No matter how well the New York Islanders perform on the ice and in the standings there are still doubts about the team's quality. Enough is enough - the Islanders are a top NHL team.
Please humor me, New York Islanders fans (and any fan across the NHL). With an open mind, ask yourself this question - how many games does a team need to play to prove that they are who the standings show them to be?
10 games? 25? A half-season? Full season? 100 games?
How about 137 games?
If a team over the past nearly two seasons (137 regular-season games) had these rankings, would your first thought be "man, this team has some serious needs!" or "this definitely isn't a team built for a playoff run!"?
- Points: 4th in the NHL (175)
- Point percentage: 4th (.639)
- Wins: 4th (81)
- Goals against: 1st (340)
- Goals against per game: 2nd (2.48)
- Penalty kill: 15th (79.8%)
No, it's just a bias from both fans and detractors because it's the Islanders and it is still hard for people to understand that this recently-lowly franchise and this lesser-known group of players can collectively be this good.
If your first reaction was that the power play still sucks, they don't score enough or that player X is overrated, you're not thinking rationally (or you're reading junk like this).
Time to get your head out of the clouds, or wherever else you've put it, and look at the team as a defensively-elite, gritty, hard-working, WINNING hockey club with strong leadership.
This shouldn't be the overachieving or surprising Isles any longer. This should be the NHL-elite New York Islanders from this point forward.
Read any blog or listen to Brian Boucher ramble on the telecast last night and you hear the same thing - the Isles need a missing piece or two. Here's the thing - the standings prove they are already one of the best teams in the NHL.
The only thing they need is to stay healthy and keep playing the way they play.