Top Shelf Atlantic Epic at The Rock: NYI 5 NJD 4 (OT). Holla at your Boyes.

Scoring recap from the men of Long Island:

First Period Tavares Time. From the Dane and Boyes to Men.

Second Period strike from Waiver Wire God Keith Aucoin via THE HAMMER after a scrumptious turnover from UNCLE DADDY. Devils get two quick ones back from Marty reasoner being awful.

Tavares punks Bryce Salvador and Uncle Daddy. 91 es en fuego. Devils equalize REEALL fast. Reasoner again?

End of 2: 3 up.

Third period. EL CAPITAN Off the screen from WAIVER WIRE GOD.

Fucking HEN-RIQUE equalizes. Cappy get a shiner on the bench.

Isles Kill goes 5 for 5 off a big one point to end regulation. 

 The Isles powerplay decided it was time to get on the last train home. Boyes rattled Uncle Daddy behind the cage. Tavares picked up the mail, To the Great Dane, to your Boyes.

Game Over. The Islanders look up at NOBODY in the Atlantic. Amazing roadtrip. Isles PK HUMBLING teams and the Powerplay is bringing the friggin hammer.

The catalyst is simple: The Great Dane, 51 Frans Nielsen. He mans the point opposite the captain on PP1, and his passing vision keeps the slot forward from collapsing to anyone, effectively trapping him in no mans land. It basically becomes a 5 on 3.5. Then, 91 has space. And when he has the triple threat option of net drive, dish, or fire on twine, you’re already aced.

On the PK1, It’s the Dane up front with the Grabby man can. The problem for teams is our top PK killing forwards represent certain death if you turn it over. That keeps the D high and doesn’t allow them to activate deep into the zone. D each pick up a forward in tight, only the OUTSIDE opposing winger will have any space.

 

All that and he’s the NHL’s all time unquestioned Shootout King.

7 more games like these first 7 and we start getting giddy.

 

The Vinny Hate Index (or VHI for short) ranking all 30 NHL teams according to me.

Who am I rooting for in a given game?

Here you go.

About the Index: This is a Hartigan Idea I’ve co-opted and made Vinny-er. You can refer to this s the ‘Vinny Hate Index’ or VHI for short. Teams will be ranked according to 4 criterion. First is History. Second is Likeability of Fans / City / Roster. Third is Jersey and Logo. Last is certainly not least: Gut reaction to them. The matrix generally goes from +5 to -5. Best score: +20. Worst Score? -20. Any tiebreakers I will determine arbitrarily and as trollishly as possible.   

