Thursday, October 11, 2007

10/10/07: Islanders 2, Rangers 1

Last night's win was the kind of game that makes a fan giddy and stokes the belief that his or her team may really have something to be excited about. The power play put a big goal on the board thanks to the free agent who was brought in for that specific purpose; the PK kept a clean sheet, killing off six man-down (or two) situations; the young franchise goalie was outstanding; and the team that historically has trouble protecting leads closed out a 2-1 win in regulation against its biggest rival despite a 6-on-4 disadvantage to end the game.

The Isles work the power play

I wanted to try something a little different for the post-game portion of the evening. Instead of taking stills during our player interview, I tried grabbing some low-quality video clips. Unfortunately, my camera kept cutting the clips short, so I have mostly questions with truncated answers. However, in the name of giving you a peak at what it's like in the press room, here's a brief clip of Bruno Gervais answering my question about managing ice time with seven defensemen in the lineup:

In case you're not sure what he was getting at, Gervais said that he really doesn't feel extra pressure with a seventh d-man available. He just waits for his name to be called, jumps over the boards, and goes at it as best he can.

The Blog Box had a great experience talking to Bruno. Hockey players have long had the reputation of being down to earth and more cooperative with the media than most athletes. Bruno Gervais epitomizes the good-guy label. He started by introducing himself to each of the bloggers and shaking their hands. He then answered every question thoughtfully, insightfully and with a sense of humor. If you're looking for a guy on this roster to throw your support behind, you probably can't do better than Gervais. I haven't really had a favorite Islander since Kenny Jonsson left, but I can see Bruno filling that void. He also had the following things to say:
  • On playing against a superstar like Jagr: the team always has to be aware of him, but maintains focus on its own game.
  • On playing back-to-back games: the Isles' strength and conditioning coach, Chris Schwarz, keeps the players in phenomenal condition.
  • On the team's atmosphere: the team is close and always has fun together whether in the locker room or at a team event.
  • On reading the blogs: coming from the hockey hotbed that is Montreal, he learned early on to focus on his game and what's going on inside the locker room instead of what's going on in the press.
During the game, I wondered whether Berard would have trouble getting into the flow on the power play without taking a regular shift on defense. I guess he answered that question. Still, it's something to watch as long as the team keeps dressing an extra defensemen. In his post-game press conference, Ted Nolan answered a number of Berard questions, so I chose not to pose this one. Nolan did admit to having a connection with Berard as another guy who was away from the NHL for a while and felt fortunate to be given the opportunity to get back in the league. Nolan also reiterated how impressed he was with Berard's desire to be on the team.

I was in the car for most of the game in Toronto tonight. As I listened on the radio, my mind traveled back to when the Islanders signed Dubie to his one-way contract and annointed him the backup goalie. I had two thoughts at the time: 1) He really deserves this shot. 2) Despite his heroics in the last week of the season, I question how effective he can be at the NHL level playing as sporadically as he will. Playing backup to a stalwart like Rick DiPietro wouldn't be easy for anyone. Maybe tonight was just a really bad night.


SportsCrank said...

I know, this has nothing to do with the Isles, but I was looking at that picture... What is the deal with the new Rangers' jerseys? It looks like an untucked dress shirt or like they ran out of time and didn't finish making them. Otherwise, I didn't notice much of a difference between the old sweaters and new -- a little tighter in the shoulders, maybe? -- but I just don't like "the tail".

Outsider said...

The jersey was originally designed to be tucked in, but most of the players weren't in favor of wearing them that way. Since RBK didn't want to change the design, teams were left with three choices: move the stripes down to the very bottom (Isles), remove the stripes (Leafs), or leave them as they were (Rangers), creating the much-criticized "diaper effect."