With so much NHL hockey crammed into a single market, one would hope that New York area fans would have a lot more fun. In recent years, the islands are the only bright spot.
39.5 miles ago'Elmont, NY, to Newark, and in that tiny lane of the United States exist three of the NHL ' s 32 teams: the Devils, Rangers and Islanders, who will soon be moving to Elmont from their creaky Long Island home in Uniondale.
With this hockey glut - nearly 10 percent of the NHL - the New York metro area should be hockey crazy. But hockey, the Big Apple and the surrounding area have had a problematic relationship at times, and that has been one of those times.
The Rangers? They have missed the playoffs three of the past four years. They last won the Stanley Cup in 1994, ending a 54-year drought and drowning those nasty Islander fans who chanted "1940!" To commemorate the previous Ranger Championship.
Les Diables? Their legacy is in the rearview mirror, having failedif to qualify for the playoffs in eight of the past nine years after losing the 2012 final, and having suffered three consecutive losing seasons. It's a hell of a downhill for a team that won three Stanley Cups, the last of the 2002-3 season.
The Islanders? Not bad. A playoff team from the last three seasons, and still holding an impressive record: they are the last major North American sports team to win four consecutive championships, which they crowned in the 1982-83 season. Image The last time two New York-area teams met in the playoffs was in 2012. The Devils beat the Rangers in the conference final, but lost in the the Cup against thees Kings of Los Angeles. Credit ... Jason Szenes pour le Hfrance.fr
What also made this record even more special is that , 10 years earlier, when they were founded, they compiled the most losses of any NHL team in history.
Now it There's a vast wasteland of broken sticks, dirty towels, and unsharpened skates stretching from Long Island to Midtown Manhattan in New Jersey. Take the devils. During their current nine-year frustration, their home fans have seen them win barely half of their games - around 55%. Not much better across the Hudson, where the Rangers have given Madison Square Garden fans a win 55% of the time in the past four years.
But the Islanders have done exceptionally well at home for the past three years in the playoffs, capturing 71% of their games. It could take them a while to move this season, however - they're playing their first 13 games on the road and won't be in their new arena until the end of November. The Islands are a fairly good team on the road, having captured around 55 percent of their away games in the past three years. They could end the season. strong, since 41 of their last 69 games are at home and their fans have already purchased 15,000 subions. Image The Islanders celebrated their fourth straight Stanley Cup with a parade in 1983. About 80 000 people lined up on the course. Credit ... Barton Silverman / The Hfrance.fr
It must be weird to feel like a team from New York or New Jersey and get booed in your own bailiwick, which happens when this trio visit each other. When the Islanders were formed in 1972 and the Rangers visited them at the Colosseum, the Rangers roar was louder. One for the Islands. After all, Long Island hockey fans had grown up as followers. of the Rangers. Now, of course, Islanders fans can't stand the Rangers anymore. The idea of being booed not far from where you are playing is unusual. One cannot imagine, say, that the Bruins get booed if they make their way to Wellesley, 16 miles from Boston.
How does it feel to play for all three teams? Eleven players can claim this, and Jgoalkeeper ohn Vanbiesbrouck was the best by far.
"It 's strange, it ' s for sure ", said Vanbiesbrouck , 58, when asked if he was a visiting player a few kilometers from his home port. "Each team behaved differently.
He recalled the differences between arenas - the Nassau Coliseum was "a difficult place to play , a very noisy crowd. The Devils didn 't have a large number of anti-Ranger fans. "
Vanbiesbrouck, winner of the Vezina trophy in 1986 as As the league's top goaltender when he was with the Rangers, is now assistant general manager in charge of world affairs for USA Hockey. Most of his career has been spent with the Rangers - nine full seasons from 1983. He then played for the Florida Panthers and the Philadelphia Flyers beforeto return to New York - this time for the Islanders in 2001. Later in the season he was traded to the Devils, who he played for an additional year.
" I would say the Devils and Islanders definitely have a rivalry with the Rangers but not so much with each other, "he said." The rivalries are based on the playoffs, and the Rangers have had some epic battles in playoffs with both teams. "
The Rangers continue their quest for stability today: Gerard Gallant will be their 11th coach since winning the Stanley Cup in 1994.
The Devils have seen even more upheaval: Lindy Ruff, who took over last season, is the club's 14th coach since his victory in the Cup in 2003. His curriculum vitae is however impressive.
And the Islanders ? Although they keep changing owners, they have been the most stable franchise of the three in terms of both head coach and on-ice development. Barry Trotz has been behind the bench for three seasons - the 16th coach since the team 's last championship in 1983 (Al Arbor, their cup winning coach died 2015 , returned twice). Image Mart à Brodeur lifts the Stanley Cup after the Devils beat the Dallas Stars in 2000. New Jersey won it again in 2003, but not since. Credit ... Chang W. Lee / The Hfrance.fr
Hockey in the New York Region remains in flux now that the Islanders, who fled to Brooklyn, are back in Long Island and will soon be in their new home. 'got the creators of these three teams to simply name their hockey clubs. Let's face it, naming a hockey team in the New York metro area doesn't come as naturally as, say, naming the team. from Toronto the Maple Leafs, or Montreal the Canadiens, or Vancouver the Canucks. The Calgary Flames? Well they actually started life in Atlanta and just kept the nickname, Calgary having nothing to do with it. 'Atlanta fire during the Civil War.
The Devils were actually the Colorado Rockies, a nomadic team who never arrivedwas not going to draw fans to their hometown of Kansas City, Missouri, or their adopted country in the West. When they were planning to move to New Jersey, the name question arose. There is a legendary creature that supposedly lives in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey called the Jersey Devil. This name was proposed, but Devils ownership feared the Catholic Church would object and the idea was scrapped - for a while. A statewide vote was called with a total of 11 names to be taken (including "Patriots"). In the end, the Devils got the most votes.
As for the Rangers, the boxing promoter and Madison Square Garden butler in the 1920s was a guy named Tex Rickard. The newly formed hockey team therefore became the Tex Rangers.
The Islanders? The owners wanted the name" New York ". Everyone wants to beat a New York team, they explained. In addition, it offers integrated marketing. The people and politicians of Nassau County wanted “Long Island” - after all, they were building an arena for them. Finally, as a nod to Long Island, they became New York Islanders, retaining the recognition of the big city as well as the connection to Long Island.
Now, at the end of November, they will return to Long Island again when their arena is ready. Fans are likely to greet them warmly, not like frustrated Rangers fans treated their heroes in the doldrums of the early 1960s, when one player said of the boos and noise from his suburban home: "Playing at Madison Square Garden is like playing a game on the road.
The irony of playing around the Big Apple for kids h playersHockey is that even when they're near home, they're on the go. Image Fans enjoy the rivalry as the Devils and Rangers play in an NHL preseason game earlier this this month. Credit ... Ed Mulholland / USA Today Sports, via Reuters