December 7, 2010

Random Tuesday Thoughts

I wanted to give you all an update on our status for the podcast this week.

As some of you may have seen in the post from the press box after Sunday's game, we were unable to get together to do the show due to some prior commitments. The plan was to do the show in the morning, but then we found out that I was going to be covering it so we put that on hold for now.

Many of you who listen know Sean does stuff with WBLI, and they recently lost a couple of people in the same week meaning that others have to pick up the slack. Sean is not exempt from this.

The end of the week we may be able to try and do something, but we're trying to figure out if it's worth it to do that or just wait until Sunday. Once we figure that out for sure, we'll let you guys know.
In the meantime, I wanted to provide you with some quick hit thoughts from the past week, as well as some observations from the Coliseum rafters on Sunday. Some of these appeared during my live Twitter updates from the game, but for those of you who were unable to follow then here's your chance.

I tend to be very forgetful, even when I write stuff down in my notebook, so this seemed like a good way to do that. Obviously, I'll save some of the juicy details for when we record the show since Sean is chomping at the bit to get his two cents in on these topics as well.

So in no particular order, here are some points I want to hit on:

-Worth noting: James Wisniewski has seen his ice time get cut down significantly, from 23 minutes on Thursday to just over 17 by Sunday. He didn't have a banner week, and a lot of deficiencies were exposed (watch the Marian Gaborik or Danny Briere winning goals).

-Heard in the Coliseum press box Sunday, from a member of the mainstream media: "The Isles are starting to look like the Blackhawks under Bill Wirtz."

-On Tuesday, Jack Capuano had Jesse Joensuu on the wing with Matt Moulson and John Tavares. I have wanted Joensuu up there for a while now. Good to see.

-In the game Sunday, P.A. Parenteau saw himself get demoted off of that first line to the 3rd. He remained there for Tuesday's practice. He got just over 13 minutes of ice time Sunday.

-After said practice, which was about two hours long, Capuano was asked what he thought about it: "I Thought it was good. There was a lot of shooting and passing. We want to have a little of that going on." Interesting concept coach. This is not a knock on Capuano, but this quote and the one he gave when asked about Doug Weight coaching the power-play ("I can use all the help I can get") has raised some eyebrows. Watch the next time the team calls a time out or something is being discussed during a quick stoppage. You'll notice Scott Allen is the one who does most, if not all of the talking. So why isn't Allen the interim coach then? Good question.

-Josh Bailey had a strong weekend down in Bridgeport after somewhat of a slow start down there. One of my Blog Box buddies wondered when Bailey could "come back home." The correct answer to that should be not anytime soon. For those that have watched from the beginning of the year, we saw how lost the kid was. He's 21 and to look as bad as he did is somewhat alarming. Let him take his time and get back on his feet and prove himself for much more than a five game sample in the AHL.

-After it was confirmed that Bailey was one of the "passengers" Capuano called out after the game against Florida, I looked in Blake Comeau's direction and said "you're next." Nothing dramatic has happened to him just yet, but that effort against Philly left a lot to be desired (see the play in the waining seconds with the Isles net empty). I think his clock is ticking a bit.

-While it hasn't translated into any wins yet, it is no coincidence that the Isles have had some of their better overall defensive performances since Andrew MacDonald returned to the lineup. At the time of his injury, MacDonald was leading the team in blocked shots. He looked solid against Philly, and led the game with six.

-Former Isles captain Bill Guerin announced his retirement on Monday. While I never got the chance to be a part of the Blog Box and interview him when he was here, I always appreciated reading comments from him. The team fell on some tough times when he was here, and he always told it like it was and held people accountable. He was always one of my favorite players in the NHL, and I was thrilled to be able to watch him for a season and a half here. I wish him luck, and look forward to seeing him in another capacity in hockey be it here, in Pittsburgh or New Jersey.

-Tavares looks a little lost too. On one of the Isles power-plays against Philly, he had a great chance for a one timer but hesitated, which led to an easy save. He's not the only one guilty of this, especially with the man advantage, but when someone is supposed to be so deadly offensively it is a cause of concern.

-Speaking of the power-play, on Sunday Frans Nielsen was playing the point for the first unit. Both Mark Eaton and Travis Hamonic saw some time on the second. It seems as though Capuano may start to tinker with the power-play lines, from the blue line in.

-On Monday, there were a couple of articles written about the Isles. They are not of a positive nature. Larry Brooks calls for the Commissioner to get involved with the operations of the Isles, while Kevin Schultz picks on some of the points Brooks brings up but seems to agree with the whole general idea.

I will save my detailed thoughts on the subject for the next podcast. However, I will say this. I liked a lot of what was in both articles. I do feel that both are very fact driven. I know very few folks took exception to Brook's article, however he uses that unique style of writing of his to convey his points. It is meant to sound a bit condescending. My basic point: I appreciate Mr. Wang buying the team in 2000. But I can't continue to give someone the benefit of the doubt because they did something for me 10 years ago. Sooner or later, something has to give and some things are going to have to be talked about, just as it was promised to us on media day.

-Kyle Okposo has finally started skating with equipment. Sean said to me he has a problem with him coming back early just to create some excitement. However, we really don't know if it's early or not. The team never came out and said anything aside from "out indefinitely" and Katie Strang reported the December-January return time table. So it would appear he's on track, and not rushing. Milan Jurcina has started skating with equipment as well. It will be nice to get yet another good shot blocker back. He was really playing well when he went down.

-Radek Martinek was named the Isles player of the month for November. He had a good month, with five points and a lot of solid defensive play. One could have made a strong case for Dwayne Roloson, though.

Speaking of Roloson, the Islanders once again failed to give him any offensive support in his last start. It is quite astounding that a guy with such a good GAA and save percentage could have such an awful record. If things don't change, and the trade deadline day approaches with teams calling about Roloson, the classy thing for the Isles to do would be to deal him to a true contender, no matter the return. I have been nothing but impressed by Roloson on and off the ice. No matter the record, no matter the score he is giving it his all. On many of the days where he is the back-up for DiPietro, he is always caught on camera giving a lesson to a young defenseman or two. If something comes up where Roloson can find himself in a better situation at the tail end of his career, the Isles must do it.

So that covers most of the important stuff. As time goes on, some things will be talked about in greater detail, but this was meant to be a quick-hit list of statements and observations more than anything.

Expect a small feature on Hamonic to come next.


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