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2018-19 New York Islanders/Hockey

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Joined: 03 Jul 2018
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Location: New Jersey, USA

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PostPosted: 10/05/18 6:33 pm    ::: 2018-19 New York Islanders/Hockey Reply Reply with quote

You know what's almost as hard to find as a forum for WNBA discussion? Finding one for the NHL's New York Islanders! There were a few people praising the old New York Islanders' dynasty in the NY Liberty folder, so I thought I'd try to see if there's interest in discussing them here.

I have no idea if this thread will gain any traction, but let's see what happens. I welcome all hockey discussion, but I labeled the thread with the Islanders first because I'd really like it to catch the eye of the Islanders fans.


Joined: 03 Jul 2018
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Location: New Jersey, USA

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PostPosted: 10/05/18 6:49 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

I'll start with the Islanders' opening game last night (a 2-1 OT win at Carolina).

First, after leading the league in goals allowed, it was good that they only let up 1 on opening night. Yes, Greiss had to stop 45 shots, but the giveaway turnovers were greatly reduced from last year. It was an encouraging single game sample for the defense.

As for the offense, well, they only mustered 18 shots, but the first goal was a sight that Islander fans will need to see a lot this year if the offense is to recover from the loss of John Tavares. Matthew Barzal maneuvered superbly and delivered a cross-ice pass to Josh Bailey, who pounded in a perfectly placed one timer in to the near right corner.

It is great to see the MC2 line reuinited, as Matt Martin has returned to the Islanders. The former best 4th line in hockey looked like they still had good chemistry, but they were by no means dominating.

It just feels great to be 1-0-0. Last year the Islanders were almost as bad as the Liberty were this past season.


Joined: 03 Jul 2018
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PostPosted: 10/11/18 5:35 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Game 2 made me feel like it was last year's Islanders. Lots of giveaways, and Greiss was less-than-stellar in the nets, letting up several soft goals.

On the other hand, the Game 3 shutout against the Sharks was especially exciting, because the goaltender wasn't Greiss: it was unheralded acquisition Robin Lehner. It was a brilliant performance, and it raised my eyes--I was wondering "who is this guy?" I had heard that the Isles had acquired a goalie, but it seemed like so little was expected from him that I had forgotten it.

Lehner's stats last year with Buffalo were terrible, but the Sabres were as bad on defense as the Islanders. Lehner was abusing alcohol and pills, and his season ended when he had a panic attack in between periods of a game. He went into rehab, and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, ADHD, and another mental disorder that I can't remember. After first completing the substance rehab, he began to work on his other issues, and apparently has been doing well now.

The Islanders were willing to gamble on him, and his first regular season performance was an eye opener--he is big and agile. He's got a difficult road ahead of him, and he must not have been this amazing in pre-season given the fact that the Islanders started Greiss for the first two games, but I'm pretty excited about him. Hopefully he can keep his demons in check and have a happy life and a successful career. After reading about his story, I think he's got a chance; it seems like some of these demons have already been exorcised. I am rooting for him heavily.

Pelech and Pulock are being paired together defensively. This brings back memories of when we had Nielson, Nillson, and Nelson. I seriously didn't realize that Pelech and Pulock were different people until now!

Speaking of Pelech, he missed one of the easiest goals in history in headscratching fashion. There was pressure from the right wing, and Pelech was in front of the net slightly on the left side. I forget whether it was a Barzal pass or a deflection, but the puck came right to Pelech with a completely empty net with the Sharks' goalie out of position. For some reason, he chose to pass back to Barzal, and the out of position goalie deflected the pass away and the threat was over.

The Sharks game was a very good game; both teams played well, but Lehner was the difference. The game was far closer then the 4-0 final indicated: the 3rd period started with the score 1-0 and the final 3 goals came late.

2-1-0. Islanders getting close to passing the 2018 Liberty in wins.


Joined: 03 Jul 2018
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PostPosted: 10/11/18 6:31 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

I'd like to talk about John Tavares. Most hockey fans, especially Islander fans, were aware of the drama this off-season involving Tavares's free agency. Ultimately, he wound up signing with the team he rooted for as a child with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

As this saga unfolded, I felt like there were a lot of possible outcomes. There was one outcome I didn't expect however: I did not think that I would end up angry with Tavares.

I didn't think the Islanders should break the bank for Tavares and do something like make him the highest-paid player in hockey. He's a superstar, but not an elite superstar. His work ethic was never in question, and he was a beloved pillar of the Long Island community. But there were too many times he'd go invisible; my best friend's son (who is a very smart 10 years old) called him "The Sleeping Captain," and I think that sums it up about as well as anyone else has.

Tavares is a great passer with great vision, but he never seems to make the players around him better. He's never had chemistry with his linemates to the point where they all take it to the next level. Indeed I don't think I've ever seen a player of his stature have his linemates shuffled in and out like Tavares has. Some of that is on the players they've shuffled, but some of it is on Tavares too.

There is also the issue that Tavares and his linemates have struggled mightily to get the puck out of their own defensive zone. It was a noticeably bad problem.

By no means did I want to see Tavares leave, but the things I have listed above are the reason I didn't want to overpay for him.

Given that, I was fully willing to accept the fact that someone might be willing to give him the big bucks, and he would leave. Or perhaps, he'd go to a better somewhere to have a chance to win a championship. Either way, I wouldn't be angry with him for it. I was grateful for how he stuck with the Islanders for as long as he did, and I thought I'd wish him well whatever he decided.

That ended when Tavares ended the overhyped saga of his free agency by signing with his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs. By all accounts, the deal Toronto offered was no better than the one offered by the Islanders. In addition, Toronto is no better than the Islanders.

So Tavares left the Islanders for the same amount of money, and to a team no better than they are. And I am livid.

From everything he said and did, it appeared like Tavares wanted to remain on the island unless there were greener pastures elsewhere. When the trade deadline came around last year, he asked the Islanders not to trade him. While he said that he wanted to test the waters of free agency, he indicated that his number one priority was the Islanders. As mentioned above, he had worked hard to establish himself in the local community, and repeatedly spoken to both the team and the fans how important being an Islander was to him.

The Islanders certainly could have received something good in a trade from a team looking to put itself over the top for the rest of the season. However, he asked them not to, and they agreed. I guess I should be angry at GM Garth Snow for being so gullible as well, but it's impossible to me to think less of Garth than I already do.

Tavares fooled us all, fans and management alike, and left us holding the bag getting nothing in return. To constantly hear him talk about how much we all meant so much to him, and then to skip town to his hometown team based on another loyalty was too much. He actually went as far as immediately posting a picture of himself as a child wearing Toronto Maple Leaf pajamas. On the surface; it's a wonderful story: a player returning to his hometown and fulfilling a lifetime dream. However, given the context of how it went down, it was like rubbing salt in the wounds of the Islander fans. It showed that the New York never meant anything him the way he said it did; Tavares's heart was always with Toronto.

And given all this, it's fair to wonder about why he was The Sleeping Captain. Perhaps that amazing work ethic he allegedly possessed was exaggerated. At the start of his career, he made a point on working on something new in his game during each of the off seasons. One time it was getting more physicality; I forget the others, but every year, he was clearly getting better and it looked like he was developing into a truly elite player. After a while, he didn't show improvement in the areas he addressed, and I haven't heard about his targeted off-season improvement for the last few seasons. Tavares has fooled us all in this free agent saga; who knows what else he fooled us about?

I don't normally carry grudges against players who leave my team for a better deal or a better team, but Tavares is an exception. Screw him.

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