New York Islanders fans have had to wait a long time to dream about having a team that could potentially win the Stanley Cup.
The Islanders reached the semi-finals of the play-offs last season and are well placed to repeat the trick this time around.
However, you have to go back to the early 1980s to find the last time they lifted the prestigious trophy, with the team achieving the feat on four successive occasions.
The road to the Stanley Cup is undoubtedly one of the toughest tests in sport, placing unique demands on coaches, players and fans.
Islanders legend Bobby Nystrom was a key part of the team’s success in the 80s and knows better than most just what it takes to lift the prestigious trophy.
Under the guidance of head coach Al Arbour, the Islanders had previously suffered heartbreak in the play-offs before finally getting the job done.
In a recent interview with Betway Insider, the former Islanders star admitted that tweaking the roster rather than undergoing a complete overhaul was the key to their success.
“When we lost in ’79 to the Rangers, I thought for sure they were going to change a lot of people on the team,” said Nystrom.
“I have to compliment (general manager) Bill Torrey and Al Arbour for being patient and when they picked up Butch (Goring) and Kenny (Morrow), that made a big difference.
“All the guys came together really, really well. We went out together at night, you know. We had a good group.”
The current crop of Islanders bears some of the hallmarks of the 80s incarnation, with the core of last year’s squad remaining with the club last summer.
Their defeat against Tampa Bay Lightning was tough to take, but Nystrom believes those type of experiences can be the catalyst for future success.
“No question about it – when you really come right down to it, it’s such an education,” added Nystrom.
“Once you experience what you go through in all of those series, all of a sudden you’re not shaking.
“Al would always say: ‘Don’t be afraid to lose, the sun will come up in the morning’.
“Would you rather be the person that’s out there on his toes attacking, attacking, or the guy sitting back on the bench worrying about making a mistake?
“So, we learned a lot from him, but we learned a lot from each other also.”
The Islanders are currently tied at 1-1 with Boston Bruins in their play-off series, but with two home games to come they will fancy their chances of progressing to the last four.
Backing from their passionate fans will be a major boost to the Islanders, just as it proved to be when Nystrom was competing for the Stanley Cup.
“We played in an area that is just fantastic,” he said. “The fans were absolutely for us and they supported us. It was just amazing.
“So we have to give them credit, too. Even after we won, I can’t remember a night where I had to go buy myself a drink. They’d buy you drinks and dinner. It was just fantastic.”