With the 2014-15 NHL season just around the corner, Islander fans have officially begun preparing for the swan song of Nassau Coliseum as the home for the New York Islanders. Several sites have begun to post about their favorite memories of the Coliseum and about how the team should honor certain players for the final year here. However, many are forgetting about one crucial thing about this season- the fact that this might be the most exciting Islanders team in years.
Take it from me, you will find no bigger fan of Nassau Coliseum than myself. I am born and raised in South Hempstead, New York, only a 15 minute drive from the Coliseum. When the news broke about the move, the fan in me was heartbroken. The team that grew up in my backyard was going to move to Brooklyn, and that meant a longer, more expensive commute to games. As time went on, it became evident that the move was the best case scenario for all involved, and many fans have come to accept that fact.
Even I will take part in some reminiscing and talk about some memories of the old barn. Some of the best, and earliest, memories I have of the Islanders come in mid 90’s, when the New York Islanders still wore the fisherman jersey, one of my all time favorite jerseys. I was raised a baseball fan and player through and through, but there was something about getting to that building and screaming my head off whenever Gary Glitter’s Rock N’ Roll Part 2 would play. The four year old in me was hooked from day one, and the rest is truly history.
Though I was not alive for it, you will also be hard pressed to find someone who believes more firmly in remembering the storied past of the Islanders, something the team has done extremely well. In the past few seasons, the team honored Pat Flatley, Kenny Jonsson, Ken Morrow and more. There’s nothing wrong with remembering the past at the Coliseum. However, in the past weeks, it seems all people want to talk about is just that- the past.
These Islanders Can Be Special
Now, I’m not crowning them Stanley Cup Champions just yet. However, if we look at what Garth Snow has done and consider how good they could really be this year, then we could be in for an exciting year for the Islanders. The goaltending has been
upgraded. The secondary scoring has also improved. Defensively, the team can only get stronger with a healthy year of Visnovsky and the possibility of Griffin Reinhart taking the next step. The point here is that this team can be really good, which is exciting.
While fans should always be able to remember and respect the storied past of the New York Islanders, including, but not limited to, the Easter Epic, four straight Stanley Cups, the 1993 playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Shawn Bates’ penalty shot, the most recent playoff series against the Penguins and more, they should also be giving this Islander team just as much, if not more, attention.
Nassau Coliseum holds a special place in every fan’s heart. Even those who were pulling for the move for a very long time will tell you that the memories made in Uniondale are irreplaceable and likely will never be recreated. However, Nassau Coliseum is just that- a building. If a fan allows themselves to forget that there’s more to this season than the memories, they might miss out on one of the most exciting Islander teams in a very long time.
If there’s anything to take away from this, it should be this- this year means a lot for Islander fans, and with good reason. However, if you forget that there’s a hockey team playing in this storied barn, you could be missing the best Islander team in almost 20 years.