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How will Isles' season play out?

Which story will unfold on Long Island: the heart-warming love affair or the nightmarish adventure?

Updated: October 20, 2003, 2:48 PM ET
By Scott Burnside | Special to ESPN.com

Having qualified for the playoffs two straight years after a seemingly interminable seven-year absence, one might think the New York Islanders wouldn't be suffering from an identity crisis.

Yet the Islanders remain one of the NHL's most perplexing teams.

Deep in offensive talent and loaded for bear with one of the strongest blue-line units in the NHL, a distinct lack of chemistry -- some might even say heart -- has short-circuited the team's return to elite status.

"Last year ...

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