Saturday, April 9, 2011
Missteps On Fan Appreciation day.
So maybe I over did it a little. I wanted the night to be special so I dressed in all blue, which was the way I felt. I also decided to wear the tallest shoes I own. (That was my second mistake. The first was not taking a warm enough coat.) Yeah, those. What was I thinking. I knew by 9 pm I wouldn't be able to walk.
But I managed to get to the rink a little after 5:30 and put all my stuff down in the press box next to Timmo Seppa and then head all the way back downstairs to Doolins.
Boy, the Pens fans sure came out early. Guess the Isles fans were still trying to get home from work. Down at Doolin's, Mike and Paul were already set up and broadcasting HockeyTalkLive from the corner of the bar.
Tony Stabile from HockeyIndependent.com was already giving his opinions on air while Islesblogger.com Mike waited for the microphone. I hit the bar. (Hey, I have my priorities. This was the last home game.)
While there I noticed Rob Carlin from MSG hanging around looking mighty lonely and a little lost. Okay, he was actually looking for someone, but I was surprised to see him. We chatting with Twitter's @MegaBurp and his family. Rob was glad to meet him since using his Tweets is the only time Rob gets to say "Burp" on air.
Rob's done an excellent job for MSG this past season and he enjoys what he does with the Isles. He said he hopes to be back and we hope so too.
No photos on the ice, it was time to head back up-stairs and take my seat for the game. Well, almost. Back up the narrow staircase to the Press Lounge for some tea and Cinnanuts. Wait... What? NO CINNANUTS? What the hell??? But, but, that's the best PART! Damn.
Good guy Matt Moulson and his beautiful wife turned over a big check to GM Garth Snow for the Islanders Children Charities for every goal Matt scored this season. (How many of those giant checks does Garth have in his office?)
Ira Podell was also on hand to give Zenon Konopka the PHWA's Good Guy Award. Gee how come they didn't boycott that too in protest? Yeah. Oh well.
Jiggs was in the house. And this is as close as I get to him when he is.
Is it too much to ask for headphones for the MSG broadcast? I mean they're right there! But I digress. So did my Internet connection. I fought hard but Optimum fought back.
So did Trevor Gillies with ex-NY Islander Eric Godard. Or as I used to lovingly call him "the gorilla on skates." I give the bout to Gillies. Haven't read anything from anyone else, but I'd say Gillies won.
Of course, Trevor got more than Godard and had to leave the ice rather than sit in the box. Remember that it was Godard that was the one that jumped over the boards the last time, but he received no suspension for that. Just sayin'.
Then there was some hockey. Not much, I think. I was too busy trying to get my freakin' netbook to connect to the Internet and answering Twitter questions on my Amish phone.
And then as if by Wizardy, I looked up again on the ice and what did I see? Another fight. This time it was Konopka against the boards. "Who is he fighting with?" I asked Timmo. It was another ex-Islander, Aaron Asham. That got me wondering if my friend Adam Proteau would have so much too say on Twitter regarding the Islanders and their fight mentality and how much it was all Garth Snow's fault.
Oh the hell with the Internet, I'm going back downstairs. And so I did.
The IceCreeps boys were packing up their gear after their show so we stood around and discussed the draft in Minnesota this year. After I made Sean blush I asked for a group shot. Not bad, right?
Mike also works his radio magic for WFAN and all hours of the night. You should check him out.
As the last home game of the season, there were sales downstairs and sales at each Islander merchandise kiosk. Gotta say they must have dug DEEP in the inventory to pull out some of the stuff they were hawking. Smyth jerseys? Jonnson too. And even one that said "Erskin" on it.
I didn't even ask how much the Osgood jerseys were. At least those you could wear. Some of the others you would get laughed at unless you had them re-lettered. But I had to walk away with something, so I bought myself a fleece headband. I think I already have one, but hey... it was $4.
I raced back upstairs to catch the last 50 seconds of the second period. That's right. I missed the entire period. Timmo growled at me a little. He takes his work seriously and I usually do as well, but the last game is always different. As @Snortney said on Twitter to me last night "It's like the last day of school." It really is.
And Mike and I have gone through a lot together in the last four years. We're both looking forward to next season with great expectations.
With the Penguins up by one and 2 minutes left on the clock, knowing I'd never make it down the nine flights of stairs to the locker room, I packed up early and headed towards the elevator.
As soon as I did that, Blake Comeau tied the game at 3 and the house erupted in a dull roar. I hobbled down the winding ramp to the lower level making my way though all the twists and turns of the secret passages down there and made it all the way to the locker room area. The guards let me through to the press room because the players were still on the ice. Yep, this game was going to overtime and I was wandering the halls. Priceless.
Carrying 35 lbs of hardware, I swung the Press room door open and what did I find? All the Islanders walking wounded standing watching the big screen cheering on their team mates during the OT. I froze for a moment not knowing if I should just go stand in the hallway. Bruno Gervais greeted me and I closed the door behind me and put my things down in the other room and then joined them to watch the clock tick down.
They were all there. Poulin, Bruno, Jurcina, Mattau, Hunter, Hillen and AMac on crutches.
When Deb Placey from MSG heard the noise from the room she came in and asked "You're watching it on a seven second delay. Want to watch it in real time? Come out here." And they all filed out. Thinking that the game would soon be over, I was going to leave with them. When Kevin Poulin saw that I was walking towards the door, as the well brought-up gentleman that he is, he stopped, held the door for me and motioned for me to go first.
I didn't head to the pen where Deb held court with the MSG camera crew so I didn't see the shoot out or how the Isles lost a hard fought game. I didn't see the fans who spent hard earned money to win auctions on their favorite player jerseys that were given out last night.
What I did see was a very happy Jack Capuano sitting at a podium with blue bunting talking about a young squad that he has come to really enjoy coaching. Hopefully Garth feels the same way about him.
It was time to say good bye to the barn for the season. Bundled up as best I could be and hoping I wouldn't actually have to take my shoes off to walk to the car, I stood with Rob and Mike. As luck would have it, Garth Snow was making his way towards the locker room. I suppose the fact of it being the home game of the season weighed on him as well because instead of the usual quick smile I would get as he passed in the hall, he actually stopped walking and reached out to say hello to me. Well, actually good-bye for another season.
So, good-bye NY Islanders hockey season 2010-2011. It's been real.