1993. Let me think. Gas was probably a buck and a quarter. Monthly cable charges amounted to…ummm $20. The Canadiens played in the Forum. The Leafs and Bruins in their respective Gardens. We referred to the divisions as Patrick, Adams, Norris and Smythe. Minnesota had a team called the North Stars. Quebec still honored us with their presence in the league. Hartford jammed to Bob Marley and the Whalers; Winnipeg watched their Jets. Home teams wore white; road teams the colors. Patrick Roy minded the net for the Habs as they ruined the Great One’s debut in Hollywood (Who do you think Janet bet on?). As much as I hate to admit it, I wish the Canadiens would win three more Cups, so I wouldn’t have to hear Michael Kay brag about how the Yankees have won more chan’ships than any team in professional sports.
You know what else happened in 1993: The Islanders won a playoff series!!! Actually the Isles won two. They defeated the Capitals and Penguins before falling to Les Habitens four games to one. Holy Pat Flatley wore the big letter C on his sweater, and the Isles seemed ready to make another run at the Cup. Then Flats became injury-ridden and more than a decade and a half later Nassau Coliseum hasn’t added any more banners to the rafters.
Long, long gone are Bossy, Trots, Potvin, Billy Smith, Bobby Nystrom, and Clark Gillies. Butch Goring, Bob Bourne, Kenny Morrow, Stefan Persson, Tomas Jonsson, Brent and Duane Sutter only can linger on as nostalgia.
Here’s to the future with T. Nolan at the helm. Hopefully he can exorcise whatever demons put him on the NHL black list. Maybe DiPietro will mature and spend more time protecting the net from the puck and less time trying to stick handle the puck. Here’s hoping Miro Satan will play more often like he did in the third period of game 5. Here’s hopin’ Yashin will make like the tin man and find a heart. Here’s hopin’ Jeff Tambellini will start playing like his dad. And here’s to seeing more of Bergeron, Hunter and Blake. Lord knows we won’t see Hill for a while.
To the Sabres and all fans of the Sabres: Finish the Deal!!!! If the series with Isles did anything, it should have taught you how to win WITHOUT getting the odd-man advantage on a regular basis.