Complete History Of The New York Islanders

New York Islanders History

Feature Photo: Jai Agnish / Shutterstock.com

The complete history of the New York Islanders starts by first looking at New York City’s history for usually hosting more than one professional sports team belonging to the same league. Whether it’s baseball, basketball, and football, the Big Apple makes sure there are at least two teams the fans can root for. This is also the case with the National Hockey League when the New York Islanders joined in 1972. Long before this, the New York Rangers were the only NHLers in town after the New York Americans became no more in 1942.

Incoming Raiders

When the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum was built as a brand new venue to host professional-level sporting events like hockey, the World Hockey Association set its sights on placing its New York Raiders upon the start of the 1972 hockey season. However, this was met with opposition as Nassau County officials didn’t look at WHA in the same light as they looked at the NHL. In the process, the NHL recruited William Shea to introduce a new team to their league. This was the same man behind the founding of the New York Mets, as well as the development of the iconic Shea Stadium. Shea was among the influencers who felt the size of New York City deserved more than just one team in a professionally graded sports league.

First off, Shea worked directly with the NHL president at the time, Clarence Campbell. While he was doing so, it kept WHA out in the cold. At the same time, the riled-up New York Rangers weren’t impressed with the idea of another major hockey league in town. However, a convincing argument was brought forth that had the team’s president at that time, Bill Jennings, reconsider. It also helped when it was realized the Rangers didn’t have to share Madison Square Garden with another major hockey team.

Not So Ducky

When the NHL awarded Roy Boe to bring in the league’s latest expansion team in 1971, it was assumed it would join with the name of the Long Island Ducks. This was the name of the team that belonged to the Eastern Hockey League since 1959. However, the man who also owned the New York Nets at the time chose the New York Islanders instead.

On February 14, 1972, Bill Torrey became the first general manager of the New York Islanders. The team’s original lineup featured the team’s first captain Ed Westfall. Joining him were Gerry Hart and Billy Smith as recruits from the 1972 Expansion Draft. The 1972 Amateur Draft had Billy Harris, Lorne Henning, and Bobby Nystrom join the team. The first head coach was Phil Goyette before he was replaced by Earl Ingarfield. Aut Erickson was hired as the team’s assistant coach at the time.

In order for this new team to enjoy an impressionable inaugural season, there was a need to mix newcomers with veteran players in order to have a well-balanced player roster. At the time, Torrey strongly felt in order for the Islanders to command respect as an NHL team it needed to establish itself with its own talent instead of strictly relying on star veterans like Westfall.

Upon the start of the 1972 season, the Islanders met with delays as Nassau Coliseum wasn’t quite ready to receive the team yet. Their practice rink in Kings Park wasn’t ready, either. Because of this, the team held its first practice on October 6 at the practice rink belonging to the New York Rangers. That was in New Hyde Park. It wouldn’t be until October 12, 1972, the New York Islanders earned their first victory as a brand new NHL team against the Los Angeles Kings. When the season was over, the Islanders had a disappointing record of twelve wins, sixty losses, and six tied games. This was not an NHL record to be proud of as it was the worst performance of a team in the league’s history at the time.

Winging It

As disappointing as the 1972-73 season was for the New York Islanders, there were key highlights that demonstrated this was still a championship-quality team in the making. When the 1973 NHL draft took place, the last place Islanders had the honor to make the league’s first pick. The Islanders also had to work with a tight budget so they kept this in mind as they made their choice. It was also during this time Sam Pollock, manager of the Montreal Canadiens at the time, sought to strike a deal with New York’s newest team as he was interested in some of the players.

Although the Islanders did struggle financially, the lucrative trade deal Pollock offered was turned down. The team had its sights on Denis Potvin, a star defenseman from Ontario, Canada, who showed enough potential to be considered the next Bobby Orr. The Canadiens knew this and wanted him and knew the Islanders wouldn’t hesitate to choose him to join their team.

Another key move the Islanders made was recruiting Al Arbour to serve as the team’s new head coach. Torrey’s decisions as team general manager somewhat paid off during the 1972-73 NHL season but the Islanders still finished dead last in the East Division it belonged to. It was a season, however, that witnessed Potvin earn the Calder Memorial Trophy as NHL Rookie of the Year. At the same time, Billy Smith was establishing himself as a hard-to-beat goalie, well on his way to becoming a major force to contend with in the league.

Even though the Islanders were unable to make it into the playoffs by the end of the team’s second season in the NHL, there were enough improvements to see a championship-quality team was definitely in the making.

