As it came time for this spring's Game 7 between the Capitals and Islanders, Dom emailed everyone that something had come up and he wouldn't be able to write a recap. It came down to Chris and me being the only ones available to write the recap. In the end Chris wrote it and did a wonderful job.
After posting it, we joked around that had I written it, it would have been nothing but curse words -- probably not cats -- and the results of me banging my head into the keyboard. That is true to an extent, but following the loss it wasn't really anger I felt. It was more disappointment than anything else.
To me, disappointment is worse then anger.
I have worked a ton of low paying crappy retail jobs. I have been yelled at, cursed at and threatened more times then I can count. But all the yelling, screaming and threats have no effect on me anymore. I can just go on to the next job and get on with my life.
When I was at the lowest point in my career, working for Kohl's for minimum wage, I screwed up and missed my bus. This meant I came into work an hour late, but to me it wasn't a big deal. When I got in though, my boss grabbed me and asked what happened. I explained the situation and apologized. She looked at me and just said, "I'm disappointed in you Mark," and walked away.
That hit me harder then anything has hit me in a while.
You see, my boss at Kohl's was this late 50s woman who weighed maybe a hundred pounds soaking wet and worked just as hard as anyone else, if not harder. She had carpal tunnel in both her wrists, and a few weeks after I left she had to take time off to get more surgery on them. Sometimes I would have to remind her not to lift/move heavy stuff, that she has all these workers for a reason.
That same level of disappointment is how I feel about the Islanders. A season of such promise, such hope, 20+ years since the last playoff series win, and it's back to the drawing board for next season. All they needed was one more win in the regular season -- one shootout goal even -- and game 7 would have been at Nassau. They weren't going to lose a game 7 at home.
Instead Nassau Coliseum is closed, with all that wonderful history, on a largely losing note (or an LOL Islanders note).
I'm disappointed that Anders Lee was watching game 7, while Colin McDonald who had cleared waivers twice played. I'm disappointed that was the best game 7 performance the Islanders could give. Disappointed that the Islanders didn't get a chance to knockout the Rangers (and probably not lose a 3-1 series lead). Disappointed that we're probably going to spend a whole offseason probably arguing about Jack Capuano and Brian Strait. Disappointed that the highlight of my time as an Islanders fan is still from over 20 years ago. Disappointed that John Tavares didn't finish first in points because the Predators and Stars worked together to get Benn those last two points.
My one hope is that this is like the 1978-79 season, when the Islanders would have won the President's Trophy (it didn't exist at the time) but lost in xix games to the Rangers in the Conference Finals. The following season the Islanders would regress to 91 points (their first sub-100 point total in 4 seasons) but we all know how it went after that, to the tune of 19 consecutive playoff series victories. There's another 82-game grind to get to the playoffs though, and some very good NHL teams know all too well that anything can happen in that grind.
In the end, I'm not angry at the Islanders. I'm just disappointed that it ended this way, when things were so promising.
When John Tavares talks about the sting of the loss, maybe it is a learning experience for a young team. Next season when the team is flying high, he'll be able to remind the guys what taking the foot off the pedal can lead to. Hopefully as fans we won't have to spend another offseason waiting for next year.
This was a good team that could have done better, and quite simply, I'm disappointed in just about everyone that was a part of it.