Sunday, October 9, 2011

Isles Home Opener: The Fans Showed Up, The Isles Didn't

It was such a beautiful day at the arena. The parking lot was filled with tailgating fans early in the afternoon for an 8 pm game.

The free concert was blaring as people waited on line for Bobby Nystrom's autograph or to play the Capital One High 5X game. The smell of bar-b-que permeated the air and random chants of "Let's Go Islanders" could be heard between the laughter and the music.

The Islander Mania crew tailgate was in full force and Dominic was grilling up a storm (as usual).

"You're not walking away without eating something! I just put some more hamburgers on, there's hot dogs and I'll make you a lamb kabob." He is an amazing host and this message board throws amazing parties.

But I was there to talk to the fans. The people that came from far and wide just to be part of the festivities. After all, this was our night as much as it was theirs. (I suggest you lower the volume on your speakers before you play the videos. I am loud trying to talk over the band.)

Neil Mairs drove up from Virginia with his son and an SUV full of bar-b-que and jerseys. I caught up with him to ask why he did it.

I made my way back to Dominick's tent to grab a cheeseburger and a video. Here is what Dom and Scott had to say about the impending season.

Also at the IM tailgate party was a tall, thin young man in a Tavares jersey that I had talked to on the message board. This was Sean from Vancouver. He has a twin brother -- who isn't an Islander fan. He didn't make the trip.

Another one of my readers from far away (and I thank him!) is Dean from Ottawa who turned this weekend into a nice little vacation. I was happy to hear that my suggestion of where to take his beautiful wife Kim to dinner on Friday night worked out. They were looking for Italian and I couldn't help but tell them to hit Borelli's. I've loved that place since I was five years old. Not fancy, just good and homey - and they LOVE Islander fans.

Here's what Dean had to say.

Also out on the lawn between the Coliseum and the Marriott taking it all in was none other than Big Angry Man. Yes, he does exist. And while he may be harder to find than Sasquatch, I managed to get his permission to film him and his fellow Islander fan friend Eric before I headed in to go into "New Media" mode.

Yes, BAM said he had November 15th in the RDP Injury pool. We fight daily about hockey. He also texted me every few minutes with his dismay over how the team played last night. (As if I could do anything about it from the press box.)

The last fan I managed to catch up to was a local Twitter buddy named Aaron who goes by the Twitter name of @MacStainless. He is a great guy to follow and as well as an author. We played Text-Tag for awhile, but I finally caught up to him after the first (brutal) period and the Isles were down by 2, where they stayed.

Now for the bad part.

According to many fans, that was the worst display of hockey every played on the Coliseum ice. They couldn't get anything going, turnovers killed, Mottau couldn't stay out of the box, they couldn't get any shots off let alone on net and their shift changes were horrid.

At one point there were probably nine Islanders on the ice and they managed to NOT get penalized for too many men on the ice. In addition the officiating left much to be desired, but it was the play of the Isles that cost them the game.

Travis Hamonic was the bright spot on the team with his fight with Upshall. Matt Martin had five hits and five shots. MATT MARTIN!!

As is his duty as Captain, Mark Streit faced the media post game.

Monday is another game.  There are Family Fun packs available for only $99.  A great value.  Hopefully the Isles will show up this time.

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