Hockey from the Blind Side, More Observations from the West Coast, What about the defense?

Well, here I am out in California for another few weeks for work. With the season coming coder to starting the regular season, I will, unfortunately, miss the first games. At least, I’ll try to catch them via NHL GameCenter, but I would have liked to have tried to get to the home opener, the last one for the Isles at the “old barn”. In any event, at least, the preseason has looked good so far.

Preseason, of course, s not necessarily a reflection of what the actual season will be, but I’ll still take a 3-1 record. The New York Islanders defeated the Boston Bruins last night in Boston 5-3 with Cal Clutterbuck scoring the game winner with about a minute to go.

The Isles did blow a two goal lead again, but, at least, they won the game and, again, this is preseason. These are the types of things you hope will be worked out of their system at this stage of the season. At least, that should be the case by the time the regular season starts to ramp up.

I couldn’t actually catch any of the game, unfortunately. This was not for a lack of trying. I was hoping the NHL GameCenter would carry it, but it seemed only the Ranger game was being shown. No offense to Ranger fans, but I had no interest in that yesterday.What actually prompted me to specifically write this article was a post I read on the
Too many men on the site page The topic of the Islander defense has come up several times among us here at Isles Talk, and I’m sure anyone who takes the time to read what is going on in Islander Country would know that it has been discussed in many other places. Of all of the areas that Garth Snow addressed during the off season, the defense is considered to be the biggest question mark going into the regular season. Frankly, whether the relatively young and inexperienced group will be able to be good enough to enable the Isles to make the playoffs is really the topic of debate.

I have gone on record stating that I think that the defense is good enough as it stands going into the season. I’m sure there will be blunders and nights in which the inexperience might show, but I feel the group the Islanders have, regardless of which 7 or 8 guys are being carried, can do the job as the season unfolds. It might not end up being among the top ten or even 15 blue line units, yet I don’t think it will be horrible by any means either.

Would I like to see an addition added if it can happen? Of course I would. However, in my opinion, it would come down to Who could be brought in and Who would have to be sacrificed to get that guy. It’s all well in good to bring in someone with experience and skill, but if too much needs to be shipped out to get that guy, it defeats the purpose. The “advantage” that the Islanders do have is the fact they have an overload of forwards and could possibly come up with a deal that could bring a solid back liner here.

The post that I mentioned is
here.
There are some interesting points made here to consider. One thing that is pointed out that does concern me and a lesson we, unfortunately, learned with the goaltending last season is that one injury could make a difference. I am specifically talking about Lubomir Visnovsky and his importance to the power play and the defense overall.

TJ Brennan, from all reports, seems to be impressing a lot of people so far, and Ryan Pulock is doing so as well. There seems to be a real competition going for the defensive roster spots, and I think that is a good thing. Of course, there are certainly a lot of other guys waiting in the wings to step up, and, to me, this only makes the defense better in the long run.

However, that only brings us back to this season and how prepared the defense is for an 82 game campaign. I’m not saying that my mind has been changed or my opinion about the state of the defense has altered. Nevertheless, the above mentioned article has given me some food for thought. Perhaps it takes a more negative perspective on the defense, but I feel it does have value to consider the points that are made.

What do you think?

@hockeyblindside
or, isles4@optonline.net

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