Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Politician Trying To Insult Fans...Again

"It won't be the end of the world if the County doesn't have a hockey team." - George Maragos

Nassau County comptroller George Maragos told that to Newsday back in 2012 when he was interviewed during the lockout about the perspective loss of an NHL season on the Long Island economy.

Later that year Maragos continued with his hockey bashing saying that the county would be better off if the Islanders weren't in season because bigger draws would be able to go to the Coliseum.  Maragos failed to consider the impact on the businesses in the area when making statements like this.  In late 2012, the GM of the Marriott said the hotel was losing $100,000 per month due to not having Islanders hockey.

So with Maragos history on the subject, you can imagine my dismay when I woke up to this tweet.
So, is the comptroller proving the old saying right that you don't know what you got til its gone?  This is quite the change of tune from two years ago when he was already packing the teams moving vans to Barclays Center.  I hope they aren't allowed to insult the intelligence of the people that this means something to and throw an event like that so they can pretend they actually care.  The people this means something to have been saying goodbye all season and will continue to do so into the summer.  They don't need some pity political event to do so.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

My Nassau Coliseum Farewell

This is an article I was hoping I wouldn't have to write for a few months, but as circumstances would have it this is now an appropriate time.  With the Islanders loss to the Capitals last night, the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum has officially closed its doors on Islanders hockey after 43 seasons.  With it being the final season, there have been some other articles similar to this but those focused on the team and everything that went into the arena and that is where mine is different.

Screwed By Politicians

While this won't be the focus of the article, I would be remiss if I didn't mention it at all.  The reason we are at this point is because of political incompetence in both Nassau County and the Town of Hempstead.  Howie Rose has been fantastic in stating his displeasure over this for a few years now.  For over two decades Islanders management attempted to work with the local politicians to get a new arena in Uniondale where the team belongs.  However, they were always turned away because the politicians were more concerned with their political party than doing what was best for the communities that elected them.

The Loudest Arena In the NHL

Some may call me crazy for saying that, but if you have never been inside the Coliseum when it was sold out, you don't know what you missed out on.  There have been coaches in the past who were horse after a game due to yelling the entire game because their team was unable to hear them.  Former Islanders head coach Peter Laviolette recalled that during 2001/2002 playoffs him and his assistants had difficulty communicating with one another on the bench because of how loud it was.  There is a reason that the Coliseum is so loud, that being the low ceiling.  The noise has no place to go so it just comes right back on the ice and creates an unbelievable environment.  Unfortunately, arenas are no longer built like the Coliseum because they are built with the corporate dollar in mind instead of the top fan experience.  The concourse may be small and the bathrooms scarce, but there is no place I would rather be for a big game than the Coliseum.

Second Home

Over the last 6 seasons, I was fortunate to have season tickets for the Islanders.  Given the way the team played for a majority of that time some may think I am crazy for saying I was fortunate but I stand by that.  Over those years, the Coliseum became more than just arena for me to watch hockey and other live entertainment, it became my home away from home.  No matter what was going on, good or bad, one thing that was always a given was going to the Coliseum to watch the team I loved.  Even when the team was bad I still looked forward to going to the arena night in and night out.  Each game, seeing the same ushers, the same concession people, and of course the people around us, it was an enjoyable environment.  Of course, over that time I also made a lot of good friends and became a lot closer with certain people then I ever thought I would and for that I am forever grateful.  #IslesTwitter might get its fair share of criticism, but one thing it doesn't get the credit for that it should is bringing people together that otherwise wouldn't have met one another, that aspect of it is very special.  With all the time spent at the Coliseum, I of course have countless amounts of memories as well.  Whether it was tailgating outside with my dad and/or my cousin and other relatives, or inside the arena with my dad or whoever came with me to that given game, those are things I will take with me forever.  As much as we may get used to Barclays Center, it will never be home.

Farewell old friend, thank you for the memories!

Islanders Season Ends After Game 7 Loss

Last night, our Islanders fell by a score of 2-1 to the Washington Capitals ending their season and closing the doors on the Nassau Coliseum.  Here are some of my notes from the game:

-While most of the team was pretty bad last night, one player who wasn't was Jaroslav Halak.  He was simply sensational and was the only reason the Islanders had any opportunity to think about winning that game.  The save he made in the third period when the puck took the bounce of the boards in front to the Capital player was simply unbelievable.

