Mike Bossy skates onto the Islanders' ice in a white jersey with the familiar Long Island logo. Bryan Trottier, Bobby Nystrom and Billy Smith, three of his teammates from the dynasty years, join him. Above them, the Islanders' four Stanley Cup banners (1980-1983) and retired numbers shine.
But this is in Brooklyn, not Uniondale.
After 43 years at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, the team has moved to Barclays Center.
"As far as nostalgia's concerned, all that's in my head and in my heart," Bossy, 58, says. "I remember the four Cups. I remember individual moments that I had on Long Island. They'll never go away.
"Every team in the last 25-30 years have gotten a new building. Not all of them have been built where the other one was. It just happens to be 20 miles from where the Coliseum is. It's still on Long Island. That's better than Kansas City or Seattle, so I think everyone's happy about that."
Here is a quick New York geography lesson: Brooklyn is one of New York City's five boroughs but is part of the landmass known as Long Island. Only Queens buffers Brooklyn from Nassau County, home of the Coliseum, but traffic can make the commute anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours.
Here is a quick Islanders' history lesson: Bossy was the best offensive player on one of the best dynasties in NHL history. He played ten seasons (1977-1987) recording 1,126 points. His 573 goals are 21st all time, and only Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky reached 500 goals in fewer games. Bossy is the NHL's all-time leader in goals per regular-season game (0.762) and he is third in average points per game (1.497).
The Islanders were founded in 1972 and within 11 seasons, the franchise had four Stanley Cup titles -- one more than the Original Six team in Manhattan (although the Rangers added a fourth Cup in 1994). The success solidified the franchise and built a cult following.
"It was always 'Hi, Mike' and the chant, 'Bossy! Bossy!" Bossy says of the Coliseum. "It was a big family out there. We were in a rural area. It was nice. It was one big family. As I got there in '77, as the team got better, the family got bigger. Once we started winning, it was a lot of pressure because people expected us to win every time we got on the ice, so there were times during the season that they might have been unhappy because we weren't playing as well as we should have been."
The Islanders clinched three of their four Stanley Cups at the Nassau Coliseum. Bossy's lone Conn Smythe came in 1982, when the Islanders won their third Stanley Cup in Vancouver. During the four-year run, the team went 16-3 in the Stanley Cup Final. Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier and the Edmonton Oilers finally dethroned the Isles in the Cup Final in 1984, and the franchise has not been back since.
"You play your whole life watching other teams win the Stanley Cup, and as a child, you grow up watching teams win Stanley Cups on TV, and you see people parading around the ice with the Stanley Cup," Bossy says. "Winning the first one is obviously something you remember your whole life and we didn't know it at the time, but winning the fourth one was a special moment for us because it was having the last opportunity to skate around the ice with the Stanley Cup."
Bossy's individual achievements are astonishing. His 147 points in 1981-82 are an achievement only reached by seven other players: Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemiux, Steve Yzerman, Phil Esposito, Bernie Nicholls, Jaromir Jagr and Pat LaFontaine. His 69 goals in 1978-79 are tied for 15th most in a season.
Islanders fans will always wonder what Bossy could have been like had his health not given out. A bad back halted Bossy's career after just ten seasons. He made the Hall of Fame and had his No. 22 retired in New York, but retired at 30.
"I think it was just destiny that my back was going to give out when it did," Bossy says when asked if he would have played longer with modern doctors. "Who knows? If I was playing today, maybe I would have got hurt in another way. I am extremely grateful my back lasted ten years and I was able to play ten years and have the success individually and collectively with the Islanders.
"I think also the physical conditioning of the players these days is amazing. I've always told people if I was in three-quarters of the shape these guys are in now, I would have scored 100 goals a year."
Bossy owes much of what he did accomplish to the late Al Arbour, the Islanders' head coach from 1973-1994 (and one game in 2007). Arbour, who passed away this summer at 82, is second to Scotty Bowman in all-time games coached, 1,607, and games won, 782.
Arbour saw Bossy's role with the dynastic Islanders and had the Montreal-born winger stay there.
"When I first came to the Island, Al gave me confidence to play the game for the reason they drafted me, and that was to score goals," Bossy says. "He always told me if I have anything to say about your play, defensively, I'll let you know. He said just go out there and score goals. That's what I did."
One particular Al Arbour story came in the 1982 playoffs when the Islanders hosted the Penguins in fifth and deciding game of the first-round series. The Islanders trailed 3-1 and were on the power play with less than seven minutes left in the third period when Arbour pulled future Hall of Fame goaltender Smith for backup Roland Melanson. At the time, rules allowed a new goalie a two-minute warmup. Without having to burn his timeout, Arbour gave the Islanders' top power-play unit a chance to rest during Melanson's warmup. It stayed on the ice for the restart and scored on a rebound with 5:27 left. The Isles added another tally with 2:21 left and went on to win 4-3 in overtime.
Bossy chuckles at this retelling.
"Al was very smart," he says. "Al always used to take his glasses off and run his hands through his hair. I've watched film of that and said he must have been thinking when he was doing that because he watched a lot of tape back then. He was a student of the game. He was extremely passionate about the game of hockey. When Al could think of something to bend the rules, not break the rules, he did it. There were times it served its purpose."
When the Islanders honored Arbour with a video tribute on opening night, Bossy watched alongside his old classmates at Arbour's Long Island School of Hockey.
"I get to do some promotional work with Bryan and Bobby Ny and Billy," he says with a grin. "It's always nice to see how they exaggerate the stories more and more and more. They're good guys. We accomplished some great things and had a lot of fun together."
Before John Tavares and the current Islanders could take the Brooklyn ice, the dynasty opened up the new building. It was Bossy, Trottier, Nystrom and Smith that got the first ovation in Barclays Center, as they lined up for the ceremonial puck drop.
"I'm very impressed with the whole package," Bossy says of the three-year-old Brooklyn venue. "The fans came to watch. The celebration before the game was simple, dramatic. Everyone was happy."
Bossy watches the third period from The Centurion Suite, an elevated section behind the goal for ticketed American Express Platinum and Centurion card members. He can see the whole ice from his seat, yet he does not mind the wave of fans tapping him for pictures and autographs. Some just want to hear stories.
Bossy points out the difference between the game he watched as a kid and the game he watches now.
"You look at players in the 1920s and you look at professional athletes now, and you say how did those guys play professionally?" he says. "They were so small."
This year's Islanders have big expectations. The team's 101 points in 2014-15 were its highest total since 1983-84 (Note: ties were removed from the NHL after the 2004-05 lockout). Now, fans in Long Island and the surrounding areas believe they have a team to compete with the best.
"There's a lot of parity in the NHL right now," Bossy says. "They have a good group of guys. They're young and getting into their prime. A lot of times, you have the core of a team and it's about getting the right pieces of the puzzle to making it the best team in the league. Hopefully, they can keep on doing that."
-- Follow Jeffrey Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband.