Last week I listed three potential outcomes for the Islanders when they played in Philadelphia Tuesday night. The Isles chose option two -
2. Get sucked into Flyers drama, lose the game and potentially someone gets hurt.
Islanders 2 : Flyers 6
Isles quickly got sucked into Flyers drama, they L-O-S-T and Tim Jackman left the game in the 1st period with a boo-boo and did not return. So my thought is now that if I keep going to Isles games in Philly sooner or later they will win at the Wachovia…or not. It is amazing how regressed the Isles look when playing Philly. A win for Biron would have been nice being back at his old stomping grounds for the first time since leaving Philly but he looked out of it most of the game, culminating in the 3rd period when he was knocked down during a gloves off pile up where Flyers defenseman Matt Carle landed on Biron. Where do you go from there? The club box bar or home I guess…beer it was since the only superstition I have about watching the Isles (since being a kid) is leaving the game before it’s over.
The Isles did rally in the second period. John Tavares scored two power play goals and as an added bonus said goodbye to part of a tooth, wonder if the tooth fairy gives partial payment. Kyle Okposo busted quite a few moves this game, he just never let up which made other Isles look “lazy” as one Flyers fan put it. Why Blake Comeau was not in this game, against this team is beyond me. But that’s why I’m the fan and Scott Gordon is the coach.
Islanders 2 : Leafs 3
Didn’t get to see the Isles in Toronto but seemed to mirror some aspects of the Flyers game, coming back from behind with two goals from Tavares, except the gap in score was smaller in Toronto, 2-0 before Tavares’s goals compared to 4-0 in Philly. On a side note, don’t know if I’ve ever witnessed a scoring pattern like Philly had, Mike Richards with two in the 1st period, Jeff Carter with two in the 2nd, and Claude Giroux with two in the 3rd. Freaky deaky.
Bruins 2 : Islanders 3 (OT)
Then came a big win against Boston which Angie has recapped, a fine recap at that, so I’ll just add some notes. Howie Rose stated this was Blake Comeau’s best game this season and it appears many Isles fans agree. Isles fan comments also seemed to relay that this was a team win, as Angie pointed out – who didn’t play well? Although I was thrilled to see the Isles prevail against a solid opponent, something about the way goals were celebrated by some players, including the pile-on when Frans Nielsen scored in OT for the win was bittersweet. On one hand it was great to see what looked like shear infectious joy and on the other I thought to myself…dudes it’s not the playoffs, it’s one game of many, with many more to go. Reactions like these are always hard to put in writing so I’ll sum it up this way – I love this team, always will but let’s not look like the Bad News Bears of hockey and hockey fandom. And yes Howie, Billy and d’lovely Angie…the team is ‘young’ – I get it…learning curve and all. Last note - saw the post game interview with Bruin’s coach Claude Julien where he made a few references to Dwayne Roloson keeping the Isles in the game…er…what game were you watching? Come on coach, give credit where credit is due – the T-E-A-M d’Isles outplayed your team.
And then there’s Maude…
For those who are not from in and around my generation – and then there’s the Panthers game.
Panthers 7 : Islanders 1
O to the U to the C to the H. The return of Andy Sutton didn’t seem to make a dent and as it was with the team win vs. Boston, this was a team loss, so much seemed to go wrong for individual players and the team as a unit. Beyond that, Roloson looked as exposed this game as Biron did in Philly on Tuesday. The play-by-play wasn’t pretty as you probably saw or read by now and bleh that the Isles have to head into a home ice exchange with the Rangers so soon after. Since this NY rivalry is as much a mental one as it is physical, let’s see if the Isles can do what Mark Streit suggested in an interview after the game, “…Every player needs to do some soul searching and go home and think about what happened” (1). Along with that I’d like to add ‘go home and get some rest’ which will be the topic of a blogpost follow up to this one regarding what I think is the Isle’s biggest challenge, the ability to rest and rejuvenate between games. Athletes, especially hockey players, must either know how or learn how…and that’s ‘must’ as in, if they want to.
And with that I should take my own advice at 4:30am, exhausted and one too many Swedish Fish eaten. Goodnight.
LET’S GO ISLANDERS!!
(1) quote from www.nhl.com