Capellini: Islanders’ Putrid Start Is The Very Disaster That Simply Couldn’t Happen

Let's Try A Novel Approach: Fight Urge To Blame The Coach & General Manager

By Jeff Capellini, CBSNewYork/

NEW YORK (WFAN) — Who are you and what do you want to become? A simple shrug of the shoulders isn’t good enough anymore.

If you had one fear heading into the 2011-12 season it was that the Islanders would get out of the gates miserably. And while that is every fan’s concern, regardless of the team he or she roots for, on the Island a bad start was tantamount to Armageddon, real end-of-the-world stuff.

The Isles simply couldn’t afford to have the losses mount right off the bat, not with all that is riding on this season. The fourth year of the rebuild was supposed to be magic time, so said the experts on rebuilds, which became all of us because we were told so by so many people we respect. It was supposed to be the season that put many of the previous 20 to bed, or at least banished them from the fan base’s collective consciousness for a while.

Yet inexplicably — and considering all we know it really is as bad as it looks — we are 18 games into the season and the Isles are once again the laughingstocks of the NHL.

It’s simply unbelievable and inexcusable.

For the diehard and optimist what we’ve seen in seven weeks has left us in a sort of no-man’s land clutching our favorite blanket and wishing for a mulligan. This team is dead where it stands, with the ice seemingly titled toward what was once a trio of goaltenders, but is now half a goalie and a kid big enough to be three goalies.

Nothing coach Jack Capuano has tried has worked.

And I’m not even blaming Capuano. There’s been a systemic breakdown here, one that has permeated every last department within the franchise, be it part of the on-ice product or in the front office.

Since starting 3-1, the Isles have won just twice in 14 games. They have scored 35 goals, or 1.94 per game, a statistic that’s absolutely horrifying considering all of the young talent that began to make a serious move last season. Kyle Okposo, Blake Comeau and Josh Bailey have been horrendous. Michael Grabner is learning what life is like when opposing teams make adjustments and take away his open ice. Even John Tavares and Matt Moulson, the two guys you figure would find a way, have been very quiet by their growing standards.

And though there’s still plenty of time for this group of fresh-faced kids sprinkled with respected veterans to turn this thing around, they’ve given you no indication whatsoever that they will or that they even care to.

It’s that bad.

You have to figure the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference will require around a minimum of 90 points. Do you honestly believe this team will somehow get 77 points in its final 64 games? What’s that old saying again about snowballs in hell?

This rebuild was basically the last card the front office had to play. If it doesn’t work I just don’t see how anyone in their right mind would lay in front of a train to keep this team on Long Island. Making the playoffs, or at the very least being competitive, is the only chance this team has of being attractive enough for a municipality to open its doors in these trying economic times to keep it where it belongs, be that on Long Island or nearby.

The clock has been ticking since Nassau County issued its well-documented “no.” The window to get something done basically ends sometime in 2013. It will take a minimum of 18 months to two years to have a new arena ready in time to coincide with the Isles’ lease at Nassau Coliseum expiring at the end of the 2014-15 season.

Perhaps the Isles could extend their lease at the Coliseum one year or play at the Izod Center for a year, but that would only happen if something grandiose was secured, which we know would be like asking NHL Jesus to forgive every last sin this franchise has committed over the last two decades. Brooklyn you say? Find a way to stick 3,000 more seats in the joint and maybe there will be something to talk about.

It just seems like the fans, as usual, are the only ones feeling this sense of urgency. I mean the players care, sure, but they have already admitted the dressing room “feels different” this season, and not in a good way. Then, during one of the intermissions at the Sidney Crosby party in Pittsburgh on Monday night, an absolute shellacking that was predictable and orchestrated, assistant coach Scott Allen basically said in no uncertain terms that the Islanders are a “fragile group of guys,” one that folds its tents at the first sign of adversity.

I mean, you can’t make it up. All of the experience this group gained over the last few seasons has completely disappeared. The players might as well all be prospects again, because they are sure playing like just that.

