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‘The inconsistency is just unbelievable’: Martin bemoans Isles’ woes

Nov 20, 2013, 9:38 PM EDT

mattmartingetty Getty Images

The New York Islanders sit 28th in the NHL in goals allowed this season, surrendering 3.23 a game.

For one Islander, it’s almost too much to comprehend.

“We know what we have in here,” Matt Martin told Newsday following Tuesday’s 5-2 loss to Toronto. “We know what we have and what we need to do. The inconsistency is just unbelievable.”

While the Islanders were hardly an impenetrable fortress defensively last year — they finished 21st in goals allowed, at 2.83 per game — it was good enough to get them into the playoffs and push Pittsburgh in a hard-fought opening round series.

But, changes happened.

Captain Mark Streit was dealt to Philly and the group’s other veteran leader, Lubomir Visnovsky, has been out since Oct. 19 with a concussion. While the two are at the back end of their respective careers, Streit and Visnovsky provided valuable experience to a group that was light in that department, and now relies heavily on the likes of Travis Hamonic (23), Matt Donovan (23) and Thomas Hickey (24).

(The Isles have also been without the steadying presence of Brian Strait, currently on IR with an upper-body injury.)

There’s also the not-so-small issue of inconsistent goaltending, which has plagued the Isles throughout the year. Evgeni Nabokov hasn’t been good and is now on IR himself, leaving the starting duties to Kevin Poulin, who had 21 total games of NHL experience heading into this season.

Finally, there’s puck luck. When things are going poorly, teams tend to get little of it — something the Islanders are experiencing right now.

“It’s not like we make a ton of mistakes,” Hamonic told Newsday. “But it seems like every one of ’em costs us.”

  1. storminator16 - Nov 20, 2013 at 10:36 PM

    What is unbelievable is the fact that all this Matt Martin guy’s main task is to run around hitting guys every night and no one has kicked his teeth in yet. It’s unbelievable.

    • c9castine - Nov 21, 2013 at 2:48 PM

      i dunno….Pens play against them all the time obviously. he sure is a tough customer that dishes it out but i don’t see a ton of dirtiness coming from him. pretty effective bottom line player actually

      you want goonies, check out hartnell in philly. he just runs around slobbering on people and sacking at their limbs because he’s a neanderthal and thats all he knows.

  2. mattymarts17 - Nov 21, 2013 at 1:27 AM

    Actually, Martin has been improving every year offensively and has been a solid 4th liner for a few years now….

  3. Sport Follower - Nov 21, 2013 at 5:28 AM

    Last season Islanders show a great evolution with playoff qualifying. However they can’t keep this season.
    Kevin Poulin had a poor game with Maple Leafs with 79% saves, why he wasn’t replaced?

    • pftfan - Nov 21, 2013 at 2:38 PM

      Because Nabokov is on the IR, and Poulin’s backup has even less NHL experience than he does!

  4. Rob - Nov 21, 2013 at 7:30 AM

    The issues the Isles have are not new this season.

    Goaltending was ‘questionable’ last year. Nabokov had some good streaks, but is obviously past his best and is clearly not the long term solution. Jury is out on Poulin still, has potential but it’s unclear what his ceiling is.

    Even going back to the period before Nabokov was persuaded to play it’s been a rollercoaster – Rick DiPietro was intended to be ‘the guy’, but we all know about his injury problems and the Islanders never got anyone else in.

    The blue line has lacked a real number 1, stud D man for a long time. As much as I liked Streit; last years top 6 was ‘passable’. Guys like Hamonic, MacDonald (hugely underrated IMHO) and Visnovsky could help make up a decent top 4; but they need *that guy*. Those sort of stud D men are rare though.

    I think it was a mistake dealing Moulson for Vanek. Small gains in individual quality, but they’ve sacrificed a guy who was Islanders through and through to get there. If you’re going to drop a proven 30 goal scorer and a 1st, fix the biggest holes – get a goalie or get a guy who could be your go to defenceman.

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