Sep 21, 2013; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New Jersey Devils defenseman Peter Harrold (10) and New York Islanders center Pierre-Marc Bouchard (96) battle for the puck during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
In our recent podcast hosted by Shane Blackburn, the question was asked as to whether or not the current Islander scoring drought was cause for concern, not to mention the unremarkable play of recent acquisition Pierre-Marc Bouchard.
Of those in attendance–Andy Graziano, Mike Willhoft, Shane Blackburn, and myself–only your humble narrator posed the possibility of this being reason for some ‘slight’ concern. The boys immediately quipped that pre-season is an opportunity at experimentation and reinforcement, and nothing that’s currently on display should be cause for major concern.
The aforementioned is, obviously, quite true. But maybe not.
In the spirit of Devil’s Advocacy, I asked the following: if we are not to put much stock (emphasis, was the exact word) in that which is lacking and/or poor with current line chemistry, scoring drought, etc., then should any of us, therefore, take note of Josh Bailey‘s strong ‘pre-season’ play, or the overt battle ready tenacity that currently informs Kyle Okposo‘s game?
So, in other words, if pre-season ‘faux pas’ (singular and plural) are chalked up to pre-season rust, then are pre-season moments of strength and brilliance to be ignored and equally chalked up to the other guy’s pre-season rust? Where does it begin, and where does it end?
Before moving onto the next segment, we all imagined a scenario in which the Islanders would finish the pre-season scoreless. The boys said they wouldn’t be worried, and I reminded them all that one New York Jets organization had a similar situation happen to them in their pre-season last year, and we all know how that turned out.
Andy made it clear that you cannot compare one sport to another in that regard, to which I wholeheartedly agree…to a degree.
But in all honesty, if one doesn’t bring a certain level of urgency to pre-season, it could, just like a battle-level ready pre-season team, carry over into the regular season. Again, ask the 2012 Jets.
Apples and oranges, for sure. But they’re fruit, and my point wasn’t to compare sports, but overall attitude. Nonchalance attitude to be exact.
Of course it’s too early to tell if a team will be successful or not, but there are some glaring and equally negative examples of those organizations that write off the pre-season as nothing more than glorified scrimmages.
If you write off my ‘concern’ as nothing less than irrationality, ask yourself this:
- Why did Jack Capuano remove Pierre-Marc Bouchard from the first line, and replace him with one Josh Bailey?
- And why would Capuano use his Barclays post-game presser to address those players not in battle ready form, and that those same players are in for a rude awakening?
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