Episode IV: A New Hope: Isles-Panthers Preview

 

Uniondale N.Y. – At 5PM, yes 5PM which if you have a nice early Sunday Dinner you can be ready for faceoff (hoping my Cousin’s wife reads this!!!). Our Isles take on the Florida Panthers from the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.  This evening’s game is the last of a IV game home stand which cannot come to an end soon enough.

Tonight’s game (can I call it tonight? I’m so confused) is the crossroads of all crossroads. Thanks to the help of my good friend The Commish we have a plethora of titles for this one. Tonight is a “must-win, desperate, gotta have it, backs against the wall, now or never.” game.

Somehow, Someway:

Just bluntly from the numbers we are still somehow, someway only a mindboggling 3 points out of the final playoff spot as we begin the day in the Prince of Wales. However much it may not feel as such, the mathematical fact remains that should we win (fourth time writing those words this week) we will be digesting our deserts watching the Rangers-Caps tilt only 1 point from the final playoff spot! Optimism will still be intact, alive and well in fact, and desert will taste even more delicious. Everything goes better with victory!

“ I learned here that there can be no true despair without hope.”

I know, you know, we… Know, what has transpired this week, and to be honest as Islander fans we are lucky if we still have an appetite (to begin eating no later then 4:00 today…) However the fact that we can start our school-less week tomorrow morning only 1 point from the post season dance, still dangles and perpetuates hope. All be it a “new” hope.

5-11-2 At Home:

“FREE POINTS ! Get your FREE POINTS here!!!” Tonight it’s the Panthers who, if their bus didn’t break down from Newark last night have to feel like, “Hi we are here about the 2 points?” Not to dwell on the negative but even the league’s worst team Florida at 9-17-6 for 24 points has got to feel disappointed if they leave Nassau with anything less then a win.

Shoulda made a left at Al B Kur K:

Wow can a game ever have such an impact on the remainder of a season as much as this one tonight?  Spiderman not withstanding there are so many directions that the results of tonight’s tilt will have on this team that it is fun to sit back grab your favorite libation (after noon on Sunday’s of course) and just ponder. We as Islander fans often enjoy a good ponder, do we not???

Should we win: This one is actually the easier of the two for the short term.  If we win, we will remain worst case scenario only 3 points out of the final playoff spot, heading off on a 4 game road trip, and never again this regular season to have any back to back home dates the remainder of the way.  Unfortunately and unexplainably this is a good thing.  A win and in short we live to fight another day, or even week…

Should we lose: Then things start to get dicey.  If we lose today (and we shouldn’t) we could awake 5 points out of the final playoff spot behind 5 teams to just get to #8, with only 16 games to go. Mathematically certainly not over, but realistically, emotionally, and mentally it may be the final nail in our coffin.

Interestingly should we lose tonight we would then only be 3 points removed from being the worst team in the league and smack dab in the middle of the Seth Jones sweepstakes yet again.

A fourth consecutive home loss this week would more then likely be the end of the Jack Capuano tenure behind our bench. In his defense when the lock out ended most “experts” picked the Isles 14-15th in the conference with Montreal. So to suddenly call for Capuano’s job has been something I have tried to hold off on. But our home record, our third period (what’s another word for disgrace?), and our inability to change lines, coupled with another draft party will have even me calling for Capuano’s removal.

As a reverse compliment if you think about this, it is the opinions of most fans that although the team is committed to it’s money-puck system of salary cap/floor manipulation we were at one point (after 2 periods versus the Sens on Tues night) more then good enough to make the post season, and now a failure to do so is an underachievement. Glad to see the bar has been raised, sad if we lose Cappy because he helped to raise it.

A loss today would too sets the philosophy in motion for the up coming April 3rd trade deadline, and like the Mets of a summer ago would get Garth Snow off the hook of being a potential “buyer”.

The Isles have 4 decent assets that many bubble and contending teams may highly covet at the deadline.  Mark Streit (don’t let the door hit you in the Arshe). Lubomir Visnovsky, Evgeni Nabokov, and Brad Boyes.  All of whom have contracts which expire at the end of the season.  And if Garth Snow can get an offer for Marty Reasoner who’s contract expires as well, then he has to move him also.

AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME ‘FO THAT!

I however cannot see the possibility of waking up tomorrow for work, being only 1 point out of a playoff spot, being “OK” if we lose to an inferior team on home ice in front of what will be a building packed with kids today.  Nope not on that train. a loss today is not “OK”

I want this roller coaster ride to continue don’t you? even as painful as this week has been the season bizarre indeed has been a fun one.  With only 17 to go till it’s over don’t you want to see this team battle tested? Especially battle the Rangers for the 8th and final seat!

Push the calendar forward a year (play chess with me for a moment) would not this organIzation benefit from a playoff push this season? Fail or succeed we are more then likely going to be in or around the playoff bubble a year from now. If we lose today, have a fire sale, and have another Ferris Wheeled draft party picking at or near the top of the draft won’t help nearly as much as a test here and now.

This team needs a test. These boys need to know what it takes to knock down that door, and change the atmosphere here.  A loss today could and most likely would remove the urgency and meaningfulness of the remaining 16 setting us back an entire year, in essence wasting the lock out. Therefore Spidey’s visit today is huge.

Personally I just don’t want the season to end tonight. There will be 16 left on the schedule no matter what, but we all know what a loss does to us tonight. A win though, a win and… We still have hope… STILL IN IT!!!

Quick Notes:

  • Anders Lee and The Notre Dame Fighting Irish take on Michigan today at 2PM from Detroit. The winner gets an automatic invite to the 2013 Men’s NCAA Ternement.
  • Panther’s lost last night in Jersey 2-1
  • Both Buffalo and Washington have caught us in the standings
  • Darn it!!! I forgot to digress…

Thank you, Don’t give up!

Scotty Bonner

Tryin to capture the Spirit of the Thing…

P.S. Have a Nice Day !! :0)

Follow Scotty: @moosiestmoose42

Follow Eyes on Isles: @eyesonisles

Follow the Dream @battle4theapple

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Topics: Cats, Florida Panthers, Garth Snow, HOCKEY, Islanders, Jack Capuano, John Tavares, Matt Martin, New York Islanders, NHL, Nhl Playoffs, Panthers

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