Before everyone jumps on me all at once to kick the crap out of me for providing false hope in regards to the Isles actually making the post-season, let me just say I don't see it happening either. This is just a thought that maybe Garth has higher expectations for this team, or maybe he's just doing some smart planning ahead.
I'd also like to say yes, I am well aware that I have been on what's close to a month's long hiatus. I took a bit of a break from blogging being that I was working two jobs this summer. One of which just came to a close since it's a seasonal position. It always depresses me that once I'm free the summer is almost over and things go back to normal. But the best part is that hockey season is around the corner.
A lot has happened in the time that I have been away from my blog. The Isles signed Marty Biron to a one-year deal. The Lighthouse hearing on August 4th came and went, seeming to set the wheels in motion for progress. Comeau and Hillen reached new deals on their contracts, keeping them both here for the next two years.
The Lighthouse Hearing is definitely the most important topic of the aforementioned above. However, as I've stated before, I prefer to talk more about hockey. Mainly because it's the main focus of my blog and more enjoyable to talk about, but also because politics are typically not my cup o'tea.
Yet the importance of that meeting and the ones that follow cannot be ignored in any way. They dictate not only the future of my beloved Islanders, but the future of Long Island as well. In this economy it is important to have a plan where jobs and opportunities will be waiting for someone like me once I finish with college, and Charles Wang is set on making things happen. The hearing on August 4th, which I was unfortunately unable to attend, went very well. However, this project is still a ways away from being completed. For much better coverage on this go to Chris Botta's blog at www.islanderspointblank.com
or B.D. Gallof's blog at www.islandersindependent.com
So why do I think that Garth Snow may be expec... err... hoping for this team to make the playoffs?
Going into the off-season everyone knew that the Islanders needed a 1A goaltender. They got that goalie with the signing of Dwayne Roloson. Everything seemed to be taken care of, but then Snow goes out of the way to sign Marty Biron, the starting goalie of the Philadelphia Flyers last season.
This clearly indicated that Rick DiPietro will not be ready for the start of the season, suggesting the tandem we will get used to seeing for the month of October will be Biron/Roloson. With that being said, most fans are probably aware that they should not get attached to having Marty in town. I wouldn't be surprised to see him play his best hockey, like most other one-year free agent signings do, and then see him traded before the deadline in March. This is, of course, only if Ricky is back to playing net with consistency.
But with Biron at the starting position, a position that Roloson could have probably handled on his own, does that mean Snow is pushing this team to reach new limits? Tavares is a wonderful bright spot for this team but I don't expect him to run away with the league on his back like Sidney Crosby. Okposo and Bailey are entering their sophomore years, and everyone knows how that can go for a developing young player. Same for Hillen. I'm not trying to sound pessimistic, just reasonable.
Maybe Snow is just trying to make sure that this team isn't at the bottom again fighting for the first overall pick in the upcoming draft. A signing of a top-six forward or powerplay specializing defenseman would have made the "playoff" theory a little more relatable. But I'm just saying. It seemed very odd to me that the Isles would have three #1 goalies to start the season.
Where do I see this team finishing next year? Not above eighth place. But I don't see them finishing in 15th either. I expect them to be much more competitive. Hopefully they can start the season they way they were finishing it, with players like Gervais, Bergenheim, and Okposo guiding the way.
And hopefully with a healthy Rick by the 20 game mark.