Flying High

Going into the 1974 NHL draft, the New York Islanders chose a pair of young forwards to join the team. Clark Gilles and Bryan Trottier became part of Torrey’s lineup. They, along with Potvin, Harris, Nystrom, Potvin, Smith, and Westfall, caused the NHL to witness what became ice hockey’s equivalent to a Cinderella team. The transformation was impressive, to say the least. Included in this lineup was another star goalie, Glenn ‘Chico” Resch. By the time the 1974-75 season was over, the Islanders earned eighty-eight points. It was enough to enter the team into the playoffs for the first time.

When the playoffs began in 1975, the New York Islanders faced their neighborly rivals, the New York Rangers. If the rivalry between these two teams weren’t enough already, when the underdog Islanders took out the Rangers, this was considered an epic moment among New Yorkers, as well as die-hard NHL fans. The overtime goal J.P. Parise scored just eleven seconds into overtime gave the Islanders a three-game sweep against the Rangers that knocked their older brother, so to speak, out of playoff contention.

Making History

After defeating the Rangers, the New York Islanders went up against the Pittsburgh Penguins. At first, it didn’t look good as the Penguins already won three games in a row of this best-of-seven series. However, the determined Islanders managed to pull off the impossible by winning the next four games in a row. Not since 1942 was a team in a professional sports league able to bounce back with enough tenacity to take out the opposition. The Toronto Maple Leafs were the first team to pull off that feat when they took out the Detroit Red Wings to win the Stanley Cup.

Since the Islanders’ epic comeback against the Penguins, only three other teams have been able to do the same. The first was the Boston Red Sox when they played against their biggest MLB rival, the New York Yankees in 2004. This was the year the “Bambino Curse” that apparently plagued them since 1918 was put to an end. When the Red Sox moved on to the World Series final, they defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in a four-game sweep.

The two most recent teams to copy what the Islanders achieved were the Philadelphia Flyers during its 2009-10 playoff series against the Boston Bruins. The Los Angeles Kings would also pull this off during the 2013-14 playoff series they had against the San Jose Sharks.

Aside from making history in 1975 with its dramatic comeback to take out the Penguins, the New York Islanders weren’t quite as fortunate to do the same against the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Philadelphia Flyers. Although they fought hard enough to push the championship final to seven games, they weren’t quite able to overcome the champs from taking home the NHL’s most coveted prize.

Troubled Waters

When the 1975-76 season began, the New York Islanders were still flying high with confidence despite losing to the Philadelphia Flyers in the Stanley Cup final. This was evident as the team made its first one-hundred-point season. It was also the second time one of the team’s rookies would take home the Calder Memorial Trophy when Trottier earned this recognition. At the time, he set a new league record for a rookie with ninety-five points and sixty-three assists.

For the next three seasons, the Islanders continued to be a major force to reckon with in the NHL. Each one witnessed the team score an impressive win-loss-tie season that had them achieve at least one hundred points each time. In the process, they also won their first two division titles. Despite these impressive performances during the regular season, the Islanders couldn’t seem to pull off the magic as soon as they entered the playoffs.

This was frustrating for Arbour, Torrey, and the New York Islanders. Going into the 1977 NHL draft, Mike Bossy and Dwight Foster were drafted as the latest members of the team roster. Bossy’s talent for scoring goals was obvious but didn’t share the same physical prowess as Foster. Arbour saw in Bossy and Foster enough potential that had him convinced Torrey to bring the two in. As it turned out, this was a good decision as Bossy became the third team member to become the NHL Rookie of the Year. Bossy also scored fifty-three goals as a rookie, setting a new record in the league at that time.

Although the Stanley Cup still eluded the Islanders, the team’s roster continued to take the NHL by storm. Trottier won the Hart Memorial Trophy as the league’s Most Valuable Player at the end of the 1978-79 season, as well as the Art Ross Trophy for scoring the most amount of points in the league. Despite the team’s rising popularity in the NHL, fans of the New York Rangers hated them.

Groundworks

On the ice, the New York Islanders were impressive during regular season games but couldn’t seem to pull off that same successful formula when it came to the playoffs. When the 1978-79 season was over, Westfall retired as a player to become the team’s color commentator during live telecasts.

Upon going into the 1979-80 season, Boe’s financial woes were at an all-time high. Not only were the Islanders causing him to lose money but his New York Nets as well. Even though the Islanders were successful enough to draw in a crowd at the time, it wasn’t enough to overcome the monetary burdens involved. Between startup costs and franchise fees, it was proving to be too much. He wound up selling both teams as a result.

