Greatness Awaits the New York Islanders

"Greatness is a road leading to the unknown." - Charles de Gaulle

Seven pre-season games...82 regular season games.  After six months of hockey, we are here tonight for the chance to do something special.  To be great.  To put the NHL on blast: "we are for real."

We lived and died with every goal...lived and died with every save made and goal post hit.  We've witnessed the highest of the highs and lowest of the lows.  We endured when most thought we'd fail.  

We've watched a superstar grow before our eyes.  We've stood and cheered in awe of his brilliance.  Nothing seemed impossible with number 91 on the ice.

We've seen the maturation of youngsters.  We've marveled as they've forced their way into leading roles on a playoff contender.  We all remember them being drafted and hoping they would help bring us to where we are today.

We finally benefitted from years of wise cap management.  We finally landed our defensive anchors.  We were finally able to hold onto those special players for the long haul.  We were finally a destination.

This isn't about "X's and O's."  This isn't about stopping a superstar in red on the other side of the ice.  This isn't about goaltender matchups, penalty kills, or coaches.  

It's about the blue and orange, the Coliseum, Long Island, the players and fans who have stuck by the team, through thick and thin.  It's about exorcising 22 years of demons in one spring season.  It's about restoring that pride that nearly evaporated these past two decades.  

Who will be our Bobby Nystrom?  Or Kenny Morrow?  Or David Volek?  Or Shawn Bates?  Who will live on in Islander lore for as long as we exist?

We're finally here tonight.  Game one of the marathon.  The prize?  Just the most iconic trophy in all of sports.  16 wins to greatness.  16 wins to immortality.

The journey is upon us.  Where it leads us?  We don't know.  But wherever it is, it's sure to be great.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter @mikepac23 for my Islander thoughts and follow @TCLIsles for Islanders news.