The New York Islanders losing in the Eastern Conference Final was a hard pill to swallow, but it also proves how close they are.
Last night, the Tampa Bay Lightning were crowned Stanley Cup Champions. It was well deserved, they’ve been a championship-caliber team for a long time now, and finally got over the hump after beating the Islanders and Stars on their way to their first Cup since 2004.
As for our New York Islanders, they bowed out to the eventual Stanley Cup Champions in the Eastern Conference Final in six games. In four of those games, the Islanders trailed for a total of 8.8 seconds.
That’s how close the Isles were. Granted, I don’t think anyone would argue that the Isles have more talent than the Lightning, that’s not true but what they do have is a good core with a great system.
If the Isles didn’t have just one travel day to make it from Toronto to Edmonton and if Adam Pelech and Casey Cizikas don’t get hurt maybe the series is a different story.
Regardless, I feel kind of proud this morning. Yes, it wasn’t our team who lifted the Stanley Cup but the guys gave them a run for their money in the Conference Final. To me, that proves just how close they really are.
This offseason is vital for the trajectory of this franchise. With a few shrewd moves Lou Lamoriello can have this team in a position to be just as competitive if not more competitive with their 2020-2021 roster.
It’s not going to be easy with a flat cap and the need to sign Mat Barzal, Ryan Pulock, and Devon Toews as RFA’s. But for the first time in a long time, there is faith in the people in charge running the show to steer this thing in the right direction.
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Yes, there are no guarantees in the NHL, the Isles aren’t a lock to get back to the conference final or beyond but what we do know is that they have what it takes right now to be competitive with any team. With a few tweaks, they can become even more dangerous and a pain in the neck to play against.