I am typing this game summary as I watch tonight's Islanders game in Atlanta on a delay due to not feeling well after work. This is a four point game if you consider the draft implications as these two teams have the worst records in the NHL.
What a gorgeous goal 55 seconds into the game by Trent Hunter. Great setup and assist by Mark Streit. 35 seconds later Trent setup Richard Park for what could have been an equally beautiful goal...if it had gone in the net. Mike Comrie had a nice breakaway 3:56 into the first period. Alas he was denied. Great pinch by Andy Hilbert 5:38 into the first again almost lead to a goal. Islanders are dominating so far. Josh Bailey, after stripping a Thrasher, sets up Kyle Okposo for another pretty goal approximately 7:30 into the first period. Kari Lehtonen looks shaky. Islanders out shooting Atlanta 10-3 at the 10 minute mark. Tim Jackman scores the third goal after an unbelievable flub by Lehtonen 10:25 into the game. I can't believe Lehtonen is still in goal. One of my cats is irritating the crap out of me by sitting on top of the back of my computer chair. She has been doing this for the past week. Very weird. Okay back to the game. Doug Weight scores 13:17 into the first period after more poor rebound control by Lehtonen. Nice to have you back Dougie. Johan Hedberg is now in goal...shocking, just shocking. 17:32 into the period, Captain Guerin just pinged the right side goal post. 19:54 into the first period, Kovalchuk has a fantastic scoring pass after bypassing Streit, but he is robbed by Yann Danis in his first real challenge of the game. 4-0 Islanders after one period! Who are these guys? Expect it to get "chippy" in the 2nd and 3rd periods.
A little under a minute into the second period, Tim Jackman takes his second penalty of the game. Three shots on the Atlanta power play, but none go in. Eric Boulton gets two each for rough and slashing, Bill Guerin gets two for roughing at 3:08. Islanders power play looked pretty anemic. First TV timeout of the period at 6:13. At 7:06, the Islanders get another power play. At approximately 8:00 there was a controversial non call on a puck sent out of the Atlanta defensive zone that made the stands. Islanders accomplish one shot on their latest power play. Jackman and Thorburn have a major league fight at 9:34. Jackman through the gloves first. Each gets Five for Fighting. Second TV timeout at 11:13 after Danis makes a save on a hard slop shot. At the 12:00 minute mark Jaffe and Rose are talking about Kung Fu. Wake up boys. Okay they did. At 13:00 minute the Islanders have three shots. Disturbing trend considering they had 20 shots in the first period. Third and final TV timeout of the period at 14:17. At 15:52 Frans Nielsen has a great scoring chance and then gets flattened into the net. Some hard work in front of the net in the final ten seconds of the period, especially by Kyle Okposo. Still 4-0. Now this is Islanders hockey!
As the third period starts, Gordon continue his trend of starting the '4th Line'. At 0:26, big Zach Bogosian (3rd overall pick in the 2008 Entry Draft) at the blue line nails one off the post to kill Danis' shutout dreams. 4-1 Islanders lead. Is this the same team I was watching in the first period? Concern is creeping in at 3:00. Guerin takes a hooking minor at 5:11. Atlanta continues to dominate. At 6:20, Atlanta's Rich Pevereley scores a power play goal. 4-2 Islanders lead. On this play, Richard Park takes a penalty while there is another delayed penalty pending. Right off the faceoff the Islanders are on the penalty kill again. This is familiar territoy for an Islanders third period. Atlanta does not get a shot on this power play. First TV timeout of the period at 8:25. At 8:36, Reasoner pulls a wrap around and stuffs one by Danis and makes the score 4-3 Islanders. I feel so at home. Great save by Danis at 10:47. Second TV timeout at 11:27. At 12:39, Kyle Okposo scores after a back and forth with Josh Bailey. This is the second time this combo has hooked up tonight. Nice to see the boys working well together. Two goals by Okposo, two assists for Bailey. Third and final TV timeout of the period at 14:06. At 14:49, Kovalchuk takes a slashing penalty on Franzie. Hunter hits a post at 16:33. No "shots" on the powerplay. At 18:07 Hedberg is pulled for an extra skater. The Islanders are gathered like a wall in front of Danis. At 19:02.4, Ilya Kovalchuk deflects a shot into the net off Jackman's knee and through Danis' five hole to cut the Islanders lead to 5-4. This is the final score. Whew, we held on. Rough going there.
In the post game interview, I love Coach Gordon laughing at the fact that CJ Papa asked about the end of the 14 game road losing streak. In my view the Islanders played hard the first period and the last four to five minutes of the third period. It was great to see the kids deliver. So we won a game and it was good to see, but in the opposing view we lost '4 points' in the Tavares sweepstakes. I'm tired now folks, I'm off to futz, make something to eat and then hit the sack. Hope you enjoy my second blog post.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Hi Folks. I'm starting this blog to accomplish two tasks. First off, I've grown increasingly fascinated by the blogging scene and want to take the plunge and see how I do with it. Second of all and to get to the subject at hand, the Islanders need scoring big time. I've named the blog The Five Hole because the Islanders need to improve in their ability to score goals and hopefully shove a bunch of them through the opposing goalies five hole.
As we all know the team is intending to build from within with a scattering of quality free agent signings rounding out the sharp edges of a very youthful team. I agree with this strategy though it has been a rough season to sit in the stands (this is my first season as a "full season" season ticket holder). However the suffering of today may lead to joy tomorrow or more likely in a few years. If things proceed the way they seem to be going, the Islanders will have either the first or second overall pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. If somehow the Islanders lose the draft lottery and fall to second place, it will be understandable if they grab Victor Hedman who is a draft stud defenseman. Nevertheless, this team needs John Tavares and the NHL goal scoring ability that he currently projects.
If the Islanders do pick second, I would expect John Tavares to be unavailable and the team will have virtually no choice but to pick Victor Hedman. I would not expect the Islanders to trade down unless somehow they could end up with the third pick and another in the fourth through sixth grouping. If somehow this did occur, I would expect them to take Matt Duchene and Brayden Schenn. That being said, I find this scenario extremely unlikely to occur. We need the best player possible but a goal scoring stud is preferable.
In my next post, I plan to give my own view (based upon research) of the top prospects in the Islanders system. I hope you have enjoyed this inaugural post of The Five Hole.