Friday, January 13, 2006

Huzzah squared

It didn't take long to show results, did it? Islanders 3, Flames 2.

In a way, this is like the very first game in Islanders history, waaaaaay back in October 1972. They played their fellow expansion team - the Flames, then based in Atlanta. (The Flames won back then, also by 3-2. Ed Westphal scored their first goal.) I feel like this is a new beginning. Of course, the Isles are stuck in much the same situation as their primordial forebears. In order to get any bona fide coach and GM, they'll have to make some huge changes now, to show that they're not interested merely in playing the string. They have to take the next fifteen games to figure out what they have worth keeping and building around, and what to ditch.

Not that anyone's asked me, but I'd keep the younger guys that have formed the backbone of the past five drafts, with a few vets in key spots:

G - Rick DiPietro (who came back from his injury to win tonight's game in net)
D - Chris Campoli, Brad Lukowich, Bruno Gervais
F - Mark Parrish, Jason Blake, Trent Hunter, Mike York, Miroslav Satan, Arron Asham

That's only half a team, of course. I've seen little of the younger forwards, guys like Bergenheim, Weinhandl, Mapletoft, Colley, Hamilton, Nilsson, O'Marra.... Hope the Isles make good choices on whom to keep. Some people will have to be moved out, though. The Isles need a true number-one defender to anchor the top pair; they need a playmaking center in the WORST way; they need a couple of depth guys. Some fellow Islander fans (should they stumble over) may think Miro Satan and Arron Asham are expendable, but Asham is one of the few grit guys, and the Isles get shoved around everywhere, resulting in a lot of power plays against (they tend to hold, hit, and trip in reply, or are forced to take penalties on defense because they're too small). Satan will be fine as long as he has a strong line (tonight, he had a goal and two assists playing with Parrish and Hunter).

Anyone who'll take Oleg Kvasha, on the other hand? Perhaps for a bag of pucks and some hockey tape? Hockey tape has 101 uses, you know...

PS - yes, this is something like forty hockey posts in a row. Sorry about that. The usual variety of drivel shall be returning soon.

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