Saturday, June 27, 2009

Happy Days Are Here Again

And breathe out...

The Mediocre One and I arrived at the Coliseum around 6, with the hazy sun beating down. After we were inside for about a half-hour, we stepped out to the concourse and saw this:

Not a good sign. My stomach started to churn a little more.

There were lots of people milling around the Coliseum floor, so we didn't stay there too long. We had some brief thoughts of buying some cheap merch (until I realized the line was way too long to wait on, especially for a Shawn Bates nameplate and a Dave Scatchard shirt) and taking a locker room tour (until, again, it was hard to justify waiting in a line that long just to gaze upon Tim Jackman and Dean Chynoweth, especially since I'd seen the locker room during last year's draft party debacle, where there were no lines at all). Instead, the Mediocre One grabbed a beer and I took some atmospheric photos.

Nice touch, putting the organ on the floor:

Here's Disco Chris King:

And, for Howie, a nice posed photo of Billy Jaffe:

Mike Bossy in the house:

There were plenty of jersey fouls to be seen:

And the relaying of word from Washington:

Then, we sat down and prepared for whatever the hell was coming. TMO called up Rev. Zamboni, who relayed the information that Colorado seemed convinced the Isles would take Duchene. This did not bode well for our safety, as every time Duchene appeared on the big screen, boos rained down (Hedman got his fair share too, but he at least seemed to have some supporters). We made note of the nearest exit.

As 7:00 drew nearer, I began to develop that feeling I get in the pit of my stomach prior to almost every Islanders-Rangers game. It is the feeling that something completely horrible is reasonably certain to happen, and when it does, there will be endless rounds of mockery that follow. TMO stated that he was feeling a bit uneasy, too.

After Bettman's standard long-winded introduction, it was go time. With TMO keeping the Rev informed over the phone, I was in charge of capturing the moment of euphoria/dismantling of the Nassau Coliseum. And it was exactly like this (sorry for the bad sound, but I think I captured the spirit of the thing):

And all was right with the world.

We stuck around to see if the Tavares interview was forthcoming, but I had a train to catch (thanks for the lift, TMO), so we bolted. I shared the good news with the LIRR ticket taker on the Hempstead train, and then another ticket taker broke the news that the Isles had traded up, which didn't surprise me. By the time I made it to Connolly's in NYC to see my friend's band (10 minutes to spare), the Isles had traded up again and selected a guy I'd never heard of (though, based on my knowledge of college and junior hockey, that's not such an amazing feat). I still don't know much about Calvin de Haan, or why the Isles were so high on him that they were willing to let so many picks go, but I'm not gonna think too much about it.

Why? Because for one night, things went as they should for the New York Islanders. Ten thousand Islander fans (their estimate...I'd place it a little lower) celebrated a happy occasion (I'd think even the Hedman supporters--and the Duchene backers, assuming there were some--were somewhat happy). People who'd been waiting for a reason to erupt finally got it.

And that's enough for today.

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