For half a season, the Islanders were making us look like prophets. We even wrote about it in a previous piece, which the prolific writer at Islanders Optimism – a site where the Islanders can do no wrong- called very fair. Our stat projections were largely dead on. Our team point projections were within 1 point of error. We predicted exactly how many points a team would need to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. Our discussion of coaching tactics was very accurate. While we weren’t happy with the record, we were proud of our foresight.
And then there’s that saying – pride goes before a fall.
Let this be clear- we are ECSTATIC that the Islanders made the playoffs. We jumped around and high fived over the John Tavares off the skate goal ensuring that the Islanders will get a point in Carolina. We waited until the score was final in Washington before breaking out the good stuff- and that is assuredly NOT Bud Light Clamato. One of this illustrious pair will be headed to their first ever Islander playoff game. A good time will be had by all. And thus…
Table for two. And your freshest dish of crow, please!
First off, let us state that we are happy to do so and will gladly have seconds. We are usually criticized for being too critical. The thing is, as great as this season has turned out to be, this team is far from perfect. Maybe we pick on things that others don’t see. Maybe we pick on things we want to see. Maybe when we harp on players people take it personally. You don’t have to be drinking kool-aid, nor do you have to be over critical to be a fan. We criticize and we drink kool-aid because we are fans. But shouldn’t we want more from a team that we have seen beaten down year after year? Why shouldn’t we think the best would happen, no matter who the owner and GM are? Why shouldn’t we criticize a team that seems to take its fan base for granted? Why shouldn’t we criticize a team that had a fly by night plan and lacks direction? The truth is, right now, we shouldn’t criticize. We should cheer because we finally have something to cheer about. Not hope for. Not say, “well, if “insert a name” plays to his potential”, not say, “well, if we got bounces and some calls once in a while”. Nope right now we can cheer because we are a good team. All of this aside, we predicted 46 points. And we were off by nine. For that reason alone, John Tavares deserves the Hart trophy.
Whether you think Josh Bailey is going to put up 42 pts again next year and is worthy of contract extension worth money in the Grabner/Okposo range or not, he is producing now and he is helping the team win. Whether you think Thomas Hickey has made Matt Donovan and Calvin de Haan expendable since if he resigns, there will little to room on the defense or not, Mr. Hickey is playing quite well and he has helped this team to get where they are. Is Super Frans and good second line center? Maybe so, maybe not. But, again right now he his playing well, outside of the face-offs he no longer takes and shootout backhand that he seems to have abandoned, of course.
There is nobody that could have predicted which players would have stepped up this season, and when. Did Garth Snow know that adding four guys a week before the season starts and forgoing anyone he drafted would be the addition this team needed? Probably not, as evidenced by the Tim Thomas salary flexibility trade following shortly thereafter. Look, there will still be questions going into the off-season. However, those questions can wait. Whether we have agreed or disagreed in the past, we are all on the same page for next coupe of weeks. This is team we are going to battle with. This is team we will watch, cheer for and heckle ferociously for. If you think we criticize this team, sit next to us at a game and how the other team feels. When we were in last place and losing night after night, we cheer loudly and we heckle louder. In the playoffs, expect more of the same.
About the Author: We are two long time hockey fans who certainly have our own opinions and points of view. Feel free to share yours. Follow on twitter @joshbarely