As an Islander fan, you find yourself rooting for any team that plays against the New York Rangers. It’s just the way it goes.
Maybe it’s not the same for the Ranger fans, but with their team in the playoffs right now, we just can’t help ourselves. With that being said, it’s no wonder I basically became a New Jersey Devils fan for the past few weeks, as they played the Rangers in the first round.
I wore red and black to show my support each game day they played. Mostly to annoy my Ranger fan co-workers who donned their Ranger shirts to work. They were going to poke comments at me any way about Islander tee times, so why not give them fuel for the fire. Besides, there is Islander royalty on that Devils team with Brent Sutter behind the bench and Parise in the line-up.
We know how this series ended. Not quite a sweep by the Rangers, but not the outcome Islander Country was looking for. But in all honesty, considering the way these two teams played each other during the course of the regular season, it’s no surprise.
The Devils attained the lowest number of points in the metro challenge. The Rangers just had their number. Hell, if the Islanders had played the Devils in the first round of playoffs, THEY would have advanced even with the team being essentially the Sound Tigers. They just couldn’t get it together against their tri-state rivals.
It was painful to watch a usually amazing Zach Parise have no luck whatsoever against the Rangers in this series. He couldn’t connect with the back of the net. He seemed snake bitten.
And then there was Madden; the man who will spend his summer months reliving two key moments over and over. The bounce off Marc Staal’s skate that gave the Devils their one-game win, and the penalty shot he missed that may have allowed the Devils to play another day.
I’ve been told that in the shootout situation, the odds are with the goalie. But this was a must-win, do-or-die situation for the Devils. It didn’t happen.
Lunquist was quoted in Newsday as saying "It was a close call, I try to be ready for anything when it comes to shootouts or a breakaway, just try to be patient." I think that was kind. What he really should have said was “I’m really just THAT good.”
The camera zoomed in on Madden at the bench, shaking his head and mumbling to himself. It also caught Sutter running through his own possible fate in his head as he watched the Rangers win the game and send the Devils home far earlier than he wanted.
Now you may be asking yourself (and cursing me at the same time) what does this Islander fan care about to actually be writing today? Simple. While I was watching the reaction of Sutter as the game came to an end, it struck me. If indeed there is a problem between Ted Nolan and Islanders’ management (and again, we really don’t have any concrete evidence that there is!!), then would an unemployed Brent, Islander Royalty, Sutter be a likely candidate to take his place?
After all, wasn’t the buzz before Nolan took the job that Sutter just didn’t want to leave the Red Deer Rebels at the time? One can only wonder…as there is nothing much else for us Islander fans to do for the next few months.
Oh well…I guess I’ll have to go out and get a Komisarek jersey now with the idea that Montreal will beat the Bruins and move onto round two. After all, Komisarek IS from West Islip, so even HE is actually…an ISLANDER.