I have been through some pretty atrocious hockey before.
At 36, I have lived through some really, really, REALLY deplorable (I have to use that word right now because why not – everyone is, right?) hockey with the New York Islanders. Post 94, the years prior, Spano and the Gang of Four, Milbury….the beginning, middle and now maybe the end of Garth Snow.
I have even been fortunate enough to cover the team during the leanest of times. Filling rosters out with has-beens, never will-be’s and hopeful reclamation projects that never came to fruition, or worse – would only come around after they leave Long Island. Coaching changes….I have to laugh – I covered them through four.
In between all of that negative, I have witnessed some REALLY good stuff too. I was there for the Bates penalty shot, my time covering the team from 2007-2011, Al Arbour Night/Day, numerous Core of the Four Celebrations, I judged a High Five Competition with Benoit Hogue, Three Entry Drafts – the biggest being Tavares. There’s a lot more I have to write about, but there will be time for that.
Maybe its fitting, firing up my blog now a season and a half before Tavares makes the biggest decision of his career. Will he stay, or will he go?
But to the present, a rather ominous one.
What will change what we are seeing? We have a rudderless team that cannot seem to string together good hockey no matter how hard they try. They give up goals early, late – actually in 7 of 19 games according to Staple of Newsday.
But then you look to coaching.
Management has given the staff a vote of confidence and the new ownership has given a vote of confidence towards management. Great – but why? We just passed American Thanksgiving, a “deadline” of sorts typically for teams to either be IN the postseason or out – and the Islanders are way out. Dead last out.
We’ve allowed some key guys to leave via free-agency, and that happens to everyone. But the Islanders seem to always have a knack for signing guys who – I don’t know, don’t do their part to replace missing pieces or they are the wrong pieces in general?
Paging Andrew Ladd? You’re a notorious slow starter apparently, but you just signed a pretty fat deal my friend – its time you showed up.
Tavares now has no goals in 9 games. NINE.
We are an absolute disaster up and down the roster, but only because we have a coach who refuses to utilize his team to their individual strengths. The Islanders are said to be a possession team, but yet if you watch them play – they dump and chase, often never even regaining control of the puck. In my eyes this is an anti-possession style. They lack the size and tenacity they did to bang along the boards – yet they still try to accomplish that type of play as well.
Something, perhaps everything – is broken, but we’re not seeing change. The only change we see is young players often being scratched for the wrong reasons – and lip service about where they will be playing, especially at a natural position.
I don’t know entirely enough about advanced stats – but I do know this; giving up leads and mis-matching your lines or not shortening your bench late in a game is a recipe for disaster. That is clearly evident here.
At what point does a fanbase deserve change? We have new ownership that is seemingly sitting on their hands and has not been as vocal as they have been previously. It’s to stand up and address us Mr. Malkin and Mr. Ledecky.
Today is Black Friday, and another loss has given this once storied franchise another reason to wear a black eye.
Signing off now, before I say some things i’ll regret..