New York Islanders Bill Torrey 25th Melancholy Anniversary

Bill Torrey of the Florida Panthers (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bill Torrey of the Florida Panthers (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

New York Islanders celebrate a melancholy anniversary today. It was 25 years ago today that long time GM Bill Torrey was let go from his position.

In 1992 the New York Islanders were bought by a consortium of businessmen who replaced absentee owner John Pickett. And on August 17th they made a decisive move by letting go of GM Bill Torrey.

It was a sad day for Islanders fans old enough to be around when it happened. The architect of one of the greatest dynasties to exist in the NHL was let go from his position. The man that brought in the golden years of hockey to New York was no longer in a position to usher it back in.

Not to get teary eyed, but we all knew it was going to happen eventually. We knew that Bill and his bow tie weren’t going to be around forever. We just all hoped he could have gone out on his own terms.

What Happened Since?

Don Maloney stepped in right away and immediately the Islanders made it to the conference finals. The first time since they lost the Cup finals in 1984 against the Edmonton Oilers.

All is well! Everything is great!

The season after the New York Islanders made it to the playoffs once again. This time losing in the opening round of the playoffs. Swept by the hated Rangers as they went on to win their first Stanley Cup since nylon stockings were all the rage for just being made available for consumption.

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And then the darkness came. Read that like a Stark recites their house words.

By 1995, Maloney was out and Darcy Regier was in, for ten days, before they appointed notorious shoe amateur; Mike Milbury.

For seven straight seasons, the New York Islanders missed the playoffs. In 1995-96 the Islanders finished with 54 points. Their lowest since their very first season in the NHL. Not counting the lockout shortened 1995-96 season the Isles finished with no less than four sub-60 point seasons.

Filled with missteps and comical trades, an owner who didn’t care and an owner who didn’t actually have any money. Even though everyone thought he did.

The New York Islanders went from the top of the top to the very bottom of the league. Both in the actual standings and in the esteem of the league.

And Now…

It’s been over ten years since Milbury was thankfully let go as GM of the New York Islanders. In his place former goaltender Garth Snow was given the job. Out of nowhere, this backup goaltender went from the ice to running the team.

With his appointment, we’ve had more missteps that success. Last season alone seemed like a jumbled mess. If it weren’t for Doug Weight being a smashing success Snow surely would have been out of a job.

And here we are. Exactly 25 years to the day that Torrey was let go by the organization he built and brought greatness to.

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It’s not to say that Torrey would have brought success to the Islanders had he be left at the helm. Give any GM a shoe string budget and see him fail. But after all those years, the New York Islanders haven’t fared any better.