Elmont, NY– It’s become increasingly difficult to ignore the bad play of the New York Islanders on the ice of late, and now, it’s impossible to ignore the noise it’s drawing off of it.
During a game against the Washington Capitals on Saturday night that eventually became the Islanders’ fourth straight loss, fans at UBS Arena voiced their displeasure and aimed it at head coach Lane Lambert.
“Fire Lambert,” the crowd lamented.
“It’s on us in this room who haven’t performed,” Bo Horvat said in respone. “Lane is doing a good job putting the right players out there at the right times. We got to take ownership ourselves and find a way to get it done.”
It’s the second time this week that fans have targeted the Islanders’ leadership. On Tuesday, team president and general manager Lou Lamoriello was the subject of “Lou Must Go” chant.
“It’s a joke,” Casey Cizikas told Andrew Gross of Newsday. “That kind of stuff ticks me off. It really does. I’ve got no time for those fans. I’ve got no time for them. If they want to be like that, they can stay home.”
Ultimately, the only responses that matter, though, are the ones of those being criticized.
“We have passionate fans,” Lambert said.”I don’t listen to any outside noise, whether it’s good or bad.”
As much as Lambert might not want to listen, it’s time he does because this team is heading in the wrong direction fast.
This recent stretch in which the Islanders have lost five of their last six has them sitting in seventh place in the Metropolitan Division as they near the quarter mark of their schedule.
They’re 30th in the league in scoring, 21st on the power play and 20th on the penalty kill.
Not even the old, reliable method of solid goaltending from Ilya Sorokin and Semyon Varlamov has been enough to bail them out.
The writing was on the wall this offseason when Lamoriello opted not to make any changes to a team that barely qualified for the playoffs. Now that they’re another year older, the cracks are starting to show.
The first line has generated a multitude of chances but can’t seem to finish. Meanwhile, the fourth line is far from the imposing force it was five years ago, and the defense has been hammered with injuries and forced to carry on without any reliable depth.
Right now, it feels as if any solution Lambert devises to stop the bleeding only leads to more trauma.
“All we can do is prepare our hockey team the best we possibly can for each and every game and do our jobs,” Lambert said.
Lambert will need to do more than just that to turn things around before it’s too late.
The noise is only getting louder.