Dave Scatchard - after being named Islander of the year he went out and delivered, scoring a goal and working his tail off all night.
Rick DiPietro - his head was never into this game. He wandered out his net at ill advised times and just didn't have the focus necessary to stop the puck tonight.
Considering the Rangers were coming to the Coliseum tonight I was really looking forward to the game. I figured with an Islander win I would have gained some satisfaction out of this season; well consider me unsatisfied. Tonight, the game started out with the Islanders taking two unnecessary and undisciplined penalties, giving the Rangers an immediate 5 on 3 advantage. Nedved cashed in on the power play to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead and they never looked back. The Isles did tie it at 1 with Kenny Jonsson's goal but the Isles seemed out of sync all night. After going 0-9 on the power play last night, the Islanders continued the drought by going a measly 1-9 tonight. They were given every opportunity to bury the Rangers and they just couldn't convert. After a second period dominated by Radek Dvorak (3 goals) the Islanders did finally make a game of it in the third closing the margin to 1 goal, but Dvorak capped off a wonderful night when he flew by Jonsson to collect the puck and score his fourth goal of the game to make it a 6-4 final.
Congratulations to The Islander of the Year
I was glad to see Dave Scatchard was given Islander of the Year honors. Every time I read anything about Dave Scatchard, his contributions to the community off the ice are always mentioned. Not only is he having a career year on the ice but he is showing the Long Island community what a class act he is. I think it would be wise of Milbury to consider putting that "C" on Scatchard's jersey next season. Dave would represent this team with his heart and soul; something this team has been lacking the past few years.
Settle Down Rick
When DiPietro led the Islander squad onto the rink tonight, he really looked fired up and ready to backstop the team to a victory. As the game progressed it seemed as if Rick let his emotions of the rivalry get the best of him. He was constantly wandering out his crease and at one point dove for a puck that had gone wide of the net, putting himself completely out of position. During a Ranger power play he attempted to clear the zone and ended up sending a fluttering pass through the air that was intercepted at the Isles blue line. Czerkawski finally showed some frustration when DiPietro made an unnecessary two line pass during an Isles man advantage. Unfortunately, Rick was more concerned with playing the puck tonight rather than stopping it and it really hurt the team. If the Isles had any semblance of solid goaltending tonight they could have won this game.
Pilon The Punisher
Can anyone explain to me why Pilon wasn't given some of his own medicine tonight? First off, it absolutely amazed me how many times he was able to land a thunderous hit on any human being with an Islander emblem on his chest. Pilon is not exactly fleet of foot, yet he was all over the rink tonight catching the Islander forwards with ease and delivering big hits. And what surprised me even more was not one Islander attempted to send a message to Pilon that his reckless hitting would not be tolerated. Where the heck was our physical presence on the ice?
Nolan for Hire?
I cannot stress enough the importance the hiring of Ted Nolan will have on this franchise. If Milbury wants to get his butt out of the hot seat and make a wise choice Nolan is his man. Yes, Lorne Henning has done a respectable job, but where is his intensity behind the bench? We need a coach who will bleed Islander blue and wear his emotions on his sleeve for this team. After reading the article in Newsday about Nolan's interview and the passion and desire he has to right this ship, I am left here wondering what Milbury is waiting for. The other names that have been thrown around for the coaching position including Bryan Murray, Robbie Ftorek, and Jim Schoenfeld have been there and done that. We need a fresh face; somebody with the skills to take a young team with loads of talent and mold them into a cohesive unit. If you look at Nolan's past and what he was able to accomplish with the Buffalo Sabres (a team much like our Islanders now), you too will be scratching your head wondering if and when Mr. Nolan will be invited to the island.
(tid bits you may have missed)
Does the Ice Patrol (you know, the t-shirt people) actually expect the fans to get into a frenzy over a t-shirt? Let me remind you, it is just a t-shirt. How annoying is Dale Purinton? In case you don't know, he is an over zealous rookie on the Rangers squad that needs to be taught a lesson; he wears #5 by the way. What right does a rookie have to come into this league and play the cheap brand of hockey that he does? Looking over the stats tonight (I was able to get my hand on a huge packet of game notes), I almost fell on the floor when I noticed that only
(yes, you read right) has a positive +/- rating; and that is only a +1. However, it made me feel a little better when I saw that Mr. Messier was a -26, worst on the Rangers. I was glad to see Czerkawski give the linesman an earful when he failed to get out of the way of the puck, causing a slight deflection, that helped Dvorak break free for the final goal. At least somebody showed some intensity tonight. It's unfortunate the Isles gave up on Hlavac so soon (they drafted him). His 62 points this season are nothing to laugh at.
Until Next Time..."Ted Nolan for President"