Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Injuries and Notes from Saturday Night's Fever


The latest out of Islanderland is that Bryan Berard will miss 2-4 weeks with a groin pull. Although, Ted Nolan is correct in stating that the Islanders have plenty of depth on the blueline, the question becomes, can MAB step up into the role that was presented to him on a silver platter in training camp? Listen, we all know that MAB has an exceptionally hard shot and is good puck mover; but we have yet to see the defensive skills that he displayed the end of last season (Remember that reports out of Edmonton at the time of trade warned of serious defensive lapses at critical points in games). So I'm taking the wait and see approach with this one. I just hope Berard takes advantage of this 3 week homestand to regain his health and get back in the lineup, which is currently numero uno on the powerplay. How long have Islander fans waited to hear that?

As for the thriller on Saturday night, several of the penalty calls or lack thereof may have come into question. The biggest three that come to mind were the offensive interference on Sean Bergenheim with under 2 minutes to play. In my mind, and remember I'm as big an Islander fan as all of you, that was a FANTASTIC call. As part of the Standard of Play Initiative enacted after the lockout, a player can't be a moving pick for the puck carrier in the offensive zone. So props go out to St. Pierre for that call.

On the flip side of that, the no call on both Bruno Gervais and Chris Campoli who both made it back to hound Sergei Brylin on his overtime breakaway was correct. At no time did either, Gervais or Campoli impede Brylin's progress. Although, Campoli did have his stick dangerously between Brylin's legs reaching for the puck. If Brylin was smarter in this situation, he would have turned his body to the right to gain position on Gervais and also trip himself with Campoli stick most likely resulting in penalty shot. But I digress, as it was an excellent non-call by McCreary.

Last but not least, of course because it set up the game winner was the tripping call on Andy Greene, in the final minutes of overtime. If you saw the replay Bill McCreary took a second to think about this one. But in the end, everyone including Brent Sutter has to understand, that these are NHL players and they are held to the highest of standards. Don't carry your stick above your shoulders and don't get in the way of someone going for the puck. In today's NHL landscape you will get called everytime. So in essence, I believe that McCreary correctly assessed a penalty in this instance and unfortunately for the Devils, it cost them the extra point against a division rival.

For questions, comments and dumb penalty calls: e-mail me @ DougD84@optonline.net

Friday, October 19, 2007

Capital City Stomping-Isles 5, Caps 2


It was a humid night last night on Long Island, but in our nation's capital the Isles were cooling off the Caps and heating up their own offense. An explosion for 3 goals by newly ordained Islanders captain, Bill Guerin, and a stellar performance by Rick DiPietro, stopping 27 of 29 to secure a hard-fought win for the boys in blue and orange.

As many are probably wondering, the washed-out "goal" by Ruslan Fedotenko two minutes into the third period, was most likely a goal. Though I can't disagree with the ruling on the ice as I'm sure from the corner where the official was standing gave the impression that Ruslan "directed" the puck towards the goal with his equipment, I'm sorely disappointed that the "War Room" in Toronto did not see the same angles that the Isles TV crew managed to get and that clearly showed that Feds merely was protecting himself from getting hit in the face with the puck. As Rule 78.4 of the NHL Rule Book states:

"If an attacking player has the puck deflect into the net, off his skate or body, in any manner, the goal shall be allowed."

However, Rule 78.5 countermands this by stating in the first situation (i) a goal shall be disallowed:

"When the puck has been directed, batted or thrown into the net by an attacking player other than with a stick."

Personally, I agree to disagree with the ruling on the ice and by "War Room". Directing a puck into the net would generally mean that the body movement was in direct line with the net and not upwards in an attempt to defend oneself from the blow of a puck. No offense here but it hurts quite a bit, ask Brendan Witt who took one to the kisser in the first period of this game.

So despite all this conjecturing, it resulted in a wash-out of the goal and clear momentum shift for the Caps who quickly took advantage of the situation to pot two of their own. Ovechkin scored his 4th of the season off a pretty one-timer that both Witt and DiPietro had no chance. Then several minutes later Fleischmann picked up the equalizer for the surging Caps. But that was to be it as Bryan Berard sealed the victory after Chris Campoli (who played a marvelous 60 minutes) rushed end to end to draw a well-deserved penalty on Jurcina.

This was a great confidence boosting game for the Islanders who fell to Earth after a wonderful start against Buffalo. Now with some momentum going into Saturday night's Firefighter Appreciation Night against the Devils, who play their eighth consecutive game on the road, it should be interesting to see how the Isles respond to the positives from last night and hopefully bring the same gritty and hard-working attitude.

Thanks for reading my first real blog on the site and I'll try to do one after every game and answer questions pertaining to the officiating. So in an effort to copy one of the best writers who just left Hockeybuzz to join The Hockey News, congratulations Pat Hoffman:

For questions, comments and dumb penalty calls; e-mail me anytime at DougD84@optonline.net

First Blogging Experience


I guess blogging finally caught up to me. I wasn't sure if I ever wanted to put my thoughts down so that the multitudes could read them, but here is my honest effort to do so. In case you happen upon this page, thank you for looking and I hope that you find content that interests you and engages good thought process.