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.


Monday, May 31, 2010


Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

-Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae

There's Always a Scapegoat

Tonight is Game 2 of the Stanely Cup Finals. Much to do went around about Peter Laviolette sending in Brian Boucher to replace Micheal Leighton in Game 1. I was more focused on the poor performace of both teams, who looked like pee-wee teams doing the ping-ping scoring that often goes on at that wee age, which at that age is cute. The Blackhawks got off easy - there was no victory for them this game but it appeared they realized that by how they skated off the ice. As for the Flyers, the last thing they needed was internal drama which was what their coach wound up creating - it's one thing to replace your starting goalie when the score is 4-0 but this was not the case. Coach Laviolette made Leighton look like a chump early on in this final race, there were other Flyers that should have exited instead of Leighton.

Morale is important Coach Laviolette if you want your boys to win for you because when it comes down to it in my world, it's all about making 'Dad' proud and as that goes, by removing your goalie when both teams were playing loosely, you publically put your team in a submissive position which can change the entire mindset of a team who really believed they could win the Stanley Cup under your leadership. But like in any family dynamic there is always someone in the role of scapegoat. In ice hockey that role is all too often filled by the goalie. In my opinion Leighton should have finished the game. What a coach can do in a scenario like game 1 is essentially play confidence chicken with the other coach - puff up his feathers and show 'fake it to you make it' confidence in your collective team because at the end of the day it's not about one game, one win or one loss...it's about who is still standing at the end of what is one long ass season. It's about endurance.

All Leighton needed was one confidence boost moment like Antti Niemi had late in the game when he impressed even himself with a glove save off of Daniel Briere's line drive from the slot.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Probably The Only Case of Penis Envy

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More than the wish that the Islanders will one day again hoist the Stanley Cup in victory is the wish that future reality will include young girls being able to dream of partaking in their own Stanley Cup playoffs...to work so hard for every minute of ice time throughout the years, shooting pucks into their own dryer with bigger goals in mind that are actually obtainable - to be a part of something so intense as the race for the Stanley Cup while wearing pink skate laces if she chooses to.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Isles Season Wrap Up --> Stanley Cup Finals

A little late but here's my Islanders season wrap-up. It's pretty clear to most who don't live in a cave that the Islanders have a lot of work ahead of them. I don't believe much will come of the team until a change of team ownership occurs. With that in mind, in the spirit of Angie's grading system, every Islander has earned an 'A' for the simple fact of being an Islander. I do believe something came out of this season; that being a manifestation of the mantra posted at the top of this blog: "Sticks in a bundle are unbreakable". I chose this mantra because it seemed important that some type of bond form on the team, a core energy to draw from to calm the instability that is the makeup and management of the team. Didn't see much of an Alpha male on the ice taking up a leadership role but time and time again these fellas (or at least most of them) made lemonade out of lemons. What I liked most about the season, again related to the mantra is that there seemed to be an increase in contributions made throughout the entire team, none too small, and that the workload was shared among many players rather than a handful who were expected to excel at the game. Sure I'd like to see the Isles kick it to the play-offs but until that happens I can handle it if they don't win as long as there are points of growth, subtle as they may be, to bank for a later date.

in other news...

Was called a hockey geek by those who know geekiness...MAC geeks. This is how the story went - Islanders playing the Rangers - needed to get an adaptor from the Apple store - torn between watching the game and going to the Apple store - problem solved - watched 1st period - drove to Apple store during intermission - watched 2nd period at Apple store - drove back during intermission - you know the rest. Proof of hockey geek title worthiness below:

So far only two NHL fan sightings in NYC during the playoffs.

For $400 it probably should look like DP

Even in the cold, Jones Beach is the place to be. Pictured below are the new Islanders starting forwards. Would be great if one of them pooped on Darcy Tucker.

To the guy on the Meadowbrook Parkway who used his jacket to carry a dead goose to the grass median and then nuzzled the goose's beak into its wing - you are awesome and should be cloned. A Fu Man Chu to you sir, well deserved.

and last but not least:

Dear Blackhawks,

I am writing regarding the Stanley Cup Finals that begin tonight. The Flyers have gained a momentum during the playoffs so if you don't stun them in the 1st period, by the middle of the 2nd period it will look like they were only stretching/warming up until then. More importantly, they believe they can win which is more of a threat coming from a lower seeded team. Sit back on your heels at any time and I will be forced to endure more texts like this one.

Please do what you can to make these texts stop because there is nothing better than a silent Flyers fan.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

More 'Evidence' Blind Side Hits Have No Place in the NHL

Related to the recent blog post about blind side hits in the NHL, the LA Times article below takes a look at yet more potential outcomes of Traumatic Brain Injury.

"In concussion's wake, sadness and anxiety thrive"

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Are There No Gentlemen Left in the NHL?

