Top Shelf : Islanders Daily 2/9/2014


Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Islanders closed out their pre-Olympic schedule last night with a 5-2 loss at home to the Colorado Avalanche.

After falling behind as they have been accustomed to doing all season long, this time the handicap was not two goals but three at the end of the second period.

They recovered somewhat in the third but it proved to be a little too late. Goals by John Tavares and Lubomir Visnovsky on a 5 on 3 powerplay 57 seconds apart pulled them close but they could not complete the comeback, allowing empty net goals to Gabriel Landeskog and Paul Stastny to close out the scoring and send all but 3 Islanders home for 10 days.

Now, while some fans are not happy about the National Hockey League shutting down, Islanders fans seem downright ecstatic. With the teams struggles continuing, it is clear there is not much to play for now except pride and a roster spot when training camp comes around in September of 2014. No team in the Eastern conference has more than 25 games left and the Islanders are currently 14 points back in the division and 12 back of the final wild card berth.

It is safe to say that the eventuality has set in among almost everyone in Islanders country. What is also easy to say is ‘It’s Charles’ fault’. ‘It’s Garth’s fault’. ‘It’s Capuano’s fault’. While some of that might hold some truth, what is not said often enough is the players lack of performance this season. The defense could not recover from the injury to Lubomir Visnovsky, but let’s be totally honest. Is he really a top 10 defenseman in the league now? Top 20? Was that loss that difficult to overcome at the end of the day? Josh Bailey was nowhere to be found as a source of secondary scoring. Frans Nielsen became Frans Nielsen offensively. And Thomas Vanek, while providing a more than capable partner for captain Tavares, did nothing to help that lines defensive shortcomings.

The team just never seemed to gel this season, and no matter where you place the blame, it’s a combination effort, believe me. No one single man, and not just management, are responsible for what has transpired.

I have been a fan of this team for 35 years and have loved hockey ever since putting on my first pair of skates at the young age of six years old. I played, coached, refereed and just plain watched over that long span of time. Yes, the Islanders lost last night. Yes, they are only 4 teams from the bottom in the entire league. But, at the end of the day, my wife and kids still love me. I’m employed and able to pay my mortgage monthly. I am able to awaken every day and partake in life, when others are not so lucky and have been forced to leave us way too soon.

It’s just hockey. And I hope as this fanbase gets older and experiences more of life, they understand that as much as you love the game and this team, it’s not the most important thing in your life.

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Across The Sound

The Sound Tigers were shut out by Albany 3-0 last night. You can find the official game recap right here.

The Sound Tigers return to action Sunday afternoon when they host the Adirondack Phantoms for the final time in 2013-14. Opening faceoff from Webster Bank Arena is at 3 p.m.

And in case you missed it, here is Matt Donovan getting into a little dosey-do….nice jabs kid.