Folks, please let's be clear about this.
Absolutely no one should be happy about where this franchise is right now.
Please don't tell me about playoff series wins.
If Claude Lapointe or
Alex Yashin finished in game seven in 2002, or Colin McDonald scored the two
overtime goals last spring and the Islanders advanced, no one would care right now just like no one cared when the post Stanley Cup Islanders won playoff series.
A year from now Anders Lee, Nelson, Strome could be dominating, some big defenders from Bridgeport could fix the problems, and things may turn. The fact this team got so many leads says something positive, but overall means nothing until they close games.
Some players will always step up statistically, others will regress.
However let's get real. Frans Nielsen had a career year, so did Kyle Okposo, Tavares was second in NHL scoring, and Vanek had forty four points in forty seven games with a plus rating.
One of the top scoring lines in this league was right here. What happened?
The team never ever came close to realistic contention from day one in October.
The penalty killing atrocious to quote Garth Snow. Hamomic/MacDonald were dominated in front of their own net, and worn down from overwork.
It's a small/not physical group up front, Clutterbuck is better at skating than hitting, Martin's hit numbers a lot like Trent Hunter. A lot of players eat minutes/produce little.
It's a bad time right now, it could get even worse unless Tavares has a perfect rehab because one setback likely means surgery, his 2014-15 season over.
This franchise is not beating Comcast, Cablevision, Con Sol Energy, or Little Ceasar's/Amway in free agency or the other corporate teams all with taxpayer funded facilities/revenue from local government in modern buildings.
Sorry, this fan base voted for the Kate Murray, Mangano plan to get rid of this team forever, and overwhelmingly supported them for doing it.
After losing forever Columbus may finally be ready, other teams also will improve.
Charles Wang cannot front load contract offers with no corporate incoming revenue to pay for it, he's not going bankrupt for us, no one's coming to buy this team to lose hundreds of millions of dollars from him in this market as a tenant at the Barclay's Center in empty luxury boxes.
Win or lose the fan base will not support a winning team forty one times at corporate prices or any price, that's been proven since 1989.
Garth Snow is going to have to overpay for rentals in trades to upgrade as he did with Vanek/Smyth.. he's not signing anyone in free agency of value because those players want their money up front, he's going to have to pick and choose among retreads or gambles.
Same as Moulson/Parenteau/Boyes/Bouchard.
This roster is too small overall/not physical enough, or too young.
It's going to take time, and it could completely collapse.
Sure it could work too.
Right now it's a very small defense, Strait-Hickey are the bridge to Reinhart, Pullock and some of the bigger defenders in the organization, that takes time.
deHaan is skilled/physical is not his strength but he tries. No clue what they have in Czurczman. Matt Donovan did not have the right veterans with him here.
If Visnovsky has another concussion (not reported) a decision about 2014-15 may have to be made.
Hamonic is one more concussion away from the same question. Ton of heart, not a ton of size.
There is no clear answer in goal. Poulin had has streak, Nilsson is getting his look. The veteran retreads on other teams available are more of the same questions, and come with baggage.
Look where Mark Streit, Andrew MacDonald are right now in the standings on a corporate team with tons of veteran help. That's another thing players want come July when they get to pick/choose.
That's not here.
This is not the NHL of the 1970's, 1980's, 1990's or even the pre 2005 lockout league where it was easier to keep teams together long term or keep them out of free agency until age thirty one.
It's now a corporate market based league just like Don Fehr's MLB, and what he said at the outdoor game press conference in the summer.
Corporate teams have massive advantages. Players have choices, hundred million dollar contracts where they control their trade rights entirely like never before as the cap climbs.
For now the 2013-14 New York Islanders finish out what was almost a sixty game preseason that was in trouble from day one.
It's going to be very tough moving forward, it's also going to take time for the young forwards, and defenders to grow up.
What many like to label an eight year rebuilding came with tons of injuries, the prospects outside the franchise level players of the top picks beyond Tavares.
No one should be happy now, no one should be happy moving forward until things turn around.
The eight years produced a very good prospect base, that cannot be denied, but it means nothing unless the team wins.
The odds are against it.
It's going to take years for Reinhart, Pullock, Nelson, Strome.
Bottom line pick a plan, the Milbury plan (Clutterbuck-Niederreiter) or Snow's plan which now includes some Milbury desperation to take chances to improve now at a steep price.