Selling the Nets was easy enough to do but it was more difficult when it came to the Islanders. Eventually, John Pickett assumed control and promoted Torrey to team president. Shortly after this, the new owner signed a cable television contract with MSG SportsChannel. The idea was to use the New York Islanders as the driving force behind his network. At the same time, the network’s owner, Charles Dolan, offered Pickett a long-term contract to keep the team on Long Island. In the process, this also meant luring the local government to renew the cable contracts. This strategy worked as the Islanders have remained with the network for over forty years so far.

Now with a lucrative deal in place, John Pickett and his New York Islanders were set to start the 1979-80 season. As head coach, Arbour opted to focus more on the team’s chemistry and talent instead of how they’d fair out in the regular season’s rankings. Adding to the drama of the regular season, just before the playoffs began, Torrey traded a couple of his popular players, Billy Harris and Dave Lewis, to the Los Angeles Kings so he could recruit Butch Goring to the team.

Making Waves

When the playoff season began in 1980, the question remained whether or not the combined strategies of Arbour and Torrey would pay off. Already, the Islanders failed to earn a fifth one-hundred-point finish to the regular season but were still at least able to earn a decent spot in the playoffs. As it turned out, it was at least good enough for the Islanders to finally reach the Stanley Cup finals since 1975. As fate had it, the team went up against their old nemesis, the Philadelphia Flyers. Now, can they pull off revenge against the team that crushed their dreams five seasons ago or not?

As it turned out, yes. It took It wasn’t easy as the Flyers finished the NHL regular season as the top team with a winning streak of thirty-five consecutive games. The final was pushed to a hard-fought seven games that ultimately saw Bob Nystrom, Denis Potvin, and Bryan Trottier stand out as the team’s most recognized heroes as they finished off the season with a bang. Trottier won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff season’s most valuable player.

Riding the Waves

Now as defending Stanley Cup champions, the Islanders began and finished the 1980-81 NHL season as the most dominant team in the league. As the roster’s impressive lineup continued to thrive, the Islanders seemed to make their quest for the top prize in professional ice hockey look easy.

However, the popularity of the Islanders increased the rivalry between themselves and the New York Rangers. The fans from Long Island began to rail fans of the Rangers with “1940” chants. That was the final year the Rangers won the Stanley Cup as a team. It didn’t take long for the rest of the NHL fans to join in on badgering the Rangers. This continued until the Rangers broke their Stanley Cup drought in 1994.

As the Islanders continued their high as defending Stanley Cup champions, the 1981-82 season once again saw the Islanders dominate the NHL. Again, they made it look easy. In the lineup during this time were the Sutter brothers, Brent and Duane. The boys from the small town of Viking, Alberta, Canada were among six Sutters who each played in the NHL. These are the same two brothers who made it really difficult for opposing teams to get the best of the New York Islanders. Oddly enough, these two Canadians would come face to face against the latest rising stars of the NHL, the Edmonton Oilers going into the 1982-83 season.

Turbulence

The 1982-83 season should have been a season that kept the New York Islanders on top as the “it” team of the NHL. After all, they did win their third Stanley Cup in a row as Bossy, Potvin, Smith, Trottier, and the Sutters continued to make their presence felt. However, this was the season when a young Wayne Gretzky stole the spotlight. This scoring machine was breaking records and taking names as a player that’s still regarded as the greatest in NHL history.

When the Oilers became contenders that faced the New York Islanders in the Stanley Cup finals in 1983, it was the end of the road for this new team. The Islanders crushed them in a four-game sweep, sending these boys from Alberta, Canada back home empty-handed. However, this marked the beginning of a new rivalry as the Islanders recognized in the Oilers what they previously saw in themselves.

Although the Islanders managed to finish the 1983-84 regular season as the winner of the NHL’s Patrick Division, the question remained whether or not they’d be able to win their fifth straight Stanley Cup victory. One team hoping to take the Islanders out was the New York Rangers as these two rivals faced off in the first round. However, the Islanders were able to overcome them. The team from Long Island continued to plow forward until coming face to face with the Edmonton Oilers in what felt like Stanley Cup Finals, Round Two.

Upon going into this particular final, the Islanders had a nineteen-game winning streak. They seemed to be sure-bets to win the Stanley Cup for the fifth time in a row. However, the Edmonton Oilers put an end to all this in what still remains one of the most emotional Stanley Cup finals in NHL history.

