Islanders owner Jon Ledecky turned 60 years old on Friday.
On Friday night, the Islanders gave him a nice birthday present by rallying from two-goal deficits three times to earn a 7-6 overtime victory over the Detroit Red Wings at the Barclays Center. They spared him and themselves from humiliation after playing so awful for most of the night, which they trailed 5-2 at one point.
If the Islanders want to enjoy this victory, fine, but they can’t be delusional to think this win is a start of something special. How could it be when the team’s defense continues to be a sieve? Giving up six goals and somehow winning should require management and ownership to be honest about the state of the team.
Ledecky, Islanders co-owner Jon Malkin, Islanders general manager Garth Snow, Islanders coach Doug Weight can’t be fooled about this game after they finished celebrating the win. From watching the Islanders the last two months, they have showed they don’t have the goods to make the playoffs. Yes, the Islanders would make the playoffs today since they have the second wild-card spot, but this team almost lost five of six. They are trending downward than upward.
The Islanders defense is awful, and they have no goaltending. The only reason they have stayed afloat is because of their offense. Still, it is not conducive to success when a team scores four goals and give up five goals and lose. During a long season, the flaws expose a team for what they are, and this is what has happened after the Islanders were off to a great start.
Even if they make the playoffs with this current roster, what’s the point? They will be out in the first round. This is no Stanley Cup championship team. Mediocrity can not be the norm for this franchise. This is another year of mediocrity for the Islanders. It’s hard to say this season is a success when it’s more of the same every year like it has in recent years.
There has to be a sense of urgency by management and ownership. Snow has to make moves to improve the team’s defense by the trade deadline for the Islanders to make the playoffs. He also has to get a goaltender since Thomas Greiss (he was pulled in Friday night’s game against the Red Wings) and Jaroslav Halak are not cutting it. Ledecky and Malkin should tell their general manager to stop being infatuated with the team’s prospects and get guys who can get it done. If it means trading Anthony Beauvillier and Josh Ho-Sang to get a defenseman that can prevent breakaway goals or reduce second-chance opportunities for the other team, so be it.
The Islanders owe it to impending free agent John Tavares and their fans to try to get better and increase their team’s chances of making the playoffs and going further in the playoffs. Getting to the Eastern Conference finals or taking a team to seven games in the Eastern Conference semifinals would be a step in the right direction.
Now is not the time to wait for next year or wait for three years. This isn’t fair for the fans who have been loyal and passionate despite enduring bad hockey. It’s time they get rewarded. They also need to convince Tavares that they want to build a first-class organization.
The Islanders are in a middle of nowhere in reality right now. They can only do so much on offense. Their players try on defense, but they are not good enough. It’s not going to change until changes in the roster take place.
If the Islanders do nothing, it’s time for Ledecky and Malkin to consider making a change in the front office and on the bench after this season, even if they make the playoffs and lose in the first round. There can’t be more of the same. It’s been like this for four years, and it has been boring.
It was hard to get excited about the Islanders this season since they did nothing to improve. If they do nothing to improve by the trade deadline, there’s no reason to pay attention to them anymore this year.
It’s not too much to ask for this team to do something. Trying is not enough.
Maybe the Islanders don’t win the Stanley Cup this year if they make moves, but at least management tried, and that’s all the fans want. They can’t be run like a mom-and-pop operation under new ownership anymore. They can’t wait to win when the new arena is built in Belmont.
The Islanders need to try to win now out of necessity.
If they do nothing, they will be watching the playoffs at home instead of participating in it.