Atlanta Thrashers prospect Partrice Cormier is currently facing criminal charges stemming from his elbowing Mikael Tam (in the jaw) in January which caused Tam to convulse on the ice and as reported also caused him to stop breathing for under a minute. Cormier who is also known for being the former captain of Canada's world junior hockey team could face up to 18 months in jail.

Although following this season had been tricky this year, the blind side hit issue I have followed. After watching the NHL for many years, a gut feeling continues that there's a momentum out there building that is making death on ice a possibility - a desensitization going on where these kinds of hits are freakishly becoming strategy for taking players out of the game - strategy by players who in my opinion utilize these hits to overcompensate for a lack of impulse control, professional boudaries and ultimately real skill.

What amazes me the most about this issue is that after coaches, GMs, owners & players have time after time witnessed the escalation in shots to the head and the outcomes THERE NEEDED TO BE A RULE ABOUT IT IN THE NHL. Are there no gentlemen left in the NHL for a gentlemen's agreement? It takes a ruling, which by the way took too long to be put into place, to discourage blatant behavior that is NOT NECESSARY IN THE GAME OF ICE HOCKEY.

The ruling states:

"A lateral, back pressure or blind-side hit to an opponent where the head is targeted and/or the principle point of contact is not permitted. A violation of the above will result in a minor or major penalty and shall be reviewed for possible supplemental discipline". -full story here.

Don't know about you but as it reads, it kind of seems like wussy, non-desrcript wording where ultimately the consequences remain in the subjective hands of the NHL which in the past has shown sketchiness when doling out suspensions.

I read somewhere that the average age of retirement from the NHL is late twenties which means barring unforeseen circumstances, a retired player has quite a ways to go in his lifespan. The wear and tear of being in the NHL should not include Traumatic Brain Injury. If you have ever been around someone with TBI, which I have, it's not anything someone should purposefully (meaning the hit) do to someone else regardless of rivalry and a desire to win, and should not be a price to pay for a career in the NHL.

As far as players who either think, voice, or give off the vibe that 'it was an accident' or like James Wishiewshi's response that he didn't do anything wrong when he nailed his 'friend' Brent Seabrook into the boards - if at that level of conditioning and skill a player cannot control the force of his body, he doesn't belong on the ice to begin with. Those players who know it wasn't an accident don't belong on the ice either. Granted ice hockey is a contact sport, it's supposed to get rough out there on the ice, I get that however this issue verges on damaging the integrity of the game and no matter how rough - there's got to be integrity for the sport to flourish. It would be a shame for this sport to be void of another 'great one' because he took up curling instead because his parents saw how violent hockey had become. Yup, just in case you didn't get ENOUGH of curling at the Olympics...there ya go.

If the NHL is going to promote hockey as family entertainment then they should share the responsibility in protecting children from witnessing this kind of violence. And that's what it is: violence. The responsibility cannot fall solely on parents because there is no predicting when this kind of violence is going to take place at a game. The solution should not be a parent avoiding the game altogether - there's got to be shades of gray.

One last thought, it appears that off ice behavior is paralleling on ice antics with the escalation of fans beating upon the glass looking like a bunch of apes, and that is insulting apes around the world. What's up with that? Bad day at the office?

Please note: escalation does not equate a generalization of players and fans. Most players and fans get it and at the end of the day ice hockey remains awesome.

(sources: nhl.com, yahoo.com, usatoday.com, my brain)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Round Two Almost Over

...and I have improved markedly. 3-for-4 so far!

Last night was the culmination of the series between the Penguins and the Canadiens, a Game Seven, perhaps the very last one at Mellon Arena unless the Pens won. However, the Habs had something else in mind. In the end, Brian Gionta, Mike Cammalleri and Jaroslav Halak proved to be the heroes, and the Habs prevailed, 5-2, ending the defending Stanley Cup champions' reign. There were plenty of cheers, jeers and tears on both sides (especially over the Internet- yikes), yet in the end the No. 8 seed came out on top and will face off against the winner of Boston-Philadelphia. The difference in this series, besides the fact that Jaro Halak has given this team incredibly good chances, was that the players who needed to perform- Gionta, Cammalleri, etc.- did exactly that. In this series, Gio scored five goals, three assists and Cammalleri seven goals, one assist, while Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were pretty much stymied with a goal and assist each. That's true performance by the former two.

The only series currently still active is Boston-Philly, and it's come to a Game Seven as well. Whoda thunk it? Boston's back on its heels after giving up a 3-0 series lead, while it looks as though the Flyers have all of the momentum in the world. If they win... I won't know what to do with myself. *bites lip nervously* They remain perhaps the only active playoff team I honestly can't stand. Come on, Bruins.

In other news...

-Sharks win series against Red Wings, 4-2, successfully eliminating any chance of Detroit revisiting the Cup Finals. Thank God. San Jose is doing excellently as of late- maybe we're wrong about them.

