Hello fans. In this the next in the most popular recurring column on The Voice we will discuss this season as it is drawing to a close. For about 65 games this season, the Islanders were defying the odds. They were making the so called "experts" who picked the team to finish 15th in the conference, and 30th in the league look like fools. In what seems like a year ago the team was 5 points out of first in the conference with a game against the Devils to try and make it 3. Then the bottom fell out. DP was obviously hurting and was not playing up to his abilities. The defense became decimated by injury. The offense, always suspect, also touched by injury absolutely shut down. The Power Play with the trade of Bergeron lost whatever teeth it had, and the penalty killing, which had the team in the top 5 in the league in that regard absolutely went in the gutter. So here the team stands now at 75 points, 13th in the conference and out of the playoffs. Most of the promising kids in the organization are with the team right now as the Islanders will most certainly lose over 400 man games to injury and they seem to be making the most of their opportunity, playing very well over the last 3 games.
THE GOOD -
1 - SNOW IS CAPABLE - The Islanders showed that in their current state with their current personnel, you do not need that high priced superstar to be a competitive team. When healthy, Snow and Nolan put together a very competitive team that probably was not going to win a cup, you add a player here and there and maybe you have a contender.
2 - THE YOUNG PLAYERS EARNING SPOTS - Now that they are out of the race they are getting a very good look at the young players in the organization. Matt Spiller, Jeff Tambelini, Kyle Okposo, Jeremy Colliton, Blake Comeau, Steve Regier and Frans Nielson have all made great cases to stick with the team next season, and I think they all have played their way onto the Islanders roster for next season. Promoting these guys would enable the team to have more cap space available to pursue a solid blueliner and a scoring winger.
3 - COACH NOLAN IS THE MAN - The Islanders coach proved this season to his players that through hard work you can compete in the NHL. They followed Nolan's plan, and they were contenders for a bulk of the season before injuries took their hold on the team.
Time to switch to..
1 - NO EXCUSES - Since when are injuries an excuse for losing? It almost seemed as though the team was waiting for an excuse to fail and they got one through injury and seemed to shut down as a result.
2 - DP, THE WEAK LINK? - I this going to be a yearly occurrence? DP lights the world on fire and peters out with season ending injuries? Thats 2 hip surgeries in 2 seasons with 13 seasons to go. With his concussion history you cannot help but be concerned about DP as talented as he obviously is his sometimes reckless style of play exposes him to injury. You cannot tell him to reign it in because its one of the things that makes him the goaltender he is. He needs to be healthy for this team.
3 - COACH NOLAN IS A LAME DUCK - What kind of a message does this send to the players and the fans? The players all seem to love the guy and respond to his message that hard work can overcome the lack of talent. He needs a contract extension and needs one before the start of the next season.
There you have it, 3 for and 3 against. Let me know what points you agree or disagree with. There are five games to go and I will be blogging through the summer especially around what should be a huge draft day and should be a VERY interesting Free Agent period on July 1st so come on back to The Voice all summer!!