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Capuano: Tavares needs more support from Isles teammates

May 3, 2013, 11:05 AM EDT


Plenty of things went wrong for the Isles in their 5-0 series-opening loss to Pittsburgh on Tuesday, but none stood out more than the silencing of John Tavares.

New York’s leading scorer went pointless on the night and was held without a shot on goal — that said, head coach Jack Capuano wasn’t about to place that lack of productivity solely on Tavares.

“I don’t think it’s a surprise to John that they were hard on the puck and he didn’t get many chances,” Capuano told Newsday. “We always talk about playing as a unit of five.

“You can talk about John and how they played him, but the surrounding support from our club needs to be better for John to be better.”

The Penguins made a concerted effort to stay on Tavares throughout Game 1, and try to punish him physically.

At no time was this more evident than at the 9:26 mark of the second period, when Pittsburgh defenseman Kris Letang went out of his way to pop Tavares during a puck retrieval:

Pens winger Jussi Jokinen said Tavares can expect much of the same tonight.

“We need to do that same job all over (Friday),” he told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “Not give him any time, take all the space out of him and try not to let him play with the puck too much.”

  1. hockeywithdrawal - May 3, 2013 at 11:09 AM

    He’s going to need the support of crutches if they don’t get Morrow off him. If JT gets more of that treatment tonight, then the Pens should probably rest Crosby this round…I don’t think he’ll get much ‘consideration’ from the Isles upon his return. Outside of the hits though, they really did do a job of shutting him down. It seemed like JT was ALWAYS on the puck, only to get knocked right back off it. He does need support.

    • jpelle82 - May 3, 2013 at 11:25 AM

      if he wasnt being knocked off the puck he was turning it over. twice he tried to go right through 2 defenders who just stood up on him at the blue line in the 3rd period. i think, and i’ve been saying it the last 2 days, that they need to protect him more or at least send a message or its gonna be another long night for him. he didnt really show any heart through it all, didnt lose his composure but his composure was listless at best…head down on the bench and talking to himself. i hear he’s a little introverted but he looked like a beat dog wednesday night.

  2. hockeywithdrawal - May 3, 2013 at 11:10 AM

    Also – just out of curiousity – not trying to start anything, Letang’s one of my favorite D-men and this type of hit happens ALL the time. But was it interference?

    • jpelle82 - May 3, 2013 at 11:18 AM

      i thought it was, fully expected a penalty on it but they didnt call it, i guess they deemed it close enough to letang and he was inevitably going to have possession there. couldve been called if it was a regular season game though and i wouldve been ok with it being called.

      • jl9830 - May 3, 2013 at 11:30 AM

        Yes it was interference. Regular season and playoffs shouldn’t matter. Interference is interference, non-interference is non-interference. The call wasn’t made because the Penguins always get the calls. I guess they aren’t hard enough to beat with that roster without having the refs in their corner.

        The Islanders obviously would have lost regardless, considering they got it handed to them, but I have a hard time believing anyone could beat Pittsburgh if the games aren’t called fairly.

        Real point here: if Hamonic did this exact thing to Crosby, Crosby would have whined and cried for the call, and probably gotten it because he’s Crosby. That sort of entitlement is all too evident in the NHL, and it’s really actually hurting the credibility of the league.

      • miketoasty - May 3, 2013 at 11:40 AM

        What’s hurting the credibility of the league is idiot fans who whine about things like “Rigged lottery’s” and the league taking favorites. Why pick a team in one of the smallest markets in the NHL and try and push for them why not pick the Flyers or the Rangers that could bring in much bigger profits? People hear people talking about this stuff and without questioning or doing some research about the subject instantly believe it then spew it out to other fans getting into the league.

        So in a roundabout way thanks for ruining the credibility of the league jl9830.

        Also both teams had 4 powerplays a piece, how is that the league picking favorites? Especially considering there were a TON of penalty’s that should have been called against the Islanders when the Pens got up but the refs decided to just let them play.

      • jpelle82 - May 3, 2013 at 11:40 AM

        you dont watch hockey if you think whining earns you a call. i’ve never seen it in my life where a guy talks to a ref and his arm goes up as a result…except for an unsportsmanlike to the whining player.

      • rgotoguy - May 3, 2013 at 12:05 PM

        “Penguins get all the calls,” boo hoo. Its incredibly annoying when bitter fans of struggling teams piss and moan about how the NHL Playoffs are rigged to get the Penguins (or Hawks) to the cup. REALLY!?!? You honestly believe Bettman the man who didn’t have enough pull to prevent not one. not two. BUT THREE Lock outs can rig the professional sports worlds’ undoubtedly toughest and longest post season??

