It doesn’t take an expert or an impressively observant person to notice that things are bad for the New York Islanders right now. It would be bad enough that they’re on an 11-game losing streak, but they’ve also taken public relations hits after firing Scott Gordon and revoking beat writer Chris Botta’s press credentials.
They’re also missing two key pieces on a talent-poor roster thanks to the long-term injuries of Mark Streit and Kyle Okposo. (Let’s not ignore the fact that oft-injured big investment Rick DiPietro isn’t “all there” either.)
Yup, things are bad in Long Island.
In fact, the situation is so bleak that some people are wondering if the team might sink to historically low levels. Justin Terranova of the New York Post wonders if the Islanders – again, currently on an 11 game skid – could tie or even surpass the all-time record for consecutive losses (17 games).
It’s a situation that will only get more painful and difficult if the Islanders stamp themselves as the NHL’s longest loser. The record for most consecutive losses is 17 — shared by the 1974-75 Capitals and the 1992-93 Sharks. Those Capitals were an expansion squad, and the Sharks were in the second year of existence.
With that question in mind, I thought I’d take a look at the team’s next seven games. Which games seem the most “winnable” for the woeful Islanders? Let’s take a look.
Note: All records are taken from before Friday, November 20th’s contests.
Saturday, Nov. 20: Home against Florida (8-9-0)
The Panthers are a .500 team through and through, with a near-even overall record and a 5-5 mark in their last 10. Verdict: Moderately winnable.
Sunday, Nov. 21: On the road against Atlanta (7-9-3)
The Thrashers have been struggling a bit, having lost three in a row going into a tough one against the Capitals. Still, they’re in a big home stand and the Islanders won’t even get 24 hours between back-to-back games this weekend. Verdict: Tough situation, but winnable match-up.
Wednesday, Nov. 24: At home against Columbus (10-6-0)
The Blue Jackets are 5-1 on the road, but on the bright side, the Islanders will be well-rested. Verdict: Cozy situation, but very tough match-up.
Friday, Nov. 26: At home against New Jersey (5-12-2)
This very well might be the Blooper Bowl to determine the worst team in the NHL. The odd start time (1:00 pm ET) and local rivalry make it a coin toss. Martin Brodeur’s injury situation could make it the closest thing to an easy win for the Isles. Verdict: Very winnable.
Thursday, Dec. 2: At home against NY Rangers (10-8-1)
The Islanders receive a week off before having a back-to-back, home-and-home duo of games against the Rangers. Back-to-backs increase the chances of them only playing against Henrik Lundqvist once. Verdict: Tough match-up, but big break could help.
Friday, Dec. 3: On the road against NY Rangers (10-8-1) **Would tie the record if they continue to lose**
Again, one of these games could be against a Lundqvist-free Rangers squad. Verdict: Tough match-up, but back-to-backs might mean no Lundqvist.
Sunday, Dec. 5: At home against Philadelphia (12-6-2) **Would break record if they continue to lose**
If the Islanders bring a 17-game losing streak into this one, it will be difficult for the Isles to avoid humiliation. Verdict: Very difficult.
After looking at the Islanders’ schedule, I don’t think that they will lose 17 games in a row (or worse). With some big breaks in between games and five of those contests at home, they have every reason to win at least once. Honestly, they might even go above .500 during that stretch.
Then again, you never know in the NHL.