Wow, it has been almost a year since I last wrote something! I need to start getting back into the groove. So here we go!
For now, let's talk about some teams that have been struggling. The New York Rangers, and the New York Islanders sound good to me! Let's get kicking!
New York Rangers
Well lets just say the past 11 games have not been very good at all. They are 2-7-2 in that span and that is god-awful, and beating the Isles is not something you really should tap yourself on the back for (I'm an Islanders fan, so I admit we are slightly below average).
Two of their top players, Chris Drury and Scott Gomez, are not performing well to put it kindly. Drury is in his longest scoring slump of his career (14 games) and Gomez is just not being Gomez.
Henrik Lundqvist is doing sub par too, but sub par for him is a 2.50 GAA and a .910 save percentage, so he is definitely not to blame.
Dawes, Callahan, Zherdev, Dubinsky, and Naslund have all been doing fine but you can't rely on five guys to carry the team.
If you look at the team and try to figure out whats wrong, the first thing that should come to mind is the defense... Where is it?
What is the problem?
A lot of people have been putting the blame on the coaching and the GM but in my opinion that is not what needs to be fixed. I feel that the problem is definitely the defense.
There are two guys I would like to talk about and they are Michal Rozsival and Wade Redden. But first I would like to compliment Marc Staal who is again having a great season and is the only sight for sore eyes on the blue line.
Rozsival is leading the team in points on defense with a whopping 26 point and seven goals! However, his -15 has been nothing but good.
All of my friends who I have talked to HATE him, and when I say hate I mean that they want to...well let's not get into that. He has not been steady at all and is not a true powerplay quarterback.
Redden...well, lets just say he has been a bust this season. He is supposed to be their #1 D-man for the blue shirts and he has been far from it. He has always been good for 40+ points, and this year he will be lucky if he gets 25.
Prior to this season, he has only had one season where his +/- was a - and that was a -1. This year he is a -11 so not only has his offense not been their but his defense is missing too.
How to fix the team?
Well first of all, do not fire the GM or head coach right away. All teams go through slumps, and this just shows the Rangers are normal. However, something does need to be done fast in order to make the playoffs.
They need to acquire a top defenseman and two strong candidates that are out there are Chris Pronger and Ryan Whitney. They both put up huge offensive numbers and play very sound positional defense.
I feel that Pronger would be a better fit because the rangers are lacking aggressiveness and he will definitely bring that to the table.
However, in order to get one of these players, they will have to give up someone like Drury (especially when you have four guys taking up 25% of cap space i.e. Reddem, Drury, Gomez, Henrik).
They may also have to lose a first or second rounder but that is the price they will have to pay if they want to make the playoffs this year.
New York Islanders
Haha my favorite team. Here they are doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing; losing and honestly, I'm fine with it. When a team is rebuilding, you can't win.
I mean a win here and there is nice, but still. There are a ton of bright spots on the team, though, so let's go through it by position.
Bruno Gervais, Mark Streit, and Freddy Meyer IV are definitely the keys to our future in the back end. They all play very good defense and offense (with Streit just tearing it up). Meyer loved to play the body and can hit pretty hard too.
He also has a great shot from the point. Gervias is as confident as a 10 year vet and knows where his stick should be at all times.
Streit is a GEM. He has a cannon of a shot and its accurate too but he is also very strong in the back end and does not make to many mistakes.
Kyle Okposo, Blake Comeau, and Josh Bailey are doing a superb job as a line combination. KO and Comeau throw their weight (not Doug) around and that, in my opinion, is key to getting a good offense going.
Bailey has great hands and with two finishers in KO and Comeau their is definitely a bright future ahead of them.
If John Tavares is drafted by the Islanders (which I have been waiting for for three years now) then the line would unfortunately have to be split up, but it will be worth it.
Just imagine a first line of Bailey centering KO and Tavares and throwing Comeau in on the powerplay with them; it will be great!
This is interesting... Rick DiPietro seems to be injured 24/7! All he has left are his feet and elbows, but I'm sure he will still be our goalie no matter how many limbs he loses.
Joey MacDonald and Yan Danis have done great in his absence so no complaints there. If next year both Danis and MacDonald don't re-sign then we have Nathan Lawson.
Lawson has been tearing up the AHL for the Sound Tigers. In 22 games, he is 13-7-1 with 2 Shutouts, a 1.79GAA (#2 in AHL) and a .937 Save% (#1 in AHL).
How to create an even better future?
Well besides the future looking awesome with the players in our system like Corey Trevino, David Toews, Blake Kessel, and Krill Petrov (who was a 2008 third round selection that was supposed to go in the first round and said to be as good, if not better than Filitov), all the Islanders need to keep doing is drafting and trading.
Right now, they have five picks in the first two rounds of the 09 draft (2 in first, 3 in second) but that is likely to change. The Isles could possibly get 3 more first round picks if they trade and get full value for Weight, Guerin, and Witt but I doubt that will happen.
I am a fan of the trade sending Comrie and Campoli to the Ottawa Senators for Dean McAmmond and the SJS first round pick. Mike Comrie was not helping the Islanders at all and Chris Campoli wanted to leave.
To be honest, I hate to see Campoli and Hilary Duff go. The senators needed a puck moving defensemen Like Campoli in order to make a push for the playoffs and Comrie could potentially help them in the scoring department as a second- or third-line center.
Now for the Islanders, McAmmond was only a roster spot and nothing else. Yes he could be traded too, but he is not worth very much, maybe a fourth- or fifth-round pick but a team who needs help on the PK could use someone like him.
Well that is all for now. I should get back to studying for Calculus and Bio but I will write more at a later date. Please send me feedback and give me more ideas of things to write about in the future. Hasta La Vista!