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Bits: Preserve 1975; Hamonic's Memorial Cup begins; Hillen the holder

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Ever wonder whether the 1975 Islanders do anything like the [whatever] Dolphins, who popped open champagne each year when the last undefeated NFL team went down? I know it's not quite the same accomplishment, but if I were in their shoes I would. Any excuse to reminisce.

Chico Resch was on the NHL Network last night discussing 1975, and he not only brought up Kate Smith again, he also mentioned that in Game 7 of the Flyers series -- the one where the Isles again came back from down 3-0 only to lose -- that first goal Gary Dornhoefer scored 19 seconds in took a chunk out of the thinner goalie stick he'd just switched to, essentially powering through his stick and into the net. Goalies.

Resch said there is a bond with the '75 guys, though obviously a big chunk of them formed a much bigger bond later on thanks to some events from 1980 to 1983, events the NHL has left out of its recent "History" ad campaign.

Memorial Cup

Up in Brandon, Manitoba, rising Islanders prospect Travis Hamonic gets every junior player's dream: A chance to win the Memorial Cup on home ice. Hamonic's Wheat Kings begin play tonight against the big dogs, defending champs Windsor, and the game will be on NHL Network for U.S. viewers.

At the Worlds

Fance, Italy, Kazakhstan and the United States play in the round-robin Relegation Round. The two bottom-ranked teams get relegated to Division I next year. The U.S. play the Kazakhs on Saturday.

Penalty Takers

This will come up later in Jack Hillen's report card (he's up next), but Dirk Hoag's data shows that Hillen led the league in holding penalties last season, with 9. Blake Comeau also made Hoag's list at On the Forecheck, for a different kind of infraction.

Willie Mitchell Speaks

I would love for the Islanders to sign Willie Mitchell this summer -- except for the fact that his bout with post-concussion syndrome scares me away. You may have heard, he spoke about his long road back yesterday and he also laid into Colin Campbell and the NHL's disciplinary system, as well as both the league and union's handling of headshots. It was beautiful, and quite reasonable.

There are plenty of articles out there about it, but this is one of those cases where you want to hear what the man said in full context, straight from the horse's mouth. Here's the video (some online have suggested he sounded foggy at the beginning; it sure looked that way, but he was clearly lucid as the scrum picked up steam):