Monday, February 25, 2008

Leafs Fans, You So Craaazy

So, Bryan McCabe invites all the Leafs to his house for a party. He asks Paul Maurice if he can bring the beer. The coach says that's no problem and loads up his SUV with cases of beer.
En route to the party, the coach is at a traffic light and the guy in the car next to him is blowing his horn and yelling "GO LEAFS!" Maurice smiles and waves.
The guy yells over to Maurice: "Hey coach! What's with all the beer?"
The coach replies: "Oh. I got it for McCabe."
The other guy punches the air and cheers.
"Great trade coach! Great trade!"

This will probably be resolved by the time you read this post, but Garth Snow has offered to take McCabe from the Leafs if they throw in a first round draft pick. McCabe has a no-trade clause, but would wave it for the Islanders (not often you hear that) and his nearly six million a year contract would be our problem. At the end of the day, the offer is Snow's way of saying, thanks but no. I'm guessing the deal won't go anywhere. But my god, someone should tell the Leaf fans. They're losing their mind. I don't think Snow is god's gift to GM's, but seriously, he's not a complete idiot. He's negotiating and basically saying "no" to McCabe. It's also a note to all buyers that the prices are high this year. Read between the lines, brother Canuck.

I suck at HTML so you'll have to cut and paste this the old fashioned way.,68493

Sunday, February 24, 2008

End of the streak (boogedy boogedy)

I had a bad feeling about the Devils game (although, truth be told, there aren't many Islanders games I have great feelings about beforehand), but after discovering that the Devils hold aside 200 $10 seats for every home game, I figured it was worth the half-hour trip to the Prude (I aint calling it the Rock) to watch the Isles go for seven in a row. Alas, it was not meant to be, as my impressive personal two-game seeing-the-Islanders-live streak also came screeching to a halt. The Mediocre One and I will try to start a new streak next Saturday.

Despite the loss, it was actually a pretty good time, as I saw something I never saw before--rabid, interested Devils fans. I thought such creatures only existed on "Seinfeld." I stand corrected.

Most of the fans on line for the $10 tix were calm enough, or perhaps just sleepy from being up early on a Saturday. But then there was the teenage douchebag behind who yelled "Yeah, Trent Hunter..Five Years" and "Fishsticks" at anybody wearing Isles gear (I had on my Sound Tigers hat, which I guessed went right past him), including families. Personally, I think the Hunter deal is fine, and the "Fishsticks" jeer doesn't really impress me. Of all the things you can make fun of the Islanders about, you're gonna choose a jersey they wore more than ten years ago? That's the best you got? The Reverend, the Mediocre One, and I come up with worse insults about the Islanders than that. C'mon, jerkoffs. You can do better.

Anyway, after waiting on line for about an hour (and seeing former Newark Mayor Sharpe James dash in and out of the lobby, stopping on his way out to wish a former constituent a happy new year, which raises the question of when is the cutoff date for wishing someone a happy new year?), I got my ticket, which I soon discovered was in the very last row. But unlike the last row in the Coliseum, the last row at the Prude actually enables you to see the entire ice surface and not have to elect someone from your section to tell you how much time is left in the period. So it aint so bad. Plus the $10 seats are at the end of the ice where the Isles attacked (pause for laughter) twice, so that's a bonus. Theoretically.

Since I was late the previous time I went to an Isles-Devils game at the Prude, I took my time strolling around the arena and taking in the sights. Here's a guy who's not Eddie Layton (RIP), but at least he tries. You gotta give props to a guy who plays an ongoing medley of various pop hits (including a killer "Stacy's Mom") before the game.

And here are the famous Beers of Newark.

Jersey City...represent

Brodeur on Brodeur

Once the game got rolling, the fun really started in Section 216. The teenagers in front of me were particularly vocal, and soon some guys maybe a little older than them took the seats next to me and quickly sussed me out as an Isles fan. I girded myself for a long afternoon, but it turns out I was worried for nothing. The Isles fans in 215? They had reason to worry.

