Archive for January, 2013

The Return of the NHL

Posted in Islanders on January 19, 2013 by EAST SIDE RYNO

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It’s Christmas Eve everyone – the start of the 2013 NHL season is upon us. I can’t remember the last time I was this excited for a season to start. Obviously, Opening Day and Week 1 of the NFL season are always marked on my calender, but this night feels different. A new NHL season is about to begin, a shortened season that was days away from being canceled. Just three weeks ago, I remember reading that it was doubtful there was going to be any hockey this year. But now here we are, about to start a wild 48 game-season.

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Joe Sakic and the 1995 Quebec Nordiques shocked the hockey world

I realize that the lockout has pissed all of us off, but maybe this was for the good. Hockey isn’t even close to being as popular as the other three major sports, so maybe a shortened season is just what it needs. Even though there are fans who say they will never forgive the NHL for having another lockout, I strongly believe the fans will be back stronger than ever. More is on the line each game, which mean teams will be playing harder. The game will be played much better granted these players won’t have to go through a grueling 82 game-season. This entire year will almost have a playoff feel to it since no team can afford to go through a slump. I remember prior to the 1995 season, the Quebec Nordiques weren’t supposed to be that special of a team. They finished with a weak 76 points in the 93-94 season and finished 11th in the East. But in the strike-shortened 94-95 season, Quebec started the season on fire and never looked back. Ultimately they finished the season with a 30-13 record and clinched the top seed in the Eastern Conference. So let’s watch out for some of the unexpected teams this season to pull off some surprises.

I’ve noticed a number of analysts have picked the Islanders to finish dead last in the East this season. I’ve been looking at our extremely thin roster and I’ve got to admit, I can’t disagree with them. On paper, this Isles’ team is awful. There’s one star player (John Tavares), one solid winger (Matt Moulson), and one good defenseman (Mark Streit). Starting goaltender Evgeni Nabokov is getting old, right winger Kyle Okposo needs to prove he can be respected in this league, and Travis Hamonic has some potential to be a trusted defenseman. And the rest of the team is terrible. Let’s not forgot that Lubomir Visnovsky, one of the best players on our roster, doesn’t even want to report to the Islanders and has decided to stay in Slovakia with his family until further notice. Tomorrow night, there will be three defenseman that will be making their NHL debut for the Islanders. I hate to say it, but this could be an embarrassing four months of hockey in Uniondale. But remember, it’s a shortened season. These young AHL-lifers are in mid-season form. Maybe this Isles team can start off hot and never look back! Who knows?

Tomorrow night I will be thoroughly celebrating this memorable 2013 NHL season at the glorious Nassau Coliseum as my beloved Islanders take on the Devils at 7pm.

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It’s gonna feel good to be back

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