Like Gary, I must also apologize for my lack of writing. It has simply come down to a combination of being a lot busier than I expected, suffering from serious writers block, and a bit depressed and disappointed about the fact that the Isles did not make the playoffs, and, if they did, they would have had as good a shot at advancing as any other team based on how things have unfolded.
I have certainly been following the playoffs, though, admittedly, the current round has been harder to catch because of timing and personal circumstances. I would have never expected the Rangers and Devils representing the East, and the Kings and Coyotes being the two teams left in the West. This, to me, was a pair of conference final match ups I would not have predicted.
This probably won’t be one of my most interesting posts, but here are some random thoughts and comments about a bunch of different topics in no particular order. This includes the playoffs, the Worlds, Gary’s previous post, and some related subjects. As usual, though, these are my opinions, and surely don’t mean anything more or less than anyone else’s perspectives.• It astounds me the wide range of fan reactions to things that happen in Islander Country. Without a doug, we have some of the most passionate fans, yet I must also admit that I am often embarrassed by the material I read. Yes, the anger that this community often reflects, though surely understandable in some instances, is often misplaced, distorted, over reactionary and, yes, occasionally flat out Wrong.
• Am I completely happy with the state of the team? No, I have been pretty honest about my thoughts on that matter. Do I blame anyone for the state of the team? No, not any single individual. Do I think we are heading in the write direction under current ownership and management? Yes, hands down, I do. Perhaps, it’s slower than some fans have voiced their opinions, but I feel this team has shown real progress, and just as importantly, I believe the core group we have in place is a group that can take this team far into the future with successful seasons.
• Why isn’t PA Parenteau signed long term yet? I will say no more on that matter, other than I am starting to get a really bad feeling.
• It has been good to see Islander players well represented in the Worlds. I was able to catch some of the games, and I’m glad guys like JT, Okie and Streiter did well for their respective teams.
• Do I expect any big signings or trades during the off season? I have no idea. Would I like to see things happen? Without a doubt, yes. Some solid back line support, another scorer and, perhaps, another on and off ice leader type of player. This team still needs a few pieces to push itself into the realm of making the top 8 by season’s end, and though we are stacked with prospects, I don’t think the pipe line is yet to produce impact results as of yet.
• I must say that the Los Angeles Kings have impressed me. I don’t think many people saw that coming. They are just doing all the right things, and I think they have handled every opponent thus far with relative ease. I know I will not be popular with the writers of the Western Conference teams among our Fansided family, but I am getting a kick out of Dustin Brown’s play. As an “old school” hockey fan, you gotta love him.
• The Rangers, of course, have been a surprise to me. You have to give them credit as well. They have been taken to 7 in each of the first two rounds, but managed to advance. I am amused by how “Tort” always seems to blame everyone else every time his team loses, but I guess a coach has to do what a coach has to do. It will be interesting to see if their magic can last against a team that has been an equal surprise. The Devils, in my opinion, scare me as much as the Kings for different reasons.
• I’ve said it before, but hats off to NBC for the complete and solid coverage of the playoffs. I have truly enjoyed it, and I really hope that folks let them know how many hockey fans appreciated it.
• Going back to the Fan appreciation afternoon for the Islanders, one thing I forgot to comment on, as I was at that game, was the fact that Rick DiPietro bought hotdogs and sodas for the first 5000 fans. I don’t recall much being said about that, but despite your thoughts about Ricky, that was a classy thing to do. I personally thank Ricky, as I was at the game with two of my nephews and all four of my brothers.
• I will say this flat out. The draft party the Islanders will be holding is a great idea. I hope the fans come out and support it. I don’t care what the feeling is about the season and the state of things, we have a #4 pick and several of the players will be there. Come out and rally around our boys. They deserve the support and the enthusiasm. All the other politics and the arena situation doesn’t matter right now. They are Our Islanders, and let’s demonstrate our appreciation for their efforts.
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