-I gave them a lot of criticism this season, but the penalty kill was good in the playoffs.  While I still don't think he should return next season, good on Greg Cronin for making changes to improve it.

-The power play struggles were simply unbelievable.  Much like his colleague Cronin, I think Weight should be taken off the bench and be left with only a front office role.  The power play collapsed when it counted and he couldn't figure out how to fix it.

-For Islander forwards to have just 3 shots in this game is unacceptable.  You can't win if you don't shoot the puck.  To give you an idea, John Tavares was not only not credited with a shot on net but wasn't even credited with attempting a shot.  If we know Tavares, this will bother him for quite a while.

There are some calling the Islanders effort last night one of the worst in the history of game 7's.  Only getting 11 shots on net when your playing for your season is simply mind boggling.  Given the way the season itself fared to end it on an effort like last night is a real shame.

Monday, April 27, 2015

It All Comes Down To This

Tonight, our Islanders travel to Washington with their first round best of 7 series tied 3-3 with the Capitals.  The winner of tonights contest will move on to play the Rangers in round 2.

The goalie match up features Jaroslav Halak in net for the Islanders.  Meanwhile, Braden Holtby will be in net for Washington.  Halak is 6-1 in his career in elimination games with a 1.72 GAA and a .956 save percentage.

The Islanders lineup will likely be the same as Saturdays game 6 victory.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Isles Fall To 3-2 Series Deficit

Tonight, our Islanders were defeated 5-1 by the Capitals.  This loss gave the Capitals a 3-2 series lead on the Islanders in their best of 7 first round series.  Here are some of my notes from the game:

-While Halak didn't have his best game, he wasn't as bad as the score suggests.  A lot of mishaps around the net and a slow whistle did Halak in tonight.

-The power play continues to be pretty bad.  I am not sure what has to be done but something obviously has to because what they are doing now isn't working.

-The Islanders continued their solid job on Ovechkin who was pretty quiet tonight.

-Good on Anders Lee for taking on Wilson again!

-Would not shock me at all if Tyler Kennedy sits out Saturdays contest.

-While he has had a bad sophomore season, the potential loss of Calvin de Haan could be big with the Islanders already hurting on defense.

This certainly was not how this game was supposed to go.  This is setting up to be quite the emotional afternoon on Saturday in Uniondale.

Next Game: Saturday 4/25 vs Washington

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Isles Look To Take Commanding Lead on Capitals

Tonight, our Islanders look to build on the momentum from Sundays victory as they play host to the Capitals.

The goalie match up tonight features Braden Holtby likely in net for Washington.  Meanwhile, Jaroslav Halak is in net once again for the Islanders.

The Islanders lineup has yet to be released but is expected to be the same as Sundays overtime victory.

This will be a big test for the young Islanders team as they look to put their foot on the throat of the Capitals instead of giving them hope.  Be sure that the Coliseum will be as crazy as ever tonight as the fans try to will the team to victory.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Isles Take Series Lead In OT Win

photo by zimbio

This afternoon, our Islanders defeated the Washington Capitals by a score of 2-1 in overtime.  Here are some of my notes from the game:

-What more can you say about John Tavares?  Another clutch performance this afternoon with the winning goal in OT further cementing his case as an MVP nominee in a few months.

-It was obvious from the start that the fans noticed Alex Ovechkins comments about the Verizon Center being "louder" than the Coliseum and made it their mission to show Ovechkin that he was nuts.  They did that today and than some as the crowd was simply sensational today and will only be crazier on Tuesday.

-Heck of a job by Johnny Boychuk covering Alex Ovechkin today.  Although he scored in game 2, the Islanders have done a pretty good job covering him to this point in the series.

-Much like game one, another solid performance from Jaroslav Halak today.  Hopefully, he is able to keep it up in game 4 and not regress like he did last Friday.

There is nothing better then playoffs at the Coliseum and that was displayed again today.  The atmosphere the fans create is truly second to none.  If you are able to, I highly recommend attending game 4, you wont regret it.  Tuesday is a big game for the Islanders as they hit the middle of the series.

Next Game: Tuesday vs Washington 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Isles Look For 2-0 Series Advantage

photo by WashingtonPost

Tonight, our Islanders and the Capitals face off in game 2 of their best of 7 first round playoff series with the Islanders looking to jump out to a 2-0 series lead.

