Driving on the Meadowbrook on the way to the Coliseum for last night's game vs. the Pens, I turned to K-Rock in the hopes of finding the Strokes or something to get me pumped up for some hockey. Instead, I found some dated Pearl Jam. Onto Q104.3, where I was greeted with "Tuesday Afternoon" by the Moody Blues. Great. I'm all hyped up to see my Isles on Saturday night and I get that ill-fitting tune. Unfortunately, it turned out to be an accurate omen of the night to come.
First let me say that I have no idea what Bergeron was doing when he, under no duress, threw the puck from behind DP off the side of his net, setting up Crosby for an early Christmas gift in the first. DP looked furious, as did the over 15 thousand in attendance tonight. Bergeron's puck handling was appalling all night, and my guess is Berard may be back in the line-up for Wednesday. Also, how long are we going to expose ourselves to shorties by keeping MAB and Satan on the points on the man advantage?
Let me get to the bigger stories here. At 12.33 in the second the referees (apparently showing some sense of loyalty to the other skaters wearing black and white) decided to get involved in the outcome of the game by levying 2 roughing calls against the Islander's Witt and Vasicek. The Vasicek call frustrated me, as it appeared as all he did was defend Witt who was getting attacked by several Penguins, but as Whitney got called too, I can live with it. The calls become controversial as we consider the following. Brendan Witt told reporters after the game that one of the referees told him he was "playing Crosby too tough" after he and Crosby cross-checked eachother and only Witt got called. The resulting power play led to Pittsburgh's game winning goal. Greg Logan of Newsday asked "have you ever been told that before"? Witt responded in the negative. So there you have it. There is an important lesson here for all defensemen from every team in the NHL. Do not play Sydney Crosby "too tough". Allow him to situate himself comfortably in front of your goaltender. If he looks thirsty, offer him a beer.
Fans of every team should be alarmed by this.
Next, the Simon penalty. At 14.06 in the third, Simon received a game misconduct for intent to injure. Now, from the vantage point of the blog box, we did not have a terribly clear view of what happened, and it appeared as if many of the beat writers didn't see it either. I did, however watch the replay this morning. This call seemed justified, and I simply question Simon's action. With 6 minutes to go in the game, Simon pulled out Ruutu's leg his his left skate (which was a little more innocuous as he was helping out a teamate), but then stepped on his leg. I'm trying to be objective, and if someone did that to DiPietro, or Bergenheim, I'd be livid. There may be some repercussions if the league levies additional penalties, we'll see. I'm going to wait for what the Islanders and Simon officially say later to be fair, but this one might be tough to defend.
I bought a new hat last night at the arena, the blue and white mesh one DP can often be seen wearing. And Patrick and Angela from Rockaway got engaged during a TV timeout (congrats guys). So, if you're looking for some positives, there you go. Now I get to watch the Jets play at New England. Great...Tuesday afternoon man, Tuesday afternoon.