Garth Snow and Ted Nolan are never going to use injuries as an excuse. But, you see, I don't have that problem. I never played the game, and I'm not the GM, coach or a player on the Islanders.
Garth is going to do the right thing with this team, of that I have no doubt. The early first round pick in this exemplary draft will add another cornerstone player the franchise needs. Rick DiPietro is clearly one. Kyle Okposo could be another.
But let's not forget what happened this season. The Islanders' injury list was an underrated story this season. You know darn well if some other teams lost as many top-4 defensemen or important forwards, we'd probably never hear the end of it. The other reason you didn't hear much about the Islanders' injuries? Garth and Ted refused to let it be an issue.
I'm not going to single out every injury, nor will we put a lot of emphasis on the shutdown of players when the Islanders fell out of playoff contention. But know this: when the season ends on Friday, the Islanders will have more than 400 man-games lost to injury.
Top two-way veteran center Mike Sillinger missed 30 games.
Jon Sim, signed to agitate and score 20 goals, missed 80.
Chris Campoli, the team's top puck-lugger on the blueline, missed 36.
Andy Sutton - 24.
Brendan Witt - 23.
Bruno Gervais - who may return this week - 19.
Radek Martinek - 13.
Here's an exercise: take another NHL team and assign an equal amount of games-missed to their top 5 defensemen. How do you think they'd do?