The New York Islanders haven’t won a playoff series since they foiled Mario Lemieux’s quest for a three-peat.
In case that doesn’t provide you context (or if you’re a Penguins fan, memories of a bloodied Kevin Stevens), that came back in 1993.
Let’s skip the “insert list of historical events/amusing Geocities references since 1993” portion of the post and merely note that the Isles have seen seven first-round exits and 14 failed postseason bids since they lost to the Montreal Canadiens in the 1993 Eastern Conference Final.
One would assume that Islanders fans have learned to be patient over the years, and GM Garth Snow’s steady approach is really starting to pay off, even if some fans might feel a little antsy.
“We have a lot of players that still have term on their contracts,” Snow told NHL.com recently. “We’re looking for our younger players to take another step in the right direction, guys like Ryan Strome, Brock Nelson, Anders Lee … they’re all good, young players that had quality seasons and they’re just going to keep getting better.”
When you pour over the Islanders’ roster, it’s clear that the team boasts a little of everything. John Tavares is absolutely one of the best forwards in the league. Their defense may lack a Duncan Keith-type superstar, but Johnny Boychuk isn’t chopped liver. They may not have the most mainstream recognition, but Jaroslav Halak – Thomas Greiss ranks as one of the better goalie tandems in the NHL.
The possession stats were there, too, last season.
Just about every sign points to the Islanders possessing the tools to finally make a nice playoff run, now they just have to get there.
It could get a little messy if they provide an all-too-familiar feeling, albeit in a new building.