The goalie match up tonight features Jaroslav Halak back in net for the Islanders.  Meanwhile, even with his uncertain health, Braden Holtby is expected to get the start for the Capitals.

The Capitals could see one lineup change up front as Tom Wilson was medically cleared to play after missing game one.

The Islanders are expected to ice the same lineup as Wednesday nights win.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Isles Victorious In Game 1 Over Caps

photo by ESPN

Tonight, our Islanders came out and took game one from the Capitals by a score of 4-1.  Here are some of my notes from the game:

-You can't say enough about Brock Nelsons performance tonight, he was outstanding!!  He was reminiscent of the player we saw in the first half of the season.

-Going up against the #1 power play in the NHL, the penalty kill was very good tonight.

-Halak needs to not play the puck anymore.  When he was actually playing goalie he was as good as the Islanders could ask for tonight.  But when playing the puck, he is scary.

-Nelsons former line mates Anders Lee and Ryan Strome also has good performances in their first playoff games.  Strome had the eventual game winning goal in the second period and Lee had an assist on Nelsons empty net goal.  If the three of them can get going that will make the Islanders that much scarier as the playoffs roll on.

-The Islanders played a very disciplined game and let the Caps take penalties which is good to see from a relatively young team in such a big situation.

-They also did a pretty good job defending Alex Ovechkin.  While he had 8 shots, he didn't have many prime time chances.  If they are able to keep this able it will bode well for them going forward.

-I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the good performance from Josh Bailey as well.

You have to expect that the Capitals will come out flying on Friday night.  The Islanders need to make sure they are ready to withstand that.  If they are some way able to come home up 2-0 in the series that will be huge and create an even more unbelievable experience at the Coliseum than there already was going to be.

Next Game: Friday @ Washington

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Isles @ Washington As Playoffs Begin

photo by bopmyspace

Tonight, our Islanders open their first round playoff series as they travel to Washington to take on Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals.

The goalie match up tonight features Jaroslav Halak for the Islanders.  Meanwhile, Braden Holtby will man the crease for Washington.

The Islanders will be without Travis Hamonic who was hurt in the game against the Penguins last Friday.  Exactly how long he will be out is still unknown.  The Islanders lineup up front for tonight has yet to be revealed.  I would expect it to be pretty similar to what we have seen the last few games.  Although, I wouldn't be surprised if at least one of Matt Martin or Frans Nielsen made it back in for tonights contest.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Isles Play Spoiler In Victory Over Penguins

photo by thestar

Tonight, our Islanders defeated the Penguins by a score of 3-1.  Here are some of my notes from the game:

-Given how the Islanders fared through the first half of the game, they were fortunate to be ahead in the contest.  The Penguins outplayed them pretty drastically but they managed to hang in there.  Additionally, they didn't get discouraged after the Penguins late second period goal.

-Halak was on his game tonight and was huge for the Islanders.  It was good to see him respond like this after the blooper reel goal the other night against the Flyers.  Hopefully, he carries this level of play into the playoffs.

-John Tavares came up clutch once again tonight for the Islanders with the go ahead goal in the third period.  He also kept up with Crosby in the race for the NHL lead in scoring.  If he manages to finish at the top he would be the first Islander since Bryan Trottier to lead the NHL in points.

-Impressive goal by Michael Grabner tonight.  Goals like that are why some fans hold out hope for him given his struggles this season.

-If you are not holding your breath waiting to hear how Travis Hamonic is you are better then most.  With his enormous importance to the team, any time he misses, especially with the playoffs right around the corner is huge.

Even though they were outplayed for a majority of the game, the Islanders showed an impressive effort sticking with the Penguins on the way to coming out on top on the scoreboard.  In the process they also played spoiler on the Penguins who have to win in regulation tomorrow in order to have a shot at making the playoffs.

Next Game: Tomorrow vs Columbus (last regular season game at the Coliseum)

Friday, April 10, 2015

Pre Game: Islanders @ Penguins

photo by flickr

Tonight, our Islanders look to snap out of their recent funk as they travel to Pittsburgh to take on the rival Penguins.

The goalie match up tonight features Jaroslav Halak in net for the Islanders.  Meanwhile, Marc Andre Fleury will be between the pipes for the Penguins.

