As the “Lets Go Islanders” chants rained down from the Madison Square Garden rafters, while the horn sounded on an entertaining game, the Rangers’ Ryan Malone showed the only fight the Rangers could muster in the 3rd period by giving a couple of cheap shots to Brian Strait. Too little too late, as the Islanders took the first matchup of the season against their rivals in an impressive 6-3 victory.
Entering Nassau Coliseum tonight was very different than every other season; there was a vibe circulating around the concourse that was unlike the previous years. Tonight’s home opener marked the beginning of the end for the 43-year old Nassau Coliseum, the only building that the Islanders have ever called home.
The game opened up with a raucous crowd welcoming back the orange and blue to the ice. Unlike previous years, the Islanders came out all at once and stood around the logo at center ice as opposed to one by one, signifying that this year is all about the team and what it has meant to Long Island since 1972.
We’re several weeks past the onslaught of free agency madness, still more than a month away from training camp, and right smack in the middle of the dog days of summer with the NHL. The Islanders, after the acquisitions this off-season of Jaroslav Halak, Mikhail Grabovski, and Nikolai Kulemin, have addressed many of the holes that have plagued them in recent years.
As of now, the New York Islanders do not have a forward that is undeniably the top line winger to play alongside of Kyle Okposo and John Tavares. Last year, the Islanders started the season with Matt Moulson on JT’s wing, who was soon exchanged for Thomas Vanek.
Both Moulson and Vanek fit perfectly on the top line. But with Moulson staying in Buffalo and Vanek currently preparing to wear a Minnesota Wild jersey in 2015, the top spot is once again vacated.
The summer of Snow is upon us. For better or worse, the fate of the New York Islanders rests in the hands of General Manager Garth Snow over the next three months. His goal is simple even if the process is complicated: put the finishes touches on a “rebuild” started six summers ago and create a sustained contender for the last season at the Nassau Coliseum and the future of Brooklyn. (Photo credit: Official New York Islanders/flickr).
Heading into the Islanders' final season at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, they have many holes to fill, but an over paid winger that doesn't play both ways is not something they should be in the market for.