Comrie Changing the Hockey Motif on the Island|
by: Patrick Hickey, Jr. | Senior Writer - NY Sports Day | Thursday, October 25, 2007
Through his first eight games as an Islander, Mike Comrie has showed flashes of brilliance this season, leading the team in scoring with 10 points. Signing a one-year contract in an effort to finally establish himself as a top-line center after years of failing to live up to his potential, Comrie has helped lead the Isles offensive attack, making the most of his time on the ice this season.
However, thatís not the only thing Comrie brings to the Islanders.
Exhibiting a gritty work ethic and a passion to prove himself, the flashy center, whoís currently dating the sultry singer Hillary Duff, Comrie hasnít let anyone down so far this season.
With character guys like Jason Blake and Ryan Smyth leaving during the big free agent boom of July, the Islanders desperately needed someone to come in and solidify a role. Luckily for the Isles, Comrie has done exactly that. Combined with the play of Ruslan Fedotenko and Bill Guerin, who are both also scoring at about a point a game clip as well, the Islanders have yet to feel the effects of the loses of last yearís stars.
Additionally, Comrie brings a different kind of attitude the Islanders need. Always regarded as a player full of potential, but who was never big or strong enough to play with the big boys of the NHL, Comrie epitomizes the blue-collar work ethic that Isles head coach Ted Nolan has wanted for the team from day one.
Comrieís play so far this season has also made the recent memories of Blake, Smyth and former captain Alexei Yashin, who the team bought-out this offseason in an effort to overhaul the team, distant ones. That has rejuvenated a fan base that over the past decade has watched the team give up on talented young players like Todd Bertuzzi, Bryan McCabe, Roberto Luongo and Tim Connolly, to only see them flourish somewhere else and seen management sign players to ridiculous contracts, to only see them fall short of expectations.
Now, for the first time in years, it finally feels like the Islanders have a cast of characters that can get the job done on the ice. Thatís saying a lot, considering the team hasnít been past the first round of the playoffs since 1993. While itís entirely too soon to give the team a fighting chance in the playoff hunt just yet, guys like Comrie have proven that they can be vital cogs when given the opportunity.
To fans on the Island desperately hanging on and waiting for a team that they can believe in to present themselves, thereís no time better than now to make predictions.