Thursday, November 20, 2008

Riding the Wave

Intangibles are very important in sports. Those qualities that you can't quite quantify or define. None is more important than momentum. A close second is confidence. No doubt, the Islanders left the Coliseum on Monday night with an abundance of both. Unfortunately, they were walking right into the biggest momentum killer of all - time off. While it's not as extreme as the 8-day break between games they'll experience from Jan 21 to Jan 29, 4 days off is a long stretch in the NHL. Relate it to your own jobs - when you come back to work on Monday after your 4-day Thanksgiving break (assuming you're lucky enough to have Friday off), won't it take you a little time to get back into "work mode"?

There are a few factors working to their advantage. Their game on Friday will mark the return of Brendan Witt, which will help both on the ice and in the locker room. It will also be the first time since roughly 2004 when we've had a fully healthy D corps. Plus, there won't be a fatigue factor from the short hop to Newark. And facing a Brodeur-less Devils is akin to the Jets facing a Brady-less Patriots. If you can't beat 'em now, then when?

As after any break, the first period will be key. How will the rested-yet-rusty Isles keep up with a Devils team playing its second game in two nights? I'll go out on a limb and predict that whoever leads after one wins the game.

It'll be nice to pick up a win at the Rock and regain some of that confidence and momentum as we head up to Buffalo. Personally, I'm hoping for a little payback for the 7-1 beatdown I witnessed back on Columbus Day. As far as individual game performances go, that was the low-point of our season. What better way to make a statement that this team is for real than to make amends for that performance?

Shake off the cobwebs, boys, it's time to get back to work.


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