Sunday, November 4, 2007

Oh What a Night and By the Way You Can Call Me Al!


Words cannot describe how that game felt tonight standing for most of it in Section 304 bellowing my lungs out to the man who raised Lord Stanley's Cup four times, has now coached 1500 games and won 740 for my beloved Long Island team. Al Arbour, the man who definitely got his due this evening was a remarkable sight to see tonight and even better the boys played as well as I expected them to (Ask anyone from my section I predicted Miro would score at least to tie it). I love this feeling at the end of long hard-fought game where your voice is spent and you're tired and your head hurts but you feel greatly satisfied knowing you just witnessed a piece of local history. So thank you Al, for the memories and please do come back and visit more often we love having you around!

As for the officiating in this game, I wasn't too pleased with how things went for the first two periods. Especially in the first with two interference calls: the first on Bruno Gervais and the second on Brendan Witt. Gervais' I can forgive but Witt's I cannot. In my professional opinion: THAT WAS AN AWFUL CALL!

The goal scored by Tyler Kennedy in the second period (his first in the NHL so congrats to him) was absolutely a goal and I'm baffled as to how I saw it from 304 and the referee who was 8 feet away waved it off. Everyone around me was basically telling me to go to hell until the officials pointed to center ice 1:51 later. Then I got: How the hell did you see that? The trained eye never fails my friend.

Lastly, I'd like to send out a personal note to Sidney Crosby: STAY AWAY FROM MY GOALTENDER! Ricky went down like a sack of potatoes and I even called the 4 minutes before they put it up. You could just tell, a gut feeling. I hope that Rick is ok and will have enough time to recover from this right eye injury to face the Anti-Christ(Avery, Hollweg, Lundquist, Orr just pick one) and the Rangers on Tuesday.

I would like to extend a huge Thank You to my friend and brother Mike Matranga for getting me the tickets to this game. I am indebted to you for life. One thing I can't believe was that I'm 23 and managed to be at both this game and the game on January 25th, 1997 when the 739 banner went up and now has come down. Very strange and awe inspiring. Al, again thank you for the memories and to boys in orange and blue: Thank You for the thriller and a well-deserved and hard-earned win.

For questions, comments and dumb penalty calls: e-mail me at

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Thoughts on the Hurricanes that Blew Through the Old Barn and Tonight's Lightning Surge


Well, despite our schedule woes Islanders fans finally have something to watch let alone cheer for. It was nice to be able to sit in front of the TV tonight and know what I was watching rather than flipping channels to see if some gory after Halloween flick was on. Huge win for the boys and their confidence, especially on a MUST WIN type of night.

First, let me address Mike Sillinger's 1000th game. Ever since Mike became a part of this team it has seemed quite different from those days when Peca and Yashin were running things (or can you even really say they were running the team? In Peca's case, he decided it was better to have a small group of friends than a family in the locker room). There has always been an aura around Mike Sillinger due to his value to any team making a playoff push: his skills at faceoff's, his clutch scoring touch and of course his exemplary leadership. I am so happy that Mike got a chance to spend what amounts to a feat only accomplished by 222 individuals before him on the Island and with fans who truly care. Now on to the meat of the story.

Saturday night's blowout only seemed to confuse and bewilder a fan base that has been so ardently behind our boys in the blue and orange. Don't get me wrong, Carolina came out with a purpose and determination and should be given plenty of credit for the shalacking that they dished out. But despite all of their effort and of course the schedule which B.D. Gallof masterfully addressed today on his HockeyBuzz blog, we need to take a moment to break down exactly what happened. My first problem lays with our 100 mph slapshot friend, MAB. Now, I have no problem keeping this guy on the power play, but do we need to have him on a regular shift, especially with Sutton. I'm not one to put down players but both of them look like pylons when they're on the ice together. The sad fact is, there is no one else they can pair them with due to the success of both the Gervais/Campoli and Witt/Martinek pairings. Am I the only one praying that Berard comes back 100 percent sooner than predicted? At least when he was playing a regular shift with Sutton, they played actual DEFENSE! I'm starting to get the picture that Edmonton fans were painting last year when we picked up Bergeron, though the end of last year he was never this sloppy. Oh well, you move on and forget the bad ones and cherish the good ones, so on to tonight.

I think part of the reason that the Islanders played so well tonight is not because of the preparation variance that Coach Nolan threw at them. I believe that it was that they had something to play for. Everyone has heard the "Win one for the Gipper" speeches. Well, Silli thank you for the motivation. Guys like Trent and Feds needed that kind of boost considering that they've quieted down considerably since what is now the strangest scheduling month I've ever seen. It was like watching a youth hockey team that plays on the weekends, has the rest of the week to practice and then is back at it again on Saturday. Let's also not forget, Ricky who stood on his head at times, especially in the first period when Sutton and MAB let not one, but TWO Tampa players behind them and uncovered (one of them was St. Louis). That is just inexcusable. I don't care how long you've been off and not playing game situations but that is just basics when it comes to positioning. But now with this win the Islanders can finally look ahead to a schedule where they will be busy starting Saturday night.

Having Al Arbour back on Long Island will be a breath of fresh air in the lungs of many Long Islanders. This man brought this community together as well as his players for some of the best years this Island has ever seen. The one thing I regret is that I was not alive during the "Cup Years". However, I was at his 739 banner raising against the Blackhawks those many years ago in January and now I get to be there again Saturday night courtesy of a friend within the organization. So thank you to my friend, Ted Nolan and especially Al Arbour for bringing back "Old-Time Hockey" to the place we call home. See you Saturday night.

As a P.S. I just wanted to acknowledge Marc Denis for his soccer skills. There is a cardinal rule in Hack-E-Sack that he probably never learned and I'm sorry that Billy Jaffe probably never heard this either: You NEVER Self-Hack! Those of my generation probably know what I mean. Those of you who are a little older are probably shaking your heads collectively right now. But fear not, those days are long gone even for me. See you in the next installment.

For questions, comments and dumb penalty calls e-mail me @