Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Off And Running!

Apologies are in order. For the two weeks,, the website that hosts this page, has been rather balky. I haven't been able to update statistics, author new stories, or save my work at certain times. It has been quite frustrating, especially right as the National Hockey season began.

What I won't apologize for, however, is the bold (some may say reckless) prediction that I made on Twitter (@RealKenDick) stating the New York Islanders will finish in second place this season. I believe they have the talent to compete with everyone in the Metropolitan Division except Pittsburgh.

So far, the early returns have been positive.  The Isles have swept up five of their first six possible points this season, and have held a lead in every game.

While John Tavares' 250th career point was largely overlooked during the Isles' 3-2 shootout loss to Columbus, what hasn't been missed is his hot start.

After Tuesday (10/8) night's 6-1 drubbing of Phoenix, in which the newly minted captain netted two goals, 'JT' has 4 points in three games.

Yet he's only third on his squad in scoring.

That's because the Josh Bailey-Frans Nielsen-Michael Grabner line has been on fire early on.

Bailey, who I believe took a massive step forward in his development at the end of last season, scored a goal supplied by his mates that was so beautiful you just have to watch it.

The trio has accumulated 15 points, Grabner leading the way with six of them.

Helping the effort last evening were Matt Donovan, Brock Nelson, and newcomer Peter Regin, all of whom scored their first points as Islanders (Regin had previously played for the Ottawa Senators).

The defense was reliable, and Evgeni Nabokov has jump started his 2013-2014 season by recording a 1.89 Goal Against Average. Not bad for a 38-year-old.

If the team can continue to keep up this effort, I am going to (for once) look very smart.

The challenge will get a little tougher for the Islanders, as their next games take them to Chicago and Nashville.

For now, though, the Isles are off to their best start since the '01-'02 season, and have gotten out of the gate as well as could have been expected.

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