"The Islanders are on the power play. And the bouncing puck. Moulson after it. Still loose, backhand, shot, score! JOHN TAVARES HAS HIS FIRST NHL GOAL!"
Ever since 7:05 p.m. on June 26, 2009, Islander fans have been waiting to hear that.
On a night where political tensions ran high, where paranoia was so thick and pronounced it could be cut with a knife, and where fans constantly wondered "whats next?", a 19 year old center gave 17, 000 in attendance a reason to believe again.
John Tavares, perhaps the most anticipated rookie in New York Islanders history, did something last night which nobody has been able to do since Shaun Bates in 2002: made me look down at the ice, raise my hands in euphoria, and be proud to be an Islander fan.
The sold out Coliseum was shaking, fans were chanting the phenom's name, and the good vibrations rang out around Islander country from Uniondale to Riverhead. However, there still was a feeling in the air that come 2015, moments like this could be a distant memory on Long Island.
Lighthouse Principle and Islanders owner Charles B. Wang held a press conference before the game last night to discuss the newly announced lease and the future of the project. It was clear that Wang is getting fed up with the Town of Hempstead and their games, as during his conference, he used words like "disgusted", "angry", and noted that "it's not like they (T.O.H.) are giving me many choices".
Newsday released information saying that the Town is now interested in meeting with Wang and his partner, Scott Rechler sometime this week to work on "scaling down the project". This has many fans skeptical, as this information came days before Wang's "date of certainty" (October 3rd), in which marks the start of a period in which he will listen to offers for the team. "If Murray was really serious," one fan last night told me, "why do you wait seven years to schedule a meeting to scale down the project?!"
It's this sentiment among fans and political pundits alike that creates the fear and paranoia in Islanders country. Could October 3, 2009 be the beginning of a glorious new future for the Islanders, or is it possible that that night will mark the beginning of the end of one of the most important parts of Long Island, the New York Islanders.
Only time will tell...