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Islanders News: Where is the desperation?

They know they need it, and yet...

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Ottawa Senators v New York Islanders
The Mandolese Effect.
Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

I am still fuming. I purposefully waited until the morning to write this because last night I was seething, foaming at the mouth. But that didn’t work. I don’t remember when I was this mad at the New York Islanders. It has been a long time.

Perhaps it was because, in recent years, they have been able to get away with stinkers, either because they were securely in a playoff spot or undoubtedly not in one—stinkers didn’t matter much.

However, right now, stinkers matter. That is now three straight losses in “winnable” games against weaker opponents, and when they inevitably miss the playoffs, these are the games we’ll look back on. Last night’s game wasn’t too much of a stinker. I mean, they took 48 shots. And the Ottawa Senators started an ECHL goalie making his NHL debut, which the Islanders notoriously struggle with. But they continue to give up too many high-danger chances, and they continue to start slow on the nights they absolutely should not, like last night.

When you’re facing the fourth-stringer, who is playing behind a team on a back-to-back coming off an emotional win the night before, shoot the damn puck right away, in the opening minutes of the first period. Is that so hard to do? Every time they face one of these guys, they’re like “ah, let’s let the guy settle in so we can have a fair game.” And then they lose.

I like Lane Lambert the man, and I think he’s a smart guy. But he’s not even a full season into his head coaching career, and he already appears to be out of answers. That hard practice on Monday clearly didn’t help. He’s not pushing the right buttons. He might just be a good assistant, someone who can fill in the gaps the head coach leaves.

As for the players, man, what more motivation could they possibly need? You’re in a playoff race! And you're pulling up the rear in it! Wake the hell up! Unless... the supporting cast is old and slow and done, which just might be the case. There is now, at least, a solid foundation around which a GM can build with Bo Horvat and Mathew Barzal signed long-term, and with Noah Dobson (who seems to have regressed without Barry Trotz but at least he’s still young) and Ilya Sorokin in the fold.

Anyway, when Lou Lamoriello (whose seat must be red-hot because there was no one at the game last night) fired Trotz, it was announced with a 9:00 a.m. tweet. When he hired Lambert a week later, it was announced with a 9:00 a.m. tweet. The Islanders are off today. Check back in about a half hour.

Islanders News

  • Recaps from the latest debacle: I mean, credit to Kevin Mandolese, as he did make 46(!) saves, but for the love of God man. They say things like now is the time, we need to be desperate, etc., etc. Just shut up and show it then! Holy hell. Look at the below tweet. Just pathetic. [LHH | Islanders | Newsday]
  • J-G Pageau missed the game last night, and Otto Koivula subbed in. Maybe, if Pageau was in, he might have made the difference since he would have been playing his old team. That shouldn’t be an excuse, though. [Newsday]
  • The red flags are becoming more numerous. I’m not sure what more needs to happen for them to show desperation, but it’s not good if they haven’t shown it yet. [amNY | The Athletic]
  • Mike and Dan discuss the good (the Bo Horvat extension, the first two games last week) and the bad (the Islanders). [Islanders Anxiety]
  • Lambert hoped that raising his voice would lift the Islanders’ game. But yeah. [Newsday]
  • It hasn’t been Brock Nelson’s fault, as he now has an 11-game point streak, the longest for the Isles since Josh Bailey(!) had one in 2017. [Newsday]
  • Looking backward, the Travis Hamonic trade hurt at the time, but it has become decidedly an Islanders’ win, as the picks they got back turned into Noah Dobson, Samuel Bolduc, and Ruslan Iskhakov. Meanwhile, Hamonic played only two seasons with the Calgary Flames and never looked quite as good as he did with the Islanders. [The Athletic]


Last night’s NHL scores include both the Capitals and Panthers losing, meaning the Islanders miraculously gained a point on both of them—were it not for the sheer incompetence of the teams around them in the standings, the Islanders would be well out of the race. The Penguins won, though.

  • Alex Ovechkin will be away from the team for at least the rest of the week as he tends to a family matter. Hope everything is okay. [ESPN]
  • The Nashville Predators have to give up the ghost and start selling off pieces. [A to Z]
  • Like Jakob Chychrun before him (and he still hasn’t been traded), Vladislav Gavrikov is being held out of the lineup for “trade-related reasons.” [NHL]
  • Insider Trading: Ryan Reynolds teams up with a group who are not the favorites to land the Senators, and Timo Meier is coveted by the Maple Leafs, Devils, and Hurricanes. [TSN]