag, but if he combines good instincts with a little more urgency in his movements then he can use that size to good effect without needing to demolish people. (Still, demolishing people is always nice.)
If you missed it over the weekend, Mark Katic was also returned to Bridgeport in advance of Jurcina's return to the lineup Sunday afternoon against the Devils. This is not the blueline they expected to have coming into the season, but for the first time in a while it's pretty close.
Standings Watch: Love Me Some Larssonkog
Not related, but a frequent topic lately and pretty much every March: The bottom of the table watch. I know some are taking the way the Isles have played lately as a sign they'll be out of the traditional lottery pack (and by "lottery" I mean shorthand for the slots that have a chance at getting the #1 overall pick, not the literal lottery in which every non-playoff team is technically a participant).
But if you look at the standings, nothing is determined -- and winning one game out of 21 in the fall still smarts. Ottawa and Edmonton (seven and six points behind the Islanders, respectively) do look like they are in a tanktastic spin, but the Islanders have the most games played out of any of the bottom 10.
The bottom of the standings as of today, via nhl.com:
|21||Columbus||CEN||64||31||26||7||69||176||191||-15||16-13-2||15-13-5||4 - 4||5-3-2||Lost 2|
|22||Toronto||NE||66||29||28||9||67||173||202||-29||15-12-7||14-16-2||4 - 5||6-1-3||Lost 1|
|23||St Louis||CEN||65||28||28||9||65||177||194||-17||18-11-4||10-17-5||3 - 5||3-7-0||Lost 4|
|24||Atlanta||SE||66||27||28||11||65||184||214||-30||15-14-6||12-14-5||3 - 7||3-6-1||Won 1|
|25||New Jersey||ATL||65||30||31||4||64||139||168||-29||16-13-3||14-18-1||3 - 1||9-1-0||Won 4|
|26||Florida||SE||66||26||31||9||61||165||184||-19||12-13-7||14-18-2||4 - 4||2-6-2|
|27||Colorado||NW||65||26||31||8||60||185||224||-39||14-16-4||12-15-4||3 - 1||1-7-2||Lost 1|
|28||NY Islanders||ATL||67||25||32||10||60||184||213||-29||14-15-5||11-17-5||3 - 5||4-3-3|
|29||Edmonton||NW||66||23||35||8||54||169||215||-46||12-19-4||11-16-4||2 - 7||7-3-0||Won 3|
|30||Ottawa||NE||65||22||34||9||53||147||206||-59||11-18-5||11-16-4||1 - 4||5-4-1||Lost 1|
There are several teams above the Islanders in various funks, but any of them could level off and still keep pace above the Isles. Florida and Colorado are in particularly ugly spirals which have allowed the Isles to pull up with them ... but things can change.
Point being, even when teams are doing NHL quasi-.500 it's hard to climb in the standings. I won't be paying really close attention to this bottom of the table, but I won't be making any assumptions either until another 10th of the season has played out.
P.S. Isn't it great that under "streaks," the NHL has no idea how to treat a "loss" in a three-point game? That's telling to me, and it's why I call them "winless streaks."