Islanders 5 : Thrashers 4 (OT)
Last week, the Islanders completely dominated the Thrashers at Nassau Coliseum, winning 4-1 and setting tons of records along the way. Last night, however, perhaps they set a record for the number of headaches endured on the Isles bench.
After getting off to a 3-0 lead and then quickly losing it, the Isles managed to just escape in Atlanta, 5-4 in overtime, on Trent Hunter's game-winning 9th of the season from Josef Vasicek, greasing the Thrashers' now five-game losing skid. Mike Comrie scored 2 goals, Vasicek had a goal on top of his assist, and Rob Davison had an assist (his first point of the season as well as in an Isles uniform), and a less-than-perfect Rick DiPietro made 19 saves after having an uneventful first period, a shaky second period, and a more solid third period.
In the first, the Isles built their lead on practically every Atlanta mistake, particulary by the defense, which hesitated for too long with the puck on various occasions and looked lost in the third as well. Comrie scored first on a good pass from the defensive zone by Davison, and then Trent Hunter took advantage of a bad clearing attempt by goaltender Kari Lehtonen (32 saves), who had his head down as he played the puck. Hunter in turn set up Vasicek for his 14th of the season. Then, 1:02 into the second period, Andy Hilbert scored his 8th to put the Isles up by three goals- but it would fall apart fast, as first Bryan Berard would trip Eric Perrin on a breakaway chance to set Perrin up on a penalty shot (on an Isles PP, might I add), on which he scored. Then came a goal DiPietro might like to have back- a five-hole shot by Ken Klee for his first on the season, 13:56 into the second period. Afterward, with five minutes to go in the period, one-time Isle Alexei Zhitnik shot one past DiPietro, 3-3 in the blink of an eye.
Hold on, it gets better.
After a parade to the penalty box, and a still-inept Isles PP, the third opened with- what else?- a goal, 3:17 in, Comrie's second of the night and team-leading 20th on a quick feed from Berard. It looked to be the game winner, especially when Atlanta was playing as badly as they had in the first- but fortunately for them, some ragged play on the Isles' behalf led to a tying goal by Bobby Holik with 1:30 to go, sending the game into overtime, where Hunter finally, finally, sealed the deal.
When asked by Newsday's Greg Logan if DiPietro was playing injured (which has been the speculation for some time), Ted Nolan said, "Well, we obviously can't divulge all our information," fueling even more buzz about the goaltender, who hasn't been terrible, but neither has he been the consistent netminder he was pre-All-Star break. However, a Newsday piece mentioned that DiPietro has suffered a loss in his family, and had an option to sit out the game, but decided to play on. He will likely get a game off this weekend, as Nolan alluded to Wade Dubielewicz playing "soon."
Our condolences, Rick, and all the best to you.
Notes: Brendan Witt's still looking to start playing again as soon as Saturday... Isles assistant coach Gerard Gallant has suffered a broken orbital bone in his nose from an inadvertent puck to the face on Tuesday night, and is resting comfortably at home. Much luck and best wishes to him.
Welcome to the NYIslesScene!
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.
Friday, February 29, 2008
Islanders 5 : Thrashers 4 (OT)
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
It seems the Isles are starting their own expansion team…the Minnesota Wild. Parrish, Hill and now Simon - all of whom I did not want to see leave the Isles.
By Chris Simon
as told by Chris Snow on the Wild’s website:
Minnesota Wild - Features - In My Own Words
…“I would like to keep going in this game. I want a last chance. To prove I can play within the rules of the game. To prove that I’ve done a lot of good things in my life, opposed to a few bad things. I want to be respected. But I have to earn respect. That’s what I’m prepared to do.”
Posted by ChristineOnTheNYIslesScene at 1:51 PM
Islanders 2 : Penguins 4
Nearly a year ago, Rick DiPietro had a game not unlike the one Ty Conklin had last night at Nassau Coliseum. With an unbelievable 56-save performance, he stole a point and would have stolen the game last March, had it not been for that one Matt Cullen shot that turned into the shootout winner.
The goaltender really can make a difference. As did Conklin, whose 50 saves stole two points for a lethargic, not to mention depleted, Pittsburgh team, who was reeling with the loss of two players, including beloved youngster Colby Armstrong and last year's first-rounder Erik Christiansen, who are going to Atlanta in exchange for Marian Hossa.
The biggest winners in this trade deadline race barely looked it if not for their goalie- and though the Islanders, statiscally, dominated the game, they didn't dominate the scoreboard. Rick DiPietro, with 17 saves, allowed four goals once again as the defense, even with newly-minted Isle Rob Davison playing the second and third periods, was caught running around, and the power-play was powerless except for late in the third, when Ruslan Fedotenko scored his 15th with 1:17 left. Frans Nielsen (1st of the year) also scored for the Isles in the 2nd.
Meanwhile, the Penguins were slow and undisciplined, but that didn't hinder their game, apparently- Evgeni Malkin scored his 36th on the season to open up the scoring in the first. He also had an assist on Jordan Staal's 9th. Jeff Taffe and Connor James also scored. The real star here, of course, is Conklin- without him, the score might have been drastically altered.
Notes: Josef Vasicek inadvertently smacked assistant coach Gerard Gallant in the face with the puck in the first period, causing Gallant to leave the bench with "a bad headache, perhaps a broken bone," in the words of fellow coach John Chabot. Dan Lecroix took over Gallant's duties. Much luck and hope that he is okay.
More, better, news- Brendan Witt may be looking to come back from injury on Saturday. Witt suffered an MCL sprain on February 12 against the Flyers, and was projected to be out 2-4 weeks. He has been skating and he hopes to return soon- and I say, with so many D gone, the sooner the better.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Two players are heading to the West.
