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DEFENSE STILL SOLID

Off season additions and veterans will help fill hole left by Mark Streit

Monday, 09.27.2010 / 3:20 PM / News
By Dyan LeBourdais
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DEFENSE STILL SOLID
The Islanders coaching staff have been reevaluating their defensive strategy since Mark Streit was injured during their intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday morning. Since Streit was acquired in free agency in 2008, he has been a staple on the Islanders blueline, averaging more than 25 minutes per game.

“Obviously he’s a big part of our team, playing the minutes he does, the power play, he’s the quarterback on the power play and he’s phenomenal on the penalty kill as well,” said Islanders forward Matt Moulson. “It’s not like he just had one role on this team, he is our MVP, so it’s going to be a tough challenge, but it’s something we have to face together.”

The Islanders head coach Scott Gordon has also felt the blow, but he knows the team will work through the adversity.

“It’s unfortunate because he (Mark Streit) looked really sharp in camp,” said Gordon. “It looked like he had an extra step and if you talk to all of our guys everybody is excited about this year. It’s certainly not the way you want to start, but we have to pull together and figure it out.”

While they reevaluate, the Islanders have defenseman Anders Erikkson practicing with the team on a Professional Tryout, as well as the Islanders newest free agency acquired veteran D-men Mark Eaton, Milan Jurcina and James Wisniewski.

“Having those guys (Mark Eaton and James Wisniewski) is going to help tremendously,” said Moulson. “Having Mark out, they’re both (Eaton and Wisniewski) great players, (Milan) Jurcina as well coming in. So it’s kind of sad because you think of having those guys around Mark (Streit) and how well he could have done this season… So it’s a tough break there, but luckily we have those guys to step in.”

The Islanders can also look towards their current roster and their rookies for added depth on the blue line this season. With Streit out, Coach Gordon hasn’t come to any final decisions.

“We’ll see what happens with the (exhibition) games here, but the plan was to have all the guys pretty much that have been here in camp, be here through Saturday and then we’ll reevaluate after that,” Gordon said about the Islanders current lineups.

So the rookies definitely have a chance to show Gordon and the rest of the coaching staff they are capable of playing on the Islanders blue line this coming season.

“It’s an opportunity for everybody,” Gordon said. “Hit a little daylight, you have to make the most of it… Whether it’s Dylan (Reese), whether it’s Calvin (de Haan), Travis (Hamonic), anybody else, you never know. The bottom line is you have to outperform somebody and now there’s one less guy to outperform.”

Even though the team is doing their best to come to terms with Streit’s injury and look to the future, the team is still feeling his loss.

“Mark (Streit) is an All Star defenseman,” said blue liner Jack Hillen. “I don’t think we have one D on our team that does what Mark does. So I think every guy needs to pick up his game a little bit and kind of fill that spot by committee a little bit.”

But no one on the team feels worse than Islanders forward Matt Moulson, who despite being told the injury was not his fault and that it was just a fluke, he still feels a little bit responsible. Although, talking to Streit has definitely helped him through it.

“I obviously feel horrible about what happened but I don’t think I really could have done anything differently,” Moulson said. “I didn’t hit him or anything. It was just kind of a freak play where I was chasing behind him on the penalty kill and kind of tried to turn and he caught an edge and fell into the boards.”

Moulson knows the Islanders will do whatever they can over the next few weeks to be ready for opening night on October 9.

“Sometimes you say a guy goes down and someone needs to step in and fill that void, but I don’t know if there’s really anyone even in the league that’s really had as much responsibility as Mark has had on this team in the last couple years,” Moulson said. “It’s definitely going to take everyone to step up to just kind of fill that hole.”

SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 65 41 18 6 175 146 88
2 NYI 66 42 21 3 211 185 87
3 TBL 66 40 20 6 217 173 86
4 NYR 63 39 17 7 197 155 85
5 DET 62 36 15 11 182 160 83
6 PIT 63 36 18 9 182 158 81
7 WSH 66 35 21 10 194 164 80
8 BOS 63 31 22 10 168 165 72
9 FLA 65 28 23 14 159 185 70
10 PHI 65 28 25 12 173 187 68
11 OTT 62 28 23 11 176 167 67
12 NJD 64 27 27 10 144 165 64
13 TOR 65 26 34 5 175 199 57
14 CBJ 63 26 33 4 163 201 56
15 CAR 62 24 31 7 144 167 55
16 BUF 64 19 40 5 123 215 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 66 31 36 5 67
K. Okposo 46 14 30 -2 44
R. Strome 66 14 28 22 42
B. Nelson 66 18 20 8 38
F. Nielsen 66 11 26 13 37
A. Lee 60 22 13 14 35
J. Bailey 54 13 20 13 33
J. Boychuk 56 7 25 15 32
N. Leddy 66 9 19 17 28
T. Hamonic 56 4 21 16 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 34 13 1 .911 2.48
C. Johnson 8 8 1 .889 3.08

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