As I sit and watch Henrik Lundqvist shutout the Canadiens or Melker Karlsson score the overtime winner against the Oilers – listening to the voice of New York Islanders very own Brendan Burke – I can’t help but to feel a sense of jealousy.
Before losing in game seven to the Washington Capitals in the first round of the 2014-2015 NHL playoffs, the the New York Islanders had missed the playoffs six of the previous seven seasons. I had grown accustom to watching spring hockey without the Islanders being involved.
It was always a few months of rooting for whoever played the Rangers and hoping the Islanders would land a good pick in the draft lottery. After getting a taste of success last year, I need it back. I want to be nervous all day on game day.
I want to watch three hours of hockey and remind myself to breathe and I certainly want to feel the way I did when the Islanders defeated the Panthers in the first round last season. I no longer feel satisfied watching quality playoff hockey if the Islanders are out on the golf course.
They missed the playoffs by one measly point. There are 82 games in a season, each game a chance to earn two points and they missed the tournament by one stinkin’ point.
After having a couple days to digest the season and the final outcome, I can’t stop thinking about that one point separating the Islanders from the offseason and what could have been a first round series with the Capitals.
Throughout the season the Islanders had more than their fair chance to earn that last point and maybe even more. Yes, the Islanders played great down the stretch and earned the right to fight for the final wild card spot. But that in no way excuses the poor play from the first 40 games.
The Islanders had numerous chances to lock up a final point for a playoff spot. Whether that chance came in a weekend matinee in November, or a Tuesday night in January, every point in a season matters. When I think of securing that final point, four games to mind.