February 18, 2011

Parenteau Signs Extension; Isles Lose

In the span of just two games, we got to see both the best and worst of Nate Lawson.

Lawson didn't look good at all against the Boston Bruins, and they chased him just a couple of minutes into the 2nd period, after scoring their fifth goal against him. He looked very uneasy and sloppy in covering the posts. When he came out of the net trying to make what would normally be a confident play, he seemed to slide way out of position. We already knew about some of his rebound problems, and we saw some of those again Thursday night.

Al Montoya came in and looked OK. He has issues with rebounds as well, and you can certainly see signs in his game that tell you he's a guy who has played only against NHL talent for the better part of five years, but his effort on Thursday was better than Sunday - which wasn't hard to accomplish.

It appeared like there was a bigger crowd than normal at this game. It's a shame that the Isles came out with this kind of game. People were obviously excited to see this team coming off the brawl and four straight wins. At the very least, they were expecting an exciting game and figured the Isles would give the Bruins a run for their money.

Within a couple of blinks of the eye, it was 2-0 Bruins and the Islanders were reeling and scrambling all over the place. Quite frequently throughout the night, the Bruins had periods where they were just dominating puck possession and all five skates for the Isles would be deep in the zone allowing the Bruins to get better shots. That created a lot of the rebounds that they would cash in on.

The Isles can't afford to get into lapses like that. A game like this can ruin all of the good things they have worked on the last couple of weeks. You don't want old habits sneaking back into your game.

Meanwhile, Josh Bailey and John Tavares had good efforts in this one. Tavares scored a beauty of a goal for his first of the night, and that's something we've seen more and more out of him. He's well on his was to crack the 30-goal plateau this season, which would be a huge accomplishment. Bailey scored again on a nice slapper in the slot after Blake Comeau's shot was blocked. Bailey has been racking up some assists lately, and has started to put the puck in the net again over the past two games. Hopefully he can get out of what has essentially been a season long slump for him.

The Isles don't have much time to stew over this one, which is good. They get right back at it Saturday night against the Los Angeles Kings.

PARENTEAU RE-SIGNED: On Thursday afternoon, the Isles announced that they have re-signed winger P.A. Parenteau to a one-year extension, worth $1.25 million.

As Sean and I have said on the show over the last couple of weeks, while we are still hoping that there is a better option for Tavares to play with after trades or free agency, you can't argue with bringing him back for another go. Parenteau is on pace for 50 points and hasn't been terrible on the power-play.

He has improved as a player over the last couple of months, but there are still some holes in his game here and there. Obviously, this is a deal that has many people wondering if it means the Isles aren't serious about adding another forward or two over the summer, but I'm not going to be quick to jump to that conclusion. Last summer, the Isles used what few bullets they had in the gun to go after defense. With a number of options for next season on the blue-line already, I still feel that the Isles are going to try and use their bullets this summer to go after forwards.

Should they fail in their attempt to bring in someone from the out side, then they have Parenteau as a fall back, one that they know can give them 50 points skating along side Tavares and Matt Moulson. If they are successful in bringing someone in, then they shift him down to the 2nd or 3rd line while still giving him significant power-play opportunities.

One thing I do think that this confirms is that Rob Schremp will no longer be a part of this team in 2011-2012. Schremp has been in and out of the line-up all season, and has also been demoted to 4th line duty now. As the Islanders as a collective unit try and get better, Schremp has regressed. The game after Jack Capuano talked about having some "selfish players," Schremp was the only one who was affected as that was the fist time he was demoted.

I saw some of the comments fans were making after the Parenteau announcement. I'm firmly in the camp that it is way too early to say that this affects how the team makes their decisions in the summer. Last season, Garth Snow said he wanted to go hard after defensemen, specifically two. Early in free agency both Milan Jurcina and Mark Eaton were brought in. When the opportunity presented itself at the end of July, Snow dealt a 3rd round pick to Anaheim for James Wisniewski. While Wisniewski wouldn't stick around for very long, Snow saw the opportunity there to possibly get better despite having a full (when healthy) defense.

So hold tight and be happy that a player who has shown some success and shown that he wants to be here returns for just a year at a fair price. We'll see what the remainder of the season and the off-season brings before we revisit this.



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