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Brooks Simpson

Brooks Simpson writes, teaches, and speaks on American history and politics as a professor at Arizona State University. A native Long Islander, he has been an Islanders fan since the franchise's inception in 1972.

The 1980-81 Islanders: The Regular Season (Part 2)

(Second of a six-part series commemorating the 40th anniversary of the 1981 Stanley Cup Champions: part one is here) The 1980-81 NHL season offered the Islanders a chance to answer the question posed of any champion: could they repeat? Freed from years of whispers about choking and collapsing, and with ...

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Simpson: More Cause for Concern with the Islanders

The past seven days of the Islanders’ schedule served as a rude reminder of the ups and downs of an NHL season. Recoiling from two disappointing losses to Washington that all but closed a run at the division championship, the Isles bounced back with two solid shutout wins against the ...

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Simpson: Yes, It’s Time to Worry about the Islanders

Fan bases are prone to overreact to how their team is doing. A few wins in a row leads to glowing optimism. That is the way things should be (and will always be), while a losing streak leads to wailing which is the way things are and that they are ...

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Simpson: Radar and the Bowtie, Egghead and Lou Loophole

High in the rafters of Nassau Coliseum hang a pair of banners honoring two Islanders legends who never donned the blue and orange: general manager Bill Torrey and coach Al Arbour. Together these two men developed one of the most remarkable dynasties in NHL history—the only US-based franchise to win ...

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Simpson: Wanted — a first line left wing

Anders Lee’s season-ending injury cost the Islanders their team captain and leader, to be sure. What it also cost them was their first-line left-wing whose net presence and ability to cash in on rebounds, deflected shots and loose pucks will be sorely missed. The choice of who fills his slot ...

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The 1980-81 Islanders: The Prelude (Part 1)

In the next several weeks, our historian Brooks Simpson will take a look back at one of the greatest squads in both franchise and hockey history on the 40th anniversary of its championship run. Today we almost take for granted the New York Islanders dynasty of the 1980s. That dynasty ...

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Simpson: The Case Against Acquiring Taylor Hall for the Isles

The Islanders’ decision to place injured captain Anders Lee on LTIR (long term injured reserve), with its cap consequences, renewed speculation that they are in the market for another player, preferably a winger with a scoring touch. The obvious name being circulated is Taylor Hall, who is toying away with ...

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Simpson: Deadline Trades Are Not the Answer in 2021 for the Islanders

Every season, as the trade deadline approaches, hockey fans speculate on who might be on the move from their team and who they might pick up. Islanders fans are not immune to this obsession, which rivals their concern over jersey design. They well remember that on March 10, 1980, some ...

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Simpson: Isles have been Shopping in the Toy Department all season

If you’ve ever played EA’s NHL series against the game’s AI, you soon learn to orient the game on a north-south axis, with your team always going from the bottom of the screen to the top. Given how the game’s controls work, that means you will be shooting (and scoring) ...

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