Blown opportunity or more to come for Islanders?
The Islanders being eliminated in the second round does not mean they will get another chance to show they are Stanley Cup material.
Sooner or later, the Carolina Hurricanes should finish the Islanders if the three Eastern Conference semifinal games serve as an indication of what will happen. It could end as soon as Friday night.
Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello, Islanders head coach Barry Trotz and rest of the management will assess what improvements should be made concerning the Islanders. The players will work hard to be even better next season. Mat Barzal, Devon Toews and Anthony Beauvillier will apply what they learned from playing in the this year’s postseason.
The question the Islanders ponder whether or not this is a blown opportunity or good things to come. Outside of players such as Barzal, Toews and Beauvillier, this group tasted postseason several times. They went past the first round two times, and that was it. This roster may have maxed its opportunity in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The players say all the right things, so it’s hard to take what they say seriously. The results explain a different story. If this roster showed they can’t get past the second round, maybe they are not capable.
When the series ends, disappointment enters around the locker room and players’ minds. The players thought this could have been the season they win the Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning and other upper echelon teams being eliminated in the first round. The Hurricanes humbled them pretty good these three games to a point confidence turned into doubts.
No one knows if the next opportunity exists for the Islanders. So many great teams play in this league, so it gets harder and harder each season. The Islanders may not make the playoffs next season for all we know.
There should be disappointment when the Hurricanes eliminate the Islanders. The Islanders blew an opportunity that may not happen again. Teams only get few chances to make the most of it.
The Islanders overachieved this season, so criticizing them does not make sense, but when opportunity presents itself to go as far as possible, the Islanders should strike as they can. Getting to the Eastern Conference final makes this great season. Getting to the second round of the playoffs makes it a good season.
I recalled listening to a Chase commercial once on the radio when then-Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello said good is not good enough when better is expected. Hopefully, he musters enough strength and stamina to figure out ways to make this team an Eastern Conference contender.
Acquiring or signing snipers should be job one for Lamoriello this offseason. Barzal and Beauvillier could use better wingers to work with. Finding a decent, productive player for Josh Ho-Sang helps, too.
Here’s the one thing about the Islanders ownership, Lamoriello and Trotz: They won’t be content just making the playoffs and setting for a second-round appearance. They will find a way to improve, which is something previous ownership, Garth Snow and Doug Weight can’t say.
The Islanders offseason will be interesting. That’s for sure. Everyone will pay attention this summer to see if the Islanders did enough to improve.
Still, nothing is guaranteed. That’s why there should be some sort of disappointment when the Hurricanes dispatch the Islanders for good.
The Islanders hope they can now win a game to avoid the humiliation of a sweep. The bar turned low after optimism surfaced just this week. Trailing three games changes the outlook.
It’s all about pride, and nothing else right now.
The Islanders sought bigger goals. They know they could have played much better than they showed. They haven’t scored much in this series, and they failed to perform in the third period when it mattered.
Reality says they are not good enough.
The Islanders playing with pride now is the best they can do. If they make it into a series, they have to settle for that for accomplishment.
No matter how many games the Islanders lose, it does not make it any better. An opportunity was blown and lost.
In a parity-filled league, lost opportunity does not come back over and over.
Guys get older and the body takes more wear and tear for every playoff series as recent Stanley Cup champions such as the Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings will say.
So it’s hard to say if the Islanders get another chance again.
Disappointment no doubt should enter everyone’s mind when this series ends.