The Islanders went into Pittsburgh on Thursday (4/9) night knowing they were only a regulation loss away from clinching last place in the NHL. And guess what, folks, THEY DID IT! With a 6-1 drubbing in The Igloo (a.k.a. Mellon Arena) the Isles have secured themselves no worse than the #2 pick in 2009 Entry Draft!
In most seasons and cities this situation might be greeted with varying degrees of disappointment, hand-wringing, and rumors of front office and/or coaching changes. Not so for the 2008-2009 New York Islanders, whose season, it seems, has been leading up to this very moment for months. Instead of despair and gloom in Islanderland, there is a festive mood and a cautious optimism about. Why? Simply...
JOHN TAVARES OR VICTOR HEDMAN WILL BE PLAYING FOR THE ISLANDERS NEXT SEASON!
We don't need to tell you about the potential skill that either player would bring to the franchise. That subject has been written about to death. We will mention that adding to this excitement is the fact that GM Garth Snow told the fan base he had a plan, explained the plan (intending to build mainly through the draft), and has stuck to it. Just this week Garth added young talent to the organization, some of whom will hopefully blossom into superb NHL talent. Let's also remember the generous haul of draft picks, of which many are early rounders, that Snow is sitting on. For Islanders fans you can't imagine how refreshing these thoughts are.
As with any draft in any sport, of course things can go awry. Scouts can be wrong. Young players can suffer injuries or even worse, as we tragically witnessed today in baseball. However, for the first time in a LONG time it feels as if things will be okay for the Islanders.
The draft order will be determined on Tuesday (4/14) night at 8 PM. Personally, we want John Tavares (the Isles' offense is more anemic than their defense). If it's a #2 and Hedman though, that's fine. Everything is going to work out from this point forward. And what better place could have been chosen to set these events in motion than the building where this fan last felt really, really good about the direction of his Islanders?