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Islanders Bits: Injury Updates, Capuano Elaborates, Klementyev Still Suspended

When following a struggling team, it's always fun after a big feel-good win like last night's 5-1 drubbing of the Red Wings because the seasonlong self-loathing pauses and people look at some of the things that are right about the team.

Of course another question that comes up is, "Where has that team been all season?" and the answer is in many respects it's been there all along:

The Islanders have had solid, 60-minute efforts. They've had evenings of focus against tough opponents (Note: Not Boston.). Their shot differential is better than teams higher in the standings. Why, they've even managed to score more than two goals some nights!

The difference is their margin of error is thin, a few mistakes can sink them -- a few could have sunk them last night before they got the 2-0 lead -- and thus many nights decent efforts are not rewarded, bad mistakes not forgiven.

Coverage, interviews (so about that timeout, Coach), injury updates, Anton Klementyev and other assorted news from around the league follows:

Last Night and Beyond: Islanders 5, Red Wings 1

Jack Capuano

[The following videos are at the Isles' MSG highlights page, if you can't watch them here.]

Happy for the "battle level," the top line (of course), the late timeout, the goalie workload and the big early Evgeni Nabokov saves:

Nabokov, Kyle Okposo, Michael Grabner

Nabby: "We showed that we can do it. So now we got to show we can do it on a consistent basis."

NHL Cawfee Tawk

Because you don't read enough of my effluvia: At the network mothership I'm tracking the standings of NHL teams who have fired their coaches: Ken Hitchcock, Darryl Sutter, good. Todd Richards: n/a yet, but he can only go up, right?

Want to see hockey get really stupid and sideshowy? Have a universally intolerable Vancouver columnist bicker with a fairly popular Bruins enforcer and see the awkward turtles crawl all over the road. Moments like these are when I'm glad the ESPN doesn't have NHL rights to amp up the tabloid hype to eleven.

George E. Ays (aka, "Oh, that sensible and sober* Rangers fan guy who is cool, actually") says don't expect the Rangers to fall off a cliff all Wild-like. *Statement has not been verified nor regressed. George is so reasonable, I almost feel kinda bad about how that cheetah is going to tackle and grab Henrik Lundqvist by the knee while he crosses 34th Street like that psychic told me. Almost.

Finally, completely OT but interesting, especially if you like reading Paul Shirley: Warning: May Cause Self-Loathing, by Paul Shirley. I would say I'm blessed with genes predisposed to not reaching that state of the washed-up athlete, of needing external validation to thrive and get by. I feel lucky. Examples of "the best things in life are free (or reasonably priced)" are all around me. If you feel the way Shirley does, please know that counselors can help you process, and please be open to them. For your own good.

(Wow, that last one was way too Oprah-like. So ... Isles won last night, woooooo!)