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Representing New York and playing out of the borough of Brooklyn, the New York Islanders are a team in constant pursuit of another dynastic period for their franchise. Following their inception into the NHL back in 1972, success quickly found the club. Following two miserable years, the management’s plan of growing the team through the draft began to pay off with the Isles making the playoffs in their third season. This marked the beginning of 14 straight playoff runs which would include four Stanley Cup championships.
Despite amazing regular season numbers, the first several years ended in disappointing playoff losses. However, the team prevailed and continued to pick up more talented players along the way. Head Coach Al Arbour decided in 1980 to concentrate less on the regular season record and instead shift his focus toward getting his players ready for a grueling playoff tournament. This mindset paid off immediately as the Islanders went on to win their first Stanley Cup over the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Islanders had ushered in a new age of hockey dominance as they would repeat as champions again the next season, ultimately winning four Stanley Cups in a row. The dynasty eventually ended in 1985 when the Islanders lost in the finals to the Edmonton Oilers, who were about to embark on their own dynasty. After 19 straight playoff series wins, the Islanders spent the offseason without a championship title.
While competitive throughout the rest of the 1980s, the players of this once great dynasty began to go their separate ways. Eventually, the Islanders went from perennial championship contenders to the bottom of the standings. A new rebuilding project went into effect and through draft picks and trades the team began to rebound with a new core group.
Missteps in management led to many changes in coaches and general manager which brought the team further into a downward spiral. A completely dysfunctional franchise, the Islanders even went through scandals involving the sale of the team. However, even after the sale of the team, continued mistakes with trades and draft picks plagued the Islanders.
A team that is ever-trying to shake off the bad decisions of the past, the Islanders are led today by captain John Tavares. A first overall draft pick, Tavares is the clear leader of this team, trying to bring them out of the dark ages and restore Islanders hockey to its once prominent role atop of the league. Under interim head coach Doug Weight, the team is looking to make the playoffs this year with the eventual goal of capturing their first division title since 1988.
The list of great players who have played as a member of this franchise goes on forever, but the best among them include Butch Goring, John Tonelli, Pat LaFontaine, Bob Bourne, Brent Sutter, Clark Gillies, Billy Smith, Bobby Nystrom, Bryan Trottier, Mike Bossy, and Denis Potvin. Additional information about the New York Islanders can be found by clicking here.