John Tonelli recently spoke with Phil Esposito and mentioned that he feels really bad for the players on the island, hinting that the atmosphere was less than positive. This sentiment seems to be pervasive (or at least it seems to be for outsiders) since the recent snubbings from Ehrhoff and Hamuis, and constant drubbings we get from the media (cough, Toronto, cough). I admit that I was more of a pessimist until recently, embarrassed by the Nordique invasion and the inordinate amount of visiting fans at many of our games.
But I am an Islander fan through and through and even have hope for a playoff run, dying for another Shawn Bates moment. Watching that video is part of why drinking the kool aid isn't such a bad idea, the ESPN announcers said it: "you are almost left totally speechless when you are in this building." The barn shakes when we fill it, and all it takes is a first round playoff bid to do it. Frankly our core now is far more exciting to watch then the Peca-Yashin team of yore. And that's my point: those of us who watch this team frequently and, more importantly, those who play for this team, know to look past the political boondoggle that is the NVMC and the Rolstonesque cap moves that help keep this team economical. This team is dynamic and exciting at its best and the players here seem to know that.
So...what will it take to convince Suter and the like to see what we see? Does this team have to rely on much longer process, rebuilding solely from within? Will this more lengthy and frustrating process work to keep fans away and politicians more reluctant to keep the isles safe and sound in Nassau?