A guide for those people who possess the urge to jump onto the New York Islanders bandwagon.
With success comes bandwagon fans. With bandwagon fans comes irritated hardcore fans.
The moral of the story? Support your team from day one. If you’re still willing to become a bandwagoner, then this is what you need to know.
The Public Enemies
You’ll be hard pressed to go a full five minutes on Facebook without stumbling upon a “Brian Strait sucks” or “Josh Bailey should be traded” post.
Strait, 27, is the team’s third paired defenseman. Formerly the 65th overall pick in the 2006 NHL Draft, he has irritated fans for constantly being out of position, turning the puck over and failing to get the puck out of the defensive zone.
Bailey, 26, was selected by Islanders GM Garth Snow with the ninth overall pick in the 2008 NHL Draft, and has never really found an offensive game since leaving the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL and entering the National Hockey League. His best statistical season came in 2014-15, when he tallied a career-high 41 points. Still, Isles fans believe that he has a tremendous amount of wasted talent.
“If you know the Rangers suck, clap your hands.”
You’ll find pretty quickly that Isles fans root for two teams: the Islanders, and whoever is playing the Rangers (or, according to the fans, the Rags).
Along with the team’s crosstown rivals, fans typically take their wrath out on the Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals and the Philadelphia Flyers. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have always been a subject of scrutiny from Isles fans, while Tom Wilson tussled with players during the team’s first round series with the Capitals, and ran over Isles defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky, who was previously prone to concussion injuries.
El Capitano, or Our Lord and Savior John Tavares, was selected with the first overall pick in the 2009 NHL Draft, and is one of the most skilled forwards in the league.
Along with being a natural leader and über-talented center, he is the face of the franchise and the most integral part of the team’s success.
Additionally, he’s scored and assisted on some of the most important goals in franchise history:
Call them the fourth line, MC2, or whatever else you may like, but the line composed of Matt Martin, Cal Clutterbuck and Casey Cizikas is one of the best, if not the best, in the league.
Martin and Clutterbuck have finished one and two respectively in the hits leaderboard over the past three seasons, while Cizikas has scored an impressive amount of goals for the Brooklyn based club.
They are the momentum builders, hit leaders, defensive offensemen and warriors of the team.
A brash Jamaican-Chilean-Chinese-Canadian player whose reputation for cockiness turned off clubs that might have chosen him in the 2014 NHL Draft and needed the support of his General Manager when the public started questioning the rationale of the pick is one of the team’s biggest prospects.
“They s— on me, too,” Isles GM Garth Snow told TSN the night of the Draft. “We get the players who we feel can help us win a championship.”
His scouting report before the Draft, via ISS Hockey:
While Ho-Sang is undeniably a terrific offensive talent, his game requires a certain level of growth. A tremendous natural goal scorer with speed who is a threat to put the puck in net whenever he is on the ice. A magician with the puck that has a wide array of moves to keep opposing defenseman honest with him. Lacks ideal size and strength from a front- line NHL forward and he can be neutralized if he is knocked off the puck too often. He needs to get stronger and get better puck protection skills to be an effective player at the next level. Ho-Sang is a finesse player who can dazzle you with his skating and talent but at times leaves you wanting more.
That wanting more comes in the form of his maturity, which has been questioned tremendously since being drafted.
The Blue and Orange Army inhabited section 329 of the Barn before being relocated when the team ingressed on Barclays Center. Think Fireman Ed and The 7 Line Army.
The organ constantly plays fan-favorite songs and chants, some of which include “If you know the Rangers suck, clap your hands,” “Oh Long Island” and “Hey, Josh Bailey.”
And, of course, there’s the Daniel Bryan inspired “Yes! Yes! Yes!” chant after every Isles goal.
For forty three years, the Islanders called Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Nassau County, New York home.
Courtesy of former Town of Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray, Long Island’s beloved team moved to Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York over the Summer of 2015. They left behind a rich history and tradition on the Island, as the final team in professional sports to win four consecutive Stanley Cup championships. Legendary players and coaches skated the Coliseum (nicknamed Fort Neverlose during the 1980s) ice; including Hall of Fame coach Al Arbour, all time great skaters Butch Goring, Mike Bossy, Bryan Trottier, Clark Gillies, Denis Potvin and Pat LaFontaine, and a crusher in net by the name of Billy Smith.
Other fun facts
- Danish forward Frans Nielsen is one of the greatest shootout specialists ever.
- He and Kyle Okposo are both set to become free agents after the season.
- Brian Strait stinks. We said it already, but it’s worth a reminder.
- Not a lot of people like Jack Capuano as a head coach. Nice guy, but questions have been raised about his style of coaching.
- The team’s top 5 prospects, in order:
- Michael Dal Colle
- Ryan Pulock
- Mathew Barzal
- Anthony Beauvillier
- Joshua Ho-Sang
- Thomas Greiss, the team’s backup goalie (and first solid one is forever), has quite a few nicknames. They include Jesus Greiss, The Greiss is Right and Greiss, Greiss Baby.
- Rangers fans still have a chant entitled “Potvin Sucks.” Basically, it’s a stupid chant about a legal hit that injured a Rangers prospect. That hit happened like 30 years ago.
- Dale Hunter of the Capitals once nearly killed Pierre Turgeon during a first-round playoff series. Hunter was suspended a then-NHL record 21 games.
- The closest Nassau Coliseum ever came to exploding (and it sure felt like it would happen a lot) was in 2002, when Shawn Bates successfully scored on a penalty shot to win a playoff game.