November 4, 2010
...And there's no end in sight
Six straight losses after another stinker in Ottawa tonight, and there's not much more to it than that. The team looks legitimately lethargic, and the only saving grace in this game was that they managed not to completely embarrass themselves by actually looking somewhat like an actual NHL hockey team. However, once they completed an abhorrent attempt at a five-minute major power play and allowed Sergei Gonchar to sneak into the back door for goal #1, it felt like it was over, and it was. More defensive lapses by the whole team, more bad goaltending (this time by Dwayne Roloson), more inability to bury any and all chances. Who can say when this stupor will finally end? I hope it's sometime this season.
My DVR has a fast-forward option, so I could spare myself a great deal of aggravation.
I hate Mike Mottau again. This is probably the tenth time this season I've seen him make a pass directly to an opposing player in the danger area. How a guy could go from three games of near brilliance to ten games of ECHL-caliber defensive play is completely beyond me, but it's officially happened. His effectiveness on the PP has vanished into thin air, also.
P.A. Parenteau was the Islanders' best all-around forward. A true feat, even for this team.
The Isles are now finding new ways to lose. This time, it wasn't because they were slow, the main cause of the two straight shellackings at the hands of the Canadiens. This time, it wasn't because they weren't physical enough, the main cause of the two straight shellackings at the hands of the Flyers. This time, it wasn't because they were thoroughly outworked, the main cause of the shellacking in Raleigh. No, this time, it was because the Isles were simply watching the puck all night. What will they think of next?
There is no semblance of confidence or energy coming from any player on the roster, possibly excepting Matt Martin. The players look like they're skating in sand with a hopeless, defeatist attitude. It's highly alarming. I'm pretty sure we can no longer attribute this to Rick DiPietro being in net. This isn't the system, either; the skaters' style of play would lose them games if they were playing Lemaire Euthanasia. Is it the coach? They've played unrelentingly hard for Gordon up until now with far less talented rosters and far less hopeful situations. Is it the injuries? They seemed to deal with that fine against good teams in the first couple games of the year.
I don't know what the cause of this funk is, but it's making the Islanders pretty frustrating to watch. There's a feeling of resignation after the Isles can't convert in the first ten minutes and inevitably let up the first goal of the game to the other team, after which they seem to deflate like clockwork. Let's hope this trend discontinues before we all do insane things on IM and HF like call for the firing of the coach and GM less than 15 games into the year, declare the young core useless, and place blame on inconsequential players like Doug Weight and Trent Hunter. Wait, people have already started doing that?... I see.
On the Senators
For the most part, a perennially unimpressive team since that one time they dominated the League and got stomped in the Cup Finals. I love Dan Alfredsson, a guy who, like Eric Staal, is my type of player. However, their other headliner (Spezza) plays only one zone. Their defensive rock is good, and they added Gonchar, but those guys aren't buttressed by very much. The goalie is very good but not elite, and the supporting cast won't really blow your doors off.
Can they scratch out a playoff spot again? Sure, I guess. Are they a Cup contender? Not really. When your team is languishing in limbo like this, it's time for a drastic change. I might auction Alfredsson, Spezza, and Phillips to the highest bidder at the deadline, then take my several first-round picks and rebuild from the ground up by notching a top-three overall pick in 2012. But then again, this is the team run by the same GM who flipped a first rounder for Chris Campoli and Mike Comrie, then flipped another one for David Rundblad.
Another crack at Philly for the gang on Saturday. Cross your fingers.