New York Islanders: A Year In Review
January by Farrell Hirsch
The Isles came into the new year on a winning streak but played .500 hockey during the first month of the year. They had a nice come from behind victory against the Rangers. That’s always a feel good story. January 2016 was Mikhail Grabovski’s last full month playing for the Islanders. He scored his last two goals in the first two games of February and played one lonely, experimental, sentimental, game in March. But January was his last full month. Brock Nelson has six goals in the month, including a hat-trick vs Columbus, leaving him close to 20 on the year.
More from Eyes On Isles
- Islanders key to success: Load management with goalies
- Islanders Zdeno Chara trending in the right direction
- Islanders: Semyon Varlamov Deserves Benefit of the Doubt
- Islanders Ilya Sorokin becoming number one goalie
- Islanders Zach Parise Was Quiet in Return to Minnesota
But the story that had the greatest effect on everything else that has happened since, was the story of January 23rd. The USA today headlines announced that New York and Long Island were under a “travel ban due to the deadly storm”. Eleven states declared disaster areas, 15,000 flights were cancelled, thirty inches of snow were predicted. Broadway shows went dark. DEAR GOD. NOT BROADWAY!!!!!
This game was made up at the end of the season. Literally AFTER the season was to have ended. It was one of those rare must-lose situations. The Isles pretty much needed to get swept by Buffalo and Philly those last two games to get the second wild card spot, rather than the first. That was what allowed them to play Florida instead of Washington. It allowed them to win their first series since ’93.
Had the game been played in January the Islanders would have been much more likely to win. The Flyers were still struggling to find their footing. On January 23rd The Islanders were healthy, winning, and not resting half a roster with the hopes of losing their way to a victory. Absent that two feet of snow on January 23rd, I fear the Islanders would still be without a playoff series victory in 23 years.
So next time a friend – or message board mortal enemy — asks “What good has Snow ever done for the Islanders?”, you have your answer.