UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) - It is easy to tie up the New York Islanders' latest disappointing season in a neat little package, but that would fail to tell the entire story.
Yes, they finished last in the Atlantic Division for the fourth straight season and in the bottom five in the overall NHL standings again. Another coach was let go with few tangible accomplishments to show for his stay on Long Island.
Through all the negative attention the club gets because of its long out-of-date arena, its shoestring budget and payroll, and uncertain future, the Islanders claim they have a good working plan - and they might be right.
"We improved in a lot of areas. We did some great things building for next year," said John Tavares, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 draft who led the Islanders with 67 points. "It's time for us to take that step and put it together for 82 games and find a way to get in the playoffs - really get us on the right track."