It started calmly enough. There was the "Rangers Suck...Islanders Swallow" cheer, and some derogatory comments directed toward Mr. DiPietro, but nothing out of the ordinary. And, in fact, in the early going, the only strong venom from the guy next to me came in the form of "God, I hate the sound of children's voices" after a "Let's Go Devils" chant from a kid. But then things took a turn for the worse, when the 17-year-old (I know his exact age because at one point he yelled out, "I'm 17 years old and I'll still kick your ass") started throwing "faggot" and "queerbag" around, and it soon turned into a cultural war between New Jersey and Long Island.

I would like to point out that there is no dynamic that fascinates me more than the Jersey vs. Long Island war of insults. Basically, these arguments are one side making fun of the other for reasons that other people make fun of them. It's fascinating. And it was fully on display in Saturday afternoon's war of words in Sections 215 and 216.

The guys around me started mocking Long Islanders and speaking in exaggerated Italian accents, which is odd, because I think there may be a lot of Italians in Jersey, but maybe that was just on "The Sopranos." Then it got better. The guy next to me went into a long diatribe that included the following:

"Yo, let's all go down to the Jersey Shore and see Seaside {sic] Johnny and the Jukes. Oh-ay."

OK, so, let's take a look at that. The guys from New Jersey are mocking the guys from Long Island for (a) having guido-like inflections when they talk, (b) going to New Jersey on vacation, and (c) liking a band from New Jersey.

Awesome. Even better than the Sabres fan who yelled out "White Trash!" after a playoff game at the Coliseum last year.

It heated up every now and then during the game. The 17-year-old in front of me told one of the older guys from Long Island to "have a heart attack" and "sit down, ugly." A guy from Long Island told one of the guys next to me to "get a haircut," which was quickly met with "get a nose job." And then after the Devils went up 4-2, it got a little tense (that was when the 17-year-old made his fight offer) and an usher had to come by to restore order. Cooler heads (if any of the heads involved could really be deemed "cool") heads prevailed, and after a woman two rows in front told the Isles fans to "enjoy your lose [sic]," it was time to head home. Or at least to the Goal Bar to soak in the postgame show atmosphere and get Chico Resch to sign my ticket stub (got Daneyko last time). Even more handsome in person, ladies.

So, anyway, that was Saturday at the Prude. The streak(s) had to end at some point, but that third period (Isles were outshot 20-5) was tough to watch. Definitely didn't look like a team that was fighting for the playoffs. I hope they bounce back Tuesday night. If they can get into March in 8th place, I'd say they have a shot.

Oh, and I would've liked to give you a full report on the Isles' open practice at Iceworks in Syosset, but they cancelled it. Which I wish I would've known before I got to Syosset. Oh well. At least I partially salvaged the trip and got a sweet Trottier t-shirt at the Team Store in Hicksville.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

New Islanders Team Motto

I missed most of the game tonight, but got back just in time to see the end. I hate to see them give a point to a team in the conference, but by all accounts, it seemed like they earned the two. And to get two points with the defensive crew the Isles are putting out, well, that's amazing.

So, the fun continues. I keep looking at the schedule for a game the Isles can afford to lose, and I'm not coming up with much. It'll be a rough road, but potentially a fun one.

In the postgame interview with Deb Kaufman, I do believe Radek Martinek (whom I'm just about ready to call my Favorite Current Islander) coined the new motto for the rest of the season: "It's Not Easy," which seems to be a go-to phrase in this stage of Radek's English-speaking history.

The New York Islanders: It's Not Easy. That's way better than We're All Islanders.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I Hope It Becomes a HABit

I was going to write something about the Islanders being sellers or buyers at the deadline, but I was just reminded why I love hockey and love being a hockey fan in the New York area. Don’t worry, reader, I will eventually write something about the Islanders, but I think something needs to be said about the Rangers blowing a 5-0 lead. No typo, that was 5-0. I love the Rangers because they give me the chance to root for every other team in the league. Tonight I was rooting for the Canadians who are a decidedly more fun team to watch than our own New York Islanders. Awesome game. And Jagr choking in the final shootout spot was the cherry on top. Here's hoping the Rangers blow some more leads.

