Condolences to the family and friends of Alexei Cherepanov. I remember watching team after team pass on him during the 2007 draft. When the Rangers finally selected him, it occurred to me that he would eventually take the torch from Jaromir Jagr and become the next great source of Ranger torment for the Islanders and their fans. But I hesitate to talk about this in terms of hockey any further as the loss to his loved ones goes so far beyond that.
Locker Room Report
Despite the horrific performance by the Isles yesterday, the locker room did provide some good quotes, most of which you have probably read elsewhere by now. I will paraphrase a few of the things that were said, either because I didn't see them elsewhere or because they are worth repeating.
- Wanted Joey MacDonald to battle and figure things out
- Feels that pulling the goalie lets the team off the hook
- Was most disappointed in the failure to work as a unit of five, finish hits, and get above the puck
- Said the team wasn't even close to following the system, and didn't even change lines effectively
- Avoided answering questions about Rick DiPietro's readiness
- Was glad that Gordon had the confidence in him to battle through the team's poor play
- Deflected attention away from the idea that DiPietro wasn't ready to start or relieve
- Noted that support between goalies goes both ways between starter and backup and he has that support
- Losing two guys in the fight shouldn't have been a problem, and the whole thing was honest
- The team used its sticks instead of its legs
- Didn't bite on the idea that DiPietro can't currently play
- Wanted to go with Mair all game to change the momentum
- Stands behind MacDonald 100% and is sure he'll shake it off come back playing unbelievably
I did get the chance to ask Thompson if, based on his familiarity with Gordon, the coach would respond to the performance by really tearing into the video and notes, or prefer to focus on a clean slate and the basics of the system. Thompson thought it would be a combination of both. He said they would come back tomorrow ready to work.
Fantasy Report—Game 3
I'm putting some thought into a new system for tracking the Islanders' fantasy leaders that would score the entire roster every game instead of just awarding five stars somewhat subjectively. If it looks worthwhile, I roll it out and include all the games that have been played retroactively. But, for now, here are your five Fantasy Stars of the Game:
1st Star: Nate Thompson (2 blocked shots, 15 PIMs, 2 hits)
2nd Star: Brendan Witt (1 shot, 17 PIMs, 1 hit)
3rd Star: Sean Bergenheim (1 shot, 15 PIMs)
4th Star: Trent Hunter (1 G, 1 shot, 1 blocked shot, 2 PIMs, 7 hits)
5th Star: Thomas Pock (1 A, +1, 1 shot, 5 blocked shots, 2 PIMs)
Other notables: Faceoffs—Weight (8-5), Comrie (10-3), Park (3-1), Thompson (6-5), Nielsen (11-4)
Overall the Islanders went 40-20 on faceoffs in this game. Getting the puck surely isn't two-thirds of the battle.