In life, only two things are certain: death and taxes.
While the first two are inevitably true, the Stanley Cup playoffs are also a part of the cycle of life in the NHL.
At first glance, the New York Islanders are poised to make a run for a wild card spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs and everything is good for Isles fans. New player faces including J.G. Pageau from the Ottawa Senators and Andy Greene from the neighboring New Jersey Devils are attempting to fill leadership voids in the Islanders ranks. Johnny Boychuk’s eye will survive a brutal skate kick to the head, albeit he had to have 90 stitches to repair a badly damaged eyelid.
Yes, things on the surface look to favor a postseason run for the Islanders. At the time of this article writing, the Islanders sit one point behind both the Carolina Hurricanes and Columbus Blue Jackets for a wild card spot and two points ahead of their crosstown Rangers rivals. The Islanders currently post a 35-23-10 record and 80 points in the Metropolitan standings.
For those of you who like to watch ducks gracefully swimming across a pond, they look peaceful and in their own element; in reality, ducks are constantly kicking their web feet to stay afloat.
The Islanders are the hockey version of passengers on a sinking ship – make it to the lifeboats in time and you’ll be safe.
In this case, the Islanders will be safe from themselves if they can hold on for a few more weeks without drowning in self-destruction.
In order for the Islanders to find those lifeboats and row themselves to the safety of a Wild Card spot, they need to reverse the obvious losing skid that has this team floundering around desperately in search of a purpose. The Islanders are suffering through a seven-game losing streak, albeit they’ve picked up two points in the last two games with OT losses. Teams who rely on OT loss points in order to make the playoffs will have an early exit and have to watch the hoisting of Lord Stanley’s Cup on television.
Head coach Barry Trotz stands in the Islanders box night after night watching each Isles line be their own worst enemies and implode game after game.
According to Trotz, who was quoted on the Islanders Twitter feed, “Some guys are not playing up to their capabilities, that’s on me and that’s on the team. We’re going to get out of this as a group.”
The lifeboats are there-it’s time to get in and get to shore and the playoffs or go down with this season like a sinking ship.