Orange And Black By Year's End
This Islanders blogger does not believe in miracles.
I say that because a Twitter exchange between Mark Trible, The Checking Line's very own Flyers blogger, and I began before the start of the season after I predicted the Flyers to finish at the bottom of the Atlantic Division and the Islanders in third. My reasoning was that the Isles were on the upswing after completing the 2010 season just nine points shy of the playoffs after an 18 point improvement in the standings over the year before.
Teams like the Flyers, who finished in the East with the 8th and final playoff spot last year, typically have horrendous follow-up seasons after a Cinderella run to the Stanley Cup Finals. Since the team lost Simon Gagne and brought in Nikolai Zherdev on a gamble contract, I expected history to once again repeat itself. Just take a look at the Flames after their cup run or the Edmonton Oilers or the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim (before their name change). To me my reasoning was not too far-fetched.
But then Mark Streit went down due to injury and Kyle Okposo decided to play copy cat. Forwards such as Trent Hunter and Doug Weight are under-achieving and the kids are having trouble carrying the responsibility of handling an entire season on their own. This is not an Islanders blogger making excuses. This is just a blogger calling it how he sees it.
The Flyers, on the other hand, have taken control of their fate and are on a great run, having beaten the Islanders today 3-2 at the Nassau Coliseum in a game where they had to come from behind in the third period to win the contest in regulation. Richards (point per game), Giroux, Carter, Briere and Leino all have 20 points or more in 28 games played with Sergei Bobrovsky becoming one of the great success stories of the 2011 season. He is 14-4-2 on the year with a 2.21 GAA. He certainly is making a name for himself in regards to Calder candidacy at the age of 22 in his first professional season.
After my long digression, I return to Trible. Our Twitter transgressions ended up with a bet: If my predictions were right, (which I am sad to say, they most definitely won't be), Mark would have to wear an Islanders jersey accompanied by an Islanders hat. If I was wrong, I would have to do the same in Flyers apparel. Although I have until April to ask a friend to lend me a jersey, don't be surprised if you see me wearing orange and black by the end of the year.
Because at this point it would take a miracle for otherwise to happen. And right now, I don't believe in miracles.
Follow me on Twitter!