It took them almost a month until they got their first win of the season, now it’s only three weeks after their first win, and the New York Islanders are just barely out of the playoffs. What happened? Who knows? However, I’m not just going to let this article fall apart. No, I’m going to be the little detective that I am, and try to decode the turnaround.
At the end of last season, the Isles were held to just 61 points and 26 wins. However, going into this season, the boys in blue had a different look. Three starting goalies in Dwayne Roloson, Rick DiPietro and Martin Biron, made sure that they could always count on somebody to stop the puck.
A new captain, in Doug Weight, showed the grit and determination, that this team could possibly possess, and the young guns such as John Tavares, Matt Moulson, Josh Bailey, and Blake Comeau, showed that they could add some agility and scoring to that grit, and a solid D-line. The Islanders could have had a flying start, and have themselves propelled to the top of the league.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. The Islanders went a dismal 0-4-6 to start off the year, and didn’t win a single game until they demolished the Buffalo Sabres 5-0. I think that it was pretty obvious that the shut out win over Buffalo gave them some new found confidence and got them off to the races, because through the next couple days, the New York Islanders would begin a climb back into the playoffs.
Just a couple days ago, the Isles held seventh in the east, beating teams such as Atlanta and Edmonton. However, arguably their best performance of the year came against the Washington Capitals in a shootout loss, just last night. Take out the Capitals goal at the 8 second mark, and the Islanders completely outplayed the Capitals.
Washington is a team that was in the same situation as the Capitals just a couple years ago, and all it took was a coaching change for the Caps to finish 3rd in the east, after starting out the 2007-08 season in 14th. When the Capitals fired Glen Hanlon, and hired Bruce Boudreau, everything took off for them.
When I say everything, I mean everything. In two years, their record went from 28-40-14 all the way up to 50-24-8. Their attendance sky-rocketed as well. In that same two season span, their average attendance went from, 13,930 to 18,077. For an American market team, that is outstanding.
Can the Islanders pull off that same switch of play? Can they rebound from their financial and physical woes? I believe so. The NHL has a great way of making play even in the NHL. Look at the Pittsburgh Penguins. They were finishing last in the NHL four years in a row, and now they headline the greatest stars in the game. Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Jordan Staal, and not to mention crafty veterans, such as Bill Guerin and Mark Eaton.
The Islanders have the young stars and veterans that they need to have success in this league, and don’t think that they won’t make a run at the Cup in the next few years. I’d say that in 3 or 4 years, It’ll be something along the lines of NYI, and the Nashville Predators in the Cup Final.
Thanks for reading. Please feel free to comment and add your own opinion!