Five of the reasons why the Islanders are now in position to reach the .500 mark when they host the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Coliseum on Wednesday night…
Joey MacDonald: Better to be steady than spectacular one game, horsebleep the next. Mentored by Mike Dunham and Sudsie Maharaj, MacDonald has brought a level of stability in goal his team could not survive without.
If his teammates in front of him thought he was shaky, they’d be shaky, too. That’s the way it is in hockey. Other than one bad night in Jersey, MacDonald and the Islanders have looked confident, assured.
Bergenheim-Weight-Guerin: As a line and individually. After 25 points last season, who would have thought the countdown to 1,000 NHL points for Doug Weight – he needs 10 more – would begin before December?
Sean Bergenheim, the fire-starter, appears to have landed on the same page with an Islanders coach with more urgency than any time in his young, coach-filled career. (Maybe Snow should go long-term with him).
Bill Guerin’s profile around these parts seems to come and go with the wins and losses. From this standpoint – last year partially behind the curtain, this year in the peanut gallery – the man has done everything he can since the day he signed on.
The Return of the D: While others admirably held the fort, there really are no substitutes for Andy Sutton, Radek Martinek and Brendan Witt. One of the year’s quiet stories was Sutton’s intense preparation for this season before an injury stalled it. But he’s been good. The other team doesn’t like him.
Martinek and Witt, still rounding into playing like Martinek and Witt, are 22-minute NHL defensemen on their worst nights. Maybe Martinek has his one major injury this season behind him. If he and Witt could go the rest of the way, the Islanders would stumble less frequently.
Competition: Most Islanders are pushing the forecheck to its limits as if every shift is their last. With more players on the verge of returning from injuries – and with so many playing so well in Bridgeport – their motivation is sincere.
Four to Count On: While some returned to the lineup and others picked up their games, the quartet of Islanders consistently effective since the season opener were still there. Take a bow – Trent Hunter, Mark Streit, Richard Park and Andy Hilbert.
ETC: No roster moves today, no word if Kyle Okposo, Mike Comrie or Nate Thompson are any closer. I’ll be at the morning skate and will have reports from the Coliseum on Wednesday. Everyone travel safe and have a wonderful Thanksgiving…CB
No doubt you have your reasons. Comments.