The part that’s most mind-boggling is the fact that basically the same group of guys played so well during the second half of last season. Prior to a final-week swoon that came as a result of injuries taking their toll once and for all and the reality of being eliminated from postseason contention, the Isles had proven they could play with anyone. Their point total in the beginning of calendar year 2011 gave every indication that there was no way their point total at the end of 2011 could possibly be this bad.

Yet it is.

The Islanders need to answer some questions that ultimately will be asked. It’s just better they address them now because I just don’t see a dramatic reversal of fortune coming.

Even when they lost last season, the Isles made sure the opposition knew they were in a game. That has not been the case for the better part of the beginning of this season. Exhibit A (and it’s really the only example you need): the Isles put together one of their best efforts of the season in a 4-3 victory over the visiting Canadiens last Thursday only to follow it up by being outscored 11-0 in back-to-back losses to the Bruins and Penguins. In both of the latter games they were beaten before they took the ice. Going out and going through the motions was just obligatory.

So on to the questions, of which there are really just two. First, and altogether less pressing, is Capuano the coach that should be entrusted with fixing this mess? My answer? Yes. Mostly because firing him would be a copout and would shed even more light on the second question, which is when should the fan base point fingers at Garth Snow and say his master rebuilding plan failed?

The only reason why Snow is brought up is because this same group was clearly better last season than it is this season. That in turn would suggest Capuano isn’t getting it done. But it seems like Capuano has done everything in his power. He’s made guys earn ice time. He’s benched “stars.” He’s scratched “stars in waiting.” He’s juggled lines. He’s made speeches. He’s called players out. He’s played every goalie he can think of.

Yet none of it has worked.

But that again brings into focus whether or not Snow chose and traded for horses that are only good over half a distance. But it’s not like the general manager didn’t get praise last season from people in the know outside of the organization. To a man, many NHL experts agreed that the Islanders had put together quite the ensemble of young talent, from Tavares all the way down to many of the kids at Bridgeport. He then complimented the young guys with some veterans who, at least prior to coming to Long Island, knew how to play important roles, be them on the power play, man down or on the third and fourth lines.

And that leads me to the ultimate truth behind this whole mess. This is on the players. It’s time to grow up. It’s time to stop making excuses. It’s time to put the double-bladed skates away, let go of daddy’s hand and start skating like men.

Most everyone agrees the talent is there. I’ll take the words of Stan Fischler, Billy Jaffe and Mike Bossy, to name a few, over anyone’s. To a man, they have all said the time is now. The pure skill you see out on the ice every night sure suggests this team should be much better than it is.

Blaming the coach is a joke because it appears Capuano has not lost the locker room, nor has he instructed these players poorly. Pointing a finger at the GM doesn’t work either because, as I stated earlier, this same group of guys got it done over the second half of last season, under the tutelage of the same coach.

It’s simply time to grow up. Are the Islanders NHL players or not? Only they know the answer. All the criticism, poking and prodding, hard practices and lessons learned on the job has to eventually galvanize a group as talented as this one. If they don’t, then why should they even bother? They’re wasting everyone’s time, time this franchise doesn’t have.

And they shouldn’t expect a lifeline from owner Charles Wang either. He’s owner-non-gratis right now, not to mention all the money he’s basically thrown away over the last decade. Fans shouldn’t get mad at him because he’s not spending to fix his team’s problems. He’s lost enough money, don’t you think?

And don’t wait for a lull in the schedule. It’s never going to happen. Every night the Isles will play an opponent at the level of the Penguins, Bruins, Capitals, Rangers, Devils, Sabres and Flyers. There’s no time to breathe. This team did that in the equivalent of the NHL’s womb for far too long.

The only break on the schedule right now is the one the opponents get when they know they are going to the Coliseum or the Islanders are coming to town.

Can these players live with that? It sure seems like it.

My question is, why? Have they no pride? They’re old enough to know what that means, right?

This is a grown-up world, the NHL. It will beat you senseless. Or do the Isles need more of a reminder?

Read more columns by Jeff Capellini

How does one fix the Islanders? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

  • Chris

    (1) Every good defensive play is followed immediately by an awful giveaway in their own zone. They have to capitalize on those small plays instead of stopping to admire themselves and coughing it up before they can make something happen. They cycle well in the offensive zone and create good chances, but they can’t get there more than twice in a period. The team’s single biggest deficiency is their inability to transition from defense to offense. Their own blue line is the scariest place on the ice when they have the puck.

