As we approach the dog days of summer, and all eyes are fixated on what lays ahead for the Islanders, I took it upon myself to look back down the steep, steep, slope that is being an Islanders fan.
As a 22 year old, I have missed most of the good times that came with being a fan of the Blue & Orange.
My parents weren't even married for any of the 4 cups, I've never seen Al Arbour coach a single game, and I was still using Diapers when Volek knocked the Penguins off of their pedestal in '93.
Luckily, thanks to modern technology (YouTube) I am able to experience all these moments from the comfort of my couch here in sunny Florida, decades later. HOORAY TECHNOLOGY!
With some help, I was able to put together a collection of memorable moments from the past and turn them into the best damn GIFs you'll ever lay eyes on.
So I bring to you, fellow Islander fans, the most memorable Islanders moments, in GIF form.
Tavares' First NHL Goal
Opening night of the '09 season, Tavares is playing in his first NHL game, and just like that, Islander fans are introduced to the one and only Johnny Hockey.
Though the Islanders went on to lose the home opener by way of a shootout, Long Island was never the same and those two letters were etched into every fans head.
JT would go on to score another 135 goals in 349 games since, and he is no where close to finished.
PS - What a celebration to cap off your first NHL goal. Many rookies have no idea what to do after they score, completely taken over by adrenaline. Not JT, full form, perfect execution. Like a god.
Dipietro vs Johnson
The punch heard around the Island.
In this February 2011 matchup, yet again, against the Penguins, as DP made contact with a passing Matt Cooke [oh, you've heard of him?] both sides saw wrong in the hit and quickly jumped to their teammates aid.
That including Pens goalie Brent Johnson who quickly skated up to half-ice, initiating the fight that forever changed both goalies careers.
DiPietro would suffer fractures to the right side of his face, from a right-handed Johnson might I add, and missed the next 6 weeks. His career would never be the same after.
The details of the fight and its aftermath were well documented in an interview with Johnson years later.
Shawn Bates' Penalty Shot Against the Leafs
Not only my personal favorite moment, but easily the best celebration to ever have been done on Coliseum Ice.
The mixture of power and finesse that make up the celebration is uncanny. Kid could have knocked-out Tyson in his prime with that punch.
This game winning goal came with under 3 minutes left in Game 4 of the '01-02 Conference Quarter Finals, and though the Isles went on to lose the series, Bates solidified himself in Islanders history forever.
Top-cheese, for the win.
Dave Volek Taking Down the Penguins in '93
Though I was alive for this one, being a 2 year old didn't involve much watching hockey, sadly. Many moons later, I can now watch the highlights with full appreciation.
Heading into this 2nd round matchup, the Islanders were facing the two-time defending champ Pittsburgh Penguins [notice the common denominator?] whom no one thought could lose to an Islanders club who hadn't seen the playoffs the previous two years.
Overtime, Game 7, Samuelsson takes a pass off his skate, Ferraro gathers and skates in, 2 on 1, with Volek, places the pass, Volek connects perfectly, and BAM, history is made.
Sadly, this was the last time the Isles have won a playoff series, but what we all remember the most about this series can be summarized in one word..
The goal that started it all.
"Tonelli to Nystrom" is a phrase that EVERY Islanders fan should recognized. The goal that sparked the greatest dynasty in NHL history.
Nystrom, the player who represented the franchise like no other, scores one of the only Stanley Cup clinching, Overtime goals, in NHL history, pure magic.
This shouldn't be looked at as just another Islander moment, but as one of the best moments in NHL history.
"Tonelli to Nystrom, HE SCORES! Bob Nystrom scores the goal, the Islanders have won the Stanley Cup"
- Jim Robson
Feel free to share these wonderful moments, and enjoy the memories created, as we have a long, long, wait until we see the Isles take the ice once again.