Islanders lose Martinek for season, but step up against Thrashers
The New York Islanders received a bit of a bad break with news that d-man Radek Martinek would be lost for the season with a knee injury as per The Canadian Press.
It was only a matter of time, as all Islanders fans were wondering how long it would take before Martinek was placed on the IR. However, with the way the team has been playing, this is a huge loss and most feel that GM Garth Snow needs to find a replacement as soon as possible.
During The Hockey Guys! Hockey cast on Tuesday, myself, Brandon Augienello and Denise Karl (7thWoman) of Hockeybuzz were discussing the Islanders this season, and all three agreed that one of the first steps to making this club a playoff team would be to go out and find a top pairing d-man to play with Mark Streit. Well, add another d-man to that list. The season just got it's first bit of bad news, and how the Islanders react and take care of this situation is yet to be seen. If they still feel they are competitive enough to push for a playoff spot, then the move above is a must. Two defensemen, one top pairing and one middle of the pack, are absolutely needed.
Sure, we can discuss that the forwards could use some more scoring and leadership and now Doug Weight is also out of the line up so that could be yet another bigger need. However, first things first: Defense.
The bigger question is, who is available and at what price? If I'm Garth Snow I am on the phone with every team around the league looking to see who is available and what the return would be. Put together a shopping list of d-man names and the return price, narrow it down and pull the trigger as soon as possible. I will not sit here and speculate names or teams that Garth could trade with because that is for a whole entire blog on its own.
Trouble is starting to loom within the New York Islanders. A losing streak has been started, and it needs to stop in order to keep the loss of Martinek at a minimum for the time being. A victory this evening at home against Atlanta is in order. To show the team they will be able to stay competitive until a replacement is found and to get back to .500, which this season is a very good number to be at.
The good news to this is that Rick DiPietro could be returning soon. How soon is yet to be told, but "soon" is a word I'll gladly accept. Martin Biron could be used as a partial trading chip, possibly packaged in some sort of deal, in the near future with this news. Signing him is going to pay off a bit more now, if such is the case.
The better news, last nights performance by the New York Islanders over the Atlanta Thrashers showed that they are not ready to give up because of an injury.
The top D pairing of Bruno Gerveis and Mark Streit both played over 20 minutes a piece last night. Andy Sutton and Jack Hillen also played over 20 minutes each and for the night, it worked for the Islanders. Andy Sutton had a goal and was a plus-1, Jack Hillen had a goal and was a plus-2, Mark Streit had an assist and was even on the night in five on five play, and Freddie Myer had an assist with an even rating in just over 13 minutes of ice time (17 shifts). The players on the back end stepped up to make sure that the team doesn't fall too far off track and brought the teams record back to a respectable .500 mark. At 6-6-5 the Islanders have 17 points and are tied for 7th place in the Eastern Confernece early on. For all the doubters who were writing this team off, and saying that they were going to be in the running for yet another lottery pick this season, maybe it's time all the "experts" who predicted this to start eating their words, don't you think?
So, with the issues on defense looking to work themself out from within for the time being (I still demand a trade Garth) let's take a look at what the forwards did last night, even with Captain Doug Weight scratched from the line up with what the team is stating to be an upper body injury that will have Captain Weight miss at least a week's time.
Last night, it was as if the offensive gods were looking over the Islanders. Six goals, a season high, and forty-five shots on goal showed that the Islanders are not only listening to Coach Gordon, but they have begun to play his system properly and it is really starting to work. Matt Moulson, Blake Comeau, Nate Thompson and John Tavares all had two-point nights for the Islanders. The team was able to chase starting goaltender Ondrej Pavelec from the game, and they put a stop to the bleeding caused by losing two straight games.
It's back to work, and back on the winning track for the New York Islanders who are now off until Wednesday when they face off against the Washington Capitals in Washington to kick off a seven game road trip. Let's see what Gordon and company have in store for the high powered offense of the Capitals on Wednesday night.
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