|The last time the Islanders were here, Cam Fowler was only 18!
You might think a Ducks team desperate for a win would be granted an ample opportunity with the Eastern Conference's 14-place team in town. The only problem is, these New York Islanders are playing pretty good hockey right now.
The Islanders have just 14 wins this season, but three of them have come in a row (granted, against three teams not currently in the playoff race). Since a 3-0 loss to the Rangers on the day after Christmas (which was covered on the HBO 24/7 show), the Isles knocked off Calgary, Edmonton and, last Tuesday night, Carolina.
In the net for all three of those games (and likely in there tonight) was a goalie the Ducks may have seen a time or two -- former Shark Evgeni Nabokov. The veteran was let go by San Jose following the 2009-10 season and as NHL teams went for less expensive options in net, he ultimately signed with SKA Saint Petersburg of the KHL in Russia. His contract was ultimately terminated by mutual consent and he signed with the Red Wings in January of last year. He never played a game for Detroit and was claimed off waivers by the Islanders. He refused to report to Long Island and was suspended by the team for the remainder of last season.
He ultimately reported to training camp last fall and has posted a 5-8-0 record and a 2.49 goals-against average for an Isles team that has played four different goalies this year. That includes oft-injured franchise mainstay Rick DiPietro, who has been out more than a month with a groin injury.
Bruce Boudreau was asked about the Islanders yesterday and said, “Don’t underestimate them. They’ve got a lot of good young players." The most famous of those is John Tavares, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2009 draft who leads NYI with 34 points.
"The one thing about them is they go in streaks," Boudreau said. "They either get really hot and beat everybody, a little bit of what they’re going through now, or they had those situations where they’ve had these long periods of not winning which has put them out of the race basically early on the last couple of years. But then they play everybody hard and even.”
The Ducks can hopefully get something going this weekend with NYI here tonight (for the first time since November 2010) and Columbus in the building Sunday.
"The hardest thing is to keep pushing through when things seem to be going against you," Boudreau said this morning. "I keep telling tellig them it can change in a hurry. Losing streaks follow winning streaks, and winning streaks follow losing streaks. It doesn't take much. You win a game and then you play another game soon after and you win that game. All of a sudden, you forget how you felt five days ago.
"Confidence is so much a part of that. It's whether you believe you're gonna win or, What's gonna happen for us to lose?
We have to change that mindset, and the best way to change that is to go out and win."
The Ducks, by the way, placed both winger Andrew Gordon
and defenseman Matt Smaby
(out all year with a thumb injury) on waivers yesterday. Both cleared, and Smaby was sent to Syracuse, while Gordon remains on the Anaheim roster and skated this morning.
- - -George Parros
took part in his fifth annual Cut for the Kids yesterday at The Rinks - Huntington Beach Inline, in which he and other participants got their hair sheared for donation to the Childhood Leukemia Foundation.
Here's a photo of Georgie before...
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|D'Angelo and an image of the sticker. |
You may have heard about high school hockey player Jack Jablonski of Minneapolis
, who suffered a severe spinal injury after taking a hit into the boards during a game just before the new year. It was just confirmed Wednesday that Jablonski is paralyzed and has been told by doctors he will never walk again.
An outpouring of support for Jablonski has grown through social media and is now hitting close to home.
Vincent D'Angelo, who plays for Damien High School in the Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League
, took the sobering story to heart, and is was compelled to do something about it.
D'Angelo created stickers honoring Jablonski, and the entire Damien team will be wearing them on the backs of their helmets starting Saturday when they play at Orange Lutheran.
With the help of Anaheim ICE General Manager Art Trottier, D'Angelo was successful in encouraging players from the other teams in the Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League to wear them as well.
D'Angelo's hope is for players to make a fitting tribute to Jablonski, while also being reminded to think before making a check from behind.
If you would like to lend your own support, the Jack Jablonski Fund has been established at Wells Fargo Bank. Donations can be sent to:
Jack Jablonski Fund
P.O. Box 16387
St. Louis Park, MN 55416-2618
You may also make your donations at any Wells Fargo Bank by mentioning the Jack Jablonski Fund.