DEFENSE STILL SOLID

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

Monday, 09.27.2010 / 3:20 PM ET / 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

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 6 2 4 3 6
J. Bailey 6 2 3 2 5
N. Leddy 6 0 5 1 5
R. Strome 6 2 1 1 3
K. Okposo 6 2 1 1 3
C. Clutterbuck 6 2 1 2 3
B. Nelson 5 2 0 1 2
N. Kulemin 6 1 1 0 2
L. Visnovsky 4 0 2 5 2
J. Boychuk 6 0 2 1 2
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 3 3 1 .926 2.34
M. Neuvirth 0 0 0 1.000 0.00

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