Wednesday, March 17, 2010

John Tavares' Magical Night In Vancouver

On the same sheet of ice as players by the name of Luongo, Sedin, and Kesler 19 year old John Tavares emerged as the dominant player on the most dominant night of his young career. Without the injured Kyle Okposo the Islanders put together a great road effort led by Johnny T to defeat the Canucks 5-2.

His 2 Goal 3 Assist effort for 5 points tied an Islanders rookie franchise record and it was not just the scoresheet where Tavares made his mark. He made several solid defensive plays, blocked shots, and drew penalties.

For a 19 year old chosen to save a franchise as a number 1 center on a team with not yet ready for prime time players it was a great moment in what has been a tough slump. The humble kid keeps working hard and the results came through in spades last night.

Point 1:

Point 2:

Point 3:

Point 4:

Point 5:

Tavares steps it up with two goals, three assists in victory in Vancouver

Tavares tears up Canucks


Islanders surprise slow-starting Canucks 5-2

Lackluster Canuck team falls 5-2 to New York Islanders

Islanders hope Lightning strikes again as draft god John Tavares sputters along Stamkos' trail

Canucks vow to be ready for rare visit by Islanders, young phenom Tavares

Got to give these players a break after travel-thon

Raycroft move was a bid to 'turn the tide'

Patience is the key for young star

Tavares dines on lacklustre defence

Canucks and Islanders: Game within a game

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

JT Breaks Slump As Losses Mount

JT broke his drought so I figured I would end mine. There has not been much positive news to write about so I decided to take a break rather than beat the dying horse that is this Islanders season.

John Tavares snapped his 17 game goal-less streak but the Islanders would come up empty once again versus the Flyers 3-2. Tavares was able to use his soft hands down low to bury the first goal of the evening.

New York continued their downward spiral to the bottom of the league. They have dropped 3 in a row and appear to be on the way to another top 5 draft pick. Many fans I have conversed with are rooting for this but I say the reliance on the kiddie corps needs to be curtailed.

I wrote about the lack of support that general manager Garth Snow provided his talented young bunch earlier in the season and the case still stands. All you have to do is look at that defense unit (ugh) and the fact that the only player on this team anywhere near an all-star level and in his prime is Mark Streit. The ownership and management has failed this team in my opinion and they need to step up JULY 1ST!!!! and get some legitimate help for the hard working and talented young players on the team.

In terms of Johnny Hockey, despite the struggles he will be just fine. JT has played with the hand he was dealt here and i'm sure he wasn't coming in with the idea that it was going to be easy. Hopefully he can build on this and end on a strong note with an invitation to Team Canada for the World Championships. Either way a long summer to prepare for the sophomore season is in the cards.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

JT Shootout Winner Ends Isles Skid

It didn't produce any results on the scoresheet but John Tavares had one heck of a game last night and ended the Islanders 7 game losing streak with a shootout goal on Nashville tender Pekka Rinne. Tavares was unsuccessful on several attempts during regulation and overtime but his confidence with the puck and his skating looked better than it has in weeks.

This looked like Tavares' 1st game as an emerging leader on this team. His desperation and tenacity in the 3rd with the teams fading playoff hopes at risk was apparent. This could be a turning point for the slumping rookie and I am sure the 2 week rest that is soon upon us will help as well.

As for the rest of the team, it was a sparkling debut for Matt Martin. This kid has progressed by leaps and bounds from watching him in Sarnia last year. Martin displayed the need for size and toughness up front on this team. A great first impression indeed.

Also, a thumbs up to Martin Biron. His time here is likely coming to an end and although the on-ice successes weren't there, you could not find a classier guy.

Pittsburgh tonight for a matchup with the champs.

Game Highlights:

Links: Blog: Tavares still the most important rookie

Up next: Rick DiPietro, John Tavares and the New York Islanders

Penguins Notebook: Crosby can relate to Islanders' Tavares

Martin Biron, John Tavares guide Islanders to 4-3 win over Predators

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Struggle Continues

It's a 7 game losing streak, it's 8 games of scoring 2 goals or less, its John Tavares with 6 points in his last 26 games and no goals in his last 10. It's numbers that make you cringe and it results in some frustrating and ugly hockey.

The Islanders who had a great surge in January that had the team and the fans thinking about a spring tournament appearance have come crashing back down to earth. The reality is this is a slow rebuild and they are still at least another year and another impact player away from playoff contention.

Obviously as fans we want instant respect, instant gratification, and success. That being said we are nearly 3/4 through the schedule and while the teams progress has been greatly encouraging we need to identify what players we have in the system going forward, what players need to move on and what to do with the Isles most tangible trade deadline asset Andy Sutton.

