Hockey From The Blind Side; The Sound Of Winning

OK, so there really is no real or “true” sound of “winning”. I don’t mean that in the literal sense. Actually, in this case, the “sound” I am referring to was the noise the puck made when Andrew MacDonald scored in the first period of the game against the Minnesota Wild on Monday afternoon, which was the first goal for the Islanders of this season.

The sounds of goals actually vary. Sometimes, you get that crisp, clean ringing sound that is different in tone than when someone hits a post. It’s what I term the, “finding the twine” sound when a shot is blasted into the net with authority. In other instances, you hear the puck hit a stick or a pad and I only know it’s a goal from the reaction of the crowd, the horn going off or the announcers stating it as such. In other instances, you don’t even “hear” the goal being scored at all for one reason or another.

To me, though, A-Mac’s goal was the “best” kind. It was a sound I immediately identified as being that of a Goal. It just has a distinct quality to it that some 35 years plus of listening to hockey games has provided for me and enabled me to recognize.

Beyond the “sounds” of the game, it is also the “feel” or “energy” that you can sense. In the first period, it was obvious that the Islanders came out ready to play and were on a mission. The Wild, on the other hand, seemed as if they had not mentally left their hotel rooms. It was a FAR cry from how things were Saturday night against the Panthers when the Isles had little energy and seemed rather tight and disorganized.

What happened in the last 40 minutes, though, is a mystery to me. Frankly, the Isles came out quite fortunate to have a win. They were out shot 18 to 5 in the last two periods and were, to me, out played. The “feel” of the game entirely changed. I could sense the fact that the Wild got some of their energy and were finding their skating legs. It was one of those games where you almost expect it to slip away and to find your team on the losing end by the final horn.

The PK, however, came up HUGE. To say that Jay Pandolfo, Andrew MacDonald and Travis Hamonic played impressively well during the 5 on 3 against them would be an understatement. The thing was, they had to do it twice. In fact, the Islanders had to kill six penalties in the last two frames of the game.

“Anytime you take as many penalties as we had, you can’t get into the flow of the game,” Jack Capuano said after the game. “You have some of your better players on the bench, your offensive guys and their minutes are cut short on them and they go 5-6 minutes without getting a shift. It’s tough on those guys.”

How true that is. Your best forwards can’t get into any groove, and it puts pressure on both the goaltender and the defense. The Islanders are not a team that can afford to take lengthy stretches of a game off, and certainly not two whole periods. Thus, in the end, as much as I am happy with 2 points and the W, I hope there are issues addressed by the coaching staff over the next few days.

Another type of sound I find quite relieving and, to some extent, enjoyable, is when a goaltender stops a shot with his pads, his glove or his stick. I heard this sound more than a few times when Al Montoya came up big for his club between the pipes. Without a doubt, the Isles came away with the victory because Montoya played like a #1 goaltender. Surely on the 5 on 3 situations, he proved the old hockey adage that your best penalty killer is often your goaltender for Sure. To me, and this is the opinion of one fan, I believe he should get the nod on Thursday against the Lightning.

The best sound of them all, overall, was at the end of the game when the horn declared the game Over. The Isles got the win, and they evened their record at 1-1 for the season. The four game home stand continues on Thursday against Tampa Bay, and then the Rangers come a calling on Saturday. I want to hear the sounds of more Islander goals, and enjoy the feeling of more Islander victories after each game!

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