Friday, January 22, 2010

Getting Paid by the Minute: OT Again.

Let's pick up where I left off. I usually shut down the laptop with just a few minutes remaining so that I can pack up and rush downstairs. With the game tied at one between the Panthers and Islanders, I figured that by packing up, someone would score. Not a chance. Once again, this team brought the game into overtime and a shoot-out and brought the crowd to it's feet.

The final minutes had become so frustratingly scoreless (with so very many chances) that even the MSM guys on the lower level in front of me because increasingly VOCAL. Hey! I didn't think they were supposed to show any emotion up here!

Horton was hit with a puck in the knee and went down in severe pain. Play continued. I stopped watching the puck and watched this poor guy struggle to the bench. He had to crawl through the bench door and be helped to the bench. No whistle, so no stoppage of play.

Sean Bergenheim missed some excellent opportunities in front of Vokoun's net. Considering what a snooze fest the first period was, the third was exciting enough to get the crowd going. I was hopeful that overtime wouldn't last the full five. I put on my coat.

In a game with few penalties, at 3:24 of OT, Blake Comeau was called for slashing. Captain Doug Weight once again tried to plead the Islanders' case. This time, even Roloson left his crease to make his point. Blake sat.

It was Gervais, Nielsen and Hillen protecting Roloson in the Islanders' end. Once again, a stick breaks at the most inopportune moment leaving Bruno helpless. Jack Hillen became a human shield as he handed off his stick to Gervais. With 16 seconds left, the Islanders finally cleared the puck out of the zone and the next shift hit the ice.

I didn't see who Mark Streit hit against the near boards, but I heard it. It rattled the entire Coliseum and the crowd that was announced at over 12,000 for a Thursday against the Panthers went into a collective roar. The penalty was over and there was a minute left in OT.

Hillen (24:42 TOI) was back out again with Tavares, Bailey and Meyer. After Hillen shot wide, missing another golden opportunity to stop this damn game and leave with the two points, Dvorak skates the puck up ice towards Roloson. I couldn't write fast enough and watch the game at the same time.

Andy MacDonald (where did he come from?) saved the day in front of Roloson's crease and then got into a little pushing match with Ballard. There were 3.2 seconds remaining in OT and the Islanders faithful tried to will the team to the win, chanting "Let's Go Islanders!"

Nielsen ALMOST gave them what they wanted as he took the puck right from a face off pass and skated towards Vokoun. But his shot was blocked as the buzzer sounded leaving the shots at 36 - 34 in the Islanders favor and the crowd on it's feet.

They were going to a shoot-out, AGAIN! It would have been a far more perfect scenario had they not given the Panthers a point, but what can you do?

Nielsen, whose shoot-out move according to GM Garth Snow is "...hard to stop even when you know it's coming," didn't get much speed and the puck rang off the post.

Roloson, who said in the post game he doesn't pay much attention to his own shooters, only the ones he has to face, kept Olesz off the score sheet.

Robbie Schremp took center ice once again. I'm going to start calling him Mr. Shoot-Out. After he did his little bob and weave and lifted the puck over the pads of Vokoun, he skated back to the bench under the spotlight that seems to love him. That was "one."

On the other side, Roloson made a right pad save on Frolik. Were there only around 10,000 in the building? Because in all seriousness, they sounded like 16,000. No matter what people think of the shoot-out, you cannot deny that the fans LOVE it.

Matt Moulson, who single handedly makes a case for skaters removing their helmets for the shoot-out, stood center ice and started skating. Just when I thought the puck got away from him, into the net it went. As wonderful as that sight was, wouldn't it have been better seeing Matt with his hair flowing as the crowd cheers the win? So very reminiscent of Islander glory days gone by. Come on! Agree with me on this point!

Once downstairs, I popped into press room 6 to drop my things and when I rushed out to the locker room I bumped into Brendan Witt -- literally. (Poor guy. First hit by truck, then by a rushing blogger with her head down.)

"Hey! You're late! Get in there!" Ughhh! I know. I'm always late to the party. Oh, and PS, YES, he was limping.

Back in the locker room, while the reporters crowded around Moulson, Rick DiPietro was removing his equipment unencumbered by cameras and tape recorders. (Enjoy your few moments of anonymity Rick. They'll be all over you like white on rice soon enough.)

Above and beyond the normal quotes that fly in the locker room, I did enjoy hearing Matt Moulson and Scott Gordon compliment the crowd for their support and their energy.

"We've had great support from our fans all year here. It's becoming one of the more exciting places to play recently in the NHL -- the coliseum." Yes it is Matt! Thanks for noticing!

When Dwayne Roloson talks to the media, he is very thoughtful in his answers. So thoughtful that if someone asks him a question that he feels he has already answered for someone else, they will get a lesson in embarrassment. He is not rude or condescending. But OH BOY! Does he get his point across. "I just answered the question there. You can grab his audio if you want."

At this point I was glad I was in the back as one of the other reporters was kind enough to hold my recorder for me while Rolson spoke.

@Mozy19 stayed on the fringe of the reporter hoard and just listened. He was impressed and Islesblogger Mike and I were happy to show off our little corner of the NHL world. (We sometimes forget how very fortunate we are.)

Back in press room 6, Gordon was asked if the crowd's excitement increases the team's confidence.

"The crowd was great. The third period, the big hit we got on the wall, the four on three, the penalty kills in the third period. We had some great chances on the power play, the crowd was really into it. You know, it's fun to see the building like that. I don't know how it was in past years, but it's been growing in that direction for awhile now."

Yes, it has. This is a team that is not only fun to watch for us die-hard Islander fans, but for the rest of the hockey world as well. Everyone is taking notice. Even Mike Brophy, while doing a radio interview for Fan 590 with Garth Snow, made the comment that the reporters now look forward to turning on an Islander game.

Wow. Who'da thought?

So if you haven't been to the Coliseum lately to catch a game, I'd like to suggest you do. The fun is back.

1 comment:

~me said...

you missed a great ranger-flyer game

its FRIDAY!!!!