Leering with a predatory gaze, the month of November opens with a frigid gust to remind the faithful of Novembers past. Frans, in your mercy, offer us shelter from the storm.
1- A team is never really as good as they look in the midst of a winning streak, nor as bad in the throes of a losing streak. Unless they're the '72 Dolphins or the '62 Mets.
2- Within one week, Isles go from the toast of the NHL, to middle of the pack. Losing 3 in a row will do that in October.
3- As November rears its ugly head, I'll posit that it will not systematically destroy the Isles playoff dreams, merely help determine where they are seeded.
4- I have to sympathize with Cappy a bit, as the first weeks saw the loss of Grabovski for 3 games, followed by the loss of Bailey for the foreseeable future.
5- The above said, this team has the type of depth that should overcome those losses, and it's up to the coach to find the right mix.
6- I suspect the return of Grabner, whenever that might be, will help the penalty kill a bit, but I also believe that the issue is not personnel.
7- Jaro Halak's problem with teams going high shoulder is déjà vu all over again.
8- Is it telling that the Isles now have 36 goals for and 39 goals against?
9- While the team has played poorly recently, they are still ahead of the Rangers. For now.
10- There are times a young team needs a different voice to push them to the next level. Now is not the time...but it may be rapidly approaching.
11- With the prior in mind, Dan Bylsma has a resume worth looking at, as well as ties to the Island.
12- To the point above, with Snow's ties to the northeast, its more likely Mahty Reasoner's the next Isle's coach than Bylsma.
14- Maybe John Tavares has lost a step. Nah.
15- The defense passed the ‘eyeball' test the other night against the Sharks. If they play like that every night, the team will win far more than they lose.
16- Jet lag in Colorado? Seriously, the Avalanche looked like they were skating rings around the Isles.
17- The power play's stall has coincided with the recent lack of success. It is the rare winning team that has bad special teams...though, in fairness, I think the power play will improve.
18- Peter Laviolette's philosophy would have been a good fit for the way this team is constructed, at least until his coaching style caused irreparable damage in the locker room.
19- Hamonic's quote regarding the pressbox (everyone up there think's they should score 50) was a testament to how much he'd rather be playing than sitting.
20- Lubimir Viznovsky's return has been a pleasant surprise. Here's to a healthy year for the resident ‘old man' on the blueline.
21- The fourth line usage reminds me of the Fourth Period trade rumors site. Unbelievable. There's something to be said about striking while the iron's hot - not a bad idea to send your best players out to take a center ice draw after a goal.
22- Hat tip to Matt Carkner. As a hockey player, he is what he is, but I never celebrate a player's injury. Tough guy, good teammate. I suspect he will move on after this season.
23- The Isles inability to play a complete 60 minutes is both puzzling and troubling.
24- An old adage about winning 2 out of 3 at home and going .500 on the road is a recipe for success. Isles aren't there yet.
25- Shannon Hogan's brought a bit of verve to the Islander's broadcasts, and is more than the typical ESPN sideline female reporter.
26- Cory Conacher may have been demoted, but was there any doubt his best usage would be on the fourth line?
28- It should be said yet again: thoughts and prayers to Al Arbour and his family. Dementia is a terrible sickness.
29- The great thing about hockey is that the time between games is short enough to whet the appetite after a win, but long enough to cool down the angst after a loss.
30- As frustrating as losing is, it is in times of adversity that the true character of a team shows through. We'll see how this team responds.