Editorials

Islanders: Does Winning Count As Fun?

By Matt O'Leary
TORONTO, ONTARIO - AUGUST 20: Mathew Barzal #13 of the New York Islanders warms up prior to Game Five of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Washington Capitals during the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on August 20, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ONTARIO - AUGUST 20: Mathew Barzal #13 of the New York Islanders warms up prior to Game Five of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Washington Capitals during the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on August 20, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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With Mathew Barzal remaining unsigned, many have their theories on the Islanders. My question though, does winning count as fun?

The Islanders season starts seven days from today. A week from now, we’ll all be getting ready to take in the Islanders season opener against the rival Rangers, it’s going to be a great day that we’ve been waiting for for a long time.

While there is a lot to look forward to, some are still concerned about Mathew Barzal’s situation. I get it, he’s still unsigned with a week to go, it’s cutting it pretty close wouldn’t you say?

Well, as a result of him being unsigned it’s become a talking point around the league from pundits. Paul Bissonnette of the Spittin’ Chicklets Podcast chimed in with his thoughts on Barzal’s situation:

Now what I’m about to say isn’t directed to Paul Bissonnette specifically. He was just the most recent person to use the idea that Mathew Barzal isn’t having fun in the system that Barry Trotz plays.

To an extent, I get it like he’s an offensive-minded forward in a defense-first system I could see where the disconnect could be. I just have a question. Is winning fun?

I’m genuinely asking because it seems like any time anyone brings up the Islanders it’s that they’re boring or that Barzal doesn’t like it because he doesn’t get to play completely offense first.

Take Connor McDavid. He’s the best player in the sport putting up 97 points in 64 games well on his way to a fourth straight 100 point season last year. McDavid’s played in just 17 playoff games in his career.

Is he having fun putting up buckets of points or would he rather be winning? How many playoff games have Auston Matthews, Sebastian Aho, Leon Draisaitl, and Mitch Marner played in? The next faces of the sport, all have fewer playoff games played in their career than Barzal.

Only one of those guys listed above played in a Conference Final. Isn’t the goal to win a Stanley Cup, because Barzal was the closest out of all these guys.

I just think it’s a little naive to say that it’s not fun for him when this team is returning with its core fresh off of a Conference Final appearance.

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If I had the choice of putting up 85 points, like Barzal in his rookie year on an awful team, or putting up 70 on a contending team, I think I’m taking the 70 points and my chance to win a championship. I don’t understand why it’s a hard concept for some.

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