In the European soccer leagues, your team can actually drop to the next division down, if they end up in the lowest part of the standings. Avoiding relegation is sometimes the one and only focus a team and their fans have for that season. Since I hate the buy-your-way-to-a-championship system those leagues employ, I often find myself rooting for the recently promoted clubs, hoping they'll hang around.
With the Isles recent run of play, I get that same euphoric feeling as I do when West Brom doesn't get sent down a third consecutive time.
Yes, it's another week, another step closer to respectability. The Isles split their games against the Flyers (although the Flyers got three out of four points, because Bettman), and then beat the Rangers in regulation. The opinion polls were mostly written prior to this, however, leading us to these comments:
Weekly Roundup of Opinion Polls
|CBS||1/20/2014||24||19||The Islanders are in a key stretch with seven of nine against Metro teams. They lost the first one to Philly but if they want to climb back, these are crucial points.|
|ESPN||1/20/2014||25||21||The Isles are in the middle of their best stretch of hockey of the season but still rank 26th in the league, which tells you all you need to know about their first half.|
|TSN||1/20/2014||27||26||Isles could use more complementary scoring and rookie C Brock Nelson is trying, with three goals in the past five games, but Josh Bailey and Michael Grabner have combined for five goals since the beginning of November -- and all five have been scored by Grabner!|
|Fox Sports||1/21/2014||24||25||GOOD NEWS: Top line winger Kyle Okposo produced his 15th multi-point game Monday. Only three NHL players had more at that point of the season.
BAD NEWS: Key defenseman Travis Hamonic remains sidelined by an upper-body injury.
BOTTOM LINE: After starting the season 11-21-7, the Islanders won nine of their next 12 games to become relevant again
|Sports Illustrated||1/21/2014||19||17||Don't go to sleep on the Isles with a lead. Their past four victories have all been come-from-behind efforts, including Monday's 4-3 shootout win over the Flyers that saw them fight back from a 3-1 deficit after 40 minutes. Their current 7-3-0 kick has pulled them to within five points of a wild card berth. Considering the miserable run they had through November and December, that might be their biggest comeback of all.|
SB Nation [updated]
||1/23/2014||22||21||Another Metro division team that's coming on in the second half, the Islanders still have a long way to go at even strength to move up the rankings.|
|Average||23.5||21.5||Things are looking up, so naturally we'll rate them lower.|
That average drop in position despite the recent winning record, is mostly due to everyone jumping on the bandwagon the week before. Sites like CBS and SI dialed back their praise a bit, perhaps realizing that their prior rankings were a little ahead of the Islanders' actual record.
LHH Power Rankings
Valuing wins against better teams higher than wins against bad ones.
The Isles move up one spot past Washington, who has been hating life lately. While you would think wins against Philly and the Rangers (both in the lower half of the rankings) would not help the Islanders much, remember that it's better than losing to them. Also, other teams above the Isles don't always win (did I mention Washington?), making the Isles relatively better.
Standings from an Alternate Universe
Where each and every game is worth the same number of points. In this case, three (apologies to Down Goes Brown).
And if I might throw my own two cents in here, we absolutely cannot allow the shootout to determine a win, if that means one team getting two points and the other getting none. Either go back to tie games, or give three points for a regulation win.
Anyway, on with it...
Well, on one hand, the Isles would be less than a regulation win behind the Caps. On the other hand, they'd be four full regulation wins behind a playoff spot (2 and a half regulation wins behind that same spot in Bettman's World). But them's the breaks. When you're as bad as the Isles were in November/December (even when they won, it was rarely in regulation), you'd have more catching up to do under this system.
So, I finally got around to checking the Yankee Stadium seating chart. As it turns out, getting a seat in the 200's doesn't necessarily mean you'll be close to the ice. Especially when you're in the bleachers. My Stadium Game's power rankings just took a tiny dip.
Like I said, them's the breaks.
- 'NHL Revealed' Spotlights John Tavares, Kyle Okposo Roles with New York Islanders
- On Faceoffs: Many variables, none overwhelmingly important
- [Video] Vanek and Martin's Goals vs. the Rangers Show...John Tavares is Good.
- New York Islanders 5 (EN), Rangers 3: Don't call it a comeback, they've been here before. And before. And before.
- MSG Video: Islanders prospect Anders Lee under the microscope