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Islanders Back & Forth: Boston battle; Eberle enigma

A new weekly look at the Islanders last and next few games. Mostly.

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Boston Bruins v New York Islanders Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images

(Hey, folks. I’m gonna try this for a little while and see how it goes. Every Monday, we’ll look back at the last week of Islanders games and what’s on tap for the week ahead. It’ll be mostly observational stuff but with plenty of diversions into nonsense in a format that will steal from at least a half dozen other features around the internet. Enjoy.)

A short week leads to packed one that ends in a back-to-back. I’ll be saying this a lot but the Islanders can’t avoid a ton of let downs and they’ve had one in each of the first two weeks of the season.

First, let’s look back at the week that was.

Last week for the New York Islanders:

Game 3: 1-0 win over the Bruins

A lot of people outside of this blog (and probably some within it, too) might have called this game boring. But I gotta say I enjoyed it quite a bit, like an old fashioned pitcher’s duel. When the score is 0-0 deep into the third period, every scoring chance seems huge, even when there aren’t many of them. And when the last two winners of the Jack Adams Trophy face each other, you know there’s gonna be some strategy involved. We all know what a huge difference Barry Trotz has made with the Islanders, but I’m always impressed by the Bruins’ consistency under Bruce Cassidy. They’re like a well-oiled hockey machine, attacking aggressively at all times, but rarely over-doing it. It’s a full team buy-in that even dopes like me and see and appreciate.

Of course, I also watched the game knowing full well the YEARS of baggage the Islanders have with the Bruins, so the longer it stayed scoreless, I knew they would either take the game and gain a rare victory against Boston, or suffer a different kind of heartbreak. That might have played a small part in how tense I found it all. Glad it was the former and not the latter.

Game 4: 4-1 win over the Devils

Seeing Jordan Eberle score twice in the same game is a reminder of what he’s capable of. I wish we saw it more often. There are times when he’s on such a heater, you’re like, “I can’t believe the Islanders have this guy.” But there have also been long stretches in his time here where he seems like he’s really snake-bitten. In a short season like this, they’re gonna need that first guy to show up and stick around a while.

Game 5: 2-0 loss to the Devils

Being shutout by Scott Wedgewood is bad enough. But Dmitry Kulikov? Matt Tennyson? Ryan Murray? Even PK Subban? Feels like the Devils’ defense was teleported in wholesale from 2015 and that, eventually, they’ll come face-to-face with their current day versions and that it might threaten to derail our entire timestream. They certainly derailed the Islanders in this one.

Record for the week: 2-1-0

Season Record: 3-2-0

Next week for the New York Islanders:

Tuesday, Jan. 26 and Thursday, Jan. 28 at the Capitals

I don’t care who’s out of their lineup when they finally play this week, the Capitals will always scare me. It always feels like the Islanders are the little brother in this situation. Maybe last season’s playoff win will put an end to that.

The Caps will be wearing their Reverse Retro jerseys for the first time in Tuesday’s game. While I’m not a huge fan of them (they seem fine), I gotta say I have never liked their regular “Rock The Red” uniforms that they’ve been wearing for a decade or more now. There are too many weird panels in weird places coupled with the non-logo wordmark across the chest (an update to their classic crest) that makes the whole thing a real eyesore. I feel like they don’t get enough hate around the league when talking about bad uniforms.

Saturday, Jan. 30 and Sunday, Jan. 31 at the Flyers

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: when it comes to social media, no fanbase is more all-in-all-the-time than Philly fans. Win or lose, they always bring the heat. It can be annoying when their teams are winning, but it’s also often very, very funny. And when their teams lose, they’re even more hilarious.

It’s better, of course, when one of my teams isn’t involved. I’m glad I muted my Flyers fans friends on Twitter before last season’s playoff series even started because it would have been a real emotional rollercoaster that I didn’t need. Part of me wanted to watch them melt down in real time as the Islanders took a 3-1 lead. But I also knew that if they Flyers came back to tie (or, god forbid, win) the series, it would be torturous. They did tie it, and the subsequent crash was highly enjoyable, all the way through the offseason. In terms of entertainment value, that might have been the best possible outcome for everyone.

Predicted record for the week: 2-2. Tough week with a back-to-back. Anything better than a split would be spectacular.

Alternate Programming Options:

I grew up during the “Hulkamania” era of WWF wrestling (although my favorite of all time was Hulk Hogan’s bitter rival, Rowdy Roddy Piper) and even though I don’t watch wrestling anymore, I end up knowing generally what’s going on in that world thanks to friends and news that pops into my view from time to time,

The wrestling business is never not fascinating, as much and perhaps more so than what goes in in the ring. A book I’m reading now zips through the history of the WWF/WWE from the sport’s early carnival days, through its rises and falls and right up to the modern day Reality Era.

“We Promised You a Great Main Event” by Bill Hanstock might not have a ton of new info if you’re a wrestling die hard, but if you’re a lapsed fan like me who skipped most of the last few decades or you don’t know much about the early foundations of the business, it’s a highly entertaining read, covering all of the big events and characters. Bill’s also a former SB Nation writer and a generally good dude. Check it out.

Classic Islanders clip just for fun:

Is it too early to call this a “Classic Islanders clip?” Meh, I don’t care. I still love it.