The only clip I could find concerning the game was Joe Micheletti complaining about the Rangers (well before the meltdown) when he thought they were at commercial.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Updated -- Huzzah

Comrie. DeePee. And Fred Meyer. And I think I heard Joe Vasicek's name. Fucking fortuitous.

Four in a row. Even Garth can't handle four ... .

Watching Hockey -- With the Third Eye

Apologies for my absence. I spent most of last week in the throes of seasonal malaise, but came out of the dark this weekend to score five goals down the stretch of an exciting ball hockey game at my home rink, Tompkins Cortland Community College, and guided the NHL 08 Islanders to an eerily similar-to-life 4-1 victory over the eerily, equally despondent Atlanta Thrashers (video game shot totals: 42-16; real-life, 49-10).

The home of TC3 Panthers Ball Hockey

I didn't see the big Islanders' victory, but felt a kinship with the club after pasting the video Thrashers, and then downing a few Labatts at a Binghamton Senators game with Islanders fan and legendary Binghamton journalist/guitar picker Diamond Dave Edick. We took the Senators game as occasion to catch up on a year's worth of bullshit talk, and wound up taking in a decent game. As is usual with our catch-up sessions, we did an off-the-cuff rundown of most of the Isles' roster, and, as usual, we agreed on nearly every player's contributions and/or lack thereof.

A reasonably brief summary:

1. Chris Simon: Yeah yeah, we don't condone ... on and on ... but it's hard to argue that players on opposing squads aren't just a little frightened of this guy. Who did you fear more in your schoolyard days: The legitimate playground enforcer you knew you'd never fight, and who would probably laugh at your ass as it ran away from him were he ever to threaten you, or the greezy, poorly raised, wiry, pimpled metalhead (apologies to Dave, a great fan and purveyor of the Metal Ethic) who would kidney punch you during a game of Wallball and walk past your Math class flipping a switchblade in the window?

2. MAB and Berard: If only we were playing football, these two special-teams designees might be near-folk legends on the Isle. But alas, their weaknesses (especially for the wayward MAB) are too much to ignore for a team that needs scoring, but gets so little, the balance at this point must tilt toward the less-than-constantly mistake prone. Even during his Look at MAB! Look at MAB! trade showcase period last week, the little slapshot that could (miss 15 fucking defensive shifts in a row) was ghost. Oh well. Put them on the "chances we took that didn't pan out" list.

3. Richard Park: You need a guy like this to make the playoffs. You also need a few other things the Isles don't have (goals). But Park scores at the right times, does smart things with the puck, and makes Mr. Bad Example feel relaxed. That's worth something.

4. Ruslan Fedotenko/Josef Vasicek: Paging Oleg Kvasha. I put these guys together because I thought they'd be the same type of player. They are. But, I thought they might be the same type of good. They aren't. Honestly, I don't know what Joe Vasicek looks like, which means I have something in common with every goalie in the NHL. Fedotenko seems to "be around" once a month or so. I was a little startled to hear from him last week after he scored a goal (Deb was wearing a nice red, off-the-shoulder "mom's into the wine" sweater). He said, to some effect, that Coach Nolan told him to go to the net more to score goals. I've been yelling that at video game sprites since the early 90s. It works.

5. Bill Guerin: Was hoping for a Brendan Shanahan-sort of late-career makeover. I think Guerin is trying his godshonest best to do that, but, much like Shanahan, he needs other people around him doing the heavy lifting, so to speak. And, well, you know. I like Sean Bergenheim and Mike Comrie, but it ain't happenin'.

6. Mike Comrie: You can't complain. He's having one of his best seasons, and doesn't seem to be a prick, which is what the Canadians wanted you to think about him. He toasted Wade Redden a few times in Ottawa; he fights once in awhile, even though he looks like a freshman taking on the captain of the football team; and he at least tries to make things happen. If he stays cheap, I don't see why you can't keep him.

