We all know the history of the New York Islanders, but what if we know happened never actually did? What if Nystrom never scored that OT goal to clinch the first Cup? What if the Rangers had succeeded in their plan to financially make the Islanders existence untenable? What if the Fisherman sweaters had *gasp* been popular? The Darkest Timeline looks at these issues both important and ridiculous and asks the question; what if things had been different?
April 14th, 2009: The New York Islanders receive the 2nd overall pick in the NHL Draft Lottery, despite finishing dead last in the league standings. General Manager Garth Snow reportedly says, after receiving the news, “The results of this lottery just reaffirm our organization-wide commitment to making everything as difficult as possible for Islanders fans.”
June 26th, 2009: After months of speculation and rumors swirling around, the Islanders draft Swedish defenseman Victor Hedman with the second overall pick. In an attempt to make the new draftee feel comfortable, Garth Snow presents Hedman with an Islanders jersey and a used copy of the Bill Murray comedy classic Meatballs. Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Lightning select John Tavares of the London Knights with the first overall pick. Reports are spotty, but some sources confirm that as Tavares takes the stage, faint glimpses of a halo above his head are visible.
July 15th, 2009: Intense negotiations between the Islanders and Victor Hedman result in the inking of Hedman to an astonishing 30-year contract, while also guaranteeing any of Hedman’s offspring, legitimate or otherwise, will don the blue and orange of the Islanders. Says GM Garth Snow after the signing; “ We believed we have something special in Victor, and look forward to not only his career here on Long Island, but the mentorship and guidance he will provide to his children, and his children’s children as they enter the NHL.
Oct 3, 2009: The Islanders open their season against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Victor Hedman is nowhere to be found; sources close to the Hedman family indicate the defenseman was too busy watching Meatballs for the 123rd time to take the ice. Their morale crushed, the Islanders barely put up a fight and watch Sidney Crosby physically levitate during the 2nd period intermission, in addition to amassing 6 goals. Crosby retires immediately after the game to pursue a career in show business, leading #87 to the form the Alliance of Magicians. Few take them seriously.
April 8th, 2009: The Islanders finish their regular season by taking advantage of a floundering Pittsburgh Penguins, still shell shocked by the departure of Sidney Crosby. However, it is revealed shortly afterwards that multiple Islanders players have been indicted in a federal investigation of an undercover hockey gambling syndicate in which Islanders players provided information to bookies and intentionally tried to lose games; in particular a December contest against the Hurricanes in which several Islanders players’ wive took to the ice for their book club meeting to discuss A Million Little Fibers.
June 9th, 2010: John Tavares leads the Tampa Bay Lightning to the Stanley Cup Championship in 4 games over the Chicago Blackhawks. That feat puts a cap on a remarkable regular season in which Tavares won the Hart, Ross, Norris, Calder and Vezina trophies, and also defeated both Joey Chestnut and Takeru Kobayashi in the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island. The Lightning finished the season with a record of 81-1; their one loss coming when Tavares was a DNP due to saving the city of Metropolis from Brainiac. When asked about his absence, Tavares responds with; “Even God rested on the 7th day.”
June 10th, 2010: His mission now complete, John Tavares ascends into the heavens. Tampa Bay is left as a desolate wasteland, devoid of all life. The New York Islanders, unable to come to terms with Nassau County with regards to a new arena, announce they will be relocating to Former Tampa Bay come the start of the 2011 season.