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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

An Off Island Experience

On December 26,  for the first time in my life, I attended an NHL game that was NOT played at Nassau Coliseum. I went to Madison Square Garden to see the Rangers host the Islanders.

At every game I go to, I wear my blue Isles home jersey. But this time, for fear of it getting ruined, I chose to wear my "Haley 59" shirt that I bought at the end of last season. I figured that MSG would be a cruel environment for an Islander fan. I was waiting to be booed, yelled at, and I was half-expecting to get a beer dumped on me.

Walking into the Garden gave me a whole new perspective on hockey arenas. I had seats in the lower level, which was renovated over this past summer. The concourse was huge, there was a nice, clean, and shiny floor, as well as large well cushioned seats. The ushers were wearing suits and ties, unlike at the Coliseum where they wear sweater vests with Isles logos on them.

When I got to my seat, I could hear the guy sitting next to me mumble under his breath. "Great, we're sitting next to Islander fans." As the warmups began, the seats began to fill up. On Long Island, the seats are usually full at the bottom, but nobody is at the top during warm-ups. After warm-ups, I had a waitress bring me food directly to my seat. Too bad they don't have that on Long Island.

If your are wondering, everyone in the picture on the left is looking at PA Parenteau (off-camera), who has the puck. I guess the Isles are thinking if the goalie can stop 9 Islanders, he can stop 5 Rangers. Only problem, there is only 1 puck each time, and the Rangers are deadly accurate.

Suprisingly, the insults stopped there. After the first period, I was throughly satisfied witht the Isles effort. It was scoreless and Evgeni Nabokov was great. Unfortunately for the Isles, Henrik Lundqvist was also great. Less than 5 minutes in the game, Micheal Haley got into a fight, and had to leave due to an injury sustained in the fight. He had to take the "skate of shame" to the locker room after he had already sat in the penalty box.

As we all know, the Rangers went on to win the game 3-0. Rookie Carl Hagelin had a pair of goals and Marian Gaborik added a late empty net goal. This scene to the left shows the general hoopla after the puck crossed the goal line.

You can't blame the loss on Nabokov, he played great. You can blame the loss on a lack of execution by the Islanders. They tried to make the fancy play instead of just shooting the puck. Henrik Lundqvist stood on his head for the Rangers, making 28 saves for the shutout.

The facts are the Rangers are a very good hockey team. This could be their year. The Islanders are still searching for an identity.  The fans at the Garden realized that any insult they yell at me can't do enough justice. Simply looking at the scoreboard will do enough justice and makes more of an insult. Take a look at the scoreboard for yourself, and tell me that isn't an insult for Islanders fans.

Like I said, the Isles need to find an identity. If nothing shows up, we will be in for another long season. Thanks for reading. That's all I have from MSG.

 Lets Go Islanders!!!