Well, well, well.....HAPPY NEW YEAR......FIVE HUNDRED !!!!!!!
Incredible. A team that was six and again five under five hundred,
with a limited offense and even Hamrlik out for a few weeks found a
way to get back to five hundred exactly when the coach wanted it.
We have a season and a real race again. I did not think it was
It's hardly pretty and there are a lot of problems with the 2002-03
Islanders that need a solution that does not seem to be here when it
comes to scoring. One thing that does not need anything is this teams
collective defense and pk and ability to close out games.
The numbers are staggering shorthanded. One powerplay goal against in
an entire month, and a team that is shorthanded a lot.
Add in the shorthanded goals the Isles scored and for a month they
scored more goals than the opposition with the powerplay. UNREAL
This team bends but does not break. A few more guys like Jason Blake
with better offensive skills and this team has something that will be
hard to beat. The game Blake played all night was just fantastic, he
did everything but score and in overtime he made a perfect shot.
This is one forward playing the off-wing for the first time who is
five times more dangrous with extra net to shoot at.
Let's throw some major league credit to the goaltending, they play
with no margin for error and it's been that way all year. Ozzie's
save in the final minutes was the game and he had to be better than
Ryan Miller all night. Nothing he has done earns an extension but he
has made up for his start with the games he has stolen and it's
evened out a lot.
As for the scoring, the problems continue. Hard work is not bringing
the quality chances that need to be finished and that's the way it
will likely stay. Buffalo was more dangerous, so was Florida.
Isles ever figure it out on offense, with this defense and pk, they
will be there all year and likely make the playoffs.
Isles gained some ground on Carolina, Pittsburgh and the teams they
needed to gain on. The home and home with Pittsburgh is huge but for
now it's time to enjoy getting back to five hundred.