Friday, December 14, 2007

Whither Tambellini?

It's a good thing Steve Tambellini didn't name his son Duncan. By now he might have a Chris Berman-caliber nickname like Duncan "Yo-Yo" Tambellini.

Ted Nolan said all the right things about the most recent demotion of the Islanders' not-so-next star forward:

“Jeff didn’t do anything wrong, but he needs to be on a top line to be effective. And with Ruslan coming back, we felt it would be best for Jeff to get those consistent minutes in Bridgeport for his development.”
The return of Fedotenko made it very convenient for Nolan to evaluate the situation this way. But doesn't a not-so-small part of you get the feeling that the coach has seen enough? More and more it seems like Nolan doesn't believe that Tambellini has what it takes to blossom in the NHL, or at the very least, under a Ted Nolan regime. And if he can't find the minutes to give Tambellini an extended look, then he obviously doesn't deserve the minutes. For what it's worth, I don't consider this recent five-game stretch an extended look.

If we are to assume that Nolan is going to be around for a while (seems like a safe assumption), and that Tambellini is unlikely to fit into Nolan's system, then it makes sense to convert Tambellini into another asset before he gets labeled as a marginal prospect. You can definitely get away with being 23 years old and in the AHL without losing your luster. But as each year passes and you haven't established yourself as a regular NHLer, words like fringe player start to surface.

I'd still love to see Tambellini develop into an exciting player for the Islanders. I hope I'm wrong and he really does need more consistent minutes at Bridgeport until the time is right to step into the Islanders lineup on a regular basis again. I just don't know how many more times we can watch him go up and down.

A couple of thoughts on last night's game...I spent the first 30 minutes of the game wondering why the Islanders never look dangerous or the least bit creative in the offensive zone. It seemed like no one was capable of making a move that created open space, a passing lane, or a path to the goal. I swear I see players on other teams to do this. They use their creativity and skill to create chances and make themselves difficult to contain. Even against a weak Coyotes team, albeit with improved goaltending, the Islanders once again seemed incapable of dazzling, or even amusing, anyone.

Fortunately, Bill Guerin went to the net and got some clean-up goals (garbage goals sounds too negative), and Marc-Andre Bergeron found the far side with a cannon shot on the power play. Billy Jaffe enthusiastically pointed out how, in that instance, Bergeron did use his feet to create the open space necessary to make a play. Still, I'm in the corner with those who say a win is a win, but this was not a great win. I'll let the team take the positives out of it. I'm looking for something more convincing against the Penguins on Saturday night.

Update: The Ducks have traded Andy McDonald to the Blues for Doug Weight, Michal Birner, and a 7th rounder in 2008. It looks like the Ducks have cleared the necessary cap space for Scott Niedermayer to return without giving up Mathieu Schneider, Francois Beauchemin, or Corey Perry. That's not to say that McDonald wasn't a major contributor to the Ducks' Cup team, but any of those guys could have helped the Isles in a trade. Perhaps another one of them will become available if Teemu Selanne decides that he's not done yet either.

No comments: