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.

Islanders 2014-15 Season Mantra

Try not. Do...or do not.


Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Trouble With Hits Is...

Let's get this straight: As fans, we are all biased. If we see a hit where someone gets hurt, we call for the opponent's head. If one of our players throws what could be construed as a "cheap shot," we go out of our way to prove that that isn't the case. If we're Islanders fans, in many cases we resort to the tried-and-true line, "Colin Campbell just doesn't like us."

In no way am I saying I disagree with that assessment. I've seen plenty of instances in the past four years as an Islander fan where it looked an awful lot as though he was being just a little harsh. So why would we not take that stance once more, after the Toronto Maple Leafs game?

Brendan Witt's hit on Niklas Hagman was unintentional in my eyes. I don't think Witt, despite his reputation as a hitter, purposely goes around looking for people to hurt. He even went over to see if Hagman was okay after it happened. And as for the people who want to argue about Hagman's past history with concussions... well, I doubt players actually think at that moment, "Oh, this guy has had x amount of concussions before, let me see if I can give him another one." Not to mention the fact that, from what I saw, Hagman stopped short on the ice as Witt attempted to finish the check.

Then again, I am biased, seeing as I've been a Witt fan since he came to the Island. The other extreme- people calling for 15-20 games, I kid you not- just makes me laugh. I wonder what they thought of all of the hits that went unpunished- hits just as cheap, just as detrimental to the game. But we all see the game differently, and we all make our own opinions, which is why I can't understand all of the name-calling going on on YouTube and elsewhere when two sides get into disagreement.

I suppose, though, it's all part of the fans' passion for the game.

You can see the hit for yourself here:


Friday, February 27, 2009

One of the Many Reasons Why Sports Programs MUST Remain in Schools

Team's gesture supports grieving opponent
ESPN.com news services

Updated: February 18, 2009, 2:49 PM ET

Two missed free throws, ordinarily the cause of a coach's headache, became the symbol of sportsmanship in a Milwaukee boys' basketball game earlier this month.

Milwaukee Madison senior Johntell Franklin, who lost his mother, Carlitha, to cancer on Saturday, Feb. 7, decided he wanted to play in that night's game against DeKalb (Ill.) High School after previously indicating he would sit out.

He arrived at the gym in the second quarter, but Franklin's name was not in the scorebook because his coach, Aaron Womack Jr., didn't expect him to be there.

Rules dictated Womack would have to be assessed a technical, but he was prepared to put Franklin in the game anyway. DeKalb coach Dave Rohlman and his players knew of the situation, and told the referees they did not want the call.

The referees had no choice. But Rohlman did.

"I gathered my kids and said, 'Who wants to take these free throws?'" Rohlman said, recounting the game to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "Darius McNeal put up his hand. I said, 'You realize you're going to miss, right?' He nodded his head."

McNeal, a senior point guard, went to the line. The Milwaukee Madison players stayed by their bench, waiting for the free throws. Instead of seeing the ball go through the net, they saw the ball on the court, rolling over the end line.

"I turned around and saw the ref pick up the ball and hand it back to the player," Womack said in the Journal Sentinel. "And then [McNeal] did the same thing again."

Said Rohlman: "Darius set up for a regular free throw, but he only shot it two or three feet in front of him. It bounced once or twice and just rolled past the basket."

"I did it for the guy who lost his mom," McNeal told the newspaper. "It was the right thing to do."

Womack, overwhelmed by DeKalb's gesture, wrote a letter to the DeKalb Daily Chronicle, which had first reported the story.

"As a principal, school, school district staff, and community you should all feel immense pride for the remarkable job that the coaching staff is doing in not only coaching these young men, but teaching them how to be leaders," Womack wrote.

DeKalb had traveled more than two hours for the game, and waited another two as Womack rushed from the hospital, where he had been with Franklin, to the school to gather his team.

"We were sympathetic to the circumstances and the events," Rohlman said in the Journal Sentinel. "We even told Coach Womack that it'd be OK to call off the game, but he said we had driven 2½ hours to get here and the kids wanted to play. So we said, 'Spend some time with your team and come out when you're ready.'"

The two schools had met twice previously, and this one ended with a Madison victory, but as in the other games, they also shared a pizza dinner, "four kids to a pizza, two Madison kids and two DeKalb kids," Womack told the Journal Sentinel.

"That letter became a big deal in DeKalb," Rohlman said in the paper. "We got lots of positive calls and e-mails because of it. Even though we lost the game, it was a true life lesson, and it's not one our kids are going to forget anytime soon."

Womack, in his letter to the DeKalb Daily Chronicle, added this at the end: "I'd like to recognize Darius who stepped up to miss the shot on purpose. He could have been selfish and cared only for his own stats [I hope Coach Rohlman doesn't make him run for missing the free throws]"

Link to story on ESPN

O Caption, My Caption

Listen Marc I know you’re upset about possibly having to play alongside Avery in the future but I need you to go out there and play in the here and now...ummm...helllooo? Could you at least look at me when I'm talking to you?

(picture from NHL.com)

Hard Work, But No Icing on the Cake

Maple Leafs 5: Islanders 4 (SO)

I bet Tim Stapleton never thought he'd have the game winner in his NHL debut.

Thanks to the shootout, however, he gave the Leafs a not-so-much needed lift over the Islanders, 5-4, after they gave up a 2-0 lead, only to get it back and then lose it again. No doubt this was a roller coaster of a game, and it started in the first, as Nikolai Kulemin scored only 1:27 in on Joey MacDonald. Then in the second, Dominic Moore scored shorthanded- only 57 seconds in. Talk about nightmare. There was quite a bit of shorthanded action going on- Sean Bergenheim got awarded a penalty shot that was stopped by Vesa Toskala as well. You'll hear more about Bergie in a minute. Meanwhile, Dean McAmmond cut the lead in half with his first goal as a New York Islander. Congrats!

Now back to Bergie shorthanded. He had yet another chance, a breakaway attempt with Jeff Tambellini in the box serving a major penalty for Brendan Witt (elbowing), and this time he made no mistake- he put the puck right between Toskala's pads and tied the score at 2. The Leafs were rattled a bit, but got the 2-goal lead back within three minutes thanks to Pavel Kubina (PP) and Nik Antropov. But the Isles rallied on the skates and sticks of Mark Streit and Jon Sim, and before anyone knew it, the crowd was cheering something fierce (which I was incredibly proud of, especially considering the organist didn't even prompt them) and we were blowing right past OT to the shootout.

There, Frans Nielsen started things off nice and smooth, but hit the post on the shot. Then came Kulemin, who was stoned by MacDonald. Jeff Tambellini was next, and scored on the same shot he did against the Penguins- a wrister from the hashes that beat Toskala high, prompting me to stand and cheer (I called it!). Jason Blake, however, did Tamby one better- he pulled a spin move practically on top of MacDonald, pulling him out of position and putting the puck in the net for a tie score. Kyle Okposo had the opportunity to give the Isles the lead, but he made the error of too many moves and lost the handle on the puck once again. Then Stapleton came along and rifled it in for the win.

After all that hard work, you would believe it to be a bit of a letdown, and it was for the most part, but the Islanders did what they needed to do to get it to OT, and they overcame some costly mistakes to get one point.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Isles' Fort Breaks Down in Final Minutes

Islanders 0: Penguins 1

If the 4-0 shutout against the Devils was perhaps the Isles' best game of the season, maybe we can consider this game to be a lesson in immense frustration.

Yann Danis did all he could to keep the Islanders competitive, but unfortunately it was one rush too many that the defense allowed. With only a minute and a half left in the game, Petr Sykora finally put the puck past him as a oair of bodies- Ruslan Fedotenko and Brendan Witt- took him off balance. It was a bittersweet ending to what had been a solid game for Danis, as pressure mounted in the third, but from sources other than the lone superstar on the ice, Evgeni Malkin.

Neither team was incredibly offensive, which made for a rather boring game until the third period. Marc-Andre Fleury wasn't tested that severely- he only made four saves in the third- while Danis stayed alert and on his game as the Isles had trouble with clearing the puck and with generating offense. They had some good chances, including a couple of two-one-ones and some nice setups, and Fleury wasn't that sharp on rebound control, but nothing was finished. They also stayed disciplined, only going to the box twice, but that didn't help either. It seemed as though both teams were focused on defense- but the difference was, the Penguins were that much better at bailing out Fleury. And so the Isles head back to face off against Toronto at the Coliseum tonight, 7 pm start.

Monday, February 23, 2009


Well, it's not until tomorrow, of course, but why not celebrate a day early with my partner-in-crime??

Much love and thanks for being completely 100% awesome.


Make a wish!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

White-Out a Wash As Isles Blank Devils

Devils 0: Islanders 4

The week prior to this game was a flurry of activism, of gung-ho fans eager to show their support for Charles Wang's Lighthouse, encouraging everyone to wear white on Town of Hempstead Night to show TOH head Kate Murray just how badly they need a new arena.

Last night, unfortunately, it looked as though the word had barely gotten out, even though Chris Botta himself advocated the move on his own blog, Islanders Point Blank. That didn't stop the Isles, though, who built up a four-goal lead over three periods and thumped the New Jersey Devils, 4-0, at Nassau Coliseum.

The Devils have not been on their game as of late, and they have lost quite a few on the road. Tonight wasn't any different- although they played their usual free-flowing game and threw 40 shots at Yann Danis (who stopped all 40 for his career-high total), something was definitely missing- perhaps a physical edge that would have taken their game that much higher. Zach Parise was definitely present, but Danis gave him nothing, not even on what was perhaps the best chance of the night: a clear breakaway attempt that hit his pads.

Meanwhile, it was smooth sailing for the most part on the Isles' offense. First came Sean Bergenheim, who got a great feed from Mark Streit and put it away after being stopped by Scott Clemmensen on an earlier attempt. Then in the second, after a few chances by the Isles either missed or were stopped, Jon Sim scored his second in two games off of a bad giveaway by Mike Rupp in his own zone. 2-0 Islanders, and the fun was just beginning.

What got the Devils into trouble in the third period was definitely their penalties: three of them were taken in the third, including a 5-on-3 with David Clarkson in the box for four minutes, and then Brian Gionta going in for hooking. In that sequence. first Kyle Okposo scored on a great feed from behind the net from Blake Comeau. Then, on the 5-on-3, with Brendan Witt right smack in front of Clemmensen, Bill Guerin blasted one right past the goalie for the icing on the cake. (Christine said she called this one seconds before it happened, haha.) That capped off the win, and Danis' second career shutout. And although the Lighthouse wasn't well represented tonight, the Isles made up for that and more, rebounding very well off of a dismal 5-1 loss and playing perhaps one of their best games of the season.

Notes: In the second period, Okposo and Streit had a severely long shift: Streit was clocked at 2:47 on the ice, and Okie at 3:03... the Islanders snapped a 4-game losing streak against NJ... it is their first shutout since exactly one year ago, February 21, 2008, when Rick DiPietro shut out Tampa Bay 1-0 at the end of a great seven-game winning streak... hey, did you catch that awesome handoff from the equipment trainer to Jeff Tambellini when Tamby broke his stick? Didn't miss a beat. It's all in a day's work.

P.S. Today, February 22, 2009, marks the 29th anniversary of the USA Men's Olympic Hockey Team defeating the Russians, 4-3, in Lake Placid. I wasn't even born yet, but I know the story well, and I would like us all as hockey fans to take a moment today and pay homage to what is likely the greatest upset in all hockey history, when a bunch of college kids took down the immense red monster that was the Soviet Union. GO USA!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Campoli, Comrie Traded to Ottawa


The Islanders have acquired forward Dean McAmmond and a first-round draft selection in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft from the Ottawa Senators, in exchange for forward Mike Comrie and defenseman Chris Campoli.

Chris Botta reports that Campoli had asked to be traded, according to an NHL source. Overall this is a good pick; however, it raises the question of what will happen now on the blueline, seeing as the Isles lack depth on defense. Will that drive the front office to pick Hedman instead of Tavares in the draft? Who's to say. Comrie is also making his return to the Senators after signing as a FA two summers ago.

Good luck to both of these players; they both did some great things on the Island. Hope Ottawa treats them well.

Not to Sound Like A Broken Record...

Hurricanes 6: Islanders 2

...but what more can be said about a loss like this?

It's been a while in the making, but there is nothing to dull the blow dealt by the Hurricanes in their win over the Isles, 6-2. Last time the Isles played Carolina, they put 60 shots on goal, a season high. Last night? Not even 30. Not even 25, for that matter.

In the end, Cam Ward only had to make 22 saves, and none that he was forced to be acrobatic on, whereas on the other end Joey MacDonald was peppered, forced to stop several breakaways and odd-man rushes. There wasn't any comfort in knowing his defense was very off-key tonight, and the offense wasn't much better, save for an early Mark Streit goal on the PP when it still looked like there was hope for the Isles. Also, Jon Sim scored a goal late, his first since Dec. 13 and his seventh of the year. The only thing that was lively about these obviously drained Islanders was the fighting- there were two scraps in the third period, one between Tim Jackman and Tim Conboy (I wonder if they knew they had the same first name, hmm), the other between Mike Comrie and Chad Larose. Otherwise, the Isles didn't handle the puck well, missed the net countless times and, other than a couple of instances by Sean Bergenheim, barely had any real offensive spark to speak of.

So it's back to the drawing board, and on Saturday night it's back on the ice to meet up with Isle Killer Zach Parise and the Devils, who have had the Isles' number for quite a while now. Maybe a bit of rest will do these guys some good, after a draining Rangers game and not much of a real fight in this one.

Notes: Richard Park missed his first game as an Islander, and will be out for four weeks with broken ribs... no, you weren't seeing things, Brendan Witt was right in front of Cam Ward on the power play! He got 2:14 total PP TOI and looked pretty good going in on O... the Hurricanes have won 4 straight games against the Isles at the NVMC.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Please Hold on to the Bar

Islanders 1 : Rangers 3

First a moment of silence for the Isles loss to the Flyers 5-1 on Saturday...and now a moment of gratitude that I did not make it to watch that game in Philly and sit amongst Flyers fans while my team got pummeled. At least, on this rollercoaster ride of a season, the Isles beat the Penguins and Jeff Tambellini came through in the SO. Good to see Coach Gordon has not given up on him, neither have I. There’s more in that guy, finding where the ‘more’ is seems to be the challenge. Check his pinky toe.

The 1st period started out with a ta-do about the line-up, I was making some tea so I missed what happened – came back to the TV to hear there was no penalty called. Shots were sent Yann Danis’s way and beyond his ability and tiger like stance (as in martial arts) I am convinced this guy has a fairy hockey-mother. Some pucks just seem to repel away from him and the net on their own. Nigel Dawes scored the first goal of the game (5:37) with a snap shot that seemed to be a result of poor Isles positioning – lacking depth. The Isles soon responded when Kyle Okposo and Blake Comeau provided a nice set up for Mark Streit’s goal (8:24), even NIICCEEER was Streit’s lift on the puck. Brendan Witt and Aaron Voros exchanged some love taps – the first of many during the game. Also in the mix this period was Sean Bergenheim and Chris Drury. Andy Hilbert served 2 minutes for tripping (13:26) and once again Witt and Voros clashed, this time Voros fell down and went boom. During the intermission Butch ‘fly suit and tie’ Goring commented that he thought Bill Guerin was a great Captain. Agreed.

The 2nd period started out with another ta-do. From what I could tell the time clock was set for 2 seconds so the buzzer sounded after the face off which ultimately resulted in a do-over. Shortly into the period Frans Nielsen was sent to the sin bin for hooking (00.26). Brandon Dubinksy did a nice wrap around the net though not resulting in a goal and with that I got up to make more tea and came back to Ryan Callahan taking a penalty for holding (4:18). Nothing came of the power play or any other man advantage for the Isles last night. While Richard Park was serving time for goalie interference (6:32), Scott Gomez skated up the ice and sent a wrist shot (7:26) past Danis (7:26) making the score 2-1. The puck appeared to deflect off the inside of one of Danis’s pads but overall it looked like a delay of reflex in response to the shot. Billy Jaffe (and later, others) stated this was a goal Danis should have had. I tend to think shots straight on are harder to stop so with that I consulted with my hockey hero and nephew TJ who plays goalie for his high school team. Although TJ agreed that for him, straight on shots are harder at times to stop, he did think Gomez’s shot was soft, that Danis seemed to get a piece of the puck, and that his delayed response could have been due to Danis possibly anticipating that Gomez would make a play rather than shoot. Verdict? TJ agreed with Jaffe. As we talked about this kind of thing happening to a goalie, TJ pointed out that when an O or D player makes a mistake it doesn’t necessary mean it will cost the team a goal, that there are other players out on the ice who can compensate for the mistake but when a goalie makes a mistake, the chances of that resulting in a goal are much greater. Thanks TJ for your insightful perspective and as always I LOVE YOU!

With the Rangers now up by 1, a sin bin extravaganza began. Erik Reitz was called for kneeing Bergenheim (10:16) which led to Andy Hilbert stepping in to back up his teammate which led back to Bergenheim but this time engaging in a full on fight with Petr Prucha. Although Bergenheim, actually after this game Sean ‘mad dog’ Bergenheim, took Prucha down on the ice this clash also left Bergie limping away. All were sent for a time out with the addition of Voros serving for Reitz’s roughing penalty. (Bergenheim returned and seemed ok). Bruno Gervais drew a stick holding penalty (1:17) called on Nikolai Zherdev and Richard Park almost tied the score if not for the ‘clink’ sound of the puck hitting the crossbar. Brendan Witt served 2 minutes for roughing (16:58) I believe as a result of another clash with Voros.

Shortly into the 3rd period Erik Reitz served more time in the sin bin for tripping (2:18), a result of his stick blade getting caught in the skate blade of Tim Jackman. Josh Bailey found himself all alone in front of Henrik Lundqvist but Lunkqvist came up with the save. Topping off the penalties in this game was Chris Campoli doing time for interference (16:46). With Danis pulled, Fredrik Sjostrom scored on the empty net (19:53) resulting in a 3-1 loss for the Isles. Overall it appeared the Isles opted for a physical game rather than winning the game.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

35 For No. 35 In Shootout Nailbiter

Penguins 2: Islanders 3 (SO)

Gimmick or not, you can't deny that some great things happen in the shootout.

With the memory of the 9-2 thrashing they got earlier in the season by this team no doubt there in the back of their minds, the Islanders came out strong against their division rivals yesterday afternoon. Thankfully, however, this game turned out to be a tight one, each team scoring twice, one after the other.

First was a good play by Sean Bergenheim, who skated the puck up the wing and saw Chris Campoli darting to the net. He cross-ice passed to Campy, and the puck deflected off his skate past Marc-Andre Fleury. After a video review to ensure there was no "distinct kicking motion," the Islanders had the 1-0 lead. The Penguins tied the game up 6:27 later, as Evgeni Malkin displayed his great wrist shot, blasting it past Joey MacDonald.

It took around fifteen minutes, spread out over two periods, for the tie to be broken. Sean Bergenheim again made it possible (he had a great game), driving around the net and centering to Andy Hilbert. Hilbert's initial shot on goal was stopped, but Fleury failed to hold, and that resulted in Frans Nielsen stuffing it into the net just before it was knocked off its moorings. 2-1 Isles. But then Mark Streit (yes, you read right- he's back) took a penalty which resulted in a power-play goal by Ryan Whitney that Joey didn't really have a chance on.

