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Nabby nixed? Capuano says if Poulin ‘plays well, he’s going to play more’

Oct 23, 2013, 11:11 AM EDT

NabbyPoulin

While he wouldn’t come out and say it, Islanders head coach Jack Capuano was none too pleased with Evgeni Nabokov‘s performance in Tuesday’s 5-4 OT loss to Vancouver.

“I’m not going to talk about the goaltending,” Capuano told Newsday. “Their goals are tough to explain tonight. It’s not like there were a lot of breakdowns.

“We’ve got to move on.”

The Canucks loss was Nabokov’s second straight iffy outing. He wasn’t especially sharp in a 4-3 loss to Carolina on Saturday either, allowing four goals on 23 shots (though, to be fair, Nabokov appeared shaken up on a collision with defenseman Matt Carkner midway through the second, but stayed in the game.)

The Isles came into this season with a big question mark in goal. Nabokov was exposed during last year’s six-game loss to Pittsburgh in the opening playoff round and his backup, Kevin Poulin, entered this season with exactly 21 games of NHL experience.

But now it sounds like Poulin might be getting his big break.

The 23-year-old ‘tender will apparently get his big shot in the not-too-distant future, a real chance to play extended minutes for the first time in his career.

“If Poulin plays well, he’s going to play more,” Capuano said.

Poulin’s only appeared once this year — stopping 25 of 28 shots in a 3-2 loss to Chicago — but could be back in goal soon. The Isles play a Friday/Saturday back-to-back against Pittsburgh and Philly, then have a big home date against the Rangers, their in-state rivals, on Tuesday.

  1. dsonashville28 - Oct 23, 2013 at 12:32 PM

    I’ll believe it when I see it.

  2. Ben Cerow - Oct 23, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    The Islanders have serious talent to compete, but they need to start getting serious about their goaltending situation. They NEEDED to do better than Nabokov and Poulin this off-season and they didn’t would. Nabokov isn’t the answer. Kevin Poulin is nowhere near being an answer. Would have loved to have seen them make a run at Bernier or Khudobin (injury notwithstanding). I don’t see how they get through this year without giving up young talent for a goaltender prior to the deadline, which isn’t the ideal scenario.

    • jpelle82 - Oct 23, 2013 at 3:47 PM

      they very well could be selling at the deadline. no one who is buying is coming off a goalie before the playoffs start though. this was an offseason need that was ignored. i see this as a wasted season for their young talent because of it, i dont see them making it in with 16 teams in the east.

      • bcisleman - Oct 23, 2013 at 9:13 PM

        Isles have had their struggles early but are still better so far than NYR, PHI, NJD, WAS. They’ll be fine.

    • bcisleman - Oct 23, 2013 at 9:06 PM

      Apparently they kicked the tires on Bernier and also Halak, Luongo and Schneider. One problem was that Nino had too high a cap hit as a trade return.

      Nabby was likely going to be returning as one of the two goalies after JT himself publicly said he wanted him back. If Poulin returns to his pre-injury 2011 form–as he showed signs of doing vs the Hawks–Isles may be fine in goal. If they were to make a move, a trade w/ frequent trading partner ANA for Hiller would be my guess.

  3. jpelle82 - Oct 23, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    there’s been a controversy there this whole time. controversy is they didnt have a good goalie and they rolled with them anyway

  4. bcisleman - Oct 23, 2013 at 3:58 PM

    This is cappy gettin inside Nabby’s head. He knows he needs to be pushed. Also Poulin played well against the Hawks. If he returns to his pre 2011 injury form, he will be fine. Nabby gives up too many big rebounds. Did that repeatedly vs Van and they are too good to get away w/ that for long.

  5. multiplemiggs - Oct 23, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    Being I know everything about the Islanders, I can only say that I called this months ago back in June. Nabby should have been brought back on a one year deal (which he was) with another seasoned starter to platoon with, while Poulin rides out a full year in Bridgeport (uninterrupted this time). But this was not done, and now the team has no backup plan for a weak goaltender market. Needless to say as usual, I was right again.

    • bcisleman - Oct 23, 2013 at 9:09 PM

      That was my thought going into the season, but Poulin’s performance gave me pause. I’d like to see the kid play some more and put some heat on Nabby…and give it a month or two.

  6. multiplemiggs - Oct 24, 2013 at 9:50 AM

    Yes

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