    (2) The Islanders are doing a great job of demonstrating that hockey is the most team-oriented sport in the world. In other sports, more talent equals more winning most of the time. In hockey, you can have all the talent in the world, but if you can’t turn a group of guys into a team, you have nothing. Five 20-goal scorers last year – with two 30-goal scorers – can’t put the puck in the net this year. Before opening night, the Islanders looked to have one of the best forward groups in the league, in terms of raw talent. Okposo, Bailey, Parenteau, Nielsen, and Comeau looked like they should be able to score 20. Maybe Nino would chip in a few. Moulson and Grabner: 30 or more. Tavares? We could only imagine. Offense was the only thing we WEREN’T worried about. But individual stats and the almighty “potential” mean absolutely nothing in this game.

    (3) Josh Bailey takes an extra full second and a half to make every single decision. He’s not an NHL player. Cut your losses, waive and demote until he’s scoring twice a game in Bridgeport. Comeau should have been traded in the offseason after a 24-goal year. He’s not the future; sell high (too late).

    (4) Where’s Martinek to play with Streit? I don’t care if he only plays 45 games. Streit/Martinek + Hamonic/MacDonald would be very adequate.

    (5) Where’s Konopka? Admit a mistake and make an offer to Ottawa. They could use a draft pick, yes? And I’ll tell you what… Asham and Park look pretty good over there in Pittsburgh. What’s all this talk about building a team of “character guys”? When you find a few, hang on to ’em!

    (6) If I’m Jack Capuano, every single practice between now and the All-Star Break includes a full 60-minute scrimmage. Put someone in the stands to call penalties. Run the game clock. Let the boys loosen up. Not “relax”. Loosen up and hit each other, battle for pucks, chip ’em out, transition like it matters. And don’t blast the let’s-have-some-fun rock ‘n roll over the sound system. Blast some goddamn Meshuggah. The team needs focus and fire.

  • robert j albertelli

    i would like to ask some questions. why in gods name did they let konopka go? no one ran the goalies or took liberties with the young forwards when he was here.sending gillies and haley to the minors made them a weak, soft team.other than martin and sometimes hamonic they have no toughness. they brought in 4 retreads from other teams staios. reasoner, pandolfo, and ralston all in their mid to late 30’s who are all useless. they should be in bridgeport to help the young kids. they don’t check and are all slow. when was the last time eaton threw a bodycheck. bring back haley and gillies and watch this team turn around. hillen may have been small but he could skate and shoot.according to the hockey news they are the 4th oldest team. last year they were the 4th youngest. how did this happen? martin can’t do it alone. the other teams know this. pandolfo, eaton, reasoner, ralston, and staios must go now. give your young guys protection and watch them start scoring. wake up capuano. by the way i am a first time season ticket holder. based on the second half of last year i got 4 seats. now all i hear are excuses. if nothing is done capuano and snow must go. bring in someone like ted nolan.

    • Jeff Cap

      Robert, thanks for the response. I couldn’t agree more. Konopka was the sheriff and you lived with his offensive shortcomings. He was very good on faceoffs and he’d take on anyone. The Isles don’t have that guy anymore. You’re right. Martin cannot do it alone. Gillies, for all of his faults, provided much of the muscle that was needed when the time was right. The team got more skilled and less physical. And on a team of skill players you need a line of beasts, or at least have said tough guys sprinkled in here and there. I was proud of the Isles last year in the face of the Pittsburgh brawl. They had balls and people stopped taking liberties. Whatever physical intangible they brought last year is long gone this season.

      • NYIFC

        Konopka was a guy who talked a big game and had fights by appointment who had a horrible plus minus and hurt a scorer like Martin. Great quotes, took on the media but funny how Tampa dumped him and not a word was said.

        What’s next Nate Thompson should have stayed too?

