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Ryan Lambert

What We Learned: Why NY Islanders are remarkably, historically bad

Ryan Lambert
Puck Daddy

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Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend's events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.

We talk about how bad teams like Edmonton last year or the Islanders two years ago are. And yeah, they were pretty bad.

But really, I don't think we have a concept yet of how truly, truly terrible this current group of Islanders is. They won four of their first seven games this year ... then earned points in four of their next 18.

Those Edmonton and Islanders teams of the last two years both finished last in the league by decent margins, but they still had 27 and 26 wins, respectively. Is there any way in hell you see this team, which already lost 14 in a row this year, getting 27 wins?

And it's not just that they're not a good hockey team, either. It's that they're honestly the most unintentionally boring hockey teams. They're so not good at anything -- scoring, defense, special teams, goaltending - that they almost make the teams they play worse at them. If anything, the only skill they have is getting teams to occasionally play down to their level to make it close.

It's really easy to pick on the worst team in hockey but I think this Islanders team might be one of the worst I've ever seen.

(Coming Up: Patrick Kaleta(notes) and Derek Dorsett(notes) in a Fight of the Year candidate; Ondrej Pavelec(notes) needs a nickname; Winter Classic wine; Kevin Bieksa(notes) to the Senators; Brad Richards(notes) to the Rangers; Chicago fans find out how running up the score feels like; Habs face a Subban question; Jeff Skinner's(notes) super-shift; the resurgence of Sergei Kostitsyn(notes) and Ryan Miller(notes); laughable Leafs solution; and someone proposes a preposterous Oilers/Devils trade.)

Certainly the worst in a decade. Their leading scorer is James Wisniewski(notes). He has 15 points. And he's minus-18.

That's 2003-04 Penguins Dick-Tarnstrom-led-us-in-scoring bad, and so, in fact, is the team. Remember how comically bad those Penguins were? Sure you do. A fun fact is that they had the exact same number of points through 25 games (only 15!) as do the current Islanders.

But let's say they catch fire. And I don't mean "catch fire" in relative terms where they win then lose a shootout in back-to-back games. I mean win four or five in a row. They're still on pace to be as bad as the pre-lockout Pens.

And OK, sure, you can certainly make the case that Mark Streit(notes) and Kyle Okposo(notes), two of the best players on the team, have been injured all year. But even with them, this team is still going to bleed goals, since they've allowed 83 through 25 games (3.32 per) and not score any (53 in 25, 2.12). They've allowed four or more goals 12 times. They've scored two or fewer 17 times. If they continue on their current pace, they will allow 272 goals and score just 173. Several teams have allowed that many or more (the '06 Pens allowed 316), but no one has scored less than 193 since the end of the lockout.

These numbers are so remarkably bad that no one short of Alex Ovechkin(notes) or Sidney Crosby(notes) would turn them semi-respectable in attack. And even then, they'd still probably be the worst team in the league.

And scarily, they've gotten worse since Scott Gorton was fired. Through 17 games, they'd scored 37 (2.17 per) and allowed 58 (3.41), taking 11 points (on pace for 53). Since Jack Capuano took over, they've allowed 25 (3.13) and scored just 16 (2.0), taking four points (on pace for 41). How long until Garth Snow fires him too?

They're not that Sharks team that lost 71 games, or the '92-93 Senators. But watch an Islanders game this year and try to argue that this is not an historically and hysterically bad team. I think you'll find it as difficult as watching the game itself.

What We Learned

Anaheim Ducks: Cam Fowler(notes) turned 19 yesterday. "He should probably buy us dinner," said Ryan Getzlaf(notes), who doesn't understand how birthdays work.

Atlanta Thrashers: Ondrej Pavelec is having a great season, but perhaps is greatest accomplishment is having "Ondrej the Giant" as the headline of an article praising him. How is this not his everyday nickname?

Boston Bruins: Tim Thomas(notes) was not happy that Phil Kessel(notes) scored the shootout winner against the Bruins on Saturday, but only because Tim Thomas would rather lose an arm than lose a hockey game. When asked if he was bothered that Kess potted the winner, Thomas said, "You know, what's the statute of limitations on talking about Phil Kessel as a Boston Bruin?"

Buffalo Sabres: Prior to Friday night, Ryan Miller had zero shutouts. After games with Columbus and Ottawa, he now has two. Which I guess is pretty good.

Calgary Flames: Alex Tanguay(notes), at 23 points in 26 games for just $1.7 million, could be the bargain signing of the season. Good work Darryl Sutter, you almost got everyone to forget about the Jokinen contract for a minute!

Carolina Hurricanes: This shift by Jeff Skinner is just ridiculous. If the Hurricanes did send him to World Juniors, Canada would win every game by 50. What a player.

Chicago Blackhawks: Now it is Blackhawks' fans' turn to bitch about the Canucks trying to run up the score. Alan Vigneault flipped the script successfully.

Colorado Avalanche: Kyle Quincey(notes) you are the worst. Never mind that the whole team gave up six goals, you are to blame for all of them.

