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A blog by a long time New York Islanders fan who stays true to the fellas wearing orange, white and blue…but thinks the Islanders organization has some shaping up to do.

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Isles Strike Out, But Sailing Forward

With an overtime loss by the Boston Bruins last night, if my friend Matt is not mistaken, the Islanders are officially out of the playoff race. It's been a long season, with plenty of hiccups and triumphs along the way; the best thing about it, however, is the fact that the Isles have plenty to look forward to for next year.

Right now, the Isles are 33-35-10, combining for a total of 76 points with four games (including tonight's) left on the schedule. Last season, the Isles were 26-47-9 for 61 points, clinching the worst record in the league and the top pick in the resulting draft. If they were to win the last four games on their schedule, they would have 84 points, which is a vast improvement. With two games against Pittsburgh, this isn't likely to happen, but who knows. Not only that, but their top draft pick (John Tavares) is both a 20-goal scorer and a points leader for the team in his rookie year, and they have an almost 30-goal scorer (Matt Moulson) and three players also within five goals at the most of 20- Kyle Okposo (17), Blake Comeau (16) and Josh Bailey (15). Yes, their defense still needs work, but Jack Hillen and Andy MacDonald are making great strides. And the two remaining goalies, Martin Biron and Dwayne Roloson, have been doing their best to fill the hole Rick DiPietro has left. If anything, I would say goaltending is the biggest weakness, as Ricky's leadership will be hard to completely replace, but if Biron gets re-signed, who knows what could happen next year? Or perhaps if one of our prospects comes up... anything can happen.

Overall, I think the Isles have improved a lot, and the hockey gods willing, they will continue to improve throughout the summer, right into training camp and the season. Captaincy will be a concern yet again, what with Doug Weight being down once more for the year (shoulder) and likely not coming back to the Isles. I would say not coming back to hockey, period, but I wouldn't want to make that assumption; at the most, we can assume the Isles won't re-sign him in FA. As for everything else, well... there's the draft, and free agency, and beyond. There's nowhere else we can really go but up, is there?

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