Staple, with Newsday since 1997, has covered high school sports, hockey and football.
Matt Moulson is on track for his third straight 30-goal season, and his first 40-goal season. That's what happens when you get 20 goals in 40 games, as Moulson did with his second goal of Tuesday's 5-1 win over the Wings.
But the time for Moulson to make sure the hockey world knows he's a legitimate scorer has passed. He's looking for attention in a different way.
"I don't know if it was my first three-year contract [a $9.4 million deal signed last January] or just maturing, but I've kind of gotten over that hump of trying to prove myself and prove people wrong," Moulson said. "Obviously, I want us to win games, and I always have. But I think that's a stronger feeling now, that this team needs points and wins more than I need goals."
Moulson was a late bloomer, dumped out of the Kings organization despite three straight 20-goal seasons in the AHL before Garth Snow scooped Moulson up to ease John Tavares' transition to the pros.
Moulson's name almost never gets mentioned without Tavares', and it's No. 91 who is an All-Star this season, even though Brian Rolston summed up the Isles' feelings when he yelled, "Tell him you got robbed!" over his shoulder as Moulson was chatting.
"I'm not a guy who's going to create his own pretty goals, so I owe this to playing with some great players," Moulson said. "But this is what I'm paid to do, this is my job, and sometimes you get on streaks."
MacDonald not changing
Andrew MacDonald missed seven games after blocking a shot off his leg in the waning seconds of a 2-1 win over the Sabres on Nov. 29. He nearly missed some action last week after blocking a shot with his foot in Carolina.
It's difficult to change your instincts when you're a willing shot-blocker like MacDonald, who had 84 blocked shots in 34 games coming into last night's game with the Sabres. He's second on the team to Travis Hamonic, who had 97, and 20th in the league after finishing 15th in the league last season with 160 blocks in just 60 games.
"It's more of a think-after thing," MacDonald said. "You never really have a lot of time to think about what to do or whether to block a shot. [Being hurt] doesn't really change your game because you're reacting most times."
MacDonald said he's added some extra leg padding and Shot Blockers, hard-shell plastic guards that go over vulnerable spots on skate boots.
"You take as many precautions as you can," he said.
De Haan's ups and downs
Calvin de Haan had an up and down couple of weeks in Bridgeport, being named an AHL All-Star on Jan. 4 in his first pro season, then going down with yet another shoulder injury four days later.
De Haan does not need surgery but he'll be out 4-6 weeks, which means he won't get to participate in the AHL's All-Star game on Jan. 30 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.
De Haan has had shoulder problems since he was the 12th overall pick in 2009.
Isles host the Predators Monday at 1 p.m. -- they are 15-1-7 in their last 23 home games against Western Conference opponents -- before heading off to visit the Capitals and Flyers on Tuesday and Thursday.
The 200 club
Mark Streit is on track to play his 200th game as an Islander on Tuesday, giving the Isles six players on the roster who have played 200 games in the uniform:
Frans Nielsen -- 279 (62nd on Isles list)
Josh Bailey -- 253 (69th)
Kyle Okposo -- 231 (t-80th)
Matt Moulson -- 206* (91st)
John Tavares -- 203 (93rd)
Mark Streit -- 198 (96th)
* consecutive games played