Sunday, January 17, 2010
Open Practice at the Coliseum
Of course I arrived late. I can't get my act together on time to save my life most days. But especially on quiet Sunday mornings. I had to stop for gas, get coffee, pick up my daughter and reverse direction when I realized I had forgotten to bring a jersey I had promised someone. Yep. I was late as usual.
There were about 1,500 of the Islanders faithful packed into one side of the coliseum taking in the show put on by the boys on the ice. There had already been a Mites competition at 6:30 am on the coliseum ice, but this was a typical Islanders practice with one glaring exception. John Tavares was in a BLUE jersey, but it had a USA logo on the front. (Oddly it also had two holes in the back as well.)
It seems that the very proud to have Captained Team USA on more than ONE occassion, Doug Weight made a friendly bet with the young Canadian. If the USA won the WJC tournament then JT would have to wear the Team USA jersey, and if Canada won, then Weight would have to wear a Team Canada jersey. Simple enough.
However, I wish they had told me because I could have lent JT my Rick DiPietro Team USA jersey. Instead, he wore Sparky's. Oh, how embarrassing! Hey, JT, Where are your wings?
Rick DiPietro, after having put on a performance and a half last night, was not on the ice today. He took in an off-ice workout. I am not sure if he made an appearance for the fans who were there to support him and the team.
As the clock ticked off, it was far less a "practice" and far more an entertainment session as the players looked to be having a really good time showing off for the fans.
Rob Schremp showed off some exceptionally fancy stickwork. "He's got the best hands I've ever seen." I heard from someone at the glass watching intently as Rob was just playing around. He can do things with a puck that haven't been seen since the Gretzky era.
Season Ticket holder Kristen Bianco was there with her young daughter and was very taken with Rob Schremp. So much so that she asked him to sign the sleeve of her NorthFace jacket as a keepsake. When I asked her what she thought of Rick's return she said "I thought he did really well considering he hasn't played in a year."
When I asked her if she was happy with the team this year, there was no hesitation in her answer. "I LOVE the team! I think Robbie Schremp and Kyle Okposo are playing phenominally well. Roloson, so nice to have him here. Nielsen has really pulled through."
But it was about Rob that she reiterated the word 'phenominal' more than once. Considering how many nights the man was a healthy scratch; considering how many times I was glarred at for asking Scott Gordon "So when will you let Robbie play?", Rob Schremp has a budding fan club here on Long Island.
The fans pressed against the gated corridor from the ice to get autographs and photos. Bruno Gervais stayed long after signing and engaging the fans along with Matt Moulson, Jeff Tambellini and the new guy -- Robbie Schremp.
What a fun morning.
The NY Islanders take on the NJ Devils tomorrow at 2 pm for their MLK Day holiday game. Hope to see you there and hope that my day game loss theory gets kicked to the curb!