I’m very late so I will make this this brief and try not to beat a horse that has been dead for a while now. Here are just a few final thoughts about the 2014-15 New York Islanders season and moving forward in the offseason.
The overall season: The Islanders finished the regular season with 101 points. I barely recall the last time that happened. I loved the amount of depth that the team had and I was one of those that believed the Isles could make a run to the Conference Finals this year just for that reason alone. Players like the “Kid Line” (Strome, Nelson, Lee) matured in front of our eyes and we had a goalie that helped take the Islanders to one of the top teams in the east. The Coliseum was rocking every night and, despite a few injuries, you could not have asked for a better send off to the old barn.
The postseason: Sorry folks, but the Isles should have won this one, even with all the injuries to the defense. I had the Isles going to the Conference Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning, beating the Rangers at Nassau in Game 6 of the second round. Credit goes to the Caps (whom I still have to beat the Rangers) for exposing and bullying the smaller defenseman like Lubomir Visnovsky and Thomas Hickey. I’ll say this now, had Travis Hamonic played in this series, the Isles win this in 6 games and it’s 6 because they would’ve wanted to win at home.
So what needs to change? Not much really. The core players are good to go and the younger players have gained valuable experience this year, but they really need to get hungry. They had this series. They knew it, and they lost it. Similar to the 2014 draft after the Islanders had drafted Josh Ho-Sang, they were done building through the draft, this crop of players have learned and experienced all that can be learned in the first round. They need to get beyond it next year. I think they will. The coaching staff are being retained and I believe it’s a fair move. I’m just not sure if it’s the right move. Yes, it’s the first time in over thirty years the Islanders had a +100 point season, but this years eighth place team needed 98 points to get in. Not exactly ahead of the curve in that regards. With the improvements from some of the other non-playoff teams like Florida and Columbus, the number of points required should go down, but that means heavier competition.
For the fans of Long Island who no longer can literally see their team on a nightly basis: I’m sorry. Politics have prevented the growth and expansion of the Coliseum and that area since the early 80’s. It’s a tragedy to say the least. Now you’ve been forced to enter my world and let me tell you what you need. Take some of the money from your season tickets and put it to a 50 inch HDTV, get a surround sound wireless system and invite the friends over. The view from your TV will be better than view than in the Barclays and the sound will be better because the Barclays will never be the Coliseum. Trust me, it’s worth the investment.
Coming up on Isles Talk: Despite the Isles not drafting until later on, I’m still going to cover the draft and I’m going to write up a few theories that I believe the Islanders may do to improve the team, that includes going over a few players from Bridgeport, Juniors and by the end of June, maybe the Isles could still be busy on draft day, so stay tuned for that.
Final thought: This season was just a start to many +100 point seasons for the Islanders. It gets better from here. Chins up!