It's truly unfortunate that yet another season ends without the New York Islanders in the postseason.
Yes, we've known for quite a while that this team would not be making the playoffs, but let's face it: Nothing is truly felt until it actually dawns.
When you're sitting in front of the television, knowing that this is the last bit of Isles hockey you'll get to watch until October, it's quite a shot in the gut. Making matters worse, this team had started showing some character, the core had begun taking shape, teasing us with glimpses of the future and turning Islander Country into a nation of believers.
There are so many questions that were left unanswered.
What if the Isles could have played this way the entire year? Will the current roster be intact for 2011-2012? Will Rick DiPietro ever become the franchise goaltender he was projected to be?
What if John Tavares had just one more game, just one more? Would he have scored 30 goals? How would this team have looked with Mark Streit and Kyle Okposo in the lineup full-time?
I could go on forever, but I think I've sufficiently covered all grounds.
We can only hope that these questions will be answered come next year. As a fanbase, we need to continue supporting the Islanders, filling up Nassau Coliseum on a nightly basis and showing the organization, the NHL and the town of Hempstead that we care about this team.
In many ways, last night's game was a microcosm of the Isles' entire season.
There were times when Rick DiPietro looked sharp and others when he looked completely lost.
On two power plays, the Islanders were able to convert, whereas on the other ones, they could not even set up.
The defense played tight during some parts of the game, looking flat when it mattered most. The offense scored goals of every variety, but also fell victim to instances of sheer larceny.
Michael Grabner gave us one last self-made production, flying past the Philadelphia defense and deking-out Brian Boucher for an Islander tally.
John Tavares "settled" for three points, recording his 29th marker of the season and finishing with 67 points in his sophomore campaign.
P.A. Parenteau notched his 20th goal of 2010-2011, showing yet another reason why the New York Rangers gave up on him far too soon.
And, finally, Travis Hamonic wrapped up his strong rookie season by finding the back of the net on the power play, taking a slap shot from the blueline. He did a remarkable job stepping in and making the early transition from the OHL/AHL to the National Hockey League, literally on an emergency basis. Hamonic proved to be more than just your average call-up; he became the team's best defenseman by the end of the year.
On a personal note, I'd like to thank everyone who has (and continues to) read my articles, commented and encouraged me. I'm still relatively new in this game, and the support has been phenomenal.
Your involvement has assisted me in becoming an Islanders Featured Columnist, here on Bleacher Report, and I owe my entire thanks to this B/R Community, my friends, family and everyone else who has helped me reach this point.
I am looking forward to continuing next season, though I'll be writing about the Isles during the offseason as well. I hope you will keep punching in Bleacher Report on your internet browsers, for everything New York Islanders hockey.
Follow Daniel Friedman on Twitter: @nyifaceoff360
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