New York football sucks. Both the New York Giants and New York Jets are tied for the worst record in the NFL since the start of 2017. And don’t give me anything about Buffalo being a New York team, anything north of the Bronx doesn’t count as New York sports.
Really, the state of New York sports outside of the Islanders, Yankees, Nets, and I guess the Knicks too, is really bad. So, if you’re a fan of the Jets or Giants and don’t really follow hockey and are looking for a fun team to watch through the winter, I’d like to sell you on jumping on the bandwagon.
First, hockey is a really fun sport. If you like the physicality of football then you’ll love what hockey players do. They fly around the ice at full speed and slam each other into the boards in order to win puck battles, heck sometimes you’ll even see an on-ice fight.
But that’s not all the sport has to offer, it’s a lot more complex than just grown men throwing their bodies around. The skillset it takes to dangle a little rubber puck along the ice at top speed and rip one past a goalie isn’t easy.
Plus it’s the ultimate team sport. You’ll never hear a teammate throw another teammate under the bus (looking at you Greg Van Roten) and you rarely see an individual take praise. It’s always “we” never “I”.
It’s easy for a football fan to love the sport, but why specifically the Islanders? Well, not only are they one of the few good teams in this city, but they are an easy team to root for.
They play a hard-nosed style, are extremely fundamentally sound, are well-coached, and most importantly work together as a cohesive unit. Every player has a role, they’re not super flashy but they just work in sync like a well-constructed orchestra.
A blue-collar team that plays well? That sounds like a New Yorkers dream. While Jets and Giants fans don’t agree on much, they do love themselves some scrappy players and some scrappy teams. That’s the Islanders.
Year after year people doubt them, and they just continue to win and build incremental success.
Three years ago they lost their best player, John Tavares, in free agency. It’s a long story, but everyone thought they’d be one of the worst teams in the NHL. Well, they went 48-27-7 and ended up winning a playoff round before bowing out.
Each of the past two years, they went to the conference final and lost to the eventual Champion. This past year was the closest they’ve come, a Game 7 1-0 loss is what knocked them out.
Now, they are back and returning most of the core from last year with a few key veteran additions to the fold to try to get over the hump. They have a really good chance to win this year, and not like one of those false hope Jets or Giants chances that we’ve been accustomed to.
Damian Woody, the former Jet, has bought in and is one of the biggest endorsers of the sport and is now a die-hard Islanders fan. The Jets just this year, went and saw the Islanders go on their playoff run in person:
This team is really fun, talk to any Islander fan if you’re unsure and they’ll tell you what it’s been like. Islanders fans have been through it too, from 1993-2016 the team didn’t win a playoff series. They were mismanaged, had terrible coaching, and poor ownership. But, they’re the poster child of what putting good people in charge can do.
So if you’re frustrated by your team, which as a Jets fan let me tell you I’m extremely tired of watching the garbage, maybe try out the Islanders this winter. I don’t think you’ll regret it.