As I drove through midtown on my trek from New Jersey to Uniondale tonight I had Bush and Sponge blaring in my car. There aren't many other places I want to be on a Saturday night than the Coliseum for an Islander game. So as I deftly avoided brave traffic crossing pedestrians (including Ranger and Leaf fans on the way to the garden in Manhattan), I was about as happy as I generally get. Little did I know that I would be equally somber about 3 hours later.
If you were fortunate enough to miss tonight's game, here's a quick recap. The Isles lost 8-3 to the Canes in a game that wasn't even that close. For those of us who were wondering, the week long delay from their last game did not work in their favor. Campoli took an unnecessary 2 minute delay of game call that led to a Cane goal in the first. DiPietro coughed up the puck behind the net which cost the Isles a goal, also in the first. The Isles were getting beat to pucks, and allowed Cane forwards to march straight up the middle of the ice, which left DP, and subsequently Dubie nearly helpless. DP got benched for Dubie, and Nolan shuffled all lines save for Vasicek's. Brind'Amor had a hat trick, and the police on hand for Law Enforcement Night were able to prevent any Islander fans from attempting to jump from the rafters.
I've always wondered what beat writers ask goalies like DP after games like this. And tonight, I found out. One beat writer (I am unsure of his identity, although I think he may have been filling in for Logan at Newsday) asked the first question of DP. "What happened?" to which Rick responded "what do you mean 'what happened'?", to which the beat writer simply stated "the game". This little exchange might have been amusing under different circumstances.
DP, Guerin, and Sillinger were presented to the press and none gave excuses, even after they were asked several times about the extensive time off between games. Guerin did indicate that they lost the game due to mental errors, not physical shortcomings, implying that a lack of rest was clearly not at fault here. Coach Nolan (and I'm paraphrasing here) stated that that a week off from hockey can either work for you, or against you, and that tonight it worked against them. He also mentioned that extended time off is never good for a goalie. Unfortunately for Rick, he got more time off during tonight's game.
The Isles are professionals after all, though, and they know better than anyone that you just have to put these games behind you and forget them. Rick is one of the elite goalies in the league, and even the elites have their nights.