PRE-SEASON HOCKEY: ISLANDERS-FLAMES
Hockey is officially back folks!
The Islanders look to build off an impressive season from last year in which the Islanders made the playoff since 2007 when the team acquired Ryan Smyth. However, after watching last nights pre-season game it became apparent that the time spent away from the ice this off-season has put this team out of sync.
Now I know what you are saying, it's only the first pre-season game and I understand that but players have had plenty of time to get set.
Regardless of whether or not a player is destined for the ECHL, AHL or the NHL last nights game was beyond sloppy. From the drop of the puck to the final horn, I thought the team played very disorganized.
Now grant it most of those players will be reassigned to juniors or the AHL. They are still professionals and still had five days of practice and the morning skate to gel.
Lets start in goal, where there is a fierce competition brewing there between Kevin Poulin and Anders Nilsson. Lets be honest they both proved that they a) they are not ready and b) they are not NHL caliber goalies. Truth be told, I never thought they would be the goalie of the future for the Islanders. They have time to change my mind but let's be honest they both have played in the NHL and both have failed to impress me.
Don't get me wrong they both made some really nice saves but were overmatched right from the get go.
I could go player by player and analyze each aspect of the game but I wont. There were a handful of players that included Michael Grabner, Peter Regin, Cal Clutterbuck, Riley Wetmore and Matt Donovan that impressed me. I thought they brought an aspect of play that was missing last year.
Whether or not Wetmore makes the team is yet to be seen but I seem to remember hearing his name mentioned more then I thought I would. After scoring his goal it was clear that he has good vision of the ice.
Someone has to wonder what is going on with Kyle Okposo. He came on strong at the end of last season and into the playoffs but showed signs of his old self last night. Missing the puck, overskating, overthinking and trying to do too much. Hopefully, he will work things out as the preseason moves on because the Islanders need his scoring ability this season.
On to Griffin Reinheart and Ryan Pulock the Islanders last two first round draft picks. I thought for the situation they were given they fared alright. I thought Reinheart, before scoring his goal looked out of place and lost. Pulock, this years first round pick, looked as lost as a baby goose trying to find his mother. I know he is young so I will cut him some slack but when you're that lost it was hard to watch.
The Calgary Flames dismantled the Islanders last night led by former Islanders goalie Joey MacDonald. The Flames came out flying and dominated the whole game.
Preseason games continue tomorrow against the Devils...