December 6, 2010

Islanders just too much for Flyers... for about 36 Seconds

We won't get into how, technically, the Islanders' second goal on Sunday shouldn't have counted because of the referee's incompetence in whistling the play dead earlier than it took the team to hire Garth Snow after replacing Neil Smith as general manager four years ago (and that was pretty early on in their search for a replacement for Smith; hell, it was pretty early on in their search for a replacement for Mike Milbury). For all intents and purposes it was a goal, and even if the ref intended on blowing the whistle a few milliseconds before the puck reached Philadelphia Flyers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky (meaning the play should have been dead at that point, when he intended to blow it, down on his knees and all), it was nice to see the Islanders get a call just one time, because God knows they needed it, and a few hundred others up to this point this season.

I mean, you can kind of see how the ref would assume that Bobrovsky would make the save on Frans Nielsen. For one, it was a routine save. For another, it was just 30 seconds after the previous goal, meaning a goal being scored was doubly unlikely. Finally, it was the freakin' Islanders!

Still, however nice it was to see the Islanders get a break, the Flyers responded with two quick ones of their own against Islanders goalie Dwayne Roloson to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 victory, bringing into question the very questionable goaltending situation on the island.

By far, Roloson has the better numbers between him and Rick DiPietro. Roloson has a decent 2.50 goals-against average, compared to DiPietro's horrid 3.76. Roloson's .913 save percentage also easily trumps DiPietro's .874 (of course, no offense to Roloson, but so would my grandmother's .895 in her senior league). Roloson even has one assist to DiPietro's none, and, somehow has compiled two less penalties in minutes. Evidently, DiPietro got the extra penalty, two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct, after throwing a tantrum upon realizing that the local hospital he frequents stopped serving his favourite flavour of Jell-O at lunch. He's clearly due for a return visit after playing through a third of the season unscathed.

Oddly enough, however, Roloson can't seem to win as often as DiPietro. The loss yesterday was Roloson's 11th, to go along with two wins and one overtime loss. DiPietro meanwhile has a 3-4-4 record. As such, it begs the question: does head-coach Jack Capuano go with the goalie that gives his team the best chance at winning, or the goalie that actually wins, although "wins" is used very loosely here. It would probably be more accurate to say "loses less". It's a fair question, but one that doesn't have a relevant answer.. the Islanders are screwed no matter what. Even once the likes of legitimate talents Kyle Okposo and Mark Streit get healthy, the Islanders will find themselves way out of playoff contention, and attention must turn to next year already. Hardly the kind of mindset you want your team to have in early December, but one that is unavoidable with the team already 16 points out of the last playoff spot in the Eastern conference.

For the record, the two goals were not the fastest in Islanders history, with the team actually scoring five in a mere 2:37 in a January 1982 game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Among those were goals 16 seconds apart care of John Tonelli and Bryan Trottier. How depressing it must be to realize that even when this edition of the Islanders does something right, they're still so far away from matching the success of the team during its dynasty years. I wonder what Billy Smith is up to these days.

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