In 2013, the Islanders began earning respect from their fans and critics alike, achieving their first playoff berth since 2007 and their first playoff victory on home ice since 2002. By giving the top-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins more than a run for their money during the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in front of a national audience, hockey fans throughout North America became aware of the home-grown talent that the Isles have amassed since they decided to “start over.”
However, while the Islanders have clearly turned the corner, many “under-educated” hockey fans will continue to rehash some of their old, beaten-down jokes (Rick DiPietro’s contract, anybody?) when the first puck of the season drops in October. We want none of that.
As we head into this season flooded with hype and excitement, there are sure to be a few detractors looking to kick the stools from underneath us. While our support for the Islanders will not diminish, the constant poking and jabbing of our hockey team should be anticipated while we wear our blue and orange colors with pride. Today, Eyes on Isles looks at the types of fans that normally attack our hockey team, and the best, respectful ways to deflect the anticipated jabs that will burden the Coliseum-faithful in 2013-14.
The Average Hockey Fan
These are the fair-weather hockey fans. They will tell you they love hockey, but they don’t really pay attention to the happenings around the NHL. Usually, they’re wrapped up in their own team, but they rarely watch the games. Often times, their only knowledge of the league is what their newspapers are telling them because, you know…as mentioned they don’t actually watch. Of course, they’ll never miss a chance to give a “clever” take of their two-cents.
Comment #1: “Who the heck are the Islanders?”, as an attempt to label the Islanders as an irrelevant hockey team.
Response: “That’s the only hockey team from New York that had one of the greatest dynasties in all of sports, and appears to be on the right path to competing for the Stanley Cup for the next decade. “
Comment #2: “The Islanders are run by a backup goalie”, as an attempt to make Isles fans feel like Garth Snow has doomed this franchise.
Response: ”Snow was a backup goalie right before he was hired by the Islanders in 2006, but now he’s one of the most tenured General Managers in the NHL, heading into his 8th season of experience. I don’t know why being a former backup goaltender would disqualify someone from having the ability to make rational hockey decisions, but Snow has done a tremendous job rebuilding the Islanders talent pool. The current and future Islanders will have Garth Snow’s fingerprints all over them.
The Uniformed, “Late to the Party” Fan
This is the hockey fan that never seems to have their news right. They are always so far behind with the NHL that they still cannot find hockey games on TV because they think FOX still carries them and the glow puck. Like the average hockey fan, they love to give their two-cents on hockey (as they do with all sports), except their “facts” to support their “points” are usually years outdated, and mostly irrelevant.
Comment #1: “They signed Rick DiPietro to a 15-year contract”, in an outdated attempt to make an Islanders fan down on their team.
Response: “Yes, they did; however, DiPietro has not been around the Islanders enough to be a detriment to their hockey team for the better part of two seasons, nor will he ever be again. While it was a bad contact, the Isles weren’t the first team, or the last team to strike a bad deal. “[Then give examples, i.e. Brad Richards, if you’re talking to a Rangers fan]
Comment #2: “John Tavares is wasting away on Long Island. He will probably ask for a trade soon.”, because, evidently, this fan missed the 2013 season.
Response: Tavares led the Islanders to their first playoff-berth since 2007 as a finalist for the Hart Memorial Trophy (MVP – something they probably don’t know). He is the most likely candidate to fill the Islanders captaincy in 2013-14, and will be the team’s franchise player through, at least, 2017-18 (the contract extension was his choice). Yeah, he must hate it here.
The Rangers Fan
Ah, yes, our cross-town rivals’ fan-base. Every time I attend an Islanders-Rangers game at the Nassau Coliseum, the wrong color blue usually overruns “the Barn”. I won’t generalize and say that every Rangers fan gets under my skin (some are very intelligent, respectable hockey fans), but a lot of them come off as obnoxious, especially when they’re in our home. Many Rangers fans will do the best to strike a nerve when they encounter us Isles fan in 2013-14, as they have throughout our 40+ years of existence.
Comment #1: “Potvin sucks”, because that’s what gets Rangers fans excited nearly 30 years later.
Response: Potvin’s Cups. Oh, and Ulf Nilsson.
Comment #2: “Kansas City!” because apparently, that’s where the Islanders are moving.
Response: The Islanders aren’t moving to Kansas City, but they are moving into a state-of-the-art facility in your backyard! Now, about Madison Square Garden….Kansas City?
Isles fans: as you can see, the amount of “relevant” ammunition that can be used against us is rapidly diminishing. Don’t let the trolls bother you because in a few years, our hockey team will be better than theirs.
Thanks for reading! Is there anything else that you hate hearing/reading from other hockey fans about the Isles? I’m sure I missed something! Feel free to leave your findings in the comments section!