The Isles put together another defensive gem to beat the Rangers in MSG last night, giving Rick DiPietro 100th win, and fittingly versus his nearest competitor, Henrik Lundquist.
"Isles Beat Rangers at MSG". A simple title to a simple win. Not easy. But, somehow automatic for a team that in the last several years, nothing has been automatic. Yet, with this season, this team owns an exceptional record in its own division, 7-3.
and Radek Martinek
put a complete chokehold on players like Jagr and Drury. Shots were blocked, plays disrupted, and forwards crashed into the boards. And most of all, as I said in my Blog Box blog last night, the cooler heads would prevail, and that held true as the Rangers blinked, and the Isles stood poised, collecting a deserved win.
Yes, we all have heard the tired argument that the Isles and Rangers usually own one another, but usually when they win, they are losing in the big picture of the standings. But thats old news, for both teams. Both teams faced some lean years when the rivalry was about the only thing to root for while calamity after calamity would befall either NY hockey team.
This is a new team, for both. The Rangers are the strongest and most dangerous they have been in years. And the Isles are as well. Nolan has whipped this team, along with his assistants, into scrappy blue-collar, poised winners. Garth Snow and Nolan went about a "what me worry?" free agency campaign looking for key personalities and players to fit roles, as the Isles faithful when into a full panic as we watched players go everywhere but here.
This team is built to compete, and compete they have done. As we move towards a very big game versus Montreal tomorrow night, we might be giving thanks this Thanksgiving with a momentum and comfort in knowing that the Islanders are for real.
Now, being for real is not assured a thing. It doesn't assure a division. It sure doesn't assure a cup. But what it does mean is that the Isles are hear to fight it out with the top teams, and that, my friends, is a far cry to what we have expected, gotten and accepted in years past.
A Call To Arms
This is a new age for Long Island. Owner Charles Wang's plan sits awaiting approval, and EVERY Isles fan should be contacting those in their local government and creating action groups to make sure this plan goes through. Not just because the Isles get a remade place to play, but because it will refurbish a completely misused area in Uniondale, Long Island, creating an entertainment hub for all.
The Coliseum is an embarrassment for one of the more expensive and lucrative areas to have businesses and live, despite its 'kitsch' factor and that many new places have none of it's charm. Sure, every seat is a great view, and with Wang's ownership, a lot of money was spent to give it some more attributes so that it was a better place to be in the interim. But lets get real. It is 2007, and the Isles and Long Islanders need a better venue for games.
This is a pivotal season for the Isles, and a pivotal year for the Islander franchise. It is also a pivotal year for the fan. It is time for you to be active and vocal, to be in those seats for games, and above all, make your voice known to the local bureaucracies. This is far more important than any letter writing campaign for removing Yashin's albatross of a contract. This is about our teams future on Long Island.
Every fan has no excuse anymore. The team on the ice is making a mark. We need to, as well.