Monday, June 29, 2009
Didn’t take long for the New York sports writers to jump on the Tavares train… And run it off the rails. And it wasn’t just Tavares, they went after the second pick also. Here’s some recent headlines:
“Fans, Keep the Tavares Expectations Realistic”
"Analysis: Will Isles' decision not to add Kassian backfire?"
“Michael Jackson: The Wounds, The Broken Heart”
These were all from Newsday, by the way. Even the Post didn’t take any shots at the Islanders.
The top headline includes a list of players that Tavares definitely will not and probably won’t be as good as. This includes Crosby, Ovechkin and Malkin. Fine, I can deal with that, but the list goes on to include Zigmund Palffy and Steven Stamkos. I’m not saying that JT is going to be the second coming but let’s not kill the poor kids before the week is out. And other than the top three picks, it’s a crap shoot. I did some looking back at previous draft years and even the 1st round is a “Who? WHO?” list of also-rans.
Arthur Staple goes on to say that the Islanders "didn't have a clear-cut star to take at the top of the draft." Having the top Canadian junior league change the rules because of you and then to turn around and smash "The Great One's" junior scoring record counts as being a star, just so we're all clear.
Garth seems to have made some smart decisions that I can definitely live with as much as at the time I may not have been impressed (Bailey, Streit). So I’m going to put aside my negativity until it's proven that the Islanders made some bad mistakes.
And as for Tavares’ future—what the hell do I know about scouting? I'm just looking at the numbers and going with what everyone has said about the kid. And I haven't seen a reason to go negative yet.
Thanks to tomcuthbert.wordpress.com for the picture.
Saturday, June 27, 2009
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.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
We hope that our team doesn't move to Kansas City.
We hope that Rick DiPietro plays a full season someday.
We hope that Kyle Okposo and Josh Bailey turn out to be superstars, or at least not Dave Chyzowski and Brett Lindros.
We hope that Alexei Yashin is sorry for what he did (or, rather, didn't do).
We hope that we can one day hold our heads up high and not be the punchline to every joke.
And we hope that when all the clouds of secrecy disappear, Garth Snow and the Islanders step up to the podium and pick John Tavares tomorrow night. Not necessarily because he's the best player (though he probably is). Not because Victor Hedman and Matt Duchene are much more inferior players (by all accounts, they're probably not). But because it is what must be done.
If the scouts are to be believed, Hedman and Duchene will both have long, successful careers in the NHL. And I wish them the best (unless they find themselves on the Rangers at some point in their careers). But, for the Islanders, and the fans who will gather at the draft party Friday night (you can say the draft party has no impact on the decision the Isles make, Garth, but you'll be whistling a different tune when the fans start beating Sparky the Dragon with sticks), the choice has to be Tavares. It is the safe choice. It is the best choice. It is the right choice.
Please, Garth, please.
The Palm Isle will have representatives at the draft party. I'll be there until right after the pick is made, at which point I have to dart to the train to get back to the city to see my friends' band play (bros before Snow, that's how I roll), but I believe The Mediocre One will be staying a bit longer. In any event, one or both of us should have a recap up over the weekend.
[ADDENDUM: I do not speak for our most celebrated Palm Isle denizen, The Rev. Zamboni, who has declared himself a Hedman supporter. Of course, he will not be in the Nassau Coliseum at 7:15 Friday night, so his declaration is understandable. I just want to live to see 33.]
Monday, June 15, 2009
To all our loyal readers, you probably saw my twitter experiment. I'm a very lonely person. None the less, about a day after signing up for the account, none other than the New York Islanders twitter account was following me! (To the uninitiated, this was the cyber version of the Islanders picking me up at the airport or helping me move into a new place) All I could figure out is that someone from the Islanders organization actually takes this blog seriously enough to check up on regularly. Well, to make a long story short, they quickly stopped following me and I am now being followed by Ranger scum, "Uncle Greaseball." Play me off, kitty...