Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Where were we?

When last we were into this thing, we were all hopeful for the future but realistic that the future wasn't quite here yet. So, after some good runs during the season, we're kind of in the same place, no?

Good. Now that we've agreed on that, let's not dwell on our negligence in posting anymore.

Instead, let's turn our attention to one of the joys of being an Islanders fan--namely, that, less than a week before a game you've been thinking about going to since the schedule came out, you can buy a ticket for a center-ice seat seven rows off the ice for $39.35, even with Ticketmaster fees. And that's how I got to the Nassau Coliseum last night to see the Islanders take on the Nashville Predators (my Western Conference team of choice).

After the first period, I was beginning to rethink the trip from Jersey. It was a period typical of the Isles of late: lackadaisical skating, defensive breakdowns, and an infuriatingly bad power play. Amazingly, though, I only cursed out loud once. I would've apologized to the children in the general area, but if their parents are taking them to a game where Bruno Gervais is on the ice, I'm assuming they know what they're getting into.

The second period was a good deal better, starting after a strong shift from Frans Nielsen and Kyle Okposo that gave way to a goal on the next shift from, wow, Freddy Meyer. Seeing Freddy Meyer score a goal was proof enough that the night was worth the trip, but then, after two goals from the Predators, the truly incredible happened: Bruno Gervais scored a goal. On the power play (granted, a 5-on-3, but any goal on the power play is something of a miracle). Someday I will tell my grandkids (or, more likely, someone else's grandkids) that I once went to a game where Freddy Meyer and Bruno Gervais scored a goal, and they will look at me like I'm crazy and say, "Sure, old man." But I've got the ticket stub (and it's signed by Butch Goring).

Steve Sullivan's power-play goal in the third seemed like an inevitability, so I took it in stride. And as the clock ticked down, I mentally prepared myself for the long train ride home, where I could at least take comfort in the fact that my Western Conference team had picked up two needed points. But with Marty Biron pulled, the Isles started hustling and digging for pucks and then Mark Streit tied it up (sure, I would have liked to see a forward score, but you can't have it all) with 12 seconds left, and it was high-fives all around.

Overtime was pretty entertaining, and the Isles had some good chances. But it was on to the Frans Nielsen showcase that is the shootout. And Nielsen would've had the winner if Biron hadn't decided to try for his best Wade Dubielewicz impression and failed miserably. Luckily, John Tavares saved the day, and the intimate gathering of friends at the Coliseum headed out into the not-snowy-yet night happy.

I was in between trains, so I went down to the lower level of the Coliseum to see if there was any postgame stuff being filmed. Sure enough, about a dozen diehards were staring at Deb (Kaufman) Placey and Butch Goring as they did their postgame thing. So I hung around and got Mr. Goring to sign my ticket stub. I couldn't pull my act together fast enough to get a picture with him, so that dream will have to be fulfilled some other time.

So, to recap: I saw the Islanders win, bringing me to 3-0 on the season in my in-person Islanders experiences; my second-favorite team picked up a point and stayed in playoff position; I got Butch Goring's autograph; and, to cap it all off, it's a snow day for me today, so the late-night return to Jersey City was no big deal. Who says there's no such thing as a happy Islanders fan?

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