Heading to the Coliseum in roughly 40 hours to begin the ritual again. New York Islanders hockey is back. I just wanted to check off a few outliers in my mind, give Islander Country a checklist on the season and things to look for before we get rocking and rolling.
Team Concerns and Ponderings:
I. When does the Lubo get here – He’s coming. He’s dragging ass, but he’s coming. Whatever, He’ll be here soon. The reality is Streiter, Hammer and Mac are top 4 guys. There’s noone else on this roster that fits that description until he gets here. Can the band-aids provided by Hickey and Martinek and Carkner hold until Lubo arrives? Can this injury prone defense stay healthy?
II Goaltending – Nabby is going to need to carrying the mail for 38-40 games. Can he shoulder that load? Can Dieps hold the fort for 8-10 games? Im not expecting 10-0 from DP. I need 5-5 with a 900% save pct and a sub 4.00 GAA. If he can’t do that, he must retire. The end.
III. Truculence – Boulton, Carkner, Finley, Martin. These guys can all throw hands. Can they (other than Martin, who has proven himself here) play reliably and responsibly? Or are they extensions of Trevor Gillies and his pugilism with minimal hockey contributions?
IV. The Bottom 6 – With the injuries to Bailey and Joensuu, this is a putrid bottom 6. I can’t even fathom it. If Seth Jones is an Islander, this wiill be why. We’re asking so much out of young legs in Cizikas and Ullstrom that I can’t even hate on picking up Keith Aucoin (When I saw we claimed Aucoin, my heart skipped a beat. I love Adrian. I am disappoint).
V Where’s The New Hope? Who are we to turn our lonely eyes towards this year? Who is das wonderkid? When the inevitable injuries hit, who gets the first call up?
There were four key things Islanders fans should hang their hats on that changed this offseason.
I. ‘THE AREENER’ question – “How can we attract UFAs if we dont know where we are going to play after 2015?” Well, that received an emphatic and awesome answer: BROOKLYN. This team will be alive when I shuffle off this mortal coil. That excites me. That should excite you. That wasnt a given 6 months ago.
II ‘You down with CBA?’ Part I – Revenue Sharing! The New York Islanders now get Revenue Sharing money. YAY. We can stop hemorrhaging red ink. The question is, does Chairman Wang use this to improve the product or merely blunt his losses?
III ‘You Down With CBA’ Part II – Cap Floor less porous! The old bullshit Islander operation of undercutting the floor by 18 million a game through bonuses and incentives is over as of this offseason. Might we actually have to dress 12 real honest to dog NHL forwards next year? Perish the thought,
IV ‘The Rush is Over!’ we were fasttracking kids everyyear because that 2015 clock was staring us in the face. We needed a bullet train to relevance. Now, it’s no longer ticking towards our doom, so we can develop our kids like a normal NHL organization. This is such a welcome thing. Next, WHO KNOWS, WE COULD HIRE AN NHL SCOUTING DEPARTMENT!
All these things will play themselves out in various ways starting Saturday at 7. Expect a few game ops thoughts and prospect ponderings very soon.
Good to be back. See ya on the flipside.