After poking fun at the New York Islanders last season, ESPN hockey analyst and former New York Rangers captain Ryan Callahan poked tried to get on Isles Nation's good side during last night's national TV broadcast versus Edmonton.
It didn't work.
"Islanders fans killed me for calling them sleepy and boring last year, said the 13-year NHL veteran. "Islanders fans, this is an exciting brand of hockey you are playing. I’m all in. Get me an Islanders jersey!” They weren't in a giving mood this holiday season.
The network later shared one Islander fan’s response to the thought of Cally wearing an Isles jersey as captured by Isles statistician Eric Hornick and shared on X. "I'd rather shove a full grown cactus up my *** than give Ryan Callahan as [sic] Isles jersey," wrote user @BlgPoppaPump.
"I was kinda disappointed; I tried to mend some bridges with Islanders fans tonight and got some nasty tweets...sour, why so sour?" asked Callahan during the post-game. He was reminded by host Steve Levy that fans on Long Island have long memories of the former Blueshirts captain, who also played with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Last season, Callahan and fellow analyst PK Subban had some fun at the Islanders' expense, pretending to have fallen asleep while watching their game during the intermission report. A few weeks later, as a guest of the Jeff Marek Show, he tried to spin it as being complementary to the Islanders as a team built for the playoffs.
"I was doing studio work with ESPN a couple of weeks ago," said Callahan. "Me and Subban made a joke about Islanders hockey being boring and not too fun to watch. Islander fans, as per usual, jumped all over me. I don’t think I was their fan favorite anyway to begin with. To be honest with you, it’s a compliment."
The sleeping skit generated a response from Isles legend Butch Goring, who always has the team's back on social media. "I am guessing Subban and Callahan will be going to bed early given the Isles are playing tonight. No big deal , no one will miss them," taunted Goring last season.
This time, Islanders fans were able to get their jabs against Callahan directly and did so spectacularly.