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Dreger: Snow says struggling Isles will stay the course

Darren Dreger
12/15/2010 2:55:42 PM
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New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow admits, these are the dark days.

"It's tough, really tough, I've never been through anything like this before," Snow told TSN.ca.

Snow and the Isles have lost six straight games and 20 of their last 21 and remain locked in 30th place in the NHL with just five wins in 28 games.

Snow, hired in July of 2006 to replace Neil Smith, who was abruptly fired by Islanders owner Charles Wang after less than six weeks on the job, rejects the notion this team is again in need of an overhaul.

Whispers of the possibility of another coaching change, or shake-up, are quickly refuted.

"It's difficult, but you find out who can and who can't handle the adversity," Snow added.

Snow says there have been opportunities to make changes, but he believes in the young core of the club and sees encouraging signs in their worth ethic.

"Are there situations where I could have moved a prospect or a young player for a quick fix? Yeah, but we're not going to do that."

Snow views the improved play of Rick DiPietro as the silver lining in New York's skid and points to recent games against Boston and Atlanta for evidence his oft-injured goaltender is getting his timing back.

The Isles GM chooses not to lean on excuses, but it's hard not to factor in the calibre of players on New York's injury list which includes no fewer than 11 names.

Among them, long-term injuries to defenceman Mark Streit and young forward Kyle Okposo, have had a significant impact, especially on a sagging powerplay that has produced just one goal in the last 48 opportunities.

Nine of Streit's 11 goals in 2009-2010 were scored on the power play.

The Isles received some good news this week, as veteran defenseman Mike Mottau has been cleared to start skating after taking a puck to the right eye in a game last month in Atlanta.

Injuries aside, Snow says the answers are within New York's dressing room, but he recognizes the toll a losing environment can take on developing players like John Tavares, who's frustrations manifested into his first career fight on the weekend with Atlanta's Alex Burmistrov.

"I'd be lying if I told you it wasn't weighing on everyone," Snow concluded.

Yet, the message remains the same, to stay the course.

Darren Dreger

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