31 December 2009
With the decade coming to a close (well kinda) we here at Islanders Hockey Blog complied a list of what we felt were the top 10 most important and memoriable moments of the last ten years. We would love to hear what our readers think so if you disagree with some of our choices then please feel free to write in the Coment box what you would have added and taken off. So with out any further ado hear is our top 12.
10. 2004-2005 NHL LOCK OUT
Yes,this was more of a major moment for the entire league, but it still deserves recognition. Any time an entire NHL season is cancelled that is a major moment for any team. This also allowed the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers the opportunity to play two home games at the Nassau Coliseum due to the absence of NHL hockey.
9. Al Arbour Night 2007
For one night in 2007 Islanders legend Al Arbour stepped behind the Islanders bench once more to coach a new generation of Islanders. With the Coliseum sold out you knew it would be a memorable night. On this night the Islanders fell behind 2-0 in the second period, but in classic Islanders fashion they would storm back. At 8:20 in the second, Trent Hunter would score the first Islanders goal cutting the Pittsburgh in half. Then at 5:30 in the third Miroslav Satan tied it. Finally with 2:41 remaining in the game Miro Satan would fire home the rebound to clinch the win for the Islanders and Al Arbour. Following the game 16,234 fans witnessed a new banner go up for Al reading 1500, for the record amount of games he has coached.
8. Drafting Rick Dipietro
The Islanders made history in 2000, drafting Boston University goaltender Rick Dipietro number one for the first time in NHL history. Earlier the Islanders traded away goalies Kevin weeks and future Olympian Roberto Luango to Tampa and Florida. Thus making the pick even more important to the Organization at the time. “It feels unbelievable,” Dipietro said about being the Islanders future. “It’s a lot of pressure, but it’s something really want to be able to jump into and handle and I think it will be a great fit.” Dipietro ha yet to play a game in the 2009-2010 season because of injury the past two seasons.
7. Islanders Miracle Run to the Playoffs in 2007
The 2006-2007 season was the last time the Islanders made the playoffs and it was only by a miracle they did. The Islanders needed a miracle heading into the final week of the season. Starting with a 3-2 shootout win over the rangers and anchored by back up goal tender Wade Dubielewicz the Isles would go on to defeat the Maple Leafs and Flyers culminating with a chance to clinch the 8thseed by beating the Devils on the last day of the season. The Islanders would take a early 2-0 lead over the Devils and would keep it that way until the third period. With 4:13 left in the game John Madden would cut Islander lead to just one. Then with 0.7 second left Madden again put one into the net forcing over time. The game come down to a shootout, making the game ever more dramatic. The first two Islander shooters would make their shots while only one of the first two devil shooters made theirs. So after Ryan Smyth missed his shot it came down to Sergei Brylin. Brylin came in hesitated and then had the puck poked away from him by Wade Dubielwicz give the Islanders win and the last second playoff birth. The Isles beat out Toronto by one point that season and would go on to face the Buffalo Sabres, where they lost the series four games to one. However the run itself was a moment to remember.
6. The Islanders Make the Playoffs for the First Time in 8 Years
The 2001-2002 season featured the best Islanders team of the decade. In the off season then GM Mike Milbury made three key acquisitions. The Islanders brought in forwards Alexi Yashin and Michael Peca and goalie Chris Osgood. The Islanders went 42-28-8 that year and finished second in the Atlantic Division. They would go on to face the Toronto Maple Leafs in one of the most grueling playoff matches to date. The Islanders would fall in the first two games before wining back to back games at the coliseum. They would lose once more at the ACC before sweeping the Leafs at the coliseum in game six. They would ultimately lose in game seven at the ACC. The season and playoff series revived a fan base that had been waiting to cheer proudly for almost a decade.
5. Rick Dipietro's 15 Year Contract
At the time it was the longest playing contract in NHL history and was the first in what has become very much a norm in the NHL. In September of 2006, Charles Wang, Garth Snow and then head coach Ted Nolan Gathered in front of local media to announce the mega deal. "This is not a big deal," owner Charles Wang said at the press conference. "You have to have a commitment to who you're working with. I've done this all my business career. Now I'm doing it in sports and everybody is like, 'Oh my God. How could he do that?" Dipietro would get in one full season healthy before being devastated by injury the following year. In 2008-2009 he played only five games before hanging up the skates for the season and is still rehabbing, hoping for a return some time this season. The most ironic part is how much bad press the Islanders got from the deal. Who knew three years later mega contracts would become the norm in the NHL, so much so that the league has started to take issue with them.
