Aside from a Stanley Cup parade down the Hempstead Turnpike, I want nothing more than for New York Islanders forward Casey Cizikas to score his 20th goal of the year.
New York Islanders center Casey Cizikas currently has 19 goals on the season. Let me repeat. New York Islanders center Casey Cizikas currently has 19 goals on the season. With five games left in the season, all I want is for him to get that 20th goal.
I know one extra goal for a player doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things. And I’m sure Casey Cizikas himself doesn’t care about hitting 20 goals, so long as his team wins. But I desperately want it for him.
(Is it weird to derive so much pleasure from someone else achievements? I guess that’s the entire point of being a sports fan is it not?)
We’re not talking about some top line player. We’re not even talking about a top six player. We aren’t talking about a player that spends most of his time creating goal-scoring opportunities in the offensive zone either.
And yet, Casey Cizikas sits with 19 goals on the season and ranks 108th in goals in the NHL. With 20 goals he could move into the top 100 goal scorers in the NHL this season.
Casey Cizikas is a fourth line center. He doesn’t play in the New York Islanders top six (even though he’s third on the team in goals). And he starts 66.2 percent of his shifts in the defensive zone.
Casey Cizikas is the personification of Trotz’s good defense will lead to offense mantra. And it’s paid off for him with 19 goals on the season (his previous career high was nine. NINE!).
His play, not only his offensive production, is so vital to the New York Islanders. He links up with Matt Martin and Cal Clutterbuck so well that when he isn’t there neither player is even remotely the same. Not to mention how the Isles are unable to forecheck or run a penalty kill when Cizikas isn’t around.
Twenty is a nice round number and a just reward for a player that gives everything he can for the team. With five games left in the season, and the playoffs all but guaranteed, I’ll be on Casey Cizikas goal watch the rest of the way.