What could have been
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10-30-2003, 12:01 PM
Join Date: Oct 2002
I think it's time to reset the stage to summer 2001.
Wang and Kumar's first year was in the books and the fans who brought the attendance based on new ownership were not going to run to the Coliseum to see the 30th ranked team in the NHL unless these people did something to turn things around immediately. Maybe Milbury also had to save his job but something had to be done to get some excitement around this team.
They made tough choices to get fans interested and avoid a league record of years out of the playoffs and traded some outstanding youth for some world-class star players. Milbury added Aucoin and Ozzie also. The Isles summer got a ton of positive publicity, they got a big bump in ticket sales and raced out to the best start in the teams history.
We all know what's happened since, but to simply say three years later that by now all these players would be leading the Islanders to elite status is just not fair, we do not know what would have happened, and it's fair to say the those signings combined with the start to 2001-02 brought in fans they might never have had and saved this franchise from going under, leases or not, as everyone was already tired of waiting for results.
What would Luongo have done here with a group of kids similar (in draft status) to what Florida has now? What would have happened with Connolly, Olli, Scatchard down the middle and Pyatt, Torres on the wings.
Were the moves perfect? No. There was a long-term price that the Isles will continue to pay with each Pyatt, Spezza and Heatley goal and like all organizations some poor decisions were made, but the team did stay in business and add a minor league affiliate and this ownership is now taking a huge hit because the fans do not believe in the teams direction or the ticket prices.
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