        Konopka is also a player with a million miles of fights on him who has been fighting and playing hurt by his own admission. He needed to go for many of the same reasons Tampa let him go, this team needed a plus fourth line more, Reasoner may be on fumes but it was a good gamble to bring in a thirteen goal center vs one who had two goals.

  • Len Lumbers

    This is exasperating. It reminds me a little of Milbury’s not-quite-ready-for-prime-time late-’90s teams, which produced respectable seasons but for 10- or 12-game losing streaks that always came before the all-star break and ended any pretense of actually competing for a top eight spot. Last year was like this, and despite the encouraging in-every-game play the Isles produced from mid-December onwards, the fear existed they were simply playing better because the pressure was off.

    If it’s not on Cap, Snow or Wang, what DO you do to address the character problem with the roster? Aside from the albatross that is DiPietro, everyone is movable. A dozen years ago, we suffered some distressingly flawed flop trades, when people like yesteryear’s Okposo, Bailey, Grabner and Comeau were deemed poor fits. Some of those yesteryear players grew into things like goalies and captains of last year’s Cup finalists.

    Watching my favourite team from afar in Toronto, I’m seldom afforded the luxury of insight through seeing game flow in person. I have an open question for those who see them on t.v. every game: what the hell happens with these disappearing two- and three-goal leads? I could chalk the Crosby game up to a one-off because of the circus atmosphere surrounding Kid’s return, if only these other losses weren’t so commonplace this year. Is it goaltending? Is it systemic? WHY does the team have so much trouble administering the back half of a game in which it’s built a sizeable lead? It strikes me that’s what’s killed the confidence in this team. Do they freeze up with three-goal leads? Do they get cute? Do they get lazy? Why is THIS specific thing happening?

    • NYIFC

      Character? No.

      The answer is very easy. Who was on defense last year? Mottau, Eaton and Jurcina in Nov-Dec 2010. Who is back now and with slow, turnover prone Steve Staios trying to be a first pairing defender with returning from a year off Streit and MacDonald coming off significant surgery.

      Add in Pandolfo, Reasoner who looks like Mike York when he got here and Rolston who’s not the 40points/40 game player he was a year ago and there is your answer.

      Did you watch the Colorado game? Big fast defenders the Isles led 3-0 Joe Sacco took a time out and one player could not believe they were down 3-0 to this team. They picked it up and just beat them up all over the ice and were flying.

      Colorado has one win since.

      Folks never got it when people kept writing Martinek when on his game is one of the most under-rated defenders in the NHL. They have nothing to replace his ability to carry the puck or Hillen, Gervais. They got older, slower and that’s a fatal mix.

  • Fred

    The difference between this year and the second half of last year is that the kids with all the talent knew someone was watching over them. The vets are not watching over the kids and aren’t even pulling their own weight.

    John Tavares feels much better about going out and doing his thing when Gillies is on the bench to make sure everyone keeps it inline, even more so when Haley is there as well.

  • Gus Mouse

    The icing on the cake will be tomorrow. First, they are introducing their NEW Third Jersey – which most fans dislike to begin with. Second, they play the Flyers – who they never beat and are the most physical team in the league. Talk about the ultimate toxic combination. Imagine, if they get creamed by the Flyers 7 – 2 in their new black sweaters! Well timed launch – typlical Isles.

    • Jeff Cap

      Gus, thanks for the response. Sooner or later the Isles will beat the Flyers. Who knows? Maybe the black jerseys take on a life of their own and provide the spark. The Flyers are a good team. What are you gonna do? They own the Isles, but the Isles are being backed into a corner. The last time this happened they came out swinging and it inspired a seasonal turnaround. I’m not saying that will happen Wednesday, but stranger things have happened. These are the Isles, after all. LOL.

  • BOB

    haley and gillies, sit pandolfo/roltson or reasoner. less skill more heart, WHY IS THAT SO HARD TO SEE?!


    Some of you make me laugh. So it’s Charles Wang’s fault for not giving you a 60m dollar payroll and front-loading contracts. Our fans will not even show up regardless of the price or adding Smyth in sixth place a few years ago or raising prices to the league avg.

