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Islanders & NHL News: Game 1 epic; Reliving the Friday Fight Fest with the poor Penguins

It was 12(?!) years ago, but it could’ve been yesterday.

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Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Islanders
“Who wants to sex Mutombo?”
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The Stanley Cup semifinals began last night with the Eastern Conference final going past Easter Epic-length overtime, but we’re here to talk about something much more relevant: A delicious brawl and ass-beating of the Penguins from over a decade ago.

Secret Base Relives the Islanders-Penguins Beef

It’s the slow time of year so we’ll devote a few paragraphs to this:

Secret Base does the Friday night Fight Fest! “The Penguins and Islanders’ beef was brutal, contentious, and somehow only 10 days long.” But: “This video is age-restricted and only available on YouTube” for some unexplained reason. So go there for it.

Never forget that whining hypocrite Mario Lemieux employed goalie-runner Matt Cooke, essentially starting all this. (Also, Maxim Talbot was a shameless coward through and through.)

I NEVER say this, but in this case I also suggest: Read the comments! As one then-8-year-old commenter says, “I became a hockey fan for life that day.” And another from New Zealand added, “Never heard this history, but this is what sports and rivalries are all about.

This game also inspired the legendary Trevor Gillies Barking at Drive Thru Customers gif.

Finally, as a reminder, Mark wrote up the game with the instant-classic headline “Brent Johnson isn’t smiling anymore,” drawing all kinds of bitter little Penguins fan trolls, including from some site whose name I (seriously) forget, but which was known for trolling vs. the Wings back in those days when both those teams were relevant. (Unfortunately, the 1000+ comments in that recap are lost to history, because SB Nation.)

I was flying out for a ski trip so I missed the game live, but I landed in Colorado to an excited but barely intelligible voicemail from Mark that I can still replay in my head to this day. My phone didn’t have what you would call “internet” at the time, so it wasn’t till I got settled up in the mountains that I understood the full gravity of what Mark was reporting. Good times!

Other Islanders Things

  • Stan Fischler profiles Frans Nielsen and the “Danish Backhand of Judgment” (a term coined and spread by the Lighthouse Hockey commentariat). [Isles]
  • Hockey historian and collector Len Gould is trying to give his treasure of clips and memorabilia to some historic Islanders. [THN]
  • Talkin’ Isles: Ray Ferraro joins the show. [Isles]
  • “What we’re hearing” about the Islanders and Lamoriello. (Nothing, ultimately.) [Athletic]
  • Catching up with Matt Maggio as he prepares to begin his pro career. [THN]
  • A “member only” article suggests a brilliant original idea: The Islanders ought to extend Ilya Sorokin. [Post]
  • Isles play-by-play man Brendan Burke is keeping busy calling some baseball. [Newsday]


Teuvo Teravainen returned from the J-G Pageau “tomahawk” as the Panthers and Hurricanes delivered as billed in Game 1. The Panthers had a would-be winner in the first OT that was called off for a very debatable goalie interference call. I wouldn’t have called it, but I don’t make the rules. Oh, had the powers that be known what they were doing when they called that goal back, extending the night into infinity.

  • Lindy Ruff will return as Devils coach. [ESPN]
  • Despite the devastating no vote on their new arena proposal, the NHL and Coyotes say they’ll still play next season at the small but lovable ASU rink. [ESPN]
  • Will they move to Utah? Or something? (No one knows. It’s all speculation.) [THN]
  • The jukebox says: If the Leafs are going to make a shakeup trade, it comes down to two players in particular. [Sportsnet]