|Ziggy is a folk-legend around LI.|
Each player inducted has received his own plaque, to go along with his name being stitched on the Islanders Hall of Fame banner hanging in the rafters. Along with the players and personnel that have also had their numbers raised to the Coliseum rafters (Arbour, Bossy, Gillies, Nystrom, Potvin, Smith, Torrey, Trottier), Bob Bourne, Ed Westfall, Ken Morrow, Patrick Flatley and Kenny Jonsson have all been honored as one of the all-time greats to don an Islanders' sweater.
Yesterday, Zigmund Palffy's retirement sent Islanders Country into a deep nostalgia. As one book closed, Islanders fans took a real trip down memory lane, reminding us all of how popular a player was to the Islanders' community, sparking some feelings that he, too, should have his own plaque and have his name stitched into Islanders history. After all, while not every player can have their number retired, some players created a lasting impact on Islanders' fans, which has survived in "folk legend" form years after their departure.
As with any Hall of Fame, you can debate who merits election, who should go first, etc. Today at Islanders Op-Timism, I give you a few candidates that I deem worthy honorees of an Islanders Hall of Fame induction.
Palffy was once the only beacon of hope on Long Island. He was the light in the lighthouse that the Islanders wore not-so-proudly on their shoulders during the Fisherman Era. Because of the record-low attendance, the terrible teams Palffy played for and [as Lighthouse Hockey pointed out] the lack of Internet streaming, Ziggy is comparable to a folk legend - one who's story will only be passed down from the mouths of those who watched him stand-out like a stain on a white shirt.
Even after 14 years without Zigmund Palffy, Islanders' fans never forgot his name. They never forgot Palffy's offensive ability, which had him up there statistically with Jaromir Jagr, Wayne Gretzky, Peter Forsberg, among other all-time greats, throughout his short tenure as an Islander. They never got to see another player as explosive as Palffy, who remains as one of two Islanders' players to score 40 goals and 80 points in the past 15 years (Palffy had three consecutive 40-goal, 80+ point seasons in New York). Judging by the unusual feature of his retirement on the Islanders' official website, I think it's safe-to-say that the organization hasn't forgotten their former 26th-overall pick (168 goals and 331 points in 331 games) either.
Despite playing fewer than half of his career games on Long Island, Palffy will always be remembered as one of the all-time greatest talents to don the Isles crest (definitely the fisherman), and should be enshrined in the Islanders Hall of Fame.
We all know this story all too well, and it's still upsetting to this very day. Arguably the Islanders' most popular player in the 1980s, Pat Lafontaine currently sits 6th on the Islanders all-time points list. Lafontaine was arguably the Islanders best-player during his tenure here, but not a mention of him can be found. As a matter of fact, the last time we saw a real connection between the Islanders and Lafontaine was in 2006, when the Islanders hired him as Senior Advisor, then Lafontaine resigned 40 days later, after he disagreed with the decision to fire Neil Smith six weeks after Smith began his job as General Manager.
Lafontaine hasn't stepped foot in the Nassau Coliseum since being denied credentials to a 2008 game against the Anaheim Ducks.
Despite continuing to be a fixture on Long Island, Lafontaine has remained ignored by the Islanders' organization, One can only hope that Charles Wang, the one holding this grudge, can move past it and enshrine Lafontaine into the Islanders' Hall of Fame.
Perhaps the best player on the Islanders' Dynasty teams to not have his number retired, John Tonelli was one of the few players just as comfortable chasing the puck as he was digging for it in the corners.
The two-time All-Star won four Stanley Cups with the New York Islanders. He also sits 7th on the Islanders all-time points list with 544 career points. For his career, he was a +216.
John Tonelli made the biggest pass in Islanders history to Bobby Nystrom that won the team's first ever Islanders Stanley Cup, and he kept kept the Islanders dynasty alive in 1982, tallying one assist and adding two goals, including the overtime winner, after trailing with five minutes to go in the series deciding game. No, Tonelli should not be forgotten in Islanders Country. He should be inducted into the Islanders Hall of Fame.
He only played four seasons on Long Island, amassing 255 games, but Pierre Turgeon was one of the most talented and well-liked players in Islanders history. Without a doubt, Turgeon played his best hockey over his 1,295-game career during his stop on Long Island, where he recorded one season of 132 points.
As a member of the Islanders, Turgeon scored 340 points in 255 games, the only Islanders' player in the franchise's top-20 scoring leaders to play fewer than 331 games (Zigmund Palffy, who scored 331 points). Turgeon's time on Long Island was even shorter than "folk legend" Zigmund Palffy's, but those who saw him play will never forget the talent he brought to the Nassau Coliseum on a nightly basis.
Turgeon should be a member of the Islanders' Hall of Fame.
|Pilon never looked as mean as he was.|
Pilon is second in franchise history with 1.525 penalty minutes, taking on all comers in fisticuffs, while playing a respectably solid game in his own zone. Sure, it was a different game back then. Players could take another player's head off with little issue, but that was Pilon's game - as mean as mean got.
The Islanders will always remember Rich Pilon as an all passion and heart player.....and for this video He should be in the Islanders Hall of Fame.
Again, we can debate who belongs forever. I'm sure there were others that I forgot (I was debating with putting Shawn Bates and Claude Lapointe on this list, for example), but I would really love to hear your input. Is there anybody else you think deserves the honor of being enshrined in the Islanders Hall of Fame?
I'm Chris Triants, and this is my blog.
Let's go Islanders!