Sunday, November 16, 2008

Looking Around After the Islanders Sweep the Senators

Sometimes things just come to you in pieces...

...Mark Herrman suggests in Newsday that the back-to-back victories by the Islanders over Ottawa may represent the apex of the Islanders' season. And here I was having so much fun watching them the last two nights. Oh, well, I guess I could use those 3 hours several nights a week for more pressing pursuits. Seriously, though, I'm looking forward to seeing performances like those against the Sens more frequently as the season progresses.

...Ross McKeon at Puck Daddy asks, "Why exactly would the New York Islanders have Darryl Strawberry drop the ceremonial first puck, especially when the ex-bad boy had never even attended one hockey game in person beforehand?"

Because it was Autism Speaks Night at the Coliseum, part of the Islanders' "Hockey With a Heart" campaign, and Darryl Strawberry is the founder of The Darryl Strawberry Foundation for Autism. And he's a local baseball hero. And he met Bill Guerin and Doug Weight this summer when the two Islanders took in batting practice at Shea. And maybe, just maybe, his appearance attracted a few extra fans. You know, and awareness for autism.

...Also in Newsday, Jim Baumbach urges Charles Wang to play hardball with the local government in regard to the Lighthouse Project: "Fans, take off your Islanders-colored glasses and look around the Coliseum. This place stinks. And no one is coming."

There is no doubt this needs to get done and is essential for the future security of the Islanders on Long Island. But so is the on-ice product. The honeymoon period for a new arena/stadium is probably around three years. After that, you'd better have something to show or all the amenities in the world are unlikely to sustain high attendance—especially if you assume that said new arena will result in higher ticket prices.

I'm one of those who doesn't really care about the arena from a fan experience point of view. To me, it's a hockey rink. I just want them to have a place to play, and if I'm there, food and bathrooms are necessary. After that, it's all gravy. Of course, the Islanders need the gravy to thrive. I just want to be careful about assuming that the gravy will perpetually bring the gravy train. Can you tell Thanksgiving is coming up?

...Pre-game show? What pre-game show? Time Warner Cable in NYC was a little slow with the switch last night. The newly launched pre-game show did not appear on channel 51 until around 6:50. I should have anticipated a bumpy transition. Who knows if it was MSG failing to notify Time Warner, or Time Warner failing to throw the switch? Whatever it was, I'd like to see it from the beginning next time.

...Last night was my first opportunity to view the alternate uniforms on TV. Beautiful. And the shots of the current home sweaters in the stands made them look that much sillier in comparison.

...Here's a recent article on the Blog Box in Sports Media Journal.

Fantasy Report Game 17: Islanders 3, Senators 2

Fantasy Stars of the Game
1st Star:
Jon Sim (1 G, 1 PPG, 1 A, +1, 2 SOG, 2 BkS, 2 PIMs)
2nd Star: Joey MacDonald (W, 2 GA, .950 SV%)
3rd Star: Mark Streit (1 A, 1 PPA, +1, 1 SOG, 3 hits)
4th Star: Tim Jackman (1 A, 1 SOG, 7 PIMs, 2 hits)
5th Star: Sean Bergenheim (1 G, +1, 2 SOG, 1 BkS, 3 hits)

Notes: Roles continue to change on the power play units. At the beginning of the game, Kyle Okposo and Josh Bailey once again found themselves on the first unit with Mark Streit, Bill Guerin, and Doug Weight. The second unit forwards were Trenty Hunter, Frans Nielsen, and Jon Sim. Later in the game, Hunter and Nielsen swapped places with Okposo and Bailey. And there was one strange configuration when the Islanders started the third period in the middle of a power play. In that case, Chris Campoli took the ice with Streit and Weight. I'm not sure who was supposed to be at the points in that scenario, but Weight was at one of them leaving Streit or Campoli to push forward. Perhaps Scott Gordon was just preparing for the combos he wanted when Dany Heatley came out of the box.

In the rare instances that Weight and Streit don't play the full two minutes at the points, Campoli is always the second unit option and Gordon has been favoring Brett Skinner as his partner (Skinner's minutes, seconds really, are very limited there...Richard Park was 12-8 on faceoffs.

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