7. Miro Satan: Either he's hurt, out of gas completely, or, well, he seems like too nice a guy to write what I was going to write. Let's just say he's out of gas. He doesn't make me nearly as crazy as I thought he would when he was signed, but he's also never really become the finisher he was in Buffalo. I am not from Western Canada or Lou Lamoriello's family, so I can stomach a few defensive lapses, but the lack of scoring is disappointing. What else can you say? I don't think there's a magic line combo that's going to turn it around for Satan.

8. Sean Bergenheim: Yes yes. On track to be a reliable, cranky second-line crasher. He's got some oh!ffensive skill, too.

9. Trent Hunter: This makes me want to cry. Score a fucking goal. He looks enough like Dave Scatchard, and used to play enough like him, I thought we'd be getting Scatch without the one-punch knockouts and bum shoulder. Instead, we got 8 goals in 59 games (credit for the 31 points, sure, but he used to score ...). I don't have a solution here, either, that doesn't involve me screaming "go to the front of the fucking net" at my television. And I've got kids, so maybe you should try. All together now ... .

10. Brendan Witt: Considering the alternative used to be Dumbass Eric Cairns, and is now Andy "$3 million a year" Sutton, Witt comes out a winner. He's The Presence, and plays reasonably sound defence, although Dave and I agreed "he looks like he's always fighting the stupid."

11. Sillinger and DeePee: Nothing to say. They're both playing out of their minds (or will be when Silly is back), and the Isles would be in Grand Rapids without them. Huzzah.

12. The Rest of Them: We missed a few. Especially on defense. But, the Islanders are on my Internets radio right now, playing the rare afternoon game.

More later ... .

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Saturday Hockey CliffsNotes

The Islanders always seem to hit some crazy bump somewhere in the season where they go six or seven games without a win. I just wish this one didn’t come so late in the season. It’s interesting to think, though, that if they’d won just two of those games, they’d be tied for 8th. If they’d gone .500 during that stretch they’d be in 6th at this point lined up to play the winner of the South East division in the playoffs. But that’s not what happened did it.

So now they’re in a dog fight for the playoffs. With so many teams making a playoff run, it can get pretty complicated to know who you should root for. Look no further:

1:00 pm

Buffalo at New York Rangers I don’t really have to go over this one, do I?

7:00 pm

Florida at Carolina This is one of a couple that goes under the “please don’t go into overtime” category. There’s a four-way race for top of the South East division which I think will go to Washington considering that Brind’amour is out for the season. Hopefully that means that Carolina will drop like a stone in the standings. Maybe they can help take out the Panthers on the way. Hurricanes

Philadelphia at Montreal This one’s easy. Montreal is too high in the standings. Montreal

Atlanta at New York Islanders Uhhhhh…

New Jersey at Ottawa Doesn’t matter. If you think that either of these teams are in reach, then you forgot to take your medication.

Boston at Toronto Put on your Whalers jersey. Toronto

7:30 pm

Washington at Tampa Bay A couple of losses could put a fork in Tampa’s season. Good. One less team to worry about. If that’s the case, keep your eye on Marty St. Louis. He’s got drug problems written all over him. If he ever gets traded to the Rangers, he might as well check straight into Rehab. Washington

What about the rest of the season? As of today, these are the teams your root against in order of priority:

  1. New York Rangers: No surprise here.
  2. Boston Bruins: Four more points and a game in hand.
  3. Atlanta Thrashers: My guess is that of all the South East teams, they’re the most likely to sneak into eighth place.
  4. Florida Panthers: It sounds like Florida was starting to turn it on a bit. Zednik was part of that but you may have heard that he’s injured.
  5. Carolina Hurricanes: Hope for a meltdown without Brind’amour. Take off that Whalers jersey if you’re watching a Hurricanes game. “What if Carolina plays Boston” you ask? Your Whalers jersey will spontaneously combust.
  6. Buffalo Sabres and Tampa Bay Lightning: They’re on either end of the eighth place bubble. Hopefully the Sabres earn an easy two points tomorrow putting themselves comfortably out of the fray. If not, they’re reachable.
  7. Philadelphia Flyers and Toronto Maple Leafs: Pretty much the same as number 6. Maybe Philly stumbles and falls back to the pack. As for Toronto, it’s way too soon to say ‘finished’ but I'm hoping they don't wake up.

