The Final 4 Are Set-But Do Isles Fans Care?


May 11, 2013; Uniondale, NY, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins left wing James Neal (18) takes down New York Islanders defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky (11) during the third period of game six of the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The Penguins won the game 4-3 and won the series 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

So, just like every other year since 1993, the NHL’s Final Four are set, and the New York Islanders are not a part of it.  Well, now what? We have a couple of options:

  1. Make believe hockey season is over
  2. Turn our attention to baseball
  3. Turn our attention to MLS-ok just kidding, no one cares about MLS
  4. Watch highlights of the playoff series and hope things turn out differently this time
  5. Recreate the playoffs using army men, white paper towels and audio clips of Jiggs McDonald.

Let’s investigate these options further:

Make Believe Hockey Season Is Over-Really? I don’t think we really wanna do that. This playoff season has been so exciting. We got in, had a great run, and we don’t have to worry about the Rangers or even the Devils going far. Now, we can sit back and just watch some great hockey. After all, even if it’s not the Isles, it’s still hockey. It’s still a game we love. Most hockey fans just love the sport in general. Of course we all prefer that our team goes all the way, but success without any heartbreak is not really as much fun.

Turn Our Attention to Baseball-We could. The Yankees are doing fairly well, the Mets are mediocre at best. But, it’s not even June. There are still 4 full months of baseball before we get to the playoffs. We can absolutely keep following our teams, but really it’s more for between hockey games and between series right now. There will be plenty of time for baseball. Even if it is 90 degrees outside, and it makes you think of Summer and baseball, for once we have something positive to reflect on from the past Winter/Spring.

Turn Our Attention to MLS-Listen, if you’re a soccer fan more power to you. It just doesn’t do it for me personally. I will watch the World Cup and the Olympics, but that’s it. This whole idea came from this stupid promo I saw on NBC SN. “All Eyes On MLS”. What? It could be the only thing on TV and all eyes would never be on MLS. This just isn’t Europe. Soccer does have a lot of the same rules and attributes as hockey, but it will never be hockey. I am sure some soccer fans feel the same way about hockey. This is still the US, and although we will probably always be 4th out of the 4 major sports, we embrace it.

Watch Highlights and Hope That Things Turn Out Differently This Time-Do you know the definition of insanity? It’s doing the same thing over again and hoping for a different result. Unfortunately, no matter how many times you listen to Howie & Butch, watch YouTube clips of the raucous Coliseum crowd, or remember the 15 mins you will never get back standing on line for the bathroom, the Penguins still won. Yes, we wanted a different outcome. Yes, with proper officiating we may have gotten our different outcome. But there’s no use in crying over spilled milk, or chipped ice, or goalies that consistently get beaten over the shoulder.

Recreate The Playoffs Using Army Men, White Paper Towels and Audio Clips of Jiggs McDonald-First of all, this is very disturbing. Secondly, you’re a grown adult, it’s time to get rid of the Army Men. Yes, they will miss you too, but you can visit them. However, if this is how you get your jollies, then I say go right ahead. But, please, keep your excitement to a dull roar, and make sure you have a video camera running. Because honestly, if you’re gonna paint Army Men blue and orange, this may be a site that not only Islanders fans, but people in general want to see. This could go viral. On second thought, do it. We need the excitement.

If you do plan on doing this though, I think we have to draw the line at building a replica of Barcalys Center with Popsicle sticks. Oh, and go ahead and use Jiggs, we won’t tell Howie.

So, say you actually are deciding to keep watching the sport we love; that’s hockey by the way. Who are we supposed to root for?

Pittsburgh? I think the simple answer to that question is HA. After the diving and the ridiculous overtime call, as well as the league’s love affair with the Penguins, I don’t think we want to see them rewarded. Can you see Sidney Crosby raising the Stanley Cup with that silly grin of his? After all Gary Bettman did to save that franchise, he may as well slap on a pair of skates, hold Crosby’s hand and skate around the ice in tandem.

What if they DO win? How does that make Marc-Andre Fleury feel? Does he become and option for the Islanders in net? Nah, don’t care. Still can’t root for them to win another game.

Boston? Eh, it’s Boston. They are supposed to be our rival city. We did get the best of them in a key late season matchup, and that was very exciting. They are a respectable group, with the guy that was given away by Mad Mike Milbury, Zdeno Chara. They did give us the lovely and talented Tim Thomas who will likely near don the Isles sweater. But, they won already, just 2 years ago. Plus they are close enough to us that we just won’t hear the end of it from all of our friends in Boston.

Chicago? Well the Blackhawks are the President’s Trophy winners. They did a great job during the year playing under likely Jack Adams Trophy winner Joel Quenneville. They are an exciting group to watch with Jonathan Towes and the young Brandon Saad, as well as their goalie Corey Crawford. Their win in Game 7 vs Detroit was fantastic to watch. But, they just won 3 years ago. Chicago was supposed to be the city we could make fun of after Boston started winning. But now in the last 8 years they have a World Series winner and a Stanley Cup winner.  They are also the favorites because of their regular season record. Who wants to see the favorites win? That’s like rooting for the Rangers, and no one wants to see that.

Los Angeles? Well, the Kings are defending Stanley Cup Champions. I don’t think we are in any danger of having them win 4 in a row, and it is kind of exciting to see Hollywood stars pretend they like hockey all of a sudden. Another benefit is that Jonathan Quick is Matt Moulson‘s brother-in-law. So, like last year, we hope that maybe some of his playoff mojo rubs off on Moulson.

The downside of course is that we won’t hear people stop talking about how great they are and how they are a dynasty etc. As long as they can stay away from the word dynasty, I would be ok with it. People are always concerned about the good of the sport. I think having a team to beat is great for the sport. In fact, now we have 4 teams to look at beating, as these 4 teams are the last 4 Cup winners.

So, it’s decided. I am rooting for the Kings. How about you?

Alright, like Sidney Crosby at a crucial moment, it’s time to dive on out of here.

Enjoy the Final 4.