Editor’s note:  Puck Buddys. @PuckBuddys. Read.

The Pre Game: So my doctor says I need to relax more. He suggests writing: it’s solitary, quiet, and engages the “more refined aspects” of our minds, he says. Which is funny, considering that the more I think about Long Island, the harder I find it is to type with clenched fists.

The Puck Drop: It’s difficult to know what to say about the 516 that is refined. Or funny. A better word is sad. It’s a place where ‘ugg’ boots aren’t a brand so much as a reaction to the Designer Shoe Outlet knock-off sleds that women strap on to their feet. A place where professional people dress like it’s Halloween every day. Like I said, sad, really. That such an idyllic spot could be inhabited by so many groaners perhaps argues that God indeed really did die, or at least go on extended vacation, thus leaving Creation in the hands of people who consider Billy Joel relevant. But enough theology.

As far as the Islanders, they haven’t been a role model for decades. Save, maybe, for people who suffer from Imposter Syndrome for good reason. Heck, just insert any “X” into the X > Tebow meme, and replace Tebow with the Islanders, and you get the idea. “Godfathers Pizza > Islanders.” Gold.

However, as we have learned from honey badger, it’s hard to kill a desperate, angry animal.  And so – ewww! – we give you –

What Makes Them Hot

John Tavares

1: Really? Barf. OK.  John Tavares. Hey, I’ve gotta grab somebody, right? And he’s about as good a body on the Isles you could find. He’s young, but not crazy Ryan Nugent-Hopkins young, and he’s thick for a guy who’s only 6’ (and that ain’t Ovi thick we’re talkin’), and he’s actually good. Well, the best they’ve got: 8 goals this season – even if they weren’t always artful – makes him a player to beware.

3: Fishsticks. We don’t have three good things to say – and we tried! – about this crew as it stands, so we’re skipping #2. And how is it even a crew? Serious: look back at the game replays; they’re not so much a team as they are a bunch of well-compensated dopes circling around the rink like they’ve never met. And this is the proud heritage of New Yorker salts who gave us salted cod and the Gorton’s Fisherman? Yeah, OK: they, like just about every other team we’re better than now. Banners recalling Cup victories? Lovely. Hope they keep you warm at night.

What Makes Them Not

1: The Past. Apart from three wins earlier this season (two from the Wild and the Rangers, say no more), it’s been losses or OT for the Islanders, now 3-5-2. Unlike a team trying to pull itself together, the record – and the stats, winless in the last six – suggest a team that’s coming apart at the laces. Which is precisely what the Islanders have been doing for more than a decade. Broken record much? Somebody pull the needle.

Kyle Okposo (Photo credit: Bruce Bennett)

2: The Present. Anyone see that game against the Winnipeg Jets? Puke-tacular. Players who should be performing just aren’t. Kyle Okposo? Mark Streit? Even nubes (to the Islanders at least) like Nino Niederreiter  just aren’t making anything happen. That sort of endemic crap performance suggests bigger problems, and not ones that are just going to go away by themselves, if you know what we mean (*coughCapuanocough*) And their netminders? All of them, Rick DiPietro, Evgeni Nabokov (love your books!) and some joker named Al Montoya all rate SKNX-X-X on the Dagwood Bumstead snoreometer.

3: The Future. Eagle-eye PuckBuddy buddy Jim Barnes sends us this nugget from Coach Capuano quoted in the New York Pest: “I don’t know if it’s a breaking point but come [Saturday] night if we have to play three lines, we’ll play three lines…If we have to play five defensemen, we’ll play five defensemen. We have to win a game.” So there we go! Winner-talk!

The OT Shoot Out: So we hear that some of you think we’re awful. First, it’s a hack journalism trick to say “Some people think…” and then just plop in anything you want without reference. So by some of you we mean anonymous commenters like Cale:  “You must be the one that smells!” Or Bob: “You guys are infantile.”

Curiously, “Bob” seems to keep coming back just to leave comments about how horrible we are and how much he can’t stand reading us. Just so everyone knows, Craig and I read these comments nightly, and we laugh and laugh, as only bitter homosexuals can. So please keep them coming. And “Bob” – I think the word you want is adolescent.

  • Stardragon66

    I seriously doubt that anyone gives a rat’s butt what I think, but here it is ,anyway. RMNB has become my favorite blog because of the quality of the writing. Sometimes it’s a little raw, but you always make sense. You know hockey. You can express your thoughts well. You can laugh and give laughs. You can do all that a heck of a lot better than I can. Perhaps Bob has had something important bobbed and is now running entirely on spit and spite.

  • MCam

    The lack of respect for the Islanders makes this article unreadable. I love RMNB and everything they post, but these pre-game notes aren’t actually telling me anything about the team we’re about to play, but that you find them boring. They got those three wins from something and are in the NHL for a reason… give us something to read here, please.

  • WyomingKev

    I’m with you guys all the way, I look forward to the posts and I hope you keep going. From my point of view, the best pregames out there!  As for the lack of respect for the islanders comment, grow a sense of humor, if it’s not too late. 

  • CDizz

    I’m sorry, but there’s a difference between cracking on the other team and just being disrespectful. Neil, Ian, Peter, and Dan are fantastic writers which is why I love this site…Doug Johnson on the other hand doesn’t know the line between funny and “just a little too far.” This article makes Caps fans look bad.

  • 28ISGREAT

    Pretty sure its “noobs” unless it was spell check correction of “pubes” – equally possible.

  • http://www.facebook.com/samuelcmiller Samuel Miller

    Awesome pre-game article.  Even though the Islander’s out-played(and beat) us I totally was able to adjust my expectations because of the information you provided.

    Oh wait.

    If articles keep up with this tone, this place will just start to look more and more like Pensblog.  Take that however you wish.

  • http://www.facebook.com/samuelcmiller Samuel Miller

    Quick, someone register thecapsblog.com before RMNB does.

  • brian!

    Negative comments posted after the final buzzer are an excellent way of demonstrating how hindsight is always 20-20.  On an unrelated topic, love the site, keep up the good work!

  • http://www.facebook.com/samuelcmiller Samuel Miller

    After a day of cooling down from douchemode, I probably overreacted.  I like the humor just hope RMNB doesn’t become Pensblog.  I like a majority of what you guys write though.  Sorry for the harsh words, I should never compare a Caps blogger to a Pensblogger.  It’s just wrong.

    Of course, you don’t care what I have to say.  Keep on keeping on.

  • Peter

    haha thanks Sam