You and me both…
It took 2.3 decades to say this…
Playoff Series win!
Before I talk about anything else, let’s give extreme kudos to the Florida Panthers. They played a fantastic series, one that was as statistically even as you can possibly get. Shots, Hits, Faceoffs, just about everything you can imagine. They left they hearts out on the ice, and that is exactly what I want in a playoff series; two teams battling it out.
I know that my friends in the Florida Panther Booster Club are not happy with the way it turned out. They feel, and in some cases, rightly, that officiating killed their chance; especially with the Matt Martin pulldown of Trocheck just before the goal would score. I understand it, believe me – we have felt that pain so much. I know during the regular season, the Islanders were given the least PP chances in the entire NHL. The refs dropped their whistles, and essentially let the teams determine the final result, that non-call was unfortunate, and I think that in game 44 on a Tuesday night in January, it probably would have been called.
But for Islander nation – not tonight.
I know my Panther buddies are extremely happy about their team, and they should be. They had a FANTASTIC season, and will be back next year in full force.
But – now onto my Islanders, and the next series in Tampa (By the way – Panther fans – we will take care of your Florida cousins for you…)
23 years ago, my wife and I began our relationship with a great run by the Islanders, beating the Caps and then the Stanley Cup Champ Penguins. It was such a great time for us, celebrating special times. Although last night ranks up with those nights, it was a little tough watching it from home. Not getting to see it live and in person was heartbreaking; but it was a win! And for the first time in 23 years, we move onto the next round.
And what can be said about number 91 that has not been said for the past 10 hours or so, since the goal happened. He is truly a determined player that wants to see the best for the franchise that drafted him. Although Islander fans think he is the best, he still has a way to go before he really ascends to that top tier (Crosby, Towes, Kane). But he is making his mark, and finally, the national fan is beginning to see what we have all seen over the past seven years.
Wow – who would have ever thought that we would see the emergence of Thomas Greiss to become such a force in this series. Both goaltenders were brilliant. Neither one many any real egregious miscues. Just one was a little better. Greiss has become a new folk hero for the Islander fan.
And for the naysayers, please, I beg you, STOP ripping on the management and coaches. They have done what you have asked them to do – win a playoff series. Jack Capuano and Garth Snow, may not be world beaters, but they have worked so hard to groom these men, and make them what they are. Let’s congratulate them and wish them well as we move on.
There are so many things to say, and I am sure that so many others have done so. I have read a great deal of articles and posts in the last few hours. I really don’t need to add onto any of them, except to say that this Islander fan is extremely happy and thrilled to get past this great upcoming team and move on to take care of the state of Florida. It feels like playing the game of Risk, where you capture a country and move the pieces onto it, and take on the next country that neighbors you.
Tampa – you are next!
My wife does not know it yet, but I think I am going to have to get a pair of tickets for the next round. I need to feel some playoff love. It won’t be the same as in the old barn, but I think it will be nice.
Playoff hockey in May – nice to be back in it!