ISLES MID-WEEK MARGIN - EDITION 1

BY, MATT MOHR

· Matt Mohr

Just a quick note before the main meat of this text - it was originally going to be in a super informal style, sort of like the fan’s perspective of the week so far. However, due to the unfortunate and tragic death of Dynamo Saint Petersburg defenseman Timur Faizutdinov, I have opted to be a bit more formal for this week out of respect for the 19-year-old defenseman. Timur’s death has rocked the hockey community to its core. The tragedy took place during a playoff game against Loko Yaroslavl last Friday, in which a routine dump into Loko Yaroslavl’s offensive zone hit off Timur’s head. Timur went down immediately, was treated on the ice by the team doctor and on-site paramedics, and was rushed to the hospital. Doctors fought to keep him alive for three days before he passed early Tuesday morning. Timur Faizutdinov was only 19. Dynamo announced that all upcoming games will begin with a minute of silence in remembrance and mourning. Following his death, the hockey community came together to pay their respects for the fallen d-man. This is the part of the game that makes it unlike any other - the way the community comes together to pay their respects. Regardless of level, league, team, or player - the sport is what unites us all, as was seen after the Humbolt Broncos tragedy of a few years ago and the tragic passing of Colby Cave less than a year ago.

Now onto the Islanders. They have been on fire as of late, with their first and only loss coming to the Capitals last night. And the loss was on a tightly checked game where the Isles made some very avoidable mistakes. So the win streak ends at 9, point streak ends at 12, but considering the lack of a certain captain who was banished to LTIR and a certain young blossoming defenseman, that streak-ending loss isn’t as bad or brutal as it could have been. What was brutal is the fact that captain Anders Lee is done for the season, going under the knife to repair the torn ACL suffered in last Thursday’s game vs the Devils. Given the very small sample size that is the 3 games since he was initially injured, this is going to be a critical juncture for the team and the fanbase. Hopefully, it doesn’t turn into what last season was with the Isles injury bug - cause there is a bit of a pattern emerging between this season and last season, and that isn't what we want to see. I don’t want to hit the panic button just yet, but I am a bit nervous considering the upcoming schedule.

The Islanders have been just the normal Islanders over the last 2 seasons - offense not that good, defense great when we’re not shooting ourselves in the foot, goaltending keeping us in games for as long as they can, powerplay being mostly M.I.A. in hitting the back twine. With word going around about “Oh what is Lou gonna do?”, I wouldn’t be surprised if he tries to make offers for players with expiring contracts to try to fill the void which Lee left, similar to the circumstances in which the Isles went out to grab Andy Greene last season. Hopefully, no one else gets hurt, fingers crossed.

We’re going to lose games, that’s just a fact of life. We weren’t going to win out the rest of the season and I’d rather lose now to better adapt and prepare for a possible playoff run come May. It’s like the Maple Leafs blowing a lead - a common occurrence and not a grand spectacle. It how we rebound from this loss that matters and knowing how Trotz coaches this team, our next game should be a strong showing from the team. Should be. I’m hoping that it is.

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