It's December for the Islanders and unlike 03-04 they are not in the
midst of a seven game losing streak, but they are already in big
trouble in terms of a playoff spot.
This is a different year for the Islanders and the Eastern Conference
and unless this club goes on a sustained winning streak they will
drop out of contention, they may need a winning streak just to keep
from losing more ground.
The Devils and Rangers may have switched places in the standings but
as usual it's more than likely four teams will make the playoffs from
the NorthEast. As we recall from 03-04 the Isles had to beat out the
last place team in that division to qualify in 03-04 (Buffalo) and
this year Buffalo is even better than they were and proved their
stretch run was no fluke.
The problem as I see it is if two playoff spots now come from the
Southeast (Tampa/Carolina) which is likely the past formula of three
Atlantic/four Northeast/one Southeast is over and the Isles are going
to have to beat out a club like Tampa or Toronto that are now teams
that have proven they can make the playoffs and have beaten out the
Islanders overall for a few years running. There is also the Devils
who have Brodeur and can still go to Tampa and score eight goals.
Forgetting the standings Milbury's state of the Islanders was right
on target even though he feels Hunter/York/Parrish will start
scoring, which they must or this team is going nowhere.
Those ugly 3-2 wins in 03-04 now have to be 4-3 wins, the Isles with
only one line producing and not enough defensive chemistry just
cannot rely on how they won in the old NHL.
On top of that Weinhandl just cannot get his game going and even
Nilsson has seemed to hit a wall as a rookie and has had several
This will be the Islanders toughest road to the playoffs of all and
will take something special of this group to qualify. After almost
thirty games it's not looking very good.
I will not pretend to know much about the Tigers games beyond the
articles because any more would not be fair on my part. I think
Michael Fornabaio's comments on the injuries are a huge factor
(especially on defense) the fact Karpa was brought in with veterans
like Bouchard/Rourke says a lot.
We have to see this team healthy and so far that's only been in small
spurts. Baseggio seems like he is going to have to be tougher on his
team by his own words and he is right that Hamilton has not played
much hockey. I'm concerned Bergenheim has not stepped up more along
with a few other players. It looks like Dubielewicz is a backup again
behind Cloutier which does not say a lot about someone who a year ago
would have been an NHL backup.
What I do know is if Bridgeport can win six in a row they are capable
of playing some sustained quality hockey and unlike 03-04 have the
scoring depth required to turn this around. Reading about the lack of
discipline and the coach having the get on the players at practice is
not a good sign and reflects my fears on Baseggio's hiring.
Sound Tigers are reaching a point where they have to start winning
some games, even after the winning streak they were not even on WBS's
radar in terms of first place.