This is it, well just about.
We’ve waited 7 months for tomorrow night – the return of all returns, or the biggest revenge game in a long time, at least. I’m talking about John Tavares’s return to Long Island, to where it all began at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
This season has been one for the record books in a sense, as the Islanders have been playing pretty solid hockey for large stretches of the season. Well, save for the recent struggles over the last five games.
I say that because not a single person expected the Islanders to do what they’ve been doing this season. Not me. Not you. Not even the Coach and GM.
Barry Trotz and his staff have had the Isles near the top and AT THE TOP of the Metropolitan Division for a while now. Yes, the Capitals are now tied in points, but the Islanders have fewer games played. They face the Caps on Friday, good times.
Yesterday was a strange day for fans – News12 Long Island came out with the “video” that was the worst Dear John letter anyone could’ve asked for. It was embarrassing. (I refuse to link to it)
So embarrassing that it went viral and seemingly all of the Canadian market ran with it. That’s the life of an Isles fan, the good times are barely covered, but when theres a chance to fire torpedos when theres a rough patch, well – it happens. Whatever, this too shall pass.
For the last few weeks fans have been speaking about what type of response JT should receive on his return. They’ve come up with various chants and taunts. I just hope it doesn’t get over the top. I’m not alone in this line of thinking, as some of the more well known fans of the Islanders have come out with similar sentiments over the last day or so.
Here’s a Tweet by Long Island’s Kevin Connolly:
And another by Ralph Macchio:
Even the former Calder Winning Islanders Defenseman Bryan Berard had this to say:
I would love if we could take the high road. I know there are a lot of people who are upset about this, and I was too – I mean I created The Isles Faithful Podcast because of John’s letter to fans. But after seeing what fans did against the Maple Leafs during the 2003 playoff series, I hope it doesn’t get to THAT level.
I’m not going to tell you all how to feel – that’s not how I roll. But try to be respectable. I do know the Islanders plan to honor his years on the Island with a tribute video as well, so there’s going to be lots of emotions on both sides of the ice tomorrow night.
I very much just want this all to be in the rearview, a blip in history that one day we can look back on and say – THIS was the moment that the Islanders as an organization turned the corner and got back to respectability. We’re certainly headed in the right direction there.
John Tavares was supposed to be the Islanders savior. Instead, his leaving may have done more for saving the franchise then his staying put. Funny how life works sometimes.
WINNING tomorrow is the best and most adequate response. As fans we just have to cheer the boys on and make the building as loud as possible for them.
The next step, playoffs. Winning heals all wounds after all.