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A blog by a long time New York Islanders fan who stays true to the fellas wearing orange, white and blue…but thinks the Islanders organization has some shaping up to do.

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Thursday, March 6, 2008

Home Un-sweetened Home

Isles 1 : Rangers 4

Something didn’t seem right about the energy in the Coliseum from the moment my friend Dom and I walked into the building. Greeting us at the top of the aisle were Ranger fans celebrating Brendan Shanahan’s breakaway goal (1:29) that happened during a delayed Isle’s penalty. After the goal the Rangers continued to puff up their feathers, as they often do, which seemed to work for them tonight as compared to Tuesday night. Instead of playing past the Rangers until their chaotic out of the gate playing style leveled off, and then going on the hunt for a goal, the Isles looked like they were playing a game of tag – with the Isles being ‘it’ for most of the period. More troubling than the Rangers scoring the first goal so early in the game was hearing Ranger fans out chant and out cheer Isles fans which continued to happen throughout the game. Not a lot of good stuff happened for the Isles this period – Shanahan served two minutes for hooking (10:06), Sean Avery scored (13:25) by deflecting a pass from Marek Malik past Wade Dubielewicz who was starting his third straight game, and Aaron Johnson served two minutes for hooking (17:32). Add all of it together and it’s no wonder why the energy felt claustrophobic.

“Whatever was said in the locker room must have sunk in”. That is the comment I made to Dom as the Isles showed signs of asserting the better parts of their playing style during the 2nd period. Dubie had some nice saves and the Isles seemed more cohesive. Although the Isles tallied 14 shots on goal and kept the Rangers down to 5 shots on goal in the period, a much needed scoring opportunity was missed when Malik (holding @ 6:35) and Michal Rozsival (delay of game – puck over glass @ 7:45) both sat in the sin bin, giving the Isles 50 seconds to score on a two man advantage. 5-on-3, then 5-on-4 did not help the Isles get on the scoreboard. A favorable change in the scoreboard did come when Sean Bergenheim’s wrist shot (10:34) deflected off of Malik and Rozsival eventually making it past Henrik Lundqvist, who Angie described via text as ‘impenetrable’ sometime into the 1st period. Allowing one goal on 27 shots made Lundqvist almost impenetrable when all was said and done. The period continued with Avery serving two minutes for hi-sticking (14:32), Rob Davsion serving two minutes for tripping (19:08), followed by the period ending with the Rangers ahead 2-1.

In the 3rd period the Isles reverted back to a game of tag but this time around they seemed to spend less time being ‘it’. It looked like a game of air hockey (the way the puck moved around on the ice) right before Marc Staal’s shot ricocheted off of Scott Gomez, then Davison and into the net (1:12), giving the Rangers a two goal lead. In between a lot of back an forth hockey Josef Vasicek served two minutes for slashing (5:57), Richard ‘zippy’ Park continued to zip around the ice undaunted by the score, Trent Hunter hit Avery with a nice check, and despite Aaron Johnson’s attempt to take him down, Avery scored the final Ranger goal, short handed on the empty net (19:02). In the seconds following Avery’s goal, Shanahan was sent to the sin bin (roughing @ 19:34) for retaliating against Johnson with a few shots to his face. The Isles produced only 3 shots on goal in the period. Game over.

The ‘star’ of the game? Sean Avery. Yes you read that correctly and no I haven't been hitting the sauce. Avery was successful in being a pest tonight and too many Isles allowed themselves to be sucked right into his distracting behavior - quite possibly an effective psychological strategy considering how much Isle’s energy was wasted on acknowledging him…although the words Sean Avery and effective psychological strategy do not seem to go together in any sentence. What Ted Nolan should have done was told his players to knock it off and pay more attention to the game that they were losing. Ruslan Fedotenko should have taken the energy he used to blow Avery a kiss in the 3rd period and put it towards scoring a goal. This pseudo affectionate gesture might have been funny if the score was reversed but tonight it didn't seem funny at all, especially since Avery then turned around and scored on the empty net. With an antagonistic type of player that Avery is, the best response to his attention seeking behavior is to ignore him. The more someone dismisses him, the more frustrated he will become. Furthermore, and most importantly the more frustrated Avery becomes the more inward he will turn which is exactly where the Isles want him to be – up inside his own head trying to figure out what else he can do to get attention. As my mentor once taught me, silence is the best form of manipulation.

Some post game debating went on at Islander Mania - some fans stated that the game would have went more in the Isle’s favor if Rick DiPietro had been in goal. Staying within the hypothetical realm…beyond his having to stop every shot on goal, I don’t think DP would have helped his team score more than one goal unless he scored them himself. Despite the four goals scored Dubie still held his ground, making 24 saves and allowing fewer rebounds than he did on Tuesday night. As for his body language, Dubie seemed less at ease tonight and since I did not see his stance in goal until after Shanahan scored, I am only guessing that it’s possible the all too soon breakaway goal might have tightened his muscles up a bit.

Compartmentalizing a loss and quickly moving past it is usually the way to go but this time around it may be more appropriate for all of us to figure out why the Rangers and their fans were permitted to set the pace of the game on our turf, with the goal of resolving this issue by April 3rd.


BEAT those silly Flyers on Saturday. I’ll be there as a witness to the win!

1 comment:

AngieOnTheNYIslesScene said...

WHY did you SAY HIS NAME??!!?!?!?!!

Anyway, I was surprised to hear people wanted Dubie pulled after the first. Why? He played great- it was the players in front of him who weren't up to par. It's very easy to blame the goaltender when there's a loss. He did look like he froze a bit, but he made some great saves to keep it a close game- at least, until the Rangers made it 3-1.

By the way, Dom is great!! haha. Long post too. Another goodie. With this loss we dropped to within 5 points of eighth... I hope we can come out strong in Philly.