And everything will change by Sunday night. Just settle in and count the times announcers abuse the phrases “must win” and “do or die." Feckin' idjits.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Three Thoughts on Two in a Row

(1) The Islanders may not be league leaders in many (any?) categories, but they may be the all-time greatest team in making a two-goal lead seem ridiculously unsafe. When Howie Rose declared that Meyer's empty-netter sealed the win, I wanted to reach through the TV, grab his lower jaw, and finally give him the chin he so desperately needs. What an ass. Does he actually watch the games? Islander wins are never sealed. Ever.

(2) Richard Park certainly has his flaws, but when it comes to killing off a 5-on-3, there's no other player I'd want out there. Sure, the Leafs' ineptitude helped keep them off the board there (and ultimately gave the Isles the win), but something about Park's presence calmed me down during that frustrating part of the game.

(3) I can't be the only person who noticed that the Ghost of Deb Kaufman Future was sitting right behind the Leafs bench. A savvier person would provide a screen shot here, but that aint me. So if you didn't see it, you'll just have to trust me. Uncanny.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

15 games?

Granted, this is a short clip and you don't see the elbow from Portland's Geoff Peters or the hits the Sound Tigers' Pascal Morency delivered that apparently earned him Peters's elbow, but I can't imagine how Kip Brennan gets suspended 15 games for this:

Like Chris Simon, Brennan has a history of suspensions, and I have to figure this played a part in giving him 15 games for basically coming to the defense of his teammate. Sure, he attacks him from behind (and breaks Peters's nose in the process), but I've gotta think that when you're standing over a player on the opposing team after elbowing him, you oughta be aware that someone's coming after your ass. It's hockey. These things tend to happen. I'm just saying. I could see five games, maybe, but 15? Crazy, man, crazy.

And, besides, that's a helluva punch.

Am I hallucinating?

So, I was sick yesterday with a cold and fever, and I fell asleep in front of the TV a few times. But I kind of recall seeing some Islanders hustle for pucks and outwork the Flyers on occasion. Did that really happen or was I having some sort of fever dream? I'm leaning toward the former, because I also remember the Isles taking a two-goal lead with under two minutes left and making things far closer than they needed to be. But if someone could just confirm that for me, I'd appreciate it, because I would be very excited if it were true.

Also, if I wasn't hallucinating the hotness of some of the Islander wives/girlfriends who took part in the fashion show during the second intermission, I would like to apologize for thinking that was a really bad idea. In fact, let's have a fashion show every game at the Coliseum. Next game: swimsuits.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Welcome Back, Welcome Back

I nearly destroyed my Xbox $399 last night, after losing a sixth consecutive game to what is a notoriously "bullshit" CPU on NHL 08. Go here for for both sides of this gripe. Or, if you find yourself with a life more interesting than my infant-dominated, hour-to-work each way eternal gestation, don't. Read or something.

As I've mentioned previously, I took the Minnesota Wild this year on 08, trying to unloose the oh!ffense for a Cup run (with a little help from reasonable, yet inescapably tilted) trades for Olli Jokinen and Joe Corvo. I'm middling around 4th in the Western Conference, struggling with defense and crap goaltending with Backstrom hurt and the video Josh Harding suffering from last year's ratings far more than his real-life counterpart.

Here's the thing though: I don't give a shit anymore. That, of course, might be a natural course for the emotional and social evolution of a 30-year-old married father of two, but I would suggest that evolution ends at birth.

I miss the Isle. Generally, my nerves can't handle the two-fers that occur so often during an Isles season, real and virtual: The big club loses, I fire up the Xbox and the little club loses, and it's alarmingly damaging to my psyche. But I am going back. Back to call up Kyle Oh!poso, back to call up Tambellini, back to trade Jon Sim for a freebie d-man. And back to cut Andy Sutton's ass.

It is the only upside of the real Islanders playing like this: I can actually play better than the real Islanders using a game that has made me consider giving up video games altogether.

