The New York Islanders are about to take the next step by entering NHL elite status. Even with all the distractions, the team is ready.
By Michael Iuzzini
As the New York Islanders begin to make themselves comfortable at their new home, the Barclays center, the question shifts to “will this organization finally get the exposure they have earned?”
Islander fans had been very vocal about the move but the excitement around this team and the direction the team is headed has put that fire out. They’ve made it clear, wherever the team calls home, they will be there.
Change is good, especially when it is in your favor. The team flashed their new third jersey which goes with the Brooklyn Nets black and white. At first glance it looked as if it was a practice jersey but after giving it a chance the new black and white seems to be somewhat accepted in the new era of the team, but again what choice do the fans have.
Then there is the issue of goal horn gate. Right now the Barclays is blowing train horns rather than what fans have grown to love the blasting fog horn. Another unfair change against the fans.
In the mess of politics, the move, horns and third jerseys, the Islanders are readying themselves for the 2015-16 season. Any struggles the team may have will be unacceptable, especially after a quiet offseason.
General manager Garth Snow is going to battle with pretty much the same troops from last year. The inactivity came thanks to the hopes that players like Anders Lee and Brock Nelson live up to their new contracts and provide the extra offense. The same goes for Ryan Strome, as his on ice presence last year grew after every game to the point any time their was a big play on the ice Strome was involved.
With all of hype circling the organization and having one of the top three players in the league John Tavares, it is now time that the NHL acknowledges the simple fact that the Islanders are not only going to hold their own. That they are legitimate Stanley Cup contenders this season and beyond.
Yes, I am talking like a boisterous Islander fan, because we finally can. Players like Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk did not sign long term if they did not see the Stanley Cup in their near future.
Last season NBC sports completely neglected the Islanders and had zero national games scheduled. Sam Flood the executive producer stated it was an error in their scheduling. Error or ingenuously forgotten, they did end up playing two games on national TV, but that was only because it was pointed out to the powers to be.
It is no accident that the team has five scheduled national games this season. There is something brewing in Brooklyn and the big city lights for the once small market team is beginning to shift.
The future is now, not only do Islander fans sense it, but the entire NHL is aware that this team can be a pack of wolves.
Tavares is the best player in New York. The timing could not be any better for a player of his caliber to step into the limelight of the big NY and take over.
Minus all of the distractions the Islanders new home may be causing, the only thing on the players minds is playing good hockey.
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