    The Devils. Rangers are bleeding red ink and the Devils had Cory Booker build them an arena and give them the revenue and they are on the verge of bankruptcy. Chicago lost 30m to win a cup, Minnesota, Columbus, Dallas, St Louis and most teams are losing huge money.

    Washington gets revenue sharing.

    Charles Wang did his job, he locked up every top young player on this roster.

    Not Charles Wang’s fault he does not get Msg’s tax exemption that kept them from moving since 1981 or the billions in tax handouts. every other team got in this market. He spent 20m on the Lighthouse which is more than any owner had to spend for a taxpayer funded building much less one with nothing to show for it.

    But you could care less about facts.

    Yes I know, you want a max payroll, 1975 ticket prices and five star players signed to massive front-loaded contracts or you will not buy a ticket and it’s time for a new owner willing to lose 50m a year.

    And if a player getting a max front-loaded contract does not play well. buy him out and get another one.

    • Jeff Cap

      NYIFC, good comments but let’s dispense with some of the excuses. This team took the only road it could, but how long is a rebuild expected to last before we quit saying “aw shucks” and simply dismissing this or that as old or not that good? As for DiPietro and his two wins, answer me this question: Where was Montoya for a 10-game stretch when he was apparently healthy? Do you know that he was injured the whole time? Did anyone? He was fine and he sat, despite earning every right to be this team’s starter, showcasing Nabokov for a trade or not. Where’s the transparency on that one? DiPietro may have a big heart, but do you honestly think he’s worth riding for 10 games? Jack Hillen and Bruno Gervais had no worth whatsoever to this franchise anymore. And while Martinek probably still had game when was he ever really truly healthy? There’s no reason to kill the Isles for not bringing any of those three back. The reason 20 years and laughingstock is constantly mentioned is because nothing has changed. Show me how it has and I’ll stop saying it. You are defending what you perceive to be your turf and I respect that, but you’re not offering solutions. You’re simply killing everyone else for at least trying. You seem content to continue to watch the same farce year after year. Who gives a damn what kind of media attention the Rangers got a million years ago? I guarantee you not one Islander fan today.

      • NYIFC

        Jeff the excuses are YOURS. Everything changed, this franchise returned to the playoffs four out of five years and had a 42 point improvement in one year.

        Every year is different, when you slap a label it’s all the same is lazy and sloppy because it’s not regardless of result. No one should be content with incorrect information.

        What rebuilding or excuses are you talking about when one franchise leads the NHL in man games lost by a mile three of four years prior to this one that’s a fact. You are not building anything when ten or more players are hurt and AHL players have to fill out the roster.

        Last year this franchise lost over 900 combined games at both the AHL and NHL level and still had an excellent second half. Before that 582 and in Nolan’s last year 402 to lead the league.

        Before that this franchise made four playoffs in five years. Everything changed but you did not care to notice or acknowledge it and play the laughingstock twenty year card.

        That’s not fair or objective.

        What are we the joke Knicks all of a sudden or the Nets. The joke Rangers since 1997 have made one more playoff than the Isles and got it backing in at home last season. Give me a break.

        The Isles were not all those teams that missed playoffs for a good part of the last decade like Florida, Phoenix or Los Angeles, Columbus for starters.

        I’m sorry but that’s reality the same reality that prior to this made four playoffs in five years. Things did change for the New York Islanders when then made all those playoffs, this was not Florida or Phoenix or the Kings or the Hawks, Pens when they were horrible.

        Al Montoya was an AHL struggling back up when he came here last year, he did not win a single game this team scored less than two goals last season and he got hurt at the World Championships as did Nabokov and both are hurt again so this has nothing to do with DiPietro who has the best proven capability to carry this team when healthy and with a chance to get rust off his game.

        Hillen, Martinek, Wishart, Reese and Gervais all did one thing rusty, old, slow and turnover prone Eaton, Mottau, Jurcina, and Staios CANNOT DO.

        SKATE. Even with that defense last year this team could fly and were competitive. This year every game they are outnumbered all over the ice.

        I have no turf to defend other than what’s happened based on games and results.

        • Jeff Cap

          What excuses have I made? Not one.

