Islanders talk about snapping losing streak
Leaving on a jet plane to California Tuesday for their three-game West Coast road trip, the Islanders can get away -- at least temporarily -- from having to talk about how they should go about ending a seven-game losing streak.
Meanwhile, though, here are some of their thoughts.
Captain Doug Weight: “It’s up to everybody on this team to just keep bringing it, and keep looking at film or whatever. Ultimately, we know what to do, but we’ve got to play better. We’ve got to play more consistently, play with a little more vigor for 60 minutes. Gotta get a win; that’s it.”
Coach Scott Gordon: “I’m more encouraged about going on the trip after we’ve shown some signs we’ve made progress in the last two losses. Unfortunately, there’s no consolation in terms of saying you’re where you want to be. There are things we’d definitely gotten away from. Now it’s how we respond. ... We can only go off the last game. We competed. We battled.”
Defensemen Bruno Gervais: “You gotta start right back to basics, like we were doing [in practice this week]. Everyone showed up, everyone worked really hard. Little things that everyone knows, and that’s going to start going well, then you gain more confidence. You can’t just patch everything at once.”
Weight: “You come to the rink, work harder and have a good attitude, and know that no one in this league, or anyone outside this room, cares about you. You have to come together, come with some emotion and practice and just try to get out of it.
“You’ve got to challenge each other to come to the rink in a good mood and work hard. This is a privilege being in this league, and if you’re going to waste your time, whether it’s individually pouting, or as a team, you’re not going to be here very long. So you’ve got to learn -- as cliched as it is -- to stay on an even keel, whether you’re winning or losing, and come with that preparation and that feeling.”
Gordon: “One thing I can say is, when we come to practice, I’ve always found our guys attentive and willing to work. I think they’re encouraged. In the standings, it doesn’t show, but I think they saw that we generated some chances [in their last game] against Philadelphia. We hadn’t been doing that. It’s good to see they know we’re going in the right direction and we’ve just got to make sure we don’t slip and go back to what we were doing before.
“Basically, it comes down to knowing where to be on the ice, and then competing well.”
Weight: “There are times [as team captain and 20-year veteran] when you have to pass some things along. But I’m just as frustrated as anyone else. I don’t think, because you’re older and played more games, you like losing more than any other guys. So I’m just as mad and just as proud; I’m not whistling coming to the rink, either. But I’ve just got to make sure to lead by example, come in, whether it’s sarcastic or excited or whatever, and just portray the fact that we’re going to come out of this on Wednesday, and we know things are going to get better.
“I still believe we can be a top team. We’ve got to go out and prove it to everybody else.”
Gervais: Losing “is hard mentally. You get really fragile. Mentally, guys are a little tighter, they hold onto the puck another second. So the bigger part of the battle is mentally. Everyone is in shape here, everyone shows up, everyone is strong, fast.”
Gordon: “Our guys work hard, and the only thing that changes is that, sometimes as individuals, they get away from their own work ethic. It’s our job as coaches to make sure the players stay on top of that; sometimes it creeps into your game. It’s human nature that players, when things don’t go well, will try to do things that maybe they shouldn’t do, or press. There’s an element that sometimes you’ve go to be hard and firm and sometimes pull back and let the players get their space. There’s always some balance to that.”
Weight: “It’s not easy at times, but we’re going to come out with some emotion on Wednesday, with some jump in our step and with some confidence.”
As far as personnel adjustments, Josh Bailey has been returned to center after a stint on wing and Jon Sim has been recalled from Bridgeport. Gordon said he was not sure how available forward Zenon Konopka will be after taking a shot on his foot in Saturday’s loss. Konopka returned to practice on Tuesday and made the trip with the team.