Mon 7:50 am: So the fun begins on Wednesday at 7 pm, then Friday, then Sunday at noon (ugh. You know what that means), then Tuesday at 7 pm. Those are the most important dates, the other three dates of the seven are scheduled, but since the Isles are battling the Penguins and their stacked team, let's not get ahead of ourselves.
Sort of not fair that the Isles Nation is expected to the rock the Coliseum at Noon on a Sunday for the first home playoff game in several years. But we'll do it. Rally towels in hand.
I'm just hoping it doesn't have the same outcome as the series against Tampa Bay -- who went on to win the Stanley Cup. Yeah... I hope it's not like that.
Sun: It's been so long since they've been here, I'm sure they're trying to remember what it's like to prepare for playoffs. So much goes into them from the marketing department to the mental preparation. It's a different animal.
While Jack says they can't get away from what they are, there's definitely a different battle level and intensity to playoff hockey. And it will be all new to this team.
"You just have to be ready to play." Travis Hamonic told Greg Picker.
While the Isles had only one regulation loss in April, they have not looked the same in their last two games as they did prior. But perhaps with the call-ups of the Bridgeport players, the excitment will return to the room and the ice.
So much of this game is mental and when it comes to playoffs, it's even more so. It really may turn out to be (as Barry Melrose calls it) a case of "Will over Skill."
In Art Staple's year end award article, he talked what he felt was the turning point in the Isles season. It came when Nabokov skated from his net during a TV time out and talked to the boys on the bench. The veteran goaltender made a difference in that game and in that locker room. Maybe that's why they call him the Professor.
While he tells the media he really doesn't think much about anything except the game at hand, his experience is invaluable.
Strome, Nelson, Persson, Sundstrom, Donovan, Ness, de Haan and Nilsson have all been officially called up from Bridgeport. Partially just to take part in the atmosphere and I suppose for spare parts should someone go down to injury.
The Islanders have been incredibly lucky this season on the injury front. We haven't heard that dreaded 'groin injury' that took so many players out of the line-up the last few years. They are healthy and rested, now they just need to be prepared.
The Bruins hold the Isles fate on their tape tonight as the finish up the season in Boston. Will the Isles be 7th or 8th is the big question, but Jack Capuano doesn't care. He'll prepare for both. The fans will pray for one.
My Isles flag is still flying high in front of my house. This is the first time in years we have done that in April. It's a great feeling.
Sideboards: So, Nino Niederreiter will play in the world championship for Switzerland. I'm sad to say the young man may end up being part of a Draft day deal. Speaking of the draft, the Lottery is Monday -- and we don't even care!
HOW DOES THAT FEEL ISLES NATION