An unavoidably slashy primer both because I tend to be most interested in friendships between the players... but also unavoidable because THESE GUYS ARE WEIRD ABOUT EACH OTHER. There are a lot of emotions flying around out there. So if that's not what you're interested in, don't expect an analysis of our stats or anything like that. (OK, there might be a little bit of that - but not much!)
The Islanders have to be one of the lovingest teams in hockey. They're always talking about how great the atmosphere in the room is, how close they are, and how much everyone enjoys each other's company. Their tweets are full of talk about going to movies together or getting meals at each other's houses.
We have a really solid, young core, many of them having played together the last few years, either at the Islanders or our AHL affiliate in Bridgeport. The guys have been through a lot together, having just made their first playoffs since 2007 in the spring of 2013. The Islanders have had a reputation as a pretty terrible team, and haven't been able to attract any big free agents - we're basically built from the draft and from claiming dudes off waivers. As a result, the guys really have each other's backs and have to look to each other for support, because the wider hockey world either ignores or mocks them most of the time.
John. Tavares. (x)
You're probably already at least a little familiar with John Tavares. First overall pick at the 2009 draft, 2013 Hart Trophy nominee, loves lacrosse, loves winning, first player ever to enter the OHL draft a year early as an exceptional player. And also everything to the Islanders. Some might say I have an overabundance of feelings about young John, so don't expect any sort of dignified understatement here.
( an abundance of forwards )