A few days ago, Mike Comrie had the following observation for Arthur Staple of Newsday:
"In this system, you've just got to throw pucks at the net and be in the right spot. It's scrambles, not a whole lot of pretty plays."I would argue that if the Islanders had enough players capable of pretty plays, they would be more than welcome in the system.
Just over two months into the season, we have system fatigue. It's not that the players are tired of playing it. They, and the coach, have started to tire of talking about it. I don't blame them. I think a lot of fans are just about done talking about the system, too.
That begs the question, why were we talking about it so much in the first place? My memory may be a little fuzzy here, but I don't recall a lot of people talking about the way the Devils played in the 90s until they started winning. And there's your answer.
Entering this Islanders season, we knew that they didn't have the horses to run with the big stables. But we wanted something to pin our hopes on, and it wasn't a donkey. There was, however, a system. So instead of looking at a successful team and wondering what makes them successful, we were left to embrace a system, and hope it would breed success. To take the equine theme just a little too far, that was putting the cart before the horse.
In the midst of an 0-6-1 streak, one cannot root for a system. In the midst of a 6-0-1 streak, one could certainly marvel at the efficacy of a forecheck, or the daring of a pinch.
Until Comrie, Kyle Okposo, Jeff Tambellini, Josh Bailey, and Frans Nielsen are back and playing with the kind of flair that produces pretty plays, there is nothing to do but throw pucks at the net. And if those guys aren't the ones to do more than throw pucks at the net, others will have to be found.
Click here to read about the Islanders annual holiday hospital visits. This kind of stuff can't be publicized enough, even though that's not the point. I love the way the whole team gets involved with this and blankets Long Island as best as it can.
Catching up on some old business...