RANGERS 2 ISLANDERS 0Roloson absolves refs, shows frustration with Ls

10:25 pm: Madison Square Garden: After the game, Islanders starting goaltender Dwayne Roloson refused to criticize officials for some of the questionable calls in his team’s 2-0 loss to the Rangers.

 

“Our guys, they’re the best in the world,” Roloson told reporters after the game in the visitors’ locker room at Madison Square Garden. “They’re in this league for a reason. Especially you get a guy like Billy (McCreary), he’s been to the Olympics, Stanley Cup Finals. He’s one of the best. He calls the game the way he sees it and that’s the way it is. You have to give our guys credit for making calls and making decisions. It’s not an easy job. I wouldn’t want it.

 

Asked whether Ryan Callshan should have received more than two minutes for his elbow on Frans Nielsen, Roloson said, “That’s not my expertise. That’s their decision. Like I said, they’re making decisions. We can all sit back and watch video replay and critique what they’re doing, but they’re making calls instantly. They’ve got to make split-second decisions. That’s why these guys are in this league. They’re good.”

 

On the other hand, Roloson did not like what he saw from his team during parts of the game.

 

“As a team it’s frustrating. In the second period, a ten-minute stretch there, we just stopped playing. Well, we didn’t stop playing, but we weren’t making smart decisions with the puck. We got trapped out there, it didn’t cost us. But at the same time it might’ve cost us a goal at the other end – if we’re playing smart.”

 

John Tavares had nothing but praise for his team’s goaltender.

 

“I told (Roloson) after the game that he gave us a great opportunity,” said Tavares. “We can’t ask for more from him than what he gave us. As a group, the effort was there again. We just have to find a better solution and be better in some areas.”

 

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9:24 pm, Madison Square Garden: Like last night, writing for FanHouse. But here were some of my thoughts while taking in the game at MSG, and I encourage you to agree, disagree and cover everything I did not.

 

So let’s get this straight: Scott Gordon remains as a trusted advisor on the Islanders’ staff, taking down notes while watching the Islanders-Rangers game from a Coliseum suite on Thursday. Yet his team is now employing a completely passive trap, the opposite of Go-Go? Is that what Gordon was drawing up in the Islanders’ game-opening video played on the Coliseum scoreboard before the few games he got to coach there this season? This is what the Islanders meant by “playing the game the right way”?

 

Hey, whatever works. Panthers fans never had any trouble standing up and cheering Roger Neilson’s trappy ways en route to the Stanley Cup Final. But what a 180 from what the Islanders organization said it believed in and was going to stick to.

 

The Islanders had a much better start to tonight’s game than Thursday’s, but still failed to record a shot on goal in the first 15 minutes. Tonight’s second period looked more like last night’s first.

 

For a goaltender who hadn’t played in two weeks, Dwayne Roloson was impressively sharp. That’s the sign of a veteran who is still committed to his craft in practice while he waits his turn.

 

Ryan Callahan’s elbow was not with malicious intent to injure. However, Callahan’s elbow made direct contact with Frans Nielsen’s head – the exact sort of play Pat LaFontaine expressed concern about in our interview this week for FanHouse. Since Jesse Joensuu instigated a fight with Callahan, and has the smarts to wear a visor, the Rangers ended up with a power play.

 

Fascinating to see LaFontaine working the Rangers’ broadcasts on MSG Network. No blessing necessary.

 

The goaltender interference penalty call on Jon Sim, after he was checked from behind by a Ranger into Henrik Lundqvist…ludicrous, hilarious.

 

With games coming up against Philadelphia and Boston, the Islanders will likely be giving a lot of responsibility to young defensemen Andrew MacDonald and Travis Hamonic. Even if it’s too much too soon, they’re mature enough to handle it.

 

While a bunch of folks are Beating Up on The Wiz, count me out. No one could have expected him to carry the load after Mark Streit went down, and they would have been very good together if Streit didn’t suffer a busted shoulder. Okay, so Wisniewski is not Ken Morrow in his own zone. The guy plays hard and wears his heart on his sleeve on and off the ice. If the Islanders end up moving him for another second-round pick before the trade deadline, they’ll miss him when Streit returns.

 

Only question I would have asked post-game: what took the Islanders so long to pull Dwayne Roloson near the end? They had Tavares and Moulson out there and the puck deep in the Rangers’ zone with about 1:20 left, but Roloson stayed put.

 

You take it from here. Thanks.