Top Shelf: Islanders Daily 12/19/13

Dec 17, 2013; Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders goalie Evgeni Nabokov (20) deflects the puck shot by Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Richard Panik (71) during the second period at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

With the holiday season in full swing–undoubtedly bringing with it time spent with family and friends–the New York Islanders recently took a step back from hockey to appreciate what’s really important in life. Because at the end of the day, hockey is just a game, whether the fans understand that or not.

Based on my recent Twitter experiences, it’s a little hard to tell if that message has gotten through, but that’s a story for another day.

On Wednesday, Dec. 18, the Islanders delivered toys to children who will likely spend Christmas in local hospitals rather than at home with their families. It’s an event like this that puts everything in perspective for the players, and despite their (well-documented) on-ice struggles this season, they still took the time to put smiles on kids’ faces by spending some time with them, taking pictures, and signing autographs.

(And if you just made a joke about how the Islanders should be practicing instead of visiting sick kids in hospitals, then I can’t help you. Maybe stop reading now because really what’s the point?)

We, as fans, sometimes have trouble separating the Isles players as “players” from the Isles players as “people,” being that we’re emotionally engaged in the progress of the team in the NHL, and less aware of the off-ice activities undertaken by the players when they’re not wearing helmets and skates.

We at Eyes On Isles would like to extend our thanks to the Islanders first and foremost as people, not players. Because for all of the one-goal losses and third period leads given away, the men on this team have been and always will be people who care about their community, as evidenced by their eagerness to engage in events like the one they took part in on Dec. 18.

The next time you’re yelling at your TV over a bad pass or a missed shot, remember that no one cares about this team more than the players themselves, and that few organizations care about their communities more than the New York Islanders.

Perspective might be the best gift you get this holiday season, and it’s one you can give to yourself.

-MW (@MichaelWillhoft)

In Case You Missed It

Islanders Tweets Of The Week (Eyes On Isles)

Who Are The New York Islanders? (Eyes On Isles)

Islanders Still Haven’t Learned From Their Mistakes (Newsday)

12/18/2013 LHH Power Rankings (Lighthouse Hockey)

Last Night In The NHL

Senators 2
Devils 5

Penguins 4
Rangers 3 (SO)

Across The Sound

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (10-13-1-3) are 5-3 in their last eight games, and have moved out of the AHL Eastern Conference basement. Their next game is Friday Dec. 20 at 7:00 when they head to XL Center to take on the Hartford Wolf Pack. Without AHL points leader Ryan Strome on the Sound Tigers roster, the club will have to look elsewhere for scoring. Anders Lee (21 pts) and Mike Halmo (18 pts) will be called upon to lead the team in that department now that Strome has joined the Islanders.

As always, thanks for reading Eyes On Isles. Keep it right here for all of your New York Islanders news, notes, and analysis.