  1. Isles – 5/5/5/5 = 20 Look, if you expected anything else, you’re stupid. My heart belongs to these colors and logo. The team is heading to Brooklyn, NY, God’s country. The fans are the most loyal in sport, surviving waves of crap that should have killed us.
  2. Panthers – 2/4/5/5 = 16. I love the look. John Vanbiesbrouck in my mind’s eye. Bill Torrey literally made magic. Rats everywhere.
  3. Ducks – 3/4/2/4 = 13. What did you do to your logo? Please undo. I love you, class of 1993. Ducks fly together.
  4. Hawks – 4/4/2/3 = 13. The Indian Head  is costing them points. It’s 2013. Adapt. Favorite NHL city to visit outside of the TDot. I love Patrick Sharp.
  5. Wings – 4/2/5/1 = 10. Indifferent on the team upon hearing their name. Beyond Dats and Z, their roster is bland to me. The Winger Wheel is iconic. They lose points for… Detroit.
  6. Wild – 1/4/2/3 = 10. I like Minnesota, it’s the state of hockey. The Logo is great, the jersey is too nusy. Their history in nonexistent.
  7. Blues – 2/3/5/0 = 10. Completely neutral reaction to them. I don’t mind the STL, and LOOVVE THE NOTE logo.  
  8. Kings – 3/3/2/1 = 9. Their logo annoys me. Their jersey is busy. Their roster has some guys I like, some guys I hate and no feeling towards them beyond that.
  9. Sabres – 2/3/2/1 =9. Their goalie is an American hero. Their fans are passionate if not delusional. The logo is GREAT.
  10. Oilers – 5/0/3/1 = 9. Tank and acquire draft pick is pretty much revolting. Respect for ending our dynasty, outright. Classic logo too. Ugly jersey.
  11. Flames – 2/3/3/0= 8. Completely neutral at mention of them. Loses point for relocation in history. Nice logo. Love Kipper and Iggy. Great venue.
  12. Yotes – 1/2/3/2 =8. Like the look of their sweaters, a lot. Respect Mike Smith. And the Hyena, PRUCHA.  
  13. Preds – 1/2/2/2 =7. I like them for some undefinable reason. Like successful hockey in the south to spite the haters.
  14. Jackets – 0/3/1/1 =5. Im so neutral on this team. I love Wis and Oakie though (Aucoin). Only team to get a 0 in history. And that’s well deserved. 3rd gets them a 1 instead of another 0 in look.
  15. Avs 3/2/-1/0 = 4. Relocation. Awful jerseys. AND THEY COST VANBIESBROUCK A CUP. FUCK THEM.
  16. Sharks – 1/-1/2/1 3. Nice logo. I basically like nothing relse here other than the fact they enter the ice through a giant shark head and play in a tank and Irbe.
  17. Devils – 2/-1/3/-2= 2. Minus 1 for Division. Should be higher if not for that. Don’t hate them. DOUBLE Relocation though. Point off for being from Jersey. Great sweaters though.
  18. Stars 2/0/-2/-2 = -2. Now we’ve reached hate. Buffalo SHOULD have a cup. Mike Modano ruined my birthday and pointed at me. UGLY Jerseys, Stolen Logo, and yeah. Texas. AND Relocation.
  19. Habs – 5/-6/4/-6 = -3. Condescending. Great jerseys and History. But condescending. And a soft finesse roster that dives.
  20. Canes – 2/2/-5/-2 = -3. Plus one for LaRose. Plus one for Ward. Minus for relocation. Minus more FOR NOT BEING THE WHALERS. PS: Your logo. It’s a toilet mid-flush. And your jersey is everything that should be forgotten about the 90’s. And TO HELL WITH STAALS.   
  21. Sens – -1/-1/-2/0 = -4. Yeah. AWFUL Jersey. Ugly Condom Wrapper logo. Vanilla roster. + Karlsson. Minus Alfie. Many minus FOR CLAIMING FAKE HISTORY THAT ISN’T REALLY YOURS.  
  22. Bolts – 2/-3/-4/0 = -5. Cup +1. Nate Thompson, St. Louis, Ryan Malone, -3. RIP OFF LEAFS JERSEY MINUS MINUS MINUS.
  23. Jets – -1/-3/-3/0= -7.  Thing that’s Winnipeg’s temperature, too. Rip off jerseys. Relocated stolen team. Other than Montoya utterly detestable roster, ‘tries way too hard’ fanbase. When you actively troll the city you stole a team from a year later, eat a moldy asshole.
  24. Caps 1/2/3/-15 = -8. What intangible got them this? No real history to hate, sharp jerseys, Ovi, Greenie, AND POTI POWER. What’s not to like? Google ‘Dale Hunter Pierre Turgeon’. I hope he takes a rusty tetanus rife pitchfork in his butthole in hell until the world floats into the sun.
  25. Canucks -3/-3/3/-5= -8. Burn another cop car. Way to let the Rangers win a cup. You’ve certainly taken a DIVE on this list of late.
  26. Flyers 2/-5/0/-6 = -9. The sweater’s look is offset by the fact it makes me physically ill. Nobody on this team is likeable. Nor is the city, nor is the state. Laviolette is cool though.
  27. Bruins 2/-7/0/-5 = 10. Another sweater that would be higher if it didn’t make me vomit. Tukka is cool. The rest of the team, the announcer, half the fanbase, the goal song, the city’s inferiority complex to NY, all combine in a near perfect mix of hate.  
  28. Leafs – -3 / -5 / 3 / -5 =10. Not a likeable soul on the team. The media is insufferable. The fans VASTLY overrate their historical contribution to hockey and Dion Phaneuf is a ballless wonder.
  29. Penguins – 1/ -5 / -5 /-5 = -14. Now we are cooke-ing with gas. I HATE EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS FRANCHISE. EVER. SO MUCH. THEY SUCK. HISTORICALLY, EVERY TIME THEY GET SLAPPED IN THE FACE? IT’S BY THE ISLANDERS OR FLYERS. YET THEY STILL THINK THEY HAVE A SUPERIOR ‘TRADITION’. THEY GET HANDED MARIO AFTER TANKING. THEY GET HANDED CROSBY. THEIR ANNOUNCER WOULD BE PUT TO DEATH IN MOST COUNTRIES. THEIR FANS THINK THE NHL WAS CREATED IN 2006.  
  30. Rangers   -5 / -5 / -5 / -5 = -20. Which is, I think, Boyle’s plus minus this year. Fake history. Seriously, what kind of team celebrates an 85th anniversary? Would it be the same one that lauds their only championship SINCE THE INVASION OF NORMANDY? The blandest jersey in sport. They screwed Vanbiesbrouck. Picture the entitlement of Toronto Leafs fans with a history of the Detroit Lions. There you go. It’s STILL 1940 to me.

