Friday, February 5, 2010

Growing Pains are Groaning Pains

The biggest problem I have with sitting on the couch watching an Islanders game with my husband nowadays is listening to him complain. I guess I’m used to sitting in silence and just complaining in my head. I did a lot of that last night watching the Isles face Tampa Bay, a team that I still harbor a lot of resentment against for screwing up my playoff plans in 2004.

With the 2004 NHL 7th Man Award winner, Dr. David Lubin, in the St. Pete Times Forum sending me text messages and hanging out on a Blogger 4-Way Cover-It-Live conversation, I found myself at first getting frustrated and then becoming disinterested. I actually fell asleep at the keyboard the last four minutes of the game. (Maybe it was the constant Kovalchuk to the Devils conversation that permeated every conversation.)

It didn’t matter. They lost their sixth straight game at 5 – 2. I had already seen the highlights long before the third period. There was the pin-ball goal attributed to Matt Moulson to give him his 21st of the season and there was the one Jon Sim fought for in front of the net to give the Islanders the lead… for about a nano-second.

I watched the Islanders nemesis, Marty St. Louis tie the game at two and promptly issued a request for someone to squish him. I resent him – I resent that he’s as good as he is and constantly has to prove it against the NY Islanders.

I also watched another Tampa super-star (and good guy) score on Dwayne Roloson after being hit with a high stick only a blink after St. Louis. (They do like to do things in pairs, don’t they?) It was quite a sight to see him skate back to his bench for congratulations from his team with blood streaming down his face from his forehead. Now THAT’S a hockey player!

Blame it on youth, blame it on growing pains as Scott Gordon did in his post game.

“We just can’t score…We hit the post on the pp, we’re not scoring on right now. It’s a hard thing to say --we gotta make sure we put the puck in the net.” They didn’t.

It was three defensemen that put the Islanders down a man and out on the PK, (Sutton, MacDonald and Kohn), the Lightning took four penalties, three from defenseman and one from Center Jeff Halpern, only the Bolts managed one power play goal. Their power play continues to disappoint the coaching staff.

Scott Gordon told Rob Carlin of MSG, “On the Power Play, you have to have guys that certainly are finishers. Right now, the guys haven’t become the finishers they will become. That’s part of the situation we’re in. Our players are still trying to become what Tampa Bay already is. It’s part of the process. These are the growing pains we’re going to have.”

The finishing part is exactly what was yelled at my big screen last night.
When Rob Carlin asked what Scott Gordon thought of Stamkos, I cringed. I wasn’t quite sure if he was going to glare at Rob the way he does sometimes in the press room when he’s asked a question he thinks he shouldn’t have to answer. “Stamkos is a hard guy to defend against. He’s obviously come into his own probably faster than they expected. Good for him.”

John Tavares was smacked around again last night. He had ONE shot on net and two missed shots. He also had his best chance clang off a post which sent him to the bench shaking his head. In comparison, Bruno Gervais had three shots on net and three that were blocked. (Think about that: Bruno, with six shots.)

There was a spark of life during the second when the Islanders managed to keep all the action in the Bolts end of the ice. It looked as if the losing streak would end at five. It didn’t. And while the losing streak continues, Gordon explained with the tight points race in the east, things can change quickly.

“Before we had these six straight losses, there were teams that were 5 points behind us. After two weeks it can change very quickly.” But the Islanders remain at only 54 points.

“I like our work ethic.” Scott continued. Yes, the work ethic is there, but “Every time we make a mistake, it’s in the back of the net.”

Yep, no matter WHO is in net.

Notes: Bailey was missed. Leave Matt on a line with JT. Jeff Tambellini played last night. Anyone notice?

Thanks to Dr. David Lubin for letting me know before I watched that the Bolts would continue to make the islanders look bad. Yeah… thanks.

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