November 14, 2010

Isles Drop 10th Straight

It seems as though every time the Islanders take baby steps forward during the losing streak, they have a game like last night where they take steps back.

The Islanders lost to the Kings 5-1, in a game that didn't get out of hand as early as many feared that it would from the looks of it.

Five minutes into the game, Anze Kopitar was looking for a hat trick and Scott Gordon found himself burning a timeout. The Islanders scrambled around a lot due to only having five defensemen available last night. Usually, since defensemen are always blocking shots and getting banged up, teams will bring an extra one for the road trips. The Islanders did not. Why they didn't I'm not sure. That would be a question to ask them. It is perplexing though.

The Islanders were out shot 34-19, and were outplayed in virtually every aspect of the game - except for face-offs, for those of you who are looking for the silver lining.

Dwayne Roloson did not play poorly, and made some nice saves. Each of the Islanders defensemen, many already playing some minutes they aren't used to, got over 20 minutes of ice time, and you could see the exhaustion set in by the 3rd period.

It's a shame that the result came out this way considering the good efforts the team had in Anaheim and San Jose. I felt going in that the Islanders would have a better shot at winning this one than I originally thought given that. But some players going back to old habits, coupled with not bringing along an extra defenseman ruined that.

The Islanders have the next few days off, and finally return home for a string of 10 of the next 14. Perhaps being at home on a more consistent basis could be what the team needs, although for many of the home games sprinkled in this long road trip, they still weren't able to score despite some good performances against Montreal and Philadelphia. The Tampa Bay Lightning are the first opponent in the home stand.

After the 4th game of the season against the Avalanche, the Islanders played 10 of 12 on the road. They went 2-9-1 during that stretch, and were outscored 42-19.

The scoring issues are something that's been beaten to death by this point, and it's hard to ignore that the Islanders haven't done much offensively when it comes to 5-on-5 play. But it is a cause of concern for me.

My fear was that if the losing skid hit 10 games, then more eyes would turn to Gordon. Despite the recent words from Garth Snow, I had in my mind that I would officially put Gordon on the hot seat after 10 games. My fear is that the Isles are getting closer to letting the talented coach go. I truly hope my feelings are wrong, but the Islanders are going to have to do something sooner or later and given the finances of the team, they won't bring in any outside help when it comes to player personnel. They will most likely be content awaiting the return of Kyle Okposo within the next month or two. So for me, it all points to firing the coach.

More to come later.


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