The Islanders not named Dwayne Roloson failed to show and let themselves be blitzed for three quick goals -- one via powerplay -- before the game was nine minutes old. They then responded by being outshot 17-3 in the second. It was never a contest.
To make matters worse, Sean Avery -- a disgraceful runt of flesh (but you knew that) who never met a fellow hockey player he didn't disrespect (but you knew that too) completed a wrestling takedown on Dustin Kohn, hitting Kohn late, lifting him up against the glass and then pinning Kohn's arm beneath him as he faux-accidentally slammed him to the ice, putting Kohn out for the game with what looked like a head or shoulder injury.
Hockey pundits, throwing around the insulting euphemisms "pest" and "annoyance" as if being a sideshow is part of some storied culture of this game, will pretend that what Avery did was all on the up and up. But it wasn't. It was just part of Avery's decade-long ritual of choosing his spots to run goalies and deliver cheapshots to unsuspecting (and usually smaller) skaters, part of his tired act of slashing (or spearing) and then turtling, part of his "valuable" role of taking advantage of NHL officials' reluctance to babysit a self-involved tool by calling penalties on him after every whistle. It's like they assume one day he will grow up and get a clue. The joke is on them.
He's Sean Avery, he makes a fine Ranger and a fine example of the kind of NHLer who is protected under the regime of discipline czar Colin Campbell as long as he doesn't say something about an ex-girlfriend.
Insert Standard Pest Praise, Insert Standard Tool Rant
(Naturally, the NHL did not include Avery's hit on Kohn in the game highlight video. They'll include fights, but they won't include cheapshots like this; always best to pretend bad things just don't happen.)
"Oh, he gets under the other team's skin," apologists always say of Avery, as if crosschecking Jon Sim between faceoffs (unpenalized, natch) is a mark of achievement rather than an indictment of the fact referees never know what to do with him. "Oh, he is a victim targeted by the refs," they always say, as if anything Avery does outside of periodic nice passes (on nights he bothers to play hockey, that is) falls in some noble area refs should ignore.
Essentially, Avery treats hockey like that leech of an ex-friend treats you: The one who only shows up when he needs something, and always disappears when it's time to pay the tab. He takes advantage of the system, of every soft area of NHL culture -- be it the fact you can deliver cheapshots without having to face the music (turtle!), the fact you can talk trash all night without backing it up, or the fact that refs would prefer not to call penalties at every whistle, so you can behave like a asshat on every shift and live to tell about it.
The worst part of such manipulative scumbags is they always act like they're the victim. And of course Avery played that part all night long.
As always some will say he was "on his game" last night -- what a player, that Avery. Right. His ridiculous wrestling move on Kohn came when the game was long out of reach, the score already 3-0. His high elbow attempt (unpenalized, and likewise cut out of the NHL highlight video) on John Tavares that elicited a Trevor Gillies attack (again, Avery turtled) and created a Rangers 5-on-3 came when the score was 4-0. His assist came on the goal that made it 5-0. He wasn't influencing the outcome at that point; he was just showing his true colors as a Grade 1 douchebag. Again.
I've seen Avery's act countless times, on multiple teams, so I'm used to people pretending that his shabby circus act is good for his team and this game. Being forced to suffer through it as an observer never does anything but make me question (once again) the merits of the NHL's product. I'm generally numbed by it, but In this case it ticks me off because the Islanders may have yet another blueline injury that will require dipping into Bridgeport's roster right in the middle of their playoff run.
Your Sanitized Official NHL Highlights, Where Cheapshots Don't Happen
This and That
Obviously, the hockey part of the game sucked. The Islanders were awful -- Scott Gordon rightly called it their "worst game of the year," and they hung Dwayne Roloson out to dry for multiple breakaways, most of which he stopped. Amazing that Roloson could be credited with a stellar effort in a 5-0 loss, but that's how bad the Isles were.
- The Loaf for the Lottery continues. With no points from last night (an increasingly rare feat in today's OTL NHL), the Islanders remain a point behind Carolina in 28th place, four above the Leafs.
- Good for Kyle Okposo to hit Avery shortly after his cheapshot, and for Blake Comeau and Gillies for jumping Avery after he tried to pull more of his B.S. on Tavares. Except for rare occasions, Avery will always turtle and always find bodies to protect him -- seriously, how crappy do you feel if you have to stick up for Sean Avery as your teammate? -- so that's the best you can do within the confines of this flawed sport.
- More importantly, the Sound Tigers' playoff push continued on, with another win, 5-2 over Syracuse. Jesse Joensuu had a goal and an assist. They may be losing a defenseman soon.
- Roloson stopped 39 shots and yet took a five-goal hit to his stats. Amazing.
Videos For Posterity
Scott Gordon post-game:
Possible future captain Kyle Okposo post-game:
We'll see what Kohn's status is and what the Isles do to fill in. They're already carrying just six defensemen.