The New York Islanders mid-season resurrection is nothing short of amazing. The perennial league laughing stocks are 14-6-5 since the All-Star break and 6-1-4 in March. Jack Capuano will likely not get much consideration for coach of the year, but he should.
Perhaps the most impressive part of that story is the fact that goaltender Al Montoya is leading the way. He was previously dismissed as a failed NHL prospect and was the Islanders' seventh choice this season in net. All previous goaltending options faltered, including the departed Dwayne Roloson who tried valiantly, and the injured Kevin Poulin, the always injured Rick Dipietro, and rookies Nathan Lawson and Mikko Koskinen.
The forgotten man in all of this is Evgeni Nabokov, who was suspended for failing to report to the team after the Islanders claimed in on waivers as he attempted to return to the NHL with Detroit.
Nabokov balked at joining the lowly Isles because it was beneath him. Now he sits suspended, and lawyers may end up telling him he, like Alexei Yashin before him, owes the Islanders a year of service for his holdout.
Without taking away anything from the unlikely hero Montoya, can you imagine the position Nabokov would be in had he just reported and bide his time in New York? His arrival would havenicely coincided with the Islanders resurrection. He would have looked like a miracle worker and would be set to nicely cash in this summer as a UFA.
Here's some other Thursday Thoughts:
- Congratulations to Daniel Sedin and wife Marinette on the birth of their new child. But should we be concerned that his kids look a whole lot like Uncle Henrik?
- Another great goaltending story is that of James Reimer, who made his NHL debut just before Christmas, who recorded his third NHL shutout with a 3-0 win at Minnesota on Tuesday. Reimer's three shutouts are the most by a Leafs rookie netminder since Mike Palmateer.
- Reimer somehow got the Toronto Maple Leafs turned around just enough to save Ron Wilson's job for next year. Leafs fans should not be happy about that.
- The other day Martin Brodeur made 13 saves in a 3-0 shutout of Columbus. It was the 115th shutout of Brodeur's career. For those asking, that was not a personal record for fewest saves made by Brodeur in a shutout. He stopped nine shots in a shutout against the Capitals in 2003 and 11 versus the Rangers in 2001.
- Bruins vs. Canadiens rematch on Thursday. A lot of people are not happy with Mark Recchi's comments suggesting Max Pacioretty embellished his concussion. Though it was not well publicized, I know Vancouver felt Colorado was too quick to throw out the term broken neck term rather than fractured vertebrae in the Steve Moore case to make sure Todd Bertuzzi was suspended more severely.
- I don't quite understand why there is such hulabaloo by several veteran NHLers about PK Subban's supposed lack of respect shown to them. The kid may be a cocky, but he's good. It's time others start giving him more respect.
- I've been busy adding lots of new player biographies to the archives. I usually announce such additions on Twitter. So join me @HockeyLegends for all the updates and other hockey talk.