Every time I return to Nassau Coliseum I can’t help but recall the chance I had to play here as a youngster. I was a squirt, no more than 60 pounds, and I thought stepping onto the ice at this venerable arena was the coolest thing in the world.
It goes without saying that I didn’t get out much as a kid.
OK, too easy. Truth is, as outdated and even ugly as the Coliseum might be, it at least has some semblance of character, which isn’t something you find in every NHL building these days. Now if I was a player and I had to compare the facilities here to other arenas, some of the arena’s “charms” might quickly wear thin. But I can certainly handle three games a year.
Meanwhile, some notes:
<li>For the record, I’m fairly certain I was kept off the score sheet in that game. I believe we played Oyster Bay, or maybe it was the hated Green Machine. I can’t remember. But I can guarantee you at no time was there an incident with the Ice Girls.
<li>As for more relevant hockey news, it will be Henrik Lundqvist versus Joey MacDonald, a clash for the ages. Laugh all you want, but I guarantee the Islanders come out flying.
“They’re a good team and they work awfully hard,” said Tom Renney. “The results and point totals don’t necessarily suggest what they’re doing, but as a team we’re pretty cognizant of that.”
<li>Had the chance to catch up with Thomas Pock, who resisted my invitation to trash the Rangers. I hate when guys get all classy like that.
“Honestly, I had a good time and some great memories from being with them that will be there when I’m 80 years old,” said Pock, who has played in six of the Islanders’ first seven games after being claimed off waivers. “Everything else is water under the bridge. In some places it works out and other places it doesn’t. I have no hard feelings against them.”
It’s fair to say that Pock was not a favorite of the Rangers coaching staff despite some potential as a puck-moving defenseman. He spent most of the 2006-07 season with the team, but played in only one game last season before being demoted to Hartford.
I asked him if he always thought he could play for most NHL teams.
“Definitely, you look at their roster and the guys who are there, it’s just a tough team to crack,” he said.
More updates in a bit…
Update, 7:01 p.m.: The Scott Gomez line to start, with Michal Rozsival and Dmitri Kalinin at defense. Thomas Pock gets the start for the Islanders alongside Mark Streit.
Update, 7:08 p.m.: Nothing like a resounding goal to break a player out of his slump. Somehow Chris Drury was credited with the goal just 56 seconds in, even if it didn’t look like he touched the puck at all. Nonetheless, it’s his. And as I said earlier, sometimes that’s all it takes.
Update, 7:13 p.m.: At least they’re saying here Drury scored the goal. I see everywhere else that Markus Naslund is getting credit. So stay tuned..
Update, 7:29 p.m.: Looks like Brandon Dubinsky’s two penalties have landed him in Tom Renney’s doghouse. He was just held out in a shift in favor of Blair Betts.
Update, first intermission: I was just about to say it’s remarkable the Rangers escaped that period with a lead given how badly they were outplayed when the Islanders score late. Dan Girardi gets completely outmuscled by Richard Park, and Kyle Okposo buries his first of the year with 7.3 seconds remaining. Fitting, I suppose.
Update, 8:13 p.m.:Â Given my earlier posts, I’m not at all surprised that the Islanders are outworking the Rangers. But I am surprised at just how flat the Rangers look, particularly on their second failed extended 5-on-3 in as many games. I’m just a guy who played one game here 20 years ago, but doesn’t a power play need some movement to be even slightly deceptive? This power play is just as predictable as when Jaromir Jagr was here, with one major exception: it no longer has Jaromir Jagr.
Update, 8:26 p.m: Voros and Thompson fight, to the tune of “Panama” by Van Halen. I’m not sure how I feel about the soundtrack, although it would be even stranger if it was “Wind Beneath My Wings”. If a guy could fight to that, no one would ever mess with him.
Update, 9:02 p.m.: Nothing abut this lead would qualify as “commanding”. In fact, I’d venture to say this is one of the sloppiest efforts of the season. So why are the Rangers winning? Maybe it’s because the Islanders aren’t exactly overloaded with finishers.
Update, 9:16 p.m.: OK, so now we’ll call it commanding thanks to Scott Gomez and what looks an extended 5-on-3 for the Rangers. In other news, note that Nikolai Zherdev is back playing with Brandon Dubinsky and Aaron Voros while Petr Prucha is with Chris Drury and Markus Naslund.
Update, 9:27 p.m.: Slump? Did someone mention a slump? So maybe one goal wasn’t much of a goal at all and the other was on an inconsequential 5-on-3, Chris Drury no longer has to look at the bagel next to his name on the stat sheet. Now the question is how it serves him moving forward.