Friday, October 22, 2010

Are the Islanders For Real?

I'm going to keep this post a bit shorter than normal, but I would really welcome fan feedback on this issue. This evening I was lucky enough to watch the Islanders defeat Tampa Bay in overtime with fellow blogger John Zadrozny of Yes! Islanders.

During the course of the game, and again during the extremely long video review of the game winning goal, John and I got into a debate. And this is what being a fan is about, in essence. We were just two guys, sitting in a pub somewhere, watching a team we love, and having a disagreement. Make no mistake, we both want the team to succeed and make us proud; we just look at the season from different perspectives.

The Islanders currently sit atop the Eastern Conference with 10 points. We are both elated. But the question is thus: How many games need to pass until we can accurately say that the Islanders are "for real?"

Of course, your definition might vary from ours. To some of you that might mean being a playoff team. To others it might mean finishing above .500 even if falling short of the top eight.

The coach and others have insisted that the goal this year is to make the playoffs. In my book, any team that considers itself playoff worthy, perhaps solid enough to stage an early round upset, even, is definitely "real."

The way they are playing now, with no clear scoring leader and a team of lunch pail "no names" (at least by NHL marketing standards), I'm inclined to think that they can succeed. I would like to see them keep it up for at least 20 games before I declare them "for real." Author and 'Hockey Insider' columnist Brad Kurtzberg agrees with my take. At the 1/4 pole, if they're still on their current points pace, he declares the Islanders legitimate.

John disagrees, though. He would like to see a sustained level of play for nearly 40 games. Half of a season.

So, fans, what's your take? Will the Isles cool off and begin their slide down the standings in a few games (like we've come to expect in the past)? Will they sustain this trend of squeaking points out almost every night? And how long must they keep up their act before you're ready to declare that they're back as a threat in the East?


Frank said...

Before we can get real, I think we need to see where they are after is opening lots of games on the road stretch, then again end of Jan. But they are going to be a tough out every night, and if the Isles have improved from last year and hold on to at least a point after 2 when they lost outright last year, the last 10 games could mean something.

TheMetalChick said...

KEn, I went into this season thinking that, without Streit & Okposo & with all those road games early on, if the Isles could be at or over 500 through all of that even without their top TOI players then they would be in a very real position to make the playoffs. For me, that is where I am going to make my assesment.

Mike said...

After watching almost every game last year and now after watching the first 7 games this year I see a huge improvement in several areas. Bailey and tavares are both stronger and faster, comeau looks much more focused, aggressive and more demanding of the puck. I believe those 3 players are huge in determining where they will be 34 or 75 games from now. Also neilson grabner and parenteau all look great and you have to love grabners speed and replaces bergenheim nicely. The defense is much stronger then last year and you can see the islanders this year much more on top of the puck in the defensive zone. I feel that dipietro if he gets hot and gains confidence again can really help out the defense with his stick handling and with the tremendous speed of the islanders it would be a huge asset. Here's my opinion on how you will know when they are for real or not. When okposo comes back, to me their best forward, if they are still in the top 8 by that time you can count them in for the remainder of the season. You may call me crazy but if I'm rite you can call me a genius. The islanders will not only make the playoffs but they will finish in the top 6. Tavares, bailey, okposo, comeau are all first line forwards and I believe when okposo comes back they are a legit 4 strong line team. And with a backup goalie as good as rolison playing every 4th to 5th game I predict the islanders will be the surprise team of the year and finish top 6 in the east.

Ken Dick said...

Interesting opinions, all of you. Thanks for participating!