One has to wonder who paid the most attention to the Anaheim/Ottawa finals - where despite the Senators finally being able to put it together to dispatch a myriad of good to excellent teams, they got run over by a meaner and tougher team who simply shut them down. It was clear on paper and it was even clearer as the games went on.
So now you have to wonder how much GM Garth Snow and Coach Ted Nolan paid attention and saw the writing of on the wall - that despite the need for speed in the 'new' NHL, there was still a need for toughness and ability to take and give. That the new NHL still needed grit, aggression and heart as well as any champion needing character,hunger and a mean streak.
This probably why the Isles over this summer tried to pry Ed Jovanovski from his Phoenix lounge chair. But Big Ed refused to waive his NTC (no trade clause). So it was not to be. But even still, the Isles have tried to pepper in toughness on both levels of the club since. Both Bridgeport and the Islanders might have pugilists like Gordie Dwyer, Tim Jackman, Kip Brennan, and Darryl Bootland coming back and forth to provide an edge that the Isles have been missing. It will also provide a base template for the future that while none of these men are gamebreakers, they come in to toughen the lines up when needed. And a tough system is created from those still coming up through Bridgeport.
It also show that the Islanders are probably still looking for that top piece of a defensive core to join those like Martinek, Witt, Sutton, Berard, Bergeron, Campoli and Gervais. Obviously someone or two would have to be moved to create the space - but it is very likely that the failure of landing Jovocop made them make alternative plans. But it still belies a clear intent and the future vision of this team.
And shows that both coach and GM watched and learned from the finals.