Columbus Blue Jackets: The meanest thing about the Blue Jackets having lost five in a row, the latest being a 7-2 stomping by the Penguins, is that they have to play the Stars, who haven't lost since Nov. 22, tonight.

Dallas Stars: Kari Lehtonen(notes) is already penciled in to start the next two Stars games. Meaning everyone that has Andrew Raycroft(notes) on their fantasy team has to scour the waiver wire.

Detroit Red Wings: Johan Franzen(notes) has six points in his last five games and 19 in 23 this year, but Mike Babcock would really like to see him pick it up a little bit.

Edmonton Oilers: Here is a daring premise -- Taylor Hall(notes) definitely belongs at the NHL level. This is an opinion shared by few people, I'm sure.

Florida Panthers: The Panthers finally won against a Pacific Division team, beating Phoenix 2-1 in a shootout. It was only their second win all season when tied through two periods.

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Los Angeles Kings: Anze Kopitar(notes) scored the overtime game-winner on Saturday against Detroit. He has three game-winning goals this year, two of which have come in his last two games.

Minnesota Wild: The Wild are 1-5-2 in their last eight games, so what's Chuck Fletcher gonna do about it?

Montreal Canadiens: Jacques Martin is all about Yannick Weber(notes) playing in place of PK Subban(notes), who was a healthy scratch. Now granted he finished plus-3 against the Sharks, but still, you'd rather play Weber than Subban? Really?

Nashville Predators: Sergei Kostitsyn had three points in his first 19 games this year. Now he has that many in his last two. Quite the turnaround.

New Jersey Devils: John MacLean would prefer that you keep all comments about how he will almost certainly be fired in the next few minutes to yourself. Please and thank you.

New York Islanders: Larry Brooks is begging the league to take over the Islanders. It's really quite a mess over there.

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New York Rangers: The Rangers are trying to trade for Brad Richards. With all those top-notch prospects and the boatloads of cap room they're carrying, and with Dallas unlikely to be happy about taking on salary given their ownership situation, this is a thing that will ABSOLUTELY happen.

Ottawa Senators: Kevin Bieksa would be a good fit for the Senators, says no less an authority than Bruce Garrioch. Presumably this is because Ottawa already has a bunch of defensemen who suck.

Philadelphia Flyers: The Flyers' power play is not so great sometimes. When they win, it's running at 24.3 percent. When they lose: 4.3.

Phoenix Coyotes: The Coyotes will not move to Winnipeg. This is not to be confused with the proclamation that the Coyotes will not move to Winnipeg (May), that the Coyotes will not move to Winnipeg (August) or that the Coyotes will not move to Winnipeg (November).

Pittsburgh Penguins: How ugly was the Pens' win over the Blue Jackets on Saturday? Mike Rupp AND Deryk Engelland scored. Worse, for a while there, it looked like Rupp's goal actually belonged to Eric Godard(notes).

San Jose Sharks: Patrick Marleau(notes) has not been going hard to the net. Todd McLellan with the burn, saying, "We talked a little bit about offensive opportunities and when I see them with his line, I tend to see him away from the net a little bit more." He'll skate with Joe Pavelski(notes) and Jamie McGinn(notes).

St. Louis Blues: The Blues were 0 for their last 16 on the power play. And playing the worst PK unit in the league (Edmonton) on Saturday. They went 0 for 1. And then went 0-for-5 against Vancouver.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Dan Ellis(notes) on the fact that Lightning goaltenders have been absolutely terrible for the last two and a half weeks (29 goals conceded in the last six games): "It's the time of the season when things aren't pretty for the goaltenders." I'll give Ryan Miller the bad news.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Actual real live headline: "With no help coming, Leafs look for improvement from within." Yeah, good luck with that.

Vancouver Canucks: It turns out that the secret to beating the Blackhawks if you're Roberto Luongo(notes) is to not allow any goals. Even hearing Chelsea Dagger once is enough to send his confidence into a death spiral.

Washington Capitals: The Caps and Penguins will have their logos on bottles of wine ahead of the Winter Classic. In the latter case, it will be bottles of WHINE! Hahahahaha yessssss! Got 'em!

Gold Star Award

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Ryan Miller stopped 51 of a possible 51 shots, which is the best he could have been asked to do.

Minus of the Weekend

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The New York Rangers gave up a hat trick to Chris Kelly(notes). That Chris Kelly. The one who had six points in 27 games prior to that.

Play of the Weekend

It's not often I put a fight as Play of the Weekend, but wow, Patrick Kaleta and Derek Dorsett. Wow.

Perfect HFBoards trade proposal of the week

Any time you read a post titled, "NJ - EDM Problem Solve" you are in for a treat. So thanks to you, user "ceeber."

Edmonton sends:

Cogliano

Stortini

Souray

Gilbert

For

Clarkson

Rolston

Volchenkov

Signoff

Maybe single people eat crackers. We don't know. Frankly, it's a market we can do without.

Ryan Lambert publishes hockey awesomeness rather infrequently over at The Two-Line Pass. Check it out, why don't you? Or you can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter if you so desire.

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