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The Skinny: Carolina 4, Isles 2

“The Skinny” By Eric Hornick Game 20 Carolina 4, Isles 2 Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen scored goals before the game was four minu...

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Which way will they go?

"You're either rebuilding for something special, or you're on the verge of something special. To be in between is foolish."
--Billy Beane

The Islanders are clearly not on the second group. Will they make sure that they place themselves in the first?

16 Boston Bruins 53 27 21 5 59
17 Vancouver Canucks 54 26 21 7 59
18 Columbus Blue Jackets 55 25 23 7 57
19 Carolina Hurricanes 56 26 26 4 56
20 Atlanta Thrashers 56 26 26 4 56
21 Buffalo Sabres 52 24 21 7 55
22 St Louis Blues 52 24 21 7 55
23 Washington Capitals 54 25 24 5 55
24 Florida Panthers 55 25 25 5 55
25 New York Islanders 54 24 24 6 54
26 Edmonton Oilers 55 24 26 5 53
27 Chicago Blackhawks 52 23 24 5 51
28 Toronto Maple Leafs 55 21 25 9 51
29 Tampa Bay Lightning 54 22 27 5 49
30 Los Angeles Kings 55 22 30 3 47

Following last night's loss to Anaheim, the Isles are five points behind the eighth place Bruins, and only five points ahead of the 29th place (in the League) Lightning.

With a good run, the Isles could still find themselves in the playoff race, and even in a playoff position. But is that the best things for the long term health of the franchise?

Probably not.

If the season ended today, the Isles would own the 6th pick in this year's draft. They've had the sixth pick twice in their history -- Brad Dalgarno was the 6th overall pick in 1985 (the pick was acquired in a trade with Minnesota for Rollie Melanson) but the most famous 6th overall pick was in 1990.

In 1990, the Isles squeezed into the playoffs on the last day of the season (much like 2007, they needed all sorts of things to go right in the season's final days). When Uwe Krupp scored in overtime for Buffalo (no loser points in those days) to beat the Penguins, it knocked Pittsburgh out of the playoffs, and the Islanders in. The Isles would lose in 5 games to the Rangers.

The Penguins grabbed Jaromir Jagr with the 5th pick in that summer's draft (following Owen Nolan, Petr Nedved, Keith Primeau and Mike Ricci). The Isles picked sixth, and Scott Scissons played two NHL games in his career.

Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick. Eric has worked the Stanley Cup Finals four times, and celebrated his 26th anniversary as the statistician on Islander home telecasts on January 21, 2008.

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