3. It’s Time to Respect the New York Islanders
I know it isn’t worth getting worked up over, and I usually don’t, but seeing the New York Islanders get zero respect league-wide has annoyed me lately. Particularly, NHL media never seem to relent with their “oh, it’s just the Islanders” mindset.
I mean, the Islanders were not ranked in the top-five of NBC Sports’ NHL power rankings. Three Central Division teams ranked in the top-five according to NBC’s list, which isn’t altogether insulting because those three teams, the Lightning, Panthers, and Hurricanes, all appear to be very good this year.
Now again, I don’t generally care much about power rankings. Especially in a season in which there is no inter-divisional play, ranking teams league-wide just seems counter-intuitive and pointless. But really? Three Central Division teams are better than the team who currently appear to be the best in the East? The toughest division in the NHL bar none? I find it hard to believe is all.
Then there was The Athletic’s Sean McIndoe’s weekend rankings (subscription required), a list essentially akin to the NBC power rankings. McIndoe first praised Mat Barzal’s goal of the year candidate, then he went on to also leave the Islanders out of his top-five teams. And who did he put ahead of them? The Boston Bruins.
I mean, it’s as if beating a team four-straight times and outscoring them 14-5 in the process doesn’t make you better. Not even in this particular moment in time.
I get that the Islanders aren’t the most-exciting team on ice. I do, I really do. I understand there are other teams with undeniably more talent than the Islanders too. But, I mean, come on. What are we doing here? The Islanders are good. I might even hazard to say elite at this point. That’s not just opinion either, there is easily accessible statistical analysis out there to back that up.
To not only rank them outside your top-five while including a team in their division is just wild. And then to not only do that, but to antagonize the fanbase by saying you’re actively seeking to make them mad. Just, ugh. Where do I cancel my subscription to The Athletic?
Kidding, of course.
I actually like McIndoe’s work at The Athletic too. I enjoy Puck Soup, the podcast featuring him, ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski, and Elite Prospects’s Ryan Lambert. They rarely talk about the Islanders, and when they do it’s to mention how boring they are, or to dunk on Lou Lamoriello for mismanaging the salary cap last offseason. Still, I find the show funny, and I tune in almost every week.
I’m not going to stop reading McIndoe, The Athletic, or other publications that fail to give the Islanders their due. And generally speaking, I’m fine with the Isles floating under the radar, or being the butt of everyone’s jokes until they eliminate your team or make it further than them in the playoffs. That’s fine.
Now that my rant is over, I just want to say: I look forward to next week’s power rankings. Let’s go Islanders.