Islanders: Triantaphilisms — 10 Things I Think I Think 10/3/14

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Islanders Insight
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Well, well, well. Don’t we have a lot to discuss this afternoon? At this time next week, the New York Islanders will beginning their 2014-15 season and I couldn’t be any happier about that. Hockey’s finally back and the Islanders are giving us all reasons to get amped for their return to the ice.

Believe it or not, the Islanders are 4-1-1 in the preseason. Sure, it’s “only preseason,” but I think we can all find some common ground when I say that many of us (OK, all of us) would feel a lot more insecure about our hockey team if the Islanders were, say, 0-6-0 at this point in time. Preseason isn’t going to win a team a Stanley Cup (DON’T DEBATE ME ON THIS), but it can certainly work as a gauge for how well the team is meshing out of the gate.

Anyways, the 10 things I think I think heading into the weekend…

 

1) I think the one thing I like the most about the Isles this preseason is the resiliency they’ve shown in two of their wins. Yes, we hate to see the Islanders still blowing two-goal leads in the third periods, but the Islanders found ways to defeat the New Jersey Devils in a shootout at Barclays Center, and then score two goals to topple the Bruins 5-3  at TD Garden. A win is a win is a win is a win…

2) Still, that’s living dangerously. Please, please, PLEASE stop blowing third period leads. Love, all of us.

3) As of this writing, there are still way too many players on the Islanders roster. I thought for sure the number would be cut down by now. Ryan Strome, Anders Lee, Griffin Reinhart, and Ryan Pulock still remain with the big club, as do bubble players Josh Bailey, Michael Grabner, Brian Strait, and a few others. At this rate, who knows who Jack Capuano is going to cut out before next Friday?

4) I’ve already said, I think it would be the wrong decision for the Islanders to leave Strome off of their 23-man roster, mainly because it’s time to let the kid grow up. I think the same can be said about Anders Lee, who is in the final season of his current contract. After compiling a few solid performances last season, I think the kids deserve a spot on the roster to show they can stick around. I think the potential benefit is greater than any loss the Islanders have by potentially losing another player they’d have to send down via waivers.

5) From Elliotte Friedman and his ’30 Thoughts’ column, the one thing that stands out to general manager Garth Snow more than anything about John Tavares is that the Islanders captain constantly works on things that he needs to get better at, not the things he’s already mastered. “If there’s something he needs to get better at, there’s no stopping him.” I’m actually curious as to what it is Tavares has been working on this offseason, other than the obvious recovering and conditioning. (Ed. note: Tavares told Islanders Insight he focused on his away-from-the puck skating this summer in an effort to put himself in better positions on the ice.)

6) Another interesting tidbit? Snow knew he was drafting Tavares the entire time. When asked why not just tell who he was picking from the get-go, Snow said, “If you’ve seen the video of our draft party…the electricity, the place erupted. You don’t get too many moments like that. Some intrigue is good for the sport.” In a world where everybody needs to know now (and usually finds their way), surprises are nice. Most surprises. Not the spider-in-your-car type of surprise, but the hockey-gods-gifting-the-Islanders-Tavares types of surprises.

7) I’d like to make the argument that Pulock should start the season on the Islanders roster, even if Reinhart does not. Listen, folks: it’s not about who was there first. Facts are, Pulock can contribute more to this team immediately due to his offensive talents. Reinhart is still expected to be a special defenseman, but he’s a different type of player than Pulock. Reinhart won’t show up on the scoresheet, but he has the potential to be a true shutdown presence in his own zone, but that’s a skill set that needs to be honed before acclimating to the speed of pro-level hockey. However, no matter where you’re playing, a 101-mph slapshot is going to beat goalies, especially on the power play. Pulock is a true weapon right now.

8) I don’t think Josh Bailey makes the opening night roster. If he does, I don’t think he sticks all season. The situation surrounding him is starting to get a Dipietro-ish feel, where almost everybody knows he’s not doing too well here and it might just be time to cut the cord. I’m not saying Bailey won’t be successful somewhere else, but can the Islanders really survive another season of Bailey failing to shoot when the shots present themselves? In Friedman’s piece, Snow also said, “we want him to be more selfish. Shoot the puck more.” To me, that sounds like frustration and what the Islanders are hoping to see from him this preseason. I’m not so sure they’ve seen that.

9) If Brock Nelson doesn’t have a great game next to Tavares tonight, I’m thinking Cory Conacher starts the season next to Tavares on the top line. I don’t think it will last, but Conacher did have a solid game against the Bruins while playing on the captain’s wing. This has to be figured out immediately, though. This is priority number one. The Islanders cannot be rotating players in an out of that spot for the entire season.

10) For those watching or going to the preseason game against the Bruins tonight, enjoy. The Islanders will be dressing Tavares, Nelson, Kyle Okposo and a ton of youngsters, including Joshua Ho-Sang and Michael Dal Colle. That should be a lot of fun to watch.

-CT (@christriants)

 

Islanders: Triantaphilisms — 10 Things I Think I Think 10/3/14
Chris Triantafilis