Grounded

Losing to the Edmonton Oilers was devastating for the New York Islanders. What made it worse was watching the Oilers pull off in seven seasons which the Islanders couldn’t do. The team from Alberta won five Stanley Cups. Granted, they were not all in a row, but it was still one more than what the Islanders had.

Even though the Islanders remained a solid team for a few more years, what felt like a fairytale ride met with lineup changes and new business decisions that eventually put the team’s future in jeopardy. Once again, finances seemed to become a problem as Torrey was unable to keep some of the stars who were now fetching a much higher salaries than before. This definitely affected the team in a bad way as it appeared the glory days of the Islanders showed no sign of returning anytime soon.

Probably the biggest highlight for the Islanders during this time was the historical “Easter Epic” that witnessed the Islanders even a playoff series against the Washington Capitals during the 1986-87 season. This was the game that had Kelly Hrudey stop seventy-three shots against him as a goalie. This was the same game that witnessed an exhausted Pat LaFontaine score at 1:56 A.M. Easter Sunday morning. This put an end to the game’s fourth overtime at 8:47, as well as Washington’s Stanley Cup quest. Unfortunately for the Islanders, arch nemesis Philadelphia Flyers put an end to their playoff hopes.

Adding to the Islanders’ woes was losing Mike Bossy as he retired as a player at the end of the season. His retirement came not long after the team already lost Bob Nystrom for the same reason. The stars of the Islanders were either aging, traded off, or permanently sidelined due to injury. It reached the point where something needed to give before it was too late.

Bounce About

The 1980s didn’t end nearly as well for the Islanders as it began. In a desperate attempt to turn this around, Torrey brought back Al Arbour to coach the team. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough as the Islanders tied with the Quebec Nordiques as the least performant team in the league. This blow also meant the Islanders would be kept out of the playoffs for the first time in over a decade. At the end of the season, Billy Smith retired as a player to assume the role of goaltending coach. It was also the year Pickett moved to Florida and handed over control of the team to a group of Long Island investors.

The new partnership placed in charge of the New York Islanders used this opportunity to build this team from Long Island back up. The 1989-90 season did have the Islanders see the playoffs again, but the New York Rangers took them out in the first round. Hoping to bounce back, the 1990-91 season ended in disappointment as the Islanders once again failed to make the playoffs.

Pat LaFontaine, who was the team’s only superstar on the roster at the time, was frustrated. This unsuccessful team felt cursed and he sought to renegotiate his contract for a better deal. His decision to hold back before the start of the 1991-92 season prompted Torrey to trade him off in a multi-player deal with the Buffalo Sabres. It was Torrey’s strategy to bank on future prospects and a similar rebuilding process he exercised a decade earlier. However, the management team at this time disagreed with this and forced him to resign. Boe and Pickett promoted Don Maloney from the role of assistant general manager to take Torrey’s place.

Under New Management

With Maloney at the helm as general manager, the New York Islanders made it into the playoffs near the end of the 1992-93 season. This was also the same season Torrey’s big trade before he was forced out paid off. While the Islanders were rebuilding from something Torrey started, Torrey himself was put in charge of the new expansion team, the Florida Panthers.

Pierre Turgeon, the star player who Torrey replaced Pat LaFontaine with, did for the Islanders what LaFontaine did for the Buffalo Sabres. These two teams became quality teams once again bound for greatness. It was also during this time another Torrey-arranged Islander recruit, Ray Ferraro blossomed as the team’s hero. His overtime goals during the playoffs against the Washington Capitals. Oddly enough, what should have been a celebration turned into an awkward reaction. First off, as Turgeon celebrated Ferraro’s goal, Dale Hunter checked him from behind so hard that it caused an injury that would put an end to his season. Hunter was suspended for his actions really did a number on the team’s morale. Even though the Islanders were able to make it to the playoff finals against the Montreal Canadiens that year, they had to bow out of the series after playing five games.

The highlight of the 1993 playoff season also witnessed Glenn Healy perform as an impossible goalie to beat as a New York Islander. He, along with David Volek’s goal enabled the Islanders to defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins before meeting the Canadiens. Even with Turgeon sidelined due to injury, they proved the Islanders had it in them to pull off the seemingly impossible. However, even as Turgeon returned to the lineup when they went up against Montreal, the momentum the Islanders had at that time was lost.

For the duration of the next few seasons, the Islanders continually met with one disappointing season over another. Between suffering playoff droughts, logo changes that met with fan disapproval, and a revolving door of head coaches, it seemed Maloney was in over his head as the team’s general manager. Adding fuel to this fire included Pickett’s decision to sell the team to John Spano in 1996. However, the businessman from Dallas, Texas, was later discovered by to be a con man by the team’s executive management.

