The NHL off-season can be maddening. Fans spend three months trying to predict how the upcoming season will turn out. They take any signing, any report, any tiny scrap of information from any source and analyze and debate it for days like it foretells the end of the world.
It's probably unhealthy for fans to engage in this stressful behavior. Fortunately, there are professionals to do it for them.
When a picture recently surfaced featuring a quartet of Islanders training together, some of the finest hockey minds on the planet conferred to scrutinize the photo and use the clues hidden within it to answer the burning questions on every fan's mind.
Below is the photo, as well as the annotated results of that analysis. Our experts are supremely confident in their findings and feel they have correctly predicted how the Islanders' season will unfold from this one single photograph.
- An extra buff Kyle Okposo isn't just getting in shape for the upcoming season. From the photo, it's clear that Kyle has been cast in Paramount Pictures' Still Fast, Still Occasionally Furious, set for release in Summer 2015. In the film, Kyle plays the son of federal agent Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, who is tasked with tracking down the last car in the United States that hasn't been stolen by Vin Diesel and his crew of photogenic auto thieves.
- This off-season, the boys decided to train using Old World techniques and equipment, such as this 90-year-old cast-iron pasta machine imported straight from Sardinia.
- Casey Cizikas is known for his tenacity on the ice. But even when simply taking a picture, Cizikas gives 110 percent, smiling smart and hard just like the coaches want him to.
- Ryan Strome really ought to give his little brother his hat back.
- John Tavares' unique workout shirt is obviously a prototype of a material that has been scientifically designed to convert sweat into citrus-infused pheromones that keep gyms and locker rooms smelling like a freshly-picked bouquet of oranges, tangerines, clementines and Tang.
- So dedicated is Tavares to fitness and giving back to the community that in the off-season he does volunteer road re-pavement work around the Greater Toronto Area.
- "10 in 10 out" is a training mantra that calls for participants to do 10 minutes of hard exercise inside the gym, then 10 minutes of hard relaxing out of the gym, preferably at a nearby arcade.
- "Eat Clean, Train Dirty" is an extremely important principle for fitness. Research has shown that extra calories can be burned by both wiping one's mouth often while eating and cursing frequently while working out. Every little bit helps. Interesting fact: the opposite principle - "Eat Dirty, Train Clean" - is followed by many World Class pie-eating champions.
- The most important rule of off-season training: Coach Capuano is ALWAYS watching.
- So who was sitting on the sidelines supporting his teammates by taking fun pictures? You guessed it: Eric Boulton.
Conclusion: Using the information and signs from the picture, our experts have determined that in 2013-2014, the Islanders will finish atop the new Metropolitan Division with a 72-9-1-0 record. Tavares will win the Hart Trophy as most valuable player and will personally oversee renovations on the Long Island Expressway. Okposo will lead the league in both goals and fights, Cizikas will grace the covers of The Hockey News, Sports Illustrated, GQ and Good Housekeeping magazines, and Strome will most likely get his own hat.