I realize that the Islanders have one more road game, but for most of us Islanders fans the season ended well before the team was eliminated from the playoff picture. For most of us the season ended at the beginning of February. That was the moment that we realized that this team, despite a huge amount of offensive talent, could not keep the puck out of the net. The moment where many of the die hard faithful gave up the ghost and settled for the team being “fun to watch.” With that let’s start the season post mortem and spin the “where does JT land” roulette wheel.
Oh Captain, my C wearing captain what is going on? Are you playing the Clash’s “should I stay or should I go” on repeat in that robotic head of yours or are you awaiting your UFA to announce a blockbuster deal? The season ends as it began, with the entirety of the Islanders fanbase wondering where he will end up. Most of use are sick enough of the saga and impressed enough with the play of the team on the offensive side of the puck that we could bid him adieu. Would it be sad? Only if he went across town to the Rangers. I wouldn’t blame him, at least they can let the fans have a voice at MSG.
#Isles fans start a John Tavares chant. Completely drowned out by the PA system. Another bullseye from Barclays Center.
— Arthur Staple (@StapeAthletic) April 6, 2018
Excuse me, I just threw up in my mouth as I wrote that. It does not seem likely that he ends up there. With the Habs? Perhaps, they are certainly in the market for a top line center. San Jose? Possibly and for the same reason.
We know the cost of him staying is his contract + someone else is traded to shore up the defense. With the injuries, and the Josh Ho-Sang experiment, the Islanders defense was awful, just embarrassing this season. Opposing forwards just skated into the zone and deposited pucks as fast as the Islanders offense could score them on the opposite end. At multiple times this season the Isles led in goals scored and in goals against. Again, at multiple times the Isles had equals in both categories. To be clear, that is not a goalie problem. Halak and Greiss each had career nights this season trying to make up for the sieve like defense skating in front of them.
Wherever Tavares ends up, whether it use here or elsewhere *, I wish him well. He has a living to make and has certainly given himself to this team and this fan base. (* unless he ends up a Ranger)
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) April 4, 2018
There are plenty of bright spots that are of little solace at the moment. Barzal as is noted above has been absolutely stellar, Lee, Nelson, Bailey, Bailey, Eberle, and Beauvillier all had 20 or more goals or are knocking on the door going into the final game of the season. That leaves a good core to build around for next season if our Captain steers his ship away from the island for other shores. If Ho-Sang and the Islanders leadership can ever see eye to eye and he can solve his turnover problem, he is an electrifying presence and could serve the team well.
John Tavares knows the fans love him and want him back. He doesn’t need to see ANYTHING from them. What he needed to see was the #isles organization giving a single fuck during his career.
If he walks don’t blame fans, blame Wang/Snow and now Ledecky too. #islestwitter
— Matt (@Spazemunky) April 5, 2018
Speaking of leadership, Snow knows how to put together an offensive team. That has been proven and despite the “Snow Must Go” billboards his signings led the league in scoring at several points this season. That said, he lost the plot when it came to making moves to shore up the defense or keep players here. We can all give him a break on letting Hamonic go. That was him doing Travis a solid, which is probably why the players came to his defense. However, after losing Matt Martin and Hamonic the Islanders lost their defensive bite. No one was afraid to cross the blue line and put a puck on net, because there was no debt to be paid for doing so. In order to win the fan base back, which I strongly doubt will ever occur, as Snow is as reviled and Mike Millbury, he has to make a move to give the Islanders some defense. Good luck with that. Never going to happen.
So, excuse me while I go watch teams that we outscored (in goals for) multiple times this season, ramp up to the playoffs. Here’s to another damn disappointing season. See you next October so that we can enter into a collective depression again as spring 2019 rolls around.