Left wing Chris Simon and defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron were both traded to Minnesota and Anaheim, respectively, for 6th- and 3rd- round picks in the 2008 draft.
Chris Simon, off of his 30-game suspension from December, had played just two games with the Islanders since then. He has 3 points in 28 games. Bergeron, meanwhile, was a valuable asset on the power play, with 9 goals- 8 with the man-advantage.
We wish them luck- hopefully they find new starts in the West.
In player acquisitions, defenseman Rob Davison was picked up from the Sharks for a 7th-round pick. Davison will hopefully add some much-needed depth to the defense, as three of the top D have been out with injuries, one of them for the remainder of the season.
With the trade deadline this afternoon, the Islanders have one target locked up for at least a year. Center Mike Comrie has signed a 1 year, $4 million contract with the Isles, as per TSN.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Isles 2 : Devils 4
The Islanders were that close to neutralizing the losing streak completely.
They were that close to claiming a playoff spot, and holding it with the impending Rangers-Sabres game, provided Buffalo would beat their rivals.
They were close to getting back to where they were before.
But New Jersey said no.
The Devils, #3 seeded in the Eastern Conference playoff race, skated all over the Islanders at their Rock, the Prudential Center, among chants of "DP Sucks!" and "Marty's Better!" which no doubt alluded to the familiar goaltending matchup between Rick DiPietro and Martin Brodeur. In this match, Brodeur did prove to be better, if only because he was helped out by a steady defense and a dynamic offense as usual, led by young star Zach Parise and recently rumored trade target Brian Gionta. Each scored a goal for the Devils, along with Patrik Elias and John Madden, who both scored in the first period to take an early 2-1 lead after Josef Vasicek's redirection of an Andy Hilbert shot past Brodeur.
Sean Bergenheim proved to be one of the best Islanders on the ice, powering past Devils and using his body and hands to keep the Isles playing. Vasicek would also have another assist on the game as he set up Hunter for Ruslan Fedotenko's 14th of the season, early in the second period, to tie it up at 2. But that wouldn't be enough, as the Devils, hungry to settle the score with the Isles after the last feisty collision between the two teams on December 29 (a 5-2 Isles win), pounced on every given opportunity and barred the door in the third period.
The Isles' winning streak is snapped at six games, and Rick DiPietro, who tried his best to keep his team in the game, allowed four goals for the first time since February 14th (a 5-4 Isles win against the Maple Leafs in Toronto). During the winning streak, he had allowed an average of 2 goals, and posted one shutout.
Better news to most... Trent Hunter, the fourth leading scorer on the Islanders, was signed to a five-year, $10 million contract. Some fans, such as Christine, believe that this is a bit of a heavy contract for a player such as Hunter, because he doesn't score as often as some other players on the team. However, I think it is fitting, seeing as he does more than score goals- he has a quiet leadership, shot blocking ability, and a good physical presence, and can work along the boards exceptionally well. He is also a good fit for the team, and can give us good play for the five years in his contract, provided he stays healthy, which is another plus (he doesn't get injured often).
Bruno Gervais also returned to the lineup from his oblique injury and had a decent game. Good quote from him on his favorite non-sports movies; among others, he said, "Rocky 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 12, 38, and 76 were all good too." Gotta love a young guy with a sense of humor.
Isles 1 : Lightning 0
Tampa Bay was tired. The Islanders, perhaps even more so. It came down to a practical stalemate, with an anxious goaltender, a skittish defense, and a seemingly disinterested superstar (Vincent Lecavalier) taking on one of the hottest teams in the East, with their own problems on defense, at Nassau Coliseum.
When all was said and done, the Isles came out on top.
Miroslav Satan scored the lone goal, which an excellent Rick DiPietro (32 saves) made stand up, giving the Isles their sixth straight win. Satan's goal came on an excellent play by Sean Bergenheim, who pulled up just near the blueline to feed the puck to him through the middle, where Satan shot it past goaltender Kari Ramo's pad.
The closest the Lightning got to tying up the game was on a shot by Lecavalier, which beat DiPietro, but, as the theme had been for the last few games, the post kept the score 1-0. Tampa would try to pull even, but broke down on a string of penalties, broken sticks, and increased feelings of frustration from Lecavalier.
The win brings the Isles closer to the playoff hunt, just one point outside of eighth place. It also brings back Chris Simon, who (unfittingly) was booed by the fans for his first two shifts on the ice. Jeff Tambellini, in turn, was sent back to Bridgeport.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Islanders 3 : Capitals 2 (SO)
The latest surge from the Islanders, culminating in a shootout winner at the Verizon Center last night, prompted broadcaster Howie Rose to say, "After these last five games... I have no idea what to expect from this team."
Does anyone, anymore?
After a seven-game losing streak that had the Isles all but left for dead and practically in the Eastern Conference cellar, their recent winning streak now stands at five, after a thrilling comeback from a 2-0 deficit and some feisty moments along the way that woke the team up and got the guys rolling again.
Washington would strike early, taking full advantage of the depleted Islanders defense and attacking head-on. While the D was taken aback and caught unawares, Alexander Semin made good on a breakaway chance just 2:17 into the game on a feed from Matt Pettinger. Then, while Rick DiPietro was screened slightly, Brooks Laich redirected a shot from the point on the power play to make it 2-0. The Isles looked to be out of it for a long while, and very far removed from the sharp play they were displaying in their last game, against the Sharks. Then again, they had defenseman Andy Sutton on their blueline.
