Monday, 20 October 2008

The Perfect Storm

Today, we're going to perform a little history lesson on Hockey Blog In Canada. As you may have read throughout the various articles I've posted on here, I am a fan of the New York Islanders' controversial Fisherman jersey. I always was a fan of the jersey, despite me hating the team thoroughly since David Volek wired a slapshot past Tom Barrasso in the Patrick Division Final of the 1993 Stanley Cup Playoffs, thus ending the Penguins' chance at becoming the first back-to-back-to-back Stanley Cup winners since the Oilers of the 1980s. However, when the Islanders introduced those sea-sickness jerseys, I instantly gained an iota of respect for them. It takes some nerve to wear something that ugly.

Thanks to Paul Lukas of Uni Watch Blog, he pointed me in the direction of Chris Botta. Mr. Botta writes a blog entitled NYI Point Blank. Mr. Botta was the team's former longtime media relations Vice President, and he went through the Fisherman years in his position. It's from this perspective that he wrote an article on his blog on Sunday that sums up exactly why the Fisherman jerseys were "a disaster".

To read Mr. Botta's article, please click here. Personally, it's a very well-written article, and it explains a lot of the reasons why the Islanders scrapped the Fisherman jersey. I mean, when Mike Milbury looks like a deer in headlights at a press conference, you know you have trouble.

Wait, didn't he always look like that when trading away guys like Wade Redden, Olli Jokinen, Roberto Luongo, Wendel Clark, Todd Bertuzzi, Jason Spezza, Zdeno Chara, Zigmund Palffy, Eric Brewer, and Chris Osgood? And because of his mismanagement with Luongo, was forced to draft Rick DiPietro over Dany Heatley? Ouch.

Again, I understand the outrage that people had when the Islanders introduced this new jersey and logo. The Islanders had been extremely successful in their franchise's short history in winning four Stanley Cups. Guys like Mike Bossy, Denis Potvin, Butch Goring, Bryan Trottier, Clark Gillies, Billy Smith, and Pat Lafontaine wore the traditional Islanders colours, and those colours were a point of pride for Islanders fans.

I just can't hate the Islanders for wearing the Fisherman. They were years, even decades, ahead of their time. As a radical change, they would have been phenomenal alternate jerseys in my opinion. Much like what Edmonton did with their former alternate jersey in making it significantly different from their normal jersey, the Islanders could have done the same with the Fisherman. The dramatic change of swapping out the traditional with something completely different is a huge impact on the fanbase, and the jersey introduction should have been done slowly.

I'm never going to say that I hate the Fisherman. I don't. It's a phenomenal jersey. But to have people say that they hate it specifically because it is different is irrational. It's a part of your history, Islander fans. Love it. Embrace it. Commit to the Fisherman, Islander fans.

It's not as bad as you once thought it was. I guarantee it. And Mr. Botta, you have nothing to be embarrassed about. It was a dark period of the Islanders' history, but the jerseys alone were not the reason why the Islanders plunged into darkness. The jerseys sparked more debate about the Islanders over the two years that the Fisherman was around than anything else that the Islanders have done in recent memory.

And the worst part about being talked about is not being talked about.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

1 comment:

The Dark Ranger said...

We at the GARDEN should replace our twenty year old "Potvin Sucks" chant with "Fisherman Rocks!" That'll get to them every time. Thanks Teebz.