The lockout is a very ugly scene right now in the National Hockey League. The players and owners seem to be making little progress, if any at all, towards a new deal. It looks all but certain that the New York Islanders won't have a season opener. However, fans of the Islanders have an extraordinarily unique situation that they can take advantage of when the NHL season was supposed to start.
A roster with players such as Nino Niederreiter, Travis Hamonic, Casey Cizikas, Kevin Poulin, Calvin De Haan, Kirill Kabanov, David Ullstrom, Aaron Ness will be a very large portion of the Islanders' future success. However, you will have a chance to see a roster filled with these players on October 13, regardless of whether the lockout is still ongoing.
How? The Bridgeport Soundtigers and the rest of American Hockey League will be dropping the puck on October 13, regardless of the status of the NHL. Granted, you'll miss the studs. Players such as John Tavares, Matt Moulson and Mark Streit will not be in action.
It's not the NHL, and at least it's not a scrimmage that means nothing. The majority of the guys are not NHL players yet. However, it's the players that Islander fans are banking on for the future. These are the guys that, along with guys like Tavares, Moulson, Michael Grabner and Kyle Okposo, can make New York into Stanley Cup contenders.
We all want a deal between the NHL owners and players, and I'm sure we all hope something gets done sooner rather than later. New York Islander fans have an opportunity that fans of other teams do not have. They have the opportunity to see quality hockey players in their organization, even if the NHL does not drop the puck on October 13. Few teams have AHL rosters as talented as the Soundtigers. Tickets are going for as low as $15 on TicketMaster.
It's not a championship, it's not a new arena, it's not even a playoff berth. It's some luck on the good side for Islander fans for a change, and it's about time the fans caught a break.
Christopher Benini is a New York Islanders Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and can be followed here.