Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Can you smell what the Isles are cookin'?

"In my experience, there's no such thing as luck." - Obi Wan Kenobi

"Luck favors the prepared, darling." - Edna Mode

If you need me to tell you who Edna Mode is, you obviously don't have kids. And if you don't know who Obi-Wan Kenobi is ... then God help you.

Yes, the Islanders were very fortunate Monday night in Montreal. Own goals don't come around often, particularly those that tie the score with under five minutes to play in regulation. And when Ryan O'Byrne backhanded the puck into his own net on a delayed penalty call, well, you could certainly call that good luck.

But five wins in six games has less to do with luck and much more to do with how the Islanders have come together, despite missing their franchise goaltender, being saddled with various injuries and being in the midst the youth movement with a first-year coach fresh from the minor leagues establishing a new system.

We said at the start of the season that our expectations were almost nil, so anything positive this season would have been greatly appreciated. And it's not just the five wins in six games, two of them of the shootout variety. It's seeing inspired play from Andy Hilbert, leadership from Bill Guerin and pal Doug Weight, terrific performances from Mark Streit, and capable-if-not-spectacular goaltending from Joey MacDonald, who has been so good that no one remembers Dubie.

And has anyone missed Rick DiPietro lately?

Mark Herrmann of Newsday wrote how luck comes from hard work, and he is right. In a way, the Islanders are in a similar position as the New York Knicks. Not much is expected of them this season, but as long as they put in the effort and play like they give a damn, the fans can respect that and will show their support.

So far, the effort has been there and in the last two weeks it looks as if the Islanders are getting into the swing of things. And rookie Josh Bailey may certainly hang around for the duration, which would be fantastic.

It makes you wonder, when Okposo and Nielsen and Sillinger and DiPietro are all back in the lineup, how far the team can go.

To paraphrase Rick James, "Hope is a helluva drug."

One last thing -- if you're curious to know what Felix Potvin is doing these days, read Pierre LeBrun's piece on ESPN. Felix the Cat is coaching midget hockey in Quebec and enjoying retirement.

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