• By: Dave Gross

No man is an island

ABOVE: Islanders and Tampa, game 5 of the playoffs. Photo: NBCSN

Well, at the very least, there’s the Islanders.

Let’s just say if I was in Las Vegas my shirt would already have been lost (by my own accord).

Betting on who does what and when and to who is an art form in the National Hockey League. Clearly I’m not Andy Warhol.

Jet back a few precious weeks to the start of the playoffs and – well, hell – I had the vaunted Toronto Maple Leafs sailing through the great North. Stomping the Habs in the opening round was a foregone conclusion and disposing of whoever/whatever was left in Round No. 2.

In the Central, it was supposed to be a changing of the guard. Florida? Yeah, sure. Loved their game in spite of losing all-star blueliner Aaron Ekblad. Besides, no one goes back-to-back on Stanley Cups anymore, right? Tampa was ripe for a spring picking.

Well, we know where that baby went.

(BTW, I was never sold on Carolina, because, well, they’re Carolina and that would plainly suck for hockey IMHO).

Out West, St. Louis? No chance. Ditto for the Minnesota Wild.




C’mon. This was supposed to be Colorado’s year. The team that represented the NHL’s most complete package. Skill, speed, depth, defence, superstars.

Thin air?

Yup, they have that too.

So what happens? The team that virtually has zero at centre ice goes on and beats down the league’s most talented team in a neat and tidy six games.



My Islanders. Phew.

As spouted in this corner prior to the start of the fun, anyone counting the Isles out in the early rounds can come talk to me in mid-June.

And here we are.

The team with the NHL’s best coach and best fourth line is still sticking around. They might/probably won’t get past Tampa but another solid run from a stick-like-glue franchise. They just don’t go away, kind of like my dog Maggie while I am TRYING to write this column. (“Go away, Maggie!”).

By the way, I became a huge Islanders fan in the mid 1970s (yes I am that old) when guys like Denis and Jean Potvin, Gary Howatt, Billy Harris, Bob Bourne (boy could he skate) and Bobby Nystrom dotted the roster.

So the New York Islanders?

One out of four ain’t bad (isn’t that a Meatloaf song?). 

NOTES AND NOTIONS: Speaking of predictions, here’s one, and it’s sort of up to general manager Pierre Dorion if he can land a Top-4 defenceman, the Ottawa Senators make (barely) the playoffs next season . . . Barstool chatter: Would you or would you not keep the ‘current’ league alignment in place for next season? Me? I kind of got a bit tired of seeing Edmonton play Vancouver 25 times . . . Rhetorical, cause we already know the answer, but has there ever been a stronger start for a franchise than what’s happened with the Vegas Golden Knights? . . . Boy, the griping over the refereeing during this post-season has reached Empire State Building proportions. It is what it is. Sometimes you’re the bug, sometimes you’re the windshield. Deal with it . . . It’s been a whole week and I have yet to hear the name Logan Brown (although the week technically isn’t over yet) . . . Loved the idea of that recent player’s poll. Apparently, by far, the mot superstitious of all the NHL’s skaters in Sid Crosby. The list is a long one . . . No argument here abut the league’s top defenceman, Victor Hedman by a mile and a half . . . While devouring about 25 hours of US Open coverage this weekend, veteran broadcaster Mike Hogan had this terrific tweet: “Should people in the crowd who yell "Get in the hole" at the point of contact be banned from attending live golf events forever?” Yes, Mike, yes . . . Wasn’t it just right that Luke Richardson wins his first game as interim-interim Montreal head coach? That’s a win for the entire family that’s been devastated by tragedy. If I’m Seattle, he’s my guy.