This resulted in lawsuits that had the ownership of the Islanders signed back to Pickett. At the same time, the NHL was met with harsh criticism for its own business practices that allowed Spano to deceive the league. This was big news among media outlets such as ESPN and Newsweek.

Under New Ownership

After the Spano fiasco, Pickett did manage to find a new team owner that was indeed legitimate. A group of investors led by Steven Gluckstern and Howard Milstein. Gluckstern also happened to be the co-owner of another NHL team, the Phoenix Coyotes.

This was a sale that almost didn’t happen when the Spectacor Management Group pointed out Nassau Coliseum was in a desperate state of repair. It even tried to force Pickett to deem the venue unsafe but that was met with opposition by Pickett, the NHL, and Nassau County officials.

At first, the presence of the New York Islanders continued in Nassau Coliseum but it didn’t take long for Gluckstern and Milstein to realize the venue was no longer fit to host this NHL team. At the same time, the men followed Maloney’s footsteps by making a series of unpopular decisions. Between talks of relocating the team and curbing the budget by trading off popular players, the fortunes of the Islanders still saw no sign of improvement. It also didn’t help the number of fans pouring in to watch the team was dwindling. By this time, Milstein was looking to purchase a team in the NFL.

In 2000, Gluckstern and Milstein sold the Islanders to Sanjay Kumar and Charles Wang. The men from Computer Associates instantly met with some key challenges they knew needed to be hashed out in order to revive the morale of the New York Islanders. Upon going into the 2000 NHL draft, Milbury’s decisions as general manager continued to disappoint the fans.

Mad Mike

The 2000 NHL draft witnessed Milbury favor Rick DiPietro over Dany Heatley and Marian Gaborik, a move that baffled the fans, reporters, and commentators. However, this wasn’t unusual as Milbury earned “Mad Mike” as a nickname due to all the management decisions he made over the years. Upon entering the twenty-first century, he and the team’s new owners knew the Islanders needed to bounce back to championship status much sooner than later.

As for the role of head coach, this continued to be a revolving door. When Milbury fired Butch Goring, this was met with fan disapproval as they felt Milbury was the man who needed to go, not Goring. More fuel was added to this fire when Milbury refused to hire Ted Nolan to replace Goring. Instead of catering to what the fans wanted at this time, he favored Peter Laviolette from the Boston Bruins.

The start of the 2001-02 season saw key lineup changes that served to be a successful formula for the team. By the time the playoffs came around, the Islanders broke a series of team records. They also finished the regular season with ninety-six points, a feat they hadn’t pulled off for nearly two decades. The odds were in the Islanders’ favor to have an impressive playoff season. Unfortunately, they were taken out by the Toronto Maple Leafs in what was one of the most grueling seven-game hockey playoff series in NHL history.

Aside from the disappointment, there was hope the Islanders would at least go into the 2002-03 season with the exact same momentum. At first, this wasn’t the case but the team was able to make it into the playoffs. However, history repeated itself here as they were eliminated in the first round, this time to the Ottawa Senators. Immediately after this, Milbury fired Laviolette and he was replaced by Steve Stirling.

Even with coaching changes and lineup changes, the Islanders were still locked out as NHL playoff finalists. Although strong enough to enter the playoffs during this time they seemed to lack the ability to stay in it for long. When the 2004-05 NHL lockout took place, the Islanders underwent a series of lineup changes. Milbury was determined to turn this team’s fortunes around one way or the other. This included firing Stirling in January 2006 and a decision to step down as the team’s general manager.

Mad Islanders

Briefly taking Milbury’s place as team manager was Neil Smith at the same time Ted Nolan was announced as the team’s new head coach. The fans were happy to finally see the man whom they felt Milbury should have hired instead of Stirling. Although Smith was let go not long after becoming team manager, he acquired a handful of free-agent players. Smith’s replacement was Garth Snow, who retired as the team’s goalie in order to assume the role of general manager.

Upon going into the 2006-07 NHL season, Rick DiPietro was signed to a fifteen-year multi-million dollar contract that was slated to be the longest in NHL history. At the time, this move was scrutinized by hockey critics who wondered what Wang and Snow see in the man that was worth so much.

