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Islanders Need To Imitate Yankees And Start Having Fun – Hockey Writers – New York Islanders

After being eliminated by the Carolina Hurricanes in Round 1, the New York Islanders need to look within to see what is holding the team back from reaching its full potential. The roster isn’t too far off from the 2020-22 schedule that was just a few goals away from reaching the Stanley Cup. With the current roster filled with long-term contracts and no-trade clauses, it will be difficult to add the key pieces needed to compete for a championship like the New York Yankees did. With the equipment the team currently has, they can look to emulate the Yankees by adding exciting players and culture to the locker room.

Yankees and Islanders Show Similarities

The Yankees and Islanders have a lot in common. Both teams in New York have struggled to find success in recent seasons, have strict facial hair policies, and have management teams that have been around since the 1990s. Also, both teams have had a “take it back” philosophy in recent seasons until the Yankees made some major changes this past offseason.

Related: New York Islanders 2024 NHL Mock Draft

Although unconfirmed by team sources, the Yankees addressed the issue this past offseason by bringing in the likes of Juan Soto, Alex Verdugo, and Marcus Stroman. All three actors are outspoken, wear their emotions on their sleeves, and aren’t afraid to show their personalities, whether it’s jewelry, social media posts, or shuffling. The Islanders have no personality and can solve this problem by adding key figures to the locker room or by making traditions, new or old.

Could Ping Pong Be The Answer?

The Islanders have found success on the ice during the COVID-19 crisis with elite training, coaching, composition, and ping pong. Yes, ping pong. Any Islanders fan on social media during the 2020 Playoffs remembers the daily posts from the Islanders about the results of the ping pong tournament.

Since each team was housed in its own section of the hotel, the players had to keep themselves busy. The Islanders solved this by having a ping pong tournament where newly acquired Jean-Gabriel Pageau emerged victorious. The team created a poster board with fun name, levels, and qualifications, allowing for friendly competition and cooperation. Although ping pong has nothing to do with the results of the ice, there is no doubt that it has created a lasting bond on the team, which is evident in Pageau scoring eight goals in 22 playoff games.

In the midst of the “Boys of the Isle” ping pong tournament, the team was playing high-level hockey, and the chemistry was on display. Head coach Barry Trotz, along with the players, continued to say that the team “didn’t quit,” and they all believed in each other. The players bought into the collection they had and achieved success when no one thought they could. Of course, the team failed to achieve its goal of winning the Stanley Cup, but fans still wonder what would have happened if the Tampa Bay Lightning had not scored a shorthanded goal in Game 7 of the 2021 Eastern Conference Final or if Johnn Boychuk’s shot had gone off the field. the post was in favor of the Islanders.

In addition to adding culture, the Islanders could add exciting people to the locker room like Teuvo Teravainen or Kailer Yamamoto. Teravainen is known for his dry humor and timely jokes. One of his funniest lines was at the end of the 2021 season when a member of the media asked him how he deals with the pressure of playing professional hockey. He told a reporter that “They ask me how I feel every day, and that’s annoying.” It’s a dry but funny response, similar to how the Islanders treated the media during the bubble game with media humor.

Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Teuvo Teravainen, Carolina Hurricanes (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Yamamoto may not be very vocal in the media, but he has a reputation for being a funny guy, who keeps the vibe high. Not to mention that both players are pending free agents and would be useful additions to the Islanders’ forward core by adding speed and scoring.

Leadership is lacking

The biggest professional takeaway from the Islanders’ level of play is a lack of leadership, both in quantity and quality. In the past two seasons, the Islanders have had three different coaches. Also, the team lost key locker room leaders in Boychuk, Josh Bailey, Zach Parise, Travis Zajac, Andy Greene, and others. Yes, the team has brought in other leaders like Bo Horvat, but none of them have the experience and intelligence that Bailey and the others mentioned do.

With veterans Matt Martin and Cal Clutterbuck likely to retire or leave the Islanders this summer, the team may lose some of its few remaining veteran leaders. While the Islanders may bring in some veterans, it won’t affect the team’s need to get smaller and faster.

This issue will be resolved by having current, suspended players, such as Matt Barzal, Brock Nelson, Ryan Pulock, and Adam Pelech step into senior leadership roles. This doesn’t mean they haven’t done that yet, but they need to talk more, learn the lessons they’ve put on themselves over the past few seasons. This can be done, publicly or privately, through teamwork and setting high expectations for each player. They have to find a way to preach accountability, own up to their recent disappointing seasons and say they need to move forward. The team has complained a lot lately, and it’s time to fix that attitude.

It is important to note that this does not mean that the Islanders must follow the stars because that is not understandable due to the way the team is currently organized. However, they could make some small changes on and off the ice, bringing the fun back to a team that has been missing that name as of late. The truth about adding fun is that there’s nothing to lose and everything to gain, especially since there are a limited number of ways Islanders can improve this off-season.

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