So, the season has begun and the Islanders fans have gone in three games from, OH SHIT this is a nightmare and worse than they could have imagined to:
The Islanders are the sleeper team in the Metro.
Whoah pump the brakes there bud. The Metro is a tough division. One that has produced the last three Stanley Cup Champs. Not to be a negative Nelly but anything this Islanders team does, besides lose is a surprise this year. But as a tried and true fan dedicated to the orange and blue I am hopeful for this team and excited to see how the year turns out for Barzal and the boys.
Lams and Trotz brought with them a new level of scrutiny and accountability. Sorry, Ked I know that word is a trigger for you. That level of scrutiny has brought mixed results with it, see Jan Kovar’s release after signing him over the summer. Also, the awarding of the Captain C to Anders Lee. The first was met by me with a no shit, really?! The second with a giggle at first. The more I thought about it, it seemed to fit. Then came the interview with Anders in which he stated that loyalty highest on his list of qualities in people, teammates, and leaders. That might be PR, but I really doubt it.
Hats off to you Cap!
Three games in and the Isles seem to be settling into this new era. They seem to be doing something that the Islanders haven’t done in a long time. Namely having fun and playing with grit and determination. They are keeping it close and letting loose at the right times. The 2-1 win over the Canes to open the season had some fans pulling out their hair. Totally understandable as it was another of the 3rd-period goals the Islanders have given up that drove it to overtime and the eventual win. Then came the game versus Nashville. That 4-3 loss had some ups and downs but overall the Isles appeared on the right track, scratching goals back against the team that many have picked to be the Western Conference champs.
(They might want another regular season banner) See rant below
Though not the first team to do this, for whatever reason this banner gained traction with the social media trolls. Rightfully so, that banner and the sentiment behind it is the participation trophy of the NHL.
“It felt real good to be back in the game again doing what I love, perfectly healthy, feeling better than I ever did.” -Robin Lehner | #Isles pic.twitter.com/1L4cnr36zD
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) October 8, 2018
Then came the game against the Sharks. The Islanders fans that I spoke to seemed united in the thought that the Sharks were set to destroy the Islanders. Instead, the Islanders went on a tear and destroyed the Sharks 4-0. In which Robin Lehner became the first Islander goalie to post a shutout in his debut. This is a great start for Lehner as the Isles look to establish a true number one goalie. Lehner made a good case for himself with that performance. Not to mention adding to his feel-good story as he comes to grips with and works through his depression. Robin you can rest assured that we and your team have your back!
No matter what happens this season, the @NYIslanders have got Robin Lehner’s back. #Isles pic.twitter.com/iSjRMSIYkF
— MSG Networks (@MSGNetworks) October 8, 2018
We are only 3 games in but I like the new look Islanders. The team is playing hockey that is fun to watch, has a bit of grit (looking at you Matty Martin) and fear on the defense that hasn’t been present for a long time. Barzal, Bailey, and Lee are a fearsome line that finally has some teeth behind them covering the blue line.
Three games do not a season make and the Islanders have certainly disappointed in the past, but this team will be fun to watch this season. That my friends is saying a lot in the bleak NY sports world.