In the second, that didn't matter. The Isles came out stronger and more supportive of one another, with the offense carrying more of the play and helping the D find their legs. The Capitals would not score again in the game, but it wasn't for lack of trying- though DiPietro was solid (28 saves, including 5 or 6 really sharp ones), the Caps did beat him a few times, only to hit countless posts and a crossbar.
Miro Satan would pull the team to within one in the second off of a Bill Guerin play, and then in the third, Josef Vasicek scored a puzzler- apparently aiming for center ice, he banked it off of goaltender Olaf Kolzig to tie it up. The second straight game resulting in a comeback for the Isles would get even better.
Perhaps the epitome of the Caps' frustration over hitting posts lay in their top goalscorer, Alexander Ovechkin, who was held to only one shot (yes, one shot) in regulation. Radek Martinek gains my recognition as the number-one star for the Isles in this game- wherever Ovechkin was, so was he, during his 28:17 of ice time. He also recorded five hits, including a monster one in the overtime that ensued, on the Russian superstar, who afterward, starving for a goal, powered past a hounding Bryan Berard and beat DiPietro- only to hit the post once again.
Then came the shootout, and Ovechkin's hat trick of posts, as said on MSG, as he beat DiPietro once again to hit- yes, the left-side post. Viktor Kozlov and Alexander Semin would both be stopped as well, and on the Isles' side, so would Richard Park and shootout specialist Miro Satan- but then came the ultra-soft hands of Mike Comrie, as he pushed it through the legs of Kolzig for the game-winner. Game, set, match, Islanders, once again, as they inch closer to the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. No doubt right now they are the hottest team in the Atlantic, and starting tonight, they can get even hotter.
Even with the depleted defense, who counts Andy Sutton now among its casualties- with a partial tear in his hamstring, he's down for 4-6 weeks.
Chris Simon, who is now just coming off a 30-game suspension tonight against Tampa Bay, will bring some much needed physicality to the Isles. Provided he could skate backwards, I'd suggest playing him as the 7th defenseman and keeping Jeff Tambellini as LW on the Kid Line, rather than send anyone down. But I'm not the coach, so... *shrug* The Isles will have to see what they can do, and seeing as they've pretty much dominated Tampa this season, they have a shot at adding another link onto this chain of wins.
Monday, February 18, 2008
Islanders 3 : Sharks 2
It looked all but hopeless, as Rick DiPietro got up and shook off another San Jose goal early in the third period, this one off of the stick of Joe Thornton. By no means had the game, to that point, slipped out of the Isles' reach entirely; however, judging by the way the Isles have fallen behind in previous games, it would be understandable if, just for a second, the sellout crowd was braced for a loss at the Coliseum.
But the Isles had other ideas.
Erasing a 2-0 deficit the Sharks had built over two periods (Marcel Goc scored the other goal late in the second period), Andy Hilbert scored his seventh, and Mike Comrie his 18th, and then, a little over midway through the third, Freddy Meyer, an unlikely sniper, scored what became the game-winner off of a cross-ice pass by Sean Bergenheim. 3-2, Isles, final.
After enduring a first period without Ted Nolan (he was attending to a matter that I will touch on later in the post), the Isles found their legs and also fell behind, after some strong goaltending on both ends by All-Stars Evgeni Nabokov and Rick DiPietro. Then, as they battled back to get on the scoreboard and back into the game, and Meyer scored his second goal of the season to put them ahead, the Isles played with a focus and a determination that earned them their fourth straight win, pulling them ahead of Atlanta and Washington for tenth place in the Eastern conference and one point (one point!) out of a playoff spot. It looks to be a good run, with some dark spots.
One is the potential loss of another defenseman, Andy Sutton, who had up until now filled a big spot in the already depleted defense with a physical presence and effective shot blocking. Late in the third, he went down hard, grabbing his left leg. That turned out to be a hamstring injury, once that may have been a spasm, but judging by Ted Nolan's claim that he will be re-evaluated tomorrow, it may be more serious, which is not a good thing for the Isles, who have Witt and Bruno Gervais skating but not one hundred percent, and can ill afford to lose another blueliner.
Another is the injury to young left winger Blake Comeau, who was boarded hard by Murray of the Sharks in the third period and got up woozy, helped off the ice by two teammates and the trainer. He seemed to be favoring a leg, but anything could be wrong with him, especially considering how he went into the boards (practically headfirst). Nothing is disclosed as of yet, but hopefully it's not too serious.
And now for more serious news.
Ted Nolan was missing in the first period, attending to a "personal matter", one that turned out to be connected to a terrible tragedy. Mickey Renaud, 19, captain for the OHL's Windsor Spitfires (also the team Ted's younger son, Jordan, plays for), collapsed and died today in his home in Tecumseh, Ont. He was a draft pick of the Calgary Flames and had attended camp with the NHL club this past summer. A potential NHLer, he had been progressing steadily prior to his death. During the first period of the Isles-Sharks game, Ted was consoling his son, who had taken the loss hard.
This is a terrible loss for the Spitfires and the OHL, and for everyone who is affected by this, including Jordan Nolan, we extend our condolences.
Rest in peace, Mickey.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Isles 4 : Thrashers 1
Let’s celebrate tonight’s win with some Isles trivia…
Tonight’s sellout crowd of 16,234 was the Isle’s __ sellout of the season.
Keeping the Thrashers down to 10 shots on goal was ________.
The Isles scored a total of __ goals during their recent 7 game losing streak, and have scored a total of __ goals in their last three wins.
Tonight’s win puts the Isles within __ points of the 8th spot in the Eastern Conference.
