September 8, 2011

Isles to Induct Four to Hall of Fame for 40th Anniversary

The Islanders announced on Thursday their intention to induct four players - one from each decade of their 40 year existence - at upcoming games this season.

The first Captain and goal scorer in Islanders history, Ed Westfall will have his ceremony on November 19th against the Boston Bruins as the rep for the 1970's. The 1980's rep is former defenseman and current Pro Scouting Director Ken Morrow, who will be honored on December 31st against who else, but the Edmonton Oilers. The 1990's rep is Pat Flatley and he'll be honored on January 14th against the Buffalo Sabres, while Kenny Jonsson rounds out the group, representing the 2000's on February 11th against the Los Angeles Kings.

The Isles hadn't had any new inductions since Bob Bourne was installed into their Hall of Fame back in 2007. It's a nice touch to do this and try and hit on each decade while planning it around some teams that had significant meanings going against the Isles in those decades. In all honesty, it would not have made sense to put Morrow's night on any other aside from the game against the Edmonton Oilers.

Sean probably knows more about the 90's than I would, seeing as I was more of what you would call a casual fan back then. But I know the 2000's intimately, and grew up for much of my childhood life only knowing of an Islander defense that included Jonsson. To say he was always under appreciated is an understatement, and that includes myself.

It wasn't until I had a better understanding of the game when I appreciated more of what Jonsson had to offer. This was obviously magnified after the lockout ended and the Isles have had problems constructing a competent defense since.

Are there other players who are more deserving? Absolutely, but I think for what they were trying to accomplish, it's a nice touch. None of these guys may have been the flashiest, but they absolutely were unsung heroes of their decades. Do I think it was a stretch trying to include someone like Jonsson? Yes and no. I think for the 2000's, he's a good choice - was a big part of the rebirth and as I mentioned, relatively under appreciated. In all honesty, there weren't many others you could make a case for. Times were lean for so long, and Jonsson came along and remained for a few years before things really got going again. He may not have been able to handle the captaincy, but I respect that he tried and then knowing his limitations, ultimately handed it off but still did his job more than adequately.

In any event, a good move by the Islanders to honor some good players from the past, and cover each decade so as to reach out to all generations of Isles fans.

More to come soon regarding noteworthy items from the summer, and some thoughts on the plane crash that took out all of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. I've been working on a piece, but due to some family issues have not completed it. Just bear with me.


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