It says something about the way the New York Islanders started the 2014-2015 season that a loss on Saturday night would have led to the team’s first four-game losing streak of the season. After giving up 17 goals in three straight loses and three goal leads in two of those three games, Saturday night’s showdown with the Blackhawks, winners of eight straight, could have been another step towards an early season collapse that Islander fans are used to seeing. Instead, it was another example of this team’s newfound resiliency.
Sitting just 4 points above last place in the NHL on December 17th, the New York Islanders knew things had to change. And while they’re recent success has pulled them back into the playoff race with a still 2 and half months to go, the fate of their season may be instead decided in these next two weeks.
Last weekend before the NHL Draft, I spoke with Chris Botta at a Sports Management Worldwide conference about the Islanders' upcoming move to Brooklyn. While cities like Seattle were potential destinations for the Isles, they decided to re-locate to the brand new Barclays Center in Brooklyn in an attempt to keep their fans from Long Island.
Botta, a former PR executive and blogger for the Islanders, told me just how many fans he thinks will make the trip to Brooklyn from out on the Island, as well as how crucial John Tavares is to this transformation. How long will it be until #91 wins a Hart Trophy?