"From the Isle" by Youngblood
Tuesday night is part 2 of 'fabricated rivalries the Islander organization tried to manufacture over the past 10 years'. The Toronto series of 2003 was one of my top hockey moments. It was the first time the Islanders made the post-season in my post-21 life. It was a hard-fought series filled with all sorts of off-ice drama. It proved that toughness is almost as important as skill in this game. The Islanders hung in there, but the more experienced and physical Leafs prevailed in 7 games. Darcy Tucker anyone?
But these new Leafs have no resemblence to that team in the early 2000's. They seem to favor smaller skill players, with the likes of Lupol, Kessel, and the talented-but-needs-to-do-more Kadri. Two talented goalies that both seem to be unable to secure the starting job in Bernier and Reimer. I'm thinking that both are good, just not good enough. And on D, Dion Phaneuf always seems to find a way under the skin of this Islander team. He plays a tough game but seems to shy away from the real dirty stuff. Either you get in his head or he gets in yours. If the quick Leafs forwards can punch a few in early we could see the start of a losing streak. But here's what I think:
- The Islanders first loss didn't feel the same as last year's losses. It felt like a good team losing, which felt nice. They won't roll over this season.
- Maybe would have been just a little interesting to see Grabovski against his old team that never quite utilized the talented forward, but he's out with a concussion. I'd love to say the Islanders have the depth to be able to deal with this injury, but it stings quite a bit.
- If the Islanders can win again at home, we may be onto something with this Coliseum-magic thing. That will help ton.
- Halak had his best game of the season in the loss to Pittsburgh, he can play again but wouldn't be surprised if CHAD gets the call. 5 games in and he's played once.
- Visnovsky return is very big though it won't feel like a big deal from the start. Important for everyone to remember that just last season he was the best defender on the team. I expect this to be a big boost to an already improved D.
- Love Hamonic fighting Downie last game just because. It's hard when you're home on your couch to truly understand the impact but I think it's important to the players and the morale of the team. I don't like Capuano saying he needs to see more of this because that only leads to penalties.
- So much I'll miss about going to the Coliseum for games…but last week's game made me realize the thing I may miss the most are those Champions nachos.
Follow me on twitter @skizzle16 for in-game observations.