Long time reader, first time poster here. I've been an Islanders fan since the mid 2000's when my Dad went to the USA on a business trip and brought back for me a Jason Blake Islanders cap. Being a fresh faced young hockey fan with no real clue what the low down was on the NHL, I read up on the history of the Islanders. I was stoked, these guys were the bomb, they have like the most storied history for a 40 year old franchise ever. Good choice, Dad.
Anyway, my fandom continued it's incubation and suffered a little bit as I watched every other team in the league except possibly be the Oilers be at least a little serious about running their organisation. My passion for hockey grew, and by extension my passion for the Islanders, which I came all too late to realise was misdirected and I actually do wish most of the time Dad had brought back a hat from almost any other team.
However I stick by my team and as I'm from Australia, have a strong resentment for the bandwagon fans that most teams get (Heat, Celtics, Kings, Blackhawks, Bruins, Patriots, Steelers and Knicks...one of these things is not like the other, but these are the main teams for Australians) down here. I am passionate about the sports you guys have over there and my teams bring unending suffering to my zen. I am a Redskins fan, a Wizards fan and an Islanders fan.
Recently I was in the States and Canada for a couple months and went and saw all my teams play. The Wiz got belted by the 6ers in their season opener. The islanders lost in the 3rd after leading 2-1 to the Rangers at home (loved the game and was expecting to lose because the Islanders don't win things. The atmosphere was awesome even though it felt like a Rangers home game, but the Isles fans we met were the best). Went to a Redskins game and was privileged to be at one of the 3 they won for the season, although was paralytic from tailgating so missed most of it.
I went to seven hockey games in my time there and absolutely loved all of them, I can safely say it's the best spectator sport that I've been to - and I have been to AFL (Australian Football) finals with 100,000 people at them, I've seen Arsenal play and I've seen Real Madrid play at the Santiago Bernebau. We like sports and we don't care who knows.
However my passion for hockey was absolutely ignited by the first game I saw (Senators home opener vs NJ - the sens are my 2nd team, and it's hard sometimes to not say "yeah I go for the sens") and I've been absolutely determined to play in my local league back down here since I got back.
I am going to do it, and the position I want to play more than anything is goalie. I reckon it's the most amazing position in all sports. I am mesmerized when I watch a good goalie at work, which is to say I am in complete control of my faculties when watching the Islanders play. WHICH at long last brings me to my already well known point.
In preparation and to keep the fire stoked for playing goalie, I have been living on highlight videos on youtube and basically any videos of pro goalies at work I can get my hands on. Guess how many of these highlight reels have an Islanders goalie feature in them? Zero. At least from 2010 onwards. These are three-second grabs of goalies making spectacular saves and there is not an Islander jersey to be seen except those getting denied by every other teams goalie who plays at an NHL level.
I have next to no experience about this compared to anyone on this site and definitely within the Islanders camp (God I hope I'm right about that), but it is as plain as the nose on my face that the number one problem is goaltending. No other problems are even in the same postcode. The Isles playoff run was on the back of Nabby having a resurgence. The team looked pretty good then. The team looked shit when he came back to earth. I get so fucking pumped up watching these goalies deny other teams with amazing moves I want to yell and scream and cheer. Imagine how your own team would feel if you did that? Imagine how crap the shooters are going to feel - like they're shooting at a brick wall.
In conclusion to my long winded post that you have already summarized a billionty times, I think having a great goalie goes so far beyond stats for a lot of people. From the defenders all the way out to the fans sitting at home spilling their beer (or fruit juice as the games here are on at like 10am) because of a wacky-doo save, having that stoic netminder to breathe confidence to EVERYONE should be the very first - and until it's done ONLY - priority in the offseason, I would think.
This isn't new news, but I had to get it off my chest. If nothing else this post confirms that the Islanders have at least one deluded fan down in Australia. Feel sorry for me.