On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of his birth, a look back at the dynasty of the islanders
“Dynasty” is a word that comes up all too often in North American sports when a team wins multiple championships in quick succession.
We saw the word thrown around with the New England Patriots with their six Super Bowl titles in 20 years while dominating one of football’s weakest divisions.
We saw it with the San Francisco Giants winning three titles from 2010 to 2014.
We saw it with the Chicago Blackhawks and their three Stanley Cups from 2010 to 2015.
Although these are dominant races, it is difficult to call them dynasties.
Now the New York Yankees won four World Series titles in five years from 1996 to 2000? It’s quite dynamic.
Did the Chicago Bulls score a pair of hat-tricks to dominate the NBA in the 1990s? It is also a dynasty.
Sure, you can make the case for the Edmonton Oilers, who have won five Stanley Cups in seven years, though no more than two in succession.
But the last true North American sports dynasty belongs to a team widely considered secondary by the sports world – and even by the hockey community.
Forty years ago from Sunday, the New York Islanders’ incredible four-game Stanley Cup title streak began in its most spectacular fashion, when Bobby Nystrom scored the series-winning goal in overtime of the Game 6 of the 1980 Finals against the Philadelphia Flyers. at the Nassau Coliseum.
One of the NHL’s most famous goals sparked a run the hockey world had never seen and hasn’t been replicated in any sport since.
After beating the Flyers in 1980, the Islanders took on the Minnesota North Stars in five games in the 1981 Finals before sweeping the Vancouver Canucks in 1982 and the Edmonton Oilers in 1983 for a 16-game record. 3 in Stanley Cup Finals games during this streak. .
Behind a core of Mike Bossy, Denis Potvin, Bryan Trottier, Clark Gillies, Nystrom, John Tonelli, Butch Goring, Bob Bourne and Billy Smith, the Islanders won 16 straight playoffs during their four-year championship and three more before their fifth consecutive Stanley Cup appearance in 1984 when they were defeated by those same Oilers, led by a certain Gretzky.
No North American team has won four straight championships in their sport since and those 19 straight playoff wins are also a North American record.
Yet these Islanders teams are often far from the conversation of the NHL’s greatest teams – a byproduct of being a team in the United States with such success in a sport where pearl-hungry Canadians relentlessly insist on the fact that they are the lords of the Game.
It also didn’t help that their dynasty was sandwiched between the Montreal Canadiens’ four consecutive Cups from 1976 to 1979 and the Oilers’ five-Cup streak in seven years – two Canadian teams.
While Montreal has also won four consecutive Cups, they have played four fewer playoff series than the Islanders during their dynasty.
At the NHL’s 100th anniversary celebrations last year, these Islanders, Canadiens and Oilers teams were represented in the league top 10 teams of all time.
The Canadians had two of their four Cup-winning teams on the roster.
The Oilers had four of their five Cup-winning teams on the roster.
The Islanders had one, the team that swept the Oilers in the 1983 Finals.
It’s the kind of disrespect that has become commonplace with the Islanders organization since those glory days — a notion that new owner, president Lou Lamoriello, and head coach Barry Trotz are trying to overturn.
For now, however, particularly this Memorial Day weekend, the Long Island and New York faction of hockey fans will revel in the ruby anniversary of the birth of what they believe to be the last great dynasty. North American sports.
“Nineteen [playoff series] wins in a row. Nobody says it. I never see it… But no one gives us credit for it. Nineteen,” Bourne said NHL.com. “That’s what I’m very proud of. No one in this world, in any sport, will ever beat 19 in a row. Person. It’s impossible. And we did.
And that will probably never happen either.