ISLANDERS HALL OF FAME ADDS FOURPlus: bits on Tavares, Nabakov, ticket partial plans

The sun came out today, and with it came a host of good-news items in Islanders Country.

The team announced that it will add four honorees to the Islanders Hall of Fame to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the franchise. The deserving new members are Ed Westfall, Ken Morrow, Patrick Flatley and Kenny Jonsson. They will be honored on Decade Nights in which the Islanders will focus on the 70s, 80s, 90, and 00s. Each will receive a plaque and have his name stitched to the Hall of Fame banner that has gone untouched since Bob Bourne became the first non-number-retirement inductee in 2007.

As with any Hall of Fame, you can debate who merits election and who should go first. (John Tonelli, Butch Goring and Pat LaFontaine jump out as other clear contenders for early induction, for example). But the Islanders have brilliantly executed this decision to honor Westfall, Morrow, Flatley and Jonsson not only during the club’s anniversary celebration, but also at a time when the franchise needs to re-affirm its commitment to the community, its fanbase and the concept of We’re All Islanders.

Westfall was the first captain and a vital leader of men who would bring four Stanley Cups to Uniondale. Ken Morrow was one of the most underrated stay-at-home defensemen of his generation, a stalwart when the team won 19 consecutive playoff series. Patrick Flatley captained the beloved 1992-93 squad and helped keep the team together during some rocky years with his leadership, play and sense of humor. Kenny Jonsson, goshdarnit, was a superlative defenseman and the epitome of class.

These are the kinds of people a team hall of fame is created for. Well done, Islanders of New York.

Tavares Talks Commitment: It’s not the freshest of news when John Tavares says that he doesn’t plan on going anywhere and is “committed to Long Island.” After all, Tavares and his agent, Pat Brisson, have already made equally strong comments in this space and elsewhere.

Still, it doesn’t hurt that the third-year pro re-established his Islanders priority with a band of national reporters as part of the NHL’s media tour in Manhattan this morning. Good by John, good for the Islanders.

Nabokov Arrives: The fun begins, as Evgeni Nabokov has started to work out with his new Islanders teammates at Iceworks in Syosset. Nabakov is an engaging person, always popular and respected by his teammates in San Jose, and deserves a clean slate and a chance from Charles Wang, Garth Snow and Jack Capuano to win his fair share of the starts.

You can talk about the Sharks’ defense – as if it were Potvin-Morrow-Langevin-Persson – all you want, but Nabokov’s career numbers blow away the rest of his Islanders’ competitors. And second place is not even close. No matter how the rotation works out, it’s going to be a blast following the friendly battle between Nabokov, Rick DiPietro, Al Montoya and – the youngest and arguably the most talented of them all – Kevin Poulin.

Partial Plans Pushed: Seizing the momentum from last year’s solid second half and looking to engage fans from the home opener, the Islanders are offering a Long Island diner-sized menu of partial plans. Ticket prices have been lowered in all sections except at center ice, and the Islanders soon plan to promote an array of plans – including small commitments of 4, 6 or 15 games. Smart move.

Call 1.800.882.ISLES for more details.

Comments on all of the above are welcomed.