Middletown, N. J. – Over on our facebook page, we asked for more engagement from our readers. What we requested was a quick 250-300 word essay on what this season meant to you. Somewhat of a retrospective look back on the lockout shortened 2013 campaign, which ended with the six game defeat at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern conference quarter-finals.
Below you will find the un-edited initial submission from one of our readers. If anyone would like to take us up on this offer and get your thoughts on the season viewed by tons of fellow Islanders fans, you can email your submissions to [email protected]
We are not looking for professional, edited pieces here. We want raw, uncut writing from the reader and fan themselves so consider this your chance to sound off or praise the team for thousands to see. All we ask is you keep the language clean.
So air dust those keyboards and get posts to us at our email address. Each one we receive will be posted right here at EyesOnIsles.com.
Submitted by: Eric Bordin, Great Neck, NY
Something was different this year.
I can remember the 1993 playoffs like they were yesterday. I can tell you exactly where I was, and what I was doing when Ray Ferraro passed to David Volek for the goal that sent the Isles into the Eastern conference finals. When 1994 came around, I remember all the “prognosticators” picking the Isles to finish first in the division.
Well, 1994 came and it didn’t exactly turn out as planned – at all. Neither have many seasons since. Sure, we had the tough Toronto series in 2002, with the Shawn Bates penalty shot that kept us glued to our seats. We had a lackluster series vs Ottawa in 2003, again vs Tampa in ’04, and again vs Buffalo in 2007. For years the only thing we had to look forward to as Islanders fans, was that day in late June when we had our top 5 pick.
However, everything changed June 26, 2009. We had all been well versed in draft prospects for many years. We knew who we wanted. John Tavares, the kid from the London Knights of the OHL. He was the key to our future. With the first selection that day, the Isles indeed selected Tavares and answered our pleas. I remember the Coliseum erupting as if we had just won an epic playoff game. Tavares has been everything we could have asked for and then some.
We know rebuilds take time. We have been through them before, and they are never easy to deal with. Despite having to wait longer for the season to start due to the lockout, something was different this year. Every one of our young guys was a year older, and we had a number of great draft picks in development. We knew that for the first time since the “New Ice Age” years, we had a young team that was on its way up. No one gave the Isles much of a chance. There was not a single publication that predicted this young Isles team would make the playoffs. These guys were out to prove a point. That, they did.
After yet another prolonged losing streak I thought, “Here we go again”. However, they shortened their yearly mid-season swoon and kept the losses from piling up too badly. Coach Jack Capuano survived, if only by the skin of his teeth as the team limped into March with an 8-11-2 record.
Something was different this year however……
The logo shenanigans and the front office silliness were over. The Isles were not the same team. They were not going to just fade away. This was a young, but confident bunch. They were not to be denied. Fans were coming back in droves. That familiar buzz was back. People were talking about the NY Islanders again. They got local and national press, they got NHL website and network coverage, they were talked about on the radio. The Islanders mattered again! They mattered to Long Island. They mattered to New York. They mattered to the NHL.
Even though they faltered a bit at the end of the season, the playoffs were finally coming back to Long Island! Sure, the odds were not in our favor as a #8 seed. But, the playoffs were back. I could not be any more proud of these guys no matter how it turned out.
The Islanders gave the Penguins all they could handle and more. No one gave them a shot in this series. They would be swept or maybe win a game. They did a lot more than that. Did they win it? No. But they sure made a statement and not only surprised Pittsburgh, but opened up the eyes of the other 28 teams in the NHL as well. They laid the ground work for even more success in the years to come and I cannot wait to watch them in action.
Something was different this year. Very different.