Thursday, December 27, 2007

Fishing On The Island

Well it is indeed time.....for the Islanders to get their comeuppance. They have had a hard time this year no doubt about it. However, with Ted Nolan in command, this team does not quit ever. At 18-15-2, they are treading water in the tough Eastern Conference race. Goal scoring has always kind of been an issue but it has been even more this year so far. The Isles are pressing at times and sometimes even when the goals come...the defense forgets the memo.

Well the MVP of this team IS Rick Dipietro. No doubt they rise and fall on his shoulders. He has 16 wins...a 2.47 GAA and a .910 save percentage. His puck handling skills bail out what many consider to be an average to below average defense. With all those years to go on that 15 year contract, he needs to stay healthy as their backup Wade Dublewicz is well just a 5-10 start guy right now it appears. For the most part, DiPietro has kept his team in the games most nights. Also, he has a winning record against the Devils and Rangers...pretty important things considering all the divisional play so far.

The Isles have cooled off some since their quick 9-4 has their offense led by Mike Comrie. Comrie had 12 points in 7 games...but only has 16 since. Yet he still owns the lead with 11 goals. Bill Guerin had a hat trick but then went on a 13 game pointless streak before connecting a few times recently. Ruslan Fedotenko leads the team with 4 PPG's along with Miro Satan, but his play really hasn't been that great according to Nolan. In fact, Nolan has felt his entire team has underachieved. Though I tend to disagree...I do think the Isles play their hearts out but they have been heavily hamstrung by their owner and his business-like approach.

The inability to sign a quality premier forward has hurt this team and although Comrie and Vasicek have been nice clearly hasn't been enough. The defense is not doing the greatest right now. It also hurts when your leading scorer is a -10. Chris Campoli has 16 points which is decent, but guys like Bergeron
and Berard should be producing as well. Both aren't. So that makes their defensive shortcomings that much more magnified? Bruno Gervais has probably been the most solid Isles D-man and he is only a +3 but has 9 assists. This team has to get more production from their defense. If they don' is going to be a very long season for Rick DiPietro.

DiPietro really has no margin for error at all. It almost seems if they don't get spectacular goaltending from DiPietro....they lose. Yet, they aren't too far off from the 8th spot...and hell they are only 7 points out of first in the division. So they are indeed still in it.....all it takes is a little scoring punch and another streak. Maybe GM Garth Snow can swing a move. One way or the other it hasn't been all bad for the Isles but they will need something more to contend in the tough Atlantic division and furthermore...the Eastern Conference.

So if you are a diehard Isles fan...let it be known what you think right here at our very own Islander Roll Call.

~ stevens8204