Thursday, December 13, 2007

Resetting Expectations

The so-called "self help" industry has grown tremendously over the past few year. It's a trend I despise. People relying on the likes of Dr. Phil to tell them what to think and how to live their lives. But now I'm ready to admit it - I need help! Someone please tell me what to think about this team! Someone tell me how to resist the urge to throw my remote through the TV screen!!

I'm at a loss right now. For the last few weeks I've been an Islanders apologist. Telling people (myself primarily) that they still have a game or two in hand on most teams in the conference, that they are 5 points out of the division lead and the #3 seed in the playoff race, that they just need one great game to end the scoring drought and gather some momentum.

All of these things are still true. Yet for some reason, after last night's loss to Buffalo I can no longer find ways to defend the team. Let's be honest, we all knew coming into the season that talent alone wasn't going to get us very far. But the notion of the "Ted Nolan Type" work ethic gave us all enough hope to be, at the very least, cautiously optimistic. And the first month of the season only emboldened that optimism. But at this point, I almost wish we didn't have that early season success, because it has only made the current situation all the more maddening. How can the team we have been watching over the last few weeks be the same group we cheered for in October? It just doesn't add up.

The question now is, which represents the real Islanders? All this time I've had the notion that the team just needs to regain "early season form". The underlying assumption in that is that the early-season version of the team is who they really are. But what if that's not the case? What if October was the aberration and the last month has been the true barometer of this team? These might seem like basic concepts, but for someone like me who has tried his best to defend this team they are close to revelations.

Along with these new thoughts o' mine, I've started to realize that the culture of losing we've experienced over the last 25 years has really taken it's toll on me. At this point, my definition of success would be a single playoff series win. Actually, if I'm being honest it would probably be pushing round 1 to a seventh game. Sure, I know everyone talks a good game and winning The Cup is everyone's stated goal. But I can't help get the feeling that most of the team's personnel would define success the same way as me.

When I calculate the number of hours I've spent in my life watching, discussing, and now blogging this team it really puts things in perspective. I'm ready to reset my expectations. I want things to change. I need things to change. Or soon, even those of us that love hockey and love this team will run out of reasons to keep supporting them with our time, money, and hearts.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

To have played as poorly as we have and still be in the #8 spot is a minor miracle.