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10-18-2011, 09:11
I was told to come here and post my blog and give you guys some good Isles banter. Here is the address to the blog, http://thedrivefor5.wordpress.com, and me and a good co-writer (Ken) will give you guys some interesting Isles' talk over the season. We have been mentioned by some other hockey bloggers.

After the referendum failed, we took a little break, but we are back at it with our newest post:

Enjoy and leave comments!

Blog back up; Isles' Fast Start

In the days since the referendum failed, it was increasingly harder for me to log onto this blog and post anything about the Islanders, considering the heartache that followed in the days after. Yet, two months later, some feel good stories in Islanders Country, and a blazing start, I’m back at it with the “other” blogger Ken – to discuss and talk all thing Isles. For my own sake, and the state of the franchise, we will hold off on all business dealings with the Islanders. From here on out, it’s all hockey. We will treat this blog as a way to brush up on all the latest in greatest in the Country. Let’s have at it!

+The Islanders open up the 2011-2012 hockey season 3-1, their best start since 2002, when they started 4-0. The most impressive part of this red hot start, besides the play of budding superstar John Tavares, is the quality of the opponents whom have since lost to the Islanders. Both the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers have a wealth of offensive weapons and goaltending between the two. Neither mattered in impressive victories for the good guys.

+John Tavares, the 1st overall pick in 2009, records 8 points in the first four games, with all 8 points coming in a two game span. The noticeably stronger, and more confident Tavares, had 4 points in just five minutes of ice time against Tampa. He followed up a superb game against Tampa by posting a hatrick, and an assist, against the cross-town rivals. Howdoyasay, Dominant in Tavares’ world?

+Evegeni Nabokov, who famously spurned the Islanders after he was claimed on waivers last year, finally showed up to training camp after the Isles refused to let him go. After being a healthy scratch for the first two games of the season, he finally suited up against Tampa, playing back up to the other “red hot” goalie Al Montoya . Evgeni finally got his chance against the Rangers, playing in front of a raucous Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum Crowd, playing solidly in net. He made more-than-a-few quality saves in the first period, and held the wall together even after the Rangers had tied the game twice. Veteran Leadership and Experience, check!

+Speaking of Al Montoya, it should come as no surprise to Islanders fans everywhere with how well prepared Al was to start the season. In the early going, Al leads the NHL in G.A.A with 1.35 (Minimum three starts) and is second in Save Percentage, posting a sparkling .953 in the early going. The Islanders may have anticipated a three ring circus in net, but with much maligned Rick Dipietro on IR again(I’ll spare the jokes), the tandem of Montoya and Nabokov could be just what the doctor ordered for the speedy, and testy, Isles.

Here is where I will discuss the positives, and negatives, of the Islanders roster here in the early going:

+ Positive: How about P.A Parenteau, who should be called, Prove-it-Again Parenteau. The first liner’s (for now) 6 assists lead the entire NHL thus far. The top line of Moulson – Tavares – Parenteau has been red-hot for the Islanders, and if things continue, young forward Nino Niederreiter will have to work his way into the roster. The young power forward was slotted to play alongside Moulson and Tavares coming out of training camp, but an early groin injury has kept him out of the lineup, and the trio of Moulson-Tavares-PA has stayed together. What chemistry they have displayed. Keep it up, boys!

+ Positive: Rough and Tough forward Matt Martin being used on the Islanders Number 1 powerplay unit, which scored twice against the Rangers, once because of the work of Martin in front of the net. The toughest Islanders forward, who also has some sleek moves, has emerged as a reliable workhorse for Jack Capuano. Last season, Martin focused more on his work as an enforcer, but that has changed. The hits remain, and so does the policing, but the forward has become a mainstay on the Isles’ roster. Great work, Matt!

+ Positive: After a sluggish first game against the Florida Panthers, the Islanders’ young duo of Travis Hamonic and Andrew Macdonald have picked up right where they left off. Travis had 5 shots and an almost breakaway against the Rangers, and Andrew has given the Islanders their second most ice time in the early going. It seems as if the praise never stops for these two, but they are now woven into the fabric of the Isles’ top four defenseman, and will be for a long time to come.

+ Positive: The New York Islanders’ penalty kill. The Islanders brought in veteran, and former New Jersey Devil, Jay Pandolfo, to play on their Number 1 penalty kill unit, and although met with criticism at first, you don’t hear too many complaints right now. The well-seasoned vet has provided an immeasurable presence on the first unit, leading the Isles to a perfect 4 for 4 kill against the Rangers, and 14 out of 15 penalty kills early on.

+ Negative: The duo of Josh Bailey and Blake Comeau, whom played together on the third line before Comeau rode the pine against the Rangers, are not playing quality hockey in the early going. Josh continues to struggle, and has recently been a teeny, tiny bit more noticeable with his work in the defensive zone. Comeau – however – only had 1 hit and 1 shot on net in 3 games. In turn, Jack Capuano scratched the former 24 goal scorer against the Rangers. If Blake is to become part of the Isles’ core, like he feels he is, he needs to be better and more consistent. After coming to terms on the eve of arbitration on a new contract, the forward will have nothing handed to him. Seeing as the deal was just made for one year, it could be said that Comeau may have to work extra hard to stay with this emerging group of forwards. Wake up, Blake!

The next test for the Islanders comes in the form of the Tampa Bay Lightning, whos goaltending and defense has left a lot to be desired. Roloson, who was re-signed at the age of 42 after a dazzling run to the Eastern Conference Finals, has let in 12 goals in the last 5 periods of hockey. The Islanders may be able to wreak havoc on a porous defense, but the stars up front for the Lightning would love to engage in a track meet with the Isles. Look for Al Montoya to get the nod.


The Boss
10-18-2011, 15:28
I hope the Isles settle on a steady in goal. Montoya will go a week between games when he plays Thursday. I like to use the back up in rough patches like when a Baseball coach will play back ups in a double headers.

I am not going crzy after 4 games, but the Islanders were pretty good in the 2011 portion of last season, and almost made it to the playoffs after have a record setting awful start. Also, I don't expect JT to keep the pace of the last few games up all year. And, I'm going to try to be patient when he has a "2 point in 10 games" stretch.