As it continues to seem the islanders get outplayed on a nightly basis even in their recent wins, I will discuss something that has plagued the islanders for years, since their last true playoff series against the leafs and cannot be defined by adding haley to the team for his toughness. The islanders lack grit. Granted this team needs more goal scorers(26th in the NHL in goals) and it is ALWAYS easier to teach a goal scorer to check, then a checker to score, but the islanders lack the players who throw there body around a little, get dirty, and aren’t afraid to back down to a team. Playoff hockey is defined by intensity and the Islanders have not built a team like this since the 80’s or during our playoff year against the Leafs.
Think of these names for a moment, Gillies, Nystrom, Scatchard, Cairns, webb, peca, isbister, aucoin, hell even throw in players like bates, and parrish, these players had aggression that today’s islanders do not have. Today’s Islanders are the “nice” guys that are well-spoken, smart and far from intimating. Look at the Smurfs for instance. They got a team this year who fights for every inch and will take more if needed. They will use the body, work in corners, check when needed and stick up for one another.
The islanders lack heart on some nights. Which is either because they really aren’t a good team and just surprise us with a mediocre playoff chase or because they lack the players who can score but will work for their efforts. Nino is a player who comes to mind who will one day hit, score and play the body with his skill set. Just think for a moment realistically, can you see any current islanders besides moulson and select few others would would look good with playoff beards and have the true hockey look. Didn’t think so.