Ever wonder whether the 1975 Islanders do anything like the [whatever] Dolphins, who popped open champagne each year when the last undefeated NFL team went down? I know it's not quite the same accomplishment, but if I were in their shoes I would. Any excuse to reminisce.
Chico Resch was on the NHL Network last night discussing 1975, and he not only brought up Kate Smith again, he also mentioned that in Game 7 of the Flyers series -- the one where the Isles again came back from down 3-0 only to lose -- that first goal Gary Dornhoefer scored 19 seconds in took a chunk out of the thinner goalie stick he'd just switched to, essentially powering through his stick and into the net. Goalies.
Resch said there is a bond with the '75 guys, though obviously a big chunk of them formed a much bigger bond later on thanks to some events from 1980 to 1983, events the NHL has left out of its recent "History" ad campaign.
- Tonight the Flyers try to complete the big comeback, while Boston tries to reverse the post-Krejci injury trend. It's been fun hearing in comments who you guys are rooting for tonight: We've got our Bruins haters, our Flyers haters (naturally), our Pronger haters, our all-things-Milbury haters. You can count me in the pro-Bruins group (by default only), simply because I don't want the '75 boys to have company in their unique place in the history books.
- Panic, or adjustment? Claude Julien is mixing his lines up. Meanwhile, Flyers fans are understandably restless.
Up in Brandon, Manitoba, rising Islanders prospect Travis Hamonic gets every junior player's dream: A chance to win the Memorial Cup on home ice. Hamonic's Wheat Kings begin play tonight against the big dogs, defending champs Windsor, and the game will be on NHL Network for U.S. viewers.
- After missing the WJC final with that shoulder injury, Hamonic is rearing and ready to shine [Winnipeg Sun].
- In a way, Hamonic's injury may have created this opportunity for him, as it made Moose Jaw more open to trading him, according to Sportsnet.
- Here's Yahoo Canada's Brandon preview.
At the Worlds
Fance, Italy, Kazakhstan and the United States play in the round-robin Relegation Round. The two bottom-ranked teams get relegated to Division I next year. The U.S. play the Kazakhs on Saturday.
- Steve Stamkos wasn't the only concussion -- old Isle Mattias Weinhandl also went down.
- Puck Worlds will have coverage of both tourneys, but here is a great piece on the growth of Danish hockey.
This will come up later in Jack Hillen's report card (he's up next), but Dirk Hoag's data shows that Hillen led the league in holding penalties last season, with 9. Blake Comeau also made Hoag's list at On the Forecheck, for a different kind of infraction.
Willie Mitchell Speaks
I would love for the Islanders to sign Willie Mitchell this summer -- except for the fact that his bout with post-concussion syndrome scares me away. You may have heard, he spoke about his long road back yesterday and he also laid into Colin Campbell and the NHL's disciplinary system, as well as both the league and union's handling of headshots. It was beautiful, and quite reasonable.
There are plenty of articles out there about it, but this is one of those cases where you want to hear what the man said in full context, straight from the horse's mouth. Here's the video (some online have suggested he sounded foggy at the beginning; it sure looked that way, but he was clearly lucid as the scrum picked up steam):