4:40 pm: Random musings after the Islanders’ 4-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators today at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum…
John Tavares may not be a Calder Trophy finalist this year, but he will score 32 goals in the 2010-11 season. And that’s just dandy.
Face it, Blake Comeau can do no wrong. With two assists today, Comeau is a contender for one of the NHL’s Three Stars of the Week.
More than at any time this season – and the stink-bomb at the Garden aside – the Islanders over the last two weeks have looked like a team that plays for and stands up for each other.
The Islanders are 5-2-1 in their last seven games with big-time deterrent Trevor Gillies in the lineup. We’ll know by the opening night lineup in October if Islanders management believes this was a coincidence. (Meaning, whether they sign any heavyweight for next year). Still, it was fun watching Gillies scream and glare at Senators all day.
The Energizer Bergie might need to hit the speed bag a bit in the offseason, but you have to admire him stepping up in class from Petr Prucha to Nick Foligno. Good stuff.
Martin Biron is not just a deserving choice for the media’s Good Guy Award, he’s a good goalie. Although, selfishly, he would be missed, I really hope his agent finds him a good place for Biron to play next season.
Terrible call by Ian Walsh, not allowing Tavares to battle with Chris Campoli for the puck and hitting him with an interference penalty. It’s plays like those that drive the old schoolers nuts. Tavares should not let a weak call stop him from competing for pucks in the future.
Not the best of returns for Andy Sutton (third period, Sim-influenced meltdown) and Campoli (minus-4). They do have the playoffs, though.
Campoli on the playoffs: “I’m a believer that we have an opportunity to do some damage in the playoffs. I’m really excited about it. I’ve only played five career playoff games, back with the Islanders. That’s what we play this game for – to win and the dream of hoisting the Stanley Cup. We’ve got a chance to do it here. We’re probably not the favorites, and that’s fine with us. We believe in each other in the dressing room and we’re going to go out and compete for it.”
Plenty of college free agents have signed with NHL teams over the last two weeks, including New Hampshire forward Bobby Butler, who played today for Ottawa. Although the Islanders have come up empty so far, I’m told they were in the hunt for some and are still bidding. They should hear one way or the other this week.
I continue to have faith that the Florida Panthers will somehow find a way to screw up their position to draft one of the top 3-4 studs in the upcoming draft.
Give proper doses of respect to kids like Brandon Gormley and cult hero Nino Niederreiter – a favorite of a lot of people who haven’t seem him play much, probably for his fun name and Swissness. But understand this: for a rebuilding team that thinks its arena prevents them from adding marquee talent, if you want to be a consistent contender there is a difference between the very top of this draft and the rest.
Happy Easter! Unless major news breaks, I’ll see you Monday.