Monday, November 3, 2008


It has happened in season's past. The Islanders have taken costly penalties at the wrong time in games and it has cost them a chance at a win. On Saturday night, if you were watching the debacle that was the 3rd period against the Habs, you might not point to the two consecutive penalties the Islanders took to open the period as the start of any trouble. However, when Mark Streit took an interference penalty at 19:39 and Thomas Pock was called for tripping at 15:40, in my mind these two penalties represent what was the imminent collapse of the Islanders system that led to the 4 goals that were subsequently scored by Montreal.

As Scott Gordon has said in the past, his system is based on an aggressive forecheck and it means that the players have to keep their feet moving. These two penalties above are evidence that the system was breaking down even before Tomas Plekanec netted his first goal of the season and started a roll that 4,000 Canadiens fans in attendance were more than happy to urge on. Gordon himself even confessed at the post-game press conference that he had been looking to take the timeout he utilized after Plekanec scored even earlier in the period. He even recognized that the boys weren't skating and the collapse had already begun.

What is going to take to get players to realize that they have to keep their feet moving? Laziness and reaching with your stick will only land you in the penalty box and put your team down. In this young season it still hasn't hit home for the Islanders and it's about time they figured out that playing within Gordon's system will keep them from sitting somewhere other than the bench. It's time for sweeping change.

Yesterday, Gordon ran the boys through the paces with a little more physicality in practice and extra time watching Gordon's "high-angle" video. This is something that Ted Nolan was never seen doing with the players after a tough loss. Maybe this will give the players something to rally around. Tonight they have a chance at some mild redemption against the Columbus Blue Jackets. It's time to stay out of the box and put the puck in the net boys.

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