The "P" word is getting thrown around a lot on Long Island, and it isn't "P for patience."
The Islanders feel, after several years of development, forming a solid nucleus and preaching a rebuilding effort, it is their time to return to the playoffs.
Yes, the playoffs.
"You look around this room, there's so much talent, so many young players, there's no reason why we can't make it this year," center Frans Nielsen said. "I really believe we have what it takes.
"There's a feeling that enough is enough right now. We got to be in the playoffs this year. ... We have a feeling in here we can beat any team in this league."
The Islanders are indeed a confident bunch entering the lockout-shortened season despite last year's 14th-place finish. They feel after five playoff-less seasons, they are ready to contend for the postseason.
"We've been in the same phase for a little while, it's time we really challenge ourselves and really develop our game and get into the playoffs," said star center John Tavares, who is coming off a 31-goal, 81-point season. "We have to work for it, understand how hard it's going to be, and we got to put everything into it.
"We believe we have the talent, we've been building for a few years. We have to bring that consistent effort night in, night out. When things aren't going well, we have to find ways to win."
Nielsen has seen a different intensity during the abbreviated training camp, a competitive fire and raised level of effort that was lacking in practice last year. The hunger is there, not only to get back to the postseason for the first time since the 2006-07 season, but also for so many members of the team to make the playoffs for the first time ever.
Tavares: This year's team up to the challenge
New York Post | Jan 18