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Islanders Fans Confused By Newfound Respect

UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - APRIL 12: Fans attend the game between the New York Islanders and the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game Two of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at NYCB Live's Nassau Coliseum on April 12, 2019 in Uniondale, New York. The Islanders defeated the Penguins 3-1.(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - APRIL 12: Fans attend the game between the New York Islanders and the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game Two of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at NYCB Live's Nassau Coliseum on April 12, 2019 in Uniondale, New York. The Islanders defeated the Penguins 3-1.(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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Younger fans of the New York Islanders aren’t quite used to all this winning. It’s a welcomed change for those under 30 who have mostly seen disappointment.

New York Islanders fans have endured quite a bit over the years.  For some of the older fans, they can hang their hats on the dynasty years but for someone who is just shy of 30 like myself, it’s been mostly an uphill battle.

That is why this playoff run should be cherished now that the team has seemingly turned a corner.  I for one will never take for granted a winning streak or advancing in the playoffs.  Usually, small doses of success are still met with detractors and naysayers, but not this year.

I don’t want to speak for everyone but I am not totally sure how to handle the Islanders being discussed in a positive light. Don’t get me wrong, the media isn’t throwing roses at the team’s feet and declaring us a model franchise.  But giving deserved praise instead of constant ridicule? It’s a new phenomenon.

For years our relationship with opposing fans and media has gone like this.  They take shots at us (some deserved/some not), we defend ourselves, they say we’re ridiculous or childish for responding.  Islanders fans get mad online and things usually devolve from there.

This is our default setting and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I like my fellow Islanders fans angry, bitter, and jaded with a side of self-loathing.

But now the things that have been thrown in our face for decades are slowly disappearing.  We have a winning team, brand new arena on the way, and for my money the best owners in the league.  Barry Trotz even lives in his own home! (unconfirmed).

You haven’t been a fan long enough if you weren’t expecting the worst for an arena name.  I certainly thought we were going down the Smoothie King Center or Little Caesar’s Arena route.  I had nightmares of Rangers fans laughing at us for our new Cellino & Barnes Arena at Belmont Park.

But we even got that right!  Naming an arena after a bank is as common as a Leafs first-round exit.  We have taken away all of our enemies’ ammo and now Isles fans have our fists up for fights that aren’t there anymore.

Now that the analytics experts are bullish on the Islanders and media members are picking us to win playoff rounds I am reminded of a scene from Talladega Nights.  Cal Naughton Jr is receiving an apology from a fellow driver who he had been feuding with.  He responded with “I’m a little confused by your tactics, but I’m going to keep acting tough until I figure it out”.

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That is how I feel knowing the “Barzal to Vancouver/Seattle” takes are right around the corner.  I may even welcome the occasional leaky roof at UBS Arena just to keep our edge.

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