Pete Paguaga, Sports Editor-
It has been over a week since the game between the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins ended with a total of 346 penalty minutes. I know every hockey analyst on every station has beaten this topic to death, but unlike them, I am not going to completely trash the Islanders.
Maybe it’s because the Islanders haven’t been competitive in the NHL in about five years or maybe it’s because everyone in hockey commentary gets all giddy about the Penguins, but there is no reason why the Islanders should take the blame for what happened during this game. What Trevor Gillies did to Eric Tangradi was flat out dirty and embarrassing to watch as an Islanders fan.
But what Matt Martin did to Maxine Talbot, though it looked bad, don’t let your shorts get in a bunch over it. Hockey analysts are saying that Martin’s cheap shot on Talbot was similar to when Todd Bertuzzi ended Steve Moore’s career.
A week before this game, Talbot started what turned into a goalie fight, between the Islanders and the Penguins. So Martin was trying to fight Talbot, who has been known to drop the gloves and go out and be a thorn in the opposing teams side, and all of sudden Talbot doesn’t want to be a tough guy. He goes to ice in the fetal position pretending like he is someone who never fights, please come on.
Speaking of goalie fights, Brett Johnson now thinks he is Mike Tyson; two games in a row against the Islanders he dropped the gloves. But this time it was against Michael Haley who is well known in the AHL for fighting. Johnson wanted to fight so Haley fought him, little did he know that Eric Godard would come off the bench and jump Haley from behind. Did anyone know that happened? Because it seemed like hockey analysts just said it happened and moved past it to rip on the Islanders for something else that they did.
Look, I know the Islanders have been the laughing stock of the NHL for a few seasons now and everyone loves the Penguins and Sidney Crosby; don’t get me wrong I love Crosby, he’s the best player in the NHL hands down. But if any other team, but the Islanders were in this game it would be OK. They would say “hey it’s just the game of hockey.” But because the Islanders were involved, it was another opportunity for hockey people to poke fun at the Islanders.
Islanders forward Zenon Konopka said it perfectly when he said that, the Islanders are a family and they stick up for each other. He also said that they don’t like being laughed at anymore. I don’t think anyone is laughing anymore, and what is lost in everything is that the Islanders won the game 9-3 and they have won four games in a row. Maybe this is the push they needed, it might be too late but they could finish the season strong and take it into next season.