Not the Time to Panic on the Island

There are a lot of people going nuts on the Internet since the Islanders lost to the Devils on Super Bowl Sunday. If you missed it, the Islanders fell 3-0 to the reigning Eastern Conference Champions, in a game that remained scoreless through the first fifty-six minutes of play. Of course, the Islanders allowed a power-play goal towards the end, and that was the end of it.

Anyways, panic ensued. Islanders’ fans are, seemingly, on the edge, shouting for help, calling for Garth’s head, and once again deeming the Islanders an AHL-level team. Yes, at 4-3-1 in the 7th-seed of the East, the Islanders season is over. It’s done. There’s no way this team could make the playoffs, and the Islanders should trade all of their prospects and Kyle Okposo for veteran help such as Jarome Iginla and Evgeni Malkin, because, you know…their contracts are expiring.

That’s sarcasm. The Islanders are fine. It’s just fun (and impressive) to see the same fans go from “I’ve never been more disappointed about an Islanders roster” before the season started, to “THESE GUYS ARE GREAT, GO AUCOIN!”, back to “If we lose tomorrow, it’s same old Islanders and we’ll never make the playoffs under the Snow/Wang regime”. Relax.

We are eight games into a forty-eight game season. Every game matters and has double the importance. I’m not going to understate the importance of these games. Two of a possible four points will be great, and three or four of a possible four points is even better. especially against your divisional foes.. May I make a request, though? Before we start looking ahead and saying “the Islanders need x amount of points in the next x amount of games”, can we just let the team play? You know, one game at a time, like they’re supposed to play them.

A lot of us pegged the Islanders to come back from their road trip at the bottom of the standings. I heard a lot of “four points in those five games would be a success”, but you know what? It would not have been. Do you think we would have been thrilled with six total points right now? They came back with seven on that trip, outplaying everybody’s predictions, yet they’re still hearing it after one loss. News flash: we weren’t going 47-1 after the first loss, and the Islanders will continue to win and lose games as this season progresses. We need to take it one game at a time. It’s fair to the players.

Keith Aucoin cannot go from Garth’s success story to the worst player on the Island from one game to the next. Nabokov cannot go from the Islanders best option in net, to the Islanders scape-goat after every goal he allows. Dammit, Rick DiPietro cannot be the team’s biggest problem when he doesn’t even play! The Islanders are doing what they need to do, and they’re playing hockey the right way. They’re making the right decisions, they’re icing the right line-ups, and they’re working with what they have.

Now, I understand that we’re anxious. We’re nervous because each of the past two years, the Islanders started “hot”, and then the wheels came off almost immediately. But, you want to talk about the Islanders losing culture, and how it needs to be changed? WAKE UP, guys! Start changing the way you choose to talk about your own team! We have a very passionate fan-base, but some of the responses I get leave me shaking my head. Why can’t we beat two teams in a row that are better than us on paper? Why do we constantly need veteran help? Don’t you realize John Tavares is our superstar, so we shouldn’t expect Steven Stamkos in the line-up tomorrow? Who’s available right now that the Islanders MUST go out and get? Are you suggesting we get Trevor Gillies back because the Islanders miss him?

The thing is, the Islanders haven’t just been getting by. They’re playing with their competition. They lost on Sunday because New Jersey stole a win, not because we gave it to them. We outplayed Tampa Bay, who has the most goals in the entire NHL by far, we kept up with the Bruins, and in all three games, we’ve matched up well against New Jersey. This team even beat the Penguins, who EVERYBODY was saying we would be embarrassed to.

Through one-sixth of the season, the Islanders are in the playoffs. They have two big games coming up (Pittsburgh tonight, Rangers on Thursday). Yes, we would love them to get two points. It’s also very possible that they get two, or maybe even four points. I mean, they did get seven out of a possible ten points on the road. BUT, to those who are saying, “two points in the next two games or season’s over”: go to bed.  A’int nobody got time for that.

Follow @ChrisTriants

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About the Author: Writes at Islanders Op-Timism. Islanders Season Ticket Holder who tends to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Hofstra Graduate currently working at Portnoy, Messinger, Pearl & Associates. I definitely want to end up working within the world of hockey. Blog: www.IslandersOptimism.com E-Mail: ChristopherTriantafilis@gmail.com Twitter: @ChrisTriants

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