Why New York Will Win Next Season

New York Islander Fan Central | 4/30/2011 12:51:00 PM |

This will be a two part blog entry, with one entry on why New York will win next season vs why they will lose next season.

We all have our own standards of what constitutes a winning season vs a losing one. For NYIFC purposes, a starting point for a winning season will be a year where the club qualifies for the playoffs in 2011-12.

Long ago nothing short of New York winning a Stanley Cup Championship would be the standard.

Our overall view is this team can finish anywhere between first and fifteenth next season in the Eastern Conference.

You can really write that about fourteen other clubs with the true exception being Florida because of all the turnover of prospects, who developed and moved on under Dale Tallon and new management, of course that could be wrong also.

Why New York Will Win Next Season:
1-Pressure On Management:
Make no mistake a general manager who said a year ago the expectation was to win and that everyone has to be better, who fired his choice for head coach is under pressure to win next season. Charles Wang's general manager is approaching the same point Mike Milbury was in the late 90's when folks demanded a winning team now and results. The support for the club in the stands may well dictate what the gm does to keep his team winning next season. Whatever Charles Wang's future is owning this club he again has to prove to the fan base he will do everything possible financially (short of front-loading contracts/spending to cap like many teams cannot) to give his gm the support he will need to compete now that there is a solid base of talent here.

The pressure to win was there a year ago but injuries left few alternatives, this year should be different. The media locally and in Canada will work the other side and do everything possible to create a negative culture in the press to drive away fans.

2-The New York Islanders Will Finally Have A Season With Minimal Injuries Or A Reasonable Number On Par With Most NHL Organizations:

Even the trainer got hurt.

They are long overdue in that department for that number to drop. Most of the players are young and have shown some durability.

402, 582, 250+ and now 600+ in the last four years with the last season one where over 300 man games were lost in Bridgeport so ATO emergency one-game contracts were required which has not happened at least over the last decade.

Mark Streit will be a question for a while, perhaps MacDonald also entering camp and who is to say how bad Frans Nielsen's concussion is? Of course DiPietro remains a question.

Mike Mottau/Mark Eaton signed here as durable players. This is not the past where Andy Sutton or Brendan Witt/Mike Comrie/Sean Hill who were players who broke down regularly and were a risk in signing. Milan Jurcina is up and down in that department and the injury bug has found Andrew MacDonald. There will likely be no Doug Weight but Trent Hunter has struggled to remain healthy for three straight years. If Martinek returns he was reasonably healthy this season. Obviously a lot is riding on DiPietro in this department, with Poulin/Koskinen coming off surgery.

3-The Scoring In The Second Half That Lifted a Club Dead Last In Scoring/Even Strength Early Will Last For A Full Season:
Fair to write out of Tavares, Okposo, Grabner, Moulson, Comeau, Parenteau, Bailey, Nielsen, Martin, and some players will have better offensive seasons, others will take a statistical step backwards while others will stagnate. It should be enough for the club to break out of sustained losing streaks where last season the club lost thirty games by one goal/open net and that was with 600 man games lost to injury.

2010-11 New York Islanders February-March-April Goal Totals:
(extra goal added for shootout wins)

2010-11 New York Islanders Even Strength Fourteen Games Early Season:
1-3-1-1-2-1-2-1-1-1-0-1-0-0=15 goals

2009-10 New York Islanders Even Strength Fourteen Games Early Season:
1-1-2-1-2-0-3-0-2-0-2-4-4-3=25 goals

Bottom line too big a late season sampling of games to suggest with this many injuries the scoring is not there to pull them out of a losing streak.

4-The Second Half Was No Lie or Record Against Top Teams:
As with 09-10 the New York Islanders won a lot of games against the top teams. The games against Washington, Pittsburgh (especially at home) Devils, Sabres, Bruins, Montreal, Tampa were all competitive or the Islanders outright secured points. Against the West the Islanders again displayed competitive play or defeated many top teams when they met head to head.

Yes, they have to start winning games against Philadelphia.

No player came here and looked so badly out of place they could not be used for extended minutes.

The names Niederreiter, deHaan could enter the picture with other signed or drafted prospects and if Ken Morrow is pushing Matt Donovan for an NHL spot next season who are we to dispute that? If a Jesse Joensuu returns, he showed flashes he can take the next step with some moves to the net. Rhett Rakhshani, closed on team records in the AHL and was an all-star in his twenties. Mark Katic showed a level of quickness skating that was NHL quality and Ty Wishart hardly looked out of place in his extended looks. David Ullstrom also looked like a solid prospect who could step, and who is to write Jeremy Colliton will not get another look to say nothing of Justin DiBenedetto's season for Bridgeport. Is Tyler McNeely the next targeted Matt Moulson?

6-The Right Coaches:
I do not put much stock in this one, but perhaps Jack Capuano is the right coach for the right players at the right moment? Scott Gordon was in a situation where Capuano needed a 1-8 start before things turned around for a while. Someone has to get more out of this club's powerplay which was either red-hot or ice cold with seemingly no middle ground. The PK seems to have the depth and chemistry with returning players under contract.

Absolutely Capuano needs an AHL coach who will teach his system and work as flawlessly as Capuano was credited for working with Scott Gordon.

Next Week We Look At Why New York Will Lose Next Season.....

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