By: Colin Noonan
For the better part of the last 25 years, the New York Islanders have been a laughing stock. From the Kirk Muller hold out to the John Spano debacle to the Mike Milbury era and the disastrous Barclays Center experiment, everything that could go wrong for this once-proud franchise has gone wrong. Until very recently, that trend looked set to continue. But then, Lou Lamoriello and Barry Trotz were hired as president of hockey ops and head coach respectively, and everything changed.
Make no mistake, the Lamoriello-Trotz tag team is the best executive-coach duo the team has had since the days of hockey legends Bill Torrey and Al Arbour. With that has come a welcome change in the way the Islanders are perceived: it’s a lot harder to laugh at them now.
Yes, this is still the team that has exactly one playoff series win in 25 years and a car with ice level seats, but when you go out and hire guys like Lamoriello and Trotz it shows that ownership is committed to winning and that mediocrity isn’t good enough anymore. Accountability is something this franchise has lacked for far too long and every Islander fan should be thankful that Jon Ledecky and Scott Malkin have brought it back.
John Tavares has not put pen to paper yet, true. But all signs are pointing to him committing to this team long-term very soon and even if he doesn’t, this franchise is in an exponentially better place than it was even two months ago. These hires and decisions have led to emotions many thought were things of the past in Islander country: optimism and hope. Once this operation comes home to Belmont Park, this franchise will be in the best shape it’s been in since Denis Potvin hoisted his fourth Stanley Cup.
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