VIEW FROM THE TOP: New York Islanders
As the self-appointed spokesmen/woman of the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks, we are using the idea of "To the victors go the spoils" quite seriously. What we will do between now and the night the Stanley Cup banner is raised in the United Center is point out the shortcomings of all the teams that won't have four crisp new banners in their rafters. We continue this series with the New York Islanders.
The New York Islanders. Their name conjures up many images. A dynasty in the 80's. The waking nightmare that was the Mike Milbury Adminstration. Rick DiPietro walking into a room, tripping over an ottoman and breaking his hip. Garth Snow, wearing gigantic shoulder pads while sitting behind a desk.
And that's about it really. I mean, the Isles did return to the playoffs in 2013 for the first time in 6 years, and excited us all by scaring the Pens a bit. Of course, now we're viewing everything involving the Penguins through the prism of their absolute destruction at the hands of the Boston Bruins, so who know what that means?
Anyway, let me ask you something...do you honestly give a shit about the New York Islanders? I mean seriously, the Hawks will play the Isles twice during the regular season and I'm going to hazard the prediction that they won't see each other after that. So let's just get this shit over with.
There are exactly two guys amongst the NYI forward corps that you will recognize. One is Jonathan Tavares, who is really good. The other is Cal Clutterbuck who upon being traded to New York immediately sent the official scorer at Nassau Coliseum a box of lutefisk, because that's what worked in Minnesota, eh?
I guess I kind of know who Kyle Okposo is, so there's that. Anyway, the Islanders appear to have identified their core players and signed most of them to long term contracts. Which is good, assuming these players are worth a damn. I honestly don't know and don't feel like finding out.
Lubomir Visnovsky is the elder statesmen of the team, which is great because his first move when he was traded to the Islanders was to file a grievance with the NHL to block the deal. If Travis Hamonic's nickname isn't "Phil" then there is no hope left for hockey nicknames. Brian Strait's name is a lot like Mark Streit's, so I hope for his sake that he gets traded to the Flyers and then signed to a ridiculous contract extension.
The rest of the defensemen on this team are named Donald. Seriously, all of them.
Evgeni Nabokov will return this year to play out the string. He's no longer very good. Backing him up is 23 year old Kevin Poulin, who from what I can tell is not related to Patrick Poulin, so he's got that going for him.
Yeah, this not a good goaltending situation.
For the first time in 13 years, Rick DiPietro will just have to get injured on his own time.
Things are looking up for the other New York team for the first time in a while. Hopefully they don't completely unravel in hilarious fashion this season.
ARE THEY AS GOOD AS THE BLACKHAWKS?: