Friday, December 26, 2008

Hockey Christmas Miracles (sort of)

What a day!!! Boxing day to some, a day of minor Christmas miracles to me!

I had today off, so I decided to head over to practice this morning at the Coliseum. Those who know me know exactly why I went today. I couldn't motivate enough to get there by 10:30 am but I did manage to get there by 11:20. Just in time to see the Maple Leafs hit the ice. I didn't have a problem since that's why I was really there.
Okay, so the first day after Christmas minor Miracle was that by 12:01 pm ex-Islander Jason Blake broke down and stopped, waved and mouthed "Hi." to me from behind the glass while he was practicing. I couldn't believe it. It took him 31 minutes of skating in front of me before he would actually acknowledge me. No, wait. It actually took... FOUR SOLID YEARS for him to acknowledge me. But we take our minor miracles as they come and say thank you to the heavens. I only wish I knew what the hell he said to his line mates after he waved to me.

Next up in the minor Miracles Department was the news that Rick DiPietro was going to be back in net for this game. It was a text that Tiger Track Tom Liodice sent to me just as I was getting out of the car and heading to meet family and friends at the Marriott.

"No way!" I responded. This must have been the Christmas present that the Islanders were waiting to give us as fans. This was such a surprise that CJ Papa stopped me as I was passing to tell me the good news. He was disappointed that I had already been informed. Blog Box, news travels fast.

Even more miraculous was that at 3:47 of the first, DiPietro was awarded an assist on his first game back from re-hab. It was Kyle Okposo's goal, and it was pretty. Even though Kyle spent a lot of time sprawled out on the ice for the rest of the game. It was still a pretty goal, and Ricky got the assist.

There was an ALMOST minor miracle too, but it didn't quite come to fruition as they announced a first NHL goal for Josh Bailey. The crowd went wild. There was a congratulation sign on the jumbotron. And then the text message from the Big Angry Man showed up on my phone.

"It's Guerin's Goal! Clearly!" I felt bad for Josh considering the display and adoration the rather large crowd bestowed on him. It was Billy's 399th goal. The next miracle was Billy's 400th NHL goal which came at 2:34 of the 3rd period. This is a great accomplishment, and we're happy for Guerin who has been a wonderful Captain. As the eighth American born player to reach this milestone, I'm sure Billy feels it's a great honor. He seriously does deserve it.

Next up in the miracle department was the fact that the Islanders finally broke their losing streak with a 4 - 1 win. Granted, this is the Maple Leafs they beat. But after losing 10 straight games, I'm sure they would have accepted a win against a high school team if they had to.

I had called for 12 straight losses. But I was told this morning that for sure, the Islanders would win this one. It was the truth. I believe it was because I was attending with two very lucky ladies and one who has luck about the same as my own.

My luck was having the remnants of a bloody mary spilled on my jeans. It wasn't too bad, I lived with it. I had to. And surprisingly, there was a celebrity sighting at the Coliseum, Keanu Reeves, complete with "I haven't shaved in 10 days for a part" beard was sitting in the 200s and looking considerably uncomfortable when they put the camera on him. Nice to see someone famous in the seats. Wonder if they comped him.

As Greg Logan was on vacation, Stan Fischler seemed to be the one running the show in the press room when Scott Gordon walked in. Gordon was considerably more at ease considering the win. But he never mentioned the loss (yet another freakin' loss) of Andy Hilbert who will be out with a hairline fracture of his foot from blocking a shot. We really do not need another player out with an injury.

There was no information on whether or not DiPietro would be playing tomorrow or the game after that. It's all day to day as Gordon said to the media.
Well, that's the Minor Miracles for the day. I'm falling asleep so I'm cutting this off. If I think of anything else tomorrow I'll add it.
So good night all. Thanks to my friends and my Mother-in-law for a great night. And I created a new hockey fan of my friend Patti. It seems if we can't keep breeding new Islanders fans then we have to just ASSIMILATE them.

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