Remember a while go when I asked if the Islanders were for real? At the time the team was 4-1-2 and off to a surprisingly hot start. Who could have known that the optimism expressed at that point in the season might wind up the high point of the year?
As an Islanders fan, I have lived through a lot. The Tommy Soderstrom era, for example. Butch Goring's coaching tenure (no, disrespect intended to Mr. Goring, who is a lovely man). Mike Milbury (as a coach and GM). And that's just relating to events on the ice.
I can't recall, however, a season shaping up as hopeless as this one. Staggering to believe, I know. After Monday (12/13) night's 5-0 whipping in Nashville, the Islanders have lost 20 of their last 21 games. Again, 'staggering' is the only word that comes to my mind. They sit last in the league with a pitiful 15 points to show for their effort. They are 21 points out of a playoff spot before the Christmas holiday. The New Jersey Devils, who have been equally inept this season, are the only team remotely close to the Islanders in the standings, in a league which gives teams points almost by accident. Unreal.
And the blame has been equally shared by all involved. Whether it's Rick DiPietro sleeping in goal one night, or the utter lack of offense, or Garth Snow saying he has no financial restraints while building a patchwork roster that says otherwise, or an owner who gives the appearance that he no longer wants to spend one more dime than he has to.
Of course injuries have devastated the roster. But they seem to every year on Long Island, and yet the team hasn't gone through a spell of hockey this awful in recent seasons.
I am usually an optimistic person. Sometimes unrealistically so. But this is getting ridiculous. I hope for improvement, of course, but right now I see no way for it to occur. On any front. And that includes the return to the ice of Kyle Okposo.
At this point I am only hopeful of a return to somewhat competitive hockey. And the entry draft in June.
News and Notes:
- Prospect Rhett Rakhshani made his Islanders debut, playing 11:44 and recording no shots on goal. He was drafted out of the University of Denver in 2006, 93 picks after the Islanders selected Okposo.