With all the talk about a possible lockout which could result in a shorten or even a cancelled season, there is one guarantee for the hockey season and that is the release of one of the best video games ever; NHL 2013.
Earlier this month the NHL 2013 ratings were leaked to Yahoo! Sports writer, Puck Daddy and he separated them into two posts, one being the Eastern Conference teams and the other for, you guessed it, the Western Conference teams.
Anyone who has played "NHL" knows how realistic the game can be. When looking at the ratings for the Islanders, there were some questionable choices made by EA Sports, but there were also some spot on ones. Let’s take a look at the ratings for the whole Islanders team.(Photo Credit: Yahoo/Puck Daddy)
Kyle Okposo went into the 2012 season looking to rebound after an injured 2011 year that only saw him play 38 games. In those games, Okposo only posted 20 points, a far cry from the 52 he scored in his sophomore season. (Photo Credit: bridgetds/Flickr)
It was also likely less than what he, his team and fans were hoping to see him contribute after having such a great year in 2010.
Last year started off very similarly to 2011 - as if he was still injured and watching from the press box. He only scored three points in the first 15 games of the year and was eventually a healthy scratch for three straight games.
But Okposo would redeem himself, having heard the message from Coach Capuano loud and clear.
As Rob McGowan discussed in his latest posting (Preparing For An NHL Lockout On The Island) , the impending NHL lockout is becoming less of an empty threat and more of a real possibility. Unfortunately for the fans of all NHL teams, both sides of the table are having great difficulty agreeing.
This lockout could spell disaster for a league that is still recovering from the effects of the missed season of 2004-05. While they have made great strides since that horrible day, they are still well behind where they want to be in terms of popularity in comparison to the other 3 major sports.
While it is common knowledge for most hockey fans that this lockout cannot happen, it still might. Despite the reality that it did actually happen just a few years ago, it seems as though fans have faith that a deal with get done. This blind faith will turn to fear if the calendar turns to September and a deal is not reached.
Travis Hamonic has been growing as a player since the day he was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2008 NHL Entry Level Draft. After playing two more years in the WHL, Hammer floated his way up to the AHL in 2010-11 to play with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at the ripe age of 20. The Isles saw enough of Travis in 19 games to believe he was ready for NHL level competition. He started his career with the New York Islanders in November 2010 and has been a staple on the Islanders’ blue line since. (Photo Credit: Flickr/clydeorama)
Travis Hamonic’s impressive play did not stop on defense. He added 21 assists to go along with his 5 goals that season. Most telling of his stellar performance was his +/- which resided at +4 after his first year in the NHL.
In 2011-12, Hammer’s rise up the Islanders’ depth chart continued. He had another promising campaign full of great defensive plays and improvement in all aspects of his game. Hamonic finished with a +6 to go along with his 22 assists. Although, he may have decreased his uniform number from 36 to 3, his play has only increased with time.
But there are traits about Travis Hamonic that go beyond the statistics. On paper, he is a rising star in the Islanders organization and one of the best young defensemen that has donned the uniform in a long time. But his intangibles are what truly excite fans of the Islanders.
Isles fans have a way of forcing themselves to see the positives in most murky situations. They could hold a polluted, cloudy glass of water to the light and say “...at least its water!” The fan base is thirsty and have been parched for entirely too long. Saving the ‘stranded on an island’ metaphors, most fans that attend and/or watch each Islanders’ campaign needs something to bring them back after being consistently let down. (Photo Credit: Flickr/slidingsideways)
For the older generation of fans, the original cast that were around since the dynasty days, the reasoning is simple. They seemed to have accepted their apparent, under the table deal with the hockey demons as an exchange for those years as hockey’s prestige.
For the fans that weren’t around for those glory days, they hold on to moments or streaks of greatness. They hold the 1992-93 Islanders dear to their heart spending their days cursing Dale Hunter’s existence and asking hypotheticals about Pierre Turgeon’s unforeseen injury. They remember a good 1993-94 team that got dismantled by the Cup bound Rangers in a 4 game sweep but took the loss thinking they’d be right back eventually. How could they not?
The recent news of Lubomir Visnovsky filing a grievance with the NHLPA has Islander fans hanging their heads in despair. He has filed a grievance in an attempt to uncover a “No Trade Clause” that wasn’t honored at the time of the trade. It’s hard to decide if the actual news was the most painful or the fact that the Rangers netted Rick Nash for a bag of sweet tarts and a draft pick in a similar time frame. (Photo Credit, clydeorama/Flickr)
For playing under the same city name, the Rangers and Islanders could not be more different at the moment. Consistently, the Rangers keep improving on an already well stocked roster. They are able to speed up the process of rebuilding with their young players by pairing them with proven and perennial All Stars. It is a formula that leaves the Islanders in the dust.
In terms of young, raw talent the Islanders have the edge. However, an unproven stock- pile of draft picks does not win many games. The Rangers are able to introduce young players into the fold while adding great players in their prime.
It is like the Islanders rebuild plan but on steroids.
The Captain 'C' is an honor that is sought for all throughout the NHL. We know the value in wearing it but lately for the Islanders it has been nothing but a stitched design to add to the jersey. After Denis Potvin stepped aside there has been a lot to be desired in terms of leadership for the team.
Looking at the Islanders' current captain, the honorable Mark Streit, it is easy to see why he is the captain. He is restoring form to an honor that has lost most of its meaning through the last few captains. Streit struggled last year but as a talented player, choosing to play on Long Island, is enough for the fans to let that slide. He has been a great example for the many young players on the team through his NHL experience and international play.
With the season only a few months away and a feel that the Islanders are done shopping in free agency it seems like a nice time to take a look at possible opening night line combinations.
Moulson – Tavares – Boyes
This line doesn’t show too much difference from last season besides the addition of Brad Boyes. It is believed that Boyes was bought in to fill the spot left by PA. Playing with Tavares and Moulson should hopefully bring out Boyes old scoring touch from a few seasons ago.
When the puck drops in October ushering on another Islanders season, we all sit in anticipation of what may be. This hope makes us realize why we love this team all over again, every single year. For a fan base starving for winning on a consistent and familiar basis, the beginning of the season leaves us hopeful, sometimes without much reason. There have been years walking through the doors of the Old Barn realistically knowing that we were about to witness the tapping of a keg full of losing hockey. Call us delusional if you want but I prefer passionate.
In the mass of orange and blue, I reside. It has been that way since I was a young boy. I never really stood a chance really, simply because they were my first love. You'd think with first memories of a horrendous team through the mid to late nineties I would have turned and run far, far away. But I didn't. I stood by this team, just as I do now because I love them unconditionally although it hurts a lot of the time. I don't know exactly where I was hooked forever but I know I am. Maybe it was the slick hands and awesome hair of Ziggy Palffy. Or perhaps it was the hard hitting, hard nosed style of Darius Kasparaitis? Could it be the legitimate tears that filled my eyes as Michael Peca disappeared into the locker room in 2002 after that cheap shot from Darcy Tucker? It might have been the literal seismic wave that eclipsed all of Nassau County after Shawn Bates buried that penalty shot against Curtis Joseph. All of these moments and more, knit themselves into a thread that binds all of us together.