feedback away, kids.

Game Week Recap 3 in 1: Isles go 1-1-1, but oh, what a one.

There is now one game left in a road trip that began with a touchdown being dropped on the Torrana Leafs.

The boys went shipping up to Boston and Keith Aucoin (2!) couldn’t overcome Joe Finley and Marty Reasoner playing defense like they were Ray Charles: Blind and dead. Heck of a 3rd by the Bs imposing size and will of a championship caliber team against a young hockey team playing a back to backer. Valiant road effort where they ran out of gas with 15 minutes to go. No shame. Better effort then expected by Dieps frankly. Still no lateral movement and susceptible as hell to high slot screen, but he fought. He’s also been mentioned by Thomas Hickey as working with the young D discussing opposing Forwards tendencies this week. So much for “DiPietro: lockerroom cancer”. If You’re bored, you can view an entertaining back & forth between Cup Of Chowder’s staff ace, @Sarah_Connors and I at #SarahVsVinny on the twittah.

 

On to Winnipeg. I guess Hamonic was happy. He lives there. That’s about it. Team went bowling night before the game because WHAT THE HECK ELSE ARE YOU GONNA DO IN WINNIPEG WHERE THE TEMPERATURE IS MINUS BALLS CELSIUS? The Isles apparently got really drunk at the lanes. 1-0 Jets after 1. 2-1 after 2. Then in the 3rd? Tavares Time happened. in the span of 8 minutes, the best ‘marginal’ talent in the game did the Jets dirty. Two apples and a snipe. Jesus H Christ in a Manitoban Frozen handbasket. Isles give one back on a chincy call then Nabby whiffs on one he flatout didnt seem to see. Jets win in Ot when Both isles D go to wrong post on rebound. Youth makes mistakes. Youth can start slow.

That was a ‘same old Isles’ moment. The next game took your preconceived notions and shoved them somewhere most unpleasant.

The narrative had been written. The wayard Isles, off a heartbreaker, would come into Pittsburgh without their franchise D-man, and on National TV, again serve as the Washington Generals to Meadowlark Crosby and his Pittsburgh globetrotters.  NBC was ready to serve it up in the pregame. The Isles were the lambs. this was the slaughterhouse. Then a funny thing happened…

The New York Islanders arrived in ill humor. Tavares put Crosby on his ass. He crosschecked Malkin to the deck. Grabner threw a few big hits. Matt Martin rang Cooke’s bell. And then the Zeeker caught Flower napping with a wrapping and it was 1-0 Overmatched Kids. 

In the second, Pittsburgh would return fire… and Nabokov would slam the door in their face time and again. Then Reasoner made a Raiden like dive and poked it up to Grabner. Watch the replay. Flower was done the moment Grabner was clear. He was dead and HE knew it. 2-0. Isles PK kept Pens big guns off the board. Then they hooked the Great Dane and the Craftsman sponsored powerplay ended with the Isles showing their toolbox, and All world Nexus Leader Tavares SNIPED one. Another call seconds later and Moulson sealed the game. Or so we thought. McDonald took the stupidest run at Lovejoy you’ll ever see. The vaunted Penguins PP would get a 5 minute advantage to make a game of it.