4. Charles Wang Buys the New York Islanders
On April 26, 2000 a new era of Islanders ownership began as Charles B. Wang, cofounder and CEO of Computer Associates International, purchased Long Island’s broken sports franchise. Wang paid $187.5 million to the three man ownership team before him. Persuaded by Alfonse D'Amato, a former U.S. Senator, Wang purchased the team to help keep it on Long Island. ''We want to make the New York Islanders the world-class sports franchise that our community deserves, wants and needs,'' Wang told reporters at a press conference to announce the purchase. There was much fan fare and excitement when Wang took over as new owner, but as years have passed some fans have become frustrated with the owners doings. In may of 2009 Wang told Newsday he regretted buying the Islanders. A statement that made its’ way around the hockey world and baffled Islanders fans.
3. Shawn Bates Penalty Shot
It’s game four at celebrity gossip the Nassau Coliseum of the 2002 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The game is tied at two with under three minutes left. Yashin flings the puck up to a speeding Shawn Bates who is on a break away. Just as he’s closing in on the net Bryan McCabe tripped up Bates forcing a penalty shot.
Shawn Bates would go on to become a fan favorite and his penalty shot goal would become the most memorable moment of the 01-02 season.
2. Islanders Draft John Tavares
The 2008-2009 season saw the Islanders flounder to the bottom of the NHL, start the era of a new head coach and began the process of a rebuild for the Islanders. Not to mention all the off the ice issues, but there was a light at the end of the tunnel. The light came in the form of an 18 year old Canadian hockey star in the making. John Tavares had entered the OHL when he was just 15 years old. By the time he was draft eligible Tavares had already won two Gold medals with team Canada in the World Juniors, broke Wayne Gretzky’s OHL scoring record and was one of the most followed hockey players in Canada. On June 26, 2009 Garth Snow stepped up to the podium and selected John Tavares first overall and making him the new face of the Islanders franchise. The now 19 year old Islanders rookie leads all rookies in scoring and has had an impressive season so far. Expect to seem him in orange and blue for a very long time.
1. The Lighthouse Project
This of course had to be number one. Although this was more of a slew of moments, this project has loomed of the Islanders and their fans for half the decade."The Lighthouse project is the transformation of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum site and surrounding area into a modern 24/7 suburban center. The centerpiece will be a revitalized arena for the New York Islanders, surrounded by exciting residential neighborhoods with a variety of housing options, lifestyle retail and entertainment venues, Class A office space including an incubator for the sports technology industry, multi-purpose athletic complex, state-of-the-art conference and exhibition facilities, a minor league ballpark, and the first 5-star hotel on Long Island. The estimated $3.74 billion project is expected to generate $71 million of annual tax revenues. An expected 75,000 construction and construction related jobs will be created over the 8-to-10 year build out of the project. Once completed, 19,000 thousand permanent jobs and many new businesses will provide the opportunities and careers Long Islanders need and want. A transformed coliseum will ensure the New York Islanders have a state-of-the-art home for decades to come. The Lighthouse at Long Island, in the backyard of America's first suburb, will create a destination for future generations of Long Islanders,"According to the LHP website. Over the past year and a half the situation has become extremely dire for Charles Wang, who has been sustaining losses for the past nine years. Wang has been looking for yes or no from the Town of Hempstead, who according to Wang have been "dragging their feet." To make matters worse, the bickering between town supervisor Kate Murray, Charles Wang and outgoing county executive Tom Suozzi has only made matters more confusing for supporters and hockey fans alike. Two hearings have been held and the ball is still in the Towns court. With the Lighthouse group not paying the Town's consultant over a billing dispute, the approval process has grounded to a halt. With new Nassau CountyExecutive Edward Mangano taking office supporters and fans alike can hope that he will help push this project along. Until then the Lighthouse Project remains the 10,000 lb elephant in the room, looming over the Islanders.