Tuesday, March 11, 2008

In defense of a better bad team (or, we're tits up for now, but we'll survive)

If you've read the email debate, you can see I've been equally frustrated and bored with this Islanders team. And, because I am, as my wife says, irritable, I felt the need to voice this displeasure.

But, I remind myself, this is exactly what I expected and, in some ways, hoped for out of this team.

They are painfully dull. They play hard most of the time, make as many mistakes as most teams (but with fewer talented oh!ffensive players, the mistakes are lit like flares), and go through the same kind of stretches of shitty/too-good play as most teams in the parity-stricken NHL.

Contrary to what you'd think would be my stance, I actually can handle, and in some ways don't mind, a losing team. When I was 13, this was not the case. I cried once when the Washington Redskins beat the Minnesota Vikings in the playoffs, not because I was a Vikings fans, but because I was a Giants fan and hated the Redskins. Now, I don't really even watch football.

And I root for the Mets. I won't make the jokes, but you can.

I am happy Garth Snow did not mortgage any prospects this year, although he may have not had a choice in the matter since most of the Islanders prospects don't seem to be of the attractive-to-other-NHL-teams kind, but nonetheless ... . And, in an odd way, I am happy he didn't spend much in the lead-up to the season, although, again, he might not have had a choice.

What I am saying: This was a throw-shit-on-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks kind of year. (I know, that's been the case for the past four years ... we move on.) Comrie stuck. Witt continues to stick. Martinek is getting stickier and stickier, and getting hurt less. Richard Park sticks. The fill-in defencemen stick, as fill-in defencemen of the future. Vascicek, Fedetenko, MAB -- no stick. Bill Guerin, I'm not sure. He sticks, I guess, but we need more shit to throw up there next to him.

So the Islanders keep a few of these guys. Tambellini, Comeau, Bergenheim, Nielsen, and (I would assume) Oh!poso come back in the late summer/fall as full-timers with energy, and really (! hope springs eternal in late July) this is a fun team next year. Even if they lose.

Best case: We're two/three years away from a legitimate playoff team with a young core and a solid goaltender.

There's your inspiration for the day.

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