Monday, March 3, 2008

Core of the Four Weekend

First, let's get the ugly stuff out of the way. This weekend, the current Islanders did an awful lot of sucking. Saturday's game (ticket graciously provided by the Mediocre One and Father of the Mediocre One...muchas gracias) was the more disheartening of the two, as you would have had a hard time believing that the Isles were playing a game that had the potential to end with them moving up to the eighth spot. The intensity just wasn't there, and if you lack intensity for a late-season home game against the Flyers, something is seriously wrong. But we know that, don't we?

Anyway, it was a rough game to watch, particularly when the Isles were on the power play. And the fact that the previous sentence could have been written about, say, 90 percent of the Isles' games in the last three years is probably as good a statement as any that times are tough.

Sunday's game was a little better effortwise, and it brilliantly demonstrated another major flaw in the severely tarnished diamond that is the Islanders: the lack of anyone with a pure scoring touch. Sure, there were a lot of shots, but few were really threats and a bunch were taken from angles that assured saves without rebounds. And when there were rebounds, the front of the net was emptier than Oleg Kvasha's head. Bad news, Jack.

But, hey, enough about the present and dismal future, let's celebrate the past, specifically the Core of the Four, who were feted before Sunday's game in grand style, with a breakfast and autograph signing, followed by a team lunch, then the Walk of Champions, and, finally, a ceremony in the Coliseum that was criminally underattended. How there can be that many empty seats for such a ceremony is baffling. I guess you can blame it on too many celebrations of the Cup teams, but Yankees Old-Timers Days don't seem to have trouble drawing people. And even a fair number of the people who actually made the effort to get to the Coliseum early seemed unimpressed. Disheartening. As was the misspelling "Ledgend" in one of the in-game contests. And, really, if I could punch each and every person who voted on the Mobile Phone Poll that the record the Isles hold for consecutive playoff series won is 9, I would. The fact that that answer was in the lead the last time I looked in the third period is proof enough that the Islanders aren't having too many celebrations of the Cup teams.

Anyway, regardless of how anybody else at or not at the Coliseum felt, I was pretty excited. Then again, I'm a guy that likes the past. I spend a lot of time on eBay looking for postcards of the places my family went to on summer vacations. I still have a keychain from my college newspaper on my ring of keys. I like Irish literature. Celebrations of the past are right up my alley. So I plunked down money for Bob Bourne, Al Arbour, and Stefan Persson's autographs in the morning (the latter's signature is badass), took pictures with some of the legends, milled around the lobby after that trying to catch some free signatures from the others (almost everyone was ace throughout the day), snagged a good spot at the Walk of Champions, made sure I was in my last-row seat in plenty of time for the pregame ceremony, and hung around afterward to get some more of the guys to sign the LP you see in the previous post. Plus I got to talk to a bunch of righteously cool Islanders fans (don't get much of that kind of interaction in Jersey City) and hang out with some entertaining collectors.

It was a good day, so good that by the time I went home, I was almost over the fact that the Isles let four points slip away. Almost.

Anyway, here's some photos. I've got a bunch more, but these are the best of the batch.

Al Arbour:

Stefan Persson:

Anders Kallur:

Dave Langevin:

Gord Lane:

Me and Lorne Henning:

Me and Bob Bourne:

Gratuitous Ice Girls Shot:

Trots and Bossy (from here on out, I'm guessing it's clear who these fellows are, but I'm a stickler for consistency):

Bob Nystrom:

Denis Potvin:

Bill Torrey:

The Core of the Four wave to the too-small masses:

The present-day Islanders come out to meet the Core:

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