The New York Islanders fell short on the last regular season game at historic Nassau Coliseum. But the team’s play in the preceding 40 games at the Coliseum ensure that the Islanders will enjoy at least a few more games in the playoffs.
The Islanders travel to Washington to take on the Capitals on Wednesday. The series plays on Sunday on Long Island.
The teams last met in 1993 for the semifinals, known for Dale Hunter’s hit on Pierre Turgeon.
The Islanders did win the series. Now, 22 years later, two of the greatest players in the game will face against each other in this playoff series. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin and Islanders captain John Tavares competed closely for the Art Ross scoring title all year. Both captains led their teams to their successful seasons. There cannot be a better matchup for the first round at the Coliseum.
Despite this weekend’s loss, people shared their memories of the building, of a team that dominated the early 1980s. George Vecsey of The New York Times covered the Islanders and wrote about important moments he experienced at the Coliseum. His best moment occurred on November 4, 2007, when the Islanders signed former coach Al Arbour to a one-day contract in an attempt to give the legendary coach 1500 wins. He coached the team to four Stanley Cups in his 19 seasons with the team. Vecsey said then-head coach Ted Nolan went with it “with great professional respect.” The team won the game and Arbor finally captured his 1500th win.
“I love hockey because of the respect for history and for the game itself,” wrote Vecsey. “This was a perfect example.”
Fans and other media outlets used social media to express sadness over the Islanders leaving the building. In February, Joy Rosen, a season ticket holder for all 42 years, announced on television she conceived her son in the parking lot!
— Peter Haskell (@peterhaskell880) April 11, 2015
— wally geis (@wallygeis) April 11, 2015
— Dan Hanson (@savantsports) April 12, 2015
— Carlie Buccola (@WeatherGirlCB) April 11, 2015
The Islanders coming on to the Ice last night for the last time in the Regular Season at The Barn. pic.twitter.com/dt9YAlhwDy
— Humpty Hahntourage (@hahntourage39) April 12, 2015
— ryan dennison (@ryandennison) April 12, 2015
The Islanders were one of the hottest teams in the late 1970s and early 1980s. They won the Stanley Cup four straight seasons, 1979-1980, 1980-1981, 1981-1982, and 1982-1983, before the Edmonton Oilers stopped their quest to get “one for the thumb.” They also won nineteen consecutive playoff series between 1980-1984. Unfortunately, that was the end of the dynasty.
The end of the Coliseum, at least as far as the Brooklyn-bound Islanders are concerned, comes this spring. Whether the end comes in April, May, or June remains up to the Islanders.