Less of this, please! - Al Bello
The Isles' fall in the standings is noticed universally by everyone in the history of ever.
Before I get on with this week's weekly round-up of opinion polls and number crunching, I want to point out that Torgo's really cool breakdown of teams in eight-game chunks, showing how each team is doing in terms of record, powerplays, penalty kills, etc. over each sixth of the season.
OK, so it would appear there's quite a bit of unrest in our little corner of the internet right now. We can't seem to go three comments without someone calling for the heads of Garth Snow and/or Charles Wang, and then another three comments before someone's calling for the heads of those who are calling for the heads of Snow and Wang. Over the next few days, we'll continue to post about such weighty questions, but for now, I would like a minute or two of your time to provide a little bit of my own perspective (apologies in advance for my writing style, which is nowhere near as fluent as that of the main contributors here):
Hockey is far and away my most favorite sport, but if the Isles were to move to Quebec or KC or Seattle - and if I was still following the sport in the same manner as I always have - that departure from New York would have absolutely crushed me. So over the past two or three years, I have been slowly withdrawing from this team and the sport of hockey itself.
This wasn't really a conscious decision, but I found myself just not caring anymore what roster moves were being made, or any other management decisions for that matter. Why bother if this team wasn't going to be around anymore? In fact, I only took charge of tabulating the FIG results and the power ranking calculations just to feel more connected to the team. These little activities helped keep me at least somewhat involved (although commenting with you guys during the games was the real saving grace).
Well, the Isles are moving to Brooklyn now, and I'm starting to feel that emotional investment for the team return. It's still not what it used to be, but I'm sure it will be back 100% some day soon. I'm sure many others feel the same way.
The point being... So what if the Isles are on a five-game skid? So what if Charles Wang is waiting for a move to Brooklyn before he invests more in the team? Or if he's still just making rookie mistakes? Or if his moves are to forsake the last years in NVMC so that the team is ready to win in Year One at Barclay's? Thanks to the new lease, the Isles will be here at least as long as him, if not much longer than that. And at some point or another, the talent on this team will hit a critical mass and they will become a contender, perhaps in spite of themselves.
Yes, I'd like them to be better this year. I'd like them to win 10 Cups in a row. But I'm simply not going to get that upset at a team that once again got shut out of the free agency market (and likely will continue to be so long as they're in Nassau), and is floundering through a short season. John Tavares is 22 years old. We have many years left to watch him work his magic. And now that he's definitely going to be here for years to come, I have no problems waiting a little longer for the good times to start rolling. But that's just my two cents.
I'm not asking anyone to stop venting on this site, about any issue, both for and against. Nobody likes losing. But just remember that it could have been far, far worse. Just be kind to those with differing opinions, OK?
And now that I have hopefully given you warm and fuzzy feelings, here's a bunch of people who are crapping all over our team...
Weekly Round-Up of Opinion Polls
|CBS||24||17||I remember a lot of people laughing at the Isles getting Brad Boyes but he hasn't been bad at all with three goals and five assists in 11 games. ... The Isles just don't have a ton of forward depth. They can compete at the top, not at the bottom. ... Defensively, not so good again. They have given up three or more in five straight games. No wonder they have a four-game skid.|
|THN||28||---||Four straight losses has Isles back near the basement; John Tavares is on pace for 57 points in 48 games – three more than he had in his 82-game rookie campaign.|
|ESPN||25||11||Four straight losses for the struggling Isles, although they deserved a better fate Saturday, when they outshot the Sabres 43-15. The power play is 0-for-22 in the past four games.|
|Sportsnet.ca||27||14||The Isles have come back down to earth -- and out of playoff position -- by dropping five in a row. Their 1-5-0 home record is almost as ugly as that bogus Tim Thomas trade.|
|TSN||21||12||0-for-22 on the power play in four straight losses, the Islanders should soon see the benefits of adding D Lubomir Visnovsky and, potentially, LW Josh Bailey to the lineup.|
|Fox Sports||27||14||The Isles are on a four-game skid and have yet to win in February. Coach Jack Capuano is doing what he can to shake the team out of this funk, even sitting assistant captain Kyle Okposo.|
|Average||25||13.6||WE CAN HAZ ISLES LULZ AGAIN?!|
Well, perhaps that's not entirely fair. The comments are mostly not particularly scathing (Sportsnet's Thomas dig aside), and it's not like they don't deserve some razzing lately anyway. Even Lebrun doesn't pile on. Anyway, let's just get on to the cold, hard, unforgiving calculations:
Weekly Power Rankings
So, yeah... Well, at least their early victories against good teams has kept them from the bottom for now. There really isn't much more to say at this point. Despite their current tailspin, the Islanders are two and a half games behind the Rangers for eighth in the conference, and they play them next. Let's see if Capuano's moves pay off.