The month is June, and the year is 2021, New York Islanders fans are enjoying some of the best hockey played by their squad in decades. The Coliseum is loud as usual, and the team is making a playoff run in the last year of the old barn.
The Islanders have followed up a great season with another birth to face the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Finals. Two Eastern Conference Finals in two seasons!
The Eastern Conference Finals were not mentioned to an Islanders fan since 1993 and the David Volek OT goal against the defending Stanley Cup Champions, Pittsburgh Penguins. Some Islanders fans may not have been born when that great moment happened.
Thankfully I was able to sneak a listen on my clock radio after bedtime.
New York Islanders Fans Tale of Two Junes
Fast forward to this June and Isles fans are now in a terrible dilemma that seems far too unfair for a fanbase that has had much suffering.
The New York Rangers add some toughness in the off-season and hire a new coach in Gerard Gallant. The long-time rival from NYC finishes a strong season and heads into the playoffs, while the Islanders miss the playoffs and fire head coach, Barry Trotz.
It was only a matter of time, before the Lightning and the Rangers face off against each other in the playoffs. And wouldn’t you know it, it's in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Last June, would Islanders fans have thought they would be rooting for Tampa Bay one year later? On the other hand, the Lightning have been on a run that is closely approaching the success of the Islanders dynasty. But we can’t root for the Rangers, can we?
However, this series will affect the individual, it may be best to start the summer early and research the draft.
No matter what the results are from this series, the focus will be on how the Islanders can return to form.
This is a big off-season for the Islanders and for Lou Lamoriello. Now that Trotz is no longer here, the blame is falling on Lou and time is running out.