To watch every night where some NHL team scores 5, 6, 7 goals — sometimes in a losing effort — while the Islanders struggle along with a snakebit shooting drought (league-low 6.9 shooting %) and barely conjure two goals per game, is to feel the full wrath of the hockey gods.
Everything is going wrong for the Islanders right now — bad luck, injuries, COVID, strong division, probably the road trip factor, etc. — but longtime realists know things can change, so much so that a team that has a decent but still one-in-whatever chance of reaching the final four can actually do so and pump us up in consecutive years. (Conversely, a team that’s good enough to reach the final four may never actually do so, and certainly may not expect to do so three consecutive years while taking annual cap/roster hits.)
The existential challenges facing the Islanders right now are: 1) They’re 5-8-2 with a decimated roster, so there’s no guarantee things will change anytime soon, and 2) Even if they do, the Isles are already 13 points out of a regular playoff spot and seven points away from the wild card. There’s a third looming challenge, which boils down to, “Maybe it was asking too much for Trotz to cover the known roster weaknesses,” but we’ll get to that one if and when things officially go belly up.
Right now the “getting late but not done” feeling is prevalent, as the Islanders prepare to face yet more decent opponents in the Rangers (twice), Penguins and Flyers to finish out this thus-far miserable month.
And of course, after a much-needed off day Monday, today could bring more bad news, be it Brock Nelson’s status, more Covid results, or some other left-field concern like Oliver Wahlstrom being bit by an infectious iguana.
- Some more stories and scenes from the opening weekend of UBS Arena. [Isles]
- Health issues and the power play are prominent in the team’s struggles. [Newsday | Post]
- Hockey Night NY talks the struggles and the arena with Arthur Staple. [Twitch]
- The proverbial “getting late early,” and “running out of runway.” [NYI Hockey Now]
When Let’s-Go-Islanders meets the Doppler Effect:
Last night’s NHL scores include the Penguins and Blue Jackets winning again.
- Looking ahead: After just two games back from offseason abdominal surgery, Kevin Hayes is week-to-week after aggravating the injury. [BSH]
- Looking back: As we saw when they opened the areener, the Flames have been fully Trotz-ified under Darryl Sutter, who has some observations on the evolutions in the game. [Athletic]
- But how real is the Flames’ division-leading start? [Yahoo]
- NHL head of DEI initiatives Kim Davis talks Kyle Beach, diversity and needed cultural changes. [Sportsnet]
- Troy Terry is 24, heeding Ryan Miller’s advice about using the force, and on an absurd points streak (which ended last night at 16 games). [ESPN | NHL]
- Fenway’s looming purchase of the Penguins is an indicator of how sports ownership may change. (They also discussed the Isles arena and Covid situation around the 28 minute mark.) [32 Thoughts podcast]
- WTH is wrong with you people? Ryan Hartman of the Wild is the latest to draw discipline (just a fine) for slew footing. [TSN]