September 24, 2011

Preseason Game 1: Isles 3, Bruins 6

The Islanders finally got their preseason schedule underway Friday night in Boston, falling 6-3 to the defending champion Boston Bruins.

What you really need to know for the game? Trevor Frischmon and Jay Pandolfo got significant minutes. So for those lamenting the final score and slagging on anything you can possibly think of, my recommendation is you tone it down - especially in the preseason. Save it for when the real thing starts.

The only thing I can really gripe about, in my opinion, is the play of Josh Bailey and Blake Comeau. Neither of them looked particularly great, and the floated a lot. The only thing I will say for Bailey is that he was good on faceoffs. If he can keep that up, it can only help as gaining control of the puck can help him put more points on the board. It seems that every season preview done on the Isles, Bailey is listed as a wild card or a player to watch. He needs to step up a bit from what he's done in past years.

Guys like P.A. Parenteau I wasn't worried about, and he looked fine once again. He did a good job to carry the puck into the zone, and use his speed to try and force defensemen to the wall.

I know earlier I made the crack about Frischmon and Pandolfo, but I'd like to give credit where credit is due. Both looked fantastic on the forecheck and Frischmon was able to add a goal.

Dylan Reese looked good too, putting a couple of pucks past Tim Thomas. He reminded us why he's a good option to have as one of the top guys down in Bridgeport and for depth up at the NHL level. He's not afraid to pinch and can play a two-way game.

Ty Wishart on the other hand didn't look too good, and it goes beyond him fanning and falling on that gift wrapped one-time opportunity. He seemed out of place at times and scrambling to get back into position. He was knocked down a couple of times by smaller players. That shouldn't be happening too much when you're 6'4".

The real story of the night, however, from the Islanders side was Rick DiPietro. After proclaiming that he finally feels healthy after going through the offseason with no surgery, DiPietro played his first game and actually looked pretty good. His side-to-side movements were quicker than in past years and going down into the butterfly and getting back up didn't seem to be much of a struggle. It's still a tad off, but the hope now is he'll get some of that timing back in preseason and go from there. Very solid effort.

One more note: Justin DiBenedetto is a solid, hard working kid but with a reckless game at times. We saw why Friday night with the game a blowout. He went after David Krejci, who said after the game he was not pleased with DiBenedetto's actions. I would agree - Krejci's hit was clean in my opinion. For DiBenedetto, who's been described as an agitator of sorts, it is his style and what he does. But there comes a time where he needs to tone it down a bit. The team knows what he can provide, and we saw it last season. There was no need for him to do it, to impress the staff or for any other matter. He'll serve an automatic one game suspension for getting a checking from behind game misconduct.

The Isles next game is Saturday night at home against the New Jersey Devils.


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