Editor's Note: FanPost front-paged purely for the first sentence. We're cheap like that. (But seriously: It's a fun discussion topic for tough times.)
Lighthouse Hockey is a great hockey blog. But, as an Islanders-centric site, those of us that frequent it religiously tend to focus on all things blue-and-orange and scrupulously analyze the most minor of minor details as long as it involves our team.
This season hasn't been a good one so far for the Islanders and it's easy to forget that it hasn't been a good one for a few other teams, too. Every team is made up of different players, coaches, circumstances and history. What came before often affects what's happening currently. But bad is bad no matter how you slice it. I've read a few articles about other teams recently that I found very interesting when compared to the Islanders' problems.
Just today, Harrison Mooney at Puck Daddy covered the "Will Jarome Iginla be traded?" question that Flames fans have probably been sick of for years. Calgary's not off to a good start (13th place/West) and their team president ponders if their strong second half last season was a mirage. If they don't straighten themselves out, Iginla could bring some prospects back for the future. That is, if he wants to be traded. He's one of 11 (!) Flames players with either a no trade or no movement clause in his contract. Calgary's also got the 11th highest payroll in the league and moving some of of those guys to make cap room is going to take some cleverness from GM Jay Feaster.
Also struggling this season are the Colorado Avalanche, which writer Adrian Dater calls the first bad team he's ever covered in any sport. Top center Paul Stasny's not scoring consistently, key defenseman Erik Johnson is a -12 and coach (and former Islander) Joe Sacco's position is very much in jeopardy. Two years ago, most of this same Avalanche team made a surprising run to the playoffs. Right now they seem to be hanging on to those memories by their fingernails and wondering where that team went.
Further west are the Anaheim Ducks, who Orange County Register columnist Jeff Miller called "an embarrassment." This is team led by the reigning Hart Trophy winner Corey Perry and a tough, talented captain in Ryan Getzlaf. In 2007, they were young guys on a Stanley Cup champion. Now, they're being asked how they've lost 11 of their last 12 games, many in shocking and ugly ways. Getzlaf, Perry and Bobby Ryan were on the ice for all three third period goals in a loss to the Blackhawks that the Ducks apparently showed up for in name alone.
Finally, the Columbus Blue Jackets have had a nightmare season so far for many already reported reasons. But they're also having some money problems that have nothing to do with Steve Mason's five-hole. The Columbus City Council recently approved a deal in which they will buy Nationwide Arena, which will help keep the team in Columbus. Which is good. But not good enough for some who claim the deal won't stop the team from losing a ton of dough (and not paying their creditors) and may actually scare off any future buyers. Also not paying creditors recently was Devils owner Jeff Vanderbeek. Our division foes could be close to declaring bankruptcy if a new investor isn't found.
I didn't write this to point my finger and let out a Nelson Muntz-style "HA HA!" at other teams. Bossy knows, no Islanders fan in his right mind would (or should) ever ridicule another franchise's struggles. The only thing the Islanders have done consistently since 1985 is struggle. I don't expect this to make anyone feel better or more optimistic about the Islanders' on-and-off ice issues.
But I thought it was important and enlightening to point out that other teams can and do have a lot of the same issues the Islanders do, while at the same time remaining unique to that them. While we fret over one fourth line forward's ice time or the incremental progress of a teenage prospect's development, there are other franchises with other grave problems that affect their long term future, too.
Are these teams better off than the Islanders? Worse? Would they change places with our team in some respects? Would the Islanders love to have some of their problems? Answer to all is: probably.