Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend's events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.
We talk about how bad teams like Edmonton last year or the Islanders two years ago are. And yeah, they were pretty bad.
But really, I don't think we have a concept yet of how truly, truly terrible this current group of Islanders is. They won four of their first seven games this year ... then earned points in four of their next 18.
Those Edmonton and Islanders teams of the last two years both finished last in the league by decent margins, but they still had 27 and 26 wins, respectively. Is there any way in hell you see this team, which already lost 14 in a row this year, getting 27 wins?
And it's not just that they're not a good hockey team, either. It's that they're honestly the most unintentionally boring hockey teams. They're so not good at anything -- scoring, defense, special teams, goaltending - that they almost make the teams they play worse at them. If anything, the only skill they have is getting teams to occasionally play down to their level to make it close.
It's really easy to pick on the worst team in hockey but I think this Islanders team might be one of the worst I've ever seen.
Certainly the worst in a decade. Their leading scorer is James Wisniewski(notes). He has 15 points. And he's minus-18.
That's 2003-04 Penguins Dick-Tarnstrom-led-us-in-scoring bad, and so, in fact, is the team. Remember how comically bad those Penguins were? Sure you do. A fun fact is that they had the exact same number of points through 25 games (only 15!) as do the current Islanders.
But let's say they catch fire. And I don't mean "catch fire" in relative terms where they win then lose a shootout in back-to-back games. I mean win four or five in a row. They're still on pace to be as bad as the pre-lockout Pens.
And OK, sure, you can certainly make the case that Mark Streit(notes) and Kyle Okposo(notes), two of the best players on the team, have been injured all year. But even with them, this team is still going to bleed goals, since they've allowed 83 through 25 games (3.32 per) and not score any (53 in 25, 2.12). They've allowed four or more goals 12 times. They've scored two or fewer 17 times. If they continue on their current pace, they will allow 272 goals and score just 173. Several teams have allowed that many or more (the '06 Pens allowed 316), but no one has scored less than 193 since the end of the lockout.
These numbers are so remarkably bad that no one short of Alex Ovechkin(notes) or Sidney Crosby(notes) would turn them semi-respectable in attack. And even then, they'd still probably be the worst team in the league.
And scarily, they've gotten worse since Scott Gorton was fired. Through 17 games, they'd scored 37 (2.17 per) and allowed 58 (3.41), taking 11 points (on pace for 53). Since Jack Capuano took over, they've allowed 25 (3.13) and scored just 16 (2.0), taking four points (on pace for 41). How long until Garth Snow fires him too?
They're not that Sharks team that lost 71 games, or the '92-93 Senators. But watch an Islanders game this year and try to argue that this is not an historically and hysterically bad team. I think you'll find it as difficult as watching the game itself.
Atlanta Thrashers: Ondrej Pavelec is having a great season, but perhaps is greatest accomplishment is having "Ondrej the Giant" as the headline of an article praising him. How is this not his everyday nickname?
Boston Bruins: Tim Thomas(notes) was not happy that Phil Kessel(notes) scored the shootout winner against the Bruins on Saturday, but only because Tim Thomas would rather lose an arm than lose a hockey game. When asked if he was bothered that Kess potted the winner, Thomas said, "You know, what's the statute of limitations on talking about Phil Kessel as a Boston Bruin?"
Buffalo Sabres: Prior to Friday night, Ryan Miller had zero shutouts. After games with Columbus and Ottawa, he now has two. Which I guess is pretty good.