[Preface: If there is a 2012-13 campaign] 3 things (minimum!) have to happen for the Isles, outside the obvious ‘young players show improvement’ and ‘stay healthy’ rhetoric. Player improvement and health are perennial givens in the NHL.
Before I continue, earlier in the summer before the Visnovsky drama began and other division teams improved via trade and free agency, I was going to title this post, ‘To Make the Playoffs in 2012-13, The Isles need 3 things . . . ‘ Well, I changed my tune a little BUT, by all means, if you want to keep that title in your brain while reading this, please do. I just don’t think the Isles are going to realistically make the post-season this year. Hope I’m wrong, like Leia was initially wrong about Han.
1) Win games, in the 3rd period. Inconsistent teams, well they play inconsistently. They tighten up, coaches and players alike. They grip the stick a little too tight and sometimes expect ‘the other guy’ to make the play. There was A LOT of that last year for the young (and some over the hill) Islanders squad. In fact, the Islanders, if I’m not mistaken, led the NHL in losses after leading after two periods. In some cases, multiple goal leads, were blown. WTF? The one game that stands out in everyone’s mind is the 3/13/12 overtime loss to the Caps . . . at home . . . following a blown lead to the Devils and an OT loss to the Rangers less than a week prior.
Has to stop. Can’t be doing that silly stuff. Lots of finger pointing to be had, but at the end of the day, those are TEAM losses. Think about how many points were left on the table. Going into that Caps game, they had blown 9 leads. Conservatively, let’s say they win half of those. At least 4 points, maybe closer to 6 if you factor in one or two OT losses. Players and coaches were responsible. Actually, you know what I’m laying blame on? Those absurd 3rd / alternate jerseys that were rolled out last year. Holy crapola, are those things going away anytime soon?
2) Coaching . . . downright better coaching. That means you Jack. Connected very much to blown leads was bad coaching. I’m not on the bench, or in the locker room, but I know the effect that bad coaching can have (see item 1 above). I’m not wholly sure what the addition of Brent Thompson as an assistant will bring, but his limited success early in his coaching career sure can’t hurt. Another year under Cappy’s belt along with a year of experience for Dougie Weight should only help things along. I say now, and most probably agree, that if Cap’n Jack doesn’t take us too that special Island (at least 9th or 10th spot); then he’ll be flyin’.
3) Luck. Just plain ‘ole luck. The Islanders have not been on the receiving end of very much good fortune in say, the last twenty years, give or take. Shoot, I’m of the belief that this franchise sold their soul (along with the Oilers) in order to rack up those 4 Cups in a row. But in reality, it takes luck, good fortune, karma, bounces, referee calls etc. etc. etc. to succeed. It seems like last season, the Isles were not only playing their opponents, they were playing the officiating crew too. They are gonna need breaks people. Breaks will lead to goals, goals will lead to wins, wins will lead to confidence building, so on and so forth.
At any rate. That’s about all I have for this hot mid-August day. Feel free to comment! Trolls welcome.
For all your NHL hockey info needs, coverage, insight please check out www.toomanymenonthesite.com. Those guys write their assess off. Good CBA stuff there.