This has been a fun and unexpected (even at times historic) ride to this point, hasn’t it?
For the boys:
This is a simple game, fundamentally. In the playoffs, this simple and beautiful game gets even simpler and uglier. The cross-crease saucer passes, the dangles, the dekes, the wizardry… they are done for the year. It’s time to K.I.S.S. . Chip it deep, take the body, finish your check, work the cycle and get it on net. There’s a simple method here for success: The Penguins allow a TON of shots. Throw more at them, create rebounds and get dirty. They are the highest skilled team in the league. The sheet of ice is 200 feet. Make them pay for every goddamn foot. The High Price Real Estate cannot come cheap. They are better in supposedly every facet, but two of our lines forecheck like the sounds of hell. Make them pay in the corners. We also have speed throughout the lineup. They don’t have anyone that can catch Grabner, nobody does. Speed kills.
For the fans:
This is the most wonderful time a lot of us have seen as fans. We’re not even supposed to be here. The team decided that as the calendar turned to April, this rebuild is over. We have a new rink. We have an outdoor game next year. We have veterans deciding to stay here rather than move on. We are back in the dance. Enjoy the ride. Don’t bristle with anger over the disrespect being shown by the hockey media. The New York Islanders, more than any other organization in sport, are defined by the upset. Embrace your heritage. 1975 was the year we were born. 1993 was the last gasp of our first run as an elite club. That run atop the league was bookended by historic upsets of this club against impossible odds. There is zero reason our rebirth cannot be punctuated by being the immovable object stopping the irresistible force dead in it’s tracks AGAIN. Get your game face on.
As the song in the playoff ad goes, the boys are back and they’re looking for trouble.