Funny thing is, it never materialized. The Isles PK led by the Gremlin, the Great Dane and Matty Marts put the Pens to sleep. utterly dominant, convincing win. Isles 3-0 since the Pens put up that ridiculously tacky Lemiuex / Pilon statue. Uwe Krupp laughs, Crosby weeps. By the way… Carkner and Martin dominated and embarrassed Cooke and Kennedy all night.

I was in rare form during this one in an Isles / comic book mashup at #WeaponXProgram.

To summarize this one succinctly:

Quite a week to build on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maybe You Can Play… someday. But can you watch? Even if you are different?

I thought about yesterday’s firestorm by the Rangers ‘a girl’s guide to hockey’ a lot. All the great friends I’ve made through hockey. Specifically, in response to this article, all the great women I’ve met through hockey. I did some pondering.

When have we reached equality? Is the equality we’ve made gains towards a mere facade?

Hockey is by far the most diverse sport in terms of audience in my opinion. That’s because conceptually, it’s an easy game to grasp. There’s a 4×6 net, and you want to put the piece of volcanized rubber in it. That’s it. You don’t need to get the infield fly rule or why the defense is changing from a 4-3 base set to a nickel package. You need to follow the puck. If you’re in the arena, you get to expand that vision. You follow the chatter on the bench. You watch the Alternate Captain work the referee during a play stoppage. You avoid the screaming children following the Tshirt cannon. You… immerse yourself in this surreal world. You escape into it.

This ‘easily inhabitable relatively smooth to acclimate to living on’ world can be shattered in an instant though. For me, a homophobic chant is a good way to pop my balloon. My reaction is always the same. I get angry, confrontational, and then after the adrenaline wears off? Sullen. My world that is my reprieve has been invaded, and once more I’ve been reminded that this world is a mirage and any loud mouth moron can damage it any time they want.

This is the same for a large number of my female friends or other minorities who have gone to great lengths to learn a sport which is predominantly played by white males. These folks work hard to fit in and hold their own and make the world I speak of their own. They challenge conventional wisdom, barge into this narrow prism of ‘who should be here’ and defiantly declare ‘i belong’. They play the game at a high level, like Sophie Merckx. They become the foremost sports medical analyst for one of Canada’s largest sports networks like Jo Innes. They create ‘trees for goals’ and other charity initiatives like Sarah Connors. They provide a sounding board and a port in the storm for an angry gay guido kid from Brooklyn to bounce ideas off of like Stephanie Hartigan does. Or… or they galvanize an entire community, nay a country, like Jessica Redfield did. We’ll reach equality when these people or pioneers like Craig and Doug over at Puckbuddys aren’t viewed as ‘outsiders trying to fit in’ but ‘people who love hockey helping the great game spread into exciting new places’. Then we’ll be there.

We’ll be there when the knowledge they have in spades isn’t challenged based on who they are. When they are accepted as knowing as much as the next person, not questioned for their knowledge like it’s a credential to access the inner sanctum of hockey because they have lady parts or sleep with boys.

That’s when we’ll have real equality as fans and people who care for and cover this game. What about people that play it?

Isn’t it awesome that in 2013 a successful female athlete still has various insults associated with being a lesbian hurled at her for having the audacity to be a strong female in a ‘man’s world?’

Why is that acceptable?

Because as strong as they may be, mentally and physically, outsiders are seen as ‘weak’ and someone to be tested.

While i vehemently support You Can Play and other equality groups, it’s different for fans and media. To push through the morass of bullshit that comes with being an athlete and proudly maintain what makes you different in a macho sports world that demands conformity takes a special strength of character. I hope that someone in the next generation of aspiring athletes is strong enough. I wasn’t. Learn from my experience.

Being antsy has probably freed up the mental block that has prevented me from writing about this for 12 years. I write about everything, you know? Yet one of the most important chapters in my life has gone completely untold. I’m a pretty cheerful person who has occasional bouts of mind numbing anger. People always ask where that comes from. Well, not surprisingly, it comes from a bad place. I don’t think it stemmed from my being homosexual. I was only sort of out (and that was nebulous at best) to one of the coaches and none of my teammates. My great ’emancipation’ of outing myself to everyone was still many moons away. Some of my teammates definitely suspected, with overt comments like “vinny just shows up because he likes being on his back with a guys sack in his face.” Granted, there were definitely homoerotic aspects to wrestling, and I’m confident I had gay teammates. So, if the homosexuality wasn’t the catalyst of my abuse (though it definitely was part of my being unable to confront what was happening to me), what was it? I was weak. I was 70 lbs my underclassman years where I wrestled for a then prestigious all boys high school. Testosterone was flowing all over the place and well, the protection being on a team in such a juiced up environment offered was not free, especially for the little guy who wasn’t very good. Among the many times I was hazed or abused, three standout as particularly clear in my mind, but these are by no means the only incidents.

