January 17, 2011

Devils 5, Isles 2; Moulson; DiPietro

As has been the case with many game days this season, there was a lot of hoopla before and after Monday's matinee match-up between the Islanders and Devils.

The day started off with an article from Katie Strang (subscription required) quoting Matt Moulson, with him stating that he wants to stay with the team that gave him his shot at the NHL. We learned that there have not been extensive talks yet but that the two sides were just beginning to meet.

Later in the day, ESPN's John Buccigross left us a gem of a Tweet saying he has heard rumors that Moulson may be shipped off to the Bruins - and all hell broke loose in Islanders land.

Since we didn't have a show yet this week to inevitably talk about this topic again, I want to reiterrate my stance on what will happen with Moulson: he will re-sign here for two or three years. I felt that way all along, and I still do after the whirlwind that was today.

Bob McKenzie of TSN told us later in the day that Garth Snow had indicated to Moulson that he wants to sign him, but the negotiation stage has not yet begun. This is unsurprising to me considering that the team could only start negotiating with him after January 1. He also mentions that if he is indeed shipped out, it would not be to the Bruins.

Moulson could certainly be a hot commodity if he does go on the market seeing as he plays one of the weakest postions in the NHL, left wing. Fantasy hockey aficionados know exactly what I am talking about here. It is very difficult to find natural left wingers who play the position well as many players have become accustomed to switching between both wings, with their primary positons being on the right side. So as one of those few, Moulson can make his case to get a decent payday should the Islanders not want to offer anything close.

As far as what Snow would get in return to trade Moulson, well it wouldn't be a lot. Fans who are thinking that Boston would trade the Toronto 1st round pick need to really calm down. Would you do that for a player of Moulson's ilk? That's no disrespect to Matt, but I think many GM's are going to look at this situation and decide that a year and a half of good play at 27 isn't going to be enough for them to part with a fairly high 1st rounder in a league where players are entering younger and cheaper.

Of course, I say this fully acknowledging that I have said numerous times in the past that Moulson can definitely play in this league and has done enough to prove to me that he is a consistent 25-30 goal scorer just based on the way he plays the game and where he gets his goals and chances from. Just not sure what other GM's are thinking.

In the end I think all of this discussion will be moot and Moulson will remain an Islander like he and pretty much every fan wants. I would be shocked if I am wrong on this one, but I just don't see it. It is certainly a different situation than trading away James Wisniewski or Dwayne Roloson. Moulson is the most identifiable Islander player not named John Tavares. If Snow ultimately trades him, it will be of his own fault. I do not see Moulson getting crazy with his demands. He knows his place and more importantly knows where he wants to be.

Before I jump to another topic, I would like to endorse the wise words of Chris Botta from earlier today. Those are indeed the folks you should be listening to when it comes to rumors and hearsay. I know there are others in the rumor business out there that people like to read, and that's fine. I choose not to deal with them, especially those who have been wrong more times in the past month or two than I can count on my hand - and that is specifically only on Islanders related rumors. But again, it's totally up to you.

Meanwhile, the Islanders did indeed play that game against the Devils although I'm not quite sure if they realized it or not.

I was one of those who were included in the working class today, while 13,000+ got to go to the Coliseum and watch live hockey.

I'll keep this one short. I watched some of the re-play tonight and was completely underwhelmed. Two guys stand out to me: Michael Grabner and P.A. Parenteau. That's all I got for today as far as the positives.

The other day in this space after the Isles lost to the Ottawa Senators I wrote that they had two games coming up: one that they could easily win (Buffalo) and one that they should win (New Jersey). The fact that they should have won this game and didn't is upsetting. Yes, the Devils are better as of late and yes they still have Martin Brodeur, who played well today. But that doesn't help to explain non-existent defensive coverage. No matter what the opponents record, if you're coming out with an effort like that in a professional league you are going to get smoked. Plan and simple.

The reffing was another issue all to itself. Quite frankly, it was downright awful. There are games you watch where you are so frustrated enough with the effort that the last thing you needed was an equally bad effort from the refs but we had that here. They missed some calls and calling back the 3rd Isles goal was wrong, but in the end does it change the outcome of the game? Doubtful.

The good news for now is that the Isles have a few days off before going at it again on Thursday vs. the Capitals.

Finally, the game was overshadowed once again with the status of Rick DiPietro. I say 'overshadowed' because for some it was the story. For me it wasn't. This is to be expected. The moment Jack Capuano said the other day he was going to keep all three goalies up for "a little while" I knew that more of the same was going to be in store.

I fully expected DiPietro not to suit up for this one. They are still going to be very cautious here. I'm not saying that it's right or anything, but it's what is going to happen. Perhaps I have just accepted it for what it is right now, but for some reason I am not as bothered by it. Maybe it's because we got to see first hand how bright of a future Kevin Poulin can have for us. Either way, this is the way of life for the Islanders and their fans as of right now. I do not think that there is anything to this at this time and he was truly getting another day off - just as they have been doing all year.

Considering different stories seem to be flying fast and furiously around here lately, I'm sure there's going to be more things to address. Hopefully, some of it is better news.



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