- Chicago wins series over Vancouver, 4-2. So the WC finals is going to be a matchup against the #1 and #2 seeded teams. How interesting. Meanwhile, there's all sorts of chaos and mutiny going on in the Eastern Conference. A tale of two cities, indeed- or shall we say two conferences?

Round Three begins Sunday. Stay tuned.

Monday, May 10, 2010

WTF? x 2

Sitting at a pub in the East Village with Pittsburgh vs. Canadians on the flat screen above while watching Flyers vs. Bruins game on my laptop with earphones plugged in. Beyond you wondering what is wrong with me (hey! my roommate coveted the TV!) what is with both the Bruins and Penguins not living up to my playoff expectations?? I guess it's cool that there is no rhyme or reason to the playoffs so far but really Flyers up 3-0?? So far I think the winner of the Stanley Cup is going to be a surprise to many. But for tonight it's WTF? x 2 until (or if) something begins to shift for both Boston and Pittsburgh. ACK! Flyers up 4-0? Bartender! make it a double!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Imperfect Game

Earlier this week, UVA men's lacrosse player George Huguely allegedly murdered former girlfriend and women's lacrosse player Yeardley Love in a private residence. Both students were seniors at the university. This incident has sparked an incredible fire within the college lacrosse community, as well as the sports world in general. As a (non-current) lacrosse player, this sparked an interest in me as well. SB Nation's Andrew Sharp wrote an incredible online article describing his take on the story and how he feels the culture of lacrosse- one of entitlement, chauvinism, and reckless abuse of alcohol and other substances- helped this happen. In many ways, he is completely right; however, the culture he so vividly details goes far beyond the realm of elite lacrosse programs.

Unfortunately, we live in a society of warped values and priorities, where the athlete takes precedence over a great many other people- the teacher, the civil worker, sometimes even the soldier. You see it even in high school, depending on where you go. For me, it was a huge public high school in Brooklyn, yet I still saw the popularity of the boys' lacrosse players and the football players. Even my own teammates on the girls' team loved them; meanwhile, many had personalities that were (at times) suspect. Thankfully, none of them were incredibly out of control, in part because they had a hard-assed coach with strict tactics (and three City Championships because of it), yet you still felt a cocky, holier-than-thou kind of air about them. You can imagine how much more magnified that kind of admiration is in a school with an even better lacrosse program- more money, more elite, more of a sense as a player that you deserve the world and more because you can throw a ball into a net past another person.

It's not unlike the world of junior hockey in Canada, a "boys will be boys" world where young girls are branded as "puck bunnies" whether or not they want a hockey player- and to some players, every girl wants them, even if they say no. Or take high school football in the South, where coaches pull all strings necessary so players with failing averages can graduate on time and receive scholarships to the best colleges. These young men are taught that they can do anything they want, have anything they want, and people will love them no matter what- and that mentality breeds trouble. It really isn't unlike a fraternity, as Sharp writes, where masculinity (and in many cases, misogyny and violence) reigns supreme. And apparently Huguely was fueled by this mentality when he allegedly took Love's life.

These kinds of cultures ruin what should be innocent fun for all. They take the focus off of a simple game and make it a world where you, as a player, are compared to a god walking the face of the earth. That pressure is unbearable for many, and it can corrupt anyone, which is why it's so important that everyone, not just players, coaches and staff members, gets involved and changes the face of all of these sports. It's not enough to make excuses. We have to show players, beginning at the youth level, that they are not invincible, and they cannot have it all unless they deserve it, in terms of both hard work and moral fiber. How to do that must be figured out soon.

(Examples of junior hockey and high school football taken from my reading of two books- Crossing the Line: Violence and Sexual Assault in Canada's National Sport by Laura Robinson and Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger, both highly informative and disturbing accounts of the culture of youth sports. I recommend them to anyone who wants to learn more on the subject. Also, if anyone has any books or articles to recommend, I'd be more than willing to take them into account.)

P.S. Rest in peace, Yeardley Love.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Round 2 Update

Last night I went 2-for-2- Chicago and Boston BOTH pulled out wins against Vancouver and Philadelphia, respectively. Not only that, but Boston and another of my picks, the San Jose Sharks, lead their foes by a 2-0 series margin right now. *fist pump*

As for Chicago and my final pick, Montreal, they're knotted up in 1-1 series ties. After a 5-0 shutout loss against the Canucks, Chicago came back from an 0-2 deficit and ended up winning 4-2. Also, the other night the Canadiens rallied for a 3-1 win, avoiding an 0-2 series deficit after losing miserably to the Penguins, 6-3, in Game One. I'll miss the games tonight, unfortunately, since I'll be training for my VERY FIRST, REAL job :D, but no doubt I'll get some updates from my kind fellow fans on Twitter. Tonight's Game Three for MTL-PIT and SJ-DET. Should be fun!