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02-04-2013, 08:36 PM
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Originally Posted by 13th Floor View Post
I admit that I am guilty of being bi polar just like every other Islanders fan on this board. Itís tough to not be pessimistic with what we have gone through as a fanbase. I am trying to be as objective as possible, but frankly I just donít think this is a playoff team. Iíd agree that we are better than last year, but right now I see us on the outside cusp of the playoffs and looking in. So call that 9th Ė 13th. Itís good that we are better, but with 5 straight lottery picks, with one of them being a superstar entering his prime, it is hard to get worse. Frankly, the small progress is like a blind squirrel finding a nut. It just isnít good enough.

Why do I think we will finish 9th Ė 13th. Well, here goes:

1. Letís start with simply ranking the teams in some tiers that I made up. Teams definitely better than us: Pittsburgh, NYR, Philly, Boston, Montreal, Ottawa. Teams that are question marks that we may be able to better than but are most likely a tad bit better than us: NJD, Buffalo, Tampa Bay. Teams that are question marks that we may be better than and very well could be: Toronto, Winnipeg, Carolina. Teams that are worse than us: Florida, Washington. Of course this is my own opinion, and I can see some of these teams shifting up or down a bit Ė but it is a basic gist. That puts us at 7th with the 6 teams Iím saying will definitely be better, and at 10th with the teams that most likely will be better. And I think thatís pretty fair. Add in the fact that half of our games are against the Atlantic, and teams in the tiers similar to ours have an advantage. A few loser points here and there with the Southeast playing each other versus us losing in regulation to our Atlantic foes, and watch us drop like a bomb.

2. We arenít good enough 5 on 5. This Devils game our PP was 0-7, which is as much of an anomaly as our ridiculously good PP was going into that game. Same with the PK. We had good special teams last year (top third in the league) and again lacked the 5 on 5 skill to contend for playoff spot. The PK and PP can still both be good, but they will at least regress back down to normal levels, putting more pressure on our 5 v 5 play. Letís look at our goal differential 5 on 5. Using the stat of goals for / goals against 5 on 5, we are at 0.77. This is pretty evident of how [not] good we are as a team. Whoís worse than us in this category? Florida, Columbus, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Washington, and Nashville. Small sample size, I know. But Iíd say that is a pretty good indicator of the worst teams in the league. Anybody picking any of those teams to make the playoffs?

3. We are outcoached almost every game. Teams figure us out because we are outcoached. Goals allowed per period for the Islanders: 1st period Ė 5 goals. 2nd period Ė 6 goals. 3rd period Ė 14 goals (worst in the league). We are -8 in the third period in 8 games. Teams are making changes against us mid game that our coaching staff is just not capable of matching. That, and we just donít have enough veteran leadership on the team to show these kids how to hold on to wins or finish out games we are tied or trailing in.

I admit Iím in a bit of funk after yesterdayís game. Iíd love to eat my words, and with a shortened season, maybe there just isnít enough time for the cream to rise to the top and we can squeak in. Iíd way rather watch them in the playoffs and be wrong. Unless the above gets better, I just donít see it happening.

So, instead, I take it as some improvements. We are a .500 team. And we are moving in the right direction. We get to keep our prospects out of the NHL, and a few of the more seasoned ones are starting to take nice shape (CC, DU, etc.). We are competitive. We have been in every game and it least makes it exciting to watch the team again. Iíll take that for now, but Iím not holding my breath on the playoffs because I just donít see it.
I wouldn't say Montreal is definitely better than us and Ottawa is without their best forward.

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