Islanders legend Denis Potvin stoked for team’s new home

The Islanders are nearing the completion of their new home at UBS Arena, and one of the team’s icons couldn’t help but contain his excitement.

Denis Potvin, the franchise’s captain during the dynasty years and a Hockey Hall of Famer, was a guest on the Talking Isles podcast when he was asked about the building as the next chapter for the organization.

“It was unreal,” he said at the end of a 40-plus minute interview. “It was terrific.”

Potvin acknowledged he took a tour of the new facility when he and several other of the franchise’s alumni were back on Long Island during the Islanders’ run in the playoffs. He even noted that the guide pointed out why the seats in the first row are a certain level above the penalty box. Which Potvin was told was purposely constructed that way so that there would be no obstructed view of the ice and be as close as possible. Isles fans might take that as a jab at another previous home that had those difficulties (cough, cough, Barclays Center).

Another element Potvin enjoyed was being told how the building’s outlook has been made to keep the noise. As the first face of the franchise, he knows a thing or two about how loud it was during the Coliseum’s heyday and how much it played a role in the team’s success.

“You know how the Barn ‘Fort Neverlose’…it would just rock,” Potvin said. What they did was measure the space between the ice and the top of the ceiling. Apparently, the Coliseum is 92 feet. UBS Arena is going to be 93 feet. So they have tried to get everything that makes the Coliseum such a great building to play in  and bring all of that to UBS. I was just super impressed.”

Potvin went on to praise owners Jon Ledecky for how much of the fan-input went into the thought process of how the arena was shaped. Beyond that, he gave a ringing endorsement to Ledecky and Scott Malkin for the job they’ve done in bringing back the alumni from the organization like no one ever has before.

“That makes us all quite grateful to be a part of the growth of the team.”

You can listen to the full interview with Potvin here:

While Potvin, a former captain of the team, wasn’t a physical specimen back during his playing days, the Islanders’ current captain, Andres Lee, most is.

We’ve all gotten know that Lee’s absurd-looking legs have become a popular topic among the fanbase, but now other NHLers are in complete awe of just how freakish they are.

Lee had his season end this past year with an unfortunate ACL injury, but based on the clip above, it looks like those tree trunks that are his legs are in top shape and he’ll be ready to go come training camp next month.



Is it time to retire the “Potvin Sucks” chant from the Islanders-Rangers rivalry?

For the last 42 years, there’s been a chant that has brought together and divided Islanders and Rangers fans — “Potvin Sucks”. Generations of supporters on both sides have heard that chant rang through Madison Square Garden, Nassau Coliseum, Barclays Center and the Coliseum again.

There’s always been a hot debate even for decades later about the play that started the iconic saying, which was Isles Hall of Fame defenseman Denis Potvin taking out Blueshirts forward Ulf Nilsson’s knee. But as the years continue to pass by, many fans on both sides — more so from the Rangers — think the chant has lived past its due date.

And now with the two teams having played three times in this COVID-stricken season without either sides fans in the building, has the time come to put the chant to bed.

Blueshirts fans have used the chant at home games even when they aren’t playing the Islanders, which some don’t find necessary. Adam Bernstein, who goes by @bizzarospeak on Twitter, said “Yes, it’s completely overused. It needs to be saved only for Rangers-Islanders games only, maybe like twice a game.”

Jerry Silver, a longtime fan of the Rangers said he hates the chant and that, “Nothing would annoy me more then being in the Garden during a tight game in the 3rd and this stupid chant pops up.” Ryan Paulsen, an Isles fan but with several friends who root for the Rangers, said “As my Ranger season-ticket owning work friends regularly says “Anyone who tries to suggest anything other than the fact that the last thing that Denis Potvin did was ‘suck,’ knows absolutely nothing about the game of hockey.”

Islanders fans have a bit of a difference take.

Alex Lupo (alupo8897 on Twitter) commented by saying, “At this point they are just keeping the legend of Denis Potvin alive which is nice.” Michal Anderson, who is a fellow Islanders blogger, feels the chant should keep going.

“It’s the sign of a true rivalry that decades later they still hate the guy,” he tweeted.

A few other Isles fans find the war cry amusing to still hear. From Vincent Parricone (@VPerricone92), “As an Isles fan it’s funny to me that this fan base would want to continuously bring up a player that had more cups than their entire franchise through essentially 10 seasons. But that’s just me!” And this from Alec Rubenstein (alec_rubenstein), “Nah, Rangers chanting Potvin Sucks just means we will always own real estate in their minds.”

Another Isles supporter had a rational take on the current state of the chant. “When the fan base is transitioning to a group of people who weren’t around for when Potvin played, then yes it should,” said Sammy Smith on Twitter.

Both parties have strong arguments. As for me, I feel this season should be the chants’ last hurrah.

The Islanders are going to be moving into a new building for next season (UBS Arena) and my feeling is that the slogan won’t have the same luster as its had when the two teams have met at the Coliseum over the last number of decades. Even when fans from both sides are back — and there will be both in Nassau Coliseum later this season when the two teams faceoff now that arenas in the area are allowed 10% capacity — the atmosphere still won’t be what it was, neither will the chant.

The “Potvin Sucks” argument still invokes great emotion from those who were a part of it and those who witnessed it and the aftermath that came from it. A lot of those same people have admitted it was a clean hit, but that it’s the chant which makes the rivalry between the Isles and Rangers still special.

The question remains though when the unique chant will finally reach its demise.

Is it time for the “Potvin Sucks” chant to be retired?