Because people are begging for the season to start, we'll imagine it has, with an idea stolen from the refreshingly sardonic folks at Copper & Blue, made possible by the saints who maintain the Hockey-Reference database.
This is a running prediction of (mostly) Islanders milestones that will be hit during 2011-12. And no, don't dare call it a pr*j*ct*n. But some of these are even sincere.
Oct. 12: It starts to occur to the Rangers that they just committed nine years to a second-line center who will probably be a third-line winger before the contract is halfway through. No worries. Cablevision be-redden him in 2016.
Oct. 22: Feeling better than he ever has in a season's opening month, Michael Grabner takes one stride around Ed Jovanovski and breaks the land-speed record for men from Austria. Guiness won't recognize the record, however, as they claim it was "Frans-aided." The Danish ambassador files protest, and soon pledges a new Herning Book of World Records which will not discriminate based on national background.
Grabner didn't score on the breakaway, by the way, but he did retrieve the rebound from the corner and bury it on the wraparound.
Oct. 29: At age 26, Al Montoya plays his 30th NHL game.
Nov. 3: Nino Niederreiter plays his 10th NHL game of the season, signaling to all that he ain't going back. Mike Cammalleri starts sleeping with a knife under his pillow. Teammates tell Nino to watch The Untouchables for material for their next encounter.
Nov. 15: With a hot start, John Tavares' 7th goal (against the Rangers on this night) is his 60th of his career.
Nov. 17: Big night for Blake Comeau as he scores his 60th career NHL goal and awes Coliseum fans by pulling off a quadruple COZO (Comeau Offensive Zone Orbit), which had never before been achieved in an official game setting.
Nov. 26: Marty Reasoner scores his 100th career NHL goal, remembers how people on his draft day compared him to Craig Janney -- the same Janney who Reasoner's new team unceremoniously dumped the year before. Janney scored 188 goals in 760 career games, retiring at age 31 after 18 "games played" as an Islander.
Nov. 28: With two shutouts in November, Dwayne Roloson gets his 30th career shutout. He is 73 behind Terry Sawchuk, but he's feeling fresh enough to get there.
Dec. 23: In a mid-season callup, Justin DiBenedetto somehow gets the entire Maple Leafs team to hate Christmas. This prompts Dion Phaneuf to abandon his position to attempt a leaping hit for the 7,349th time in his career.
Jan. 25: After getting a call-up to an NHL team that was looking for veteran help, Trent Hunter scores his 1st goal of the season, the 100th of his NHL career.
Feb. 3: Zenon Konopka describes the final moments of the Senators' 4-3 loss to the Islanders: "Well I won the draw to Cousin Alfie, and after I skated to the bench for the change he passed it up to Cousin Spezza. But Cousin Spezza's dangle at the blueline was broken up by Brother Hamonic, who forwarded it to speedy Cousin Grabner, and Brother Frans knocked in the winner. On second thought, Cousin Spezza is no cousin at all. He's just a guy."
Feb. 9: Frans Nielsen scores his 13th shorthanded goal in an Islanders uniform, and Butch Goring starts to get nervous.
Feb. 11: As the Kings visit Nassau Coliseum, MSG+++ starts spinning some hair-brained yarn about Matt Moulson and Jonathan Quick being somehow related. Whatever. If that were true, they'd have mentioned it at least once last year. I don't take no stock in in-laws anyway.
March 15: In a pivotal late-season Atlantic Division game, Micheal Haley glares at Maxim Talbot, prompting Talbot to soil the inside of his turtle shell. Flyers fans now have Reason #238 for hating Maxim -- #237 being how he's ruined the name of the periodical they "read" most.
April 7: John Tavares achieves his first 40-goal season and Ty Wishart plays his 100th NHL game as the Islanders clinch a playoff spot on the final day of the season.
April 13: Twelve of the 20 Islanders in uniform play their first NHL playoff game.