Why root for the New York Islanders? The reasons are as simple as they are plentiful.
The Islanders are underdogs. Everyone roots for the underdogs ... until they get good and people start to hate them.
They're also playing a team everyone loves to hate. Whether it's Sidney Crosby's whining and horrible mustache, Mario Lemieux's whining and his casino-backed, Kansas City-using ownership, or conspiracy theories about draft lotteries, chances are you have a favorite reason to hate the Penguins.
And the Islanders have a history of knocking off the Penguins against long odds. In 1975 they won their first-ever best-of-seven playoff series by coming back from a 3-0 deficit against the Penguins. In 1982, the famous Islanders dynasty almost didn't happen when the Islanders were down with just minutes to go in Game 5 of the best-of-five series. But John Tonelli, the ultimate kind of unsung dynasty hero, saved the day with a tying goal and won it in overtime.
The Islanders are an entertaining team. They're fast, they have one of the league's best players in John Tavares, and their games feature goals and goals and goals. The Islanders had the seventh-highest goals per game and tenth-highest goals against per game during the 2013 season. You won't be watching 0-0 snoozefests.
Finally, the Islanders long-suffering fanbase deserves this. They've had years of torture at the hands of absentee or even fraudulent owners, and things are now finally starting to come around under Charles Wang. Sure, some were spoiled by the dynasty years, but the Islanders have now gone 20 years without a playoff series win (against the Penguins of course, in a seven-game upset in 1993). Many young fans' best playoff memory is of a penalty shot goal by Shawn Bates in 2002 ... in a series the Islanders lost. Guys in their late 20s and early 30s hang their memories on the 1993 run.
The team is moving to Brooklyn within the next few years, leaving ghosts and memories in Nassau Coliseum behind. It's time for the fanbase to explode for old time's sake. It's time you jump on their bandwagon and enjoy the ride.