1:00 pm: Rick DiPietro was not NHL No. 1-calibre again last night. Except for the third period in Tampa Bay, he hasn’t been so far in this young season. Among the 41 goalies to play in the NHL in October, DiPietro is 39th with a save percentage of .867. He is also 39th with a GAA of 3.75.
The second goal he allowed in Philadelphia, on a wrister by Jeff Carter, was a back-breaker for a team whose collective confidence – sorry Coach Gordon, I do know what you mean about that confidence nonsense – was fragile with three straight losses and already down 1-0 to the Flyers.
Still, the ganging up on DiPietro appears to be a distraction mechanism for a host of issues that ail the 11th-place Islanders.
Doug Weight is averaging 19 minutes a game and has three even strength points in 11 games.
Blake Comeau has not registered a point in six of his last seven games. In that span, he is averaging over 20 minutes a game.
All the rage for a week in the discussion on the merits of keeping 18-year-olds on the roster, Josh Bailey has no points and a total of three shots on goal in his last three games. Maybe his hip pointer is still bothering him, but Gordon giving him more than 20 minutes of icetime would suggest otherwise.
PA Parenteau has one even-strength point in eleven games. Let’s cool off on the Matt Moulson comparisons for a bit. He may get there, but he’s not there yet.
James Wisniewski has one even strength point and is minus-6 for the season. Good player, great energy, but coronation as a top-pair, huge-money defenseman is also premature.
Mark Eaton at $2.5 million for each of two years was a reach the day the contract was signed, and I’ve yet to see evidence to the contrary. For a third of the cost, Garth Snow got Mike Mottau. Yes, $2.5 million in the Islanders’ economy cannot be shrugged off.
John Tavares is minus-8 and has three even strength points in eight games.
Sean Bergenheim has no hockey sense, while Nate Thompson couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat. Oh right, they’re not on the team anymore. No more piling on them. They seem to be doing okay.
You get the point. The Islanders are missing key players. Even at full strength, this remains a shorthanded roster on the margins of the salary cap floor. They were not as good as 4-1-2 suggested, they’re not as bad as four regulation losses in a row would seem to illustrate.
Through eleven games, which players have done everything asked of them in their specific roles and within their skill sets?
But for the most part, 4-5-2 has been a team effort.
The two-man mugging of Frans Nielsen last night by Daniel Briere and Daniel Carcillo was old-school, nasty, effective, dangerous and wrong. Briere is one of the game’s classiest people, which made it surprising – with his team up 6-1 and a minute remaining – that he would go Bobby Clarke on the usually mild-mannered Dane.
If Chris Simon was given 25 games for his blatant whack to the head of blindside hit-and-runner Ryan Hollweg, I have to believe Colin Campbell will give Briere, oh, at least one game.
Briere has a conference call – not an in-person hearing – with the NHL on Monday at 10:00 am, so we know the punishment will not be severe.
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