From Scott Gordon to Jack Capuano and now Doug Weight, the legacy continues.
On the MSG postgame show Wednesday night -- almost always the "Happy Recap," win or lose -- Weight talked about how the Islanders "did some great things." Moments after, in speaking with the press, Weight pointed out, "We did a lot of good things on the power play."
The Islanders lost in Anaheim, 3-2. They have won one of their first four games. After going 0-5 last night, Weight's team is now 0-15 on the power play this season.
So what is the point of this message of glad tidings, and who is the audience for it?
The players? NHLers don't need it. Many don't respect it.
The fans? Few buy it.
Ownership? Sure hope it's falling on deaf ears by now. (Incidentally, Jon Ledecky was in the Yankees locker room last night after they won in Cleveland to advance to the ALCS. Now, that was a good thing).
The positive spin after losses has been a curious part of the Islanders' culture over the last decade. The first question by MSG to Weight after the loss to the Ducks was about the video replay challenge won to keep the score 3-2 in the third period. For the diehards watching this loss after midnight in the east, was this the first question on anyone's minds about that game?
In this era of points for everyone, at a time when more than 80 percent of the league's teams often finish with records over "NHL .500," the bar in this league gets lower and lower. In the most recent example, the Winnipeg Jets -- who have made the Islanders look like the Patriots in recent years -- gave their GM a long-term contract extension.
The season is young and there is time to make the necessary fixes and get better. Besides Anders Lee and sporadic visits by Andrew Ladd, the Islanders rarely have much of a presence in front of the opposing goalie. The Islanders took 13 shots on goal during their five power plays last night, but John Gibson saw everything. For those pushing for Ryan Pulock, he'll be teeing them up on the power play very soon.
But Weight and his band of highly-experienced assistants might want to take a look at the tone they're setting. Kelly Buchberger and Luke Richardson never seemed like the kind of players who needed their coach to give them gentle pats on the back after losses.
It's worth noting that Islanders veterans who have been around a bit, like Cal Clutterbuck and Johnny Boychuk, don't bother selling the premise of "good things." After the loss in Anaheim, Boychuck told Arthur Staple of Newsday, "Whether it's 5-1 or 3-2, it's still a loss. We need points because we know how important they are at any time of the year."
Good for Boychuck. That sounds like the kind of thing Doug Weight would say as a player for two decades. As Islanders coach, he should consider breaking the cycle of post-loss participation trophies.
The Islanders are off to a 1-2-1 start and have failed to score a power play goal. It's time Islanders coaches stopped settling for Hey, We Took A Lotta Shots And We Were Better 5-on-5 And Their Goalie Was Sharp But We Did Pretty Good.
It's not working. For the last decade, the Islanders have not been good enough.
Today's Tweeted Question
Regarding Jon Ledecky's comments Tuesday that the Islanders' ownership was all-in on Belmont, @kear20 asked: Shouldn't they have a backup plan if they don't win the bid?
It was smart of Ledecky to send the public message that 100 percent of ownership's focus is on Belmont. He and his executive team did a superb job carrying the message to the fans via the media, including the front page of what Mom calls the Newsday. At some point in the bidding process, the Islanders will need fan and community support. Ledecky grabbed a lot of people's attention with his comments.
As for a backup plan, there may not be one in New York. The Coliseum is no longer an NHL arena. Community leaders have never agreed on what should be done with the property around Citi Field. Suffolk County? Staaahhhp.
But even if there is some secret backup plan, it's wise at this time for Ledecky and Scott Malkin to put all of their effort and resources into obtaining an arena for the New York Islanders and Islanders fans, in Nassau County, New York. What a wonderful world it would be.
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