Saturday, March 23, 2013

Barely Breathing

As the script being written by this year's New York Islanders becomes more familiar and repetitive, my posts become shorter. It's not that my passion for this franchise has waned, just that we as fans and bloggers have invested so much of our time and money with little in return.

Barring a major turnaround, it's looking like the 2012-2013 (it was really just 2013 this time) season will be another one on Long Island without playoff hockey.

Despite how many times I have felt encouraged to share how much improvement I've seen in this team over the past six years, they are still not good enough. I've assured you that help was on the way (Cizikas, Poulin, Niederreiter, etc.) and is still on the way (Strome), but the results haven't come.

What has come are late game meltdowns, frustrated post-game interviews, and management unwilling or incapable of changing its ways.

I can tell you that this season is on life support, despite what John Tavares or Head Coach Jack Capuano may say on any given night.

The Isles sit in 11th place, "just" three points out of a playoff spot but much farther back in reality. They have played the same number of games or more than all the teams they are chasing.

With an inability to close out games in which they are leading or tied, the campaign feels doomed. The fact that the staff, going all the way up to the owner, can't seem to change very much doesn't help matters.

The clock is ticking on this season, and they players know it too. Just the other night Kyle Okposo was so despondent after another third period meltdown he could barely muster the sufficient words to discuss his 300th game milestone.

Scoring one goal every 10 games will do that to a guy.

The players care, they just seem to lack to ability to change the situation. How many nights have we heard Capuano talk about "passengers?"

A coaching change might give the team a temporary boost in the standings, but I don't know who is available and willing to come to Long Island, and more importantly, who Charles Wang is willing to pay.

What is really needed is a culture change. But sadly, I think it's too late for this season.

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