          The facts are what they are. Again, who cares about a 42-point improvement years ago? Who cares about making the playoffs four out of five previous years? Nobody. The 900 man-games lost have been addressed on many occasions, including by myself in the past columns hot-linked within this text. Why do you continue to compare this franchise to other franchises? It’s about what the Islanders do, not what the Rangers do or any number of the other teams you mentioned. No one cares. I didn’t bring any of them up, so why should you since you are critiquing what I wrote?

          Your argument on DiPietro being best capable when healthy to lead this team is utterly laughable. He’s still on this squad because of the contract. No other reason. It’s the only reason he still starts games, to justify what turned out to be a foolish decision in the first place. Again, everyone knows this.

          Every positive this-is-the-year column and looking ahead at a bright future column has been written countless times, again by me. So I don’t get where your accusation comes from that I’m expressing incorrect information or I’m not being objective. My objectivity knows no bounds.

          The truth is you just think your ideas behind why this team has fallen apart are better than mine and that’s your prerogative to think so, but it doesn’t make my opinion any less sound than what has been presented. The bottom line is this is year four of a rebuild that had shown some steady improvement in many areas over the previous three seasons. Now, suddenly, this team has regressed, but certain people want to live in the past instead of looking at what is. I’ve stated nothing but facts here, many that are indisputable. I’ve done my fair share of acknowledging over the months and years. Again, open your eyes and look before you critique. Because unless you take the entire coverage into account you’re just being selective to fit your argument and that in itself is the furthest thing from objectivity. Read yourself and you’ll understand, or maybe not.

          I’m done. Feel free.

    • jax

      Wang did his job????? Really??? That’s the post of the year!!!! Did he do his job by hiring a backup goalie as gm?? Did he do his job by giving DP a 15 yr deal? Wake up dude, they’ll never win with him in charge

      • NYIFC

        Wake up Dude, the backup goalie and owner did such a good job backloading contracts other teams are copying him.

        The backup goalie made two of the best signings in hockey in Streit and Moulson, he made another good move in Grabner and also signed Nielsen and MacDonald to fantastic contracts and made a move for Hamonic.

        Hunter, Witt, all resigned every top prospect was signed.

        He took Bailey, the people’s choice Fliatov was a nightmare.

        Where do you think Bob Clarke and Brett Hull were hired from as gm’s. What’s next John Davidson’s joke Blues who already fired another coach is a great President because he has friends ignoring his mistakes?

        Who do you think MA Bergeron, Gervais work for now? Steve Yzerman.

        Before Wang we had an owner who wanted to give our best players to Cablevision. This one wanted to keep the first round pick here for the rest of his career and unlike all these front-loaded deals DiPietro took the risk.

        So if this owner is such a disaster how come Peca, Yashin every former player like him and defend him? Most of them are out of hockey and Peca roasted Edmonton.

        How come all the former players did nothing but praise the owner and the organization when they were not required to say a word. Osgood was here a short time and ripped the media in Detroit and defended the Isles and Wang.

        If all these players thought what you are telling me they would have said it, they own Wang or the Isles nothing.

        • jax

          Butch Goring everybody!!! You can keep the nice guy Wang and finish dead last every year. Give me a guy who knows what he is doing and I can care less if anybody likes him as long as he wins!! Are you kidding me with that post. We suck every year, but hey the players love wang, hahahahahaha that’s priceless

    • Frankito

      Its charles wangs fault for not hiring an experienced GM or Coach. cant blame him for the $$$ part but please isnt it obvious that Snow has no clue?


    Bring up Haley with his one goal in the AHL, that will really get the offense going. Add Gillies and put them both with Tavares.

    • Sad Islander Fan

      Absolutely, it’s more than Okposo, Comeau and Reasoner have and ties Pandalfo and Baily in goals this year.

      • NYIFC

        The problem is every year the Isles fall into the trap of changing Comeau’s position. He does all his scoring on left wing, Rolston did his scoring on left wing last year in the second half. So Comeau becomes a right wing or a scratch and losses what he had going, same for his center in Bailey.

