Sunday, January 25, 2009

How To Keep Things Interesting in the Second Half

Unless you possess a degree of optimism that has yet to be seen in the annals of history, you might have a hard time getting revved up to watch the Islanders in the second half, whether on the tube or live and in person at the plush Nassau Coliseum. And this presents a problem for a franchise looking to maintain and even grow a fanbase in Billy Joel Land. So, because it is better to light a candle than curse Charles Wang, The Palm Isle presents some tips to make things interesting in the second half.

Set up a Kansas City BBQ stand on the concourse.Newspapers haven't cared about the Islanders this much in at least a decade. So let's keep Kansas City out there. The city's known for its great BBQ, so it's a win on that front for the fan at the Coliseum. The fact that it'll get the media intrigued is a bonus. Where's the downside? Also, the Isles can install slot machines and, um, whatever Hamilton is known for to keep people on their toes about other places the Isles might wind up.

Don't just put Butch Goring in the seats; let him work odd jobs around the Coliseum. Unlike the Mediocre One, I like Butch Goring reporting from the seats on Islanders telecasts. But why stop there? Why not have him selling beer up in the cheap seats? Or shooting t-shirts out of a cannon with the Ice Girls? Or working the sushi stand on the concourse? The possibilities are endless--and I would think the probability of Butchie losing his cool would be quite high (and another ratings grabber). It also could be cool to have him do a hidden-camera show around the Coliseum a la "Howie Do It." Or just have him punch Ron Duguay once and for all. Point is the Isles are not tapping into Goring's full potential, and they need to change that ASAP.

One-up the magnanimous nature of the Penguins. We all know the great, heartwarming story of Jacob Anderson, the eight-year-old boy with cystic fibrosis whom the Penguins signed to a one-day contract. A truly great story. But the Islanders are one of the few teams who can do the same thing and actually get the kid some playing time (and, assuming he replaces Thomas Pock, actually improve the on-ice product). Sure, practice is nice and it's cool to hang out with Miro Satan, but wouldn't it be way cooler to actually play in a game? Let's make this happen.

Arbour Night worked, so why not just bring the whole team back? One of the true highlights in recent Islanders history was Al Arbour coming back to coach one last game. It was a perfect night and a true reminder of the franchise's respect for its past. So, if that worked, think how awesome it would be for the entire Core of the Four to come back for a regular-season game. Sure, some of the guys might've lost a few strides, but, again, how much slower can they be than some of the current Islanders? And if some of them are reluctant to come back (or if the Isles still can't find Wayne Merrick), they can open it up to all past alumni, thus appeasing the group of Islanders Mania posters who are "tired" of honoring the dynasty players (waaah).

Time to rethink the "three goals and everybody gets chili" promotion. It seemed like a good, reasonable idea at the time, but now the prospects of the Islanders scoring three goals at home are not strong. So the Isles need to find other ways to reward the devotees that still come out to the Coliseum. One idea is a free danish every time Frans Nielsen gets a point. Another is a coupon for a free bottle of Bailey's Irish Cream when Josh Bailey gets a point. But the best I've come up with so far is the new "Score with the Islanders" campaign, where, if the Islanders score one goal, a lucky fan will get to go out on a date with one of the Ice Girls. Sure, it's a a potentially tough assignment for the Ice Girls, but these are tough times and everyone in the franchise needs to pitch in. No exceptions. And, to be fair, if the lucky fan is a heterosexual woman, she can choose among the guys that drive the Zamboni, Charles Wang, or any of the night's scratches, healthy or otherwise.

So, there you have it. Five absolutely fantastic ideas for the second half. Think about 'em, Mr. Wang. And let's go Islanders.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Long Island Threatens to Move One of its Last Redeeming Qualities

I’m sure if this blog is ever to achieve some moderate level of success, I’ll have to avoid insulting Long Island. Until that time let me say that the Islanders are one of the few things you can say about the place until you resort to, “well, it’s not New Jersey.” I think without the Islanders the few cultural attachments to the rest of the world will be gone and the Island might as well sink into the North Atlantic taking a significant chunk of the country’s strip malls and douche bags with it leaving the rest of the country to wonder why it suddenly got so quiet.

