The New York Islanders sweep the mighty Pittsburgh Penguins, yet credit for their performance from major media outlets remain to be stagnant.
No offense to the lovable Sparky, but Rodney Dangerfield would have been an honorary mascot for the current New York Islanders incarnation.
Or maybe the super-hero dog, Underdog…
Whatever your preference for cliched faux mascots, the fact remains – this New York Islanders team isn’t getting it’s proper due respect.
And you know what, Isles fans SHOULD be OK with that.
The team’s mantra throughout the year has been, and continues to be “Prove them wrong” or “Prove People Wrong”.
They’ve been everything but completely buried by the media. So called analytics and experts throwing dirt on the achievements of what this team should not be doing.
But alas – the Isles continue on. Proving them wrong.
This latest chapter in the “No Respect” media guide for the New York Islanders comes in the form of NOT pointing out what the Islanders have done RIGHT against the Penguins team who won TWO Stanley Cups in the last THREE years – but of what Pittsburgh didn’t do.
A mere afterthought, especially with the Columbus Blue Jackets shocking the hockey world by trouncing the league’s regular season best, Tampa Bay Lightning in four straight .
But that’s fine…
Let them all forget about what happened in four games at the Coliseum and at the PPG Paint Arena over the span of 8 days.
As the clocked ticked down to double-zeros in that last game in Columbus, a vastly disappointed Lightning team would be seen – along with a jubilated celebration by the home-team Jackets.
You would think they won the Stanley Cup in that instance…
Compare that with what you saw after the game four trouncing of the Penguins.
You didn’t see hooping-and-hollering from anyone on the Islanders side. You saw the traditional and subdued congratulatory hugs and high-fives.
It’s all business… This team is on a mission, from the top down.
They’re okay with no one believing in them… Hell, even NHL.com’s Brian Compton, who covers the New York Islanders exclusively, didn’t pick this team to move on
Newly Vezina Nominated, Robin Lehner, would reflect on some of that lack of respect in his post-game interview after a victorious game four in Pittsburgh:
“We have a good team… We’ve been overlooked a little bit. I think we have a lot of high end skill on this team, and we showed that in this series…”
Lehner playfully chirped me for picking the Pens in the first round. "It's pretty special for all of us. A lot of people doubting us, everyone doubted us in the regular season, you doubted us against Pittsburgh. It's just fun to keep proving everyone wrong." #Isles
— Brian Compton (@BComptonNHL) April 19, 2019
Barry Trotz, who is quickly skyrocketing his way into Saint-hood amongst the Islanders fan-base, continues to stay consistent with his
stance on the team’s status as a whole:
“We talked about culture and identity… We knew we could fix the goals-against…That’s commitment and that’s work ethic, and that’s detail and structure…That probably was the easiest thing…But getting everybody to play for each other is the hard thing..”
The results have certainly shown how much this team has been playing for each other.
With the Carolina Hurricanes extending their series to seven games with the defending Stanley Cup champion, Washington Capitals, the Islanders are not expected to get any game time until the end of this week. The Isles haven’t played since last Tuesday.
Positive being, Trotz’ boys are being able to heal up all of the nicks and bumps that they’ve developed within the first round and throughout the year.
On April 19th, defenseman Johnny Boychuk was announced by the team that he’ll be out 3-4 weeks with a lower-body injury. This week
off has subsequently moved his return from “doubtful” to “possible” if the Isles can continue their run in the playoffs.
Two other important pieces to the puzzle, Cal Clutterbuck and Scott Mayfield, have also benefited from the early trouncing of the Penguins. Both have been dealing with nagging injuries to some degree, with the two of them receiving frequent “maintenance days” during the hiatus.
Any negatives to this long break between series?
Well, it would all depend on who you ask.
You can imagine what all of the talking-heads have been saying. They’re quick to point out how the layoff will/should hurt.
Barry Trotz has admitted that the extended wait HAS produced some natural anxiety for the players. He would describe it as them just wanting to get on the ice and play. Both players and coaches will surely downplay any of that – but in reality, it could become a factor, at least in the early minutes of game one of the second round.
In an interview, coach Trotz mentioned that the players needed a good 10 or so minutes to get back into the swing of things with practice.
I wouldn’t exactly call that a “concern”. I’m sure the players and coaching staff would much rather a more healthy team to take a few minutes to get their legs, than having to accommodate a beat-up squad.
But regardless, we all shall wait.
With April 24th being the day we all find out, and while the Islanders staff and players continue to prepare for either home-ice advantage versus the Hurricanes, or for their first trip to Washington for their Revenge tour…You can rest assure Barry Trotz will have the boys poised and ready to go.
He’s been there before, and more importantly – he’s done it before.
Lets go Islanders.
Follow/trash me on Twitter – @brasqo