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New York Jets prepare for Islanders’ return to Uniondale

Zach Wilson, Dan Feeney Jets Islanders
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

As the New York Islanders return home for a crucial semifinal tilt with Tampa, their green comrades will be there to support them.

Coming off a tough loss on Tuesday in Tampa, the New York Islanders will have some special reinforcements when they return to Nassau Veterans’ Memorial Coliseum for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Semifinals.

The New York Jets have confirmed their presence for Thursday’s crucial showdown against the Tampa Bay Lightning (8 p.m. ET, USA). Their social media accounts showed that the Jets’ Long Island contingent has switched out green for blue, but the customized jerseys seen during their prior visits are gone.

This time around, the Jets’ representatives in shirts bearing the minimalist likeness of mulleted offensive lineman Dan Feeney. The shirts, labeled “The Mullet Tee” were made by Islanders fansite Isles Lab and are available for purchase for $25. Proceeds, at Feeney’s request, benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, a non-profit that he has routinely repped on his gameday shoes through the NFL’s “My Cleat, My Cause” initiative.

The Feeney takeover, as the incoming blocker has gone viral for his celebrations after Islander goals, endured a bit of a twist this week when fellow lineman Greg Van Roten “outed” his teammate as a fan of the Chicago Blackhawks. Feeney’s new fame has caused lifelong Islanders fan and Long Island native Van Roten to express tongue-in-cheek jealousy.

“He’s coming in, and Islander Nation has embraced him,” Van Roten, clad in a hat reading “Defend NY”, complete with the Islanders’ stylized hockey-stick Y logo, said in a video provided by the Jets. “I’m not jealous or bitter, but I grew up an Islanders fan!”

For his part, Feeney has thanked the Islanders, seven wins away from hoisting their first Stanley Cup since 1983, for embracing him and his antics in these new surroundings.

“I love that the Islanders are just this gritty team,” Feeney said in a report from Steve Serby of the New York Post. “All these guys are in sync with each other, their lines have been solid, they’re obviously switching every 23 seconds, they’re out there for a minute, they’re grinding it out.”

“They’re awesome. There’s no, obviously, like no huge superstar, but they’re a very well-oiled machine, they play so well together, just nice fundamental hockey.”

The Islanders are seeking revenge against the defending Stanley Cup champion Lightning, who ousted them in six games in last season’s semifinals held in the Edmonton bubble. They earned a split of the opening pair at Amalie Arena, winning a 2-1 decision on Sunday evening before falling by a 4-2 final on Tuesday night.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

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