How does it feel to be a fan of the New York Islanders on November 20, 2007? If you're anything like me, you're almost afraid to answer that question. You know, sensitive hockey gods and all. Considering, however, that this team does not seem in any way fragile, I will allow myself to bask in the glow of some numbers:
6-0 combined start against the Rangers and Devils.
10-1 against teams that appeared in last season's playoffs.
7-3 in the division, with four games in hand on the division leader.
6th in the conference, still with the fewest games played in the league.
Rather than leaving myself open to blame (from myself) should things start to go sour, let's allow some other people to chime in on the state of the Islanders...
They dig in and play hard, and when they get an edge, they do not let up.Lynn Zinser, in The New York Times
...this is hands-down the best group of players I've been associated with in my ten years on the PR side.Chris Botta, at NYI Point Blank
We just have a team that loves playing for each other, and that shows with guys blocking pucks and sticking up for each other.Rick DiPietro, in Newsday
We kind of got on our own individual pages. And when that happens, five guys on the same page are going to make you look stupid.Brendan Shanahan, in The Daily News
I think that last one is my favorite.
The blog entry by Chris Botta mentions that Garth Snow has recently done interviews with the Canadian Press and USA Today. That the Islanders are fielding those types of interview requests is news in itself, because the only current news related to the Islanders is their play on the ice. And considering how Chris likes to stick it to the media, it's a wonder anyone comes calling. (Just kidding, Chris. I'm actually impressed with the way you use NYI Point Blank to defend the organization against criticism from the very people whose ink you need.)
Congratulations to Rick DiPietro on his 100th career victory. He may not be the youngest to get there, but it's a nice accomplishment for a 26-year-old whose talent has been under constant scrutiny.
Finally, Islanders Outsider wishes a happy and healthy Thanksgiving to all who may stop by this page over the next several days, and especially to my great colleagues in the Blog Box. I will not be able to attend Wednesday night's game against Montreal, but I hope that all who do are treated to a great game and double