Islanders embarrassed in fifth consecutive loss


John Tavares might have all the faith in the world in New York Islanders head coach Jack Capuano, but the team’s fan base can be forgiven if they’re praying for changes. The Isles lost their fifth consecutive game on Friday, and it wasn’t pretty, as the Detroit Red Wings dismissed them 5-0.

Really, the Islanders might just be thankful when November is over. They’ve now lost 10 of their last 12 games – all of those defeats coming in regulation – and have only won one regulation game in that span. The Isles’ last victory of any kind came in a 5-4 shootout win against these Red Wings on Nov. 16.

Daniel Alfredsson enjoyed his 1,200th career NHL game at the Islanders’ expense, scoring his fifth and sixth goals of 2013-14 while also collecting his 13th assist.

At this point, PHT is getting the chance to stock up on pictures of sad Kevin Poulin, as he’s been absorbing most of the abuse in net.

Really, you can cast the net pretty widely if you’re playing the blame game. Let’s exclude bigger picture questions (the arena, owner Charles Wang?) and just look at the more immediate scapegoats:

  • Poulin, who dropped to 3-10-0 with lousy individual numbers.
  • Capuano, who keeps starting Poulin and seemingly cannot find an answer for the Isles’ troubles.
  • GM Garth Snow, who decided to stick with an aging goalie in Evgeni Nabokov and didn’t provide him with an experienced backup. Oh yeah, Snow also gambled with the team’s 2014 first-rounder in that Thomas Vanek trade, so Isles fans can’t even distract themselves with prospect talk.

Either way, these are dark times for the Islanders and their fans.

GM says Blue Jackets are ‘off the rails’ right now

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On Monday, PHT discussed the Columbus Blue Jackets’ troubling start, even if it felt like it may be too early to raise concerns.

Apparently Blue Jackets management is a little shaken by the second 0-3-0 start in franchise history, however.

Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen shared his shock and dismay with the Columbus Post-Dispatch on Tuesday.

“I’m surprised how, in just five days, we’ve gone from a very confident group to something that’s the opposite of that,” Kekalainen told The Dispatch on Tuesday. “Our confidence, our game … it’s off the rails right now.

Maybe losing to the Buffalo Sabres stings a little bit extra?

Kekalainen said “there’s no excuse for how we played in Buffalo,” pointing out that every team in the NHL is a “good team.”

Indeed, just about every squad boasts some dangerous weapons if they catch an opponent sleeping.

The Post-Dispatch goes deeper on Columbus’ recent history of stumbling out of the gate, but consider the foreboding stretch coming up.

Next four games: Three out of four at home
Eight games following that: Seven out of eight on the road.

As you can see, winter is coming for Columbus, so they best get things together. All things considered, this is the right time for a wake-up call.

For bonus chuckles, here’s a photo of Kekalainen on a railing.

via AP

Personal reasons: No Ovechkin for Caps tonight

Alex Ovechkin
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Alex Ovechkin won’t play for the Washington Capitals on Tuesday because of personal reasons, the team confirmed.

He entered the building considerably later than usual, but his presence at least opened the door for the possibility of No. 8 suiting up against the San Jose Sharks.

Instead, the Capitals will face the hot-starting Sharks without Ovechkin (personal reasons) and Nicklas Backstrom (injury).

That’s a tall order, yet it’s also an opportunity for Barry Trotz to prove his system is a difference-maker … and that the Capitals have the young players to take up the mantle when the big stars are out

This is how Washington’s forward lines may look tonight:

No, the Capitals have not shared details regarding what his “personal reasons” might be, by the way.