Today's New York Islanders practice lines were back to their pre-Grabner flu and pre-Moulson/Parenteau-rest form, but with Michael Grabner and Nino Niederreiter sharing the spot next to Casey Cizikas and Kyle Okposo. Read that as you will, after the Isles won two straight without Grabner.
Some links and notes before our weekly NHL power rankings and media ranking roundup:
- Newsday on Josh Bailey's move to right wing: "I didn't feel I played all that bad [at center] -- the production just wasn't there." [As noted yesterday, Bailey was also on NHL Home Ice on XM.]
- The Sound Tigers won again, and Fornabaio has a bushel of notes on shot-blocking, Jeremy Colliton taking a headshot, and Kevin Poulin aiming for an empty-net goal.
- Kyle Okposo's boyhood pictures are adorable. Blonde dye job in the USHL not so much. ["Islesography" video profile] (Seriously, it's a very good, thorough piece.) Also: Did you remember that his first NHL game was the ToskaLOL goal by Rob Davison?
- As anticipated, the Mario Lemieux statue does indeed have him splitting the Isles' defense (Richard Pilon and Jeff Norton). Odd that they didn't go for one of his encounters with Darius Kasparaitis in 1993, when the Penguins were well on their way to
another Stanley Cupbeing just another team.
- Where's Dubie? [The Checking Line]
- Hornick has your playoff picture after last night's games.
- The Islanders kids and Hugo Boss [photos at Skates on a Plane]
- Random non-Isles read: Is the Sharks' window closing? (Or, alternatively, is the West just really tough?)
- Random read II: If the Central and Atlantic send four teams each to the playoffs, it will be just the second time since 2000 that's happened. (Last time: 2008-09, which was also the Atlantic and Central.)
Survey of Media Power Rankings
Here is the weekly roundup of media rankings and commentary. The consecutive victories over the Bruins and Devils, and Anders Nilsson's debut, caught some eyes:
|Outlet||Rank||Last Week||Their Commentary|
||Give the Islanders credit, they play hard and they're competitive just about every night, and just finished up a weekend set of back-to-back games that saw them beat the Bruins -- in Boston -- and then shutout the Devils ... with Anders Nilsson in goal. [Ed. note: Heh, you know about that "play hard" part, that's a topic of some debate...]|
||Have beaten Bruins and Rangers in past 11 days. Can really put dent in Devils' plans to earn home-ice advantage with two more games against them this week after beating them 1-0 Sunday.|
|26||25||The Isles' win over the Devils on Sunday was their second in a row over quality conference opponents. Sunday's game was the first of three straight against the Devils. Go figure.|
|Sportsnet||24||26||The Islanders have found a way to beat some of the East’s best lately. Among their surprise recent victims: the Boston Bruins, New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers.|
|23||22||G Anders Nilsson made a triumphant return to the Isles' lineup, stopping all 24 Devils shots he faced Sunday, a far better showing than his last NHL outing, giving up five goals to Sidney Crosby and the Penguins on November 21.|
||27||One of five goalies to appear in a game for the Isles this year, 21-year-old Anders Nilsson pitched a shutout Sunday for his first career win, 1-0 over New Jersey. The Islanders’ past three wins have come against the Rangers, Bruins and Devils.|
One-goal wins sure change opinions.
Twenty-fourth here, twenty-fifth there, it's been that kind of
year five years.
For reference, here is last week's power rankings post.
Real Power Rankings
And now on to our weekly "real" power rankings courtesy of Mike, or ICanSeeForIslesAndIsles (who is the one you'll find tirelessly compiling FIG picks in the game thread), who conceived and delivers these week after week. They are calculated in true "power ranking" fashion -- i.e. how well teams fare based on their opponents' records.
These reflect figures through Monday's games. The team at the top keeps remaining the same. Which should make the fall all the sweeter.
The Islanders' wins, meanwhile, did not improve their standing with the Powers That Be:
|1||You say Dubinsky, I say no-winsky, let's call the season off
Wow, Columbus. Just wow.