Friday, January 16, 2015

We Are Last Year's Islanders

Last year the Islanders were widely predicted to be a successful team.  An injury to their goal tender took their season off the rails, and the analogy is not dissimilar to the Blue Jackets experience this year.  The Islanders ended up needing to make a goal tending change, signing Halak from the Blues, but the reality is not that different from the CBJ season.

Bob went down early.  Both the team and he recovered, and put on a good streak to try to get back in the race.  However, both the Rangers and the Capitals put streaks on at the same time, so we did not make up any ground in the playoff race.  It is their year.  I never had any qualms that our team could beat the Rangers last year. Since the beginning of November, I have never been confident that our battered team could beat this year's Rangers.  It's just the way it is.  The Rangers are not dramatically better, they just have it going on all cylinders at this moment in time, and are playing with a lot of confidence.  Next year is another season, and we will see.  But for now, they've got it going.  The person I am most happy for is Rick Nash.  He labored on inadequate teams for so many years here.  Now he has an opportunity on a good team that has it going.  Rock on buddy!  I'm confident that Slats will blow it up in the wrong way in the long term, so will get my paybacks then.

I am happy with the way our guys played tonight.  I am happy that they tried to play a speed game against the Rangers.  They weren't successful, and lost on the odd man rushes a speed game give up.  With Wennberg and Anderson up, the team speed looked good.  It is way too early to abandon that style of play.  While we may amass a certain amount of evidence that we are not good at playing a style of game that takes advantage of our team speed, we have at least acknowledged that team speed does nothing for you when you are collapsing on the net.  Speed vs Defense is an age old quandary in hockey, and we are feeling our way through the growth period it takes to play with speed using young talent.  I like that.

This is not our year.  Last year was.  Next year may well be.  But this, the 13th year of NHL hockey played in our fair City, has not been kind to us.  So it goes.  It remains to be seen what this season can bring.  I will embrace and enjoy the All Star game we are blessed to have with every fiber of my being.  And trust me, I have a lot of fiber!

I am content with the effort.  The players care, and they are trying.  The results just are not gonna come, not with a crippled line up.  I think that is a short term issue, not a long term issue.  Bob hates to lose.  That will take us a long way.  Other than that, it is what it is.  While hope is not a strategy, as Jeff Little so aptly points out, it is associated with Conner McDavid.  Which would be cool, no matter how improbable.

A good game tonight, against a very good opponent.  In the third period, we tried to match speed with speed.  We did not fare poorly, though it had no effect on the outcome.  That is an experiment to continue, particularly this year.


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