Yesterday afternoon, I arrived on Long Island for the first time in 6 months to visit family for the holidays. I was excited to eat a meal cooked by my mother and watch the Islanders play on MSG+2- the other other MSG. Anyway, Islander country’s hopes were unusually high coming in to this season, making this current skid even harder to swallow.
The lineup going into the playoffs last season wasn’t much different either, giving fans reason to believe the team would go far this season. But, what I’m noticing with the Islanders style of play as of late has less to do with skill or ability, but with personality, attitude, and confidence. Much like my mother saw in me growing up, we’re all witnessing with the Islanders growing pains this season.
Despite having good grades going into college, my first semester turned out to be a hard one. For the Islanders, last season’s six-game playoff run was their summer orientation to college after achieving their acceptance letter, meaning they have a lot to learn about what the lifestyle is all about and, much like first year college students, shouldn’t be expect to excel right away.
Much like me, the Islanders need to learn what it takes to be balanced, focused, and understanding of how to overcome setbacks. However, with the young roster, and more specifically the defense-core, mistakes are going to happen; growing pains will be noticeable against teams that have reached maturity and it will be difficult to ignore. The good news is, for college students and the Islanders, there’s time to turn it around.
I found solace in knowing that in the spring semester of my freshmen year I could pick up the slack and be a better student. As the Islanders game last night coincides with some college graduations, I see this as a possible turning point. The Metropolitan Division is, as we all know, terrible. This is good news for the Islanders as it gives them time to rebound and start their ascent game by game.
With that being said, and this word a touchy one for many fans, patience will be a virtue as we continue this season hoping for our team to once again make strides towards their future. Even more, understanding that we cannot expect those strides to be made in a good stretch of games during a shortened season will prove to be the catalyst in fans’ ability to see the progress being made before the move to Brooklyn, though their record will not always prove it so.