8th, the lowest in Isle’s franchise history, 11 & 13, 3
All great answers so let’s tell the Isles what they’ve won…
The Isles have won breaking Atlanta’s 3 game winning streak with a 3 game winning streak of their own…plus a porcelain guppy figurine valued at $350.00 (the latter prize being a weak attempt to amuse those of you around when contestants on Wheel of Fortune were forced to buy some kooky overpriced stuff with the money left over from buying the more desirable overpriced stuff).
The best part of tonight’s game was when Bryan Berard tackled Garnett Exelby after he excelled (pun intended) at taking some cheap shots on Blake Comeau in the 3rd period.
Berard's approach to the situation was totally called for and just plain awesome. After breaking the commandment ‘thou shalt not mess with my teammate’, Exelby was sent to the locker room and took with him 17 minutes in penalties – 5 minutes for fighting, 2 minutes for slashing and a 10 minute game misconduct. Berard received 2 minutes for roughing and a 10 minute game misconduct. Another highlight of the game was Ruslan Fedotenko’s backhanded goal in the 2nd period (1:30) – a goal executed so swiftly that it took a few seconds for both the majority of fans and whoever flicks on the red light to realize the puck went in the net. Speaking of Fedotenko, tonight he appeared to be directing his body more to play on all levels that gravity will allow – up, down and all around which is similar to what in part contributes to Brendan Witt’s intense style of play. Way to go FEEDOTEEEENKOOOO (that one’s for you Angie). Although it was great to see the Isles racking up so many shots on goal, 49 shots on goal to 4 goals scored is a ratio that…wait…never mind stating the obvious. Take as many shots as you need fellas.
The Isles must have recently sharpened their skates and minds because in these last three games they seem to be skating TOGETHER at a faster, more confident pace and ALLELUYAH! they are rushing in on the net and following through instead of slowing down. As an added bonus, in tonight’s game the Isles looked as fresh in the 3rd period as they did in the 1st and 2nd. It was a well played game and a most deserving win because being able to point out a break in the flow of the Isle’s concentration and skill set became hard to impossible to do. Mindset-wise the Isles appear to have said NEY! to apathy and instead have dug down in their frustration and pulled out the ability to re-build momentum. It is a welcomed relief to see the fellas talking it up on the bench - it once again looks lively in there. Even Ted Nolan jumped up and lunged towards the ice in reaction to something that has escaped my memory of why.
Overall the Isles now appear to be exerting what I call an ‘affected’ playing style (which some may mistakenly refer to as desperation due to the recent losing streak) – meaning they are playing in response to being affected by the process of forming, storming, norming and performing (Tuckman, 1965) that all groups, in this case teams go through (and the Isle’s fan base too!). In going forward from here a psychological strategy for the Isles would be to make sure they effectively utilize the ‘data’ from the first three stages to transition into the performance stage and then enforce all of it on the ice like they did tonight. That strategy can be summed up in a newly suggested Isle’s mantra - ALLOW THE WIN.
LET’S GO ISLANDERS!
Tuckman, B. W. (1965). Developmental sequence in small groups. Psychological Bulletin, 63, 384-399.
Posted by ChristineOnTheNYIslesScene at 11:58 PM
Friday, February 15, 2008
Islanders 5 : Maple Leafs 4
With Brendan Witt lost for (according to the new report) 2-4 weeks due to his MCL sprain suffered in a collision with Philly's Scott Hartnell, even more pressure was put on the defense last night to come up big.
That wasn't exactly achieved late in the game, but the offense made up for it.
Four power play goals, one shy of a club record, were scored, as the Isles beat the Leafs, 5-4 at the Air Canada Centre. Two of them were by Ruslan Fedotenko (who now has 12 total on the season), and Mike Comrie scored his 17th (also his fourth on the PP), and Rick DiPietro made 27 saves but let in a late goal to let the Leafs pull to within one. Bryan Berard also scored a PP goal, but quite a few penalties in the third period allowed for some key chances for the Maple Leafs, who twice rallied back from two-goal deficits in that period to push for an equalizer that, thankfully, would not come. For the Maple Leafs, Darcy Tucker redirected a Matt Stajan shot to tie the game at 1 apiece early in the second, and then Toronto took the lead a minute and a half afterwards, with Mats Sundin's 24th at 9:21, displaying the heightened desperation level that the Leafs no doubt must achieve if they want to get anywhere near the top 8. Then, a parade of Leafs to the box allowed for the PP to strut its stuff, and Fedotenko (who has been playing wonderfully these last two games) got right into the crease and was able to stuff two past Vesa Toskala, who was making his first career start against the Islanders and made 24 saves.
The Isles would commit their share of penalties, including a 5-on-3 with Berard and Martinek in the box, and the penalty kill that commenced was amazing, with Richard Park and Andy Sutton the keys to that kill. But with less than a minute to go, Freddy Meyer would add an empty netter to- seemingly- seal it for the Isles. Alexei Ponikarovsky had other ideas when he scored his 14th, but then the Isles shut the door.
It could have been a prettier win. But after a virtually endless losing streak, these Isles will surely take the two points any way possible.
Side notes: Chris Campoli was interviewed by Deb Kaufman early before the game and says he is heading back to New York soon to begin rehabilitation on his surgically repaired shoulder. He is, as reported, finished for this season. As for his counterpart, Bruno Gervais, he is day-to-day with his oblique injury.
Posted by Angelica Rodriguez at 10:26 AM
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
The sound of the horn blaring after last night's game was a sweet sound, as it signaled the end of the Islanders' losing streak and home-game winless streak with a win over the Flyers, 4-3. Rick DiPietro let up 3 goals but made 26 saves, a few of them great ones, and Ruslan Fedotenko scored what became the game-winner in a game that, it seems now, the Isles were building up for- after a mediocre game that they lost (Anaheim), a better game that they could have won (Pittsburgh), and an even better one that they got a point out of (Minnesota).
