December 23, 2010

Bailey Returns as Isles Win in OT; Snow and Wang Going on XM

In a surprise move to myself and very few others, the Islanders called up Josh Bailey from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers to replace the suspended Matt Martin. Bailey had an impressive 11 games with them, putting up 17 points. His last couple of games there his efforts were pretty good, although fans of the Sound Tigers who also frequent this blog e-mailed us that they had some concerns about his play away from the puck. They did admit thought that it was better than when he first went down there.

Bailey ended up having a couple of good rushes, and was very active away from the puck and on the fore-check. While he didn't get on the score sheet, he very well could have come out of this game with two goals if not for some spectacular saves from Dan Ellis. Bailey got to play on a line with Michael Grabner and Frans Nielsen, which is a huge upgrade compared to some of the line mates he has had. That line looked really good.

John Tavares had a nice game too, as he has had in the last little stretch here. He hadn't scored in nine games prior to his overtime winner, but he had plenty of nice chances. It was nice to finally see his hard work pay off with the goal and an assist as well. He had been quietly picking up some assists here and there, so hopefully the floodgates can open a bit. I know he scored a goal, but the Islanders should really do right by both Tavares and Matt Moulson and get someone other than P.A. Parenteau on that line.

Overall, it was refreshing to see the Islanders pick up their play after a sluggish start. Usually, it is the other way around - the Isles would start of well, give up a goal and it all snowballs from there. This time, after being out shot 16-3 in the first, the Islanders kept pressing and for the 2nd half of the game controlled a lot of the play. Good stuff and a nice change of pace.

Dwayne Roloson was stellar once again, much to the surprise of no one. He hasn't started much lately, but he was able to step in and stop 34 of 35 shots, making some really great stops and earning the 1st star of the game. If this was an audition for a trade to the Lightning, then he was surely impressive. Congrats to him on his first win since October 18th.

Mark Eaton made a return to this game as well after battling through a hamstring injury. He did what he does best - block shots. He registered four for the evening. He makes this Isles defense close to complete, and you can see how improved the defensive effort is now with Eaton, Andrew MacDonald and Milan Jurcina all back from injury and the continued stellar play of Travis Hamonic.

Jesse Joensuu only got five minutes of ice time. I wouldn't be surprised to see him end up getting sent down when Martin returns from his suspension. I'm not sure if there is something Jack Capuano doesn't like about Joensuu's game, but I can't understand why he is not getting any minutes. I think he has been playing well given the minutes he's getting. Perhaps there is something that I am just not seeing.

The Islanders take on the Devils now on Thursday night in New Jersey. The Devils have looked worse than the Isles at many points, so to expect the Islanders to walk out with the two points is valid. Martin Brodeur, who has struggled, will get the start. One should never look past him however. The Islanders still need an effort like they had from the 2nd period on against the Bolts.

Wang and Snow to be on Bettman's Show: Many fans recently have grown impatient with Garth Snow and Charles Wang, and when news came out about a potential Nelson Peltz purchase, many became filled with hope. While we have heard a bunch from Snow recently, Wang has been awfully quiet.

Some fans have been bringing signs to games and calling into various radio shows demanding answers from management. They will now have their chance on Thursday night on Gary Bettman's radio show at 6 PM on XM. The Commissioner is fulfilling a promise he has been making to Isles fans as he has insisted that he planned to get Mr. Wang on his show. Now, he'll have the both of them. I don't want to say that the timing is odd, but it's ironic that it comes at the same time when rumors come out about a possible sale while negative articles come out left and right.

Your guess is as good as mine when it comes to wondering about the kinds of questions that they will be asked or provide some hard hitting responses to. I want to urge all of our readers though who plan to call in to PLEASE be very respectful and make your point immediately. Don't drag on and don't come off as a raving lunatic. Every question can be approached in a very civil manner, so do that for this. Perhaps we'll get some more answers to the questions we all have right now, but if I were a betting man I wouldn't put money on it.


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