First, I was tackled and pummeled by a coach after I tied his shoelaces together at the behest of a team captain. I’ve fought a bit in my life, and this was probably the worst beating I ever took. Secondly, I was hogtied and squeezed into a half locker which was then closed. I still don’t like enclosed spaces. Lastly, I was stripped, bound to the red tackling dummy and left helpless as teammates sprayed an entire canister of icy spray ( the stuff to numb an area after an injury) on my exposed genitalia.

That about tells the story, but not my reason for telling it. My advice to high school athletes who ponder coming out is this: If these were my consequences just for being unable to defend myself… make fully sure you are coming out in a safe environment. There’s no shame in waiting a few years if it’ll preserve your mental health. If you have a safe and supportive environment, by all means, go for it. But please make sure first.

The wanting to fit in is something I’ve kicked around a lot in this piece. It’s what kept me from talking about it for so long. That’s a regret I’ll need to live with for a while, along with the fact I let this happen. I want better for the next generation.

The athlete who takes up the banner of being different will need more strength than the fans and media who strive to be different need to muster. But the athletes that do take on this challenge of facing down a world that screams for conformity need our support. That much we owe them. That… I owe them.

Game 3 RECAP: NYI 7 (Thats SEVEN) TML 4 PS: Phaneuf has no cajones

Let’s break this thing down…. right.

Thank God the Argos brought Toronto a championship. The Leafs don’t appear ready to any time soon. Maybe Jays? Nah, My Bravos owe em one.

I digress. The game was a microcosm of so many Leafs seasons gone by. Faat start aided by an opponent that appeared disinterested and drunk. Then their powerplay failed them (5 on 3 even!) to finish the period. That aside, Leafs fans were all over the interwebs waiting to pile on the Isles.

Goals: Some Toranna garbage… Gunner Son? And the Kadri kid they wish was Tavares. Think Grabo had the third one. Mouls from JT was the lone Long Island tally. First period was brutal. but near the end, you had to wonder if the Leafs failure to bring the hammer down would be their undoing. Spoiler: Yes.

2nd Period. It’s the New York Islanders Powerplay brought to you BY MARK STREIT ACTIVATING IN THE SLOT ALL OVER YOUR PASSIVE BOX FACE, PENALTY KILL. Nice feed by Leaf Killer and Nexus Leader JT91 and Boyes 2 Men. Next up The Grabby Man Can… find the great Dane. The Frans to Boyes 2 Men and we are tied. They are tired. This game is ripe for the taking after 40. 

Third Period? leafs looked like they played last night. Isles were relentless.

THE GRABBY MAN CAN from the Great Dane and Boyes 2 Men. We shall call this in honor of Doom, the BFG line. B(oyes) F(rans) G(rabner) or Big f*cking gun if you are scoring at home. PPS: They weren’t done. The Isles had their first lead and they were locked and loaded.

Aucoin with a seeing eye laser on Schrivens and he took a seat on the pine pony.

Phaneuf ran Tavares late with a board. I will state this exactly as happened: Okposo (There’s a history there) chased him, Carknere stepped up, and Phaneuf flipped the puck away to defend(?) himself from the repercussions of his cowardly and dangerous hit. Moulson said “thank you, balless wonder” and roofed it. Rout on. Carkner MMA mounted Phaneuf and the valiant(?) leafs captain turtled. Nice leader. 

Phaneuf would turn it over again after a meaningless Leafs goal (Frattin I think?) made it 6-4. This turnover was cashed in by the BFG line. Grabner, again. Capuano then sent Zeeker over the boards between Finley and Carkner in a “I’ll be your huckleberry” moment. Already emasculated, The Leafs folded. Shocker.

Hammer was gassed tonight. Too many minutes, especially with Boston tomo night.

