Over the past few days there has been a lot of discussion about the New York Islanders "viewing party" that is planned for the August 19th replay of the fight filled February game they played against the Penguins.
Some people think that it's wrong for the Islanders to sponsor such an event, given the game it celebrates was one the league, in a lot of ways, would rather forget.
While I surely don't condone the actions of many of the participants in that game...and I'm not afraid to point the finger at more Islander's players than Penguins when I say that...I DO understand, at least to some extent, why the Islanders and their fans feel so strongly about this particular game.
The thing is...it honestly bothers me that the Islanders have fallen so far and have been down for so long, that THIS game is a highlight for them.
Back in the early late 70's and early 80's I used to watch Islander games on WWOR.
I was just realizing how much I liked hockey...the Penguins weren't so good and didn't get a lot of TV time...but the Islanders were the best team in the league and even in Pittsburgh you could see them play...if you had cable.
I actually learned to love the game watching those championship teams play.
It's been a LONG time since then. A time period that I am sure has been very frustrating to Islander fans. They haven't had much success on the ice, and off it, things have been turbulent to say the least. The recent "slap in the face" coming from the people of New York themselves...voting NO to building the Islanders a new arena.
I'm not sure what I would do or how I would feel if I was an Islander fan for all these years. I am guessing that I would probably think that a 9-3 victory against the Penguins was a highlight from last season too.
But we all know the reason for the "viewing party" isn't the final goal tally from that game. We all know the reason for the party is to celebrate the carnage.
As much as I hated the Islanders after beating the Penguins in the 1993 playoffs...
As much as I hated what they did in that 9-3 win against us in February...
I honestly do wish that they had something else...something better... to celebrate.
For a team with such a rich history...a history that includes one of the few true hockey dynasties...this just seems like such a terrible statement about how far they are from that now.
A NOTE ON CROSBY
I watched the Channel 4 news last night...and like so many other media outlets...they had an update on Crosby that was gloom and doom.
They had about 30 seconds worth of video from Ray Shero's 10 minute interview with the media (see below) and they managed to clip the most depressing portions of that conversation.
I'm not saying the concerns about Crosby being ready for camp aren't valid.
I'm not saying he hasn't suffered from some symptoms in the past month.
I'm just saying that bad news sells better than good...and too often, if you don't dig a little deeper, you'll think that's all there is.
I encourage you to watch and/or read the interview that I have linked below. While it does not say Crosby is 100 percent and ready for camp, it doesn't make it sound like he's stuck in a dark room and not allowed outside without shades either.
There's also a quick comment in the interview about the "viewing party" mentioned above. I like Ray's response.
EDIT: FRIDAY, AUGUST 19th 2011...
On Thursday, Aug. 18th, 2011, the Islanders officially changed the game that will be shown for the viewing party. I applaud their decision...certainly that's an important step in the right direction when it comes to earning back the respectability they deserve.
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