Winter is coming, but New York’s pro teams are already ice cold

The state of New York sports is enough to get anyone down, including Knicks owner James Dolan, seen here watching his once-proud basketball franchise lose to the Sacramento Kings at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 3. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

When he wrote “Richard III,” William Shakespeare penned a classic line that perfectly describes the current state of sports in New York City: “Now is the winter of our discontent.”

Winter officially arrives late next month, but one doesn’t need to look at the calendar to know that New York City sports fans are in for a very long, very bitter cold snap. 

The Giants and Jets — who bear the New York name even though they play their home games in New Jersey  — are a combined 3-14 so far this season. They get to play each other this Sunday. The only good news is that both of them can’t lose (the worst they can do is tie). 

New York Giants linebacker Lorenzo Carter (59) and Detroit Lions offensive tackle Taylor Decker (68) push each other during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Big Blue is beginning a new chapter with rookie Daniel Jones under center filling the turf shoes of  two time heroic Super Bowl champion and quarterback Eli Manning. But Jones is prone to rookie mistakes, a weak offensive line, and coaching conundrums — all of which appeared in Monday night’s blowout, home loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Jones was sacked five times and turned the ball over three more at critical junctures of the game.

Apparently, a black cat crossing the plane of MetLife Stadium’s end zone was a mere omen for the impending doom of another Giants defeat.

As for the Jets, you could describe them as a flightless disaster – and that would be an understatement.

Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Josh Allen, left, tackles New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold and forces a fumble during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

Injuries, Sam Darnold’s regression and the coaching ineptitude of Adam Gase have resulted in a 1-7 start, with the latest low point achieved Sunday in a lackluster loss to the previously-winless Miami Dolphins. It’s hard to tell if they’ve hit rockbottom yet.

Safe to say, barring some series of miracles, there won’t be a playoff football for either team this year. Fortunately, for our indoor arena teams, there’s still hope of a playoff run — at least for a select few.

Let’s start with basketball. Just a few weeks into the 2019-20 campaign, Brooklyn’s Nets are faring slightly better thus far with a 3-4 record entering play, but with a solid lineup led by Kyrie Irving, Caris LeVert and the anticipated future play from Kevin Durant in hopefully 2020, it figures that Brooklyn’s best games are still ahead of them.

Brooklyn Nets center Jarrett Allen (31) dunks past New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram (14) and guard Josh Hart (3) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Nov. 4, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

The Nets figure to, at the very least, get into the playoffs — barring some misfortune. 

As for the Knicks, they’re already in midseason form — at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings with a pathetic 1-6 record. James Dolan’s once-proud franchise, seemingly in a perpetual state of rebuilding or chaos (depending on the day), will need to mature fast and find some good luck to bounce off the team’s recent, futile campaigns. 

The Knicks’ co-tenant at Madison Square Garden, the Rangers, aren’t faring much better on the ice.

The Ottawa Senators celebrate a Vladislav Namestnikov goal as New York Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba (8), Brendan Lemieux (48) and goaltender Alexandar Georgiev (40) react during the third period of an NHL hockey game Monday, Nov. 4, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

The Broadway Blueshirts are also in the midst of a rebuilding process, and struggling to gather positive momentum. After getting blown out by the Senators Monday night, they’re already 14 points out of first place in the Metropolitan Division.

The same can be said across the river for the New Jersey Devils, who sit just a point behind the Rangers entering play Tuesday. It figures to be a long, short season for both hockey clubs.

There is, for local hockey fans, but one glimmer of hope, wearing blue and orange.

New York Islanders’ Ryan Pulock (6) celebrates with teammates Anthony Beauvillier (18) and Derick Brassard after scoring a goal during the second period of the team’s NHL hockey game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday, Nov. 1, 2019, in Uniondale, N.Y. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

The Islanders are presently one of the hottest teams in the NHL, rattling off nine straight victories entering Tuesday night’s showdown with the Ottawa Senators in Brooklyn. Hanging on to a chip from an early 2019 playoff exit, the Isles have a solid shot at a season that will carry through springtime and bringing to both Nassau County and Brooklyn.

Under the leadership of Stanley Cup champion coach Barry Trotz and captain and former Fighting Irish forward Anders Lee — along with the enormous growth and maturity of Mat Barzal — the Islanders are poised to erase years of heartbreak and embarrassment after more than two decades playing in the Rangers’ shadows in New York City.

If you’re not an Islanders or Nets fan, however, we can’t blame you for feeling the winter blahs a little early. But as they say, hope springs eternal.

 

Opening Day for the Mets and Yankees is 141 days away.

With reporting by Alex Mitchell

Robert Pozarycki