So the ceremony begins at 2 o'clock, with a glorious walk of champions. And no, I'm not talking about the bar and grill inside the Marriot. The 17 members that played for all the Islanders' Stanley Cup Championships will walk from the Marriot to the Coliseum, with Lord Stanley's Cup present, in honor of the hard-fought battles they endured during all those playoff years.
Following the walk, an on-ice ceremony will begin at 3 PM, honoring the "Core of The Four," in honor of the 25th Anniversary since the last cup-winning team. It will be a memorable sight for fans, old and new.
Yes, it will be a wonderful sight, and something that will be remebered..but isn't it enough already? I am in no way trying to downplay the great achievements of these players, or the dynasty in general from 1980-1983, but let's face it. It was 25 years ago, and we honor a player, or that team, almost every single year. We have the 25 greatest moments of those teams played every other home game on the TV sets and jumbo-tron. We had Bob Bourne inducted to the "Islanders Hall of Fame" last year. We had Al Arbour night as well. I can't remember the name of the ceremony, but about 2 or 3 years ago, they had the members of those cup winning teams driven around the ice waving at the fans (a little corny and unnecessary if you ask me).
Al Arbour night, which I attended, WAS the greatest moment I've had as an Islander fan since witnessing Eric Cairns pummel Shayne Corson at center-ice in Game six of the 2002 Quarterfinals en route to a 5-3 win. I was incredibly happy to see this legend get his 1500th game coached, and his 740th win. However I have to examine why that night, for me anyway, was so memorable. Sure, it was incredible to witness a legend on the bench (since he was before my time) and see him set new milestones. But it was also memorable because it was different and something that had never been done before. It wasn't a ceremony with cars on the ice or a walk from the Marriot. It was a game that set new standards amongst the league.
The guys from the 80's will always be hailed as possibly the greatest team to ever be assembled. But like I said, they were from the 80's. It's impossible to forget what they accomplished since several of those players are still involved within the organization and can be seen at the Islanders Head Office, on the ice during practice, or around the Coliseum. They are practically right over our shoulder, so we don't need to do one or two ceremonies ever year.
This team needs to stop living in the past.
Being that I never got to witness a Stanley Cup battle with my Islanders fighting for the greatest prize of all, I want to be able to say, "I remember that team when I was growing up, they were absolutely incredible," just like how we say that about the team from the 80's. I wanna be able to tell MY kids about the team and greats that I got to witness develop into a contender. The past is the past, and nothing will ever change that, but we need to live in "the now" and re-create what those guys did in the 80's, otherwise we may be looking at a dark future for this franchise.
This is only my opinion, but with that being said, lets look at the facts - the Islanders MUST win this afternoon. They currently sit four points out of the playoffs, with the Rangers, Flyers, Bruins, and Sabres, all with a game in hand on them, playing today as well. Speaking of the Rangers, Flyers, and Sabres, they all play this afternoon (with the Rangers actually playing the Flyers), making today's game even more crucial for a win.
If they lose, they will fall 6 points out of the playoffs, and basically 8 points as well due to that game in hand. With only 15 games remaining after this afternoon's tilt, it will be a very large mountain to climb to get back into the thick of things.
I'm not saying that they will lose this afternoon, for all of our sake I hope they win...and I'm not saying that if they lose that they will definately miss the playoffs..but what I am saying is that this game is without a doubt a must win if we want to stay close to the playoff hunt.
The playoff hunt, something those guys from the 80's were always on top of. It would be nice if I could one day say that about my Islanders, and still be able to say it 25 years from now.