Wednesday, December 31, 2008
State of the Union(dale)
Well, at least things ended on an up note: a home victory with Jiggs McDonald doing the play-by-play (no--OK, some--offense to Howie Rose). And December is finally over.
The bad news is January might be just as bad. February and March aren't looking so hot either. April should at least be brief.
Yes, the season is not going well, even by rebuilding standards. But there are enough glimmers of hope around to at least keep me interested and marginally happy. And, as an Islanders fan, "marginally happy" is a beautiful thing. I'm not saying I'm rushing home to catch Islanders games just yet, but when I do get home and settle in, I don't get really angry. I haven't even had the urge to pick up anything close and throw it through the TV screen in the hopes that it hits either Chris Campoli and Bruno Gervais since I don't know when. That's what we call progress.
So, yeah, anyway, let's take a look at the bright side (yeah, the bright side...why didn't those guys get their own show?):
First, Doug Weight is showing himself to be just the guy the Islanders need for rebuilding. He works hard every shift, leading by example, and seems to relish his role as an elder statesman on the roster. Plus, get this, he would like to stay in Long Island to play for the Islanders! Who knew God still made people like that? The cynic in me wants desperately to point out that all this means the Islanders will likely trade him at the deadline, but we're trying to kill the cynic in me and flush him out rectally. So here's hoping the Isles do the right thing and keep Weight around.
Second, the Okposo/Comrie/Comeau line's been looking good these last few games, and our Blessed Lord and Savior Okposo has looked particularly strong with the puck, which is encouraging. So that's nice.
Third, even the last two losses of the month--to Buffalo and the Rangers--showed the Isles playing with a little bit of spark, or at least about 450% more spark than they were showing throughout the month. So that's something.
Finally, well, I don't have a "finally" right now, so let's just dwell on those three things while we continue to think.
Anyway, 2008 (at least when it comes to hockey, lest you think we were moving toward some profound philosophical conclusion on global affairs...I assume that Jaroslav Falconerov and Sweet Fancy Moses are busy preparing that, explaining their absence here) was about as rough as I expected it would be. Sure, I thought there would be more than two wins in December, but sometimes my thoughts are wrong (so, so wrong). And if I wasn't OK with periods of deep despair, I would have denounced my Islanders fandom long ago. So I'm hunkered in for the long winter.
Every now and then, though, you can see that spark on the ice, see that the Isles haven't given up yet. And that makes it all--the constant mockery, the knowledge that it will be a slow turning--a little more palatable (which, for you Rangers fans having someone read this to you, is a big word that means "acceptable").
Keep hope alive. And your groins in playing shape.
Happy new year everybody. Happy birthday, Country Joe.
ADDENDUM: It seems that the Isles waived Mitch Fritz (Clap! Clap!) on Wednesday, which is, of course, sad news here on the Isle. With any luck, no one will pick him up and he and his quick-bleeding face can stay in the organization. But if this is good-bye, then, thanks for the memories, pal.