Greg Brady (yes, that’s the man’s name) pens a blog for the Fan 590 in Toronto. He pointed out some bulletin-board material in the Islanders’ dressing room after a 2-1 overtime win at Air Canada Centre that handed the Maple Leafs their first loss of 2010-11. It was a column written by Toronto Sun columnist Steve Simmons in which he said the Leafs shouldn’t be 5-0 after the Islanders visit Toronto.
Johnny Bravo, er Brady, did provide legit reasons to enjoy the Islanders right now despite their “organizational issues,” which he also used to poke some fun at the past and taking a dig at WRHU. While I’m busting Brady’s chops, I do take issue with Simmons. Last I checked the Leafs had the Eastern Conference’s worst record in 2009-10.
Look, memorable moments have been scarce since the dynasty years (1993, Shawn Bates, Wade Dubielewicz), but one thing I learned covering the Yankees — I’m not making comparisons — is they’re a team that’s focused on not yesterday or tomorrow, but today and the task at hand. There’s no guarantee the Islanders will keep up this pace, but right now they’re playing solid, entertaining hockey in the face of injuries to key players.
“We’ve been battling through it the first month and a half here, going through injuries right through our lineup, but we’ve had guys step up,” said John Tavares, whose power-play goal 3:26 into overtime won the game for the Islanders. Since returning from a concussion, Tavares has two goals and an assist in two games. “That’s what we’ve gotta do.”
Speaking of injuries, Josh Bailey, the Isles’ leading scorer, suffered a hip flexor injury in the first period. Before your heart skips a beat, Scott Gordon’s prognosis sounded a little reassuring.
“Not too bad,” Gordon said. “He played a little after it happened … and at that point, he wasn’t moving like he should’ve been.”
Speaking of the importance of keeping guys healthy, Rick DiPietro sat for the second straight game in favor of Dwayne Roloson. DiPietro has been healthy, but the Islanders’ version of Carl Pavano needs to be managed before taking on a heavier load. And the way Roloson’s playing you can’t take him out of the lineup. The ageless one stopped 29 saves in the win over the Leafs and carries that play today-win today philosophy that has served the Yankees well.
“I try to forget anything that’s happened in the past,” Roloson said. “I try to live in the now. We’ve just got to focus on what we need to do. It’s a totally different team over there and a totally different team over here.”
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