In Tampa Bay on Saturday night, the New York Islanders looked spent. A wise man once said that in order to enact change one must shift their perspective. Otherwise, you are just re-organizing your furniture.
Frankly, it seems that the Islanders have been re-organizing their furniture. It’s clear that the team as a whole can compete, but when the organization from top down is saying to stay pat, that must get in your head.
Now, fans of the team have been calling for a trade for a long time, the coming of Kieffer Bellows was much anticipated, and finding a way to move past the inclusion of Tom Kuhnhackl and Ross Jonhnston anywhere near the top six were all cited as ways to improve.
The trade has not come.
Kieffer Bellows is up. It appears that he may stay up. Even on a night when the Islanders were underperforming, the third line was jumping. Michael Dal Colle and Derrick Brassard seem newly invigorated by his coming.
But what does it say to a team who has lost a key member and who is clearly exhausted when the GM of the club doesn’t attempt to do a bit more than Lamoriello is currently? While a trade was long considered the best way to improve performance, it may be an even better way to improve morale.
Now, the Islanders must travel to Washington, where they will surely meet up with an Evgeny Kuznetsov who would like to shove an eagle celebration straight down Devon Toews throat and an Alexander Ovechkin who is flirting with the Great One.
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The schedule is not going to get easier. Even if the team manages to stay healthy, which Pulock proved on Saturday, they may not, the Islanders need a shot in the arm, a sacrifice to the hockey gods that says “Lord Stanley, fear us,” not “eh, let’s see what happens with what we’ve got.”