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The New York Islanders have had many great moments in their illustrious and sometimes troubled 41 year history. From the struggling post expansion years of the early and mid 1970s to the jubilant Stanley Cup dynasty teams of the early 1980s and back again to irrelevance and misery through the mid 1990s lasting into 2012.
What they have shown in the past couple of seasons is that with smart drafting, shrewd free agent and waiver wire acquisitions and the right blend of players not only on the ice but in the locker room, all past mistakes in time can be corrected.
Blasting back into the NHL stratosphere this season with a successful 48 game run and subsequent playoff series against the heavily favored Pittsburgh Penguins (a series in which many felt the Isles could have and should have won) it certainly is a good time to be an Islanders supporter.
For the young fan who has just come onto the scene, the memories and great moments might have just been born in the aforementioned 2013 season. For those, like me, who have cheered on the blue and orange for over 35 years, our thoughts stretch a little deeper back into the caverns of YouTube.
Back when WHT was the Isles television network of choice and you would not get a pregame show but the silly antics of Uncle Floyd and Oogie, his puppet sidekick. Jiggs McDonald and Eddie Westfall (’18) were the announcers that would carry us through the Stanley Cup years with grace and soliloquy that made you feel like you were right there one row behind the glass.
In this opinion piece I take a walk back in time. To a time when milk was not over 3 dollars per gallon, gas was not approaching 4 dollars a gallon and the joke they call television was not filled with Honey Boo-Boo and Mike ‘the situation’. A time when your dad would wake up at 2am to get you to a 3:30am practice in New Jersey then stop for breakfast on the way back and never complain about it. A time when couples ‘worked it out’ instead of just walking away and you actually wore the same pair of sneakers for a year, waiting for the next big sale. There were no iPods and laptops to occupy our time and mobile phones? We actually had to walk across the street and knock on our friends door to ask them to hang out or play puck in the dead of summer with shorts and guinea Ts on.
Without further adieu, I present to you MY top 5 goals in New York Islanders history……
Number 5 : 1984 Patrick Division Semi-Final : Game five : Ken Morrow sends the Rangers packing in one of the most exciting and heart-stopping playoff games in Islanders history.
Number 4 : February 20, 1982 : Islanders with record setting 15th straight victory. John Tonelli scores with 47 seconds left (no overtime yet in NHL) to secure another Isles place in history (since broken). Personally special because I was present at this game (11 years old)
Number 3: April 24,2002 : Shawn Bates taken down on a partial breakaway gets a penalty shot against Curtis Joseph in the playoffs. The pure pandemonium and volume of the crowd is what gets this goal on my list.
Number 2 : 1982 Stanley Cup finals : Legendary Mike Bossy scores one of the most memorable finals goals of all time, defying physics and putting the puck behind Richard Brodeur.
Number 1 : May 24, 1980 : Bob Nystrom begins a dynasty, scoring the goal that I will never forget in my lifetime, sending chills up my 9 year old spine and had me running into the street to taunt my friends in the neighborhood who were Rangers fans. As I just watched it again, the chills returned and I might have even teared up a bit. haha
As always, thanks for reading EyesOnIsles. Keep it tuned in throughout the remainder of the summer as we have tons of great material on tap and maybe even a few pleasant surprises!