By John Rolfe
Sometimes it’s just plain awful to be a fan.
We’re not talking about the occasional emotional bump and bruise, the kind fans get from a devastating last-second loss or a disastrous season-ending injury — or even when they watch their favorite team bow out in the conference finals, one round shy of a shot at the Stanley Cup. We mean years of suffering at the hands of a club that almost seems to delight in tormenting those who freely give to it their hearts, minds, time and money.
This is the ninth in our series on the 10 NHL franchises that take an ongoing toll on their fans, the teams that suggest that their devoted followers are either bottomless wells of hope or certified masochists — or perhaps just a touch crazy. Today we look at the New York Islanders, the once proud dynasty that rose in the space of eight years from expansion doormat in 1972-73 to Stanley Cup juggernaut (1980-83; the Isles remain the last major North American pro sports franchise to win four league championships in a row) only to stagger through decades of mindboggling mismanagement, futility and humiliation.
Teams 10: Winnipeg Jets | 9: Dallas Stars | 8: Columbus Blue Jackets | 7: Vancouver Canucks
6: Florida Panthers | 5. Edmonton Oilers | 4. Washington Capitals | 3: Buffalo Sabres
1. Toronto Maple Leafs