We are 22 games into the New York Islanders' season—and as of now, they are sitting at the bottom of the tough Atlantic Division with a 9-11-2 record.
This season has been a roller-coaster ride thus far. The Isles got off to a horrid start and suffered numerous third-period meltdowns, but since have found a way to play more consistently, winning six of their last eight.
But now that we are a quarter of the way through the regular season, I've seen enough of this team to assess what's going wrong, what's going right, and what they need to do to.
And that is why I present to you the Top Three Booms and Bums of the New York Islanders early season thus far:
3) Mark Streit
There were a lot of players I could have picked, but I'm going to have to go with defenseman Mark Streit. This guy has impressed me on so many levels. He was a very good pick up for the team, who is proving the Canadiens wrong for not believing that he could be a full time D-Man.
2) Josh Bailey
Okay, calm down. A lot of people may disagree with my choice, as the 19-year-old rookie has yet to score a goal, and only has a couple of assists.
But ever since the Islanders have called Bailey up, he has been able to contribute. Notice that after he was called up is when the Isles began to go on their winning streak.
Scott Gordon has put a lot of faith in Josh, even using him in a shootout.
Bailey gives Islanders fans hope as well, as we are now in a rebuilding moden focused on youth development. Upcoming prospects like Bailey are our glimpses of what the Islanders are going to look like in the years to come.
1) Joey MacDonald
Going into the season without re-signing reliable backup Wade Dubielewicz, Islanders fans had no idea what to expect to see from Joey Mac once Rick DiPietro went down, which we all knew was inevitable.
When DP went down within the first week of the season, no fan of the Isles could have expected MacDonald to play this well. He has helped keep the Islanders close in games, and has made a ton of big saves. MacDonald has made all fans of the Isles exhale a big sigh of relief, because without him our record would be a LOT worse.
3) Jeff Tambellini and Kyle Okposo
I'm giving the third bum award to both Tambellini and Okposo. As I stated with regard to Josh Bailey, youth is the future of the Islanders—and these two youngsters haven't done much to impress Isles fans.
Yes, Kyle Okposo had been playing much better before he got hurt recently, but he's still on the list because Isladners fans were expecting a lot from him this season.
And Jeff Tambellini? With no goals so far this season, this guy is clearly overmatched at the National Hockey League level. He needs to get sent back down to the Sound Tigers immediately.
2) Mike Comrie
We gave this guy four million bucks to stay an Islander, and what has he done so far this season? NOTHING!
Maybe he should stop cuddling on the sofa with his girlfriend Hillary Duff and find his heart for the game.
1) Rick DiPietro
Here we go again. Why can't this guy just be healthy? Why? I just don't understand it. Pretty soon they are going to be posting this guy's face on the body of the board game "operation," because he's having surgery every five minutes.
I like DiPietro a lot. He's a really fun goaltender to watch. But the fact that he's always out with some kind of injury gets me so angry that I have to make him the number-one bum for the Islanders' early 2008 season.