BARRY TROTZ! BARRY TROTZ! BARRY TROTZ!
LEHNER! LEHNER! LEHNER!
FIRST PLACE ISLANDERS! FIRST PLACE ISLANDERS! FIRST PLACE ISLANDERS!
These chants and more were bouncing off the Coliseum ceiling during and after the Islanders 3-0 win over the Anaheim Ducks. The Islanders are in first place in the Metropolitan Division and second in the Eastern Conference, three points ahead of Washington and Columbus and two points ahead of Toronto. The Islanders have also won five games in a row and are on a torrid 15-3 stretch overs thier last 18 games.
Nobody expected this team to be this good this far into the season and it has brought the Islanders faithful alive after facing adversity in the off-season.
Let’s go back to just nine months ago: the Islanders had just finished a season of controversy and the fanbase was desperately begging for changes to be made so that the team could keep it’s superstar (who will go nameless throughout the article). Billboards were put up near Barclays Center calling for the firing of then General Manager Garth Snow. Fans called for the head of then Head Coach Doug Weight.
Fast forward two months and the fans got their wish. Snow and Weight were fired and ownership brought in two proven winners to replace them in Lou Lamoriello and Barry Trotz. At this point, the message was sent. The New York Islanders and their fans will NOT accept mediocrity anymore. But a month later, this message was put in doubt.
At this point, the efforts to bringing back the team’s superstar failed as he went to the team whose pajamas he wore. At this point, you would think the Islanders faithful was at the lowest of lows. But at this moment, the Islanders faithful came together, knowing that in the hands of Lamoriello and Trotz, this team had a bright future.
But the future is now.
Under these two proven winners, the fans are seeing hockey like they have never seen it before.
Fast forward to present day: the New York Islanders are relevant again in the National Hockey League. And this has unleashed the blue and orange army. The team is back at Nassau Coliseum, in first place, getting elite goaltending and defense, and most importantly, every player on this team is playing for one another.
When Islanders fans turn on the game or show up to the arena for games, they expect a victory. Even in match-ups against tough opponents like Tampa Bay and Toronto, this team finds a way to win.
For the first time in a long time, there is a reason to be really optimistic about the New York Islanders. No one needs to worry about a General Manager who is afraid to make a trade or a coach who runs a poor system.
The New York Islanders are for real and the fanbase knows it. If you are an Islanders fan, and have stuck with this team through the tough times like the ones mentioned at the beginning of this article, life is good, and you should feel proud to be an Islanders fan.