In May 1984, the Edmonton Oilers and New York Islanders faced off in their second straight Stanley Cup Final. The Islanders were a dynasty, having swept the Oilers the previous year to win their fourth consecutive Stanley Cup championship. The Oilers were a dynasty in the making and would defeat the Islanders to win the first of five Cup titles in seven years.
That was the last time the Islanders and Oilers faced each other in the playoffs. In the 30 years since, both clubs have suffered long and painful declines. The Islanders missed the playoffs 16 times and are poised to do so again this year. The Oilers are about to miss the playoffs for the 14th time since winning their last Cup championship in 1990.
For both teams, the past three decades have been filled with false promise, considerable disappointment and endless rebuilding. It's testing the patience of their most loyal fans, who often see their hopes for renewal cruelly dashed.
The Islanders and Oilers not only share a culture of losing but also several problem areas. The following is a listing of eight key areas that must be addressed to put them back on the path to greatness, or at least respectability.