Editor's Note: And now for something completely different... We asked Bill to resurrect the "retro live blogs" that he use used to do. A fun diversion for slow (ha!) summer days. The first one is from a game most will remember.
Hey everyone. I am Bill Strong, Islander fan for 32 (yikes) years and former owner/writer for nyiforlife.com. Dominik invited me to share one of my gimmicks from the old site, the RETRO LIVE BLOG, where we go back in time and write about events, games, and other stuff in REAL TIME like they are actually happening again.
For my first RLB, we decided to go back to 4/24/2002. Things were great in Islander Country then. The team was on a long-awaited rebound with Michael Peca and Alexei Yashin leading the return to the playoffs. Game four of the series should have been, by all rights, the beginning of something great. It should have been the step off point for an Islander resurgence. But 'shoulda beens' are a dime a dozen--ask Brett Lindros--and as we know, everything crapped out later in the series when Darcy Tucker cheap-shotted future friend/Leafs teammate Peca and the Isles were sent home in game seven.
About the RLB: I am watching the DVD that came in the New York Islanders 10 Greatest Games DVD set. It's the original broadcast from ESPN2. That means we have to deal with Neil Smith on color commentary. He spends most of the game trying to get himself over.
Also, the times listed are time remaining, not time expired. I've found it is easier that way when you do these write-ups. Plus, I suck at math. My grandfather once told me you "get one muscle so you better use it right." And no, my grandfather was not a porn star.
The DVD is introduced by Billy Jaffe (who I hear has a big appetite; right, Howie?) and Steve Webb. Jaffe calls the series "an all-out street-fight", which it was. Webb adds a bit here and there from a player's point of view.
Opening line from Dave Ryan: "Alexei Yashin has to get this thing going for the Islanders." Tthey mention how it was four years between playoff goals for Yash. I am struck by the silly-ass turtleneck.
Brainy quote by Neil Smith: "(The Coliseum) is louder than anything you'll ever see." Say what now?
18:12 Travis Green guttlessly pukes his way into a missed shot on goal.
13:45 Chris Osgood stops Mogilny like three times after a chip-pass from Darcy Tucker. Alyn McCauley takes a shot too. Ozzie standing tall!
12:47 Steve Webb nails Tomas Kaberle...and then tries it again seconds later. Dave Ryan warns the Leafs, "You're gonna be hit by 20 in white!" We all need a little more Steve Webb in our lives.
12:12 Ah, the Chicken Dance. Crowd is split on "The RANGERS SUCK!" and "TORONTO SUCKS!"
12:02 After whistle, Yashin runs into Corson, breaks egg in pocket.
11:47 Mark Parrish and Gary Roberts get matching slashes 4 on 4. The parade begins.
10:39 Kvasha head-mans to Yashin, who is off-sides. No eggs broken.
Their guys are preoccupied by the absence of Mats Sundin...who it will be revealed later missed the game with an injured hand. Ryan and Smith speculate X-Files-style as to where he could be and Pat Quinn looks bloated and uncomfortable on the bench.
9:30 Yashin scores! "He finally did it! First playoff goal in 4 years!"
The Isles now lead 1-0--Adrian (Send free agent cash to Kenny Jonsson) Aucoin with a little wrister from the point that goes off of Parrish. Yashin picks up the trash and wrists ones up over Joseph.
8:14 Bryan McCabe harmlessly flings one on net. I think he will factor big in this game somehow.
At the whistle, we get a close-up of Tucker yapping like one of those little dogs who thinks they are tougher than they really are. You know, like that little dog in the Foghorn Leghorn cartoons who talks a lot of crap and then the bigger dog has to clean up the mess? Shayne Corson, the bigger dog, is not on the ice to help him so he lets the refs push him away from whomever he is yapping at. This is probably where Avery learned it.
Finally, Sundin is out with a hand injury.
5:55 Jonsson battles Corson and Roberts and comes out with the puck. Man I miss this guy.
5:12 Aki Berg is called for a slash on Peca. Pat Quinn waves off the referee in disgust while Smith mentions that "Quinn always believes his team is getting jobbed" on penalty calls. You think he's pissed now? Just wait.
4:19 Kvasha is hit from behind by McCabe. I secretly find myself wishing he'd hit him again and again.
3:24 We have a Trent Hunter (with hair!) sighting as he deflects a shot from Bates on net. It's his first NHL game.
2:31 Tie Domi nails Darren Van Impe and gets called for a charge as Pat Quinn sticks a meaty paw into his pants and pulls out Mr. Socko--er, I mean, a handkerchief, and waves it like a white surrender flag. Total horseshit move there. Big baby.
1:18 Peca whistled for a trip on Kaberle.
:39.4 McCabe blisters one on Ozzie. It hops high in the air and Osgood has to cover it in the crease. Kvasha whacks Roberts in the gut and Smith says, "Me no like that." Is that his Russian impression?
16:0 Jonsson deflects a pass across the crease and it goes into the net off his mid-section. Mogilny gets credit.
End of first: 1-1.
Maple Leafs waste 1:16 of carry-over PP time...
17:53 Aki Berg goes back to the box on an interference call on Parrish. Quinn is shaking his head like they just told him to leave the all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet.
