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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.

Islanders 2014-15 Season Mantra

Try not. Do...or do not.


Friday, October 10, 2008

And So It Goes…

On April 11th my Grandmother (Nanny) Mary passed on at the age of 96. It is no coincidence that she became ill and then passed on during the NHL playoffs and the Masters. I love hockey, she loved golf. I’ll never forget sitting at her beside watching the games (and napping while the golf was on…boooooring) and explaining the basics of ice hockey to the nurses. I was very fortunate to spend a lot of time with her growing up and before she passed on however what I have realized in losing the closest person to me, maybe selfishly, it is never enough time. But I take comfort in knowing that she is once again dancing with her husband Arthur, who passed on at the young age of 53. My Nanny was a tremendous influence in my life and so as life goes forward, I will continue to miss her while knowing she is watching over me as a tremendous force from the spirit world. I want to sincerely thank Angie for continuing on with the blog while I took some time off, for her understanding and support, and for finally getting another cell phone so I could hear what the *&% she was saying! Cell phone + rain = communication issues.

And so it goes…and so it went, the season and now the off season – time to catch up

-Dubie has left the building. I hope Russia treats him and his career well. Definitely a presence on the team that will be missed.

-Ted Nolan has left the building. During last season Angie and I debated about Ted being around for the long haul. She said yeh, I said neh. The first tip-off for me was when Ted made the public comment about Andy Hilbert missing an empty net. Beyond it being a wee bit of a shock that he would publicly rag on Hilbert for something that had to totally suck for Hilbert, there was a tone in his voice that seemed reflective of distancing himself as a coach in a way that seemed more than just about Hilbert missing the net. Many blog moons ago I wrote about what appeared to be a deflation in his voice during interviews. Granted this could have been just his general demeanor but overall something didn’t seem ‘right’. While in Philly watching the Isles vs. Flyers (March 9th), it seemed as though (in the second period) that Ted had lost ‘control’ of the team. Freaky deaky thing was that I sat next to a teenager from Washington, DC – we chatted during the game. During the 3rd period he turned to me and said, “It looks like they (Isles) can’t control themselves”. Turns out I met a young hockey Buddha who was picking up on the same vibe. This particular vibe at the game translated into suspecting that he would not be back next season. Whatever the reason(s) for his departure, I would like to thank Ted Nolan for being the main reason why I started going to games again rather than watching them on TV, and for his unknowingly participating in this blog’s snazziest tie contests. Sorry Ted, Butch ‘fly suit and tie’ Goring wiped the floor with everyone else’s ties last season.

-Scott Gordon has entered the building. On August 15th I attended a women’s focus group at the Coliseum, held on the same night of the open house ‘Grillin’ with Gordon’ event. After the focus group was over we all were invited to meet and dine with the new coach. Upon being introduced to Coach Gordon, he sat quite a while and chatted with me, my friend Dom, and Jean, a long time Isles fan and focus group attendee. Among the barrage of questions we asked him (he graciously answered them all), it was his answer to one of Jean’s questions that created a positive first impression with the three of us. Jean expressed her concern about the strength of the Isles defense, asking him something to the effect of how he planned to ensure a strong defense for the upcoming season. At the tail end of his answer he stated, again something to the effect of, ‘if your offense is strong, there’s no need for defense’. His answer was not stated in a way that reflected a lack of focus on a strong defense, it was instead an effective way of getting his point across, evident in the three of us pausing for a few seconds and then, as if we had just been educated in the obvious, nodding our heads in unison, signaling ‘ah, we got that’. As we stood up to leave, I shook Coach Gordon’s hand and said, “Welcome to Long Island, I’m looking forward to seeing what you can extract from the players, I’ll be watching”. Yes I felt like a stalker with that last part but then again, I WILL be watching from section 303 – sitting right smack over center ice.

-The 2008-2009 Islanders will soon enter the building – home opener against St. Louis on Saturday night – after the Isles play their first game against the Devils tonight in NJ. Along with the usual shifts in the Isle’s roster, this season is also starting out during a transition of leadership which means…drum roll please…I have no clue. But I do know what I’d like to blog about after the last game is played – a season known to all as the one that undeniably created the lasting momentum needed to re-build what was once an ice hockey empire.

Everything blue, orange, white or with the Isles logo on it washed…check
Texts to Dom counting down the days until the game sent…check
Stupid traffic on the LIE noted in advance...check


and now for a better late than never review…

The women’s focus group (August 15, 2008) was an excellent initiative taken by the Isles organization. There were about 15 women in attendance, of different ages and history as an Isles fan. Everyone at the table took part in the discussion and the exchange of ideas with the Isles staff went very well. My agenda for the meeting?

-change the ‘hockey and heels’ night promotion name to something more welcoming to female fans of all ages, and nix calling the designated section Ladyville. (I’ll spare you from the full blurb about how the name ‘could’ denote that the females are the ‘heels’ of this event rather than referring to a shoe type…and heck no I did not ‘go there’ with that part at the focus group – I wanted to avoid a staff member calling the local psych hospital to inquire if anyone had gone missing lately.)

-instead of a fashion show during this promotion night, invite girls and womens hockey teams to play in between periods.

-if the ice girls must continue to exist could they at least PLEASE stop doing Ice Capades moves when shoveling ice into a bucket? (fat chance of that happening)

-change the girls youth hockey (Long Island Lady Islanders) logo to one that is consistent with the Islanders and Junior Islanders logos. As one woman who coaches a girls soccer team stated in agreement, “Every season I tell my players they are soccer players first and girls second”. (I mean could the word Lady in the logo be any BIGGER? Hockey first, gender second.)

At the end of the meeting it seemed as though everyone was in agreement about this event being a success, so much so that a suggestion was made to hold more women’s focus groups in the future. I am looking forward to seeing what initiatives the organization will take this season in response to the focus group. A chat about the focus group with someone who stopped me in the hallway was posted on the Isle’s website.

“A unique focus group for ladies was also set up at the Coliseum. The group was designed to facilitate conversation between female Islanders fans to help improve their overall Coliseum experience. More than a dozen women took part in the group.

“As soon as I heard about it, I knew I wanted to be there,” said Christine, a die-hard Islanders fan who grew up in Hicksville and currently lives in New York City. “I have been watching the Islanders since I was 5 and have watched the development of this team and there are things I am happy about and things that I am unhappy about.”

One thing Christine was certainly happy about was how the focus group went.

“I think everyone thought it was a great idea,” said Christine, “and I believe it went so well, that we are going to do it again. I think it was a great outcome, I couldn’t have asked for better.”” (1)



(1) ‘Fans Meet and Greet Gordon’. August 20, 2008, www.newyorkislanders.com

1 comment:

AngieOnTheNYIslesScene said...

Not at all, not at all :). I was happy to do the job. I also again extend my condolences. And btw, *roll eyes* at the phone jab, lol.

Valid points on all accounts- and hopefully the Ice Girls will go bye-bye soon... if ever... and the girls'/women's teams playing in-between is great stuff. They let little kids play; why not us?