Champion, defending a string of two cups (no, not the Flyers) and
playing into the overtime of the division semifinal versus an
unlikely squad that was not supposed to make the playoffs.
The year was 1982. The Isles were six minutes and two goals
away from an early summer. Add two John Tonelli goals, and the
upstarts, the Pittsburgh Penguins, were on ice for good.
When this season began I thought first of the Islanders'
opportunity to reach the playoffs, and win...but also, to keep
the Blue and Orange as the ONLY AMERICAN DY***.
I figured, history might have a chance to repeat itself.
But: the Islanders, as much as they expect to be in the show,
are not there yet. They've already in the past two years pretty
much announced that the NHL can expect trouble in Uniondale again.
This team needs foremost to make the playoffs and GET EXPERIENCE
there. Remember #77 et al. were traded from Buffalo in retaliation
from some quick playoff departures up north...
Once this tired crew gets away from the grind of playing the
playoffs of the Patrick Division regular season, they've got
the real thing to play, God willing. And they'll face the
hungriest team out there in the Pens (who look for damned sure like
the '80 Islander team that went without a loss in their last 13 on
the way to the Cup.)
The Islanders do have pressure. What's this with the "Devil-May-
Care Islanders"? They've made the show once in three years,
winning one game with a totally different team. And they may have
won two in the Igloo, but Mario and crew will be ready for them.
The Pens will probably win the cup. No surprises there. But the
history of the Islanders, something this New York team ISN'T
ashamed of, tells me one thing. They'll be in the hunt, too.
Let's wait and see, huh?
Waiting for Playoff hockey in the Deep South,