“The Flyers played yesterday. We didn’t come out ready to play.”
Zenon Konopka during the first intermission on MSG
3:45 pm: There are times when there isn’t much more left to say, so you let the words and the actions of the athletes speak to you.
Konopka was right. Actually, he went easy on his team. The first period was a disgrace. After Konopka did his interview, the coaching staff roared at their players in the home team locker room.
But again, what is there left to say?
When the Islanders have lost 17 of 18.
When the Islanders host “Kids Day” and a season-low (for now) announced crowd of 7,773 shows up.
When the Islanders have not scored a power play goal in a month.
When the strongest voice in the New York hockey media goes to the extraordinary lengths to use his widely-read column to insist that the NHL take over the franchise.
When the Islanders have just 15 points in the standings, and are 16 points behind the eighth-place team in the Eastern Conference three weeks before Christmas.
When the Islanders, facing a supposed rival they “hate” in their first meeting since the blowout loss and resultant mayhem in Philadelphia last month, hardly lay a glove and don’t lay a fist on a Flyer.
The Islanders team, organization and fanbase spoke loudly enough today.
The Flyers sleepwalking for 30 minutes while BOB mishandled Frans Nielsen’s go-ahead goal does not constitute a stirring comeback. Peter Laviolette called another one of his timeouts…and presto. It played like Marian Gaborik’s winning goal, although it took a little more than 25 seconds for the Flyers to wake up.
(Is this an appropriate time to point out that when the Islanders had a healthy Mark Streit and Kyle Okposo last year, they finished 26th in the NHL?) Okposo is supposed to be back in January, but don’t be surprised if he comes back a little earlier.
No, there isn’t much left to say. When a collection of hockey players and assistant coaches is hurting like this, December doesn’t feel like the right time for piling on.
Let’s see what happens when the Islanders set their next course at the trade deadline. Let’s see if the Islanders change their minds and bring in someone experienced to run what will be another crucial draft. Let’s see if Garth Snow starts speaking with charismatic winners about the head coaching position.
Until then, listen and learn. Listen to what the players have to say. Learn about how they really feel through their actions on the ice.
And someday soon, maybe we’ll even get to hear something of substance from the general manager.
Someday soon, maybe we’ll get to hear something of substance from the owner.
Until then, there’s not much anyone can do.
Comments on this subject. See you tomorrow with the beginning of a run of SNY interviews. Best Point Blank Night ever will be Dec. 23. Let’s finish the calendar year strong.