New York Islanders: Long Layoff A Good Thing
By Brian Wagner
The New York Islanders will have over a week between playoff games, and while there are concerns about getting rusty, this time off is a very good thing.
The concerns with the New York Islanders coming into the next round cold after such a long layoff are reasonable, and you have to only look back at the All-Star break during this season to see your justification – the Isles came out and looked sluggish for a few weeks (though they did manage to win games through it) after the nine-day break.
But overall this is a great thing. It was a long season, and the playoffs are an intense time that tests your physical and mental strength. Rest just helps more than it hurts no matter how you look at it.
The Other Teams
For obvious reasons this is great. The Caps and Hurricanes are beating up on each other for an additional three games, and who knows how long Game Seven may go. And they’ll get just a day or two rest before the next series.
The wear and tear on those guys and the mental drain of having to go through the intensity will help the Isles.
Toss in the fact that Boston went the full seven doesn’t hurt, and long-term you can look at teams like the Sharks, Blues, and Stars who have extra miles on them already this playoff season, should the Isles be fortunate enough to face any of those teams again this season.
Boychuk is out, but stretching out the first round could give him a shot at a return if the Isles keep winning series. Filppula returned before the predicted timeline from his injury, and speaking of which he’s 35 and coming off that injury. The extra time to rest is good.
Hickey and Leddy can get a better feel for each other with the extra practice time now that they are paired up with limited experience together.
Giving other guys with some miles on the chassis like Komarov and the entire fourth line the time off in such an intense part of the season will be welcomed.
The first round was easy – almost too easy. Young players can get lost in the excitement and lose sight of the task at hand. The time off gives Barry Trotz and his staff a chance to reset the team and refocus their attention.
Business as usual in a week of practice will do wonders for getting guys like Barzal, Beauvillier, Pelech, Pulock, Toews, and Mayfield back in the right mindset. And Barry Trotz will use this time to its full advantage.
Yes, the time off can hurt the mojo of a team that was on fire, but it can also give them time to work on the powerplay, strategize for the next round’s opponent, heal bruised ribs and give your Vezina-nominated goalie some much-needed rest. Overall, I’m thrilled that the Isles have the opportunity to refocus and come back in more prepared than whichever team they face next.