Finley is a liability defensively, but he is an angry man with large hands. Carkner is just ANGRY.

Keith Aucoin is a godsend, visible both ways. The Big Line is heating up and the newly christened BFG is on fire. 

 

if only DP wasn’t starting tomorrow.

 

In honor of the newly christened BFG Line, Tonights post game song is from the Space Jam Soundtrack: “Hit Em High”:

 

Dion Phaneuf is not a man.

 

As always, you’re welcome.

 

The NHLNexus, led by John Tavares and their battle cry.

So yeah. Saturday Night, the Isles season opening video was set to 12 Stones ‘We Are One’.  The song is viewable on YT here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNNaU1DJOPw

The lyrics are as follows:

Woah, oh, oh, oh…

We walk alone in the unknown
We live to win another victory
We are the young, dying sons
We live to change the face of history
so be afraid it’s the price we pay
The only easy day was yesterday
So hear our voice, we have a choice
It’s time to face it

We are one, we are one, we are one
We will stand together
Number one, number one
The chosen ones
We are one, we are one
We will fight forever
We are one and we won’t die young

We are the bold, united souls
We live to win another victory
Our sacred scars show who we are
And tell the story of our memories
so be afraid it’s the price we pay
The only easy day was yesterday
So hear our voice, we have a choice
It’s time to face it

We are one, we are one, we are one
We will stand together
Number one, number one
The chosen ones
We are one, we are one
We will fight forever
Find More lyrics at www.sweetslyrics.com
We are one and we won’t die young
(instrumental)

We walk alone in the unknown
We live to win another victory
Our sacred scars show who we are
It’s time to face it (face it)
(Time to face it)

We are one, we are one, we are one
We will stand together
Number one, number one
The chosen ones
We are one, we are one
We will fight forever
We are one and we won’t die young
We are one, we are one (yeah)
Number one, number one (we won’t die young)
We are one, we are one (yeah)
Number one, number one (we won’t die young)
Woah, oh, oh (fades)

I think LI will grow to like it.

 

Recap: Isles rally behind opening faceoff thunder, overcome 3rd period storm, weather Lightning. NYI 4 TBL 3

Ah. Kids day at Nassau Coliseum. The Avengers were on hand to protect the children and offer John Tavares membership.

Due to the presence of little brats, I was home, enjoying the game in HD.

Joe Finley did a dance at the opening puck drop, as did Matt Martin. That was the lasrt positive impact Finley had. Not so for Marts.

Frenetic first period with the Isles dominating but unable to hit the twine.

Scoring opened in the second when the Captain capitalized on a powerplay line change and hit Grabner in stride on the tape from 140 feet away. Gremlin did the rest.

Following that up, it was 2-0 forces of good when the leader of the Nexus, JT91 hit Matt Martin in stride as 17 was sprang from the box. Shortside under the blocker. Love it.

Then a fancy give and go made it 3-0 as the leader of the Nexus unleashed the Okposolypse at the end of 2.

Then, the Isles went all razzle dazzle to open the third as Keith Aucoin and Super Swede Ultra Ullstrom did a little globetrotters on the Bolts, 4-0.

The Isles fold like a cheap tent defense tried really hard to blow the game after goals by THAT FREAKING MIDGET, Stammer, and some other guy but Nabby held the fort after a well timed Cappy timeout. There’s something I’ll never type again.

Observations:

No Matinee flat start. Fisticuffs provided an initial spark and the Isles kept rolling.

Zone coverage was awful in the third.

The breakout passes were awesome and the team speed throughout the lineup is evident.

Ullstrom, Nielsen, and obviously Grabs can all fly. JT91, Okie and Matty Marts have all turned their skating from a hindrance to above average. 

Strait has impressed the hell out of me, as has Aucoin. I like Carkner’s edge, but Finley needs to find the skybox and take Reasoner with him.McDonald will hit the bricks once JJ or Bails is ready, IMO.

I hope Isles country is ready for the TML Thursday and a potential DP start in Boston.

Congrats to Vinny Lecavalier on 1000 NHL games. Per Isles Statistician extraordinaire Eric Hornick, He’s the 6th Number 1 pick to reach 1000 games played for the team that draft him.

#5 in the rafters at nassau was another one.