Islanders Get Zero Respect After Outdueling Rangers

Dear New York Hockey Media:

The Rangers lost. Get over it. They were not the better team last night. Not by a long shot. If it weren’t for a couple of early defensive lapses, this would have been a blow out. However, it looks like at least one of the local hockey writers can’t seem to understand that. The offender in question is the Daily News’ Filip Bondy. Bondy pulled out every excuse in the book for the Rangers loss in his hack job of an article.

Bondy blamed the following things on the Rangers’ loss, in no particular order:

  • Henrik Lundqvist was sick & they had to have an AHL back up on the bench.
  • Cam Talbot was not told until yesterday morning that Henrik was “sick”. So he had to go on short notice.
  • The Rangers are the Yankees and Isles are the Red Sox and a rivalry only goes so far. The better team should win. After all, the Rangers now lead the all-time series by 19 wins.
  • The Rangers made too many mistakes and gave a team like the Islanders a chance.
  • A lot of fans, and one referee, were missing due to the snowstorm. (Both refs were there by game time, but hey maybe he didn’t have time to properly “prepare”)

The article written by Filip Bondy, who is a 20+ year veteran of the Daily News, was written more like a Rangers apology letter than a recap of the game. The article is even entitled “NY Rangers’ Mistakes Give the Islanders a Snowball’s Chance.”

Interesting. A snowball’s chance?

Let’s look at this logically.  There was no mention of the fact the Kevin Poulin is the Islanders’ backup goalie. He is young and inexperienced, like Cam Talbot. After last night’s win, the Rangers and their $61.5M payroll are ahead of the Islanders and their $45.2M payroll by 8 points. Yes, 8 points. Not 58 points,  just 8 points.

This article just goes to show that Islanders have a long way to go in their effort to earn respect from the league. In the past few weeks we have seen some of the worst officiating of the season, if not in many seasons. It’s well known that John Tavares does not get treated with the respect from officials that he deserves; like the superstar that he is.  If he were on the Rangers, the world would stop to accommodate him. He’s not and it does not. There have been countless missed calls, including last night, where Islanders players have been cross checked, slashed, and even high-sticked in the face. But, the referees seem to “let them play”. However, when it comes to an Islander, it seems as if every single call that is remotely close is made against them; especially when playing the Maple Leafs or Rangers. That’s not even counting the many phantom calls that we have seen this season. Shall we talk about the “no goal” that Tavares experienced recently as well?

But that just shows what a true leader John Tavares is. He knows he has to work harder than most superstars because of the lack of respect the Islanders get. He knows he won’t get the calls. He has realized that he can turn his frustration into something positive; scoring. He has done just that. Tavares sits just behind Sidney Crosby as the number 2 overall scorer in the league. Have you heard about this? Not really. I bet you have heard plenty about the great Crosby though. The Canadian Olympic team has Tavares slotted as a winger, perhaps on the third line. Nice place for the number 2 scorer in the league. Oh and the US Olympic team? Let’s not beat a dead horse over the exclusion of the number 8 scorer in the NHL.

The biggest issue here is that when you have articles in one of the biggest newspapers in the biggest city in the country that gives no credit to the team that wins, it just shows that until they can compete on a yearly basis, without 15 game losing streaks, the Islanders will always be considered a joke to certain members of the media, and fans outside of Long Island. I went to the Panthers/Isles game last week in Sunrise, FL.  I heard things like, “don’t worry it’s just the Islanders.” That mindset must change before the Isles are to be taken seriously.

Filip Bondy is supposed to be a respected journalist in the world of sports. He sure didn’t show it here. The Daily News doesn’t even consider the Islanders a local team. The biggest joke is that they consider the Giants/Jets local teams and they don’t even play in the state. Islanders? No. Devils? No. The New Jersey football teams? Of course! Why not just include the Bills?

Since December 17, more than a month ago, you know who the NHL point leaders are? John Tavares, Thomas Vanek and Kyle Okposo. Those are your top 3.

How about overall? In the Top 30? John Tavares #2, Kyle Okposo #8, Thomas Vanek #21, Frans Nielsen #27. Nary a Ranger to be found.

I am happy to give credit where credit is due. Rick Nash has been fantastic and he looked great last night. However, Derek Stepan? The joke of a selection to the US Olympic Team? Did he even play last night? I can’t recall, because he made NO DIFFERENCE!

The NHL Network spends countless minutes talking about Rick Nash, when John Tavares, a budding superstar is 6 points off of the scoring lead. We are used to hearing how the Islanders are a joke. We are used to getting no respect. Well, that’s ok, it’s time to show irresponsible journalists like Filip Bondy what the Islanders, and being a fan of this storied franchise, are all about.

The Isles have a flair for the dramatic, especially this season. Respect is often not just given, it has to be earned. Last night’s victory, as well as many others in the recent past, have shown the Isles are a team to be reckoned with. They aren’t the same hapless team we saw in November. This team is coming together, and at the right time. But if they are to turn heads, they need to keep it up. They need to make the playoffs and win a round. They need to show some progress to earn some league-wide respect.

Bondy ended his article by writing:

The Isles rolled Tuesday night, played an impressive road game. Don’t get used to it.

On the contrary Filip, I think you need to check your hockey knowledge at the door, and get used to it. The Isles will no longer be league patsies. Just check the season series standings right now. Isles are up 2-1. So you can keep bringing up 1994. You can keep bringing up the Isles lack of recent success. But, in the end, no one knows what the future holds; especially Filip Bondy.