Win or loss, "this is the way the [last-place season] ends, not with a bang but a whimper."
Twenty-two years ago, Easter Sunday was when Islanders fans woke up after an unbelievable 4-OT, Game 7 victory against the Washington Capitals, clinched by a franchise center who it was hard to imagine ever leaving. I still remember the frozen stance of Bob Mason after that goal went in. I still remember the Sports Illustrated photo of the 75-57 shot tally on the board.
In the interim, the Islanders and Capitals have each had some great runs mixed with a whole lot of disappointment. Each has been very bad for long spells, and each has had some reason to think things might just finally turn around. You know how it fits. This is the cycle.
Today Easter Sunday is a bit different.
Boston Bruins (#1 seed, East) at New York Islanders (Tavares/Hedman)
5 p.m. EDT | Nassau [gloriously unsponsored] Coliseum | MSG+
Bruins blogga': Stanley Cup of Chowder
For the Islanders, 30th place is long assured, a top-two pick with it. The evaluative data on the kids and the pending free agents has been collected. The two backup goalies have shown what they can (and cannot) do. No impression left today can sway the political strings that control the Lighthouse Project's fate.
For the Bruins, it's resting time: The 1st seed is secure, while the President's Trophy -- an underrated achievement, in my book -- is out of reach. Just don't get hurt.
All that's left is a late-afternoon scrimmage to close out the season and soak in some Coliseum atmosphere and ghosts. Because when the puck next drops here, due to circumstances that have little to do with the on-ice roster, the future could either look bright or bleak. (Or, as we've seen for a decade, -- as ambiguously uncertain as always). Whichever way the Lighthouse Project situation turns, we'll mostly just be masses along for the high-stakes ride.
Thanks to everyone who has visited over this season, the first for Lighthouse Hockey. I encourage you to join in on comments or FanPosts -- even if to complain -- but your visits are appreciated either way, whether your an Isles fan or a hockey fan just checking in.
We'll continue daily coverage of the team and league throughout the playoffs and the summer, but without the daily game schedule we'll have a chance to do more fun features and, of course, to mull over the roster. Between the lottery, the playoffs, the draft and free agency, there will still be a lot to cheer or gripe about.
- Mark Streit appears to lodge his vote for Tavares. [Newsday]
- Doug Weight earns the media's "Good Guy" award because he "gets it:" Too much communication is better than not enough. If only Garth Snow felt that way about dealing with his constituents.
- The first-round matchups this year appear to be epic. [Puck Daddy]
- Islanders Outsider's great collection of quotes from Streit and Bergenheim after the Flyers game.
- The historical record of teams that need to go through what the Islanders have in order to get right again is long.
Bridgeport finishes with a win and will play the Baby Penguins.