Zeitgeist: Self-Destructing Islanders Introduce Second Mascot

Isn't she great? She's great, right? - Christof Koepsel

Losers of eight straight and sporting the NHL's worst penalty kill, half a dozen slumping forwards and inadequate goaltending, the New York Islanders have brought along a new friend to delight fans of all ages.

GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (Lighthouse Press) _ The New York Islanders introduced an additional mascot today, Dolly the Snow Girl, who will team with longtime mascot Sparky the Dragon to create the most fan-friendly 1-2 punch in the NHL.

Dolly, a 7-foot tall female with orange pigtails, a giant red nose and a soft white belly, was unveiled today by the Islanders at a gala luncheon at the Garden City Hotel. She will officially appear at Nassau Coliseum for the first time when the Islanders return from their current five-game road trip, which started with an emphatic 5-1 loss in St. Louis on Thursday night.

While handing out balloons to kids and firing t-shirts around the room with an air cannon, Dolly said through a team spokesman that the Islanders have a great, young team with an up-tempo style and she's looking forward to joining them.

"I'm just happy to be here right now, taking it all in," Dolly said in her statement. "An opportunity like that doesn't come around much, so I'm going try to make the most of it."

"We haven't been good enough. We're at one [mascot] right now and our expectation is to be higher than that." -Islanders GM Garth Snow on new mascot, Dolly.

The Islanders are winless in their last eight games. They currently have the league's worst penalty kill and the three goaltenders they've used this - youngsters Kevin Poulin and Anders Nilsson and injured veteran Evgeni Nabokov - all have save percentages in the high .800 range, which is not acceptable for NHL goalies.

But general manager Garth Snow believes Dolly is just what the team needs right now.

"We know we're getting a high-character person," Snow said of Dolly at the luncheon, while his team was in Los Angeles preparing to face the Kings on Saturday night. "we're excited she's in our locker room."

The Islanders already have a mascot, Sparky the Dragon, who was introduced in 2001. Adding Dolly to the mix will make the Islanders the only two mascot team in the NHL, a fact that Snow thinks will give his team a winning edge over the competition.

"We haven't been good enough," Snow said. "We're at one [mascot] right now and our expectation is to be higher than that."

Snow said Sparky was not consulted before Dolly was signed, but that the dragon supports the team's decision and is ready to work with Dolly.

After the loss to the Blues and their next game against the Kings, the Islanders' road trip continues through Anaheim, San Jose and Phoenix. All five are playoff teams in the extremely competitive Western Conference.

Dolly said she plans to greet the team when they return to Long Island with a bucket full of confetti and some stick-on tattoos.

In addition to their problems keeping pucks out of their net, many of the Islanders' top nine forwards are currently riding multiple game scoring droughts. Winger Michael Grabner hasn't scored a goal since the season opener, a span of 25 games. Forward Josh Bailey, who the team signed to a five-year contract extension over the summer, has gone 18 games without scoring. Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Peter Regin, both signed this off-season, have seven and 16-game pointless streaks, respectively. Defensemen Travis Hamonic and Thomas Hickey are also without points in over a dozen games each. Key defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky has also missed the last month plus with a concussion, and defenseman Brian Strait is still out with an unannounced illness.

Dolly and Snow ended the debut by exiting the luncheon on a unicycle built for two.

___

This is satire. There is no new mascot. I'm mad. Let me have this.

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