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Staple Q&A: Injury Intrigue, Mind Games and Looking Ahead

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Hey, Bleuchz. Let someone else have a turn, willya?

Looks pretty good here.
Looks pretty good here.
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

On his way down to Ft. Lauderdale, Newsday's Arthur Staple took to Twitter to answer some questions from Islanders fans who were no doubt in a state of shock after the team's loss in Game 4 to the Florida Panthers.

Staple answered these before the news of Ryan Pulock's injury was disclosed, so we tried to stick to more topical ones. But the whole threads can be found here and here.

As always, we thank Arthur for doing this and telling us what he thinks, whether we want to hear it or not.

On injuries

I'm not the first to wonder if Johnny Boychuk had been nursing something throughout the series. His play has been erratic and some of his decisions with the puck a little suspect. Plus, he's still not on the power play. If he's not hurt and just being outplayed by the younger and bigger Florida forwards, I'm not sure if that's better or worse.

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On the team's mental state

We may never know why the Islanders barely showed up for Game 4, despite them inexplicably taking games off during the regular season, too. Staple is our only conduit into the locker room, but even he can't tell what each player is thinking without some sort of telepathic powers. We discussed the "ass kicker" option back during the trade deadline, when the team chose to just add Shane Prince, another young player, rather than a playoff-tested veteran.

It seems like Garth Snow and Jack Capuano want the team's ass kicker to come from within their own ranks. But at this point, it's fair to question if anyone wants to strap on the boots and fill that role.

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On possible changes for the series

I'm posting this after the Islanders' morning skate and Capuano's pre-game availability, where things got a little weird:

We'll see how this all shakes out. It could just be gamesmanship by Capuano to keep either Panthers coach Gerard Gallant or Capuano's own players on their toes.

As I noted on Twitter, neither Quine nor Strome deserve to be scratched while the Bailey-Kulemin-Nelson line and the fourth line are the ones struggling the most. Bernier isn't necessarily an upgrade over any of them, but of all the lines to tinker with, why do it with one of the two that's holding on to the puck more often?

Whoever plays tonight, if they don't show more effort and put more pressure on the Panthers than they did in Game 4, all of this hair-splitting won't mean anything.

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On next year. Already?

Terrible news about Mikhail Grabovski, who doesn't seem like he'll be back any time soon. Let's hope he can get healthy and stronger over the off-season because when he's on the ice for the Islanders, he's a game-changer.

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