Saturday, December 8, 2007


I had a great time as guest co-host on Hockey Night on Long Island earlier today. Thanks to Steve for doing a great job running the show with a first-timer in the second chair and to all of the callers and chat-room participants who contributed with their comments and questions. If you missed the show, you can still listen to it right over there in the sidebar, by visiting the show page for this episode, or by downloading the podcast from iTunes. I haven't had a chance to relive the episode yet, but I'll probably let you know where I thought I screwed up and how I could have done better after I take a listen. Overall, though, it was a great experience and I was very pleased with how the show went.

Tonight I was treated to a wonderful night on the town (by my wife, not by HNLI), which included stone crab claws, tomato and mozzarella, and a delicious buffalo rib steak with mashed potatoes and sauteed mushroom caps. Perhaps the only thing more improbable than the thickness of the steak was the Islanders' 3-2 overtime win over the Lightning.

As though they were trying to answer the questions put forth by today's HNLI broadcast and the many previous criticisms of fans and bloggers alike, the Islanders put together the following elements to bring home the victory:

  • A goal by Bill Guerin, his first tally in 17 games (coincidently, his last goal was a game winner against TB).
  • A goal by Andy Hilbert, assisted by Trent Hunter--is this the beginning of the Hilbert roll?
  • A game-winning power-play goal by Mike Sillinger, who now sits at 6-5-11 on the season.
  • The first appearance of the year by Freddy Meyer, taking the spot of day-to-day Ruslan Fedotenko.
Guerin, Hunter, and Sillinger were all topics of discussion on HNLI today: Guerin for needing to do more than just being a great leader--he needs to back up his leadership with offensive production; Hunter for needing to be more than a role player--his hitting and gritty work are very valuable, but he has the talent to contribute more to the offense; and Sillinger for continuing to get power play time when he's not producing nearly as much as he did last year and at other points in his career. Well, they all stood up and made people notice them tonight.

Yes, the Islanders gave up a lead, and a precious point, to a team that was their equal in the standings when the night started. But this was no time to be picky. Take the two points, take a couple of days to get ready for Buffalo, and try to get the momentum swinging back in the right direction. The Isles still needed more than 60 minutes to come up with more than two goals. The power play went 1-for-8 while giving up two PP goals to the lightning in seven chances. 14:04 is a lot of time to spend with a man advantage and only come up with one goal, and that came on a 4-on-3 in OT.

As I said earlier today, this team can't wait around for a savior to come from outside the organization. I believe this group has people who can step up and be the answer. They can even take turns stepping up. Not everyone has to be firing on all cylinders all the time. They just need to pick each other up.

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