THE MORNING SKATE — A Movie We’ve All Seen Before

Kevin Schultz

Screen shot 2013-02-12 at 10.57.43 PMAfter a day off and a bit of a breather, it’s clear that Monday night’s hard-to-take loss and the way the stars of the show reacted on screen struck a chord with Islander fans. You took to twitter, message boards and blog comments to voice your frustration, anger and angst over the loss moreso than usual. There seemed to be something especially poignant and relatable to seeing the actors on screen react the way we might after a tough loss.

We might throw the remote; Travis Hamonic threw his stick. We’ll walk outside and take a breather; John Tavares needed a moment, too.

Tavares is now in his fourth season on Long Island. He’s still young but he’s certainly not a greenhorn. In fact, he seems like someone who’s seen this all before. Just like the fans. In two of Tavares’ first three seasons on the Island, the season was over before it got started:

– In 2011-12, the Islanders started 3-1 followed by a 2-11-4 stretch.
– In 2010-11, they were 3-3 before following that up with an ugly 1-17-3.
– In 2009-10, they started 1-4-5 which, with 7 points in 10 games, looks excellent by comparison.

That may be one of the things that made Monday night such a tough pill to swallow. Losses to the Devils, Penguins and Rangers were tough last week but are expected over the course of a season (and easier to take given the drubbing of the Penguins a week prior). They also brought the team back to .500; not great but not a mark that people would be terribly upset by. But after a snowstorm that shortened Long Islanders’ fuses, an honestly unbelievable loss to Buffalo Saturday, and a team that couldn’t get it together against Carolina, it seems as though everyone has had enough already.

It also seems like a movie we’ve all seen before.

A few wins get things going, make it seem like this year will be different. Then a few bumps in the road turn into potholes, which disintegrate into canyons, and the clock strikes midnight before the season has barely started. The fans have seen it each of the last two seasons. Monday night made it seem as though John Tavares has, too.

At this moment, the five-game losing streak isn’t a season killer. The Islanders are five points out of eighth in the East with a whole host of struggling teams above them. But, if this continues, the streak could be a season killer.

In a full season, a twelve of fifteen game losing streak would completely derail a season. In a half season, it should take considerably less. If you think of the standings as a point total the Islanders need to reach, instead of a specific rank they need to get to, they’ll need around 45 points (edit — that’s a crappy estimate on my part, it’s more like 52/53/54) to make the 8th playoff spot (it generally takes 90 give or take in a full season). With nine points through 12 games thus far, the Islanders would need 36 43 points in the final 36 games to hit 45 52. That’s something like a 14-14-8 record the rest of the way going 18-11-7. That’s totally achievable, but it gets increasingly harder the more this team loses in regulation.

Across the country in St. Louis, they’re on a five-game slide of their own, and the captain is insinuating not everyone is on board. It’s also a five-game slide being written about on Yahoo and other places only yesterday. This streak is news. ‘What’s wrong with the Blues? Why is this happening?’

The Islanders losing streak is not news. This is a movie the media has seen before. The fans have seen it many times, and maybe even the players have too. Hopefully this team, this year, can add a different plot twist to the ending.

One note we missed was this, highlighted by the folks at SB Nation. Feel free to skip the first 30 seconds or so.

This is Brendan Witt’s twitter picture. And it’s awesome.

Screen shot 2013-02-12 at 11.12.58 PM

ALSO: Griffin Reinhart, 50/50 raffle ticket seller… And realignment is back on the table