In 2007, the Islanders needed to win the final game of the season in order to make the playoffs. If they lost, the Leafs would make the playoffs.
The game went to a shootout and their goaltender, Wade Dubielewicz, was one save away from winning the game. So what did he do? He poke-checked the puck away from the player coming in on goal – not even allowing them to get a shot off.
The Islanders won. The Leafs missed the playoffs for the second year in a row.
I’m 100% certain this happened on Easter Sunday.
All of this is from memory. I have a good one.
John Tavares – This is the final year of his contract. I’m not optimistic that he stays, but what do I know? I do know that if he is surrounded by good players, he’s capable of a point-per-game pace. Unsurprisingly, he’s off to a hot start. Each game is his opportunity to increase his salary for next season.
Jordan Eberle – He came over from Edmonton in the Strome trade. He played with Tavares on Canada’s World Junior team in 2009. He’s a 5-time 20-goal scorer and this season could be a career rebirth for him.
Joshua Bailey – He’s been hovering around the “secondary scoring depth” portion of the Islanders roster for the last few seasons and I’ve always thought he could do more. He’s on the top line with Tavares now, time to step up.
Notable: Anders Lee, Mathew Barzal, Brock Nelson, Josh Ho-Sang
Nick Leddy – He is an offensive bright spot on a blue line that could use more offensive bright spots. 40+ points this season should be a given.
Thomas Hickey/Dennis Seidenberg/Calvin de Haan/Johnny Boychuk – All quality defensemen.
Notable: Ryan Pulock
Jaroslav Halak – He wasn’t very good last season and just about sunk my fantasy team, as a result. Fortunately, I pulled out a 1st place finish; Halak was sent to the minors. He’s worked his way back to the NHL and could regain the starter’s role once again.
Thomas Greiss – He’s gotten off to a poor start, which is a shame because the Islanders turned to him last season in their time of need and he helped them claw back into a playoff race when all hope seemed to be lost.
1. They missed the playoffs by one point last season, but had the same record as the Nashville Predators, who made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals.
2. Garth Snow is the GM and Doug Weight is the Head Coach. These guys were still playing when I was a kid. I guess I’m old. Darn.
3. They’ve made the playoffs 8 times since 1994; they were knocked out in the first round, 7 times. They get knocked down, but they get back up again, you’re never gonna keep them down.
4. The Islanders play at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. It was not meant to house a hockey team, which is why there are so many obstructed view seats. It’s also why there is a car parked in the front row at one end of the arena. Seriously. Beep beep, I’m a jeep.
5. Their mascot is named Sparky the Dragon because of course he is.
WHAT CHRIS THINKS
Can anyone believe Garth Snow is still the GM? He has been the GM since 2006 and was preceded by a man who lasted just 41 days, seems like a bit of an over-correction keeping him around this long.
LAST MINUTE OF PLAY
The Islanders could be in play for a Wild Card spot in the East, but so will 3-4 other teams. I’m not convinced they have enough talent to make the playoffs, but if they get their players playing up to their potential, it’ll be close.
They need more consistent goaltending this season than last. Tavares needs some running mates. And kids like Barzal and Ho-Sang need to step up.
If so, maybe they make the playoffs. Maybe. I’m not counting my chickens.
ONE WILD PREDICTION
John Tavares will finish the season with 90 points.
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