A Sign of Things to Come
NEW YORK ISLANDERS: Hello Boys! Keep your dog off my grass, move your car on street cleaning day, and we'll be okay. And don't park in front of my driveway either! I won't tell you twice. Oh, and any of your tomatoes that grow on my side of the fence are mine. Otherwise, welcome to the neighborhood jackass. Don't forget what I said!
The time has come for me to reluctantly welcome Flatbush Avenue's latest professional sports franchise.
Don't get me wrong. I think this is great for Brooklyn. In that respect, I'm okay with them playing in my back yard. You know me, I'm Brooklyn first, and Brooklyn always.
As a fan, however, the irony of it all is still very conflicting for me.
I am a Rangers fan. Some of my best times came at the New York Islanders expense. The Rangers portion of this TROLLEY BLOG is named Raise Gresch With The Greats largely because of Ron Greschner's goal against the Islanders in the 1979 Eastern Conference finals.
After more than a decade of dysfunction since Greschner's goal, sweeping the Isles in the opening round of the 1994 Stanley Cup Playoffs was sweet as honey.
Back as a teen in the 1980's, I could not have disliked a franchise, or their players, more. I only ever developed a sports hatred for two local teams - the Yankees and Isles, and I hated the Islanders more.
That makes them my #1 nemesis, doesn't it?
Denis Potvin will still suck! I know why Rangers fans say it. I'm just not so sure less experienced Rangers fans know why they're chanting it.
I will indeed don my Rangers jersey, get on the train headed to Barclays, and cheer the Rangers against the Islanders. Count on it.
All that said, my regular Trolley Riderz know this blog threats them very fairly. I call it as I see it - right down the middle. In fact, I believe I've treated them even better than that, well in fact. The proof is a mere click away.
I'm older now, and more subdued. Trust me.
Nets and Islanders Back Together Again:
Unlike the Isles, I embraced the Nets with open arms.
The Knicks were the second team I ever learned to root for. I latched on during Clyde Frazier's final years with the club. I am a Knicks fan.
But, as with my situation with the Rangers, I can't stand ownership. Dolan has been maddeningly involved in Knicks matters since gaining control. He is completely hands off, however, when it involves the Rangers, and so most fan vitriol was deflected towards Glen Sather.
The Isiah Thomas era really drove me over the top, and so I mentally disconnected for a while, but not before Bruce Ratner revealed his plan to purchase the Nets and relocate them to Brooklyn.
The treatment of Donnie Walsh, and subsequent acquisition of Carmelo Anthony further continued driving a wedge between the Knicks and me. I made no secret of my dislike for Melo, and Melo Ball, and Melo's World. He and Dolan just became too much, leaving the door wide open for a Nets invasion.
I am a Nets fan, now. It's weird to say. Thing is, I never hated the Nets like I did the Islanders, and so, since the day news broke and for 10 long years until groundbreaking, I savored every moment of the process - protests included. But I proclaim my fandom, because I feel it. Ten years of anticipation conditioned me.
Timing is everything I guess.
I'm still a Knicks fan, just a bitter and spiteful one. So, yes, I have an unresolved conflict on my hands.
As an aside, I feel the Islanders and Nets should still be together in Long Island, the way it was back in the 1970's. It's nevertheless good to see the Nets and Islanders reunited under the same roof again.
If moving the Isles to Brooklyn keeps them in the area, then so be it. I'd rather that, than see them move to Seattle, Kansas City, or Canada.
Long Island hockey is too steeped in history to have it leave the metro area. At least this way, Long Islanders can retain their connection with the team, albeit via the LIRR. It's a necessary compromise.
So let it be done.
Come back for the TROLLEY renaming ceremony, when I'll retire Brooklyn's Foster Hockey Club, and give the Islanders an new TROLLEY identity.