White Knuckles – The Islanders Season So Far

Holy Moly Islanders fans! Call it what you will, this team has not been boring. Every week there seems to be another line-up, development, record or injury that keeps a hack like me busy. Doug Weight is constantly tweaking and making adjustments to keep the Islanders firing on all cylinders. To play on a team with Doug Weight at the helm is like a 16 year-old driver with finicky ’68 Firebird. Like that guy, or girl he is constantly tinkering, tweaking and fidgeting to eek out another bit of horsepower.

Get in, Siddown, Shut Up And Hang On Tight

Mat Barzal is a phenom! He racked up his first NHL goal by pushing aside he of the bloated contract, Rick Nash.  The footage is here.

I had the privilege of watching that kid skate in Juniors, in Seattle. He and his buddy Scott Easnor, who is lighting up the AHL, score at will and are scrappy little bastards. But it doesn’t end there. Barzal was a playmaker for the Seattle Thunderbirds. He racked up the WHL Season MVP, the Playoff MVP and hoisted the cup as a WHL Champ before bidding Seattle adieu. He continues his playmaking ways in the NHL.

To wit, his undressing of the Edmonton Oilers on these two plays.


And here

Did I mention that he also dealt 5 assists in a single game. Check this out.

He is also slippery AF. How does that glass taste there Bud?

Look for more of that throughout the season. Barzal is just finding his feet at this point. When he hits his stride, he is damn near unstoppable. His chemistry with any line that you put him on is great. That said he and Jordan Eberle are killing it when on the ice together.

The reaction to Barzal is similar to the reaction to another of the Islanders youth corps, Josh Ho-Sang. He electrified the Islanders at the end of last season. A recent “upper-body” injury to Nikolai Kulemin freed up the space for Ho-Sang to return to the NHL. To celebrate, he promptly scored his first goal of the season in the league.

What about the ugly stuff? Well it barely gets uglier than the hit put on Nikolai Kulemin. The hit from the Oilers Eric Gryba put Kulemin out for the season and he only received a 2 minute boarding minor.

Judge for yourself. Looks a little more serious to me. I mean I’m all for a good solid hit, but shit like this ends seasons and careers. It’s illegal cheap shit.

This likely means curtains for Kulemin and the Islanders. Look for a “we mutually agreed to part ways” announcement on July 1. Mark. My. Words. There is no way the chronic under performer with a $4-plus million cap hit is resigned. Period. However, this was no way for the dude that scored the last game winning goal in Nassau history to go out.

So, like the teenage driver with the foot to the floor and the Ramones cranked to 11, the Islanders will be fast on the straights and drifting the corners. So Islanders fans, grab the OH SHIT handles and naugahyde seats until your knuckles are white. This is going to be a fast paced and scary season. Hopefully we arrive at our destination safe and sound.

– Isle5CleanUp


Author: Isle5cleanup

Yes! Yes! Yes! Keeping the drive for 5 alive from Seattle, but not without the occasional clean up. Been an Islander fan for much longer that I should have been. Seen the ups, the 4 cups and the downs. I guess you could say I am a masochist with a love for hockey and the Blue and Orange. Even when Seattle gets a team, I will always stay true to the Isles. I write about this sport we love and spend a ton of time with my 9 year-old daughter at the rink. I also direct a beginners hockey program. The best thing in the world is helping those kids reach their goals.

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