The teams played to a draw in the third, and that turned into a very, very entertaining OT- one in which I don't think I've ever heard the sold-out crowd cheer quite so loud. It was well-earned, as the last three minutes of 4-on-4 play saw some incredible chances go both ways, as well as some great defensive work- by a forward, no less, that being Kyle Okposo. Bruno Gervais also played extremely well in this game. The overtime ended scoreless, and that paved the way for an interesting shootout.

Nielsen shot first, scoring on a few nice moves. Then Petr Sykora made a unique and smart move, going wide on the goalie to drag him further up into his crease, leaving the top left corner open. He scored, making the shootout tally 1-1. Then came young Jeff Tambellini, a guy who hasn't had the best time on the Island, bouncing in and out of the lineup. Putting him into the shootout was a sign that Scott Gordon has a bit of faith in him- and for good reason, as Tamby also made a peculiar move, skating to the hashmarks and then letting go a bullet that put the Isles up 2-1. Joey would then stop both Malkin and Sidney Crosby to give the Isles a great win, one that snapped their five-game losing streak and sent the kids home happy on Presidents' Day. He rightfully earned the first star of the game with his solid performance.

Notes: Dan Bylsma was behind the Penguins' bench yesterday, as Michel Therrien has been relieved of his coaching duties... the Penguins outshot the Isles 37-30...the Isles outhit Pitt 35-23, Brendan Witt leading the way with six hits (imagine that, Pitt outhit by Witt)... Streit was back in the lineup after missing five games with an upper-body injury.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Off the Isles Scene For Just a Moment

Sean Avery?

Are we honestly uttering this name again, after everything that's gone on with him in the past year? Are we really going to see his face and his jersey back on an NHL team?

Sure, there was honestly a huge overreaction to his "sloppy seconds" comment. The guy's just a misogynist, or at least those comments were misogynistic. Besides, they're just words, and the guy's got a right to speak his mind. But if it were only so simple as that when it came to the enigma and the storm that is Sean Avery, then we wouldn't be having this frustrating conversation.

There isn't a doubt that the guy has game. He's a good player, for what it's worth, and even the irritating edge to him has some value on the ice. But for him to come back into the NHL now? What does that prove?

It is much, much more than whatever he's said about his ex-girlfriend. Don't think for one moment that this wasn't the last item on a long list of black marks against Avery's name. It's about his whole personality- what he's done before this, his air of not being a team player and only concerned with himself, the fact that he even has his own Hollywood publicist (not sports-based, like many other NHLers do). There's a huge gray area in my eyes when it comes to the question of why he is playing hockey when he obviously wants so badly to do internships for Vogue and the like. I'm not trying to judge him there; it's your life, do what you like. But what to do when the off-ice stuff overshadows on-ice achievement? When people know you more for saying ridiculous things in front of the camera than scoring goals?

As of right now, Avery is in the AHL, and playing for Hartford. He was interviewed by the New York Times prior to his debut, which I believe is tonight.


His personality in print, if you can trust the words you read, is that of a reformer, a chastened schoolboy who's promised to be more respectful to the teacher. And the teachers are definitely going to be coming down on him harder should he slip up again. As far as I'm concerned... it's only a matter of time.

Call It A Valentine's Day Massacre

Islanders 1: Flyers 5

There was no love for the Islanders in Philadelphia today.

After showing some signs of life in the first seven minutes of the third period- time that produced the lone goal, by Andy Hilbert- the Isles got stung by their own lax play in the defensive zone and the offensive prowess of the Flyers, eventually going down at the Wachovia Center, while Martin Biron broke Ken Dryden's record amount of wins against the Isles (he now has 10).

Claude Giroux started off the scoring in the first, and 44 seconds later, Jeff Carter's shot was redirected by Scott Hartnell in front for a quick 2-0 lead. Then the Flyers stalled for a while, while the Islanders evened up the shot total, and in the second period, got more physical than they had been in the first. The Flyers didn't get any goals in that period, but neither did the Isles, although they did establish a decent forecheck, and what's more, neither team took a penalty.

It took until 6:15 of the third for the Isles to finally get on the board- Andy Hilbert fired one high glove side past Biron to cut the lead in half. Until that point, New York had been coming out hard against Philly, and it looked as though momentum was clearly in their favor. But as quickly as they had grabbed it, they let it slip away with some unlucky deflections in the defensive zone, and within 1:07, a 2-1 lead became a 5-1 lead. Matt Carle was credited with a goal that Chris Campoli accidentally banked off of his defense partner, Bruno Gervais, on a clearing attempt, and then a shot by Arron Asham went past Danis off of the stick of Radek Martinek. Lastly, Simon Gagne converted a penalty shot on a nice backhand-forehand move that got Danis moving to the left, leaving just enough space for Gagne to stuff it past him.

This loss is the Islanders' seventh at Philly, and their fifth in a row overall. It starts off a busy week in which they play Pittsburgh at home, then the Rangers, Carolina and New Jersey. (The Rangers game is at MSG.)

Notes: Mitch Fritz was back in the lineup, with Jeff Tambellini a healthy scratch (and honestly, if the coaching staff believes Fritz will be any help here then they are sorely mistaken, in my opinion, but then again I'm only the blogger in the room)... Tim Jackman dropped the gloves with Asham in the first period, just six seconds after the first Philly goal, and it ended with Asham putting him down... Danis made 29 saves.... Biron made 38 saves.

A Slaughter Of Love: Valentine's Day Letters on the Island

Have you ever wondered what the Islanders would write to each other if they were to send each other Valentine's Day notes? Well, so have we. Here's an "exclusive" look at the sweet, sweet... er... words our boys pen to each other on this, the most romantic day of the year. (P.S. We're not here to judge or to offend... this is meant with the sincerest amount of humor possible. :) )

Dear Dougie,
On and off the ice, you are my best friend. You had me at hello, and ever since you've been the cream cheese to my bagel, the peanut butter to my jelly, the assist to my goal- er... anyway, I'm grateful we have this Valentine's Day together.
Till the trade deadline do us part, Billy #13

Oh Captain My Captain,

I love watching you skate up into the clouds where you play like a powerful, tall orange-and-blue clad hockey god. Sometimes I wish you could take me up there with you. You are the bestest captain ever. (Shh... don't tell Doug.)

Be mine,

Coach Gordon


I love you. You are my funny, adorable little French crepe. Let me be your sweet cannoli, and we will make delicious desserts together tonight. Meet me on the blueline; we'll get it cooking.

Love, Chris C.

To my goalie Joey-

When I first saw your lateral movements on the ice, I knew we were gonna have something special. You have knocked me off my feet (and into your crease) with your pad stops, and made me swoon over your glove saves. Before we leave the ice tonight, gimme some of your goalie lovin'.

Thomas Pock

Dear Marty,

Please be our valentine today. We promise not to hurt you.

Love, the entire defense.


I'm sorry I skated away instead of celebrating your first goal with you. I was only angry because you said I have about as many holes in my game as a slice of Swiss cheese. But I know you didn't mean it. I'm an All-Star, for crying out loud. So I want to make it up to you. Please be mine.

M. Streit #2


Man, I'm kinda angry at you. I saw you hugging Park on the ice after the game. When we're at practice, you're always joking with Billy, and you never look at me anymore. You even started that stupid little high-five with Campy again. What's up with that? I thought we had something, that this meant something to you. We could've been together, man; Hilary doesn't need to know! I hope you're willing to make this work. Don't let me down on Valentine's Day.


Hey, Parkie,

This is a bad time, but I think Mike's on to us. He kinda saw us hug at the Toronto game, and he wouldn't talk to me last night. I think he's getting really jealous now, and I don't want to hurt him... Things just haven't been the same between us, so I've got to end it between me and you. I hope my hug didn't lead you on or anything- I'm honestly just a one-Valentine man.

All the best, Ricky D.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Guess Who?

Dear Blog,

I apologize for not updating sooner. I have been extremely busy lately, and although I watched the entire LA Kings game (a shootout loss, 4-3, on the stick of Jack Johnson who then saw fit to rip the Coliseum in an interview- love you too, kid), I was not even remotely tuned in on the night of my birthday. I did, however, see the sick goal by Kyle Okposo (boy, do I love replays and highlights!) and I also saw the great goals by Zach Parise, aka IsleKiller. The work ethic was there- however, the intensity and offensive pressure has been missing for a while, and it just discourages me, ya know?

Not to say we're not doing a good job. The Islanders have, hopefully, turned a corner. But there's more bad news on the horizon: Trent Hunter and Doug Weight are back out of the lineup. Weight could miss up to six weeks with a sprained MCL. Not good news, especially since he's been a huge part of whatever offense we've been able to muster in our past few games. And then when you consider that Mark Streit is out with his injury (upper body?)... let's just say we're in trouble. Try as they might, Joey and Yann Danis still can't score goals just yet.

So, Blog, it looks as though things are not going too well on the Island as far as health goes, and it could be hurting us soon. But the Isles are playing the Philly Flyers (eech) tomorrow, Valentine's Day, at 1 pm... maybe a win will help us make the icky holiday a little more bearable!



Wednesday, February 11, 2009




All my love,

remember...straight to the pen!

and of course what Birthday would be complete without...



Sunday, February 8, 2009

Only One Word Can Describe Last Night

Islanders 0: Lightning 1


For the fan, it's a huge letdown to see nearly sixty minutes of good, hardworking hockey, all sabotaged by a weak redirection- a flukey rebound straight to the player who had originally shot, Steve Eminger, and his second shot tipped in by Gary Roberts with 6:26 on the clock.

I can only imagine how the players felt, after shooting, skating, shot blocking and saving everything up until that point.

The truth was, this was a feisty, spirited game, and the Islanders did rise to the occasion, engaging in two fights in the first period alone (of which Tim Jackman and Bill Guerin respectively took part in). Also, you had your usual suspects causing mayhem and generating offense on the ice- Kyle Okposo, Frans Nielsen, Trent Hunter, and recently returned Sean Bergenheim. You also had some great defensive hockey played on both ends (see the extremely low score), and the goaltenders in each net- rookie Mike McKenna on the Tampa end, who made 28 saves, and Yann Danis on the Islanders' side- were likely never better. It only took that flukey rebound to end the stalemate, decide McKenna the winner of the game "Who Would Crack First?"

