I know, you must know just about everything about the Core of the Four already. My esteemed blogging brethren (Tom Liodice, Ken Rosenblatt and Ken Dick) and sister(-en?) 7thwoman did an excellent job summarizing the events that took place this past Sunday honoring the men responsible for winning 4 straight Stanley Cup Championships. I was also in attendance, although I had a late start because I may
or may not have been a dirty stay-out the night before.
Tom called me first thing in the morning asking if I was going to attend the Walk of Champions, I wanted to get there – but I was fighting my hangover by drinking ice cold water and cropping the photos I had taken of the Hall of Fame plaques. If you check out Tom’s blog entry from that afternoon you will find some great photos and some video of the trio interviewing the likes of Bryan Trottier and Ken Morrow. Again, I am really kicking myself for not bucking up and getting there earlier – sometimes I really take our access for granted (that’s a funny play on words…..).
What I didn’t miss however, was the great on-ice ceremony the Islanders put on for the gentlemen who made the dynasty possible. Thinking back to the previous event (which was very Dodge truck oriented), I thought this one was great, but it had the same feel as the previous event. Coincidentally, my fiancee purchased tickets for the event prior without even knowing what was going on that game (this was prior to having season tickets) so I am fortunate to have attended both for comparison. It’s always great to see and hear Jiggs McDonald, who was the Master of Ceremonies for the evening. It really brings me back to a time when teams absolutely feared playing the Islanders, especially in our barn.
No matter how many times I see the alumni back together at the old barn, it makes me wonder what the place sounded like way back then – I can only go by the word of others , but watching the videos gives me a pretty good idea at how crazy things were. In my own experience, I have been to 4 separate playoff rounds – and the closest I got to see was the fabled Islanders-Toronto 7 game series. The place was LOUD and PROUD because hockey was BACK on Long Island!
I took a crazy amount of pictures (Photo to the left is NOT MINE) during the on ice ceremony (226 to be exact) – it would have taken me too long to sort through them all and ditch the blurry, over-under exposures so I uploaded them in their entirety. I will do my best to whittle the batch down as the days go on here. Something else that I thought was absolutely great – the current team wore the retro white jerseys with all of the players names on them as a nod of respect to the men standing beside them. Every single player slapped their stick on the ice in appreciation for the feat these men accomplished – and I would be lying if I said it didn’t almost bring a tear to my eye. I love good sportsmanship and respect – and that is the one of the classiest acts in my opinion.
When all was said and done, the Islanders took on the Florida Panthers – although the result was more of the same from Saturday’s tilt against the Flyers. The Isles posted 53 shots on goal, and got shut-out 1-0. Greg Logan had the Elias sports bureau do some digging and found this to be an NHL record for the most shots by a losing team in a shutout. The effort was there, but the result wasn’t anything to be proud of. Too many of those shots made the Panthers goaltender appear to be an all-star, as they would all come from bad angles and outside of what would normally be a prime scoring area.
On the other end of the ice Wade Dubielewicz did he best Rick DiPietro impression and kept the Islanders in it the entire game – but the lack of scoring would eventually come back to haunt them. Ted Nolan continues to praise his clubs effort because of the game that they are playing, but laments that the team lacks a pure goal scorer you can count on for the clutch goals this team lacks. To me, this doesn’t sound like a coach who has the complete confidence in his squad and is publicly asking management for reinforcements come summertime.
The power play also continues with its abysmal play – I guess nobody really properly estimated the true value of Marc-Andre Bergeron before he was determined to be expendable. The power play has really faltered in his absence, allowing 2 shorthanded goals (three really, one prior to MAB’s departure) and scoring just 2 power play goals out of their last 34 times with the man advantage (in some cases 2 man advantage).
At the end of the game, I was disappointed that such a huge weekend for the Islanders could come up so short – especially in front of the men who were the epitome of hard working, gritty, physical goal scorers.
But I came away feeling as if the pomp and circumstance would one day return to Long Island, but so many things hinge on the success of the Islanders that we will leave that discussion for another time.