Story Time: Russel's Tommy Salo night at the Coliseum

Note: What follows is a story from LHH member Russel Ginart. I asked him if we could share it as a FanPost, and he agreed. If you have links to share or simple polls/questions to ask, please leave them as a FanShot. But if you have more flushed-out theories, or old-time stories like this one, then do those as a FanPost like this one. Generally we do more of this during the off-season, when there aren't games to discuss every night. But I thought I'd share Russel's story to give us all a chuckle.

If you've got a good story to share but don't have the time or desire to format it in a FanPost, contact me or one of the other LHH editors and we can help you out -- and even clean it up for you! (The wax costs extra.)

And now, please enjoy Russel's Salo story...

Tommy Salo Night at NVMC

The time is 1998 and I have been living next to two Ranger fans for five years in Lyndhurst, NJ. There are no other hockey fans on my block except for those two NYR fans. These two NYR fans were great neighbors and friends, and as hockey fans we would take turns buying tickets to attend games. In 1998 it was my turn to buy tickets for the three of us to attend an Islander game at the NVMC. So at that time I went online (for the first time) to purchase tickets to an Isles game. I purchased tickets for the February 27, 1999 game vs. the Detroit Red Wings. I informed my neighbors of the purchase and told them that I would be preparing "heavily" for this game.

During the mid '90s I had the extreme dislike for Isles goaltender Tommy Salo. I thought he was at-best an average goaltender, so when the Isles all of a sudden brought in someone new I was thrilled. That new guy was Eric Fichaud, a complete opposite of Salo. Eric has quick reflexes, excellent glove hand, and great lateral movement. Too bad Eric (IMO) never got a fair chance with Salo as the #1. Later on injuries would lead to his NHL career.

The week of the game I prepared for the visit to the old barn. I made three signs that I hoped would be seen on TV. I was hoping to get my point across to Rick Bowness/Mike Millbury that Salo was NOT our #1 goalie. The three signs read as follows: Salo-must GO! So Long Salo; Salo NO, Fichaud YES; and Bring Back Fichaud.

So, on February 27, 1999 we arrived at the game with my two NYR neighbors in tow, and of course my three signs. We pass through the turnstiles' and proceed to our section. There I show the tickets to the usher and he gives me a weird look. He tells me that these tickets are for the handicap/wheelchair section. I inform the usher that I bought these tickets on-line and there were no indications of them being in the handicap section. The usher then tell me to hang out here for a few minutes and we would find us better seats. Later on I would regret the selection of the seats the usher acquired for us. Sure enough the seats were closer to the ice. I don't remember the section but what I do remember is that it was one of the last few rows before the second tier begins. So that means there is a wall behind us that starts the next level of seating.

My two NYR buddies look at the wall and immediately start bursting out in laughter. They motion me to turn around and look at the wall. As I turned and looked I was flabbergasted to see draped over the wall a big 10'x10 sign which read as follows:

The Tommy Salo Official Fan Club

Whoever has said God does not have a sense of humor and irony does not know what he is talking about.

The game starts and guess who had the start? Tommy Salo. Fichaud at that time was sent back down for conditioning (I think) after one of his injuries. There I am with three signs denouncing Sale right in front of his fan club. I would stand up periodically and flash the signs at the fan club and at everyone else. The irony of it all Tommy Salo is pitching a shutout into the third period when Tommy decides to stick handle the puck behind his net on a dump in. A Red Wing player challenged him behind the net, stripped him naked of the puck, and wrapped around an empty net goal to ruin his shutout. Of course I was delighted with this and got my two NYR pals to each grab a sign and flash the Salo fan club.

Imagine my luck to go to a game to deride Salo, and get put next to his fan club? You can't make this stuff up. I had a great time at the game with my neighbor buddies, got to see an Islander 3-1 win vs. the Wings and also got to see Salo mess up royally.

<em>Submitted FanPosts do not necessarily reflect the views of this blog or SB Nation. If you're reading this statement, you pass the fine print legalese test. Four stars for you.</em>

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