Sunday, March 2, 2008

Core of the Four

It's about 40 minutes prior to game-time for today's matchup versus the Florida Panthers. This afternoon, the organization is honoring the "Core of the Four" - the players, coaches, and personnel that were a part of all 4 Cups during the dynasty era.

My thoughts after watching the obligatory video montage of highlights from the four Finals victories:

- As an Islanders fan, is it possible to get tired of watching Nystrom score the OT game winner against the hated Flyers to give the team it's first Cup? I can only imagine the emotions I would have felt if I was old enough to be there, and fully appreciate the accomplishment. I've seen that clip hundreds of times, and it never gets old.

- My best memories of that era, as young as I was, are of a team that always worked hard, always worked together. It's that concept of every man pulling his weight that has been missing from this team. Actually, in this age where the business of hockey often overshadows the game of hockey, it's a trait that you rarely see anywhere in the league.

Now we're onto the player introductions. Watching Potvin come out carrying the Stanley Cup over his head fills me both with feelings of nostalgia and the overwhelming desire to experience that once again. It's great to see the Cup on home ice in March, but I'd much rather see it in June.

Of all of the greats here, who had a better run than Ken Morrow? In 1979, he is named player of the year in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. In 1980, he wins a gold medal as part of the "Miracle on Ice", playing in arguably the greatest game in the history of sports. That same year, he wins the first of four straight cups...a nice welcome to the NHL. He might not be first name that comes to mind, but if I could take anyone's hockey career for myself, it would probably be Ken Morrow.

The current players come out to the ice now, wearing throwback jerseys of the former players. There's Guerin wearing the familiar "C", but with "Potvin" written across his back. Comrie's assuming the role of Trottier. I'm not sure at this point if these jerseys are going to be worn for the game itself or just warmups, although my guess would be warmups only. I think it would be kind of cool, albeit a little confusing, if they kept these for the game. How great would it be to hear "Trottier to Bossy...GOAL!" one more time? There's probably a league rule about wearing different names on your jersey, though. I'll have to find out about that one.

Overall it was a nice ceremony. It lacked the punch of Al Arbour's 1500th game ceremony, but as I've previously written, that was a particularly special night. It would hard to beat that, period.

Now, moving on to today's contest with Florida. I'm not going to go so far as to call this a must-win...with 4 more games against the Rangers and two against Philly, we can still gain some ground by winning those "four-point games". But from a gut feel standpoint, if we can't beat the home...with most of the greatest Islanders in history'd be hard to argue the playoffs are looking good.

The biggest concern would have to be that Wade Dubielewicz is starting today in place of DiPietro (attending to a death in the family). I'm a Dubie fan, but with just two appearance in the last 62 days (covering about 27 games) it's easy to think rust might be factor. The defense is going to need to play an inspired game today. On the brightside, we're facing Florida's backup in Craig Anderson rather than Tomas Vokoun.

Here's my pregame prediction (yes, I know I said I was done making predictions). The Islanders win with authority for a change. I'm thinking a 5-2 final, with one goal by Sean Bergenheim. And by the way, with all due respect, someone needs to tell Sean he looks like a porn star with that moustache.

No live in-game blog from me today. I think I'd rather focus on the game. Besides, I'll leave the live blogging to the expert (Tom) over at The Tiger Track.

Let's go Islanders!


Jim McGlynn said...

What's up man. Good seeing you at the game. Definetely great to see the core guys, can't wait to get my expensive film developed. I wish your pre-game prediction came true, maybe for the rangers. Jim.

7th Woman said...

Live blogging is hard... we should all leave it to Tom! It was good seeing you at the table for a change too!