Trent Hunter started it off with a garbage goal late in the first period, which the Flyers got back with Daniel Briere's 21st on the season early in the second (PP), that came off of a rebound with a sprawled DiPietro facing entirely the wrong way. Then came Jeff Tambellini, who kept the play in Philly's zone and let a rocket loose just past Antero Niittymaki's right pad, putting the Isles up 2-1. The Isles threw 47 shots at the net, 43 of which were saves by a strong Niittymaki, but he couldn't hold up forever, as Sean Bergenheim scored yet another goal while falling on his backside, for his sixth of the season.
Scott Hartnell would score in the second, and just after Fedotenko's goal, Joffrey Lupul would pull to within one late in the third, but the 7-game curse would be over and done with, and with the win, hopefully, will come a string of more, as the playoff push is fast coming, and to pull closer to the race, the Isles will have to win quite a few more games to even with the Rangers. That seven-game losing streak took the team a ways away from everyone else in the division (we're now eight points behind Philly and six points behind the Rangers), so to be considered a contender, the Isles have to stay strong.
That said... MSG takes to naming their Top Performers of the Week for all three local teams, and this week was Mike Comrie's special mention- and with reason; 2 goals in the Pittsburgh game and 2 assists in the game against the Wild makes him a definite factor in the last couple of games. Honorable mention on my behalf would go to Sean Bergenheim, who has two goals in two games (and would have had a game winner had Brian Rolston not popped out of nowhere), and also Jeff Tambellini, whose effort and offensive hustle has paid off in his first goal of the season last night.
Injury notes: Bruno Gervais was out last night with an oblique injury, and Brendan Witt left the game in the first period with a knee sprain (likely to be re-evaluated today), leaving some holes in the defense yet again. Let's hope Witt's injury isn't serious.
Posted by Angelica Rodriguez at 4:46 PM
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Isles 4 : Silladelphia Flyers 3
Since I missed most of the game, Angie is going to provide the highlights of this great effort by the Isles. Thanks Angie! My game experience was as follows…
5:30pm: left apartment
5:50pm: picked up my friend Matt by Grand Central Station
6:32pm: arrived in midtown to pick up tickets from Marc
(midtown in rush hour in crappy weather suckith big)
8:33pm: arrived at the game
8:40pm: knuckles gained their color back, shoulders began to relax
9:32pm: joined in on the beeping of LET’S GO ISLANDERS! about 15 times
9:40pm: arrived at Starbucks across from the Coliseum
9:41pm: shouted THE ISLES WON! to Rangers fan Starbuck’s employee
9:41pm: Rangers fan Starbuck’s employee rolled her eyes while responding in kind
9:48pm: secured no whip, no foam soy hot chocolate
9:50pm: began trek back to the city
11:16pm: with the help of the parking gods, arrived home
11:18pm: shouted THE ISLES WON! to my 2 cats and 2 dogs
11:18pm: cats and dogs looked at me like I was nutso
From 5:50pm until 8:33pm my friend Matt and I questioned our sanity but from then forward, watching the Isles end their losing streak by beating those silly Flyers was worth every minute of the 3 hour drive out to the game. We were a thin but loud crowd and with the way the Isles played, the Coliseum rocked tonight. Like Angie, I was totally for promoting hockey to women but not too thrilled with calling the event ‘Hockey and Heels’. ‘Ladies Night Out’ would have been just fine. Instead of the stereotypical offering of a fashion show, it would have been more inspiring to watch women and/or young ladies play ice hockey during the intermissions. But if this kind of gig has to happen again, I hope the Isles organization will show their humane side and not include a Mink coat as part of the clothing ensemble.
Before signing off I would like to take an inanimate object moment and thank my SUV for carrying us safely to and from the game - and if I may...thank myself for being wise enough to tell my mother about driving to the game in that crazy weather AFTER the game was over. I may be 39, but I’m still her kid. And finally, to my fellow Isles fan sitting three seats down from me - you were wrong about the drive home…I made it home before Friday!
LET’S GO ISLANDERS!!
Posted by ChristineOnTheNYIslesScene at 11:54 PM
Now, I know that this latest bright idea from the marketing geniuses of the Islanders' organization didn't come from the players themselves, so in no way am I blaming them for this latest move, which can either be a rousing success or another raw deal- which goes either way.
At least someone, somewhere deep in the bowels of Nassau Coliseum must think that this is intelligent, and on the surface, it looks as much. Hockey and Heels Night, a great night for the ladies of Long Island to come out and support their hockey team, the New York Islanders- for only ten dollars. What's not to like?
I'll tell you... it's the fact that the sideshow attractions prove that the organization really doesn't know what female fans want. FYI- it's not a fashion show by the players' wives and girlfriends, nor is it a makeover. (Trust me, I'm 17 years old and know nothing about fashion, I don't want to start learning, and surprisingly enough, I don't think I need a new look, thank you very much.) I would rather see an Isles win than any gimmicks the marketing staff comes up with to put butts in the seats.
And yeah, the $10 tickets are great, but it's on a school night. Practically impossible.
True, for the female fan who's more ladylike than me, she might enjoy this little deal more than I would. But she'd probably also be fine with the game itself- after all, she could see better renditions of these things on TLC, Oxygen or the E! Channel. The point is, these maneuvers make it look like the organization is trying to deviate people's attention from the on-ice product (which has suffered as of late) and focus it on things that are of no relevance to hockey- especially when you consider the amount of times this past week that Deb Kaufman has mentioned the package offer, and that Howie Rose and Billy Jaffe, bless them, have cracked the same "wearing heels" jokes over and over.
