Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Kyle Scores...Widespread Panic Averted!

Monday night debuted another season of Islanders-Rangers skirmishes; games both players and fans always get charged up for.

The 217th all-time meeting started with a whimper rather than a bang for the Isles, as it took the visiting Rangers just 56 seconds to bank a goal. Despite the setback, good things were in store, though, as Kyle had several excellent scoring chances in the first period and the Isles did not seem too concerned about playing down one goal. On one attempt Kyle nearly scored off of a Nikolai Zherdev turnover but came up empty.

And that's where Kyle's story would have ended most nights this season: close but no cigar. Except that with just 8 seconds remaining in the first stanza Kyle took a pass from Richard Park and fired it past Henrik Lundqvist for his first goal of the year!

Admitting in his post-game conference that he had felt "a bit snakebitten" so far this year by continuously coming up empty, he was relieved to get the first one out of the way. Coach Scott Gordon also expressed a sense of relief for Kyle after the game and extolled his contributions to the team. Not mentioned was the fact that it was Kyle's first NHL goal on home ice.

The game remained highly competitive (on the ice and scoreboard) through the first two periods but the Isles let the game slip away in the third. The atmosphere became increasingly hostile somewhere around the midpoint of the game as fisticuffs broke out both on the ice and in the stands. The final was a 4-2 Rangers win.

Apart from Kyle having an excellent (his best in the NHL?) game against his team's biggest rival (1 G on 7 shots, +1 rating), the other Islanders bright spot would have to be the play of goalie Joey MacDonald. The Rangers tested Joey Mac frequently but he was up to the task, saving 35 shots and handling the puck flawlessly. With starter Rick DiPietro out for an undisclosed period of time, Joey is quietly gaining the confidence of his teammates and the fans as a very capable netminder.

Despite stumbling out of the gate at 2-6, progress and development are the names of the game this season.


w0lfpack said...

Thought that was the most physical game KO has played this year, which is an important development for him considering his size. Skill alone does not cut it in the NHL and there needs to be that desire to be great. I think after getting knocked off his feet in front of the net he made a decision to show the men he is not a boy. HOpefully this carries over to the next game and he dominates in all facets of the game the way he is capable of.

Now only if we can get him off a line with that softie Comrie...

OkposoNose said...

Is it a fluke that 2 of his first 3 goals are against Henrik Lundqvist? I think not... KO knows how to play when the pressure is on, if only the pressure actually meant something in the standings. Alas.

Oh and Lundqvist is the most overrated goaliet in hockey right now, he gives up goals that are softer that pretzels at the concession stands.

Okposo Island said...

I'm not sure I agree with that statement, okposonose. His stats are consistently good, and there was talk of him winning the Vezina last year. Also, I can think of at least one goalie who is more overrated.

Rangerhater said...

I think it's a bit early to jump on the Okposo bandwagon and devote an entire blog to him. He has proven nothing.

Don't get me wrong I love the Isles but KO is not the future. If he is, we will end up dealing him away within 5 years where he will have success with some other team. What's next a Sean Bergenheim blog?

Anonymous said...

To Okposo Island, I concur that we do not have to search to far for an overrated goalie! DP is so overrated and he is a cancer to the organization. Just think we have another 12 years of this guy and we can't even get rid of him. Oh and let's not forget his two bad hips, a bad knee and another undisclosed BS injury. And to think we gave up Luongo and the chance to draft Heatly for this waste of a pick.

unclebcd said...

Kyle looked really strong on Mon. Had a good jump to his step.

The question begs - When are they back up their 'youth movement' mantra and give him some more ice time? 12-13 minutes a night just doesn't lead to production.

Kyle has been a big +/- guy too throughout his career... For a team with most guys in the minus column, why is he warming the pine?

Okposo Island said...

Rangerhater: We've been at this blog for almost 3 seasons. Long before Kyle played his first NHL game. Also, I don't think he's going anywhere.

unclebcd: Kyle played on a line last night with Guerin and Weight. Also, he's been getting good ice time (almost 15 minutes last night). I think the coaches have been happy with what they've seen from KO.