Three weeks ago, all seemed normal with the world and the New York Islanders were honoring one of their own. Four-time Stanley Cup Champion and current Color Commentor, Butch Goring was getting his number 91 retired.
March 10, 1980, the Islanders made one of the greatest deadline deals in team sports’ history. They sent Billy Harris and Dave Lewis to the Kings to acquire Goring. We all know how that played out, Goring helped the Islanders win four straight Stanley Cups before ultimately falling short of a fifth.
On February 29, 2020, New York rightfully lifted Goring’s 91 to the rafters. Of course, in the Islanders more recent history, there was another player who donned the 91 sweater.
John Tavares wore 91 from the time he was drafted in 2009 until the last game he played for the Isles in 2018. Tavares returned to the Island almost exactly a year prior to Goring’s jersey retirement, on February 28, 2019.
When Tavares left the Isles, it didn’t take fans long to turn on him. One of the ideas thought of was to retire Goring’s number the day Tavares returned to play against the Islanders.
Islanders Got It Right
By waiting a year, the Isles made the right decision. Goring has been a fan favorite for both the generation of fans that were able to watch the dynastic run. As well as the fans that watch the team now.
Had the Isles retired Goring’s 91 the night Tavares returned, the attention would have been off Goring. It could have come across as a petty move by the Islanders trying to get back at Tavares.
Instead, the Islanders were able to give Butch his own, much deserved day. Though the future of this season is unknown, Islander fans will be able to look at the retirement ceremony as a great memory for the 2019-2020 season.