To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often."
-John Tavares, April 27, 2013.
Being a fan of any sports team is a peculiar existence. Some more peculiar than others. Then there's us, the stupid heads who
hate love the New York Islanders.
If we are lucky we are known as "once proud," but mostly we go by "long-suffering." About 9 months ago we were supposed to be evolving into a feel-good story. They said we were on the right path. The bandwagon was greasin' up for a long ride back to glory. Then the wheels came off.
The Isles came into this season with expectations. They failed. Are Islander fans disappointed? You bet. Are we surprised? Please.
A sputtering, if not discouraging start dampened expectations out the gate, but there was no reason to panic. Halloween was still a few days away and we just needed to tread water in our still dormant division a little longer so we could get
Ryan Miller the goaltender we were owed and then march on.
The front office plead with us to be patient. They were aware this team needed help in goal and they were trying and weren't supposed to stop until they got their guy.
Then the Islanders took a shot, they made the once-a-decade type of gamble that turns the game on its head.
Every roster has a "great story", but Moulson's was sweet enough to melt even the most cynical of hearts. Fans envisioned him as one of the guys that was supposed to be a big part of what was to come.
Up until last season, the one thing Islander fans demanded from Snow more than a goaltender was an elite winger to excel with John Tavares. Bobby Ryan and Thomas Vanek were two of the more popular choices amongst Islander Country.
One would think a move to get one of these two coveted players would have been met with ticker-tape, but instead it was met with a combination of absolute shock and nervous excitement.
We desperately needed a goal saver, but instead got a terrific goal scorer.
This isn't to say the Vanek trade is the reason the Islanders are dismal this season. The sizey Austrian has been as advertised in his brief stint on Long Island. He scores and creates havoc in areas where it is good to create havoc in. If we were able to keep Vanek past March 3rd this could have been the move that pushed the Islanders closer and closer.
Alas, a porous defense blended with just the wrong amount of head-scratching managerial decisions robbed us of our step in the right direction.
That is why this NHL Trade Deadline is so depressing for Islander Country. We are trading away what could have been.
As a teenager I played hooky every year on Trade Deadline Day. It is tradition that followed me into college and beyond.
The way hockey handles the Trade Deadline is so absurd that one can't help but get caught up in the Canadian Pageantry. It is especially exciting for those lucky enough to be contending for playoff spots (we're just one Janne Niinimaa away from being able to win a round or two!).
Instead of playing with the big boys tomorrow, the Islanders are again looking towards the Draft.
But that's par for the course here in Islander Country, a place where Trade Deadline 2014 will be deemed a success if we are able to gracefully trade away a player we had coveted for years.