Nothing is going right for the New York Islanders. They play in the league's worst building, the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, and are stuck here until their lease expires in 2015. They haven't won a playoff series in 17 years, haven't been to the playoffs since 2007, and won't be returning this season. They've got one of the game's brighter young stars in John Tavares, but it's lucky they got him through the draft. Otherwise, wild horses can't drag players here. In a Natinonal Hockey League Players' Association poll of 318 players released last week, the Islanders were voted as the team they'd least like to play for. That poll had been given real-life validity recently when goalie Evgeni Nabokov said he wouldn't report to the Islanders after they claimed him on waivers, foiling Nabokov's plan to land with the Detroit Red Wings. So it is any surprise that their colossal bad luck has continued with the untimely loss of oft-injured goalie Rick DiPietro. No, it isn't a surprise, only the stupidity of DiPietro is. He said you don't go into a fight expecting to get hammered, but that's exactly what happened when he took the first fighting major of his career against Pittsburgh's Brent Johnson on Wednesday. And now it's cost his team. Johnson hammered DiPietro in the face and fractured some bones. To make it worse, DiPietro also came out of the fight with swelling in his knee. The tally: four to six weeks on the injury list. With Nathan Lawson (knee) also out another two weeks, the Islanders are down to 20-year-old Kevin Poulin, who started the year in the American Hockey League, and 22-year-old prospect Mikko Koskinen, who made his first appearance in the NHL when he sat as Poulin's backup against the Senators on Saturday night. Koskinen is a promising prospect (he was a second-round pick in 2009) but his AHL numbers are terrible: 5-15, with a 3.64 goals-against average and an .883 save percentage.
Net loss is story of Isles' season
Ottawa Citizen | Feb 6