I tell ya, being an Islanders fan isn’t easy. We get no respect, no respect at all! “My wife….” Ah, never mind, we will let Rodney Dangerfield rest in peace. Back to hockey!
With the season just about upon us, it’s worth noting that once again the Isles are getting very little praise from the media. No one is picking them to win the Cup, obviously. But many, have them not even making the playoffs.
So what if they haven’t won a playoff series since 1993. It’s different now. Things have changed in Uniondale. The future is so bright…yada yada yada.
The last time the Islanders took us on an exciting playoff run was 1993. Ah, 1993, how we long for thee. Remember what happened the next season? Good, neither do we.
This team is built for long term success. Obviously it starts with John Tavares, who, despite the assertion of many hockey pundits that the Isles won’t make the playoffs, is a major Hart Trophy contender.
So, you’re saying to yourself, “This is not possible! How could the Isles be disrespected so badly after giving the Penguins all they could handle last season?” Unfortunately, it is true. Many of the so-called “hockey experts” have picked the Isles to finish out of the playoff race.
Who are these dastardly people? You may have heard of many of these sites.
We will start with:
The Hockey News
The Hockey News has the Islanders finishing fifth in the newly formed Metropolitan Division. You know who it has finishing above them? Columbus. Yes, the same team that did not make the playoffs last season is going to go to the big dance, while he Isles stay home, according to this vaunted publication. They unsurprisingly pick the Rangers to finish above the Isles as well. We know how that goes…They also picked the Flyers to make the playoffs. Are you surprised? After the Flyers spent like the Rangers this past offseason, apparently The Hockey News figures they can buy themselves into the playoffs. We shall see.
Who else can jump off the Brooklyn Bridge as far as Isles fan are concerned?
Here it’s not as much about a predicted finish, as it is about the comments that they make. First, they called last year a “quasi-success”. That comment is liveable. After all, they did not win the series, but they did make it to the playoffs and give Pittsburgh quite a scare. A quasi-success.
What is a little bit infuriating is the “worst case scenario”. While their best case scenario has the Isles winning a playoff round, the worst case scenario has someone “remind them they are the Islanders”. Should we remind Columbus they are the Blue Jackets? Should we remind the Rangers they have won one Cup in 73 years, and that was with another team’s players. Cool it, Grantland. Cool it.
Now, don’t get them confused with the others, Puck Daddy is not SO down on the Isles. Their editors have a mixed bag of predictions, but the harshest one comes from editor Greg Wyshynski. He predicts the Isles to finish next to last in the division, above only…The Flyers! Take THAT Grantland! Oh, wait…they still have the Isles finishing poorly. Nevermind.
Everywhere you turn with these kind of previews, you see one consistent thing-goaltending is an issue and Nabby has to better. As stated in our EyesOnIsles Season Preview, Evgeni Nabokov must be at the top of his game for this young Islanders team to get anywhere. Wyshnski’s prediction is very harsh, and is something of a worst case scenario. Let’s hope that Nabby is outstanding and proves his critics wrong.
Special Shout Outs
On the flip side, for all the writers, bloggers, commentators, talking heads and others who are down on the Isles, we should recognize those who ARE giving the Islanders credit. Two SI writers in particular have good things happening for the men who proudly wear Long Island on their chest.
No, that’s not Sarah Kwak. That’s Isles coach Jack Capuano, of course!
Not only has Ms. Kwak predicted, that the boys from Long Island will make the playoffs, but that Islanders head coach Jack Capuano will win the Jack Adams Award for league’s top head coach. She is the only one. No, really. We love Cappy, but she is literally the only one who is predicting an award for Capuano. Wouldn’t THAT be something! If Cappy wins the Jack Adams, Sarah Kwak should get a parade.
A man who could soon become a fan favorite of Isles Nation, Eli Bernstein, has also predicted a playoff berth for the Islanders. What would make him a hero to the legion of Isles fans, is his prediction of John Tavares as the winner of the Hart Trophy, for the MVP of the league. Many feel JT got snubbed last year. If the Isles do anything special this season, Tavares will have to be MVP caliber and prove Bernstein correct.
The time for pontificating and predicting is over. The season is finally upon us.
That leads us to one final question.
Is it October yet? YES!