Next year it begins in earnest. For realsy.
Here are the things I'm looking out for in the 09-10 season. First, the health of the team. I think the Isles had a few things going against them this year. Some of the usual suspects got injured for stretches (DiPietro, Martinek). They also had some bad luck with timing and I don't think they were rushing people back into the lineup. We'll see how these guys can turn the injury trend around next season.
Second, I'm sure they're going to take things a little more seriously. If Tampa Bay had their best defensive defenseman taking overtime shootouts, I would be sceaming. I know this was a fun season and they were trying some odd things out, but Witt on the penalty shot seemed like a bit much. Situations like that will be different next season which should add some more points to the total by the end of the season.
Third, nothing crashes quite as hard as expectations for sports teams in the NY area. Unless you're the friggin' Devils. Next year there will be a lot of pressure on the team to peform and everyone should be eying the playoffs. If they fall significantly short of the playoffs, it will be a disapointment. That can be a lot of pressure on a team that is already hearing whispers of a move. Let's see if the young guys can handle it.
And now for tomorrows draft lottery.
Why the Draft Doesn't Matter
I've made a big deal about the Islanders landing number 91. However, I'm really not going to lose sleep over the draft lottery courtesy of the NHL salary cap. Players switch teams constantly in this league and there's always going to be a great player ready to be scooped up by a big spender. Including, perhaps, Tavares down the road. If the NHL had a system that rewarded good draft picks, things would be different. But it's nearly impossible to keep good players so why even bother drafting them? Either that or superstars soak up so much of the cap room it makes it tough to field good role players around them. I'm still rooting for a 1st overall pick, but the NHL needs to rethink its cap.
Alright, I've got some stuff to do but I wanted to cap the season. I'm going to try and find some time to rate some of the season previews and predictions but don't hold your breath. It may be a June post...
Let's Go Islanders Draft Ping Pong Ball Combinations! (CLAP, CLAP, CLAPCLAPCLAPCLAPCLAPCLAPCLAPCLAPCLAPCLAPCLAP!)