There's Always Next Year!- Islanders/Senators Pre-Game


The New York Islanders, for the fifth consecutive season, will finish their season in last place and out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.


Their opponents Sunday Afternoon, the Ottawa Senators, travel to Long Island fresh off one of their most important victories of the season.


Ottawa relinquished a three-goal advantage Saturday afternoon, but recovered in shoot-out to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3, in Philadelphia. Jason Spezza had the Senators first goal and scored the winner in the shootout session. Chris Neil and Daniel Alfredsson also scored for the Senators in their three-goal first period. It was their third consecutive victory lifted their record to 40-28-10, two points ahead of the Washington Capitals for 7th place in the Eastern Conference. More importantly, they have a four point advantage on the 9th place Buffalo Sabres. 


The Islanders would have needed a near miracle to happen to find their way into the post-season. Unfortunately, Boston found their legs in the third period and scored four of their six goals to end the Islanders hopes 6-3 on Saturday Afternoon. Kyle Okposo scored his 21st goal of the season continuing his torrid pace at the end of the season. P.A Parenteau scored the other two goals for the Islanders. Al Montoya was in goal and yielded all six Bruins goals.


Ottawa will look to continue their recent success against the Islanders. Their last meeting on Long Island was all Senators. A 6-0 thrashing that was the beginning of the end for the Islanders playoff aspirations. Erik Karlsson had four assists in that game and Craig Anderson made 28 saves for a shutout. The game was turned on its head as Ottawa scored two goals in 95 seconds before anyone was in their seats. Kevin Poulin started in goal for the Islanders and was relieved by Al Montoya. Six days later, the Senators cruised past the Islanders 5-2 in Ottawa. 


The game is paramount for the Senators, while the Islanders are playing for pride. After the last two games between these teams, I would expect a stronger Islanders effort. To be fair they were tied 2-2 with Boston yesterday after two periods. A stronger performances by Montoya may have changed matters, but giving that type of effort with little on the line, was promising going forward. Prediction: Islanders 5 Ottawa 4.



Madonia Minute



A lot to talk about tonight. 


Really proud of how the Islanders have played the last couple of weeks. Beating Pittsburgh twice this past week made a lot of the difficult to swallow losses a little easier. Josh Bailey and Kyle Okposo are going to have huge seasons in 2012-13. Kyle has already eclipsed the 20-goal mark and Bailey just had 8 points in two games against the Penguins. Both players look to have hit their stride at the same  time. Okposo plays every shift like its game seven of the Stanley Cup and Bailey’s first and second step has improved immensely. He looks like he is trying to find the puck not the other way around. They both benefit playing with Frans Nielsen. He is the perfect compliment to two highly skilled players. His ability to make plays and cycle the puck give Okposo more opportunities to out-hustle defensemen and put the puck in the net. Secondary scoring has been an issue all season for this team, but if the trend continues, it will be a positive going forward.


Always glad to see Michael Haley get a chance with the Islanders. He brings toughness to a team completely devoid of it. Having him on the team will keep a little heat off of John Tavares and Matt Moulson. Too many liberties have been taken this season on the entire 1st line. Last season, teams feared the Islanders in the physical game, this season teams feel they can run their goalie and cheap-shot Tavares or Parenteau behind the play. Haley will be a wild card coming into next season for the Islanders.


Rick DiPitero is giving the first 5,000 fans tommorow a free soda and hot-dog voucher for ‘Fan-Appreciation’ Day. To say DP is hated by Isles’ fans is an understatement, so this attempt at showing his appreciation to the Islanders fans that boo him, doesn’t exactly look like anything then another public relations stunt to put him in a good light. DP didn’t perform this season for the Islanders, healthy or not, he was terrible in nearly every game he played. I will eat my hot-dog and soda and save myself 11 dollars, but i will take it for what it is. A PR stunt.


If i have to hear about the ‘Brooklyn’ game again i’m going to scream. First off, the game isn’t your home game Islanders! This is a Devils pre-season game that they couldn’t sell out themselves and asked you to build it up. You in turn, don’t include it in your Season-Ticket package even though you are advertising it like it’s the most important thing since the lightbulb. We play at the Nassau Coliseum, an asbestos filled building with folding chairs in $90 a game sections. Brooklyn has this beautiful-I think? new arena that would cater to a lot of what the Islanders need. Good location near public transportation, closer proximity for fans in the city, and a possibility to develop a new fan base. If you are comparing the two, Brooklyn, right now is a better venue. That being said, until 2015 the Coliseum is our home, not Brooklyn. Listening to the jumbo-tron, you would think they are moving there already with the amount of hype. 


The ‘Brooklyn Game’ is on a random Tuesday Night, absolutely brilliant job with that. The average Long Island fan can’t make into Brooklyn at 7 during the week, so your crowd is going to consistent of people in suits and people that live in brooklyn..sounds like a Rangers game! I bit the bullet and bought tickets, not because I want to see an arena unfit for the NHL, but because I would like to see my team play just before the season opener. I have tickets in section 9, near the blue line. I paid 100 dollars to see an exhibition game. This wasn’t even the best seat, $175.00 was the top ticket, again for an exhibition game. Just imagine if this was the regular season, fans would be priced out of any seats worth sitting in. 


I renewed my tickets for the Islanders after writing an entire piece, now deleted, about how I saw no need to continue my relationship with the Islanders. They increased the prices but! you receive a replica jersey and a conveyor belt ' meet and greet' if you pay in full a week after your team finishes in last place again. The only reason I am even renewing the tickets is because I love hockey and I love that team, plain and simple. I have nothing positive to say about the Islanders orginization. Their General Manager is pompous and needs a reality check. My wife and I work our tails off to afford our overpriced tickets, so when you overhear something to the effect of 'if you can't afford the tickets, dont buy them,' being said at a meeting with people that pay your salary, it puts a bad taste in my mouth. They do absolutely nothing for their fans but run them around with constant empty promises and constant frustrations. I don't work for them, I have no affiliation with them, but I am a paying customer, and to be honest they need a lot more of us. I will be at every Islanders home game next season, because I want to see John Tavares, Travis Hamonic, Josh Bailey, and Matt Martin play hockey. I am proud to wear the name on the back of my jersey, but not the  front.


I will continue writing for The Checking Line in the off-season and next season. We will continue to provide straight forward honest commentary and I look forward to doing a lot more going forward. I appreciate everyone reading my work. If anyone has any ideas/players for 'Where Are They Know?' let me know in the comments.