Sutton becomes an unrestricted free agent July 1st, he has been the teams most consistent physcial force and if the team can extend him prior to March 3rd at a reasonable cost due to Suttons' age and injury history they should. If he does not sign, it's time to move on and keep adding to the future either via draft picks or prosepects.

The Islanders have provided hope and excitement this season, the effort has been outstanding. Yet, here they sit currently with the 4th overall pick in this draft. I don't encourage a tank job, but I do believe in giving a look at some of the better prospects in the system, playing DiPietro more down the strectch to get him back in his flow, and using the younger players in key situations by reducing or saying goodbye to vets like Richard Park and Doug Weight.

Let's see what happens. If they win out the rest of the week things can change in a hiccup. This is life in the NHL these days.

On John Tavares:
The first 21 games of this young mans career was not an aberration. He is a 19 year old who is a 1st line center on a rebuilding team with not 1 proven offensive player in his prime. Does the kid need to work on his strength and training? Absolutely, like every pro 18-22 he has things he needs to work on. His presence, effort, durability, and desire on the ice cannot be questioned. Look at Stamkos last year, and Duchene early this year. Rookies/Young players will struggle.

On another note my early Top 3 for June (strictly Islanders thinking) 1.Fowler 2.Seguin 3.Hall

Play on boys.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Isles Slide Continues-JT Talks Ups and Downs

It's now a losing streak, three losses in a row after falling to the bottom of the conference Carolina Hurricanes 4-1 last night. This was coming off of the embarrasing loss against the Caps Tuesday night.

The loss of Jack Hillen to injury is a huge blow and it was felt greatly as Bruno Gervais struggled mightily in these past two games. The offense has also run dry with just 5 goals in their last 3 games. It doesn't get any easier this weekend as they are in Philly and Florida for critical games in the Eastern Conference standings.

John Tavares missed a golden opportunity last night on a beautful feed from the ever improving Andrew Macdonald. It was a tough night for JT who created chances and did a great job on the forecheck but couldn't finish. He also took a lazy penalty and was -2 dropping his season total to -10.

The great Alex Ovechkin had some words of advice for Tavares: "It's pretty hard when you've got lots of attention," Ovechkin said." If I were him I'd just go on vacation during the Olympic Break and forget about the media and the attention and just worry about the second half of the season."

Check out this tremendous Tavares feature from todays Newsday on which JT appears on the back cover above.

Game Stats:

Monday, January 25, 2010

Islanders Kids Getting Credit

I'm back after a brief sabbatical.

The Islanders recorded a shootout victory over Florida but fell to the Devils Saturday night. The buzz is increasing though, there have been articles this past weekend praising the young Isles as they continue to surge forth with their building process.

It also is generating noise at the gate we're the team recorded two sellouts last week and reports of financials being up across the board. There are plenty of good things occurring on Long Island and it should be a fun stretch run.

John Tavares has had his ice time cut somewhat over the last several weeks but did register an assist Saturday night and continues to fight through his recent struggles. The olympic break can only be seen as a positve for the younger Islanders to get some rest in this condensed hockey season.

Ovie and his comrades are in tomorrow.

John Tavares Stats Through 52 Games
Goals: 17 (1st among rookies)
Assists: 15 (5th among rookies)
Points: 32 (2nd among rookies)
+/=: -7
PP Goals: 8
GW Goals: 2
Faceoff Pct: 48.1 (1st among rookies)

Kids like Okposo have Isles in playoff hunt

Islanders slip up, but playoffs still in sight

Rookie Cardboard Rankings

Coliseum a hothouse where young Islanders are growing

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Islanders Lose-Crosby/Malkin Dominate

The Islanders came back from deficits of 3-0 and 4-1 to tie it up at 4-4 but a power play hat-trick goal by Evgeny Malkin in the 3rd period was the game winner. Sidney Crosby also contributed six points in the Penguins 6-4 victory.

New York was undisciplined but kept coming at the champs and nearly stole a point until Andy Sutton received a major penalty with minutes left in the 3rd for a hit from behind on Pascal Dupuis. Sutton is expecting a suspension.

John Tavares had some opportunities and setup Kyle Okposo for a glorious chance but it was a tough night for KO as he was stopped on a penalty shot, two additional breakways, and came up short on his game high 7 shots on goal.

Florida comes to the Island tomorrow night.

Game Stats:
-1/ 2SOG/ 15:13TOI/ Faceoffs: 6-6