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The below was submitted by our newest contributor, Doug Detwiler. We would like to welcome him to Eyes On Isles and wish him success in the future.
Doug will be chipping in with his thoughts a couple of times per month.
You can follow him on Twitter, @DougyDets.
It is certainly a surprise to most Islander fans that this season is not going the way the club expected it to following a 2012-2013 season playoff run. With an inexperienced defense, struggling special teams, and quite a few slumping players, the key word for the Islanders this year has been finish.
As a fan, I’m sure I am not the only one who thinks that the Islanders season would have a completely different outcome if they were able to finish correctly. All year-long (for the most part) the team was able to play a solid 1st, 2nd, and even decent 10-15 minutes into the 3rd period. Heck, the Islanders played a fantastic 57 minutes on Tuesday night. However, needless to say a full 60 minute effort is needed.
Friday night at Madison Square Garden the New York Islanders will take on the New York Rangers. Despite most if not all of #IslesTwitter still practically fuming from Tuesday nights loss, as well as frustration that has built up over the Isles’ recent losing ways, this game may be yet another opportunity for the Islanders to re-gain some momentum.
The way I see it, Islander-Ranger games have built up a history of allowing fans to find alternative ways to put away whatever current frustration or anger that they seem to have at the moment. The New York Islanders are a perfect example of this. As mentioned before, most if not all Islander fans have been beyond frustrated with the team’s play lately. Most would say the same for the New York Rangers fanbase as well.
But will the game be sold out Friday? Of course it will! Although there is a bit of hypocrisy in this, thousands of fans will still be buying tickets to this game despite the fact that MOST of these ticket buyers are upset with the teams play. Word is some Islanders faithful are overtaking a large part of an entire section at Madison Square Garden.
A victory on Friday could be once again, a chance for this team to generate some momentum and win some games. Although some view the team as totally out of the playoff picture it is not impossible for the Isles to turn things around. However, the Islanders have proven to themselves that they will continue their losing ways unless they find a way to play 60 minutes of solid hockey. This doesn’t necessarily mean a flawless 60 minutes, but the Isles must have a solid power play as well as a solid penalty kill, rather than the sloppy ones we’ve seen lately.
With the offense struggling, the special teams must come through with important conversations at key moments that could turn the tide of hockey games.
Along with having a well run special teams, it is a must that the Islanders keep the turnovers to a minimum. We’ve seen countless amount of turnovers at the blue line turn into goals for the opponent. It also doesn’t help that the team has been very sloppy in transition this year with an inexperienced blueline and the continued absence of Lubomir Visnovsky, who does not seem to be close to returning any time soon.
The biggest question that remains in fans minds leading into tomorrow night is…….which Islanders team shows up?
The late season 2013 version? Or the current struggling 2013-14 version?