As their 50th anniversary season celebration continues, the New York Islanders are recalling all the amazing moments that have happened since their inaugural season in 1972. With four Stanley Cup championships and dozens of stars to have worn the blue and orange, there is no shortage of wonderful memories. But how about the not-so-wonderful ones? Don’t we all need to spend a little time getting knocked on our butts to truly appreciate our times in the sun?
Thus, here are the 10 worst moments in the Islanders’ 50-year history:
10 – First Islanders vs. Rangers Game, Coliseum, Oct. 21, 1972
The reason this game is on this list? The sellout crowd that night had to be in the neighborhood of 80 percent New York Rangers fans. If you had closed your eyes when the visitors scored the winner with about 13 minutes to go in the third, you’d have bet the house you were at the Garden. As a 12-year-old kid with my Billy Harris jersey on, it was a rude awakening to the mountain Isles fans had to climb to be heard in this rivalry. They eventually got there, but that night in Nassau was a rough start, and the team’s 12-60-6 record that season didn’t help.
9 – Dale Hunter Cheap Shots Pierre Turgeon
The 1992-93 season was a good one for the Islanders. It could have been a great one if not for one of the worst cheap shots in NHL history. In the deciding Game 6 of the Islanders’ opening-round series against the Washington Capitals at the Coliseum, Pierre Turgeon had just scored a third-period goal to give his team a 5-1 lead with less than 10 minutes to go, all but clinching the series for the Isles.
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During his goal celebration, Dale Hunter blindsided Turgeon with a vicious hit to the boards that separated his shoulder and knocked the team’s best player out of the playoffs. The fact that they faced the eventual Stanley Cup champion Montreal Canadiens in the semifinals in a tough five-game series, left everyone wondering what might have been.
8 – Poor Ziggy Palffy
Okay, this wasn’t a “moment” but a period of time, but the Ziggy Palffy era was most certainly among the Isles’ worst memories. The most underrated superstar in team history, the former first-round pick dazzled in front of thousands of empty seats from 1994 to 1999. That he somehow managed to put up 168 goals and 331 points in just 331 games, surrounded by minor-league talent, was Herculean.
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