16:21 Hunter whales Tucker and he milks the penalty. It's called interference and the acting job is decidedly not Oscar-worthy. Dave Ryan mentions it's Hunter's first-ever NHL game...again.
15:51 Berg's penalty is up so now TO is on the PP...
Claude LaPointe is a penalty-killing DEMON out there!!! He's all over the ice! We could use this guy!
14:47 Jason Blake fiddles and diddles and (stop me if you're having flashbacks) then tries an ill-advised backhand pass that is immediately picked off...
12:14 Webb and Robert Reichel come together. Robert Reichel! Too funny.
12:01 Travis Green is gutlessly puked by Adrian Aucoin off the faceoff. Two mins for Adrian.
8:54 Hamrlik keeps it in the zone and tries a shot on Cujo. Yashin intercepts, spins, and fires one in on net. For the life of me, it looks like it went behind Joseph and popped out. Replay shows it just dribbles through the pads and is covered up.
6:49 Webb gets a high-stick penalty on McAuley and Dave Ryan says that the fans don't like the call. Neil Smith's reply? "The fans don't like it because they don't understand the rules of the game." Seriously. Has he cemented Mega Douche status yet?
5:46 Gary Roberts is called for, ahem, holding the stick on Aucoin. He literally pulled the stick out of his hands. I am also nominating "pulling the stick" to be a Twitter trend. We're now 4-on-4...
3:05 Brief flurry by the Leafs. Osgood robs Mogilny and the Ozzie chant goes up. The Leafs have had a lot of power plays tonight and the Isles up to now have not had a ton of scoring chances. Still, it's been a great pre-lockout game so far. Who knows? It may even get better!
40.2 Kaberle scores on another last-minute bad-angle goal. Ozzie cheats thinking pass and Kaberle goes top shelf from a crap angle.
End of two: 2-1 Toronto.
19:40 Kvasha makes a crazy Sega NHL 94 backhand pass to a streaking Parrish, who redirects the puck on the doorstep and Cujo loses his stick in the process. Quality start.
15:24 After a flurry by Yashin in front of the net, Kvasha is called for a trip on Lumme. This Yashin character was okay when he wanted to play. Plus his neck was warm.
13:12 Shots are 19-17 Toronto. Seems more lopsided that that. Mogilny has 9 on his own.
11:30 We have a Polish Prince sighting! Mariusz Czercawski is alive and well!
7:31 Pilar for a trip on Kvasha. Neil Smith praises the call. Isles on the PP. Even though they haven't had a great PP tonight, I am feeling lucky...
6:44 Wouldn't you know it--Kip effing Miller scores on a weird backhand cycle pass from Czercawski after Kenny Jonsson popped the puck into the zone. The camera catches Milbury celebrating like he just remembered that the team had to pay for all of the college costs of his kids.
5:04 Roman Hamrlik--who always struck me as a skating turtle--picks up the puck in the neutral zone and sends it off the post and past a stunned Cujo to make it a 3-2 Islanders lead. The fans are officially, I might add, loco, at this point. Parents are damn-near tossing children onto the ice from the cheap seats!
4:38 The fans are starting with that sing-songy "Cuuuujo! Cuuujo!" chant as we get the obligatory shot of Carol Alt celebrating with Yashin's mom. What was Carol at this time? Would 50 be the over/under?
3:26 Corson scores that crappy wrap-around goal between Osgood's legs to tie it. Chris was literally looking into the other corner when it happened. Man, this goal was over 8 years ago and it still made me feel sick. Another one of those Ozzie Softies that made you scratch your head from LI to Detroit.
2:30 "Shawn Bates is tripped up! We got a penalty shot!"
This is the point where I pretty much held my breath until the kid shot the puck back in the day. I couldn't believe this was happening--not to the Islanders, of course. We never get calls! Bryan McCabe takes the legs out from under Bates as he was swooping in on net with the puck.
I seem to recall it taking forever for Bates to shoot but on the DVD it was like a minute or two. NOt sur if they edited it. Smith and Ryan play up that Bates is asking captain Peca for advice on where to put it. Of course, Peca later would say that he game no advice to Bates and that they were talking about how loud it was in the barn.
OK, so you know Bates scores. Still, the moment made the hairs stick up on my neck and that ain't easy for a dude with a shaved head.
Gary Glitter's song goes on. I feel like we've heard more Gary Glitter in this game than was ever heard in a Vietnamese court room. So glad they changed the goal song.
2:00 Neil Smith says, "Two minutes left! Plenty of time for Chris Osgood to make another mistake!"
1:06 Penalty call on KJ for a slash. With Cujo out of the net, the Leafs are now up 2 men, 6 on 4. Smith calls it a weak call as Ozzie does that weird hike of his pants that reminds you of your fat uncle getting set for the Thanksgiving feed.
Last ten seconds...the Leafs have possession but no one wants to shoot. Corson dives after Claude Lapointe and we get a bit of a pull-apart brawl. Aucoin has Corson in a rear choke and the fans are going mental. Tremendous, tremendous game.
Well, we hope you enjoyed the first RETRO LIVE BLOG on lighthousehockey.com. Please feel free to comment or send suggestions for other RLB postings. It's a long-ass boring summer. We plan on doing more.