Orchestrating a Symphony in Uniondale

Well don't look now, but the Islanders have legitimate NHL talent, and I'm talking more than a handful of players like usual. Yes, the front office and typical punching bag for fans, Garth Snow did a solid job this summer of assembling a hockey team. Are we still missing a piece? Yes, we need a quality defenseman in a bad way. But the improvement in goal will make that defense slightly better and the addition of Grabovski and Kulemin will hopefully boost the offensive output, thus taking a little more stress off of the defense as well. But beyond that one defensive addition, the pieces are in place to make a playoff run. 

Since we are in the dry period of the hockey calendar year when topics to cover are hard to come by, this isn't going to be yet another analysis of what we have acquired and what we still need. I won't subject you to reading the same stuff again. Instead I decided to take a look at this team as a whole as it stands currently, and look at the bigger picture.

The fact of the matter is now there is a team in place that on paper IS a playoff team. Make the destinction from what we all felt going into last season. Last year, we were confident because of their surprising run to the playoffs the year prior. But I don't think any of us thought that the team was a legit playoff team roster wise. There was talent and a lot to like about them, but if you really look deep down you weren't confident in them as a whole. We were just riding the hope that playoffs gave us. 

Now there is a talented, deep team with a mix of youth and veterans that can certainly make noise not only in the division but the conference as well. The only question that remains is if they actually will compete or if they disappoint yet again. I both hope and believe it will be the former, but it will take more than just a legitimate roster for the Islanders to get a ticket to the dance once again.

The revamped lineup means one thing, coaching is now on the hot seat. The best example I can give is you can give me a conductor's baton and stand me in front of the New York Philharmonic and you will not hear a coherent orchestra. You just wont. I can wave the baton all day but I know less than nothing about rhythm, tempo and music in general. They are some of the best musicians in the world but if I were at the helm they would sound like a bunch of deaf chimpanzees holding string instruments. Facts are facts. Same goes for the Isles. Without coaching, direction and proper preparation they just won't succeed despite the talent. 

Supposedly, coach Jack Capuano has said he has been working on different strategy for the power play. That's all well and good, but there need to be purpose this time around. Greg Cronin has replaced Brent Thompson as an assistant coach which will bring a new set of eyes behind the bench. Hoiwever when all is said and done, a game plan needs to be put in place and it needs to be stuck to in order for there to be success during the final season in Uniondale. 

I can't stress it enough but the pieces are in place, lets just all pray that there is proper guidance to do so because even with the addition of veterans, there is a lot of youth that needs that little bit of direction. Scott Gordon lost the team a few years into his tenure on the Island, but his early success was because he had a system and stuck to it. The overspeed system worked, albeit for a short period of time, but there was a strategy the players were aware of and stuck to.

Nothing is given in the NHL, even to the elite teams. But there is every reason to believe that this team can make a ton of noise this coming season.

Bryan Curran
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