Empty Stretch of Road Ahead?

Wow, you step away from the computer for a few days and it seems like all heck breaks loose!

Where do we begin? Let’s look back at the home loss to the Rangers. I didn’t really feel like posting when I got home from the game on Thursday – for one I was really bummed out and felt like I could use a rest and it was the first night that I didn’t personally have a hockey game in almost a week. I had a game Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday night – talk about being exhausted!

Not much good came out of that game against the Rangers – they let their opponent score less than two minutes in, fall behind by two goals early, power play fizzled, out hustled, out worked, out hit, you name it and the Islanders likely didn’t excel at it last week. They also failed to capitalize on two extremely important divisional points. Dubielewicz did pretty much all he could, but just as the team did to DiPietro on countless occasions – he was hung out to dry on several occasions.

Next up we have the loss to the Flyers – but I didn’t even watch this game as I was in Atlantic City for a craft beer festival (aka – Beerfest!). The strange part, I was closer to the game that night than I was from home. I kept myself updated on the score – but once I saw that it was 3-0 I really stopped caring because I knew the Isles couldn’t pull out a win. Later on in the night I checked the score one more time to find it finished at 4-1. What I did not know at the time was that the Islanders had taken a TON of penalties and that the Flyers would score on 4 seperate power plays – disappointed wasn’t even a word, devastated is more like it. It’s bad enough that the Islanders posses a horrible power play, now their penalty kill has gone down the tubes as well – depressing!

So to recap, two points lost to the Rangers and two points lost to the Flyers which could have kept the Islanders right in the thick of things – but that doesn’t look likely now. In the time since the Isles last played – the Rangers went to overtime against Boston and Buffalo tonight – too many extra points for the team we are chasing. Realistically we aren’t even chasing the Rangers at this point – so this is one Isles fan who is rooting for the Rangers to do as much damage as possible.

A look at the standings as of this writing:

  • 7. Boston – 80 pts
  • 8. Philadelphia – 78 pts
  • 9. Buffalo – 75 pts
  • 10. Washington – 72 pts
  • 11. Florida – 72 pts
  • 12. Islanders – 71 pts
  • 13. Toronto – 70 pts
  • 14. Atlanta – 68 pts
  • 15. Tampa – 60 pts

Islanders games remaining:

  • Tue Mar 11, 2008 Islanders at Lightning
  • Wed Mar 12, 2008 Islanders at Panthers
  • Sat Mar 15, 2008 Islanders at Canadiens
  • Tue Mar 18, 2008 Maple Leafs at Islanders
  • Fri Mar 21, 2008 Islanders at Devils
  • Sun Mar 23, 2008 Islanders at Flyers
  • Mon Mar 24, 2008 Penguins at Islanders
  • Thu Mar 27, 2008 Islanders at Penguins
  • Sat Mar 29, 2008 Flyers at Islanders
  • Tue Apr 1, 2008 Devils at Islanders
  • Thu Apr 3, 2008 Rangers at Islanders
  • Fri Apr 4, 2008 Islanders at Rangers

As you can see by that daunting listing of games – there is quite the task ahead of them. Last year everything fell into place with teams like Montreal, Toronto and Boston each doing what we needed them to do, we also took key games from the Flyers, Rangers, Devils and Pittsburgh and made it into the 8th seed on Easter Sunday by beating New Jersey in a shootout. The task impressed me (and excited me) so much that I decided to get new vanity plates just for the feat (Easter Epic of 2007). I don’t really think that something amazing will happen this year, as there are just far too many variables in the new equation.

We would need to basically win out all of our remaining games, while the teams we are chasing or are on our heels falter. With the amount of injuries, the lack of scoring, the non-existent power play and now a struggling penalty kill there are far too many obstacles in the way. However, stranger things have happened and if something by chance does work out in their favor – so be it.

One player named Okposo will be making his NHL debut sometime in the final 9 games of the season, so there is one bright spot to look forward to. We can also relish the idea of playing spoiler for the teams around us – but I would prefer to see the team play their hearts out here down the stretch.

You know there is very little hope left when just, about, every, single, Islanders blogger has the same opinion as you.

It’s not quite over – but it’s very, very close.

Michael Schuerlein

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