Islanders have unfinished business to deal with

By on September 24, 2021 0


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Gregory Fisher / Icon Sportswire

Over the past three years, the Islanders have accomplished a lot in the Lou Lamoriello / Barry Trotz era. They have won six playoffs and 28 playoff games, including back-to-back races through to the last four in the NHL. They are about to move into their brand new UBS arena in Belmont Park and the fan base is in seventh heaven with a team that is one of the best in the National Hockey League.

These are all great things considering what the franchise and their fans have been going through since the Dynasty years, but there’s still something missing… earning it all.

“I don’t think we’ve achieved what we wanted so far,” said forward Casey Cizikas. “Our goal is to win the Stanley Cup. “

UNIONDALE, NY – JUNE 19: Casey Cizikas (53) of New York Islanders Center shoots on goal during the second period of the National Hockey League Stanley Cup Playoff Semifinal game between the Tampa Lightning Bay and the New York Islanders on June 19, 2021, at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, NY. (Photo by Gregory Fisher / Icon Sportswire)

The Islanders were two wins from the Stanley Cup Final in the bubble two seasons ago when they lost in six games to eventual Stanley Cup champion Lightning from Tampa Bay in the Association Finals from the east. Last season, the Islanders faced the Lightning again in the Stanley Cup semifinals and lost Game 7 1-0 in Tampa on a shorthanded goal.

This season, the Islanders are looking to finish unfinished business.

“We had a goal and it was to go all the way and it didn’t happen,” said forward JG Pageau. “We will be setting new goals this year.

NEWARK, NJ – JANUARY 24: New York Islanders center Josh Bailey (12), New York Islanders center Anders Lee (27) and New York Islanders center Jean-Gabriel Pageau (44) during the game of the National Hockey League between the New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders on January 24, 2021 at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. (Photo by Rich Graessle / Icon Sportswire)

“I think we kept building every year,” said Islanders captain Anders Lee, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in March and was not part of the Islanders’ playoff race. “We are approaching this season looking to do the same. We know each other and we have new faces.

These new faces include free agent defenseman Zdeno Chara who returns with the Islanders twenty years after trading him to Ottawa as part of the deal with Alexei Yashin. During the offseason, the Islanders also added free agent forward Zach Parise who signed a one-year contract after being bought out by the Minnesota Wild.

He is joining a team that is one of the elite clubs in the NHL and poised to hoist Lord Stanley.

“You can tell these guys played together and had success together for a while,” Parise said. “They all know what they’re doing.

He is right.

The Islanders’ core group have had a lot of wins over the last few years, but they haven’t hit their ultimate goal. They have progressed every year since Lamoriello took over hockey operations and recruited Trotz as head coach. Together they have four Stanley Cup rings and they’ve established a new culture in the organization and now there’s a feeling in and around the franchise that hasn’t been like this in quite some time.

Gone are the days when islanders were laughed at. Now there is a fire to be gained.

“I think our whole squad has this fire,” said forward Mat Barzal.

UNIONDALE, NY – FEBRUARY 06: New York Islanders Center Mathew Barzal (13) skates with the puck during the second period of the National League hockey game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the New York Islanders on February 6, 2021, at Nassau Veterans Memorial Colosseum in Uniondale, NY. (Photo by Gregory Fisher / Icon Sportswire)

“I think there are similar feelings and I think the excitement,” said forward Brock Nelson. “Everyone is happy to be back.

The Islanders will experience their third day of training camp on Saturday, then open their preseason schedule Sunday night against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. In addition to the six exhibition games, the Islanders will also have scrimmages at their Northwell Health Ice Center training center at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow.

And then they begin another quest for the Stanley Cup by opening the 2021-22 season on October 14.e in carolina

“We have gained a lot of experience over the past few years and what it takes to be a champion team,” said Cizikas. “Coming into this camp, I think we’re all very excited. We’re all ready to brake the brakes and move this thing forward. “

During the 1993-94 season, the Islanders used the marketing slogan “Best time in a long time” after their surprising run to the Wales Conference Final. Back then, it was the best time for a long time, but make no mistake … for young Islanders fans as well as those devotees stretching back to the dynasty years, this truly is the best time in a long time to the Islanders.

They’ve been knocking on the door for the past few years and now they want nothing more than to finally bring her down.

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