Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of visiting my home state of New York. Since it is now seldom that I am actually in New York, I took the opportunity to relive one of my favorite pastimes, driving around Long Island and listening to sports talk radio (WFAN and ESPN specifically).
Of course the New York Islanders wait until I move to finally have a good team, so I was very curious to see if they created any buzz. I don’t know if it was because of the All-Star break, but either way I did not hear a word about the Islanders. I heard plenty of talk about the New York Knicks disastrous season and the ongoing “Deflate Gate” saga, but not a word about New York’s undisputed best team.
Yeah I said it, never thought I would, but I did. The Islanders are undoubtedly the best team in New York right now. Anyone who follows them has known this for quite some time, but it’s time for the rest of the city/state to take notice as well.
Sure the New York Rangers are less than a year removed from a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals. However, with two dominant performances against the Rangers and a five-point lead in the standings, there is no doubt who the better team has been this year. And right now, the Rangers are the only other New York sports team that even comes close to taking that title away from the Islanders.
In New York basketball, the Knicks are having a historically bad season. They traded away J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert for virtually nothing in return except for more cap space and a broken washing machine. Yet the Knicks remain the dominating topic of discussion in New York Sports.
The Brooklyn Nets aren’t doing a whole lot better either. If the season ended today, the Nets would miss the playoffs by half a game. Even if they do end up making the playoffs, you can probably attribute that to the rest of the Eastern Conference being as weak as it is. As a Nets fan, I would rather see them be sellers at the trade deadline and try to get as much as they can for the often injured underachieving Deron Williams than try to make the playoffs as a seventh or eighth seed, only to get eliminated in the first round.
Both the Yankees and Mets made some solid moves this offseason, but I still think we’re at least another year away from seeing a New York baseball team back in the playoffs. The Yankees and Mets both have some holes in their lineups that I don’t think they will be able to fix this season.
I do believe that after 2014, better days are ahead for both the New York Jets and New York Giants. It will take new Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan and head coach Todd Bowles a couple of years to clean up the mess left behind by their predecessors John Idzik and Rex Ryan. However, we can only hope and believe that the Jets will become relevant for the right reasons once the new staff gets their own personnel out on the field.
As for the Giants, they may have found a once in a lifetime player in wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. The thought of both Beckham and Victor Cruz on the field at the same time should give opposing defensive coordinators some sleepless nights at the office. All the Giants need to do to return to dominance is retool their offensive and defensive lines.
When you look at the current state of affairs in New York Sports, there is plenty of change and hope on the horizon for just about every team. But right now, the Islanders have definitely established themselves as New York’s best current team. A win on January 27 over the Rangers would reinforce that statement