Islanders-Penguins Gameday: There might not be blood, actually

One score and 8 years ago, our fathers brought forth, upon this Island, a new Dynasty, conceived in Bobby, and dedicated to the proposition that only select Cup winners should be so revered. That battle, begun three years prior through defeat of a bullying menace from Pennsylvania, was right and proper, and encompassed 19 uninterrupted series victories.

Pit-head_medium                Nyi-stickstripe_medium
Penguins (47-25-8, 3rd/E) @ Islanders (30-38-12, 14th)
Nassau [
gloriously unsponsored] Veterans Mem. Coliseum
7 p.m. EDT | MSG+ | audio -
WRHU 88.7
Tribe of Pennsylvania: PensBurgh

It so happens that 10 years later, in a battle between our sacred sport's two greatest generals, a battle won by he known as Radar, that another Pennsylvania militia was stopped short -- well short -- in its attempt to earn the reverence reserved only for the greatest of champions, the dynasties. Providence, and Ferraro to Volek, saw to that.

Now we are engaged in a great war, testing whether that Island, or any Island so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure, and rise again, to find its former glory. It is not a short journey. There are no easy paths, nor suspicious tank jobs. It entails fighting back when wronged, to re-earn the respect robbed from you in the light of day.

We are met here on a great battlefield both of that war and of the wars that earned this Island such historic import. Before one rises again, one must prove that one will not entrust zebras nor the Office of Campbell to protect one from the base tactics employed by the Pennsylvanians of 1980, nor those of their successors in 2010-11. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. It is the only way.

But in a larger sense we cannot dedicate -- we cannot consecrate -- we cannot hallow this ground, any more than year after year of banners and tributes can do. The brave men, Hall of Famers and plumbers, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract through yet another banner, or another imagined victory in NHL '11. The NHL will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but if it had any sense it would at least not forget what they did here.

It is for today's Islanders, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they have, thus far, nobly carried on. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us: That from these honored men we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave their hips, shoulders, and groins. That we here highly resolve that their sweat was not shed in vain; that cheap shots were not absorbed without response; that this Island shall have a new birth of victories; and that this franchise of the Torrey, by the Arbour, for Islanders Country, shall rise again.

*  *  *

Game Notes

  • The ATO deal the Islanders did with Campanale? They've done another one, with Kitchener's Jamie Doornbosch, because Jack Hillen is still out. (Those only allow one-game tryouts, apparently). Bridgeport's used 60 guys this year...how many are the Isles up to now?
  • Al Montoya is your starter.
  • The home team has won each game in this series. One win on each side has been determined via OT/SO.
  • The Penguins, one point behind the Flyers, can still win the Atlantic, and in a way it rests in the Islanders' hands: The Isles finish up in Philadelphia tomorrow.
  • If the Islanders lose in regulation tonight, they will finish behind Ottawa and finish no better than 27th overall (and possibly 28th, depending on Florida).
  • Doug Weight on life behind the bench, which he has no idea if he wants to pursue further.
  • Lots of good quotes from all over the place about today's game, including the official preview and the AP write-up.

Some refreshing honesty in those quotes, including:

Micheal Haley:

"They’re in the playoffs, so they’ll be worried about that. It’s tough to say what could happen. I am sure there will still be emotions but I don’t know if it will be like last time."

Pascal Dupuis:

"We are in the playoffs and we are trying to get ready for playoffs. Their season is over. It’s a different atmosphere in both locker rooms. I don’t expect too much to happen."

John Tavares:

"I think it’s not going to be the way it was last time. I think both teams are just going to want to play. I think it will be a great atmosphere and both teams are going to be really intense, but I think you’ll see a really good hockey game."

Zenon Konopka:

"The first thing I reflect upon is how well we played after that game," Islanders faceoff specialist Zenon Konopka said. "That’s the reality of the matter. We played our best hockey after that game. Is it a coincidence that we just started playing well and came together after that game? I don’t think so. But some people might. It’s a sport and it’s an intense sport. It may be the best sport in the world."

Konopka again:

"I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s probably in (the Penguins’) hands how the game is going to be played out. Obviously, two games ago, we were upset with the way our players were being treated. The next game was intense, and some people would say it got out of hand."

Trevor Gillies via Katie Strang:

"If the bell needs to be answered, we've got the guys to answer it." "If they want to start something, that's fine."

Matt Martin, who also said the suspensions were deserved:

"I'm not going to go against the league and say we were angels. Things did go a little overboard there."

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma:

"I already addressed this with our team on two separate occasions. Our sole intent going into that building is to win a hockey game and not be interested in doing any other kind of activity."

Islanders coach Jack Capuano:

"We’re going out to play a hockey game," Capuano said. "I’m not going to look at it as any different game than we’ve played. The players decided the game. The coaches are going to give the game plan and the players play the game. We just want to make sure we’re doing the right things."

The stakes here are high for the Penguins, and nil for the Islanders. I can imagine a more peaceful game on the ice than in the stands, where I imagine some visiting Pens fans will be looking for trouble and some Isles fans will be all too happy to give it to them.

In "old-time hockey" parlance, this game would be defused by a simple fight between Eric Godard and Trevor Gillies to "answer" for what Gillies did to Tangradi. I would suggest they can fight Matt Martin, too, except Martin in the end did no damage. Maxim Talbot wanted to avoid him at all costs and did so to the bitter end. (I'll still never forget the look on Talbot's face after that scrum though, as if it was slowly dawning on him that he can't run around pulling off cheap stunts and avoid a fight forever. Perhaps it even dawned on him that his teammates were having to put themselves on the line for his actions.)

Regardless, I think it's safe to say a lot of fans just want a good Fan Appreciation Night, and don't expect too much on-ice shenanigans. (Interesting to note that in the last meeting, shenanigans didn't start until the score was out of hand, and the Islanders were all too willing to accept the invitation to respond to Penguins blowout "message sending.")

Will there be blood? Probably not on the ice. But you never know...

Also

  • Great read on EJ McGuire's final days in his job. What a sad story for a very beloved man.
  • If you missed it, all Islanders prospects are now out of the Frozen Four. Anders Lee's Notre Dame lost yesterday, and North Dakota lost as well, despite heavily outshooting Michigan and their incredible walk-on goalie. Haven't heard an update on Brock Nelson yet, but I'm sure it's pending.

FIG Picks

Put your second-to-last FIG picks in this FanShot. We will have a separate thread up later for the Last Islanders Goal (of the season) picks, explaining those rules.

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