Expectations were high for the New York Islanders a season ago. They were coming off a strong second half in 2010-11 and appeared to be on the verge of bigger and better things.
Instead, the 2011-12 campaign provided more anguish. The Islanders stumbled through the month of November -- they won four of 13 games and were shut out four times -- and never fully recovered. They ended up finishing in the bottom five of the NHL standings for a fifth straight year.
"I think consistency had a big part in that," coach Jack Capuano told NHL.com over the summer regarding the team's shortcomings. "I thought that times throughout the year, our battle level was high and our will to compete was high, but special teams went through a little bit of a funk. We just didn't generate the offense like we did in the second half of the year.
"It's about coming to the rink every day to get better. We talk about these things and the intangibles for what it's going to take for our team to get to the postseason. Some of our younger players now are at that point now where I think they're going to take that next step."