True, if this turns out to be a success and more women, or fans in general, are seen at the game tonight, no matter what our record is as of late, it would be seen as a success. But then again, that all depends on how many people- how many women- are willing to look past the record and sit through three periods of which we cannot predict the outcome. This was supposed to be about something completely different than what it has become, actually... it's the extra things added on at the last second that have turned me off to the notion of trying to "feminize" a sport I've watched for three years and Christine has watched for 34, that we were just fine with before everyone started becoming conscious of gender. The organization should have made it strictly about the low-price tickets, end of story.
Bottom line... make it about hockey, don't make it a sideshow. We ladies deserve better than that.
Posted by Angelica Rodriguez at 10:19 AM
Monday, February 11, 2008
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Islanders 3 : Wild 4 (OT)
Bill Guerin scored a goal. Andy Hilbert scored a goal. Sean Bergenheim even gave them a late lead in the third that would have ended the Isles' losing streak at 6. But the Minnesota Wild just wouldn't allow for it.
Brian Rolston scored two goals, including the late-tying goal at 16:36 of the third period, and Brent Burns scored his tenth goal of the season in overtime, to give the Wild a 4-3 win that left the Islanders completely winded, and probably wondering just what it is that they need to do to get back on the winning track. Two screened shots went in as goals for the Wild, ones that Rick DiPietro (14 saves) had no reaction to, and then the tying goal by Rolston was one where Rolston was all alone on the weak side, catching DiPietro out of position before tapping it in neatly. The OT goal was scored by defenseman Burns after Radek Martinek accidentally kicked to him the rebound from Wild forward Marian Gaborik.
On the other side of the ice, Nicklas Backstrom started off a little slow, but was solid (26 saves), making, among others, a great stop on Jeff Tambellini's awesome breakaway chance in which he was more patient- and perhaps desperate- than the young forward.
Mike Comrie, who now has four points in two games, recorded two assists and was +1 on the night, but even that couldn't help the Isles garner a win, as they settle for only a point and add another loss to their skid (now at 7). Isles broadcaster Billy Jaffe put it this way: "You just have to look at the positive in this game; otherwise, you're just throwing in the towel, and there is no need to do that with plenty of time in this NHL season." I absolutely agree. This game was a better defensive game, and hey, the Isles scored some goals again- but how long will this desperate situation be such? To stay in the race, they have to sustain leads and take them early as well- some may argue that battling back is easier than keeping a lead, but after a while both can be difficult.
Posted by Angelica Rodriguez at 1:27 PM
Friday, February 8, 2008
Islanders 3 : Penguins 4
On a professional level, perhaps the worst thing about last's night loss to the Penguins- the Islanders' sixth consecutively- is that this is perhaps the toughest one to get over, seeing as the Isles were playing their type of hockey- hard-working, physical and tough- and they very well could have won this one.
The worst thing about it personally? I'm finding it harder to maintain a positive outlook, seemingly wallowing in the same type of criticism and knee-jerk reaction that I am not a fan of. I guess that old saying is true, that misery loves company- it can take your mindset and twist it to fit theirs.
I can't even blame my recent reactions on frustration, which is no doubt what this team is feeling times ten today after dropping last night's game 4-3 at Mellon Arena. A controversial non-goal on account of a quick whistle by the refs with 2 seconds remaining in the third would have tied it for the Isles, who are now sub-.500 for the first time this year, having gone 4-9-4 in their last 17 games. Mike Comrie, however, finally scored his 15th (300th NHL point) and 16th (PP) of the season, and Fedotenko also added one on the PP, to make it a typically close one for the Isles, but a struggling Rick DiPietro (23 saves) couldn't hold up, letting in Chris Letang's backbreaker late in the third as he was tight to the post, looking more like he was preparing for a wraparound attempt than the goal that ensued. Later, on the bench as he was pulled for an extra skater, he threw down his water bottle in disgust, no doubt angry with himself for his performance. That outburst says it all- as Christine kindly reminded me last night, our own worst critic is ourselves, and no one is harder on us than we are. So yes, Islanders fans, there is a way to not be so critical, because these guys are hard enough on themselves.
Pittsburgh notes: Ryan Whitney scored two PP goals, Ryan Malone also scored, and Chris Letang's aforementioned game-winner was the tally for the Penguins, and goaltender Ty Conklin (first match against the Isles since January 8, 2004) made 29 saves.
- Ted Nolan had a great-looking tie on last night, didn't he? Unfortunately, it didn't get us a win. But we'll get them next time.
Posted by Angelica Rodriguez at 10:24 AM
Thursday, February 7, 2008
An article about Chris Simon by Gordon Sinclair of the Winnipeg Free Press
We can all learn something from this 'bad boy'
email sent to Mr. Sinclair
Dear Mr. Sinclair,
Good day to you. Thank you for taking the time to write about Chris Simon. More specifically, thank you pointing out the difference between the ‘doer’ and the ‘deed’. I predominately work with children; there is no better age group that needs to learn about making mistakes and recovering from them than kids, and no better age group that is as understanding and forgiving. A role model is not synonymous with perfection, the best role models are people who are authentic and who can inspire others by sharing insight about lessons learned from the highs and lows of their life, a rollercoaster ride that we can all relate to. I am really looking forward to Chris’s return and have faith that he will skate onto the ice ready to compete in a way that represents the talented player he is.
New York, NY
response from Mr. Sinclair
What a beautifully written letter.
Thank you for saying it better than I could.
