Injuries, injuries, injuries.
Every team has them. Its time to stop with the excuses. Now is the time for the Islanders to do something with their 2011-12 season. Right now. Tonight against our higher profile, richer, more glamorous and big spending neighbors in Madison Square Garden. This is not just another game against the Rangers. The Rangers themselves are under the cameras of HBO's outstanding "24/7: Road to the Winter Classic" along with the Orange Crud.. excuse me the Philadelphia Flyers. A game which by all rights should be Islanders vs. Rangers in Yankee Stadium, but that is another column for another day.
The Islanders have floundered along long enough with people, writers and fans making excuse after excuse of why the team still flounders at the bottom of the NHL standings every year and HBO will be sure to capture at least a part of the Rich Man Poor Man mini story arc sure to be showcased in episode 3 of the HBO's popular mini-series.
The time has come for the young talented Islanders to make the kind of statement they did last year against the Penguins and the last part of the season. The Islanders started off this season in the same fashion as last season with early success followed by a long poor stretch. Before all of the Penguin fans jump all over me for condoning the Islanders so called goonery from last seasons fight filled affair with the Penguins, I do not mean the Islanders should emulate the Thunder Bay Bombers from "Youngblood" and simply take the Rangers apart with their fists.
What I mean is the Islanders have to play solid hockey and come away with two points on Garden Ice in front of HBO's cameras. The Rangers are enjoying a fine season with their newest high priced free agent for once being exactly what they needed to be successful in Brad Richards.
If the Islanders want to make something of their season this year then go out and beat the Rangers in front of HBO on their home ice and steal just a bit of the spotlight from them. The Islanders have been playing well and its time for the team to take it to the next level and what better way to make a statement for your own confidence than to take it to your fiercest rival in front of their own crowd when the spotlight is brightest?
If not, they can go back to being cellar dwellers and hope the next top five pick can be the one that pushes them to respectability.
They have two opportunities to do so tonight and on December 26th both at the Garden against the Rangers with a home game against the Canadian version of the Rangers in the equally high profile Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday.
Three games that could very well define this season for the Islanders or in turn break down whatever chance this team has to be any assemblance of successful. It is all in their hands as the Islanders have the ability to do it, but will they? Tune in tonight at seven o' clock and find out.