The only flaw in the Islanders' game was that they spent too much time defending in their own zone, and though they did all they could to even the play out in the second period, they never really kept up any offensive edge in this game. There were great plays by the Nielsen-Hunter tandem (yeah, it's turning into a tandem now- they just know each other so well, it's impossible now to imagine them playing with others), and a great rush by Okposo out of the penalty box with about a half-minute left in the game, trying to even it up but getting stoned by McKenna, who had a very strong performance for the first shutout of his career.

And so went the Isles, who have now dropped two straight games but who had a much improved game from their last one, against the Panthers. They seem to have turned a bit of a corner, but still need to work on offensive pressure and holding onto the puck. If they do that, they'll be able to win the next one.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Attention to Detail the Missing Ingredient in Florida

Islanders 2: Panthers 3

The Islanders were both skilled and fortunate enough to keep the game tight to the very end. However, even with all of the frenzied hard work in the final seconds of play, they couldn't get the equalizer, and thus were brought back down to Earth.

The Isles had their four-game winning streak snapped last night in Florida, losing 3-2 after some flashes of brilliance and more often stumbles along the ice. Joey MacDonald made his first start since January 13th and made 26 saves, but allowed three goals. Obviously we have tremendous love for the Mac on the NY Isles Scene, but perhaps it would have been prudent to let Danis start at least one more game, and let Joey play the back end of the trip against Tampa Bay, but obviously the coaching staff felt differently.

At any rate, the Panthers scored first, at 5:41 of the first period. Jay Bouwmeester stripped Radek Martinek of the puck, and Martinek couldn't recover completely, as Bouwmeester fired a shot from a ways out that beat MacDonald through a heavy screen. This, unfortunately, was just after the goalie had bailed out Bruno Gervais on a somewhat similar play, in which a pass to Doug Weight missed completely and landed on David Booth's stick. The Isles had all sorts of trouble breaking out of their zone in the first, and as a result were outshot 10-6. The Panthers were also incredibly physical, something that the Islanders needed to be and just weren't this time around.

Nate Thompson was injured in the first period, and in the second period another center was temporarily lost- Doug Weight, who got caught in a rut on the ice and went down on his side. He left the ice in disgust. Meanwhile, the people who ended up playing on the PP in relief couldn't truly connect- with Weight out and Streit not on the ice (out day-to-day with an upper body injury), all that could sum up the PP was miss... miss... miss. Despite all of the great pressure on the forecheck and the work by Chris Campoli, essentially the only man on the point although Kyle Okposo hovered around that area, cheating to net occasionally for a chance, nothing was finished on, and barely any shots on goal for that matter in two consecutive attempts, until Josh Bailey fired it from the point past Tomas Vokoun at 8:22.

Weight came back from his brief stint in the locker room and turned up the heat immediately, pressuring hard and obviously taking out some frustration on the opposing team, as his work was some of the best I'd seen all period- the kind of desperation style of play you want to see the Isles adapting a goal down. However, an ex-Isle would steal the show a couple of minutes later. Richard Zednik got a pass from Bryan McCabe and executed an amazing play, pushing past Martinek and leapfrogging over a falling Brendan Witt to score the goal. That made it 3-1, and made me wonder when I'd ever seen any of this while he was on the Island! It was an awesome goal that I couldn't even be that mad at.

The Islanders did make up for earlier PP mistakes, and Bailey scored another point- an assist on Trent Hunter's goal on the man-advantage that made it 3-2, and made his father smile and give a thumbs-up to Chris Bailey, Josh's dad. The two were part of a contingent of dads on the trip to Florida, a nice little tradition that started two years ago. Hunter's goal was his third in four games.

The third period was crucial for the Islanders, and although they tried their hardest, the Panthers had gotten too big of a lead on them, and ran with it, outshooting the Islanders 29-22 overall and holding on for the win. The season series has thus been split, with the home team each winning their respective games.

Notes: Thomas Pock is out four weeks with a hand injury... Josh Bailey scored his second goal of the year last night... Chris Campoli had the most ice time (and PP time for that matter) with 24:24... Jon Sim and Jeff Tambellini were healthy scratches, Tambellini for his second straight game.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Four Straight in February

Lightning 1: Islanders 3

Uh-oh... this just got real.

The Islanders won their season-high fourth straight on the saves of Yann Danis and the goals of Trent Hunter, Mark Streit and Radek Martinek, a perfect 3-0 after the All-Star Break, and it's quite obvious that while this wasn't their best game, particularly in the first period, there's a buzz about them that is just getting stronger... we hope.

Joey MacDonald watched from the bench (a sure sign that he's getting closer to a return) as Danis made 29 saves, earning himself yet another first star of the game, and withstood an early barrage of shots by Tampa Bay, as the Islanders struggled a bit to get themselves into the game in the first period. The only thing that helped this game stay scoreless in the first was the great backchecking, particularly by Tim Jackman and Kyle Okposo (two forwards) and the concentration of Danis.

