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New York Islanders Curtail Decades Of Heartbreak & Misery

How a childhood marred by the agony of New York Islanders defeat has instantly altered into a fulfilling one.

It’s an emotional roller-coaster being a New York Islanders fan.

In every aspect that we’re fans — in how they’ve won, but more to the point, really, the heartbreak and misery.

On a personal note, the most common theme of my Isles fandom is disappointment. Despite being in my mid-teens, my favorite moment is of an inferior Isles squad thrashing the Thrashers in a meaningless 2006 game.

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I’ve watched lesser teams fruitlessly achieve their goals of hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup, while I’ve also seen some better squads promptly exit the playoffs before they could advance to the second round.

Is it pathetic that this team hadn’t made it past the first round for 23 consecutive seasons?

You better believe it.

The Isles had been bottom feeders for two-and-a-half decades. The last time they won a division title was in 1987. The last time they had won a playoff series was in 1993. They traded away guys like Zdeno Chara, Roberto Luongo and Olli Jokinen (not to mention the draft pick that ended up being Jason Spezza) for absolutely nothing.

As Kent Wilson put it in an article for Sporting News in 2013, “If you’re keeping score, that’s Chara, Spezza, Bertuzzi, McCabe, Luongo, Jokinen, Muckult, a third-round pick, and the chance to select Heatley or Gaborik in exchange for DiPietro, Kvasha, Parrish, post-apex Linden and Yashin.”

New York has been a pain-in-the-rear-end for my entire life.

But there’s something magical about rooting for the underdog. There’s constantly this glimmer of hope that the team can return to the prominence of the yesteryears, and that they can erase years of heartbreak and misery.

“Fighting back the tears here.. I’m an emotional wreck.. We’ve waited so long.. This is what we have wanted for 23 years.. It’s at times like these I wish I could shake all you awesome Islander fans hands.. On to round 2.. What a feeling.. Love you guys.. LGI,” Ryan Hendriksen, a diehard Isles fan, posted on Facebook, highlighting the feelings of every fan.

As the New York Mets taught me during the Fall, when underdogs win — and it doesn’t happen often — it’s as sweet of a feeling as one can acquire.

As I exited the LIRR following an Isles lost  last Wednesday night in Game 2, I approached a fellow fan and wondered aloud if I’d ever see the Isles advance to the second round.

Less than one week later, the Isles are heading to Tampa Bay to take on the Bolts — and are one step closer to achieving the ultimate goal of hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup.

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Justin Weiss is a staff editor at Elite Sports New York, where he covers the New York Islanders and Brooklyn Cyclones. In 2016, he received a Quill Award for Freelance Journalism. He has written for the Long Island Herald, FanSided and YardBarker.