This past Monday a co-worker of mine came in wearing a Jeremy Shockey jersey as he celebrated the brand new NY Giant Championship. Later in the morning, a friend of mine commented "man when the Isles win a Cup, I'm going to wear my Islander jersey for a week." I responded "I'll have a Potvin jersey sewn into my skin. Lets just hope they're not the Hamilton Islanders when it happens".
Any Islander fan will tell you there are trends to following the orange and blue. And I believe the trends are cyclical. For example, due of my love of the Islanders, I am good for about 2 bouts of depression a year. These bouts are followed and preceded by a general sense of malaise. On rare occasions, optimism is experienced. Hence is the cycle of the long suffering Islander fan. The depression usually sets in when the Isles look as if they might miss the playoffs or get eliminated after the first round, and in the off-season, when something disastrous happens to the Islander organization such as the free agent exodus and the Neil Smith chapter. Sadly, I believe it is now safe to diagnose myself as having the first case of the calendar year. And as illustrated by my comments above, one of the most severe symptoms for me is cynicism. The cause is simple. From 8th seed prior to the all-star break to thirteenth in the conference in the blink of an eye. It would do it to anyone.
There is a silver lining here, although it is somewhat faint. For the countless fans clamoring for the play of Jeff Tambellini, you’ve finally gotten your wish, although it came at the loss of one of our veteran leaders (Sillinger, hip). Hopefully this time around Tambellini will be able to re-produce the scoring prowess he has displayed in the AHL when skating with line-mate Frans Nielsen. Their power play abilities and overall positioning will need continued development at this level in order to help our anemic offense, but their energy, and hopefully scoring, will be welcome.
The other positive I see may come if (IF) we in fact find ourselves well out of reach of a playoff spot as the trade deadline approaches. Such a position will force Snow to be a seller as opposed to a buyer, which is the best for this team’s future. As I wrote in mid/late December, it was clear that this team was not built to be a playoff contender, and we are more than just one player away from earning that title. Thinking that we are in the hunt for a playoff spot and making a trade to pick up a forward to help us make a run would show improvidence and hurt us in the long run. Conversely, trading a soon to be free agent or agents for promising youth would be wiser. I look at a guy like Comrie. Loved his fight and 2 goals exhibited against the Pens, but I’d deal him if the right opportunity arose. He’s been quoted in Logan’s most recent Islander Insider as stating he wants to be a part of the Islander organization. I don’t know if I buy that.
I’m going to go play Halo 3 now (or as my wife likes to call it “that stupid game again!?!”), but as I summarize my thoughts here, my depression is letting up a little. Look at it this way, if we continue to play like we did against the Penguins, maybe we will make a run at this thing. And then all bets are off, go Isles and bring on the Sens!
And if we don’t make a run of it, we have an opportunity to try and stock up on a little young talent, and perhaps secure a decent draft pick.
No matter what happens, I just hope Garth plays his cards right. I do want to wear my jersey for a week straight, after all.