Hi all. Here's to wishing everyone a safe and prosperous 2008. That should go without saying.
As we forge ahead into the new year, it's as good a time as any to state the following: put away the past and look forward to what's ahead. While this outlook may seem particularly geared toward Islanders fans, it's really for everyone.
For those of you in Minnesota, it's been a rough two weeks. We sympathize. Some of you are still simmering over the curious timing of Kyle Okposo's departure from your fine college program. Having not been there, and knowing how stories sometimes get spun or confused, we don't know exactly how things happened and who said what, or if too much was said by one party or another. Some have judged Kyle and the Islanders organization harshly; that's your right as fans. However, there are always two sides to a story (and frequently the truth lies somewhere in the middle) and Kyle did what he thought was best for him in his situation. Again, only he can know the true motivation(s) for his departure. For all we know, some situation, comment, or incident could have affected his outlook in a way we may never fully know.
I hope that in the near future many of you can put aside your animosities and just enjoy Kyle for what he is and will be: a special hockey talent from your fine state.
To make matters worse, your Vikings were eliminated from NFL playoff contention, the Twins have had a potential Johan Santana trade looming over them for what now seems ages, and the Gophers (with or without Okposo) just don't seem to be very good this season. Need we mention the Kevin Garnett-less Timberwolves?
Here's wishing you a better 2008 in the sports world. The authors of this humble blog genuinely like and root for every professional Minnesota team. Two of us have even been 'blown' at the Metrodome (Minnesotans know what we're talking about). You're great fans, and you deserve a winner this year.
To the Islanders fans, it's also time to focus on the future. While the past has brought us great moments and memories, it's probably best to let thoughts of Jason Blake, Ryan Smyth, Viktor Kozlov, Tom Poti, Alexei Yashin, and everyone else reside in the past. The future is being ushered in, and quickly. One need only look as far as the Coliseum ice, where Blake Comeau, Ben Walter, Sean Bergenheim, Jeff Tambellini, and other youngsters are getting their chances to show off their talents. With Rob Figren, Rhett Rakhshani, Tomas Marcinko, and of course, Kyle in the system things are looking better than they have in a long while. And there's hope behind the bench too, as the Isles have their best coach(es) in place since the Arbour days.
So, as 2008 marks the 20th anniversary of the last Islanders division title, hopefully it will also mark the beginning of a long period of sustained excellence.
And to those of you who just like watching good hockey, here's to wishing you a fun and enjoyable rest of the World Juniors tournament. There are many talented young players on all of the rosters; don't limit yourself to just rooting for your own country. With the US and Swedish teams playing the best so far, things are definitely changing in that respect too. With all due respect to the great Canadian and Russian teams, you're not the only kids on the block anymore. It looks like 2008 is going to be a great year.
Enjoy, and have a great '08!