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Editorials

Islanders History: Three of the Toughest Seasons Ever

UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - APRIL 10: The New York Islanders flag flies prior to the game between the Islanders and the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game One of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at NYCB Live's Nassau Coliseum on April 10, 2019 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - APRIL 10: The New York Islanders flag flies prior to the game between the Islanders and the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game One of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at NYCB Live's Nassau Coliseum on April 10, 2019 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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TORONTO, ON – DECEMBER 11: Head coach Al Arbour of the New York Islanders watches the play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during NHL game action on December 11, 1991 at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Graig Abel/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON – DECEMBER 11: Head coach Al Arbour of the New York Islanders watches the play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during NHL game action on December 11, 1991 at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Graig Abel/Getty Images)

1990-91

The start of a new decade also marked the end of any roster connection to the Islander dynasty. Brent Sutter, winner of three cups, would play his last full season with the Isles.

He captained a group led by Pat Lafontaine and not a whole lot of skill after that.

Maybe the toughest part of watching that 90-91 season was the carryover of realizing what had happened the year before.

In 1989-90 the Isles needed a March 31st victory over the Flyers and a Penguin loss to get into the playoffs. The upcoming entry draft had five ‘can’t miss,’ some claimed generational offensive talents.

If the Islanders made the playoffs, they would pick sixth.

The Isles beat Philly 6-2.

Fans in the barn held their breath as the Sabres and Pens OT period was broadcast immediately following the win. When Uwe Krupp scored in OT for Buffalo, the Coliseum crowd erupted…(until some realized the more massive opportunity lost).

The Rangers dominated the Isles in five games.

With the sixth pick, the Isles selected Scott Scissons.

With the fifth pick, the Pens got Jaromir Jagr.

The dark cloud that hung over the franchise for the better part of 20 years began with an OT goal from Uwe Krupp. That same player (Krupp) who would be part of a deal for Pat Lafontaine only a year later.

The 90-91 Isles showed promise but were mostly bad. (80-25-45-10 60 pts).

Ray Ferraro was acquired in-season for Doug Crossman. Derek King was very mistake-prone and had yet to emerge as the 40 goal scorer he would become. Joe Reekie brought some stability to a shaky D-core of Jeff Norton, Wayne McBean, Gary Nylund, Craig Ludwig, and Rich Pilon.

Nineteen-year-old Dave Chyzowski (the second overall pick in the 1989 draft) scored only five goals and would never see a regular NHL season again.

This team couldn’t do much, but man could they fight!

Ken ‘Bomber’ Baumgartner, Mick Vukota, Rich ‘Chief’ Pilon, Craig Ludwig, and even Gary Nylund were among the most feared guys in the league.

They just couldn’t win.

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