My loathing for the Islanders knows no bounds so I will try to temper my blind hatred enough to actually provide a reasonable preview of them for you guys. It will be tough ... so very, very tough; just remember I did this the next time you guys get mad at me.
Familiar Foes: Rick DiPietro. Hahahaha. Just like last season, they think he is healthy enough to play and this time he may very well be able to play on Columbus Day. Anything beyond that, well, don't place any bets. That being said, even if DP does go down we've seen how Dwayne Roloson can singlehandedly keep the clowns competitive. Doug Weight - the Rangers second round pick in 1990 - returns to keep the C warm while John Tavares keeps learning the ropes. Trent Hunter and Jon Sim are somehow still in the NHL, even if their long-time runningmate Richard Park has headed overseas. Speaking of wingmen, Matt Moulson will be back attempting to show he wasn't a one-year wonder and Josh Bailey is going to try to start fulfilling his potential. Meanwhile, Mark Streit continues to be a slap in the face to Glen Sather. Yeah, goin' with Wade Redden was a muuuuuuuch better idea.
N00bz: Streit will be joined on the blueline by three new faces this fall - James Wisniewski, Milan Jurcina and Mark Eaton. It is hard to laugh at Snow's selections as the three vets can stabilize the back end. Up front Snow added PA Parenteau and Zenon Konopka. On one hand, you have to be happy that PA is going to get that fair NHL shot he has worked so hard to get but on the other hand, he is now the enemy so screw 'em. Konopka kills me as he is the first respectable enforcer the Isles have had since Mick Vukota (not that Mick was that respectable but whatever).
Last Year: Wednesday, October 28th 3-1 Isles; Wednesday, December 16th 2-1 Isles; Thursday, December 17th 5-2 Ranger win; Saturday, December 26th 3-2 OT Isles; Wednesday, March 24th 5-0 Rangers; Tuesday, March 30th 4-3 Ranger win.
This Year: Monday, October 10th at the Mausoleum; Thursday, December 2nd at the Mausoleum; Friday, December 3rd at the Garden; Monday, December 27th at the Garden; Tuesday, March 15th at the Garden; and Thursday, March 31st at the Mausoleum.
What They Mean To Blue: The bratty brother we never wanted always goes above and beyond to make us look bad. And sadly they do, pretty often. The Isles always step up their game when facing the Rangers and many times the Rangers don't respond in kind. But then again, the games against them are the best efforts we will get from Chris Drury all season long and the only times that Potvin Sucks can appropriately be whistled ...