Just a few short years ago..Id hear this a lot "Oh your an Isles fan, I'm sorry for you". Day after day the same story. "Hows DP" " Hows last place taste" and I would continuously take it, laugh it off and keep going. During these times I wished about winning, playoffs and all the above. Just wishing one day my team will be there before we left Long Island. The New York Islanders have some of the greatest diehards in hockey, hell maybe even professional sports, and I truly believe that. The silent army was in hiding, embarrassed to wear a shirt or a hat. Just to get looked and talked about. We just needed one thing, one word. HOPE. Then April 15th, 2009 came around and hope was maybe granted. Painfully the Islander fan waited for general manager Garth Snow to make a selection. Day after day, it was quiet in Islander camp. Could they really get this wrong, will we really pass on Tavares? Every Islander fan asked themselves several times day after day. Then HOPE came, Snow calmly walked up to the podium and drafted the man, the hero John Tavares. Just check youtube if you didn't think we were excited at the selection! (that night was awesome)
It was going to be slow, we knew that. Even more years of patience was in the future, fine but there was a plan. A full rebuild, the way to win in the National Hockey League. But this was a start and a damn good one. Some waiver claims later with genius signings the Islanders had something going. A shortened lockout season was upon us. As usual, the league did not respect us, no shock there right? Remember we are the "Islanders".
The first half of the season? Nothing special to say the least, average .500 play was us. Then a streak, a streak like no other I have witness with my team. A special feeling, that all Isles diehards felt. The league noticed, hell NHL tonight has us top 5 on power rankings. Yes, you did read that right. That feeling of clinching the playoffs against Carolina felt like no other. This was not just some hockey team, this is OUR team who've we watched grownup in front of our eyes.
Of course we know what happened with the playoffs. A hard battled "shock the world" upset almost occurred. Inexperience and tired goaltending we're our downfalls, also some players diving.(cough cough)
And the Now..
The atmosphere at the Coliseum for all three playoff home games I will never forget. The crowd, the players,the pregame parking lot parties, all things we ALL will miss when we leave. When this team wins, it feels like no others, we are all so emotionally attached. Best part about it, we all know it! I say this cause, this season the Islanders need to be back, we all must feel that playoff game atmosphere again. Time is ticking for the coli, we need to rock it as many times as we can. I want NHL.com to have a poll once again saying WE are the loudest crowd. Things will change when we play in Brooklyn, a part will be missing, and time goes by too fast...
Remember those Ranger/Devils fan that used to bash the Isles? The ones years ago who called us a joke and not even NHL worthy. Remember those guys? Its gone, they cannot talk smack no more. Best part about it the same friends are telling me how scary the Isles can be really soon. Its sunny on Long Island but in a few years the doors will be shut, tears will be shed. But until then we must do our jobs as fans...ROCK THE BARN.