Kevin Schultz, Islanders Point Blank:On February 11th of last season, frustrations boiled over as the Islanders allowed four third period goals to the Carolina Hurricanes in a 6-4 loss at the Coliseum. Sticks were slammed and heads were held as the team lost their fifth in a row to fall to 4-7-1 on the year. If you need a refresher, here it is in video form:
That’s one thing that we haven’t seen too much of during this nine game, 2-12-2 streak; anger and despondency on camera for all to witness. There’s been some sticks slammed after goals but nothing quite like the display in the above video.
At the time, the video above was cathartic to a portion of the fanbase (the comments are gone but trust me, that’s what a lot of them were). It was the players reacting to the scoreline the same way a fan might; with frustration, heads in hands and clenched fists.
The team responded, too. They won four of the next six, starting with John Tavares beating the Rangers in a shootout three nights later at the Garden. It wasn’t all roses — there was another tough stretch before they went on the playoff clinching heater — but the season seemed to shift slightly after that.
Last night, the Islanders held a closed-door meeting after losing their ninth in a row by a 3-0 score to the Los Angeles Kings. Via ProHockeyTalk:
If I’m counting right it was also the team’s third closed-door, players only meeting of the season. It follows other meetings on November 9th after a 6-2 loss in Columbus and November 20th after losing on the road by a 5-2 margin, this time in Toronto.
This year, for the most part, there hasn’t been a display like the one witnessed above. Everything has been aired behind closed doors in players only meetings. And last year, there wasn’t a single closed-door meeting. Maybe that’s a function of a new captain and new assistant captain whole handle things differently than the previous regime.
But it’s interesting to note the difference in how things are being addressed.
Of course, there’s no way to really tell exactly how the players feel now as compared to back in February. There’s no getting in their heads aside from the more or less restrained responses in the post-game.
Sometimes it’s nice to see the anger and emotion out in the open. When it comes from a player who is usually calm and collected like Tavares is, it can be a surprise and maybe even a create spark, as it arguably did last season.
For now, it’s closed doors and players only as the team attempts to salvage the season and end the awful, unacceptable losing streak.