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Denis Potvin saddened by Isles’ relocation

Oct 24, 2012, 11:01 PM EDT

Former New York Islanders legend Denis Potvin carries the Stanley Cup' before the game against the Florida Panthers at the Nassau Coliseum March 2, 2008 in Uniondale, New York. The Islanders are celebrating the 17 men that were part of all four Stanley Cup winning teams from 1980-1983.
(March 2, 2008 - Source: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images Sport) Getty Images

Hall of Famer Denis Potvin was surprised by the Islanders’ decision to relocate to Brooklyn in 2015-16.

“Even though my relationship with the Islanders is very minimal, I was a big supporter of them trying to get the vote for (a new arena to replace Nassau) and keep the team in Uniondale,” Potvin told The Hockey News.

“But one thing about Mr. Wang, he likes a lot of control and obviously he’s not willing to give up the franchise, which is a good thing for continuity. Maybe they can better position themselves to be competitive in that building. That’s the best I can hope for.”

Potvin admitted that “the more I think about this, the more it makes me sad.”

He spent his entire career with the Islanders and was a huge part of their run of four straight Stanley Cup championships from 1980 through 1983. Potvin was the team’s captain during their glory years and still ranks third on the team in career points despite spending his career as a defenseman.

The Islanders have fallen on hard times recently and haven’t made the playoffs since 2007. Still, with a young core that’s led by John Tavares and includes prospects like Nino Niederreiter, Ryan Strome, and Griffin Reinhart, the Islanders might experience a resurgence in the coming years.

  1. bcisleman - Oct 24, 2012 at 11:14 PM

    I’ve followed sports–including hockey–for nearly a half century and The Captain is my favorite all time athlete in any sport. I sympathize with his desire to see the team stay where so much history was made by him and the other Dynasty Isles.

    That said, Denis has to realize that Wang–notwithstanding his mistakes in keeping Milbury and giving RDP The Contract–saved this team. Moreover, he did everything he reasonably could to keep the Isles in Uniondale. It just wasn’t in the cards. If the Isles had anyone else as an owner, they would have been sold out of NY years ago. Wang deserves a lot of credit.

  2. bjbeliever - Oct 25, 2012 at 12:11 AM

    not at all the feeling of the interview – Potvin was excited for a young, talented team to get a new arena

  3. badintent - Oct 25, 2012 at 12:23 AM

    Only games that will sell out will be the Ranger and Boston games, all the Rangers and Bruin fans that will go off watching their team’s smackdown of the Islanders.No Brooklyn hockey fans to speak off, only Brooklyn white fans in 30 mile radius are some Saturday Night Fever punks. Islanders better get Poussard from Montreal to bring in the brothers. Jay-Z not gonna be in his box for this train wreak . Does Cam skate ? Can we get the circus instead of these hockey clowns. ??

  4. truwarier90 - Oct 25, 2012 at 12:50 AM

    Whats up with the racist overtones? You can’t come correct with some intelligent dialogue, so you resort to that nonsense. Brooklyn has plenty of black and white fans. Brooklyn will be the next mecca of hockey and will hoist the stanley cup.

    BTW….ITS SUBBAN, and he lives the life you wish you had.


    • badintent - Oct 25, 2012 at 5:52 PM

      I already did the East side Midtown Manhattan and North Shore LI.( saw 4 cups in person) Been there, done that.The Italian Brooklyn grease balls are as bad or worse than the black non-hockey fans, ever go to a pro sporting event in NYC ? All the street ticket scalpers are Bensonhurst.
      Islanders Suck so long, so bad, Wang surrounded himself with yes men. No one in Nassau or Suffolk county wants to drive another 1 hour to that sh*t hole area.
      Ask theO’ Malley family why they pulled the Dodgers 3000 miles away.
      Thanks for the spell check , you get a Nathan Dog.

  5. blomfeld - Oct 25, 2012 at 1:23 AM

    “All things eventually have to pass” …

    Like many others, I also never particularly cared for the Islanders back then … but man were they ever “good” and Potvin was no small part of that glorious success. Wang probably means well and there’s no doubt that he cares. Nonetheless, it always hurts when you see a part of you leave forever. Take care Denis and treasure the golden memories which are yours forever … and God speed to the Islander organization and their fans …

  6. tmoore4075 - Oct 25, 2012 at 8:46 AM

    It’s not a relocation they are moving down the road. The Coyotes didn’t relocate to Glendale and the Panthers didn’t relocate to Sunrise. As said above Wang did what he had to do to keep the team in NY. It made a lot more sense to go to Brooklyn than to try and build your own place. Wang tried to keep the team in Uniondale but politics got in the way. Now they get to share a building with an NBA team which is a good deal. And as also mentioned above another owner might have taken the offer from outside NY. Most likely Seattle and Quebec were calling. A lot better to be in Brooklyn than Seattle if you’re an Isles fan.

  7. mcbratz1187 - Oct 25, 2012 at 11:10 AM


    • sdelmonte - Oct 25, 2012 at 8:56 PM


  8. kappy32 - Oct 25, 2012 at 2:05 PM

    People forget that the Islanders were the last, true NHL Dynasty. Many argue that they are the last true American Sports Dynasty (I say the Patriots of the NFL are). They’ve been down for a while, but they’ll be back. I live in Suffolk County, the County that encompasses the eastern part of Long Island. I follow politics just as closely as sports & I can tell you that Nassau County is in financial distress, with almost a $200 million budget gap. As it stands, Nassau receives a large amount of tax revenue from Nassau Coliseum & the Islanders. Once their gone, Nassau County residents will miss them once their property tax rates increase in order to off-set the Isles’ loss. Residents had the chance to keep them here, but they pulled the typical NIMBY (Not in My Backyard) BS & voted down a ballot referendum to keep them here with a new sports, business & retail complex called “The Lighthouse Project.” Not only would the project have kept the Islanders on the Island, but it would’ve created hundreds, if not thousands of jobs through the construction of the complex and subsequent operation of the complex & all it’s entities. It’s a damn shame they’re leaving, but I manage to find my way to NJ for NY Giants games & Queens for NY Mets games; I’ll find my way to Brooklyn for Islanders’ games. I just wish they would’ve called Suffolk’s County Executive to discuss a sports complex out east with all of the open space in Calverton.

    • badintent - Oct 25, 2012 at 6:00 PM

      Calverton is a national Military cemetery. It has veterans from many wars and conflicts. The peaceful area that surrounds it should remain for the families that come to pay their respects to those that gave their lives for their country and us. My father is buried there. We don’t need more shopping malls and drunk sport fans near a place of hallow ground.
      They could have built it in East Rockaway, lots of land there, thanks to all the houses that were burned down when the projects were built there.

      • blomfeld - Oct 26, 2012 at 12:02 AM

        God bless you friend …

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