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New York Islanders: What You See May Not Be What You Get

By Farrell Hirsch
Sep 27, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Islanders right wing Josh Ho-Sang (66) carries the puck past Philadelphia Flyers center Chris VandeVelde (76) during the second period during a preseason hockey game at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 27, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Islanders right wing Josh Ho-Sang (66) carries the puck past Philadelphia Flyers center Chris VandeVelde (76) during the second period during a preseason hockey game at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /
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New York Islanders fans are absolutely convinced and certain.  Our minds are made up. The past can be seen in the future.

Despite winning three of their last four games in a what have you done for me lately world, the New York Islanders don’t seem to have won over their fans yet. Even though the one loss was by a single goal, to the defending Western Conference Champs.

I think that’s why the Sound Tigers were gracious enough to post the overtime goal that Bob Nystrom scored at 7:11 of overtime, on May 24, 1980, to win the first of four Stanley Cups for the Islanders. To boost morale.

I recognize every detail of the video. As if it was created within the last week.

I Was There

I was there the night this happened. I was a high school junior living in Merrick, NY and our family had season tickets. It was my brother’s turn to go to the game that Spring day but there was no way I wasn’t going to be in the building when the Islanders won the cup.

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So my friend Alan and I bought two tickets in section 222 from a math teacher and used our brand new driver’s licenses to get to the game that warm weekend afternoon.

Some details are forever etched in my mind. I remember the Islanders having a two-goal lead in the second intermission and me having to walk the concourse to burn off some energy. I ran into former Islander Gerry Hart, grabbed him by the shoulders and said: “We’re gonna win the cup!” He said, “It’s not over”. He was correct. The Flyers tied the game in the third.

But some details I guess aren’t so clear. I remember Tonelli receiving the pass from a circling Lorne Henning and skating down the right-hand boards. But I remember Johnny as a left-handed shot.  And, stupid me, I thought he wore #27, I was off by one according to this video.

But Nystrom streaking down the middle as the defender dives, and another reaches, is unmistakable.  Bobby just barely getting his stick on it to tip it past Pete Peeters is indelible. But I thought Nystrom shot right handed? Who knows? Maybe my memory is perfect and the Sound Tigers put up this video after accidentally transposing it.

It was a seminal moment of my teen years and I would recognize it anywhere. That video is from May of 1980. I will not accept any dissenting opinion!

Seeing the Past in the Future

Could I be wrong? No, fans are never wrong when they are sure. Remember a few weeks ago when Ryan Strome had to go because he was another failed bust? Or how Boychuck’s sudden rapid decline was due to age and was irreversible? He was done!

Do you have any recollection of fans who were choosing this season’s scapegoats before the season even started? It was going to be Bailey, for sure. And probably with Seidenberg as a close second.

So here we are six games in and Nelson and Beauvillier are the team points leaders.

And Bailey is a better fit on the first line than Parenteau.

And Ladd is goalless.

And Barzal MUST be returned to Seattle immediately or he’ll be ruined.

And Berube being on the roster is causing a rift in the space-time continuum.

And the power play… ok, that’s been going on for years.

And there’s a good chance none of that will be true after facing Montreal and Pittsburgh on Wednesday and Thursday.

Next: New York Islanders: Garth Snow's Biggest Mistake

Six games is way too short a sample size to make any proclamations about the 76 that follow.  A week from now the tables may have turned. As a recent Nobel laureate for literature famously warned ,

The slow one now; Will later be fast
As the present now; Will later be past
The order is rapidly fadin’; And the first one now will later be last

Well, since the Rangers currently sit in first place…  I can live with that last part.

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