March 30, 2009

03/29/09 - "Drunk" Blogging the NCAA

Okay, so I'm not drunk... but I'll explain that later.
But it is post-game, and I've got things to say.

Boston University topped the University of New Hampshire earlier today, 2-1, with a clinching goal in the final minute of play. Islanders draftee Corey Trivino scored the first BU goal, and his line looked good on every shift.

In other NCAA tournament news, Bemidji State beat Cornell University in stunning fashion to become the lowest-seeded team to make the Frozen Four... ever. Which is pretty hilarious when you think about it.

But I want to discuss the BU Terriers here. Assuming my audience is primarily Islanders fans, I'll try to keep it pertinent to 2nd-round draftee Trivino and Long Islander and free-agent to-be Matt Gilroy. Or at least, keep it interesting in general.

Enough can't be said about this year's Terriers. Rival teams have poured over the tapes and made countless line matchups, but not one has been able to reliably find a chink in the Boston armor. Really, it is something special. But anyone who knows BU hockey can tell you that this year's sense of team and community is nothing new.

After today's win, the Terriers took the busride back from Manchester, NH to Commonwealth Ave. It took less than an hour for a handful of players to turn up at a local bar, where they were met with a rousing welcome from us loyal fans. This marked the second time this year the players and the fans met at a campus bar after a victory -- the first was as per a longstanding BU tradition after our Feb. 9 Beanpot victory.

And while it's obvious that the players -- with their freshly-awarded NCAA REGIONAL CHAMPIONS baseball caps -- are the focus of the bar, there's no one happier to be there among the fans. All the Terriers (particularly the seniors) are smiling wide, cracking jokes, and laughing at the replays being shown on TV. It is obvious that this is a team that really enjoys being a team on and off the ice.

But really, what team wouldn't, with success like this? BU is 33-6-4 this season, and virtually every player is enjoying career-best production and statistics. It's only when one considers exactly who is on the Terriers that this team's attitude becomes really amazing.

With headline-making players like Sr. forward Brandon Yip, Soph. forward Colin Wilson, and Sr. defender Matt Gilroy, the possibility of individualism on this team is undeniable. It is a credit to the legendary coach Jack Parker that these players -- some of whom are graduating and likely have NHL aspirations in the fall, and some of whom may turn pro even before their collegiate tenure here is over -- are keeping their noses down and focusing on the whole.

And that is making all the difference as BU skates headlong into the Frozen Four. As a BU fan, I watch in awe of history in-the-making. As an Islanders fan, I am not only learning how to enjoy supporting a winning team, but I'm watching how a real team is put together and how it works. It may seem complicated here, but it's something that I sense is happening with the Islanders, especially with the growing number of rookies playing at the NHL level for the first time together.

I really urge all Islanders fans to watch the Frozen Four telecasts on ESPN2 April 9th and 11th... not just for the Terriers, but for some great college hockey. This tournament has been as ridiculous as it gets: final-minute goals and stunning comebacks have become the norm, and BU is the only #1 seed to advance past the preliminary rounds.

So, yeah. Two beers with my friends and the players at the bar,
Go BU.

March 29, 2009

03/29/09 - BU vs. UNH on ESPNU

Alright, here we go - the NCAA tournament regional finals. Today's victor will skate into the Frozen Four in D.C. April 9th and 11th.

Yesterday's game was an 8-3 show of Terrier dominance. Make sure you don't miss out on today's inter-conference grudge match.

5:30pm, ESPN-U


March 28, 2009

03/28/09 - BU vs. OSU on ESPN2

Trivino, Gilroy, Wilson...
It's BU hockey.

You've basically got no excuse to not watch this one.
ESPN2, 5:30pm.

Update: puck will drop at 5:56 due to UNH-UND overtime.


March 18, 2009

03/18/09 - Quote of the Year

“I can’t tell you how much I’d kill to be in the playoffs next season in an Islanders uniform. This place has come to mean a lot to me. They gave me a chance last summer to prove I had something left, and we proved it together. I’m going to play next season, and I hope it’s here.”

-Doug Weight

I hope so, too, Doug.

March 16, 2009

03/16/09 - The Islanders Can't Even Lose Correctly

This afternoon's 4-2 win in Chicago made it clear: The Islanders can't even lose right anymore.

How is it even possible that the league's last-place team can do anything wrong at this point? Actually, it's pretty straightforward:
Start winning. A lot.

With 6 wins in 10 games, the Isles are doing a great job of screwing up their prime positioning for this year's draft selection. Yeah, yeah... I hear it now. Winning is always something that is good. But that's not going to stop me from complaining about this hot streak like it was a cold streak.

Of course, no team will actively tank a season. That's just not good for anyone involved, from players to fans. But there are certain things a team can do to ... well, tank. At least passively.

But even these methods are failing the Islanders. Shortly ago, the notion of a draft day boon was undoubtable. Today, it is again up in the air. And let's be honest: It's not really about taking the season for the #1 pick. It's about being smart, and treating the tail end of the season like a trial-by-fire prospect camp. And by all accounts, the Islanders are the masters of this approach. Just ask the Bridgeport-Port Jeff ferry service.

Hell, why NOT throw in a rookie goaltender against a top-8 team!? Let's see what he can do!
  • 2008/09 NY Islanders: The end of decades of mediocraty ...or... A lesson in Murphy's Law?
- - -

But don't get me wrong!
A note to the players ~
Congratulations to Peter Mannino on his 40-save debut win and the rest of the Islanders rookies for pulling together such a bang-up job over the past stretch. I'm your biggest supporter, and can't wait for you guys to tear it up next season. (And you're making me look like a genius for making that bet.)
Thanks for reading.

March 8, 2009

03/08/09 - The Bet.

2008-2009 is a wash. That much is clear. But dammit, I'm not giving up on this

I've already done the "keep-the-faith" speech. Been there. And besides, with as many "wait 'til next year" seasons as we've seen in the past decade, that sort of thing may be getting a bit hackneyed.

This time, I'm putting my money where my mouth is.

And so, to silence a certain loudmouth critic, a bet was made:

  • If the Islanders finish top-20 in the league in 2009-10, this shrewd author receives a brand new Islanders jersey.
  • If the Islanders finish below that mark, however, this deadbeat author will unsuccessfully try to back out of buying my critical friend a brand new Sabres jersey.

A bold wager indeed.

The way I see it, this bet entirely depends on how the youth of the Islanders comes out next year. With a healthy DiPietro (perhaps not a safe bet in itself), Hunter, Sutton and Meyer, and the further development of this year's rookies and prospects, I give myself a better-than-50/50 chance of winning.

Of course we'll have to wait and see, but that's the fun, isn't it?