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Playoffs 2004

Introducing the New York Islanders

By Times Staff
Published April 8, 2004

WEB SITE: www.newyorkislanders.com

FIRST SEASON: 1972-73

HOME: Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, N.Y.

ALL-TIME LEADERS: Goals - Mike Bossy, 573. Assists - Bryan Trotter, 853. Points - Trottier, 1,353. Games - Trottier, 1,123.

RETIRED NUMBERS: 5 (Denis Potvin); 9 (Bossy and Clark Gillies); 19 (Trottier); 23 (Bobby Nystrom); 31 (Billy Smith).

HALL OF FAMERS: Bossy (1991); Potvin (1991); Smith (1993); Bill Torrey (1995); Al Arbour (1996); Trottier (1997); Gillies (2002); Pat LaFontaine (2003).

BEST CHANT: 19-40! Before winning the Stanley Cup in 1994, the Rangers had last won it in 1940. The Islanders winning four since then only made it worse for Rangers fans. How popular was the chant? It sometimes broke out when the Islanders weren't even playing the Rangers. Such a shame it can't be used anymore.

WORST LOGO: Possibly the worst in sports history. Think the Gorton's fisherman. Literally. The fans revolted as soon as it was unveiled for the 1995-96 season. Rangers fans immediately seized on the opportunity, chanting "We want fishsticks" during games between the teams. A few years later, the team relented and reverted to its original logo. However, it kept the secondary logo, a lighthouse, which, we'll give them credit, is somewhat cool. Of course, compared with fishsticks, anything is somewhat cool.

MOST AWKWARD MOMENT: On Feb. 19, 1997, the NHL's executive committee approved John Pickett's $165-million sale of the team and cable television contract to John Spano, a 32-year-old Dallas businessman. The sale was called off in July. The problem? Spano didn't have anywhere close to $165-million. The result? Spano agreed to a plea bargain that resulted in a 4- to 5-year prison sentence on fraud charges. MOST FAMOUS PAST PLAYER: Trottier? Bossy? Potvin? Yes, they led the Islanders to four consecutive Stanley Cups. But none of their fathers works in professional wrestling. Todd Okerlund's does. The right wing, son of the WWE's "Mean" Gene Okerlund, was New York's eighth-round pick in 1982. He made the NHL for four games in 1987-88, getting no goals, no assists and two penalty minutes. We're disappointed in the penalty minutes. Surely, he got some tips from Hulk Hogan.

BEST MOMENT (STANLEY CUP FINAL): In 1978, the Maple Leafs eliminated the Islanders in the first round with an overtime goal in Game 7. In 1979, the hated Rangers eliminated the Islanders 4-2 in the Stanley Cup semifinals. But the Islanders finally broke through in 1980. Game 2 in the second round against Boston featured a bench-clearing brawl. They defeated the Sabres in six games to reach the final. Then on May 24, 1980, Nystrom scored 7:11 into overtime of Game 6 against the Flyers to give the Islanders their first Cup. That started a run of four consecutive Cups.

BEST MOMENT (NON-STANLEY CUP FINAL): Down 3-1 in the first round against the Capitals, the Islanders won Games 5 and 6 4-2 and 5-4, respectively. Then Game 7, April 18 (and 19), 1987, was played . . . and played . . . and played. Finally, 8:42 into the fourth overtime, LaFontaine's shot beat Bob Mason for a 3-2 victory. Kelly Hrudey made 73 (Yes, 73) saves to earn the win.

WORST PLAYOFF MOMENT: The Islanders won the game but paid a big price April 28, 1993. Up 3-2 in games against the Capitals in the first round, Pierre Turgeon sealed Game 6 with a late goal. A few seconds after the puck went in, Dale Hunter cross-checked Turgeon from behind into the boards. The league suspended Hunter for 21 games. With Turgeon playing sparingly, the Islanders got past the two-time defending Cup champion Penguins in the next round (on an overtime goal in Game 7) but fell to the Canadiens in five games in the conference final.

WANT MORE?: Some newspapers that cover the Islanders: Daily News (www.nydailynews.com/sports/hockey/islanders/) New York Times (www.nytimes.com/pages/sports/hockey/index.html) Newsday (www.newsday.com/sports/hockey/islanders/) [Last modified April 7, 2004, 12:59:19]

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