        Okposo is not supposed to have non-scorers as his center. He’s never had success with Nielsen and never will with Reasoner who makes Richard Park and Claude LaPointe look like snipers by comparison. He needs to play first line right wing with Tavares where he was on a 90 point pace before Gordon broke them up his first year as coach.

        • Sad Islander Fan

          Wow, you have this really thought out and analyzed. You can probably coach them. I’m just so depressed with this team. Somebdy do something. Just win some games and get some respect back.


    Every time you do an article it always because a 20 year referendum with the word laughingstock in it…..give it a rest, the Cablevision Rangers did not get this kind of beating from media missing playoffs eight straight years losing out to Milbury’s Islanders in the league’s oldest dump at Msg.

    Every year is different. The injuries decimated this team three of the last four years. This year they added older, slower vets and brought back the first half defenders of last season and it has not worked from day one.

    Snow pushed the wrong buttons and losing Martinek, Hillen even Gervais skating hurt the transition. It also again hurt Comeau and Bailey.

    The players that came in are too old and look done.

    The goaltending has been good as much as you want to blame DiPietro who has both wins since October 15th. The defense with Staios, Eaton, Jurcina and Mottau with Streit off a year and MacDonald coming off major surgery is lot to overcome.

    Rolston’s second half last year was a good gamble vs Hunter, so was Reasoner’s thirteen goals vs Konopka’s two goals and fights by appointment. Pandolfo was bad gamble vs anyone at his age.

    Sometimes players hit their expiration date at the wrong time that seems to be the case here.

    If your defense is not mobile or mistake prone your forwards are not going to have time or space or ability to maintain a forecheck.

    Even though you correctly did not blame Wang, he was spending over 40m before a cap floor, his payroll was high enough last year to trade Roloson and Wisniewski without adding a player.

  • jax

    How can you say Wang & Snow shouldn’t be blamed??? Wang is the worst owner in sports!! He has no idea how to run a pro franchise. Anybody who thought a clueless owner and a backup goalie pretending to be a GM could rebuild a franchise from scratch should have their head examined. Snow’s offseason moves were a disaster. Wang refuses to spend any money on talent. They are at the cap floor because of DP’s comical contract, Yashin & Rolston’s washed up 5 million dollar hit. Sell the team already!!! They will never win with Wang as owner. He needs to sell the team ASAP!! Getting rid of the toughness was this teams biggest mistake. You keep saying this is the same team as last year when it clearly isn’t. You need toughness in the NHL. You need fire and emotion in the NHL. Snow failed to replace all of that when he let Konopka, Gillies & Haley go. If you get rid of those guys you have to bring in similar players not 3 washed up vets who bring nothing to the table. Its about time the owner & fake GM be held accountable for once instead of more excuses. Did Butch Goring write this article?

    • Sad Islander Fan

      What are you supposed to do when they offer 5 million to Earhoff and he says no thanks. I don’t want to play for you. Nabakov, same thing. He doesn’t WANT to play for us but he’s doing it so he gets ice time so other teams can scout him.(So much for that with a pulled groin now!)

      They are willing to spend the money. Nobody WANTS to play for the team. They stay away from it like we’re the plague. Your and mm below are dead on saying that we are a “landing pad” for washed up players who can’t let go of the NHL and want to make some money before ending their careers. The Islanders are getting the scraps, the left-overs and it’s damn depressing. Eaton? Pandalfo? Staios? also Grabner & Moulson (although they are a little better) but they are all left-overs from other teams.

      • NYIFC

        Ehrhoff knew he could get front-loaded money and will get most of his 40m (not 23m million the Isles offered) in first few years.

        That’s why he said no thanks, think he wants to lose half his money in the next lockout like what happened to Yashin?

        No star player signs ANYWHERE without huge front loaded money it has nothing to do with the Isles, Toronto, Montreal or all those teams that CANNOT or WILL-NOT make such an offer.

        Twenty teams in this league cannot sign star players front-loaded and NEVER have. Only here is it spun differently.

        Richards is getting 30m from Cablevision of his 60m in the first two years, he does not care about the asbestos filled 1968 Garden. For the same reason. Drury, Gomez all wanted cash up front which is the only time ANY star player picks Cablevison, Comcast, or Little Caesars/Amway Wings at horrid Joe Louis.

