Realty Check 2015-16 New York Islanders. ...It's Not Working Out

New York Islander Fan Central | 12/18/2015 10:19:00 AM |
I know how folks will respond. 

1. They did not lose a game in regulation for a month.
2. All teams have bad stretches.
3. They are in a playoff spot.
4. They got a bad bounce.
5. Colorado (insert other team or goaltender) was playing very well.
6. They are playing the ugly 2-1 games you always write and tell us they need to play.

Reality check/Counterpoint:
1. The goaltending stole a bunch of games or won some shootout/overtime games (Halak vs Flyers/Greiss vs everyone)  they got an incredible break in Colmubus with Jenner kicking in a puck that was going over the line, and Schneider was not very good on a lot of outside shots vs Devils, who were without top players.

Is Okposo getting an unassisted gift against Columbus progress? 

How come we do not see this team do what Florida did when they were injured/sick, and flat out take over a game? The Florida Panthers for the better part of a season and a half are never an easy team to beat, even though becoming the Florida Jagr's will ultimately be a step back.

2. When is this team going to have a good stretch where they simply outclass a team with the game in the balance? They broke Chicago's win streak last year and flat out wore them down as they did with a lot of games like the one vs Tampa they came-back last December.

Last year all I kept reading from opposing coaches is how hard this team is to play against, now it seems much easier. The Blue Jackets players were talking about how gassed the Islanders were when they pinned them in for long stretches a week ago.

3. Playoff spots come/go in a week in this league, it's going to be a fight for a spot to the final days if they are there at all.

4. When are they going to make the other team give them a bad bounce or work hard enough to force the other team to make mistakes that turns a game in the Islander favor?

5. Tired of writing that, it's time this team start outclassing teams and beating whoever is playing well, that's what good teams/true cup contenders do a fair amount of the time.

6. Simply put this team is not locking down it's competition in the third period, the blown leads or the other teams push always comes while our team basically does nothing to stop it or start their own beyond great goaltending. I do not see that as changing to a defensive system at the cost of some offense after writing about it recently, it seems more like they are tried, worn down and have little left in the tank.

Hanging on is not a defensive strategy, even when you win/lose a skills competition, and stave off regulation losses which cannot happen for long in this conference playoff format. 
Bottom Line:  
The 2015-16 New York Islanders have a roster full of underachieving players, mediocre special teams at best, zero killer instinct or are simply outworked with games in balance far too often with the usual blown leads.

Has John Tavares ever looked this frustrated or ineffective? 

Why can't they make the opposition blow leads or fold under pressure in the third period? 
Can they even make changes without a penalty during the 3/3 skills competition? 
It's unacceptable when Anders Lee (a good skater who used to score on breakaways) has four goals being used like Mark Parrish, that Strome is a non-factor. Leddy, Hamonic should be progressing offensively, Boychuk should be scoring some goals, and visible. Kulemin have any goals in over a month? Cizikas?

Funny how the one guy who is playing better is Grabovski who is finally playing his career position after a year getting concussions as a winger.

How many line changes does it take with the revolving left wingers for Tavares? 

Sure we may continue seeing the team win this way, if they get in the playoffs (and win) no one will care.

But ultimately what's being built here or what are we seeing that indicates the New York Islanders are growing into a cup contender? I saw some signs last year that did not hold up vs Washington who were waiting to lose that series.

I wrote in May that there should be a coaching change, not sure a change now does anything and could influence some pending UFA to leave, but seriously if the team is just hanging on who cares?

The dynasty New York Islanders grew into a team that many felt could beat the opposition any way they wanted to play against them.

Can this group grow into a team that can win one single way against anyone? 

It's not working out.