UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) - If the New York Islanders' play on the ice is as strong as their talk off it, maybe - just maybe - they will escape the cellar and make a long-awaited run at a playoff spot.
They have removed the word rebuilding from their vocabulary as they enter their 40-year anniversary season and have boldly proclaimed there will be no more excuses if they finish below the postseason cutoff a fifth straight time.
"I don't know if we should be in the playoffs or if we're going to be in the playoffs, but I think the way these guys are thinking here, it's, 'We've got to make the playoffs,"' forward P.A. Parenteau said. "There is no other way.
"It's a big failure for this team with the talent we have here. We're all healthy. There is no excuse."