Who: Your Nation's Capitals vs. New York Islanders Sad. Sounds like someone needs a blankie.
Where: Nassau Coliseum
1255 Hempstead Tpke
Uniondale, NY 11553
When: Monday, October 8, 2:00 pm
Broadcast Info: CSN, 3WT; FSNY
2006-07 Season Series: Caps 1-3-0, Islanders 3-0-1
The Caps never really found their legs when facing the Islanders last season, coming up short in all but one of their four matchups and even then it was a win by virtue of a shootout - the only such win for the Caps all year. Backed by Rick DiPietro in a team-carrying year, the Isles lit up the Caps for 16 goals through four games and continued their strange dominance that has seen them take eight of the last ten games and five straight in Uniondale.
Put history aside - the two teams that will meet this afternoon are far removed from the two that clashed last season, with each club losing players and picking up new ones over the summer to revamp their lineup.
For former Islanders Poti and Kozlov, today's game marks their first time back to Nassau Coliseum since leaving via free agency back in July. Both have started out strong for their new club, as has the third offseason acquisition, Nylander - but for the Caps the story is really the way they're playing as a team. Strong defensive play from everyone, goaltenders to forwards, has resulted in just one goal against in their first two games and the team is off to its best start since the 2002 season.
The Islanders are off to a similarly hot start, taking Buffalo in both games of a home and home series to kick off the season and reaping the rewards of new faces like Mike Comrie and Bill Guerin. Along with Ruslan Fedotenko they form the Islanders' new top line and have combined for 16 points in just two games. Any team hoping to take on the Isles will need to shut this line down and fast, a job that will likely fall to the Caps' checking line of Pettinger, Gordon and Clark.
While many of the faces in the Islanders' orange and blue are new to Long Island, Caps fans are very familiar with a handful. Over the summer GM Garth Snow picked up Josef Vasicek, previously a Carolina Hurricane, Andy Sutton, a former Thrasher, and Jon Sim, former Thrasher, Panther, and Cap-killer.
Jon left Saturday's game with a knee sprain and is listed as day to day. Of course, while we never wish injuries on fellow humans here in the Cheap Seats, it's hard not to breathe a little sigh of relief at hearing that news. 19 points against the Caps in his career - in his nine year career Sim didn't have that many points in a season until last year. Sometimes Caps-killers take the strangest forms, don't they?
And of course, we get to see our old buddy Brendan "get me the hell out of DC" Witt again. Good times.
After the Capitals pillaged their roster this summer, a lot of people wondered how the Islanders would do as the season got underway. Well, in my preparations for today’s game I happened to stumble upon a letter that holds the answers. And as you can see below in this Cheap Seats exclusive, despite attempts to keep up appearances the club is not doing well...
To an old friend –
It’s been a few months since we parted ways and in your absence we’ve had some time to reflect on the years we spent together. Our relationship may have been rocky at times, going through our fair share of ups and downs. But there was always a mutual respect, a shared goal for the future, a passion for the game.
Looking back on our time together we start to wonder – what could we have done differently? Could we have treated you better? Could we have listened more and talked less? Could we have been more considerate of your feelings? So many questions. But one stands out…
Why? Why, god, WHY??? Why did you leave?? Were we not good enough for you? Was it that your love faded over the years or was it that you just never loved us at all? We lie in bed at night, unable to sleep, thinking about the laughter, the tears, the good times and the bad. There is a void that cannot be filled with these flashy newcomers. Your presence was a force; your absence felt by one and all. Seeing you in strange new colors shatters a piece of our soul, a daily reminder of what we have lost.
If it’s something we did, tell us. We can change, we can work harder, we can communicate better! Every relationship has its tough times but we can work it out! With time and a little patience we can find a common ground. We can start over again and our relationship will only be stronger for it!
You may have worn #79, but you’ll always be #1 in our hearts. Please, Alexei, come back! We can’t do this without you!
The New York Islanders
Sad. Sounds like someone needs a blankie.