NY Islanders News

Celebrating 50 years of NY Islanders Hockey With the All-Decade Team: 1982-1991

Three Islanders
Three Islanders / B Bennett/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit
2 of 7

C- Pat LaFontaine

Pat Lafontaine
New York Islanders v New Jersey Devils / Focus On Sport/GettyImages

Just as the Islanders dynasty was ending, Pat LaFontaine, the organization's next prominent star, was just beginning his career. He made his debut during the 1984 season and was part of the team searching for its fifth straight Stanley Cup, ultimately falling to the Oilers.

LaFontaine would suit up for eight seasons at Nassau Coliseum, his best coming during the 1989-90 season. The St. Louis, Mo, native tallied 54 goals and added another 51 assists, becoming the first Islander not named Bossy to score 50 goals in a season. To this day, he remains one of only three Islanders to accomplish the feat.

The most memorable moment of LaFontaine's time with the Isles, and one of the most memorable in team history, was the "Easter Epic" in 1987. In the longest Game 7 in Stanley Cup Playoffs history, LaFontaine scored the game-winning goal for the Islanders in the fourth overtime against the Washington Capitals, sending them to the second round. The game ended in the early hours of Easter Sunday, earning it its nickname.

""It was the most memorable moment in my hockey life. Even today, wherever I go, people come up to me and start telling me where they were during the Easter Epic.""

Pat LaFontaine

Before the 1991 season, LaFontaine rejected a new contract from the Islanders, forcing the front office's hand to find a new landing spot for their all-star goal-scorer. He was traded to the Buffalo Sabres in a deal that involved Pierre Turgeon heading to Long Island.

In 2006, LaFontaine would make his return to the Islanders as a Senior Advisor. However, his tenure was short-lived. The former sniper resigned from his position just six weeks after being hired - a result of GM Neil Smith, being fired. The incident seemed to put a damper on LaFontaine's standing within the organization, rarely mentioned as one of the team's great players while Charles Wang was majority owner.

In his eight seasons with the Isles, LaFontaine accrued 287 goals. He sits at fifth all-time in Islanders goal scoring, tied with Brent Sutter.

In 2003, LaFontaine was immortalized in Toronto as a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

1972-1981

facebooktwitterreddit