The second period opened with the Islanders starting to buzz- including Hunter shooting it off the crossbar- and an All-Star going down as (perhaps) the latest injury casualty. Mark Streit went to the locker room shortly after being hit by Evgeni Artukhin, and although he returned and scored a goal after Trent Hunter's, he left the ice once more and didn't return. It looks to be an arm or shoulder injury, which is not good for the defenseman leading the Islanders in points. Ironically, one of his shots temporarily put captain Bill Guerin out of commission when it hit him in the back of the right leg. Guerin and Streit were two of the three Islanders (Richard Park included) who had played all of the games to date this season. With the Isles up 2-0 already, Radek Martinek- not a goalscorer, by any means!- scored his first of the season (and first in 102 games) to make it 3-0. At that point, embattled goalie Karri Ramo had given up, and thus gave way to Mike McKenna, an NHL rookie in fact making his first ever start in the league. He had a good performance, not allowing a goal. The Lightning actually almost made the score 3-1 late in the second, but the post bailed Danis out after he was a bit far to his right on a shot by Vinny Prospal.

The third period could have changed a lot, as the Lightning scored 3:05 in on the power play (Vincent Lecavalier's 23rd). But Rick Tocchet was instead having fits on the bench, as one of his stars proceeded to take two consecutive penalties in the offensive zone. Martin St. Louis gave the Islanders two straight power-plays, including one that negated a goal, and sealed the deal for the home team once more. Later, he was seen angrily questioning the referee as to what the call was actually for, but of course it was too late. The Lightning have now lost three in a row, while the Isles are going strong and going down to Florida to play the Panthers and the Bolts once more.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

I've Got One Word for Angie


Guerin's Still Got It! Scores #402 As Isles Trump Panthers

Panthers 1: Islanders 3

Alert the presses! The Islanders have won three in a row!

Okay, so perhaps sarcasm wasn't warranted (unless you're one of those Tavares advocates- juust kidding). But aside from some small hiccups- and some big penalty kills- the Islanders completely looked like a team yesterday, in a strong 3-1 win over the surging Florida Panthers last night.

Before this game, the Panthers had been winning quite a few games, especially with Tomas Vokoun in net (he'd gone 6-1-2 in January). But yesterday, although throwing a lot of shots at Yann Danis, only one could get past him late in the third, when it didn't matter anymore. On the other side of the ice, three different goalscorers put the puck in the net for the Isles, two of whom had been somewhat overdue for one.

The play was at a stalemate in the first period until Kyle Okposo got whistled for a high-sticking penalty on Nathan Horton- four minutes because wittle Nathan was bleeding. The PK was equal to the task, staying aggressive and pressuring the Florida power play- and getting the rather quiet crowd into the game. A couple of minutes later, they definitely had something to cheer about- Mike Comrie faked out Vokoun, forcing him to his left and then sneaking around the net as the goalie played the puck. He intercepted the pass to a defenseman and slipped the puck into the net before Vokoun could get back to the post for his first goal in quite a while (in fact, I do believe his last goal came against these same Panthers a month ago- correct me if I'm wrong).

The Panthers got a bit of pressure in the second period, their fourth line of Nick Tarnasky, Kamil Kreps and Anthony Stewart getting some chances as the Isles got just a bit sloppy in their own zone. Mark Streit got called for a (bogus) slashing penalty on a breakaway by a Florida forward, and the resulting penalty kill featured perhaps the best save of the night- and it wasn't by Danis. Richard Park dove at the last second to chip the puck away from a wide open net and prevent a power-play goal. It was one of many effective plays that earned "PK" Park the second star of the game. Despite each team getting significant chances, and another double-minor (this one Bill Guerin, same offense) the score remained 1-0.

In the third period, Florida led in shots at first 4-0, with the Isles having all sorts of trouble breaking out of the zone. But once they did, Bill Guerin showed a flash of his younger self. A centering pass by Comrie got to his stick, and he made an awesome spin-o-rama move to put the puck past Vokoun, 2-0. It was one of the nicest goals I have ever seen him-or anyone- score for us, and he certainly knew it as he skated off the ice smiling from ear to ear.
Kyle Okposo capped off the scoring with his fifth goal in four games, off of great forechecking by Chris Campoli and Frans Nielsen. He's been on fire this month, and his linemates Josh Bailey and Blake Comeau have also done some great work, making the Kid Line one of the most effective to date. (There ya go, Christine! A kid talking about the Isles' "kids." haha)

A strange sight there was to behold with five minutes left- the Panthers net empty, and Tomas Vokoun sitting on the bench. HUH? What a statement that was by coach Peter DeBoer, but one that didn't really pay off- although Gregory Campbell made a pretty redirection for the Panthers' only goal, they really didn't come close to tying this game, only spoiled the shutout bid for Danis, who got the first star of the game anyway (37 saves!). It was a great win for the Isles, once more, and in front of a nice big audience too! Next game is another home game, Tuesday, against Tampa Bay.