We can now write the epitaph of the 2009-10 New York Islanders season because from here on it is an extended exhibition schedule even if Jackman, Weight, Sim, Park play and Jeff Tambellini, Matt Martin, Jesse Joensuu with others sit in the stands or compete for a playoff spot in Bridgeport.
Last year's exhibition season lasted about fifty games, this year it will go about fifteen but it never should have come to this.
I know a lot of New York Islander fans are caught up in that rebuilding word that Garth Snow does not like to use here but the bottom line is this team should have made the playoffs or been there to the final days of the regular season after how well they played to put themselves in a playoff spot.
For a short time this team was making a run at sixth place, ahead of Philadelphia, Ottawa and Boston, it was not last year with 582 man games lost to injury or the previous one with 402 that both led the NHL.
If the team fell off the playoff map in December when they were four under with a very tough schedule ahead that would have been understandable however the Islanders did rally, proved they can win against the top clubs and went all the way up to three games over, the upcoming schedule from there had a lot of teams they should have gotten points from.
It did not happen for a lot of reasons that go beyond Tavares, Okposo and Bailey not producing enough but of course that is a part of it. Given what an AHL player in Matt Moulson gave them this should have been a playoff team.
The scoring most nights dried up and this team when they did score (Atlanta/Pittsburgh) allowed too many goals on poor changes/transition where tough questions need to be asked. The special teams struggled all season, the five on five play/third period scoring was not there when they needed it most and frankly a lot of veterans failed to produce any big goals with Bergenheim, Comeau, Nielsen not giving them any production or inconsistent scoring at best by their own play or how coach has used them.
No one can call Sean Bergenheim, Blake Comeau or Jeff Tambellini's season progress and despite Comeau's six goals recently the rest of his season looked a lot like his first year.
This was not a good year for Trent Hunter, Richard Park, Jon Sim, Doug Weight, Tim Jackman or Nate Thompson when he was here. Trevor Gillies is not going to give this club offense when he dresses.
Losing thirteen out of sixteen games or whatever is it now and falling out of any realistic contention frankly is not acceptable because this conference is so painfully mediocre from top to bottom there is no game the New York Islanders could not win on a given night.
I do believe the hard work most games have been there, this team has had few poor efforts where they were blown out of games, they just did not have enough clutch scoring or big stops on defense with the goaltending allowing some goals you cannot give up combined with the special teams doing a poor job.
I have written a lot of entries on club's scoring this year but as much as they have struggled and are in the bottom mix, there are teams firmly in a playoff spot that are within a few goals of the Islanders.
This is not a club 30th in offense that are forty goals or more behind the 29th place team.
I know now the injuries are piling up again big-time between Schremp, Hunter, MacDonald, DiPietro and no doubt a few players have skated with injuries but you look at the Ottawa game before the Olympic break as one of many where a few points were there for this team and they failed to get them.
This is where this season and playoff spot were lost and where the questions moving forward should come from because they should have outright won a spot or been there to the final days.
As for the final fifteen games it's asking a lot for this group to win consistently with inexperience/size defense. Scott Gordon's post game after Boston game said it all on backline issues with Mark Streit over thirty minutes against Blues.
If his knee problems continue to keep him off the ice going into next season some serious questions have to be asked about his career. Garth Snow sounded like a man who is going to keep Dwayne Roloson for insurance regardless.
If you go by General Manager's Garth Snow's interview on Thursday he talked a lot but did not say much which is fine because most general managers do not talk often at all. Actions will define what he really thinks of his players moving forward but he did give an endorsement of his head coach which was the most notable moment.
I have no problem with his suggestion at the general managers meeting to have a play in tournament for the final spot. I do think it devalues the regular season, this has been used in the AHL and someone in other sports decided on wild cards for baseball and football in the past, but it's not going to happen. .
What's Next at NYIFC?
We keep doing twitter updates for the rest of the season with a mix of articles/information and see what Bridgeport does. I don't think a game or recap with articles/comments has been missed this season even in twitter format. I know it's not our old format of several blog entries daily here but more was written here than I expected to do. Is there any difference between ten twitter updates vs two blog entries with links?
Beyond that I don't know what I intend to do with NYIFC but there will be no announcements or entries about it regardless of what's decided.
My thanks as always to everyone for their kind support.
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