I was in Phoenix Saturday and took in the Coyotes' loss to the suddenly rolling Sharks, where I learned a few things:
1) Even if you have no dog in the fight, obnoxious visiting fans will ruin your experience at the hockey game. (I sat three rows in front of the stupidest, loudest, cell-phone yammering Californian tool I've been around since I had season tickets at St. Louis' Kiel Center and was seated near an angry man who knew every player's sexual orientation. I'm not a violent man, but he turned me into a Coyotes sympathizer who wanted to drag the guy down the stairs by his hemp necklace. Cooler heads -- which is to say Mrs. Lighthouse -- prevailed.)
2) Glendale's "Lighthouse Project"-type of arena development is a very solid experience for making going to games fun -- especially in that pleasant climate -- though I've no idea if it makes sense for non-event nights.
3) Of oft-reported challenge for the club's
land-grab under previous ownership strategic move to Glendale: My goodness! Sprawl, thy name is the Valley. It takes a long time to get anywhere there, even in a sprawled-out pre-planned suburban grid. But it reminds me again of my belief that major sports venues inaccessible by rail transit are handicapped from the start.
On to some links and the power rankings...
Links and Talking Points
- Late notice for your DVRs, but Jack Capuano will be on NHL Live! today, broadcast on NHL Network and XM NHL Home Ice between noon and 2 p.m. EDT.
- Mike Fornabaio's post says the Bridgeport chat will be Wednesday, but from the context I'm not sure if that's a typo and it's really today? Tune in for details.
- I missed it while out of town, but Isles pick Brian Day joined the Sound Tigers on an ATO and scored his first pro goal and assists in three games so far.
- Speaking of prospects, Once Was Department: Stefan Ridderwall, whose rights lapsed last June, will not be re-signed by his SEL team.
- We beat up the Columbus Dispatch for Aaron Portzline's snarky (or antagonist, depending on your view) power rankings, but honestly there is good stuff there. So good luck, Manny Malhotra.
Seriously, I've no affinity for the Canucks (though frequent LHH visitor Semi_Colon is working on me), but their plight this year bums me out. I'm always a hockey fan first. The Canucks are on a President's Trophy path thanks to Mike Gillis building their depth to withstand the type of injury scourge only Isles and Canucks fans know too well. But Malhotra's injury is both scary and depressing, and Dan Hamhuis' latest concussion just has me throwing up my hands at the hockey gods -- not just for on-ice impact, but for the concussion scares Hamhuis has experienced, where last time he mentioned "retirement" if he got another one. This game is supposed to be fun, but man is it dangerous.
Media Rankings Survey
To throw something out here I saw in comments last week: Although ESPN switches back and forth on commentary between LeBrun and Burnside (who is again humane this week), I don't think that means they have a different guy do the actual rankings each week. I could be wrong though.
Anyway, here is what they're saying, sadly devoid of bulletin board material...
|Outlet||Rank||Last Week||Their Commentary|
||It's audition time now that the Isles have been officially eliminated from the playoffs.|
||Michael Grabner has 31 goals to lead the Isles, but that's not his most impressive stat. He's plus-16 on a hugely minus team.|
|ESPN||25||27||The season of the injuries continues for the hard-luck Islanders. Promising young defenseman Andrew MacDonald is gone for the season and Mark Streit won?t be able to skate this season.|
|Sportsnet (Brophy)||26||25||Looking for light at the end of the tunnel, Blake Comeau scores his 21st goal of the season in a 4-1 loss to the Flyers.|
|25||23||Whenever the Islanders get their defence healthy, which could be sometime next season after Andrew MacDonald's recent hip injury, they could have an effective group.|
"Remember, this is the week where we all agree to discuss the Islanders like an NHL team."
...And hear is what we
know imagine they're saying, in their cold dark hearts:
|Imagined Outlet||Rank||Last Week||Their Imagined Commentary|
The Screaming ALL-CAPS Headline
||Make no mistake, Wrist Shots has learned the Isles' refusal to crucify Trevor Gillies means Gary Bettman will not step into save the Islanders from bad ownership, which is what they should do because I said so.
|Pop Z. Line
Central Ohio Picayune
||Sometimes piling on gets old.
|Domingo, Fanboy Nation
||1||2||Everyone in the Grand Canyon and Phoenix area now knows the Islanders are the best team in the history of EVAH!
|The Omen, Toronto Shameless & Record||28||28||
John Tavares falling short of 30 goals is a sure sign he is "tanking" his way into a trade to Toronto, or a free agent defection, or however that works.
Real Power Rankings
Our weekly "real" power rankings, courtesy of our own ICanSeeForIslesAndIsles (who is the one you'll find tirelessly compiling FIG picks in the game thread), conceived and delivers these week after week. They reflect games through Sunday.
Explanation of how he does it is in the original post. If you have any questions about it, leave them in comments and he'll likely answer. For reference, last week's rankings are here.
Over email, he had this to say about the Isles' upward movement despite a rough week (bracket is edited so as not to get your mind wandering to parts of bees you shouldn't visualize...whoops, too late):
It's funny how that happens... The Isles can't get ahead of the Panthers while the Isles couldn't seem to lose a game. Now that they've lost two straight, they jump ahead, ever so slightly. That's because Florida have been on a skid of their own. The point they picked up Sunday brought the two teams into a virtual tie, but the Isles are a bee's [stinger] ahead.
For the record, the Isles are 26th in real-world standings too, one point ahead of Florida and two ahead of Ottawa.
We're 26! We're 26!