The fans waited for seven years - the timetable set by the madman - but when the time came, everyone was overwhelmed by just how underwhelming the finished product really was. After three years, they all decided to take a break and think on what they had seen. When the team returned, the fans had begun to scatter, so the madman said, "Give me the phone! It's time for a rebuild, and this time we'll do it right!"
After some small trades were made, Wang looked around and said, "What are you doing?" The madman replied, "I saw that the fans were scattering, and I saw how bad the team had been playing and so I picked up the pho-"
"You have been very foolish!" interrupted Wang. "You have never once tried to build a team patiently. You've had all this time, and never once thought about just waiting! If you had spoken consistently I would have allowed you to rule this team forever, but now your rule must come to an end. If rebuilding is the plan, there will be a new man for the job, patient and smart, one who will be willing to listen to everything I say!"
And with that, Wang went to the dressing room to find his man. When he walked in, he yelled, "Big news goalie!" but Rick was the only goalie in the room, so Wang panicked and made up some big news for him too.
Edmonton Oilers (15-18-3)
Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, 11:00 a.m. MST
Television: Sportsnet West
More analysis after the jump...
Home Team Scouting Report:
I know this isn't a real shock, but the Islanders are one of the worst teams in the NHL. They're also a cautionary tale for the people invested in the Edmonton Oilers. This is now the fourth consecutive season that the Islanders have been "rebuilding" and while it's true that the team is closer to being done today than they were four years ago, they're still awful, and there's no elite team just waiting to come on out. These things rarely happen with a slow and steady climb, but teams like the Islanders are a good reminder that the sudden jump out of the rebuild and into a playoff contender is a whole lot harder than the intentional dive down the elevator shaft.
Edmonton Oilers (15-18-3):
Smyth - Horcoff - Hemsky
Hall - Nugent-Hopkins - Eberle
Gagner - Belanger - Jones
Eager - Lander - Petrell
Smid - Gilbert
Sutton - Potter
Peckham - Petry
New York Islanders (12-17-6):
Moulson - Tavares - Okposo
Rolston - Nielsen - Parenteau
Martin - Bailey - Grabner
Niederreiter - Reasoner - Wallace
Streit - Jurcina
Hamonic - MacDonald
Mottau - Eaton
By the Numbers:
- New York's leading scorer is P.A. Parenteau who has 30 points in 35 games. Michael Grabner and Matt Moulson are also among the team's top six scorers. All three of those guys weren't able to establish themselves in the NHL until arriving in New York. On the one hand, the Islanders deserve credit for finding these guys. On the other hand, it tells you just how much opportunity matters, and a good reminder that replacement level is extremely difficult to measure (though I think all three of these players should be comfortably above that mark).
- John Tavares is the guy you'd expect to be leading the Islanders in scoring, and he is just one point behind Parenteau. But perhaps more impressive is the fact that he's currently tied for fifteenth in shots on goal in the entire NHL, which bodes well for his ability to produce goals in the future.
- No team has lost more than the Islanders since the lockout, but the Oilers are the closest. Both teams are also still terrible and counting on star players acquired through the draft to turn things around. Both teams have at least five players chosen in the top ten in their draft year already.
- Tom Gilbert leads the Oilers in ice time per game by over three minutes (he has played 24:10 per game compared to 20:42 for Ladislav Smid). That's the third largest gap from first to second in the NHL. The only bigger gaps are in Chicago and Calgary where Duncan Keith and Jay Bouwmeester handle over 26:00 per game.
- Rick DiPietro's cumulative save percentage since the 2007-08 season is .887 on 1,384 shots when he's actually been healthy enough to play. This season, he's back on injured reserve. I know they must want him to retire, but I wonder how long the club holds on before deciding to buy him out.