I have to see this group play some games healthy before I can dismiss anything, including the New York Islanders winning the Atlantic given some of the weaknesses of the other clubs in the division.
I'm not expecting any answers in preseason which for the most part is get together for a quick skate or two, fly to camp and than start playing games beginning on 9/14 or a day or two after gathering at Iceworks.
That six day stretch between the Coliseum preseason game and the Prudential center game is really the place Scott Gordon will have the most time to work with his players.
No one should really care what media still talking 90's and Milbury project because they can't name five current Islanders. Those same people had the Canes at the bottom of the league coming out of the lockout and they won the cup.
A brief review of the last two seasons and more importantly last year suggest the Isles can compete in this division based on head to head games.
I know the Isles and Pens are a lot different today but two years ago the Isles opened 9-0 against the Rangers-Devils, they played Pittsburgh eight times, won three lost the Simon stomp game by a pp goal, the bounce off Witt for a one goal loss, a 53 shot game for a loss and I think Joey MacDonald lost a late season game in Pittsburgh.
I did not see a team that was outclassed on the ice aside from the Flyers special teams.
I saw nothing in 24 games against the Rangers, Devils, Flyers or Pens last season that told me they absolutely could not compete with them aside from the keystone cops game in Pittsburgh which was a lot more about the Isles.
Isles played three Coliseum games against Pittsburgh last year. They led 4-1 before over speed and the Pens talent won the game, next time the Isles climbed to within a period of five hundred and again just collapsed with a big lead in the third before losing a shootout and won in Dan Bylsma's debut in the final game.
That, to me is not a team with no chance that is over matched.
That seven goal game against the Devils tells me they can compete with them and the Isles for the most part outplayed the Rangers in games with a lot of callups in the lineup even in games the Ranger trap prevailed where even some media reported the Islanders outplayed the Rangers. MacDonald blew that game at the Garden they lost 5-4 with some terrible third period goals against which was the exception.
Flyers powerplay and shorthanded teams have just killed the Isles the last two years, even in that series the Isles got games to overtime and played them close. It seemed like a a Darroll Powe or someone not expected to score did the biggest damage in some games.
I know that second Carolina game stands out but less than two weeks earlier in the same building the Isles scored four second period goals and the Canes looked horrible before the LaRose show took over and the Isles gave it right back along with two points.
I absolutely think anything is possible for the 2009-10 New York Islanders.
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