Will It Reach 12?
I'm going to start by throwing some facts out here that I heard from MSG TV analyst, Howie Rose at the end of the Islanders disappointing 4-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night.
There is the first streak in which the Isles have lost eleven straight games in a row. This has been the worst losing streak that this team has had since Mike Milbury stepped down as head coach back in the 1998-1999 season. In the past ten games, the Islanders have only scored nine goals. That's an average of less than one goal a game, something the team has not had since...get this...their inaugural season back in the 1972-1973 year. That team only won twelve games. So far, this current team has only won four.
It's scary that a team that is in it's third season of a rebuilding phase can be compared to it's first year of existence. Granted, both teams are entirely different, from separate eras with several different players and coaches. But if you can compare the current season to a point in time when no one was expecting the franchise to initially succeed; that needed to weed out the first year blunders; that probably did not have much talent or skill, to a team that had high expectations for themselves and had been talking about playoffs the entire off-season...then there is a major problem.
Eleven straight losses and a horrendous number when discussing offensive production is a sign that the Islanders have taken a major step back in regards to their development. Does it mean that players such as Tavares, Bailey, Comeau and other young skaters are doomed for the rest of the season? Absolutely not. But these guys have been playing in a losing environment with an atmosphere of disappointment the entire time that they have been here. They may be confident in their abilities, and that is good, but confidence only takes you as far as your surroundings will let you.
Changing the person who stands behind the bench was not the solution to fixing the problems that are happening on the ice. There is clearly much more work that needs to be done, and it needs to be done soon. The intensity and focus that was seen in the first seven games has evaporated into despair and frustration that can be seen with each and every shift. The team that was once very confident is starting to lose hope, regardless of what they may say to the media before and after every game.
The Islanders will have another opportunity to change things on their own when they host the Florida Panthers at 7 PM. Check back here as I will be doing a live blog from the press-box!
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