Apologies in advance for two Islander-related posts this week, but last night was my first visit to the Coliseum this season, so I think some thoughts are appropriate.
First off, the push for the Lighthouse Project is everywhere -- as it should be. Even the ice girls' snow shovels have signs advertising on the Lighthouse. I don't know why you need to advertise there, but then again I'm not working for marketing.
Next up is the crowd. For all the lumps attendance at these games takes there was a good crowd last night. 14,227 on the score sheet which I can verify for you was not exaggerated. I expected to see the place looking like a ghost town but it wasn't. Probably because of the holiday, but it was close to 90% capacity, and it looked like it too.
And finally there is the on-ice product. Or what vaguely resembles one. Let's get this straight -- this team, as was rostered last night, sucks. But that's what happens when you combine a youth movement, 200+ man games lost to injury, playing without your #1 netminder and with only two of your top seven defenders. They have even lost 9 in a row, 10 including last night's loss.
Howevah, this team didn't act like it was the worst team in the league and on a morbidly long losing streak. They didn't act like they were getting beat by the third worst team in the league. They hustled, forced turnovers in their offensive zone and played hard all night long. That was the biggest shock of the night to me. Again, let's be clear -- they're not very talented. But that being said, and maybe this was a one night only show, they were playing hard for their jobs (many of which will likely be in the AHL sooner rather than later) and/or hard for their coach. Down 2-0 to a bad Atlanta team in the second period, the Isles could have folded up and gone home. They didn't. They rallied back to tie the game at two. Maybe it was holiday spirit. Maybe it was a fluke. Maybe it's because the roster is loaded with kids. But it's good to see a team going full tilt, even if full tilt can't buy them a win. Heck, if they play like this and manage to get Tavares, I'd say it's a win-win.