Just two weeks ago tomorrow, the Islanders beat the Rangers 2-1 at the Garden. It was the Islanders' sixth win in their last eight games and for the season they were 11-6. Calls came in from USA Today and elsewhere, hoping to speak with Garth and Ted and some of the players about how the gritty-gutty Islanders were getting it done. (Because, after all, the experts had picked them to finish around 14th in the conference. That's where they were supposed to be, darn it!).
After that first Garden triumph, the Islanders dropped their next two games: at home to the Canadiens and in Boston. Just like that, the Islanders had lost four of six. Some of the reporters we weren't able to hook up with suddenly were saying maybe they'd catch us down the road.
The Islanders won the back end of the home-and-home with the Bruins, lost to Dallas in overtime at home on Monday, and then the Orange and Blue did something they hadn't even been able to do when Laurie Boschman was a first-liner for the expansion Senators - they beat Ottawa at home. Man, I was so happy last Wednesday night. Everyone in Islanders Country was feeling pretty good and those media requests started piling up again.
Then came the loss Thursday in the Garden and last night's first period flop to Atlanta.
Four days ago, the Islanders were 9-4-1 in their last 13.
Now they enter Monday's game against the Bruins with only two wins in their last seven games.
I'm sure you could see where I was going with this paragraphs ago. (Sorry, just ask my wife or my colleagues: it takes me a while).
1. It's a very long season.
2. As Carolina and Tampa Bay proved in their Cup years, the key is how your team comes together for the home stretch.
3. Welcome back, Tamby.
4. It's so much nicer reading Islandermania after Islanders wins than losses.
5. My word to fans of any NHL teams that look like they could use their Butch Goring: it's probably not happening, if at all, until February. For a while, the answers will have to come from within, or within the farm system.
6. I don't understand why my buddies at WFAN aren't too quick to have NHL guests, yet Mad Dog yesterday morning had the football coach at Texas Tech breaking down the Missouri-Oklahoma matchup for 20 minutes.
I know that last one has nothing to do with the rest, but it ticked me off and I had to get it in there.
See you Monday for Kids Night. If you can, please bring something for the Marines' Toys for Tots collection.