This is a diary of the Islanders 2000-2001 season, as written by our 4 Islander Experts. Here we will try to give you a different perspective on the games, special events, and the struggle and triumph of the Islanders. We welcome any comments you have - either by
or by using our bulletin boards below.
One game, four experts - here is their take on opening night at Nassau Coliseum
Roman Hamrlik - 28:34 minutes of ice time, steady defensive play, excellent quarterback on the power play
Zdeno Chara - 1 atrocious give away, 2 penalties, (-1)
I think it was Shakespeare who said, "To be or not to be, that is the question....". Now, you may be wondering how this relates to the Islanders of 2000 however the answer is quite simple. Should we be excited as Islander fans for this upcoming season? Or should we not be excited, as this is the same old Islander team of the past 7 years?
Mr. Wang and Mr. Kumar have done a wonderful job of providing the resources to make the coliseum a more pleasant experience for the fans. Starting with the "Fanfest" today, where there was entertainment, games, and interactive areas for fans of all ages, you could see the positive changes, and as an Islander fan that made me feel good. Bright colors adorn the entrance ways to the arena, concessions have been improved dramatically (they even have a separate one for kids "Kidcessions"; cool huh?), and players are actually available for autographs after the game at Gate 5; hello, am I dreaming? And by the way, did anyone notice that they actually had Tostitos brand nachos and not the cheesy generic nachos from last year? Way to go! And what about the product on the ice? Well, the talent to be a competitive team is definitely there. In particular tonight, you could sense that Kenny Jonsson has matured in his role as a captain just by his play on the ice. He was sound defensively, moved the puck swiftly on the power play, and used his body well to neutralize attackers. Is it me, or does the Beezer make you feel at ease? He just has this calm and steady nature about himself on the ice that makes me feel like everything is under control; that no matter what, he has your back. And what about all of our young guns? Timmy Connolly, Brad Isbister, Mark Parrish, and Oleg Kvasha, just to name a few, are the future of the Isles. Yes, they made some mistakes tonight, but with some patience and support on the side of the fans, once these players mature and become more complete players, we could have another dynasty on our hands folks.
Not to be:
Ummm...do we even have a power play? Or should I call it a "powerless" play. At times tonight, especially in the third period the Isles looked lost out there with the extra attacker. And how about those same old fans that expect a player to shoot the puck every time it touches his stick during the power play, and then when he does, boo the team for turning the puck over. Are you kidding me? Please make up your mind! Can anyone believe that Chara was actually holding out for a bigger contract this summer? Hey, I am not someone to get down on my own team but come on, he needs to pick up his game in a big way. On the first goal, he was caught watching the puck, while his man (Dave Lowry) could have brushed his teeth, combed his hair, and then tapped the puck in. Cover your man "Z"! Finally, can people please stay until the game is over and stop booing the team when it is? Yes, we were down by 2 with 5 minutes to go but you never know what can happen. And gee, let me see, lets all boo the Islanders as they leave the ice; no, they are not trying to win...they like to lose.
If you ask me, (and I am no William Shakespeare), I am going to go with the "To be" side of the coin. There is something special about this ownership (did you see Mr. Kumar in the stands?), this team, and the overall potential of the entire organization and fans. So, go grab some of those Tostitos nachos, keep your boos to yourself, and remember that a game consists of three 20 minute periods; if you leave early I might just have to have Mick Vukota pay you a visit...Lets go Islanders!!
It was a different scene at the coliseum than I was used to. I've been an Islander fan for 5 seasons now, and I've never seen an opening game celebration like this. I drove up to the coliseum, and saw a refurbished building, Islander images projected onto the Coliseum, new flags on the flagpoles, a whole Islander fanfest. But more exciting than all of that combined, I saw fans.
I saw lots of Islander fans. And everyone was EXCITED, they were wearing jerseys, having Islander logos painted onto their hands, their faces, their arms, anyplace there was exposed flesh. Things also were different as I walked into the coliseum. All of the 'Spano Quick-Fixer Upper banners' were gone - classy signs were up everywhere, all the gates were repainted. They introduced new food, and new booths around the concourse. We shuffled into our seats (first year season ticket holder here) and anxiously awaited the first drop of the puck. There was a great introduction of the players (which had lacked seasons past) along with a computer-generated sequence on the scoreboard. After some fireworks and the National Anthems, Wang and Kumar walked out onto the ice to a standing ovation. They dropped the ceremonial first puck, and walked off of the ice. (After almost being tripped by captain Kenny Jonsson). The game started, there were some heart wrenching saves, and scoring chances, but we were still left 2 behind in the end.
As the drunken guy next to us said, "I like that Beezer. He'll take us to the playoffs. Question is, will the rest of the team follow?"
From 333: Home openers are usually a source for renewed optimism and hope. While the introduction of the islander team, and the new owners, Sanjay Kumar and Charles Wang brought about such optimism as well as excitement, the Islanders weren't able to keep that feeling going thruout the game. Following the ceremonial faceoff between the captains of the two teams, in which Sanjay Kumar and Charles Wang dropped the puck, the game started which the players didn't seem to be quite ready for. They came out sluggish, not getting a shot for like the first 10 minutes (being outshot 10-0 at one point) and that feeling persisted thruout the game.
In some respects, the same can be said of the sellout crowd. Maybe it was because both the Mets and the Yankees are on the verge of entering the World Series and were in the midst of their respective LCS games. Or it could be all the new faces on the team, which it will take some time to get to know. Whatever the case may be, the crowd seemed, unusually quiet for a sellout crowd and got distracted from the game at hand, often concerning themselves more with chants for or against the Mets and Yanks as well as other events going on around the arena.
The whole building was a buzz as the announced sell-
out crowd came to welcome the Islanders to another season,
only this time it was one full of hope. Fans greeted each
other like family they had not seen in years. Everybody
wore a smile and said hello to their neighbors.
Suddenly, the lights came up and two men dressed in
business suits proceeded towards center ice. Instantly
recognized as the Saviors of this New York franchise,
Charles Wang and Sanjay Kumar dropped the first puck in the
2000-2001 season to a standing ovation from 16,297 people
saying "thank you" in the only we knew how. Unfortunately,
the rest of the night did not go as well as planned. The
Calgary Flames defeated the Islanders by a final score of 2-
0 after the Islanders power play fizzled again, going 0 for
8 on the night and a frightening 0 for 20 on the season.
The moment of the night came just before midnight as
team captain, Kenny Jonsson entered a nearby TGI Fridays,
where many Islanders fans had come to feed their misery.
"Hey Kenny," I said. "Better luck next time".
With a smile came his response, "Yah, thank you." And
there you have the never-say-die of an Islander. So look
out Anaheim, you're next on our list!
Questions, comments, suggestions?