Posted by ChristineOnTheNYIslesScene at 11:26 PM
There has never been a house so bad that it couldn’t be made over into something worthwhile.
~Elsie De Wolfe
In response to the Isle’s less than spectacular performance lately fan frustration is on the rise. During the final moments of the Anaheim game, a small crowd sitting in one 300 level section decided to express themselves by chanting, “we suck”, “refund” and something else that has left my memory’s database. Hearing this kind of stuff is like nails on a chalkboard. The worst part about it was the fact that they were Isles fans; the best part about it was that the rest of the crowd did not join in on it. The only fitting thing said was “we suck” because yes YOU ALL DO SUCK as fans.
On a more positive note, the Isles repeating tongue twisters on the scoreboard screen was mucho funny.
On a freaky-deaky note, my Isles mate Marc found it necessary to point out that moustache wearing George Parros reminded him of a 70s porn star.
Hmmm…where have I seen that look before??
LET'S GO ISLANDERS!!
Posted by ChristineOnTheNYIslesScene at 3:34 PM
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Islanders 0 : Ducks 3
Let's hope this is rock bottom for Ted Nolan and his squad, who were shut out 3-0 on home ice against the defending Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks despite the addition of youth (callups Jeff Tambellini and Frans Nielsen) and a solid first period.
Teemu Selanne, in his first game back in the NHL since winning the Cup, notched an assist, and Scott Niedermayer scored a power play goal, and Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 25 saves, as the Ducks didn't skate all over the Isles, but patiently waited for the Islanders to make mistakes- and in the form of penalties and complete breakdowns, the Islanders eventually granted them opportunities. Rick DiPietro was good early on under a flurry of shots by Anaheim, but couldn't help his team, whose fans were chanting "Refund" and booing them off the ice by the end of it. Meanwhile, the struggling Ducks, losers of 6 straight prior to this game (shutout two games in a row), were only too happy to end their own skid against the reeling Isles.
The only thing that was missing from this game was goals. Countless chances went astray, including one from Bill Guerin on a wide-open net, that epitomizes just what the Islanders are going through in regards to scoring woes. Tambellini and Nielsen, who were kept apart for most of the game up until the third period, didn't get quite as much ice time as I would have liked, but showed some smarts on the ice (especially Tambellini, who was just as good defensively as offensively and had some good chances).
Either way, however, the Islanders find themselves in 13th place in the Eastern Conference and at .500 for the first time in a long time (24-24-6), and in dire need of help and rejuvenation. No offense, struggling defense, and an All-Star goaltender who has made big saves but doesn't look to be the same as he was prior to the break... it all adds up to this- something has to give.
My solution? Bench guys who aren't playing full out. Plain and simple. Comrie showed me nothing last night except for some ridiculous penalties- bench him. Get some players in that will play smart and play determined, and will try their best to pull out a win. This is not the time to breakdown, not when it is February and the conference is getting tighter, and not while we are on the wrong end of it. I don't think this has anything to do with age- it has to do with who wants to play here, and who wants to give it their all.
Posted by Angelica Rodriguez at 10:22 AM
Monday, February 4, 2008
Isles 1 : Montreal 4
This past weekend, it was a tale of two worlds for this sports fan.
On one side, my strong hockey following took a huge blow with the Islanders' fourth consecutive loss, a 4-1 drubbing by the Montreal Canadiens on the road to kick off February with a terrible whimper. Rick DiPietro had a stronger game in his return from sitting out the Kings game with flu symptoms (28 saves), but ultimately the lack of offense was what killed the Isles, who now find themselves with a game in hand and four points behind the Rangers, who beat said Canadiens 5-3 yesterday afternoon. Moreover, they are not making any callups to Bridgeport, according to this Greg Logan item.
With a league-last 2.36 goals per game, you're going to let Jeff Tambellini sit with the Sound Tigers? Not for nothing, but something has got to be done regarding roster changes, and the best thing to do would be to sit someone like Mike Comrie and pull up Tamby or Ben Walter to see what happens. Sure, you don't want to have your players lose faith or confidence, and I can understand that if Ted Nolan is thinking it. But you cannot coddle these guys, and you can't keep playing them if they are not producing. The time has come to make changes, and make them big time. (Ted Nolan, are you listening??????)
That said, my whole outlook changed with the Super Bowl, and the first one I really paid attention to in a long time- being that my beloved New York Giants were in it for the first time in eight years, and they were the proverbial David against a huge Goliath in the 18-0 New England Patriots, the team that I, my father, and everyone else loves to hate (unless, of course, you're a fan), who were all set to make history and whose fans even smugly started planning parades and selling T-shirts marked "19-0 Dynasty" and the like to celebrate.
Spoke too soon, didn't they?
The Giants were the winners, 17-14, in a thriller that had me in turns screaming, praying, and ready to cry as I watched, second by painstaking second. Everyone who thought this would be a high-scoring game thought wrong- the Giants played their trademark defense-first game and played it well, throttling Tom Brady and stifling Randy Moss (except for his touchdown catch in the last two minutes of the game that put the Patriots up and would have sealed it for them if not for... wait, I'm getting ahead of myself). In the fourth, Brady finally hit Moss for a touchdown that made the score 14-10 Pats, and were that close to making history... but then young Eli Manning stepped up and said no, we're not done yet, throwing an incredible long-yardage pass to David Tyree that pulled the Giants all the way across the field (83 yards!) and set up the clincher: a TD pass to Plaxico Burress that sent all of New York's fans into a frenzy. They would hold on and make the score final: 17-14 Giants. Super Bowl Champs.
