Despite being an Islanders fan for about the past 14 years, I am an original Brooklyn-ite. Like many people my age that reside on Long Island, I moved with my family from Brooklyn when I was young. At the age of 8, in the middle of the third grade, my family decided to leave Mill Basin for Nassau County.
I can’t say I was a hockey fan at the time. In fact, I didn’t follow sports at all. Aside from being enrolled into the typical Little League baseball and soccer games that most kids went through, sports didn’t matter to me. And hockey? It wasn’t even something I really thought about unless I was hanging out with my friend who lived on East 53rd street that happened to be a Rangers fan.
Moving isn’t easy. There are a lot of things that need to be packed away when transitioning from one home to another. There are many, many things actually, especially if it’s a home that you spent several years in.
You have your clothing, furniture, pictures and little personal belongings, but there are several memories that cannot be packed away into a box and reopened somewhere new. You may have a few pictures of these memories, and although pictures can help ease the bittersweet hardship of leaving a place you called home, you are still leaving a part of you behind.
I can’t say that I’ve called Nassau Coliseum my home for 43 years. As a 27-year old blogger, I can only say that I truly appreciated that building for 13 years.
Blowing a two goal lead in the third period of a hockey game is never acceptable by the standards of most coaches and players, but to let it happen when you are looking to solidify a playoff spot is downright atrocious.
And that’s what the New York Islanders did last night.
With all due respect to the Columbus Blue Jackets, a team that has now won eight games in a row, they are not a contending playoff team. They currently sit fifth in the Metropolitan Division, 15 points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins (and the Pens sit in one of the Eastern Conference wild card spots, only one point away from knocking the Islanders out of the top three in the Metropolitan Division).
This was a game that they needed to win and should have won – and they were well on their way until they blew it; a common theme for the Islanders over the past several weeks.
The Islanders have already surpassed the midway point of the season, embarking on the second half of a year that is marking the end of an era for this organization.
There are currently 40 games remaining of the regular season, leaving only 24 games left to be played at the only building they have called home for the past 43 years; Nassau Coliseum.
With the off-season moves that GM Garth Snow made this summer, many predicted that the last year at the Madhouse on the Meadowbrook would be a memorable one. But it’s doubtful that many Islanders fans and hockey pundits expected the Islanders to be sitting atop the Metropolitan Division as they prepare to face their biggest rivals tonight, the New York Rangers.
Let us go back to the 2012 NHL Draft. The Islanders fan base buzzed when news spread that you were traded to solidify a blue line that could benefit from your experience and impressive play.
A lot of fans moved to YouTube to find out more about a player that spent his whole career in the Western Conference. They didn't know much more than how cool your last name would look on an Islanders sweater. (Photo Credit: Daralee's Web World Photos)
It was hard for the fans to hide their excitement when they saw this addition that could help immediately. It was a breath of fresh air that someone added to the roster could help right away. Not in 2 years. Not in 1 year. But now. Garth Snow had done a great job in executing this trade.
That ended almost immediately when you filed a grievance with the NHL, trying to void the trade. This wasn't a great way to endear yourself to a fan base. They were willing to put that aside once the case was settled and the trade was indeed valid.
There was a sense that you did not want to be in Uniondale. You are not alone in this. You are not the first player, nor will you be the last player to claw in the doorway on the way to Long Island. But the actions of your peers do not excuse your behavior.