The Islanders, to say the least, have lost their thunder from the beginning of the 2017-2018 season. With multiple breaks in between, the Islanders haven’t been able to put together a good string of wins. Why has this happened? Well, there are a few plausible reasons that explain why the Islanders are once again out of a playoff spot.
The first is the lineup. To put it simply, Doug Weight and Garth Snow have not put the best players we have available on the ice. It makes sense that we do have to call up a few people due to injury, but there are still some players logging more ice time than others. An example of this is Josh Ho-Sang. This might be the easiest example, but Ho-Sang has been wasting away his official rookie year down in the AHL. Unless I just have hockey totally wrong, Ho-Sang is a much better player than the likes of Steve Bernier, Ross Johnston, Alan Quine, and Michael Dal Colle. It does make sense that Ho-Sang does need to learn, and round out many parts of his game, but in order to do so, he needs to be put into a position to succeed. At the end of the day, you have to put your best players out on the ice the most, and this has not happened. Another example to mention is Anthony Beauvillier. Beau got sent down believe it or not by this organization; what happened when he got back you ask? He played on a line with Barzal and Eberle and lighted it up. I don’t expect Ladd to play on that line ever again, even when he does come back from injury. In order to win games in the NHL, you have to play your best players, and this still needs to happen for the Islanders.
Another reason for the Islanders poor position is the head coaching job. Doug Weight is simply not doing a good job. There have been some instances where the team has responded and played well, but for those of you who watched the Florida Panthers come into Barclays Center last night and beat the Islanders 4-1, you know what I mean. Besides some of the third period, the Islanders as a whole did not show any sort of urgency throughout the game. They had to go down 3-0 to realize that their effort wasn’t there. When that seems to be the problem, the real issue was the interview Weight had with the press after the game. Instead of giving some sort of reason as to why the team had a disappointing loss, he had no answers whatsoever. The only answer he was able to give Stan was, “Yell a lot, and try to get them rolling”. This obviously has not worked. Weight mentioned he didn’t know what was supposed to get them going, since the team being out of a playoff spot should be enough. This team needs a spark, and whether it is a coaching change or not, it needs to happen fast.
The last reason may not be a reason to why the team isn’t playing well, but definitely continues the evidence of why this organization as a whole is not doing well. All the extra things around the team like John Tavares still not signing with the team, or the Islanders trying to figure out where they are going to play for the rest of this season, and all of next. There was news that the Islanders would play up to half of their home games at the old barn, The Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. However, the uncertainty about Barclays Center, and the future plans of the organization can’t be sitting well with the players.
In conclusion, the Islanders need to find some sort of spark in order to get themselves into the playoffs. Doug Weight should have already lost his job, but if the team does not make the playoffs once again, he should definitely be gone. Garth Snow should also be on the hot seat as the window does not seem to be great for the Islanders to win the Stanley Cup. It will be interesting to see how the Islanders perform over the next couple of months as the playoffs draw near, but if the Islanders miss the playoffs again, there should be some huge changes coming to this organization.