We shall see.

Unrelated hockey thought

I heard last week or so on a Canadian talk radio show that will remain unnamed (rhymes with HNIK), one of the commentators posit that Mats Sundin, were he to not accept a trade to a Cup-contending team, would be guilty of displaying a Lack of Desire to Win the Cup.

That, my friends, is the ESPN side of the Canadian hockey media, and one reason many stars are happy to play in America.

Bat shit crazy.

Updated with post-game thoughts

1. Dave Jackson? Thanks. Asshole.

2. When the fuck did Howie and Billy the Turd decide to start calling Michel Therrien "Mike"? What the fuck.

3. Comeau should have been wearing water wings for that dive in the third.

4. Mike Comrie? Fantasy beast. And not a terrible fight, either. Asshole must have said something about Hillary.

5. Deb looks nice in red. Cuddly.

6. Celebrity Rehab would be a hell of a lot more interesting if they voted someone off each episode.

7. Pitchers and catchers?

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Watching Hockey

Another tough night. Here are some things I said over the course of the night. At least some things I’m pretending I said.

(I missed the first period of the Isle and Ranger game)

“A bad first period for the Rangers? Nice.”

“Butch is criticizing the Isles. Can’t be good.”

“No score? That’s practically a win. Ease up, Butch.”

“Sweet, the Rangers are losing to LA.”

“Shit. Should’ve had that one brother DiPietro.”

“Someone’s really got to tell Avery that it’s not illegal to TOUCH HIM.”

“Good god, Guerin. Matt could’ve put that in.”

“Ok, I can accept 1-0. We’ll get ‘em in the third.”

“Some decent cycling… Oh, keep it in…. No way he can score from there—or maybe he can. How the hell did that go in?”

“#%&@!. THREE GOALS? Maybe the Rangers are still losing...”

“Please. For the love of god and all that is holy, HIT SOMEONE.”

“Ho, ho. All those bad singers on American Idol crack me up.”

“Fedotenko’s scored 2 goals in 32 games? He blows even more than I thought.”

“I wonder if Billy Jaffe could be signed…”

“Oh, please don’t score… Thank you Jason LaBarbera.”

“Jagr looks like hell.”

“oooohhh, take it off, take it aaaall off…”

Sorry to burden you with such trite nonsense, but I needed to write something. It was either this or a long post where I type “All lose and no win make Bill a dull boy” over and over and over and over...

Fuck it in a rug.

I don't even know what that means, but that's how I'm feeling about the Islanders right now. They lost 3-0 to the Ducks. I couldn't watch because the Rangers, Sabres, high school basketball, and Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame Induction rerun were on tonight. Time Warner giveth (the NHL Network), and Time Warner taketh away.

Call it the doldrums, whatever, but I've been enjoying an extended All-Star break from hockey (the Mets' and the Giants' weeks providing some much-needed mid-winter respite), a break from which I was looking forward to returning tonight. The excitement was short-lived.

Fuck it.

I'm going to play some NHL 08, watch this ridiculous Millionaire Matchmaker show with the Upstate Ice Girl, and maybe read a few Mets forum posts before I go to bed.

I've got a few things to say, but I'm feeling muddy and tired for now. Wake me for the stretch run.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Hard Times

Somewhere in between coming home Thursday night to find that the Isles somehow lost to the Kings at home and watching Bill Guerin make a criminally bad pass on the power play against the Canadiens, I realized that we have officially reached that point in the Isles season. After a few months of overachieving, the wheels start to come off and I have to make the decision of wanting to see the Isles make the playoffs or just hoping that they stop playing entirely and save me the money I would spend on a playoff ticket.

