The New York Islanders will win the 2022 Stanley Cup.
“Please God, no,” wrote reader “Hockey Island,” whose Twitter profile features an image of the team’s previous four championship banners from the 1980s.
People like mr. Island understand that my prediction of the Stanley Cup winner usually kills their championship aspirations. I stated that the Toronto Maple Leafs would win the Cup last season, and that poisonous hugging resulted in their captain, John Tavares, being felled by an errant kneecap in Game 1 against the Montreal Canadiens, the Leafs blowing (another) 3 -1 lead and be eliminated in the first round for the fifth consecutive season.
“Don’t Greg. Please.’
I apologize. The bell that has been rung cannot be turned off. I believe the Islanders are going to win the Stanley Cup and everything that comes with it.
“Do I agree that they are going to win the Cup? I’m not so sure,” said Ken Daneyko, a defender who played in the NHL for 20 years. ‘But you’re not alone. And why not? Maybe they’ll take the next step.’
I called Daneyko to brush off a theory from him. The more I looked at the 2021-22 New York Islanders, the more I thought of another team General Manager Lou Lamoriello had built: the 1995 New Jersey Devils, a team Daneyko played in.
Plague of offensive hockey. Carefully paved with homegrown talents and acquired veterans in the image of its GM. Above all, a Stanley Cup champion.
Like the Devils before 1995, the Islanders were on the cusp of greatness, losing to eventual Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning in consecutive conference finals. Last season, the margin between a cup final appearance and elimination was a short goal by Yanni Gourde in Game 7, namely a “Paul Sorvino slicing garlic in jail during ‘Goodfellas’ thin” margin.
“They haven’t had enough attacking talent to get them over the top. But he believes you stick to the philosophy,” said Daneyko. “Look, this team lost 1-0 at Tampa Bay in Game 7 of their series. They were outplayed in the series, but they almost won a damn good one.”