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.

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