I know, I know. I shouldn't give up. I should always stick by the Islanders. And I do. It's not like I'm gonna become a Rangers fan instead. I still have a soul (and a reasonably working set of male genitals). It's just that if this is how the Islanders are going to play to start off a playoff run, well maybe I could, you know, get a different hobby for the next few months and make travel plans for the late spring. The Isles' offensive "attack" is so awful that whenever they go down a goal, I start to feel like the game is over. More importantly, it looks like the Isles have decided the same. If I have to see the vacant, slack-jawed looks on Satan and Vasicek's faces for another game, I'm taking a hostage (note to authorities: just kidding). Ditto for the standard shot of Bergeron sitting on the bench looking pissed about the mistake he just made. And Guerin, God bless him, well after that pass that led to the shorthanded goal the other afternoon, I may have said some very untoward things about him and the similarity he bears to a feminine hygiene product. A lot. I'm not apologizing.

A look at the Isles' schedule for the last month of the season alternately gives me hope and makes me want to get my doctor to prescribe me some more anti-anxiety pills. To wit:

Tue Mar 4, 2008  Islanders v. Rangers
Thu Mar 6, 2008  Rangers v. Islanders
Sat Mar 8, 2008  Islanders v. Flyers
Tue Mar 11, 2008  Islanders v. Lightning
Wed Mar 12, 2008  Islanders v. Panthers
Sat Mar 15, 2008  Islanders v. Canadiens
Tue Mar 18, 2008  Maple Leafs v. Islanders
Fri Mar 21, 2008  Islanders v. Devils
Sun Mar 23, 2008  Islanders v. Flyers
Mon Mar 24, 2008  Penguins v. Islanders
Thu Mar 27, 2008  Islanders v. Penguins
Sat Mar 29, 2008  Flyers v. Islanders
Tue Apr 1, 2008  Devils v. Islanders
Thu Apr 3, 2008  Rangers v. Islanders
Fri Apr 4, 2008  Islanders v. Rangers 

Not a lot of easy wins there. And four games against the Rangerks, including a season-ending home-and-home. Oh boy.

So, I guess what I'm saying is that if this team has any heart, now would be a good time to start showing it. Maybe the Tambellini and Nielsen callups will get things going. Maybe Comrie stops auditioning for the role of Jason Blake and starts making better decisions with the puck. Maybe DiPietro finally gets rewarded with some wins.

The Rangers fans are barking, guys. Time to get going.

[On a positive note, Kip Brennan got called up, too. Maybe he'll get to kick some ass. Or rip a fan's shirt off.]

A Stupid Argument: Brodeur vs. Garnett

I don’t even remember how it started, but in defending the good name of our great sport, I said that Martin Brodeur has better name recognition than Kevin Garnett. This kind of asinine arguing should seriously be confined to college dining halls. But that aside, part of me actually thinks Pete was right. These heartland morons who think hockey is played by Eskimos and Swedes would probably kill Brodeur in a survey simply because his name “sounds Chinese or something.” That would mean a good player in the NBA who hasn’t won anything is more popular than a three-time Stanley cup winning goalie who’s changed the sport and will go out as possibly the greatest goaltender in the history of the game. Good god, is hockey THAT unpopular?

The truth is, it’s probably a good thing. The more corporate sponsors get their greedy little endorsements into our game, the uglier it will be. They promote individual accomplishment at the expense of team achievement which is rotting other pro sports from the inside. Imagine Vinny Lecavalier running off to the Bahamas with Britney Spears the weekend before the playoffs start. Picture Rick Nash choking Ken Hitchcock and Malkin carrying around a midget claiming that it’s “just Evgeni being Evgeni.” And envision Sean Avery getting busted for having a chicken fighting ring in his basement… Actually, that probably will happen.

Luckily, the NHL's athletes still seem to be sound, humble people. Plus, we've got the NHL network so we can listen to competent announcers (Gary Green I am NOT looking in your direction) discuss each game in depth. I no longer have to pray that a Ranger fan calls into Steve Summers' show on 660 WFAN so that he’ll talk about hockey instead of the Mets' bullpen for the seventh straight month. Ticket prices have remained close to reasonable and everyone I play pickup hockey with is cool. Popularity be damned, it won’t do anything for me. So suck on that, canuck, as you buy a scalped ticket to watch the 14th place Leafs. All that popularity ain’t bringing home the silverware. Where was I? Oh yeah, Garnett’s more popular. I lose.

Vinny Lecavalier (the one on the bottom)