Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 04/18/13 at 03:55 PM ET
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
It is only fitting that this wonky, lockout-shortened NHL season should come down to the final days with a couple of oddballs actually playing a game with playoff implications.
Both the Toronto Maple Leafs and the New York Islanders are in good shape to make the postseason. The Leafs can make it for the first time in nine years if they win Thursday’s game with the Islanders in regulation time and the Winnipeg Jets lose in any fashion. The Islanders need a few more points to clinch their first trip to the playoffs since 2007, sitting in seventh place in the Eastern Conference with 49 points, three ahead of the New York Rangers and the Jets, although they are only one behind the Ottawa Senators.
Seeing the Islanders in this position is particularly unusual, since their history since the glory days of the early 1980s and four consecutive Stanley Cups has been one of unstable ownership that brought mediocre hockey and a crumbling fan base. Charles Wang brought financial stability when he bought the team in 2000 but his capricious and puzzling decisions after taking a direct role in the Islanders’ hockey operations (huge contracts for Alexei Yashin and Rick DiPietro, for example) ensured the team remained an NHL laughingstock.
This year’s appearance in the playoffs will only be the fourth for the Islanders since 1995 and each time they lost in the first round. Their wacky history is shown in some of the career records for the franchise.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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