The Penguins will be without 2 key members of their defense tonight as Christian Ehrhoff and Kris Letang will miss tonights contest due to injury.

The Islanders lineup will see one change tonight as Cal Clutterbuck will return to the lineup.  However, both Matt Martin and Frans Nielsen will remain out of the lineup for tonights game.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Isles Fall To Flyers in Shocking End

Tonight, in a pretty poor overall effort, our Islanders fell by a score of 5-4 to the Flyers.  Even with the poor effort they were able to tie the game with under 30 seconds left but couldn't hold on.  Here are some of my notes:

-For a large portion of this game the Islanders were outplayed by the Flyers which can't happen when they are in a race like this team is.

-I don't know what was wrong with Halak tonight but you could tell that he didn't have his "A" game tonight.  That was evident most clearly on the Flyers winning goal that will be filling blooper reels for the next few days.

-What an effort from John Tavares tonight, especially in the third period.  He showed once again why he should be a finalist for MVP again this season.

-After being cold for a few games, great job by Anders Lee tonight as well.  His two goals moved him just 1 behind Mike Hoffman for the league lead in goals by a rookie.  He is definitely earning a long time contract with his impressive first full NHL season.

-The coaching staff needs to do some soul searching to find the cure for what ails this team.

To not be victorious tonight would've been bad in general.  However, to lose like they did tonight is unimaginable and simply unacceptable given where the team is in the standings.  With just two regular season games left the Islanders don't have much time left to get their mojo back before playoffs.

Next Game: Friday @ Pittsburgh

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Pre Game: Islanders @ Flyers

photo by ESPN

Tonight, our Islanders look to solidify their playoff position as they travel to Philadelphia to take on the Flyers.

The goalie match up features Jaroslav Halak for the Islanders.  Meanwhile, Steve Mason is expected to get the nod between the pipes for the Flyers.

The Islanders lineup will look different tonight up front with Matt Martin and Frans Nielsen both missing tonights game.  Taking their spots in the lineup will be Michael Grabner and Colin McDonald.  Much to the chagrin of most fans, Brian Strait is still in the lineup on defense instead of Calvin de Haan.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Pre Game: Sabres @ Islanders

Tonight the New York Islanders host the Buffalo Sabres at the old barn.  Tonight is the second to last regular season home game that will be played at the coliseum.  

Tonight, Cappy and the Isles will put out the same lineup as Thursday. 

This game is a must win, there's no other way around it.  At home, against one of the worse teams in the league is a must two points.  Anything else is just plain unacceptable. We get to see the great Eric Boulton in again, maybe the "sniper" will score another. 

Look for the Isles to come out gunning, trying to cement an early lead and shut down the lonely Sabres. A win tonight, with a Senator loss, will clinch postseason play for the Isles.

Like always, Lets Go Islanders! Rock The Barn 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Isles Fall To Red Hot Blue Jackets in Shootout

Tonight, after blowing a 2 goal lead in the third period, our Islanders fell by a score of 4-3 to the Blue Jackets in a shootout.  Here are some of my notes from the game:

-Although it was questionable to say the least to start him, Eric Boulton didn't play bad tonight.

-Absolutely no puck luck for the Islanders at all tonight with some unlucky goals going against them.

-Really nice tip by the captain off the feed from Boychuk for his 35th.

-A poor third period effort by the team really came back to haunt them.  They allowed Columbus far more room to roam around the zone then they should've and they ultimately were able to take advantage with the help of some luck.

-After being very good in the shootouts in the first half of the season, the Islanders have struggled in their last few.

Especially being up by 2 goals, these are games the team can't lose with how tight the standings are.  Every point is crucial as they fight for home ice in the playoffs.

Next Game: Saturday vs Buffalo

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Pre Game: Islanders @ Blue Jackets

photo by tickpick

Tonight, our Islanders travel to Columbus to take on the red hot Columbus Blue Jackets.

The goalie match up tonight features Jaroslav Halak in net for the Islanders.  Meanwhile, Sergei Bobrovsky will be between the pipes for Columbus. 

The Islanders will see one change up front tonight as Eric Boulton will be in the lineup.  To make room for him, Tyler Kennedy will sit tonights game out as a healthy scratch.