Thursday, December 17, 2009

Two-Minute Minors for 12/17/09

Jeff Klein, writing in the Times off last night's 2-1 Islanders win at Madison Square Garden:

"Wednesday’s game was not the first time Tavares had set foot in the Garden. That happened on Nov. 28, when he and his Islanders teammate Matt Moulson watched Moulson’s brother play for Cornell against Boston University. No one recognized him at that game, he said."

I had wondered if Tavares would go to that game with Moulson, and figured he would seeing as how it was through Chris Moulson that Tavares and Matt Moulson became acquainted. At the time, I didn't ask Moulson if Tavares was going with him because a) I already felt like asking him whether he was going bordered on too personal, and b) I swore to myself I would make it through my first conversation with Moulson without mentioning Tavares.

But it's nice to know now that they did make it to the game, even if they didn't actually get to see Chris play (he wasn't in the lineup).

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In Ottawa, Chris Campoli has now gone from power play point man to healthy scratch to...fourth-line winger? (Ottawa Sun via Rotoworld)

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Let's give the Islander credit for this. It's the middle of December and they're still gripping onto this season with all five fingers on both gloves. Despite a thin defense and inconsistent scoring, there are still multiple reasons to watch them day in and day out. You couldn't say that about some Islander teams in the last 15 years, nor could you say it about a lot of NHL teams with this kind of roster.

As this week has shown us, expect more highs and lows. And if the season is going to gradually turn one way or the other from a winning/losing standpoint, I'd still be surprised to see them start winning more consistently than losing more consistently.

But I can also see this team taking that perception as a challenge and pushing themselves to remain prominent in the Eastern Conference's messy lower half. If they can do that at least through the Olympic break, I don't think it's lowering expectations too much to consider it an accomplishment. Not for a fan, anyway. The goal in the locker room should always be to solidify eighth, then climb into seventh, and so on.

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Kudos to Blake Comeau for being in the thick of things once again. It should be easier for him playing with Tavares and Moulson. But, like Moulson has done, you still have to produce.

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