Bailey out, Lee in, Roster Changes Galore

In a fast paced two or three days Colin McDonald was waived, Anders Lee called up, Hamonic Hurt, Grabovski placed on IR, and Visnovsky thrown back in to the lineup.

That's right, the injury bug has already taken its toll on the New York Islanders, and its effects were felt even before the season began.  The New York Islanders and their fans are no strangers to injuries on their team. But in a season where the Islanders are really trying to make a deep run, injuries can take a serious toll on this teams success

Last year the Islanders saw their season begin to derail as the injuries mounted up.  Lubomir Visnovsky went down with a concussion causing him to only be able to play 24 games.  Nabokov went down with a groin injury which caused him to miss some serious time, leaving the starting position to the likes of Kevin Poulin and Anders Nilsson.  And by far the worst of all the injuries was the loss of John Tavares for the remainder of the season due to the knee injury his sustained during his run with the Canadian Olympic Hockey team.

Lack of depth is what caused the Isles to collapse last year, and Garth Snow did a pretty good job acquring some good players in the offseason to assure that when injuries strike, the holes will be filled (Phrasing, boom!).

Let's be honest, all teams deal with injuries, so we cannot use the injury excuse once again to justify a collapse mid-season.  When the injuries begin to pile up it is time for the coaches, the GM, and most importantly, the players to start picking up the slack, and show what they are truly made of.  And another mid-season collapse would almost surely mean an early exit for Jack Capuano, so expect that when the injuries come-a-knockin, Capuano's seat will feel a little bit hotter.

Speaking of injuries, Josh Bailey is now out indefinitely with a broken hand. This is extremely unfortunate for a player who finally seems to have found find his niche on the team. After years of inconsistency, Josh Bailey has played his heart out the first 7 games of the season. With 2 goals and 2 assists in 7 games, Bailey is already proving something.  That he can be an effective scorer, while also being a smart, defensively savvy player.

With all of the injuries mounting, there are bound to be plenty of lineup changes. The biggest change that needs to be made in my opinion is the first line.

We all know that no matter what, John Tavares and Kyle Okposo are going to find ways to continue lighting the lamp, but the Isles won't just settle knowing that, they will try to maximize efficiency. With that being said, I think that it is time that the Isles look elsewhere on the lineup for their 1st line left wing.  Cory Conacher has played admirable next to the two superstars, but the chemistry just hasn't been there.  Conacher skates his heart out, and he would certainly fit into the lineup elsewhere. If I had my pick, I would choose Nikolay Kulemin for the promotion to the first line.  Kulemin has done plenty of line shuffling in the first 7 games of the season, and each line swap has done nothing but better his game.  He creates scoring chances, plays the body, and is not afraid to go to the dirty areas.  Also, recently Kulemin has found his way on to the Tavares line and has created several scoring chances alone, during even just the Boston game on Thursday.

With the game against Dallas tonight I would predict the line to be something like this:

Kulemin-Tavares-Okposo

*Grabovski*-Nielsen-Conacher

Lee-Nelson-Strome

Martin-Cizikas-Clutterbuck

 

Leddy-Boychuck

Visnovsky-Hickey

DeHaan-Strait

 

Halak-Johnson

*According to Arthur Staple, "Grabovski said he felt good after practice today. If he goes through AM skate well tomorrow, he'll play.."

Word on the street is that Hamonic will almost certainly not be playing on Saturday night, as he continues to recover from his injury.  We wish him a speedy recovery. I cannot wait to finally see the Isles defense be complete upon his return.

For any more information, questions, or if you simply just want to talk hockey, you may follow me on twitter @islestopshelf, or email me at brandonhormann@yahoo.com.  Have a great night Islanders Nation.

Also, follow @TCLIsles on twitter for more of your New York Islanders needs.