Isles Memories: Alexei Yashin

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I figured since the team has been playing miserably lately and that I don’t want to sound like a broken record, I’d bring back an old segment to the site, Islanders Memories.

It’s not that I wasn’t a fan of the Yashin signing when it was originally made, because I was, but I was really worried that the pick they gave away, Zdeno Chara and Bill Muckalt would come back and bite the Isles and their fans in the arse. Sadly, Chara and Jason Spezza have developed into bona-fide NHL stars, while the Islanders overpaid for a then point a game player who never panned out for a majority of reasons.

Another Loss

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The inconsistency that is being exhibited on the ice over the past two weeks by the Islanders is growing increasingly tiresome. The constant giveaways in the offensive end are getting annoying. The sub-par powerplay is getting excruciating to watch. The new lines did nothing. The defense let Rick DiPietro down again. All in all, today’s game was a complete disaster.

Marc-Andre Bergeron needs to find a new home. Hockey fans in Edmonton know the game better than the majority of hockey fans in the world and they booed him every chance they got when he played there. Now I know why. The guy coughed up the puck so many times today that Ted Nolan should put some Dayquil next to his locker. Why Nolan keeps rewarding him by putting him on the powerplay is insane to me.

Dubie’s Effort Not Enough, Another Loss

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Well, I said yesterday that last night’s game was going to be a must win. Los Angeles has been struggling all season and the Isles, who have been playing horribly at home, needed a win. Didn’t happen did it? Again, just a mediocre offensive performance and not the smartest defensive effort I’ve seen this season. With the game so close in the third, the Isles needed to just keep the game at even strength and start a forecheck. Instead, they get called for a too many men penalty, which led to the Rob Blake goal.

Can the Isles Overcome Their Recent Defensive Problems Against the Kings?

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I don’t think I’ve said this many times this season, but this is a must win game for the Islanders if they want to make the playoffs this season. Sure, they’re in the final playoff spot and considering where many analysts expected them to finish this season, Islander fans should be happy where the team is…right? I don’t think so. The way this team started this season, fans on the Island thought this team was capable of much more. The way they played through the first 20 games this season also showed that despite a mediocre offense, they could play well against the rest of the league.

Bad Bounces and Sloppy D Kill Isles in 5-2 loss to Sens

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Even if you have the best home defense system in the world, your house can and will get robbed if you leave the back door open every night. If you don’t have much of a home security system in the first place and you do it, you’re just asking for problems.

Isles Midseason Report Card: Goaltenders

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Now that I’ve gotten everyone else out of the way, it’s time to break down the play of the Islanders goaltenders this year.

Midseason Report Card: Defensmen

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Now after discussing the forwards, it’s time to talk about the defensemen.

Freddy Meyer- no goals, three assists. While his play last season was mediocre and he was the odd-man out earlier in the season, Meyer has been unusually solid in the defensive end and has recaptured the physical play he exhibited during his rookie season with the Flyers. With more playing time, he should get even better.

Rating- B-. Scoring 26 points in his rookie season, Meyer [alongside the rest of the Islanders defense] needs to start getting some more points. However, his physical play and instincts in defensive end have been solid so far and are the key to his staying in the lineup.

Isles Midseason Report Card- Wingers

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Now that the centers are out of the way, it’s time to break down the play of the wingers.

Richard Park- Nine goals, 12 assists, 21 points. Aside from having a career year in the offensive end, Park continues to be a force on the penalty kill and has been a sparkplug on every line he’s played on. His fortitude and drive easily make up for his lack of size and his overall play has been outstanding.

Rating- A+- There’s really nothing else he can do out there. If his teammates get hot down the stretch, his play with get even better.

Mid-Season Report Card: Centers

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With the All-Star break now officially underway, I’m going to dedicate the next few posts to rating the performances of the Isles through 50 games.

Today we’ll cover the centers.

Isles get Mauled by the Bruins

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Last night, it seemed like Mike Sillinger and the Islanders fourth line were the only players that showed up to play.

It didn’t help matters either that Tim Thomas was on his game after stinking up the joint the game before against Montreal. Throughout the game, the only line that seemed to have any consistent intensity was the Andy Hilbert, Tim Jackman and Blake Comeau [who was also getting playing time on the third line with Miroslav Satan and Josef Vasicek] line which was cycling the puck and taking the body. Every other line had opportunities, but they couldn’t finish and in the end, that was one of the things that hurt the Isles the most.

Isles Faceoff with Bruins

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With one more point than Boston, the Isles are in the seventh spot in Eastern Conference and can make it three with a win tonight. If there was a big game this season, this may be it. After scoring three shorthanded goals and getting another three against the Carolina Hurricanes earlier in the week, the Isles could definitely use another offensive outburst.

Three Shorthanded Goals Get Isles Redemption Against ‘Canes

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Three shorthanded goals and a solid game by Wade Dubielewicz turned this into an entertaining game, don’t you think. It also seems that Mike Sillinger isn’t dealing with anymore nagging injuries and is ready to start contributing more. Seeing guys like Sean Bergenheim, Blake Comeau and Brendan Witt get goals as well might be exactly what this team going offensively.

