The New York Islanders defeated the Buffalo Sabres 3-0 on Saturday night for their second to last home game of the regular season at Nassau Coliseum. In honor of the fact that the Islanders will soon be leaving Nassau County for the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the franchise dedicated this evening’s game to a few select players that have played major roles for this team over the past four decades.
Such players included Ed Westfall, Gary Howatt, Bobby Nystrom, Butch Goring, Ken Morrow, Pierre Turgeon, Steve Webb, Eric Cairns and Shawn Bates.
Each player was honored with a video tribute highlighting their contributions to the franchise during their respective decades.
I am proud to reinstall the Where Are They Now section to The Checking Line. Every Thursday from now until the NHL season begins I will give Islanders fans an in depth look at what some of their favorite former Islanders are up to now.
Many teams that make the post-season have a player on their roster that elevates his style of play in order to reach a new level of performance during the most meaningful games of the year in the playoffs. These players are instrumental to each team's success in the playoffs and help carry their teams to several victories in their run for the Cup.
Looking back to the recent past, players such as Fernando Pisani and Sean Bergenheim come to mind. Pisani, who was playing for the Edmonton Oilers during their Cup run in 2006, only had 37 points in 80 regular season games but burst onto the playoff scene with 14 goals and 18 points in 24 playoff games.
Recently the NHL canceled regular season games through Oct. 24th, thus pushing back the start date for many teams to the 2013 season. The Islanders have erased six games from their October schedule with the new opening game being set for Friday, October 26th against the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Photo Credit: Robert Kowal/Flickr)
This would have been a marquee match-up ten years ago with every Islanders fan having this game circled on their calendars after a bloody, injury filled and violent playoff series with the Leafs in 2002. Those games were the start of the end for some players (Michael Peca) while the dawning of new beginnings for others (Trent Hunter). Steve Webb became a household name that still gets chanted at the Coliseum to this day, and no one will ever forget Eric Cairns' salute to the crowd after pummeling Shayne Corson at center Ice.