As I write this in my Manning jersey and with "18-1: R.I.P." written on my hand, I still can't really believe that we've come this far. It brings me to the conclusion that it is true, what they say- any team, on any given night, can win it. It all boils down to who wants it more, who is willing to step up and bring it home, as our MVP quarterback did.
Which is exactly why I am dying for the Islanders to break out of this funk and break onto the ice tomorrow night against defending Stanley Cup champions, the Anaheim Ducks, and start winning games. We have as much of a chance as anyone. The Giants proved it last night.
Posted by Angelica Rodriguez at 10:21 AM
Sunday, February 3, 2008
The Isles have separated themselves from the NHL herd by something other than their actual ability – their mindset. From watching the Isle’s body language on the bench and demeanor in interviews, here’s where they appear to stand:
noun. the feeling that accompanies an experience of being thwarted in attaining your goals.
noun. absence or suppression of passion, emotion, or excitement.
Frustration is a normal response to not being able to get to where you want to go, especially when you believe you have the ability to get there and it’s the only place you want to be. While in a state of frustration an athlete can still find the will to re-translate, re-formulate and move past it…utilize the frustration as fuel. Apathy on the other hand, is more toxic to an athlete’s mindset because in that state a player can begin to lose sight of their resources for success. Thinking and feeling patterns can become distorted (ie. the ability to realistically evaluate one’s performance) where problems can appear larger than they really are, thus leaving little room for optimism. Apathy is detrimental to an athlete’s self-confidence which can then lead to other symptoms such as depression and anxiety. In frustration an athlete can still be po’d enough to get back up, often with more determination than ever, however in a state of apathy, getting back up can be harder to do because by this time the athlete may be physically and mentally exhausted. And at this point the most formidable opponent an athlete faces is him/her self. In the bigger picture every player contributes to the collective unconscious of the team so the mindset of each player matters greatly because whatever state of being exists is contagious.
Some effective solutions beyond each player choosing to pivot in a new direction can…wait, scratch that…WILL be found in the team’s leadership and the support of the fans. Being far from the Isle’s inner circle, there is no way to asses the mindset of the Isles organization but what has been noticeable is that recently Ted Nolan speaks with deflation and distance in his tone of voice. But after reading about him in The New York Time’s article, the force for overcoming challenges is well within him. As for Isles fans, now would be a great time to move beyond our own frustration and rally behind the Isles. Let the only Flu circulating around be Isles fans infecting the team with positive vibes.
Someone once shared with me a mantra of the 12-step program AA. ‘Gratitude not attitude’. Here’s to the Isles pivoting towards better outcomes and preserving gratitude in all that doing so entails - put one skate in front of the other and let nothing or no one stop you from getting where you want to go.
LET’S GO ISLANDERS!!
ps. In a pre-game radio interview, it was great to hear LA coach Mark Crawford stating that he and his team were looking forward to playing at the Coliseum, describing it as an arena filled with great history and tradition. Take THAT all you Lighthouse enthusiasts! By the way organization d’Isles…it’s the Lighthouse ON Long Island, not the Lighthouse AT Long Island.
(word definitions taken from dictionary.com)
Posted by ChristineOnTheNYIslesScene at 10:41 AM
Saturday, February 2, 2008
Friday, February 1, 2008
Isles 1 : Kings 3
Take a hockey team. Add lack of confidence, stir in some bad passes, the flu bug, and liberally sprinkle some penalties on top, mix and let sit for sixty minutes. If it leaves a bad taste in the mouth, don't be alarmed... it's not meant to be good.
Another home game went for naught last night at Nassau Coliseum, as the Los Angeles Kings triumphed over them, 3-1, in a game that made the visiting team- by no means incredibly talented- look good. Tons of penalties, plus an aggravating lack of shooting the puck from the center, left the Islanders hapless and hopeless, out of the top 8 with a Rangers win. But of course, seeing as it's January, that is not the point of the story.
The point is that last night's game was an opportunity to help the Isles boost their confidence against a Western Conference team, in a solid, if perhaps boring, game. Not the case. Not only was it sleep-inducing, it was sloppy and about as bad a game as the Isles have played to date. They typically gave up the first goal, on a rebound by Matt Moulson. About four minutes later, however, Bryan Berard cleanly stripped Lubomir Vishnovsky as he attempted a cross-ice pass, putting the puck past a splayed Jason LaBarbera to even the score. However, that would be all she wrote as LaBarbera (28 svs) won the battle of the goaltenders; meanwhile, although starting goalie Wade Dubielewicz (in relief for Rick DiPietro who has flu symptoms; 24 svs) played well, he couldn't save them all, and his teammates weren't doing him any favors. The frustrated glare on Ted Nolan's face said it all. But some wonder... is he doing enough to get this team motivated?
My thoughts? Maybe not. There needs to be some form of tough love to get these guys to wake up- in the form of benchings (the right guys, Ted, not Sean Bergenheim, who shows you hard work night in and night out), scratches, demotions if necessary- maybe even full practices or stationary bike rides after the game a la Brent Sutter. My point is, something has to be changed here, something that will wake this team up and make them realize that now is not the time to be experiencing a meltdown- not when there are 31 games left and we need to fight for every point if we want the playoffs, which I am sure these guys do. We're quite a ways from those four and five game win or points streaks, and as long as the out-of-town scores are working against us, we can't count on them. For once, I would like to see this team control its own destiny and guarantee a trip to the playoffs. Too early to say it? Maybe, but it's never too early to start winning. So go into Montreal tomorrow afternoon and make something good happen, boys. (REMINDER, the game starts at 2 p.m. tomorrow, not 7-7:30, so be ready to DVR if you can't watch it.)
Posted by Angelica Rodriguez at 8:23 PM