ESPN 30 for 30 covers Isles

As recently as this month, ESPN announced their list for the ‘30 for 30’ series which is a well done show that takes a deeper look into sport related issues. On this list, to everyone’s surprise, was the situation between John Spano conning the Islanders in an attempt to purchase the franchise.

In short, due to the NHL's limited financial background checks at the time he was able to swindle a whole franchise and league! John Spano made himself seem worth more than he actually was while both the league and team stood by.

While most fans are familiar with this situation, some young fans will be surprised of the turmoil that went on during this time in the mid 90s.

Adding a bonus to the mix is that Islanders super fan, Kevin Connolly will be directing the project and also heavily involved. Looking back on all of the ‘30 for 30’ episodes done by ESPN, this will be only the 2nd about hockey. Their first episode in 2009 was concerning the trade between the Oilers and the Kings involving Wayne Gretzky. (Photo Credit: Flickr/Official New York Islanders)

Some may sit and read this and say ‘so what’? But I see this as a decent step out from the darkness of sporting obscurity.

Even when ESPN cared and covered hockey like they do the other three major sports, they ignored the Islanders' existence. The only time that ESPN showed Islanders on Sportscenter during last season was when Crosby made his short-lived return in Uniondale and netted a hat trick.

While this episode will reflect the team in a negative light, it will show fans of the team and the world how far they’ve come since that horrific time.

Some fans may not like ESPN or their monopolizing effect on sports, but it is a way of life. If the Islanders get a little exposure on the biggest sporting network in the world, people who literally didn’t know they existed will do some research.

I look forward to watching the Islanders trend on Twitter that night. I will also have fun looking at the amount of Google searches that were done the next day when the site makes them available. Having a celebrity like Kevin Connolly who is still relevant in the business, makes the Islanders’ product even more attractive. Kevin Connolly shows his passion in every interview about the Islanders even wearing an Isles t-shirt during an episode of Entourage. (Photo Credit: Flickr/afagan)

This could be the cultural spark the team needs to make it back to the surface. For too long, the team has been toiling in the dark even when they put together decent teams. During their 2007 run to the playoffs, they were practically unknown to the hockey world until they showed up in Buffalo as an 8th seed.

With the schedule made, and prime time usually set with the same 6 teams getting the nod on NBC Sunday. A swift rotation of the Flyers, Rangers, Penguins, Capitals, Blackhawks, and Red Wings leaves the casual hockey fan clueless as to what is going on with teams like the Islanders and their bright young stars.

It is unfair situation but a hole that was undoubtedly dug by over a decade of failure. However, with a bright future and a GM committed to the rebuild, no matter how long it takes, there is hope.(Photo Credit: Flickr/NYPD0206)

I strain for that day when the Islanders are not only the envy metropolitan hockey but the sporting world. I am jealous of the Dynasty era fans that lived those days.

While some may discount the effect that ESPN can have on popularity, they shouldn’t. ESPN is notorious for making the sports world care about Tim Tebow when they shouldn’t. They set the bar for ‘cool’ in sports whether it is right or wrong.

While the story portrays the Islanders as being duped by John Spano, it will highlight the glory days for people that maybe don’t even know existed. There are fans with complete ignorance towards hockey that will tune in and may be shifted to check out what’s going on with the Islanders today with swift mentions of what happened before and after in Uniondale.

The air date of this episode is not available but stay tuned in on it.

-Steve Giangaspro

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