Sunday, January 27, 2008

All-Stars Today, All-Stars Tomorrow

It's been a pretty slow few days as the NHL and AHL have paused for their respective All-Star breaks.

If you somehow missed it, Rick DiPietro was elected to his first NHL All-Star appearance this season, becoming the third Islander goalie to earn that honor.

Rick, sporting one of the Eastern squad's bright red sweaters, started the game on Sunday as the first of three goalies in a 8-7 Eastern victory. Rick, feeling no ill effects from his various "tweakings" over the last week (a nice word for injuries that would sideline lesser goalies), saved 15 of 16 shots before giving way to Tomas Vokoun and Tim Thomas. While Rick left the ice with a 5-1 lead, the East frittered away said lead but did right themselves in time to claim the victory on a late Marc Savard goal.

If DP can get back to New York without bumping, lacerating, or hyper-extending anything on the plane ride home, we'll consider his first time at the dance a success.

Moving on, a few words need to be penned about the AHL All-Star game. That one will take place tomorrow (Monday) and will feature organizational prospect Jeff Tambellini. At the break JT has 51 points (25 G, 26 A) and has been Bridgeport's clear on-ice leader. The game will be played in Binghamton, and we'll update if Tamby has an eye-opening performance.

One player who will not be going to an All-Star game this season (but we expect to go to many future ones) is Kyle Okposo. On Saturday night, his last game before the hiatus, he scored an early goal in a 4-3 shootout victory over the Philadelphia Phantoms. At this juncture Kyle has played 9 games and has one point per game (2 G, 7 A) to show for his effort. He and the rest of the Sound Tigers will be back on the ice on February 1st.

Since the All-star break is traditionally the time to evaluate where your team stands, we'll give you our general picture of the franchise:

First off, the state of the Islanders is strong. They have a superb motivator in coach Ted Nolan and a general manager (Garth Snow) who has shown competence and a willingness to execute trades. While not blessed with the league's best talent, this collection of parts has played well enough to challenge for a playoff spot, much more than "pundits" and "experts" gave them credit for this past summer.

Furthermore, after years of missteps and trades that siphoned off young talent, the Islanders finally appear to be building from within. With "The Rick" having broken through to the level of NHL-elite status this season, it seems to be just a matter of time before Jeff Tambellini, Kyle Okposo, and perhaps a few others (are you listening Sean Bergenheim?) follow in his wake.

It looks as if the Islanders are at last developing players to supply All-Star games with talent for both now and tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

I think it is awful that the isles refuse to bring up K.O. just so he wont pass 11 games...The isles are in a play-off race NOW!!!!! every point counts ..if he is the future don't hide behind the "we want to develop him statement" ...if you wanted to develop him they would have left him in Minn....he has proven he can play in 9 games point a game sounds good to me and he doesn't look out of place at all ....Stop being cheap what if more than 11 games counts as a year in the league...If he is the future as the banner in your retired nubers says he is ...sign him to a long term deal at the end of next season...PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE GET HIM UP NOW!!!!!!!!Does snow say anything about him comming up????? I bought season tickets for this season why should this year be thrown out because Snow doesn't want our stud to get a year of elligability under his belt. Stop being cheap and do what is right for K.O., the team and people like me ..The long suffering paying Islaner fan!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Another islander home loss..and another night of no K.O. when are they going to call the kid up maybee chicago should send dow Kane and Towes when he gets back into action....why do they call up there young stars who are the same age as Kyle and the Isles don't!!!!Seeing the islanders have no intention of calling him up they should trade him like Oli and Luongo ...I mean they werent ready either and look how they turned out !!!!!