Friday, November 21, 2008


More poetic words could not have been uttered by a grizzled veteran in the midst of trying to keep his teammates awake and in the game. In fact, Doug Weight has been taking his own advice lately and leads the Isles in points with 16 on the season after the 2-1 shootout win again the Canucks on Monday night. How does this apply to what my opinion revolves around you may ask? Well, how about less costly penalties....?

In the past 2 weeks the Isles have shown a decrease in the number of bad penalties they've taken per game (4 against the Pens on 11/8, 4 against the Flyers on 11/11, 8 against the Sens on 11/13, 7 against the Sens on 11/15 and 5 against the Canucks on 11/17 for a total of 28 penalties over the past 5 games). Compare that to the previous 5 games where the Islanders took the same number of penalties (28) but had a 2-2-1 record as opposed to the 3-1-1 record of the last 5. What changed causing more consistent play? As I've shown it wasn't the average number of penalties per game but rather penalties that did not come at critical points in the game (i.e. the last 5 minutes of a period or in the 3rd period with the game on the line). Plus, it certainly helps when the PK unit has been on top of it's game.

But what else could cause the more positive attitude and winning ways of our favorite team? You need only to look to the work ethic and the adoption of the system as second nature to truly define the turnaround this team is currently experiencing. For veterans like Doug Weight and Bill Guerin to be doing their part to lead the team on the ice and in the locker room is a positive intagible that can't be measured by any statistician. It's CONFIDENCE ladies and gentleman! Confidence in the teammate next to you and the confidence that the system will work. But most of all it's confidence in your goaltender to make the first stop and not create too many rebounds.

Joey MacDonald has proven all of his naysayers wrong so far this season with stellar play and a positive attitude. It has been this solidifying presence that has kept the Islanders together amidst all the injuries and learning the concept of the new system. Without Joey Mac this team would still be buried at the bottom of the pile in the NHL and vying for the Hedman/Tavares sweepstakes nearly two full months into the season. Instead, the Isles are 2 games from .500 and are surging with three wins in a row against two very solid, elite teams.

Tonight, the boys face a depleted Devils team without their franchise goalie in Martin Brodeur, but don't count them out either. The tandem of Kevin Weekes and Scott Clemmensen has done admirably in #30's absence and with Zach Parise already with 12 goals in the young season the Devils still pose a major threat to sink this Islanders streak.

Here's to hoping the boys prevail tonight at the Rock in Newark and keep up their angelic ways with the officials instead of cutting ruts toward the penalty box.

Photos Courtesy of and

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