A Brutal Succession Of Choices Puts The Islanders In A Hole At Home

A Brutal Succession Of Choices Puts The Islanders In A Hole At Home



Last night was one of those games you don’t shake off. You don’t shake it off as a writer, a fan, player or coach. Witness Islander’s coach Jack Capuano harping on Brian Boyle’s elbow in the press conference. It is wonderful selective memory to harp on that when the Islanders simply fell apart as Tampa ramped up pressure late in the game and in overtime. This is what blew game 3. Not an elbow.


First of all, there is the mind-numbing Islanders coaching fear of analytics now that we are in key moments in the playoffs. We have seen this peering out in their constant use of analytical nightmare Brian Strait during the season. However, as pressure has increased, the Isles coaching staff has made curious, if not head-scratching choices time and time again at the end of the season and now during the playoffs. Prime example is the 2nd benching of Ryan Strome.


The issue is not that Josh Bailey should not have played. He might be fans goat, and for good reason this season, but he is far more rounded and skilled that Steve Bernier, who did nothing on his ineffective line. Josh Bailey and Ryan Strome should have played, Bernier should have sat. Simple use of analytics says this clearly. Yet, once again coaching has clung onto backwards notions in key moments. The schism between good analytics, something the Islanders management DOES buy into, and coaching staff choices and discomfort MUST be addressed this offseason. The Pulock sitting for Strait at the end run in the season was also glaring.


Another issue is coaching choices in the heat of the moment. Witness the tortoise shell the Islanders went into in the final two minutes as Tampa’s forwards were buzzing all over. Against Florida, they were able to get away with this. Against the experienced and skilled Tampa? Not a chance.


The coaching staff COULD have called a timeout, regroup, give the team some rest. Instead, they had Kyle Okposo and John Tavares out on the ice, two players with not the most defensive acumen in their own zone… and Tampa tipped the scales to tie the game. Was it that they were less tired? Maybe. But still, a timeout could have solved that and make a better defensive forward choice as Tampa was all over the home team.


Now… overtime… where Brian Boyle definitely seemed to hit Hickey a bit late. But was it the terrible HEAD SHOT that Jack and fans seemed to cite? Let us see from another angle…


NO. Late? Yes. Head hunting? No.


Above all… how does harping on a 4th line scrub help for Friday? It doesn’t. Game 4 is everything.


Bottomline is in game 3, the NY Islanders blew it. Defensively they looked porous when they had the lead. Thomas Greiss has been not as efficient versus the very important high danger shots in this series. Last night, he was only at 70% against those key shots (15pts from his avg). Bishop was at a whopping 90%. If you don’t think these situations dictate the final score, be assured, it does. Bishop made key saves. Greiss did not. No coincidence here the Islanders lost the game.


This team and coach MUST regroup and sort out issues.


Game 4 will require the Islanders to get past this brutal loss and reset. Ryan Strome should be playing. Thomas Greiss needs to play better. John Tavares needs to play better. If not, this series is over.

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  1. David Schwartz

    Greiss has been playing well, but needs to cover the puck better and now allow so many rebounds.

  2. So the one thing right here is that Tavares and Okposo out for the 6-5 is just dumb.

    Your putting way too much stock in the Bishop vs Griess comparison. Just because a shot comes from a “High Danger Area” does not mean that a good attempt was made to score. Bishop saved the ones that were shot into him, and looked pretty bad on the ones that beat him. Griess let up at least two goals that NO ONE could stop, probably 3. Bottom line was Tampa was more skillful with their “High Danger” opportunities.

    Dumping on Bernier, who at least wins board battles and plays physical when Brock Nelson is doing absolutely NOTHING of value on the ice is pretty short sighted. If you want to put Strome in, do it for Nelson.

    How about the fact that Cappy has stuck with Quine on the top line when it is obvious there is no chemistry at all, and he looks like he has no idea how to click with Tavares and Okposo? More often than not he looks like he is in the way. If you really try the spark plug theory on that line, then put Prince on it. At least he is constantly making things happen on the ice.

    I personally would not do that, but I would but Quine and Prince back together so you have another high energy line / speed line.

  3. Cappy…hmm let me put out my worst defensive players with 40 seconds left and make sure I don’t call a timeout either.

    • Not just poor defensive players, but what kind of idiot wants his two best offensive players on the ice blocking shots 6 on 5 with a minute left in the game when you know the other team is going to pepper you with shots. Crapuano is an Idiot at best!

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