For the entirety of my hockey-viewing life, the Islanders have been an above-.500 franchise. Though it was touch-and-go for a while, they will remain so after this season.
The low point came December 16th, 2010, when the Islanders were in very real danger of falling to .500 if they lost to Anaheim that night. With me looking on, three first period goals and 30 saves from Rick DiPietro held off a Ducks comeback and some unpleasant history. The Isles won 3-2 and stayed a winning franchise.
Had they lost, it would have been the first time since 1978 that the Isles were .500 or below. It may not seem like a big deal to some, but I am proud of what this team has accomplished over the years. Though they play a big part, it's not only the Stanley Cup history that makes being a fan of this team worthwhile. Six division titles, 3 conference titles, 7 100+ point seasons, and the retired numbers all add to the lore.
So currently at 9 games above .500 (1311-1302-347-73) with 9 games remaining, we can be sure that at least in 2010-2011 the Isles will not dip into losing territory. And I take a measure of pride in that.
After flirting with the dark side of .500, I think things are about to take a very positive turn on Long Island. But that's a topic for another day and another post.
(Though this contained my original research, official team statistician Eric Hornick wrote an even more in-depth piece about the Isles' history of the .500 mark back in December. Please check out the incredibly detailed work on his own blog, Forever 1940).