The New York Islanders are in the midst of an up-and-down season. After 22 games, they sit at 8-11-3 (19 pts) and seventh place in the Metropolitan Division. Injuries to the defensive corps, ill-timed penalties, and mental mistakes late in games have cost this team more than a few points so far this year.
Is this all cause for concern? Absolutely. Is it reason enough to pull the trigger on another blockbuster trade, sending prized prospects and draft picks in the hopes of getting a Norris- or Vezina-trophy candidate? Absolutely not.
For one, those trades don’t exist. At least not in the real world. Secondly, this Islanders team is what it is: a fringe playoff team that had unnecessarily high hopes placed upon it by the fans and the media based on a fluky late-season run last year that culminated in a hard-fought playoff series.
This team was by no means poised to make a run for the Stanley Cup this year, despite what the fan base may have hoped.
The truth of the matter is that the 2013-14 NHL season will be a roller coaster ride for this club. Help in goal or on the blue line isn’t on its way anytime soon, meaning the Isles will have to weather the storm. Maybe in the end, this season gives a young team the necessary experience to contend for the Cup a few years down the road.
To think that the Islanders are world-beaters is both naïve and unfair. Yes, they have the talent to succeed—we all saw it last year—but setbacks have a way of realigning perception, which is exactly what we’re seeing so far.
The team is back to square one, in a sense: taking each game as it comes, beginning (again) with tomorrow night’s matchup with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
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Calling All Armchair GMs: CapGeek Wants YOU (Eyes On Isles)
Tavares Puts His Game Face On (NY Islanders)
Islanders Bemoan Lack Of Defense (Newsday)
Last Night In The NHL
Calgary 1 (OT)
New Jersey 4
Anaheim 3 (OT)
Across The Sound
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (4-8-1-1) face the Hartford Wolf Pack this Saturday night at Webster Bank Arena, looking to snap a two-game losing streak. They’ll have to do so without starting goaltender Anders Nilsson, who was recalled by the Islanders after veteran goalie Evgeni Nabokov went down with a groin injury that will require approximately four-to-six weeks of recovery time.
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