Islanders vs. Rangers
Many fans on both sides have been waiting for this re-match. I remember 2 years ago when they decided to have each team play their division rivals 8 times a piece, how excited I was knowing that meant 8 Islander-Ranger games a year. I just can't get enough of these games.
Regardless of playoff positions these games seem to fire up both teams, the fans, and anyone involved. Whether you're hoping the Islanders continue to drop in the standings to possibly draft Stamkos or not, I don't know one Islander fan that wants to see their team lose the to the Rags. These games seem to always bring the best out of both teams, the Islanders especially (but the hangover usually kills us for about 3 games after).
Unfortunately the Islanders don't have too many enforcers in the line-up. We do have Davison, who will get his first taste of the rivalry..Witt, who always is a nice match-up to the always-kind and welcomed Sean Avery, Comrie - who fights more than anyone on this team, and Hunter - who hits everything that moves. The Rangers of course will have Avery, Hollweg, and Orr, who seem to love these contests as well. Dubie will be in bet tonight as DP is said to be returning to practice tomorrow. The best part about tonight's game is that it is a home-and-home series..so whatever isn't finished tonight will have a chance to be taken up on Thursday.
Don't get me wrong, I don't just love these series for their history of brawls, fights, and chicken-dance escapades..they are without question playoff-type games that are the most exciting to watch all year, until the playoffs of course. The fighting has slowed down a bit with the subtraction of guys like Cairns, Godard, and so on. But we can always hope that something will happen to set things off - and no, I'm not talking about a Chris Simon type event, but hopefully a big hit, or a lop-sided Islanders score that gets things heated.
Many fans around the NHL aren't aware of how intense these games can get. I remember watching TSN after Hamrlik signed with Calgary after the lock-out. The analyst mentioned how Hamrlik will be jumping into the "Battle of Alberta," after experiencing Islander-Ranger game, where we had "a little rivalry of our own." I was so mad when I heard refer to these games as just "a little rivalry." I am in no way downplaying the rivalry between Edmonton and Calgary, but there is no way in hell that you can call the Islander-Ranger rivalry little. I've even heard die-hard Yankee fans tell me that the Islander-Ranger rivalry is more exciting and thrilling than the Yankee-Boston or Yankee-Met rivalry. It's true. Where else will you see vicious body-checks, fisticuffs, or fans that hate each other more and more each game?
I mean the chants amongst the crowd are classic!
MAKE THE PLAYOFFS!
YOU CAN'T BEAT US!
(chicken song) THE RANGERS SUCK!
..and the list goes on.
Back and forth...the atmospher of the Coliseum or the Garden is always electrifying, and I wish I could be at one of these games, but unfortunately with work I can't - but I will get to watch it without any interruptions..(maybe that's why I felt going on a tear here, since I missed the last one and only got to hear the radio's coverage)
The Islanders face a Rangers squad that seems to be finally finding their identity, moving up in the standings every game. The Islanders, however, have dropped two games in a row and are five points out with the Rangers, Sabres, and Flyers holding a game in hand on us. Tonight's game is huge, and just may be what the doctor ordered since the Islanders need to do some soul-searching and see if they have the heart to really make a push for the playoffs.
53 shots and no goals against the Panthers was embarassing. They had quality scoring chances and gave an honest, desperate
effort, but were unable to put a W in the win column. Says alot about our offence, doesn't it?
Hopefully the goals that should've been Sunday will find their way into the back of the net tonight.
And for Islander and Ranger fans viewing pleasure, a little video I found on YouTube
(Sorry, everytime I preview the video it shows in my blog, but when I hit submit it doesn't, hope you all still enjoy!)