"Hello out there, we're on the air, it's Hockey Night tonite!" and for the first time in the 2001-2002 season, New York's fiercest rivalry battles between the boards. The New York Islanders face the arch-enemy Rangers and with a few new soldiers on either side of the ice, it promises to be a heck of a fight.
The Islanders, newly armed with centers Alexei Yashin and Michael Peca will be gunning for the Rangers and recently acquired Eric Lindros. Both teams missed the playoffs last season, so both have a lot to prove to New York and the world this year.
The summer has brought great promise to New York hockey. The Islanders, in the hands of Charles Wang and Sanjay Kumar have finally turned the page on a decade of decadence. The new season brings new hope to our formerly beleagured franchise. Head coach Peter Laviolette is looking to guide this ship to the first berth in the playoffs since the dreaded 1994 season.
The Rangers are coming off a summer where they snuck in a surprise at the last minute to avoid being left in the dark after the summer of Free Agency. Pulling off a blockbuster trade of their own, the Rangers acquired Eric Lindros from the Flyers. But Lindros hasn't played a single game in over a year and the Rangers gave up a lot of young talent to get him. Will the once again older Rangers be able to pull together or continue their slide into the near-miss of the post season?
Tonight's contest is an important one, even though it's only a pre-season game and will not count in the standings. The winning team will receive early bragging rights in New York sports. But maybe more importantly, there are still a lot of guys battling for roster spots. Coach Laviolette concluded training camp with a team building exercise designed to bring his troops closer together. He will be using these pre-season games to decide which ones will be battling for Orange and Blue and which ones will be headed to the Islanders' brand new Connecticut-based affiliate
Bridgeport Sound Tigers
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We, the Islander Experts, do wish to offer our sincerest sympathies to the victims of September 11, 2001. We would also like to thank each and every person involved in the rescue efforts. You are the Heros that make America the Beacon of Light that it is today. God bless you and God bless America.