Behold New York's next best championship hope: The Islanders? - Metro US

Behold New York’s next best championship hope: The Islanders?

The Islanders have won seven straight entering Friday night vs. Tampa Bay. (Photo: Getty Images)
The Islanders have won seven straight entering Friday night vs. Tampa Bay. (Photo: Getty Images)
New York sports is in a sorry state. 
The Big Apple is in the midst of one of the longest championship droughts in its history with the Giants’ Super Bowl XLVI triumph over the Patriots the last time a New York team across the four major sports leagues won a title. 
That was seven years ago.
Just how rare is this kind of drought in New York?
The only time since 1900 that New York has been forced to wait longer for a championship was from 1906-1920 when World Series titles by the old New York Giants bookended the dry spell. 
Most of the credit for New York’s prosperity throughout the past century goes to the Yankees, who have won 27 World Series titles since 1923 — just in case one of your obnoxious Yankee-fan friends haven’t reminded you lately. 
But even the Yankees have had issues returning to the mountain-top, which so many millennials have grown accustomed to throughout their childhood and adolescent years. 
The Bronx Bombers haven’t won or even appeared in a World Series since tile No. 27 in 2009 over the Phillies. It made the 2010s the first decade since the 1910s that the Yankees didn’t win an American League pennant. They came close for a second time in three years a few weeks ago, falling to the Astros in six games in the ALCS. 
Next October is oh so far away now as Yankees fans grow more impatient. Can’t you hear the screams for Brian Cashman to sign Gerrit Cole yet? 
With the Yankees entering hibernation until spring, the rest of the New York sports scene doesn’t instill much confidence. 
Many believe the Wilpon family and Brodie Van Wagenen won’t invest enough to make the Mets a legitimate World Series contender despite piecing together a promising core.
A convoluted managerial search hasn’t helped.
The Jets are a dumpster fire at 1-6 with star safety Jamal Adams now at odds with general manager Joe Douglas following a dramatic trade deadline on Tuesday. It’s just the latest embarrassment for a franchise that lost their franchise quarterback for a month with mono, released veteran offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele because he had shoulder surgery against his team’s will, and scoring just seven offensive touchdowns in seven games this season.
The Giants aren’t in much better shape, sitting at 2-6, as general manager Dave Gettleman has refused to invest in an offensive line to protect his meal tickets in Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley. 
In the NBA, the Nets are off to a slow start at the commencement of the Kyrie Irving era. Without Kevin Durant for the 2019-20 season, expectations are certainly limited for the franchise that has clawed its way out of the depths of the NBA’s basement. 
As for the Knicks, well, they’re still the Knicks.
Their co-tenants, the Rangers, are in the middle of a rebuild with future success reliant on second-year head coach David Quinn’s ability to develop numerous young players. 
Early returns have been mixed, to say the least.
Across the river, the New Jersey Devils (who have quite a following in New York) are already facing the prospect of firing their head coach after blowing countless leads through the 2019-20 season’s first 10 games. 
Combine the Giants, Jets, Knicks, Nets, Rangers, and Devils win totals so far this season and you have nine.
That’s it. 
Do you know who has eight wins this year who almost everyone (including the New York media) likes to forget?
The Islanders. 
Remarkably enough, the Islanders are probably the second-most competent team in New York right now — a concept unheard of five years ago when ex-GM Garth Snow was running the show. 
But owner Jon Ledecky’s hiring of Lou Lamoriello as GM and the subsequent acquisition of head coach Barry Trotz has changed the culture on Long Island (and Brooklyn, depending on where their home games are played). 
The Islanders went from a two-decades-long joke in the NHL to a 103-point team last season that made the Eastern Conference semifinals. 
This season, after being written off by almost everyone once again, they own an NHL-best seven-game win streak thanks to a culture that stresses defense and team; not the individual.
Still, the team is considered an afterthought. 
NHL pundits continue to wait for the “unsustainable” style of play — which absorbs as much opposing pressure as possible before hitting them on the counter — will give out. 
New York media simply doesn’t pay attention because they don’t provide the same amount of clout as the Rangers. It’s understandable, considering the Rangers are an Original 6 brand that plays in the world’s most famous arena. 
But the fact of the matter is that the Islanders certainly seem to be in a better position to make a championship run compared to the Rangers — or anyone else until next fall, at least for now. 

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