Like it or not, it’s become quite clear that the Islanders won't be pulling off any miracles this season. While they remained competitive through most of the year, the team fell apart during their recent seven game losing streak. The time has come to admit that this team is no Cup contender, let alone playoff team, and deal as many veterans as possible—the NHL trade deadline is less than two weeks away.
Garth Snow and Ted Nolan need to reevaluate the direction they want to take this team. When Charles Wang announced Snow as general manager two summers ago, the consensus was that regardless of talent level, Snow would put together a tough-as-nails team, reflecting the long-time goaltender’s playing style. Two seasons later, that couldn't be further from reality. Granted, Jon Sim was injured in the second game of the season, but Sim alone couldn't change the nature of this team by himself. The lack of fight, lack of pride, lack of substance has shown time and time again.
And now, the Isles are stuck with an aging captain that seemed to mail it in half way through the season, and a recently named alternate captain that plays hard when it’s the right time for him. Harsh words, yes, but how many times can the fans (that still attend games) stand to watch these guys not skate out icings, not stand up for each other, and glide around and dump the puck like a bunch of Isles of yesteryear?
If Snow dished out those one-year deals in anticipation of a trade deadline dump, then good for him. Mike Comrie performed quite well in the playoffs with Ottawa last year, and you can be sure he’ll be a hot commodity come February 26. Trent "Big Game" Hunter, the perennial faux hits leader, could also be had, according to rumors, but it’s hard to imagine the Isles ever parting ways with their "model Islander". M.A. Bergeron has been destined for faraway places ever since his tiff with Assistant Coach Gerrard Gallant, and his powerful shot and powerplay ability should yield a decent return. Josef Vasicek and Miroslav Satan, the softest linemates in hockey, will also help stock the Isles’ prospect pantry. Andy Hilbert… nevermind.
So, tying this all into the fantasy world, as I remind myself that this is the point of this blog, pick up some of the aforementioned players in anticipation of a trade to a contender. You can be sure all of them will be motivated and will bring more to the table in a high-pressure environment, where losing and not giving a damn are completely unacceptable, veterans included.
On the brighter side, the Isles have a respectable pool of young talent as it stands, including Sean Bergenheim, Blake Comeau, Kyle Okposo, Jeff Tambellini, Frans Nielsen, and Rhett Rakhshani. The upcoming trade deadline will only add to this collection and will give the Islanders faithful hope for the future, if the youngsters are ever given a regular shift.
Of course, they still have DP for another dozen seasons or so.
On the mend:
*D Brendan Witt (sprained knee) is day-to-day.
*D Bruno Gervais (undisclosed) is day-to-day.
*F Mike Sillinger (hip) will miss the month of February.
*D Chris Campoli (shoulder surgery) is out for the season.
*F Chris Simon (suspension) has rejoined the team and is eligible to return February 21 against Tampa Bay.
*F Shawn Bates (hip) is out indefinitely.
*F Jon Sim (knee) is out for the season.
Thu. 2/14 @ Toronto
Sat. 2/16 vs. Atlanta
Mon. 2/18 vs. San Jose
Wed. 2/20 @ Washington
Thu. 2/21 vs. Tampa Bay
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