    • odj810 - May 3, 2013 at 11:34 AM

      i don’t think so. it’s two people bracing for contact. your right happens all the time. hit or be hit in that situation

  3. malkinrulez - May 3, 2013 at 11:16 AM

    Crosby is back tonight ! Gonna be intense at Console

  4. bgsusteelers - May 3, 2013 at 11:16 AM

    Well Crosby just said he is playing 10 minutes ago. Islanders need more than help. They need a miracle.

    • hockeywithdrawal - May 3, 2013 at 11:22 AM

      haha how’s THAT happen? I just read a half hour ago he wasn’t cleared for contact! Awesome.

  5. sjsharks66 - May 3, 2013 at 11:19 AM

    No that was not interference. That play happens all the time, this one just looked like a penalty because Letang out muscled JT.

    Oh and good job Isles to make it seem like the rest of the team besides JT’s play was the reason you lost. Im sure they all appreciate that.

    • jl9830 - May 3, 2013 at 11:32 AM

      Letang looked away from the puck and went right for Tavares. That wasn’t contact during a puck battle. They were enough of the way from the puck that when Letang changed direction to check Tavares, they were not battling for the puck. That is interference.

      I’m sure Penguins fans wouldn’t have liked to see Crosby or Malkin treated that way by an opposing defender.

      • jpelle82 - May 3, 2013 at 11:49 AM

        its the playoffs and i fully expect the islanders to treat crosby or malkin the same way. we’ll see how they come out tonight, tavares and company left their man cards on the bus wednesday apparently.

  6. myroncopesflask - May 3, 2013 at 11:39 AM

    Yes that was Interference… I thought it was going to get called but I’m happy it didn’t. Tonight’s game is going to pretty intense because the pens know the Isles are talking about how JT was getting raped all night. If they are talking about it to the press that means the Morrow and Cooke have already got into JT’s head. Every time I see Morrow play I want the pens to sign him next more and more.

  7. bcisleman - May 3, 2013 at 11:57 AM

    Whether Sid plays or not is irrelevant. Isles need to be better regardless of who Pens put on the ice. If they play as well as they are capable of, they should make life difficult for the Pens regardless of Sid.

    Anyone who has read my posts knows that I support Garth Snow more than just about any Isles blogger I can think of. One mistake among a very few that he has made was drafting Calvin De Haan with the #12 pick in 2009. At the time, I thought he should have drafted Kulikov. Now I have to concede that the overall Isle fan consensus at the time for selecting Zack Kassian was correct. ZK on the top line w/ JT & Matty would be very useful right now. The best substitute probably is Matty Marts. Cappy probably needs to shake up the lines after Wednesday’s disaster anyway. Let Matt make Morrow’s life miserable tonight.

    • islesjb - May 3, 2013 at 12:14 PM

      I know you are a very knowledgeable Isles fan, more so than I am, but how can you really make an argument for Matt Martin on the first line with Tavares?

      Don’t get me wrong- I love Martin and know how important he is to this team, but he’s a role guy and a career fourth liner. He doesn’t have the hands or the offensive abilities required to play alongside Tavares. Isles could use a shake-up but Matt Martin on the first line is never going to happen.

      Aside from swapping out Reasoner for Joensuu (if I see Boulton in there I will lose it), I don’t see any lineup changes taking place. I’d be all for moving Grabner up to the first line and moving Boyes down to the 3rd but at this point, Cappy isn’t touching the top 6. After all, those two lines are a big part of what got the Isles to the playoffs (as is the 3rd). Can’t throw it all away because of one embarrassing game.

      They just need to dig deep, play loose and get it done.

      • tfaltin - May 3, 2013 at 1:06 PM

        Could Nino Niederreiter really hurt the Isles? Chris Kreider effect.

      • islesjb - May 3, 2013 at 1:31 PM

        Don’t think they are going to roll the dice with any of those guys. If they did, Brock Nelson would be the more likely candidate. He had a great season and I don’t think management is too happy with the whole Nino trade request thing.

    • jpelle82 - May 3, 2013 at 12:22 PM

      i expect martin to come out trying to set a tone…with his history he better be careful about it though. he made the mistake of going after murray a few times and got put in his place a bit. wouldnt be surprised to see martin in the box early in this one, just like strait’s stupid penalty that got it started for the pens wednesday.

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