10 Thoughts: New York Islanders keep finding ways to lose
Dec 16, 2016; Buffalo, NY, USA; Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen (55) is mobbed by his teammates after he scored the winning goal against New York Islanders goalie Jean-Francois Berube (30) during the overtime period at KeyBank Center. Sabres beat the Islanders 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Islanders have dropped from first to last in terms of resiliency this season.

How the mighty have fallen.

Last season, the Islanders led the league in wins when they trailed after two periods. It’s been a totally different story in 2016-17, as the team has undergone an indefensible turnaround, dropping to dead-last in that category.

“We believe in each other in here, and I think a big key why is that we’re resilient,” Casey Cizikas told Newsday’s Arthur Staple last season. “We don’t give up. We don’t give in. It doesn’t matter, the score of the game. We’re going to keep being that way.”

The Isles haven’t kept it that way. In fact, Thursday night’s loss to the Chicago Blackhawks was the third time in the same number of consecutive games that the Isles entered the final frame with the score even and lost.

“It seems like every game, something new pops up to bite us,” Johnny Boychuk said. “It’s time to stop the excuses and be good for 60 minutes.”

This is a disturbing trend that has hampered the team’s success.

Here are ten more:

1. Alright, so neither Jaroslav Halak nor Thomas Greiss has embraced the starting role this season. But that’s a problem that has stemmed from an underwhelming effort by the team’s defensemen. On paper, there are a lot of solid blueliners, but in reality, only one or two are playing that way.

2. The loss of Frans Nielsen predictably resulted in a dropoff from the Isles’ penalty killing unit. But it wasn’t supposed to be this Jekyll and Hyde. It’s been good, bad and ugly.

3. Garth Snow‘s struggles — with the draft, with his coaching decisions, and with his signings and trades — have been well-documented. But here’s a quote that will make your head spin: “That’s the challenge for us,” Snow told Newsday’s Arthur Staple at the outset of the offseason. “We need to devise a way to keep all three. Whether that can happen, I can’t answer that right now. We want to maintain the positive strides we’ve made in the recent past and take that step to the next level.” Really?

4. It’s been a nice bounce-back season for Anders Lee, the third-year power forward from Edina, MN. He’s tallied nine goals in 30 games, after posting just fifteen last season. “It all started with a couple of bounces,” he told the The Hockey Writers’ Gil Martin. “That took the monkey off and then I could relax and play. It’s a long season and you’re going to go through droughts like that.”

5. Heavily ridiculed scrutinized despised winger Josh Bailey has been quietly enjoying his best career season, but of course it comes with a catch: he’s going to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and there will actually be riots if he’s re-signed.

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6. The Isles’ struggles haven’t age discriminated. Recent lottery picks Ryan Strome and Calvin de Haan have floundered just as much as high-priced free agent signings Andrew Ladd and Jason Chimera. This isn’t a recipe for success.

7. At this point, the Isles are poised to finish with one of the league’s worst records, which would guarantee them one of the top picks in the upcoming draft. It’s known as the “Nolan Patrick Draft,” even if it’s weaker than the past two. Here’s a glimpse at the prospects the Isles could potentially target.

8. Joshua Ho-Sang was a healthy scratch last night after a turnover led to the game-tying goal on Friday. Still, fans are clamoring for his call-up, and for good reason: the polarizing prospect has 2 goals and 11 assists (13 points) in 24 games with Bridgeport (AHL) this season.

9. ‘Dump and chase’ is the league’s most outdated offensive system, yet Jack Capuano still employs it. As we previously noted, there are three reasons why it’s partly to blame for the Isles’ slow start: (a) it’s boring and archaic, (b) it requires more physicality and skill, and (c) it doesn’t bode well for possession statistics.

10. Cal Clutterbuck’s recent contract extension has received mixed reviews from the media. FanSided’s Christopher Lizza likes the move, noting that he’s part of the solution, not the problem. Adam Gretz of NBC Sports believes that the signing was a bad gamble.

 NEXT: Berube receives second straight start as Isles host Senators 


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Justin Weiss is a staff editor at Elite Sports New York, where he covers the New York Islanders and Brooklyn Cyclones. In 2016, he received a Quill Award for Freelance Journalism. He has written for the Long Island Herald, FanSided and YardBarker.