Speaking of Comeau, this guy has matured so much over the past few weeks that I don’t want to think about what this team decides to do once Chris Simon is ready to come back. As far as I’m concerned, Comeau is one piece of the future of this team. Simon and his shenanigans are in the past. I just hope the Islanders organization understands that and gives players like Comeau every opportunity to prove just how talented and dependable they can be.

Same Old Story…Isles Need More Offense

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Well, another game with Carolina. Hopefully, the pace isn’t as lackluster as it was yesterday. For one, the Islanders need to start finishing more on offense. Four losses in overtime over the course of their past ten games is absolute proof of that.

I know I’ve said that players like Ruslan Fedotenko and Josef Vasicek are on pace for their usual numbers this year, but I forgot to mention that they’re getting more ice-time this season than they’ve pretty much ever gotten over the course of their NHL careers. They need to start producing more. There’s no other way to say it.

Isles Cough Up Another Lead

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For the second time in as many games, the Isles coughed up a two-goal lead. Make no mistake about it, even though the Isles came out with a point and are still right in the middle of a playoff race, this is the time of the season when the Isles have to start padding points against conference rivals and start building for the postseason, not giveaway points.

Today, the Isles were scratching away at the Hurricanes, rather than knocking them down. With a two-goal lead, the Isles should have clamped down on defense and continued to establish a cycle in the offensive end. In a few weeks, when the season starts to wind down, the Islanders will start to understand that they controlled their fate all along. They could have chosen between life and death. Let’s hope they make the right decision.

Flyers Score Four Unanswered in 5-3 Win Over Isles

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Sorry for such a late post today guys, but between watching two great football games and being in another borough all day, I couldn’t find the time to write about yesterday’s debacle of a game. Now, I however do have that time, so here it goes.

The first period started pretty well, didn’t it? The Islanders scored more in the first period than Tommy Lee does when he goes on tour [I heard that somewhere today, so I figured hey, why not use it] and things looked pretty good. Aaron Johnson, who is filling in for Chris Campoli, who is nursing a shoulder injury he suffered during the game against the Devils, made a few solid plays on defense and the rest of the patchwork defense core was holding together admirably.

Philly Pregame Musings, Can the Isles get More Help on Offense?

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Make no mistake about it, tonight is going to be another good test for this bunch of misfits known as the New York Islanders. The Flyers have gotten points in nine of their last ten games and have a ton of talent on both the blue line and forward lines. Players like Daniel Briere, Mike Richards and Kimmo Timonen are starting to get comfortable playing there and they’re is team is winning because of it.

12/14/07 - Where Are They Now? -- Islanders Free Agents 2007

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The 2007 NHL offseason was one of the most tumultuous summers any hockey fan could endure. The new CBA, just two years old, is still being adjusted to and learned by GMs and organizations around the league. Across the board, every team faced some roster shake up, and the Islanders were no exception.

But the free agency splash rippled out and subsided just in time for the '07-'08 season to start. By October, the Islanders were a totally different team, losing six of their top ten scorers to free agency, and replacing them with a mix of young and old faces from around the league. This new team has gone on to beat all the "expert" analysis and is in striking distance of the division lead, despite a recent scoring drought.

But as the season heads to the halfway mark, how have the ex-Isles been with their new teams this season? I asked some fellow NHL bloggers to give an inside perspective on the former Islanders' performances so far this year.

~

12/06/07 - Free Fall

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Well, the Islanders are doing... terribly. Go figure the last game I can see on TV this year is another depressing loss to the B's. Anyway, I wanted to quickly assure everyone that I'm still here -- working through the last weeks of the Fall semester -- and I'm now working on a collaborative piece with other NHL bloggers. It should be ready soon, so check back sometime next week for the scoop.

11/10/07 - Ketchup

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Hey. It's been a while, I know, but it's also been a hectic few weeks (combined with a few stretches of no Islanders games). In any case, things are looking up for the Islanders lately, who stand tonight with the 2nd best winning percentage in the East.

Today, the Islanders re-acquired defenseman Freddy Meyer, which is by all accounts a great move. Letting him go wasn't the plan back in October; the roster conflict necessitated his move to the Sound Tigers, but having a one-way contract, Freddy needed to be put on waivers first. If he's nothing else, he is even more gritty depth and insurance against further injury. I doubt that he is going to be traded, as well.

Additionally, it looks like Bryan Berard is just days away from returning to the lineup, which should help pull the powerplay back up to the top of the league (he left with 4 points, and 2 game-winning goals in just 5 games).

10/14/07 - Week Two

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An interesting week, indeed. Following up a gritty win against the Rangers was an embarrassing loss in Toronto, and a tough loss in Philly. But we should have known what was coming, playing in Toronto after last season. (Unsportsmanlike on Comrie? Are you serious?)

Anyway... while parts of the team preformed well, namely Bryan Berard and the 3rd and 4th lines, the Comrie-Guerin-Fedotenko top line has seemingly fallen asleep. If the team is going to be successful regularly, it is going to have to rely on this line for at least one or two points per game. Obviously, it's a lot to ask of a single line, but in all honesty, they have the skills to do it. And the way the defense is shooting, it won't take a whole lot more to take the pressure off of DiPietro and Dubielewicz. Let's not forget that the Isles bought-out Yashin because he was inconsistent; what the team needs is a reliably producing first line.

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