I think Mr. Bad Example was layering on a bit of sarcasm this weekend when he wrote via e-mail that, "this is easily the most enjoyable Islanders season since 2001-2002." But if this plan works, and someday we are looking back to 2008-2009 through the gentle haze of Stanley-colored glasses (Ok, even "Eastern Conference finals-colored" glasses), I think we will say this was at least a satisfying season in the larger context.
I understand the race to the bottom. Considering the economic structure of the league, the Islanders were in the best position to perform the full rebuild in the post-Ted era. I always have preferred the approach of the Red Wings-esque franchises that make it a priority to get good and then build from hidden draft picks, smart free-agent management, etc. But, well ... no shit, right? Who doesn't?
The Isles are doing it (mostly) correctly. Stocking up on draft picks. Not getting attached to veterans, except the handful who can handle being part of a rebuild, with all of the setting aside of professional pride that may entail. And then, of course, losing. You have to lose. But the Isles are doing it the right way. The team on the ice has played with guts and spirit for most of the year, considering so many of them wouldn't even get a whiff of the NHL for a contending team. They lose, but they lose close. And now that the Isles' place in the race for the bottom is relatively secure, they're winning just enough to hit the off-season with a kick of confidence. Come November, I'd like to see this on the scoreboard movie screen ... .
"He doesn't know it's a damn show! He think it's a damn fight!"
And, more good news here. Royal blue jerseys again next year, and management is pushing to make them the primary jersey going forward, likely in place for 2010-2011. Win.