It was amazing yesterday to see how a single preseason game made everyone lose their mind. A wise man once said, “don’t believe the hype—don-don-don’t believe the hype.” Luckily, the Lighthouse project is taking a long time to approve which gives the Islanders some time to show the ever-patient New York area sports fans a chance to see what’s happening here. I had a Ranger fan sing, “I’m Going to Kansas City” to me, I had Islander fans telling me, “they stink they deserve to move.” But they’re not moving—they’re just threatening to. And as much as I was wrong about Mark Streit being awful before the season began and several other things, I know the Islanders aren’t moving. Don’t take a poor attendance as a sign of dispassionate fans. I’m happy to compare our passion with any team’s fans. As white collar as Long Island can be sometimes, the Nassau Coliseum is as blue collar as it gets. Try going to a Ranger game sometime where there are so many suits you’re not sure if you’re going to see the hockey or Pavarotti perform Carmen. Anyway, I’m OK, you’re OK, let’s not lose are heads just yet.

Good News

I just finished a Geography class which was one of the most depressing regular scheduled hours of my life. Basically, Long Island is an environmental disaster and our water is close to being completely poisoned. In that light, politicians in Hempstead should be commended for doing a thorough job on the environmental impact of the project. Also, the locals may have heard that traffic can be a problem around here. Something else to look into. But they said they would have already approved the revamped coliseum if that’s all Wang wanted. Clearly they’re on our side and want this to happen but this project is, in my estimation, unprecedented so there’s a bit of catching up to do. If nothing else, this whole thing has momentarily seized the attention of the New York sports media—something I never thought the Islanders had in them.

House Cleaning

Here's some things I've been meaning to get out this week:

Thoughts on the Ranger Game

Garth Snow pronounced the K in Okposo. If I’m pronouncing it wrong someone tell me. Otherwise, someone pull Garth aside and ‘splain to him that it’s important to learn how to pronounce his players’ names. Especially the good ones.

Mike Comrie. I want to like Mike Comrie but he makes it SO HARD sometimes. He seems like his skills can’t always keep up with what he wants to do. He might be better if he makes simpler plays. Can’t say enough for a little guy like him willing to drop the gloves, though.

Howie Rose is back—let the flirting begin!
“You’re good, I get that ‘Dynamic Duo.’ You’re good. The reality, you’re right…”
“Does that make you Robin, by the way?”
“I don’t like the outfit”
“Ha, ha, ha. Compared to you I am.”

Butch Goring in the seats. It’s stupid. Have him report from ice level.

Wrong about Mark Streit

Man, was I wrong. I predicted Mark Streit to be a complete bust. Lucky for me not too many people read this blog. Congratulations to Mark on not being what Bruce Boudreau would call a "representative. "

The Hokey Trip

So I did take a hockey trip last weekend. Here’s the summary:

Friday Arrival in Tully. Some NHL 2009 along with a few helpings of Molson Canadian. Some nice plays, some nice goals, but it’s hard to beat the guy who knows all the glitches in the game.

Saturday Floor hockey game at the community college. After three Advils to relax a sore back, I was ready to hobble my way through a couple of hours of play. While I had a couple of goals and a few good passes one of which was called ‘sneaky,’ it was mainly a wheeze-fest.

Later that evening, the Rev. and I headed out to Ithaca in a good snow storm for a Cornell Hockey game. It was the kind of snow that gets you revved up for a game. It was great to be back in the old Lynah barn. Even in prohibitive weather and during school break, the place seemed to sell out. The game was tight. Most of the action was at the other end of the rink, though. Cornell has a few NHL draft picks including a first-rounder for the Oilers.

Drinking followed the game which was cool. Nothing interesting to report, really except that the Rev. apparently will sacrifice quantity of beer for quality by drinking out of a fancy glass. Oh how things change…

Sunday In addition to the big Rev. Zamboni, there are two little Rev. Zambonis. They got a couple of big-boy hockey sticks for outside so we knocked around on the walkway between the growing snow piles. The Rev. and I turned this into a no-holds-barred deathmatch. Naturally. Then I headed home soon after the Giants/Eagles game started.

Oh, and everyone’s cameras were busted so there were no photos to document this action-packed weekend. Next time.