    • TJ51

      You obviously have no clue as to what you are talking about. Anyone who blames Wang or Snow is an idiot. If it weren’t for Charles Wang, this team would’ve left 10 years ago. He has invested and LOST 10s of millions of dollars on this franchise. Did he make a bad move keeping Milbury? Yes. But, Milbury to his credit did get this team off on the right foot when he brought in Yash and Peca and Osgood. The 2002 season was one of the best seasons we’ve had in the last 20 yrs. Yes , the Yashin contract was not wise, but I’m not complaining. With regards to your other stupid comment regarding toughness, its been repeated over and over the Kenoplka was NOT well liked within the lockerroom and was the main raeson he was let go. As for Gillies and Haley, they haven’t been let go, they are in Bridgeport. While I would love to have them on the team, they need to show they can do more than fight, sorry, but at this level, you have to contribute more than just a goal or two a season. And one last point on Snow, how can you say his off season was a disaster when he locked up the entire core of this team for the next 3 years at least??

      Again, get a clue before posting, you embarrass yourself as well as the rest of us who have to read your idiotic comments.

  • mm

    pretty spot on, but your off base on Wang.
    if reports are true, then isles need to spend more to attract FA’s. if he is not willing to do it than he shouldn’t be the owner.the isles right now are a team of scared young players, and landing pad for washed up players who either need the cash or cant let go of the dream. i know money was doled out to PROSPECTS, but with out a supporting cast of VIABLE vets, the rebuilding wagon could veer of coarse.

  • Sad Islander Fan

    This is how bad the Islanders are: Crosby, in one game gets 2 goals. That is the same amount as 5 Islander forwards in Pandalfo, Baily, Reasoner, Comeau & Okposo who have a total of 2 GOAL in their first 18 games. (That’s a total of 85 player games)

    Crosby with 4 points in one games beats 7 starting forwards on the Islanders! Only 5 Islanders, have more points than Crosby has in a single game.

    • Jeff Cap

      Sad Islanders Fan, good comment. You can’t sum it up any better than that.

  • sybo

    best article I’ve read on this nightmare so far…sums up just about everything. Obviously goaltending hasn’t been the primary issue when these guys can’t score….but thats the real question: Where is the offense? Offense was supposed to be this teams ONLY strength coming into the year….where the hell did it go?? and WHY? If the dressing room “feels different” than last year why? Could the 3 goalie circus have created some tension? Does simply having DiPietro around this team create problems? Ever notice the team does better when he’s not around…let alone plays. How about the sidelining of a healthy Al Montoya who the team always played well in front of…who now 2 weeks later suddenly has an “injury”. These guys have been told since day 1 ice time will be earned…and yet DP gets starts with his league low GAA and SV%. Since we agree the talent is there and the roster is basically the same as when they were winning…we can only assume something is sour behind the scenes…and I have no doubt it’s the players reacting to or being distracted by how things are run and how some decisions are being made. Is there any doubt Snow is meddling in some coaching decisions? Here lies your answer as to why these players are “seemingly” lost. BTW, anyone heard from Snow lately? That’s very telling in and of itself.

    • Jeff Cap

      Thank you sybo. I appreciate the response, Everything you mention is valid. There would be a discussion if Isles were bad all of last year, but they weren’t so it stands to reason they simply aren’t mature enough to handle adversity. That’s the players’ problem. The coach seems to have done everything possible to fix this. It’s time for the Isles to grow up and hold themselves accountable.

  • Jeff Cap

    Jerry, thanks for the comment and I couldn’t agree more. The Isles totally did away with any toughness they had when they banished Haley and let Konopka go. Martin can be a stud and will be a stud, but they need a line of intimidating players. Haley provided a huge spark last season and can’t for the life of me understand why he’s not here now.

  • jerry

    They need a major spark ……..Bring up Haley …He is not the only answer .But he would be a MUCH needed Spark to a DULL team…Remember this team woke up last year after the brawl filled game against the penguins ,they came together as a team ………..Besides Haley has talent !

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