When DiPietro was injured in 2007, this also hurt the team. Although they were still able to make it into the playoffs and he was able to return to the lineup in time for that, it wasn’t enough to overcome the first round of the series against the Buffalo Sabres. So far, whatever winning formula the team’s management had in mind wasn’t quite paying off just yet. As a result, additional lineup changes were made that would eventually see the selection of John Tavares joining the team as the first overall pick from the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. The focus of the New York Islanders at that time was to invest in a younger team roster. In addition to Tavares, Calvin de Haan, Casey Cizikas, and Anders Lee would be recruited that would prove themselves as the men needed to turn the fortunes of the Islanders around.

Unfortunately for the Islanders, this wasn’t the case going into the 2009-10 season. Again, it ended with disappointment. This was also the case upon the start of the 2010-11 season. During this time, the revolving door of head coaches continued. It was also this particular season that had the big brawl erupt between the New York Islanders and the Pittsburgh Penguins on February 11, 2011. The team from Long Island was fined $100,000.00 by the NHL for failing to control their players.

Starting Over

Before the start of the 2011-12 season, Nassau County voted against the proposal to replace the ailing Nassau Coliseum. It was at this time speculation of the Islanders relocating to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center was becoming increasingly likely. At the same time, the New York Islanders needed to redeem themselves as a team and they knew it. This was also the year Tavares stepped up, as well as his left-winger, Matt Moulson. However, this wasn’t quite enough to put an end to their team’s misfortunes.

When it was announced in October 2012 that the Islanders would be moving to Brooklyn to start the 2015-16 season at its Barclays Center, this was disappointing news for the fans on Long Island. A deal was signed that would have the team commit to Barclays Center until 2040. Despite the move, it was agreed the team’s name and logo would stay the same.

Before the 2012-13 NHL season was over, the New York Islanders showed promise after experiencing yet another dismal year as a team. They were able to finally earn a playoff spot for the first time since 2007 but it wasn’t enough to advance beyond the first round. The Pittsburgh Penguins took them out in six games.

When the 2013-14 season began, Tavares was promoted to become the team’s captain. Throughout the season, the Islanders met with a series of lineup changes that played a factor in yet another disappointing performance in the NHL. Yet again, the Islanders failed to make the playoffs.

Moving On

In October 2014, the sale of the New York Islanders to Jon Ledecky and Scott D. Malkin was approved by the NHL. At first, they were minority partners until Wang handed over the reins when the 2015-16 hockey season was over. He was still a shareholder of the team at this time. It was also during this time the Islanders drafted the first Chinese player to join an NHL team. Andong Song joined the roster as a sixth-round draft pick.

The start of the 2015-16 season had the Islanders begin playing at Barclays Center. However, the attendance while there was no better than what the team had at Nassau Coliseum. Furthermore, the quest for the Stanley Cup was still met with bitter disappointments that continued to curse the team.

Although the Islanders was supposed to be a long stay tenant at Barclays Center, fate had other ideas. The low attendance records prompted the venue in Brooklyn to evict the Islanders, which seemed to be okay by the Islanders and their fans as a newly renovated Nassau Coliseum seemed ready to welcome the team back. However, this also came at a time when the NHL’s commissioner, Gary Bettman, felt it was still too small by league standards.

The 2018-19 and the 2019-20 seasons had the Islanders split their home games between Barclays Center and Nassau Coliseum while the team waited for the UBS Arena that was being built in Elmont. It was intended for the Islanders to start the 2020-21 season at UBS but then COVID-19 happened.

When the Islanders qualified for the Stanley Cup playoffs in 2020, the home games were supposed to be held at Nassau Coliseum However, the NHL suspended its season on March 12 due to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. When the NHL was given the green light to continue, the Islanders defeated the Florida Panthers, then the Washington Capitals, and then the Philadelphia Flyers. However, their playoff hopes came to an end when the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated them in six games.

New Islanders

As of December 2020, the New York Islanders Hockey Club, L.P. officially became the full owners of the team. Upon the end of the 2020-21 regular season, the Islanders were able to advance to the third round of the playoffs before Tampa Bay once again sent the team home empty-handed.

The 2021-22 NHL season began with the Islanders on the road for thirteen games while the UBS Arena was adding the finishing touches to the team’s new home base. Unfortunately for the team, several players tested positive for COVID-19 just before the November 20, 2021 game was set to begin. At the time, Barry Trotz was the head coach for the Islanders before he was fired. Currently, the Islanders have Lane Lambert as its head coach while Lou Lamoriello serves as the team’s general manager.

Complete History Of The New York Islanders article published on ClassicNewYorkHistory.com ©2022

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