New York Islanders: My Holiday Guests (Part 4)


This week long saga of watching the New York Islanders live in three different California locales has come to an end.  It ended with a roller coaster last minute on the ice, and an equally bumpy flight back to LA.

Had Charles Dickens decided to write about the ending to that New York Islanders game in San Jose he might have started with the line, “It was the best of minutes. It was the worst of minutes”.

In my opinion the Islanders actually played a fairly solid game.  I thought they controlled the first half of the first period, the second half of the second period, and a good portion of the third.

So when they came back to tie the game in the last minute or so, it seemed like justice.  It seemed well-earned. And it seemed as though maybe it could be the catalyst to erasing those last minute of the game woes that has cost them seven games so far in the…nope.

Make it eight.  Eight times they’ve given away a game in the waning moments. That would be horrible over an 82 game season.  It is inconceivable in a 20 game stretch.

After sitting Tuesday night in the fairly generic Honda Center, and thinking about how I used to work for the Ducks in this building. It was a dream come true job for a hockey fan, so my memories of that building are biased toward the positive.

After sitting at Staples, which is my family’s “home stadium”, walking distance from my office, where we have had season tickets, my thoughts on the experience were cemented long before Wednesday.

But San Jose, and that Shark Tank, are new to me. Aesthetically it’s a giant warehouse. A big square off-white box.  If you change the sign and you could believe it is an Ikea.  But that doesn’t bother me.  My first pro hockey game was the Long Island Ducks at the Commack Arena. My standards for buildings are low.

But my standards for hockey are higher. Certainly higher than I have seen from this team so far.  There were a group of four fans in Islander jerseys in my section. They started the game enthusiastically cheering.  They left the game stunned.

Is it really stunning, when it happens in nearly half their games?

And yet…

And yet I really do think they played a good game.  Ladd threw errant pucks up the middle. Greiss let in a long softie that he should have had even if it was deflected by Calvin de Haan. But those are things that are forgotten in a winning game in a winning season.

In a losing season we remember those along with Tavares botching an open net, and forget Greiss stopping a hall of famer on a penalty shot.

This is the final installment of my four part series. I don’t think I have ever seen the Islanders play three games in three cities, in four days.  I’m glad I made the trip, and sad that I fell short of seeing all three goalies start a game.

Next: New York Islanders: Finding Ways To Lose

While I was up there I found out that Florence Henderson died.  And then just before I left someone told me that Fidel Castro died, and added the cliche, “these things always happen in threes”.  Clearly the the third thing that died this week were the New York Islanders playoff hopes.