Rumors run rampant and blame is being cast like a fly fisherman in the wake of yet another early playoff exit/flameout by the Pittsburgh Penguins. This time it was a blown 3-1 series lead against the New York Rangers.
I believe a large portion of the reactions, or over reactions at times, isn’t so much on the losing alone but rather how they have lost. I would like to think that even the most Kool-Aid drinking Penguins fans, who believe just because they have Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, that they should be in the Cup Finals every year, realize the difficulty that is the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The fandom demands of players being traded and coaches being fired is an oft found react...
The New York Islanders returned home tonight to face the Boston Bruins, looking to build on last night's 5-4 win over the Ottawa Senators. And they did just that, defeating Boston by a score of 3-1 led by Kyle Okposo's three assists, strong goaltending from Kevin Poulin and Thomas Vanek notching his first goal as an Islanders forward.
The game was played in front of a packed Nassau Coliseum crowd, featuring both Isles and Bruins fans. In fact, the fans from Boston were loud, often and early. But the Islanders faithful would respond, letting the visiting fans know that they weren't exactly welcome at the old barn.
With the possible exception of World Cup Soccer, there is no contest in sports more intense than playoff hockey at any level. Tonight at 7pm The Webster Bank Arena will play host to the AHL’s opening round of the Calder Cup Championships. This years contest starts with an historic battle between the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, proud affiliate of the New York Islanders, and Hartford’s Whale, the New York Rangers sister club.
While the two teams have met some 130 times in the last 11 years, they have never faced each other in the playoffs. While Bridgeport holds a slight advantage in this years’ regular season 10 game competition, the only advantage that earns them is home ice. This is only an advantage if the fans come out and make it one. The fans that do show up can expect to see professional hockey at its best. Here is how I see it: