I did some calculating last night.
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By my count, the Islanders have now been in rebuilding mode for 15 consecutive years. Since the 1992-93 season, they haven't made it out of the first round of the playoffs. With 2001-02 now nothing more than a minor blip on the radar screen, in terms of regular season success, the Isles have remained stagnant for almost 5,500 calendar days. Horrendous at times, decent at best (for one full season, pretty darn good) but, overall, stagnant. Unacceptable.
In that time - 13 full seasons and 52 games into this year - I've seen the vast majority of the Isles 1,118 regular season games and 22 playoff contests in that stretch. (I hardly ever miss a game. Maybe 1 or 2 per season.) To me, that's a considerable investment. The minimal return I've gotten on that investment to this point and the fact that I cannot convince myself that it's getting any better any time soon has me at the point where I have no choice but to pull myself away a bit for my own sanity and well-being.
It hurts me, more than you know, to admit that.
I love this team. I always will.
But the organization as a whole has disappointed me too much for far too long.
I'll be a face in the back of the crowd, with regard to the Isles, for as long as I need to be, watching from a distance, keeping tabs, not letting myself get too close. I'll continue to support the Lighthouse Project, a desperate, dire need for what is quickly becoming a desperate, dire franchise. But I simply can't bear to take in every game anymore.
The talent level is not on par with the rest of the league.
There is little to no enthusiasm for this team from its fan base right now and for very good reason.
Yes, they've hung in there this season - a credit to Ted Nolan and his staff - but just "hanging in there" is not good enough for me. (Not when that's seemingly been the team credo for a decade and a half now.)
They're simply not entertaining.
It's completely unacceptable, folks and my time, as of right now, is far better spent elsewhere.
Again, you have no idea how painful it is for me to write that, but writing has always been my therapy and these words are at least honest.
I'll be back in full force eventually, I'm sure. I know I won't be able to stay away forever.
But I need some time.
Right now I just can't do it anymore.
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