The Islanders Need To Become Justin Timberlake

Justin Timberlake’s latest album The 20/20 Experience comes out on March 19th and already he has two smash singles off it and an upcoming arena tour with Jay-Z this summer.  This comes off the heals of his fifth successful time hosting Saturday Night Live and after a few years spent blossoming his film acting career.  The man does it all, music, comedy, movies, and he does it the best… consistently.

Why can’t the New York Islanders do their best consistently?

Last week the Islanders had a rousing 5-2 victory over the Washington Captials, where everything clicked.  Balanced scoring, John Tavares, the other JT,  continued to be a monumental force, solid goaltending.  Not to mention it was during an afternoon at the Nassau Colesieum, in their black third jerseys.  This has been a lethal combination for the Islanders over the past year and half.  They often stumble into afternoon games, unprepared to play any thing close to competitive NHL hockey.  But not today.  They danced with style, in their black suits, be it on the ice and thrashed the struggling Washington Captials.

The next night, they played Pittsburgh,  a foe on a tear, with Sidney Crosby excelling even Justin Timberlake’s many performances.  The result?  A pathetic roll over to the dominant Penguins 6-1.  How did a team that clicked so much the previous afternoon, disappear in this divisional rival game?

One could argue exhaustion, but really, every team is in the same boat, playing plenty of back-to-backs.

The answer?  Preperation.  Mentally.  Regardless of the outcome of the Capitals game, this team had to know they were going to be facing a dangerous Penguins team, and Sidney Crosby would be lethal if left unchecked.  He ended up with 5 assists.

Evgeni Nabokov was allowed to start the game, and one has to wonder if coach Jack Capuano would have been wiser to give him a rest either the previous day against the Capitals, or this second night against the Penguins.  He’s 37 years old and has shouldered most of the work in net this season.  If anyone needs a night off, it’s him.

In the end, isn’t it about coaching?  JT (Tavares, not Justin) can pull this team along, but he needs his coach to be lighting the team’s fire every night.  It’s one thing to lose, but there’s no excuse to lose this bad.  Not for a team trying to make that next step.  Every game has to be close.   Half the season is gone, and consistency has been the hardest element for this team to find.  It’s up to the coach to make sure his squad is ready to battle every night.   After all, he’s the one who wears the Suit & Tie

Sorry, lame joke… Then again, I could have called this “The New York Islanders Need to look in the Mirrors.”

Regardless, the Islanders remain 3 points out of a play off spot and have two games against two struggling Floridian coming up.  Must wins as per usual.

Evgeni Nabokov Islanders
(Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)