25 January 2010
Stolen right from the lips of the late Met, Tug McGraw, "YA GOTTA BELIEVE" is the phrase that should be circulating the Isles dressing room and Coliseum concourse. Especially since the critics had been counting on the Isles to be in the Taylor Hall sweepstakes by now, even encouraging having another lackluster season. Even I doubted the Islanders had what it took to be in the hunt, especially when I told Puck Daddy "I wouldn't reserve my playoff tickets this season." Never been so happy to eat my own words because now the Islanders sit just a win away from leap frogging the Flyers, Rangers, and Habs who all have 55 points and hold the 6, 7 and 8 spots respectively.
As fans we've watched boys become men and a team grow together so much so that this team knew from the start of this year that they were playoff material. "when April comes around, I expect us to be in position to compete in the playoffs." That was Richard Park told Islanders Point Blank back in September celebrity gossip and everybody looked and laughed. I guess the jokes on them, since a young up and coming group of hockey players have found ways to win.
The Coliseum has even become a place to help develop talent that was given up on, as highlighted by Newsdays Mark Herrmann. A combination of patience, responsible spending, and a coach who know how to nurture young talent have all worked to put together an on ice team that's entertaining, fun and most of all competitive.
Now those words that Park said back in September are being echoed in a much more specific way by the captain. "We're good enough to beat a team in a seven-game playoff series," Weight said, "and we're good enough to be in the playoffs." The team believes this, they've felt this way for a while and you players like Rob Schremp and Matt Moulson, who have both worked hard to get here, would love for that hard work to pay off and make the playoffs. The fans have also regained faith, highlighted this past week by 2 sellouts and a strong showing during Thursday's match up against the Panthers. Not to mention that ticket sales are up 20% and team revenue is up 11% according to Islanders Point Blank.
I go back to the phrase "YA GOTTA BELIEVE" because somehow that has been the rally cry for both the Jets and Islanders, both of which coincidental sent their rookie stars to throw out the first pitch at Citi Field. The point being is even when things looked over for the Jets they perceived on using a core of rookie and vets to lead the way and nearly went all the way. Sounds familiar to the Islanders, minus a few factors, but the core is simulare. Rookies and young guns leading the way backed by some experienced vets who know how to motivate a team. So Islanders Country, "YA GOTTA BELIEVE!"
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