Monday, November 21, 2011

Lambs to the Slaughter: Comparing the 2011-12 Isles to the 2000-01 Leafs

(This bit is too obscure [I think] for PHT, so I thought I'd plop it here.)

I've already compared Sidney Crosby's comeback to the one Mario Lemieux made back from retirement, but there's no doubt that they aren't perfect parallels. Crosby is much, much younger than Lemieux was and aside from an in-his-prime Jaromir Jagr, Lemieux didn't have anywhere near the team around him.

But the biggest difference is that New York Islanders are way worse than the 2000-01 Toronto Maple Leafs were. Allow me to compare and contrast the situations just a little bit:

  • The Maple Leafs trotted out borderline Hall of Famer Curtis Joseph as their goalie. The Islanders have Anders Nilsson in net. Yeah, that's a pretty huge difference.
  • Toronto had a (woefully convoluted) 18-12-4-3 record going into their automatic loss; the Islanders are likely to drop to 5-10-3.
  • The Leafs had Pat Quinn as their coach while the Isles employ Jack Capuano, who might just make it through his first full NHL season. Maybe.
  • Marc-Andre Fleury is just a liiiitttttllllle better than Garth Snow, who probably isn't smiling now that he's on the wrong end of a famous Penguins center's comeback.

So, yes, Crosby already tied Lemieux's one-goal, two-assist performance, but it's probably fair to say that their efforts (and magic) are about equal.