NEW YORK (WFAN) — He’s been the voice of the Islanders for two decades and he’s the first to admit he’s never seen anything like what the team is doing this season.
Howie Rose told WFAN’s Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts on Wednesday the franchise that for a long time had a hard time getting out of its own way, is quickly becoming a standard-bearer in the NHL, adding Tuesday night’s decisive 3-0 win over the formerly red-hot Rangers at Madison Square Garden should have sent a message to everyone.
“(The Islanders) are good and they have been good really since the beginning of the season, so I think they are way past the point of being surprising,” said Rose, who calls games for MSG Network. “I think they are genuinely deep. They have got more national league depth than they have had before.
“It’s just such a different team than it has been, even two years ago when they were in the playoffs. This is a way better team,” Rose added. “It is clearly the best team I have broadcast in my 20 years with the Islanders, if you can believe that. This is by far the best team they have had in decades.”
The Islanders (29-13-1) entered play Wednesday with 59 points, the most in the Eastern Conference and are looking very much like a team that should do a lot more than simply make the postseason this spring.
“Step one, get to the playoffs. I think they are going to do that. Are they equipped to go for a little ride? I think if (goaltender Jaroslav) Halak stays healthy and if they get enough out of Chad Johnson in the second half so that they can give Halak rest at strategic intervals, I think that is important, too,” Rose said.
The Islanders have already played 25 road games, meaning the season’s second half will feature a ton of games at Nassau Coliseum, where they are 14-4. Rose said the combination of the Isles’ prowess on the ice and the fact that this is their final season in Nassau County before the move to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center this summer has compelled fans to take decibel levels inside the “old barn” to new heights.
“I need you to trust me on this because we all get caught up in hyperbole, but I firmly believe that the Coliseum this year has been as loud, if not louder, than I have ever heard it,” Rose said.
Rose spoke about several other topics, including how the Isles have been able to meld their youth with their veterans to form incredible resiliency this season, and the impending move to Brooklyn. To hear his complete interview, please click on the audio link below.